184. Memorandum From James C. Thomson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Laos Conference

You asked about the genesis of State’s new interest in a Laos conference.

[Page 368]

The initiative came from Mr. Rusk, who signed off on a circular on May 10th (attached)2 in which he concluded that since a Cambodia conference was “pretty well out the window”, we might turn our attention to a Laos conference in order to maintain some sort of diplomatic track in Southeast Asia.

The responses to this cable have been fairly negative for differing reasons—most cogently, because certain addressee posts disagreed that a Cambodia conference was dead. Since then, as you know, the Cambodia business has shown new signs of life.

State is sending out a new circular today which moves the Laos problem to the back burner and brings the Cambodia one up forward once again.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Laos, Vol. XV, 4/65–1/66. Confidential.
  2. It was not a circular, but a multiple addressees telegram, see Document 181.
  3. Circular telegram 2236, May 15. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 LAOS)