4. Paper Prepared by the President’s Assistant Staff Secretary (Eisenhower)0



The main Pathet Lao effort seems to be an attack from the north toward Luang Prabang. A town called Nam Bac fell on January 7 after an intensive four-hour mortar and recoilless rifle attack. The Pathet Lao numbered about 700. Government forces destroyed some ammunition and apparently saved their weapons in the withdrawal to Muong Sai, 30 miles west. This latter town possesses a 3000-foot sod runway. Possession of Nam Bac makes it possible for the Communists to go down the river toward Luang Prabang.

The government forces, meanwhile, reportedly possess the road junction where the Xieng Khouang road forks to Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Furthermore, the troops in Luang Prabang have been reinforced by a battalion (338 men). The King has returned to Luang Prabang after the formalities at Vientiane. The bulk of the Boun Oum forces in the Xieng Khouang area have withdrawn about 40 miles southeast of that town. Many of these are Meo tribesmen. Plans are for a counterattack north from Paksane to retake the Plaine des Jarres.

We have authorized use of counterpart funds to provide a bonus of one-month’s pay for FAL personnel in the Vientiane combat.1 A C–47 with a K–38 camera is now available. T–6s are now authorized for use within Laos for all operations except bombing, and CINCPAC may now use U.S. military aircraft to move supplies. The RLG has notified its embassy in London to warn the Soviets one day before the first T–6 mission is flown.2 Despite this fact, the Soviets have not at this time ceased aerial re-supply of the Pathet Lao.

The Joint Chiefs have authorized the use of our military aircraft in the Thai festivities for the return of the King and Queen on January 20.

The big problem seems to be the question of the reactivation of the ICC. The Indians have approached the Soviets directly on this matter [Page 10] and the British, while annoyed, feel we should go along. Our own diplomatic position at this moment is that the ICC could be reactivated under some stringent conditions, which means primarily that its task would be to end Pathet Lao military operations and end Communist military assistance. The Thais are relieved to learn of the conditions put forth by the U.S., but afraid that these conditions would be whittled away if the ICC were reactivated.

Brown visualizes five ways of internationalizing this conflict: (1) Lao appeal to SEATO; (2) Lao appeal to the UN; (3) reconvocation of the Geneva Conference; (4) reactivation of the ICC; and (5) creation of a neutral mediation group.3

Brown favors course of action 5 but CINCPAC, while recognizing that reactivation is a political decision, has pointed out the very severe military impact such a move would have. Primarily, he feels that it would hinder our operations while not hindering the Communists. In our operations, he refers to both resupply and direct involvement under SEATO. He summarizes by saying: “For the above reasons CINCPAC feels that reintroduction of the ICC might serve many interests but not the national interest of the U.S.”4

As of today, military operations in Laos seem to be a little better. At the very least, Phoumi is getting them to regroup and plan the counterattacks, and reinforcements are being sent to critical areas.

[Here follows a section on Cuba.]

John S. D. Eisenhower
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Top Secret.
  2. As outlined in a memorandum from the Director of the Executive Secretariat, Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., to Goodpaster, January 13. (Ibid., International File, Laos)
  3. As instructed in telegram 733 to Vientiane, sent also to Bangkok and CINCPAC, January 7. (Department of State, Central Files, 751J.00/1–661)
  4. As stated in telegram 1285 from Vientiane, January 7. (Ibid., 751J.00/1–761)
  5. As stated in CINCPAC telegram 070359Z to JCS, January 7. (Department of Defense, OSD Historical Office, Secretary of Defense’s Cable Files, Laos 1961)