164. Memorandum From Bromley Smith of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1


  • Situation in Laos

Ambassador Sullivan has reported there are no U.S. casualties as a result of the outbreak of fighting today between rival rightist factions in Vientiane,2 [Page 330] although some of their houses have been hit. U.S. personnel assigned to the airport and to the opposing factions have been withdrawn and U.S. aircraft have been dispersed.

The Embassy reports that troops loyal to the Souvanna Government have directed an intensive artillery barrage on the headquarters camp of rebel troops loyal to General Phoumi. No official estimates of Laotian casualties have been received; however, the press is reporting at least 30 killed and wounded. Sullivan states the intensity of the bombardment would indicate a considerable medical problem.

At last report, a cessation of artillery had been ordered. The headquarters camp has been reduced to flaming ruins. General Phoumi’s whereabouts are unknown, and he is believed to have fled the city.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Laos, Vol. XIV, Memos, 2/65–3/65. Secret.
  2. Forces loyal to Deputy Prime Minister Phoumi and the Chief of the Directorate of National Coordination, Siho Lamphouthakoul, against forces under the command of General Kouprasith Abhay, loyal to the Souvanna Government. In telegram 1199 from Vientiane, February 3, Sullivan reported that all Americans were safe. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 23–9 LAOS)