139. Letter From President Nixon to Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union Kosygin 1

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am writing you to ask your government’s assistance in achieving full compliance with the 1962 Geneva Agreements on Laos.2 These Agreements were intended to protect the independence and neutrality of Laos and to prevent the use of Lao territory for interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

The presence of over 65,000 North Vietnamese troops in Laos and their recent offensives represent a major violation of these Agreements. I believe that this situation calls for prompt action by your government and the other signatories of the Agreements.

The Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam has disregarded the Geneva Agreements from the very beginning. In 1962, only 40 North Vietnamese “advisers” and “technicians” were withdrawn from Laos through the inspection machinery set up for the purpose, while thousands of North Vietnamese troops remained in the country. Since then, in persistent, flagrant violation of the Agreements, the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam has continued to send thousands of soldiers into Laos to fight there and through Laos to fight in South Viet-Nam.

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The record of North Vietnamese aggression against Laos has been documented in official papers published by the Royal Government of Laos, including messages to the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference, and in reports by the International Commission for Supervision and Control pursuant to its responsibility under the 1962 Agreements.

Under Article 8 of the Protocol to the Declaration of the Neutrality of Laos, your Foreign Minister is jointly charged with the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom with supervision over the observance of the Declaration and Protocol. I assure you that my Government would welcome any reasonable steps which the Co-Chairmen might take to assure that the Geneva Agreements are complied with, that the sovereignty, independence, neutrality, unity and territorial integrity of Laos are preserved, and that Lao territory is not used for the purpose of interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Specifically, I understand that the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Laos has recently addressed an appeal to the Co-Chairmen to bring about consultations among the signatories of the Geneva Agreements on Laos under the provision of Article 4 of the Declaration. My Government would welcome such action on the part of the Co-Chairmen and is prepared to cooperate fully.

Sincerely,

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 101, Vietnam Subject Files, Laos Statement, Vol. 2. No classification marking.
  2. On March 6, Nixon released a statement entitled, “About the Situation in Laos,” which announced that he was writing British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Kosygin as co-chairmen of the 1962 Geneva Conference to help in restoring the 1962 agreements. (Public Papers: Nixon, 1970, pp. 244–249)