240. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos0

534. Embtel 820.1 In view complex and rapidly developing situation0 you face Department wishes provide you maximum flexibility in pursuing general lines US policy, of which our immediate objective is to bring three Princes together in Vientiane. Therefore you authorized to approach Souvanna in Plaine des Jarres at you discretion. Line you would take with Souvanna would depend upon immediate situation but we would hope you could follow guidance contained Deptel 524.1 We believe your talk with Souvanna could go farther than mere exploration. You could and should query Souvanna on his “package”. This would not require on your part any comments as to merit or demerits of any individual named by him. You could, however, raise with him any clear imbalance distribution among groups. In going Plaine des Jarres you would meet with Souvanna but of course not with Souphanouvong.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/12–861. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Cross, cleared by Anderson and Steeves in draft, and approved by Harriman. Repeated to Geneva, London, Paris, Bangkok, Saigon, Moscow by pouch, New Delhi, and CINCPAC POLAD.
  2. In telegram 820, December 8, Brown reported the latest information on the ongoing correspondence between Souvanna and Boun Oum over the next meeting of the three Princes (see footnote 3 below). Brown reported that he had taken Phoumi to task for insisting upon conditions that he knew Souvanna would not accept and telling him that Souvanna was not up to forming a government. However, when asked by Brown, Phoumi assured the Ambassador that he would accept Souvanna’s conditions for coming to Vientiane. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/12–861)
  3. On December 1, Souvanna had agreed to come to Vientiane, provided he and Souphanouvong were allowed to bring 110 security troops and 30 civilian aides each. On December 4, Boun Oum countered that he would go to the Plaine des Jarres without military escort if Souvanna and Souphanouvong would do likewise in future Vientiane meetings. Souvanna responded on December 6 that Boun Oum should come to the Plaine with a 110-man escort. On December 8, Boun Oum reiterated his December 4 offer to go unescorted to the Plaine des Jarres with Souvanna doing the same in Vientiane meetings, and implied that if Souvanna could not form a government, he should stop trying.
  4. Document 239.