142. Letter From Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union Kosygin to President Nixon1

Dear Mr. President,

We have carefully studied your letter of March 6, 1970.2 We have also received an appeal from Prince Souvanna Phouma with a proposal on conducting consultations between the States which signed the 1962 Geneva Agreements on Laos.

My colleagues and I are perturbed by the situation in Laos, which has lately become aggravated. And we, for our part, have pondered over the causes of this aggravation and over what measures could be undertaken to restore peace and tranquility to the territory of Laos.

I should not like, at this time, to go into the background of the present events in Laos, since this would hardly erase the differences that exist in the way our two sides appraise what is happening in that country.

The situation in Laos, as is quite obvious, is directly connected with the general situation on the Indo-Chinese peninsula. The cessation of the war in Viet-Nam and a political settlement would facilitate the restoration of peace in Laos as well.

To speak, in the present situation, about consultations between the States Parties to the 1962 Convention on Laos is, in our view, completely unrealistic. Do you think it possible to consider the situation appropriate for such consultations when the United States continues the war in Viet-Nam and expands armed intervention in Laos? Moreover, the coalition government created in Viet-Nam in accordance with the 1962 Geneva Agreements, in view of the actions of the right-wing forces, has been paralyzed.

It is precisely those right-wing forces which, supported by the American Airforce and actively using special troops under American command, carried out in September of last year attacks in the Kuvshinov [?]3 Valley area, which for a long period of time was under the control of the Pathet-Lao and left-wing neutralists. Patriotic forces took measures to return to their previous positions.

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The matter of restoring peace in Laos should, obviously, begin with consultations between the political forces of Laos. The other day the Central Committee of the Patriotic Front of Laos proposed a concrete and, it seems to us, a highly realistic five-point program for a settlement. As a result of this program, peace would be restored in Laos if all countries respect the sovereignty, independence, neutrality, unity and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Laos, in accordance with the provisions of the 1962 Geneva Agreements on Laos, the cessation of U.S. intervention in Laotian affairs, including the bombing of Laotian territory, the non-participation of Laos in military alliances with other countries and the banning of foreign troops and bases in Laos, respect for the throne, the holding of general, free and democratic elections to the National Assembly and the formation of a democratic government of national unity, the holding during the period from the restoration of peace to the general elections of a political consultative conference with the participation of representatives of the interested parties of Laos for settling all the affairs of the country and forming a temporary coalition government, the uniting of Laos through consultation between the Laotian parties on the basis of the principal of equality and national consent. But, first of all, as set forth in the above-mentioned statement of the Central Committee of the Patriotic Front of Laos, it is essential that the U.S.A. put an end, in the near future, to the escalation of the war and completely and unconditionally cease the bombing of the territory of Laos—only thus can conditions be created which will permit the interested Laotian parties to meet with each other.

Thus, it is a question of the necessity, first of all, of the cessation of American intervention in the affairs of Laos, and of Vientiane maintaining a position of neutrality, as stipulated by the Geneva Agreements.

We welcome the planned contacts between Prince Souvanna Phouma and Prince Souphanouvong and consider that this is exactly the path which, in the event of the cessation of American intervention, will permit ensuring a détente in Laos and create the necessary conditions for a political settlement in that country.

As for the Soviet Government, it will, for its part, henceforth undertake efforts directed toward the cessation of military activities in Laos and toward the creation of conditions that will enable that country to develop along the path of peace, independence and neutrality.


A. Kosygin 4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 765, Presidential Correspondence, USSR, Kosygin. Confidential. Translated by the Department’s Division of Language Services.
  2. Document 139.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Kosygin signed the original.