Communist forces haveeries of ground attacks against government positions near the Plaine des Jarres in north Laos-
The action was highlightedharp attack onune against the neutralistat Muong Soui. At least two battalions of North Vietnamese troops supported by tanksumber of the base's outlying defense positions and inflicted light casualties on government defenders . The airstrip, however, remained in government hands-
One North Vietnamese prisoner claims that his unit moved into Laos from North Vietnam in early June with- the specific purpose of attacking Muong Soui. Theof the North Vietnamese to move their forces rapidly into position around Muong Souithe vulnerability of the neutralist headquarters to enemy forces situated directly east on the Plaine. It also is fresh evidence that the Northcan deploy troops into Xieng Khouang Province with littleor chance of detection,
:ightihg en Laos
In apparently related moves, the Communists drove government troops from Phouecentl won position north of the Plaine, and hit government guerrillaon the southern rim. These actions are almost certainly in response to General Vang Pao's recent effort toovernment presence on the Plaine
The attack against Muong Sou is the first major action against that position in five years. It may have been intended as aresponse to theoccupation for six weeks this spring of the once inviolate Communist base of Xieng Khouang-ville. The attack may also have been launched for political In recent weeks thehaveoncertedto portray Communistneutralist" elements as the "true representatives'* of the neutralist faction. Suchpresumably would beby the capture of the neutralist headquarters at Muong
7 WEEKLY SU
Ccwkunist Guerrillas Active is Thailand
insurgents continue to make headway in the north while they try to improve their assets in the northeast.
In the north andprovinces, the Communists are consolidating their control over tribal areas. Villagemeetings and sightings of larger insurgent bands attest to the insurgents1 growing strength
A?,, *nd Chianc Rai provinces, village reports also indicate the guerrillas are strengthening their organization in Tak.
in Udon Thani and Kalasin indicate the guerrillas may be establishing footholds in neighboring areas that are free oJ governmentforces. They are reported to have established new political and military training facilities in Kalasin. Bangkok has been particularly concerned over the spread of insurgent activity in southern Ubon Province, an area that is especially vulnerableof the proximity of Laos-based Communist forces.
guerrillas continue to harass government security forces but incidents have become less rrequent because several army units havo been pulled out of the area for security duty in lowlands. Bangkok hasa new military commander to the north whoeputation tor being aggressive. the leadership stillto be divided on the best course to follow in combattinq the tribal insurgency.
In the northeast, theare apparently carrying out plans drawn up last December to pare down and improve their organization. An increasedof sightings of insurgents
The guerrillas also continue to avoid armed encounters with superior security forces, periodic Thai Armyhave resulted in some small unit clashes.
There are some indications that the Communists intend totheir military assets in the northeast. enior Com-aunist defector has stated that several hundred insurgents were scheduled to return earlier this year froo extended training in North Vietnam and Laos. There have also been reports that the insurgents haveew mortars and rocket launchers, but there has been no indication of their use. JSZC-HUV NO-POTETCT-
9 WEEKLY SL'MMAIIY
Little Progress Hade at Defense Talks ih Canberra
five-power Commonwealth defense talks held in Canberra onndune were strongly influenced by uncertainties in che key Malaysia-Singaporewhich were generated by communal violence in Malaysia last month.
The attitude of Australia and New Zealand during the talks reflected concern that theirpresence might entangle then in Malaysia's internal problems and in frictions between Malaysia and Singapore in the eventerious deterioration ininternal security situation. They did, however, reaffirm their commitment to keep forces in the Malaysia-Singapore area after the British withdraw
Australian Prime Minister Gorton bluntly reiterated that his country's presence would be directed solely against external aggression. He also said hethat assistance from outside powers would be requiredajor external threat develop. Canberra's interest in carefully limiting its commitment was also reflected in theby External Affairs Minister Freethormal agreement to replace the Anglo-MalaysianAgreement that expiresustralia prefers aunderstanding rather than specific treaty obligations.
The five-power meeting also revealed differences over thetructure of Commonwealth forces committed to the Malaysia-Singapore area. While Kualaand Singapore favor oncommand structure,and Wellington emphasized that they intend to retain direct control of their military units. They did agree, however, toa joint services advisory working group, in addition to existing air, ground, and naval advisory groups, to implement plans and policies.
Although planning will go forward at the working-group level, the differences thatat Canberra strongly suggest that progress toward governmental-level understandings andwill be slow and limited. (MCm " DISSEM
10 WEEKLYJun 69