114. Memorandum From Rob Roy Ratliff of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Political Action Program in Laos

For 11 years CIA-supported irregular forces have been fighting in Laos. Now the scene is shifting to a peace-time situation, demobilized troops will be looking for jobs and leaders must compete in elections. The non-communist leaders with whom we have worked need financial assistance to strengthen and expand their political base.

CIA proposes to spend [dollar amount not declassified] this fiscal year helping selected political leaders. As direct political action, [dollar amount not declassified] would be used to support political activities designed to promote a unified, non-communist slate with popular support in the next national election. Socio-economic programs would use [dollar amount not declassified] in developing cooperatives, aid to veterans, and educational efforts to create economic viability as a base for political leadership and strength. In addition to its intrinsic worth, the program will provide opportunities for the U.S. to influence Laotian political leaders covertly. Funds are available in the Agency budget.

State, Defense, JCS and CIA 40 Committee principals concur in this proposal. Under Secretary of State Porter’s approval is based upon the provision that the socio-economic program include measures to discourage opium growth or traffic.


That you approve the CIA proposal for a covert political action program in Laos at [dollar amount not declassified] for Fiscal Year 1974.2

  1. Source: National Security Council, NSC Intelligence Files, Subject Files, Box I–009, Laos, February 1969–November 1973. Secret; Eyes Only; Outside System. Sent for action. Stearman concurred. Memorandum for the 40 Committee, “CIA Political Action Program in Laos,” October 26, attached but not printed. A handwritten notation on that memorandum reads: “Telephonically approved by the 40 Committee on 19 Nov. 1973.”
  2. Scowcroft initialed his approval, November 19.