163. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Laos1

652. Embtel 1182.2 In view reftel and FOV 8212 and especially increasing indications that Phoumi probably involved in keeping pot [Page 329] boiling (e.g. FOVs 8213 and 8215),3 you are authorized to warn Phoumi if you believe it necessary or desirable, that USG takes very dim view of recent developments and moves Vientiane. Remind him that unity and cooperation among all non-communist Lao elements in support PriMin Souvanna has always been vital to Lao national interests and in particular at this time when serious threat may be developing in southern Laos (Embtel 1181).4

Leave to your discretion how to handle matter with Phoumi and whether you should also make same points to Siho. Hope however you can make it unmistakably clear that we continue to be unalterably opposed to any attempt, such as Bounleut’s last night or by others that may be planned, which threatens stability of RLG or its armed forces.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 6 LAOS. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Drafted by Barbis, cleared by Trueheart and Green, and approved by William Bundy. Repeated to Bangkok, Saigon, and CINCPAC.
  2. In telegram 1182 from Vientiane, February 1, the Embassy reported on the beginning moves in a coup against the Souvanna government. (Ibid., POL 23–9 LAOS)
  3. The CIA telegrams have not been further indentified, but in a telephone conversation on February 1 at 11:20 a.m., William Bundy told Ball that he had a telephone call from CIA “saying there was a coup in Vientiane.” In a telephone call to Rusk on February 1 at 4 p.m., Ball stated: “the Laotian business was a one day wonder; it was a young staff Colonel [Bouleut Saycocie] who did not get much farther than occupying the radio station.” (Both in Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Laos, 4/19/64–11/12/65)
  4. In telegram 1181 from Vientiane, February 1, the Embassy described ground action that began on January 31 near an area east of Thakek as potential Pathet Lao/North Vietnamese “Sunday Punch,” the beginning of a counter offensive in southern Laos. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 VIET S)