MEMO TO WASHINGTON FROM VIENTIANE RE (DELETED) 6 MARCH AT THE LAO EMBASSY IN BA

Created: 3/6/1962

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

FROM:

VIENTIANE

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RECEIVEDMARCH AT

THE LAO EMBASSY IN BANGKOK FOR APPROXIMATELY THREE QUARTERS OF AN HOUR. WE FOUND PHOUMI IN MUCH BETTER PHYSICAL CONDITION AND APPARENTLY READY TO COME BACK TO WORK MARCHND WE INFORMED PHOUMI TO HIS SATISFACTION OF THE WELFARE OF HIS CHILDREN.

TOLD PHOUMI THAT WE HAD HEARD THAT BOTHAND SOUPHANOUVONG HAD REJECTED THE IDEA OFOF THE KING'S COUNCIL AND HOW IT WASPRESENT AN UNTENABLE POSITION. HOWEVER, BEFOREUP HIS MIND WE WOULD LIKE HIM TOLEARUS POLICY.

DELIVERED PRESIDENT'SONEBRUARY PREFACING IT WITH SHORTTHAT PRESIDENT MOST ANXIOUS PHOUMI PLAY USEFULNEW GOVT AS ALREADY INDICATED FELT HAD JUST PRECEDED ii"

INUTES,THAT NOT ONLY. NOT

PREPARED TO SUPPORT PHOUMI MILITARILY IN THE EVENT HE

urROIKDFOII RELEASE MIL1

REFUSED TO PARTICIPATE IN COALITION GOVT OR NEGOTIATIONS COLLAPSED AS RESULT HIS UNWILLINGNESS TO ENTER INTOOVT, BUT THAT IT NOW FURTHER CLEAR. GOVT ALSO DETERMINED NOT COME TO HIS ASSISTANCE MILITARILY EVEN IN EVENT OTHER SIDE ATTACKED, WHETHER AS RESULT RUSSIAN INABILITY ANY LONGER CONTROL PL AND VM, OR AS RESULT OTHER SIDE'S IMPATIENCE WITH SLOW PROGRESS OF NEGOTIATIONS ETC. PHOUMI APPEARED LISTEN INTENTLY, THEN SAID THIS EXACTLY WHAT ADMIRAL FELT HAD JUST TOLDEW MINUTES EARLIER. (PORTION GARBLED) THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION WOULDOUVANNA PHOUMA COALITION GOVERNMENT. AT THE VERY START WE WANTED TO IMPRESS ON PHOUMI THAT IN ANY COALITION GOVT. WAS VERY DESIROUS OF HIS PARTICIPATION. WE REALIZED, HOWEVER, THATOUVANNA PHOUMA COALITION GOVERNMENT HE COULD NOT HAVE THE MINISTRIES OF DEFENSE OR INTERIOR. HOWEVER, WHATEVER POSI TION HE COULD GET, WE WANTED HIM TO KNOW THAT WE REALIZED THAT IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO OPERATE BECAUSE SOUVANNA, BEING PRIME MINISTER, WOULDREAT DEAL OF HIS FINANCES. FOR EXAMPLE, IF PHOUMI COULD GET MINISTRIES OF INFORMATION AND YOUTH AND SPORTS, KEEP THE SECRETARY GENERALSHIP OF THE VETERANS

PACE THREE

ASSOCIATION, AND LEUAM COULD HAVE THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, THERE WOULD BE THEN GREAT POSSIBILITIES IN

THESE POSITIONS FOR USEFUL WORK,"

STRONGLY URGED PHOUMI TO CONSIDER THIS BECAUSE, AS FAR AS WE COULD SEE, THIS IS ABOUT THE ONLY WAY OUT.

4. REINFORCED ABOVE BY SAYING TO PHOUMI

THATRIEND HE WANTED TO BE SURE. POLICY. WE WANTEDUNDERSTANDr

LEAR PICTURE. POLICY, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT INVOLVED IN POLICY MAKING WITHIN. GOVERNMENT. FIRST, THEREFORE, PHOUMI SHOULD REALIZE THAT. HOLDS HIM LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAILURE TOOUVANNA PHOUMA COALITION GOVERNMENT. ALSO. BELIEVES, RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY THAT THE UNTENABLE AND DANGEROUS POSITION IN LAOS TODAY IS DUE IN LARGE PART TO PHOUMI'S ACTIONS. AS PHOUMI HAS BEEN TOLD IN THE PAST,. WILL NOT SUPPORT HIM IF HE INITIATES MILITARY ATTACK. PHOUMI, WE BELIEVE, ALREADY UNDERSTANDS THIS POSITION.

RECENTLY THERE HASURTHER CLARIFICATION OF POLICY WHICH PHOUMI MUST UNDERSTAND NAMELY, THAT IF THE SOVIETS ARE UNABLE TO HOLD BACK THE PATHET LAO FROM ATTACKING,. WILL NOT, EVEN UNDER THESECOME TO THE SUPPORT OF PHOUMI.

5. PHOUMI WAS TOLD THATND INDEED WORLD OPINION,EACEFUL SOLUTION TO THE LAO CRISIS AND, IN THE OPINION OF THE MAJORITY, THE ONLY PEACEFUL SOLUTIONOUVANNA COALITION GOVT. PHOUMI WAS TOLD THAT IN OUR HONEST OPINION THE ONLY WAY OUT WAS FOR

TOOSITION OF IMPORTANCE IN THE NEW GOVT.

REPEATED THAT WE WANTED PHOUMI TO CONTINUE TO HEAD ANTI-COMMUNIST

(SI

TO GIVE THIS HIS DEEPEST CONSIDERATION. IT WAS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO HIM AND HIS COUNTRY, AND WE BELIEVED FOR. ALSO, THAT HE CONTINUE TO BE ONE OF THE LEADERS OF LAOS. WE COULD NOT URGE HIM TGDSTRONGLY TO GIVE US AN AFFIRMATIVE ANSWER.

6. PHOUMI THEN AGAIN SAID THAT ADMIRAL FELT HADTHE MORNINGESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTSIMILAR TO THE UNEVERED. PHOUMI

SAID THAT HE WANTED TO TELL US THE SAME THINGS HE HAD TOLD ADMIRAL FELT. IT WOULD BE VERY "DIFFICULT" TO ACCEPT SOUVANNA PHOUMAEADER. THE BIGGEST ERROR. HAD MADE WAS TO PUT SO MUCH CONFIDENCE IN THE WORD OF SOUVANNA. SOUVANNA IS NOT THE LEADER, THE STRONG MAN, THAT. BELIEVES HIM TO BE, HE IS NO MORE THAN THE FRONT MAN FOR SOUPHANOUVONG AND THE PI^ JUST LIKE BOUN OUN IS THE FRONT MAN FOR PHOUMI.

SAID HE SPENT THREE HOURS WITH MARSHAL4 DISCUSSING THE LAO PROBLEM, PHOUMI SAID THAT AOF THEIR CONVERSATION WAS ON THE THAIWE HAD NOT VET SEEN THE TRANSCRIPT OFAS OF TIME THIS CONVERSATION WITHWENT ON TO SAY THAT SAHJT HAD AGREED TO. TO SEE THEF ITS WAYS INMUCH CONFIDENCE IN SOUVANNA BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE.

DID SAY, HOWEVER, THAT IF HE COULDOF DEFENSE WHICH WOULD ASSURE HIM OF ARMYWOULDOUVANNA PHOUMA COALITION GOVT,ARMY SUPPORT HE WOULD HAVE NO POWER ANDREDUCED TO NOTHING. WHEN WE SAID THAT LOGICALLYSTRUCTURE OF THE ARMY WOULD REMAIN INTACTTOOK PLACE, PHOUMI REPLIED THAT THIS WAS

AMERICAN LOGIC, NOT LAO. PHOUMI THEN ASKED, "WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO US IF SOUVANNA AS PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF DEFENSE RELEASED GENERAL AMKHA FROM PRISON AND MADE HIM COMMANDER IN CHIEF? " PHOUMI WENT ON TO SAY. DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE REALITIES OF INTERNAL LAO POLITICS,

WE REFERRED TO THE HARD TIMES IN THE PASTDECISIONS HAD TO BE MADE, ESPECIALLYDAYS, PHOUMI SAID THAT AT THE TIME KONGCONTROL OF ONLY VIENTIANE AND THAT WAS EASY TOBECAUSE HE KNEW WHERE HIS ENEMY WAS. NOW, IFIN, IT WOULD BE COMPLETE CAPITULATION, AND THEBE EVERYWHERE, EVEN BEHIND HIS BACK. IT WOULDALL LAOS TO THE ENEMY AND THERE WOULD BE NOGETTING IT BACK LATER.

ALSO SAID THAT HE WOULD NO LONGEROF THE ARMY BECAUSE WHOEVER PAYS, CONTROLS,WOULD BE SOUVANNA WHO PAID. WHEN ASKED IP HE DIDTHAT THE POST OF MINISTER OF FINANCE, IN THISPROVE POWERFUL ENOUGH, PHOUMI REPLIED THAT ITUNACCEPTABLE AND NO GOOD. AT THISTO THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, PHOUMIMOST OF TRAINED PROPAGANDISTS AND ORGANIZERS ARE

PATHET LAO, AND WE WOULD NOT HAVE TIME TO ORGANIZE HIS OWN MEN.

U. PHOUMI SAID THAT HE IS NOW STRONGER THAN THE OTHER SIDE AND THAT WITHITTLE MORE BACKING HE COULD WIN. PHOUMI WAS TOLD THAT THIS WAS ONE OF THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES OF OPINION AND THAT. DID NOT BELIEVE PHOUMI WAS STRONGER NOW ANDOLUTION MUST COME IN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME. PHOUMI SAID THAT HE REALIZED THAT. SUPPORT HE COULD NOT GO ON AND THAT. SHOULD REALIZE THAT BY WITHHOLDING SUPPORT FROM HIM THEY ARE ONLY PLAYING THE COMMUNIST GAME.

12. AGAIN WE URGED PHOUMI TO CONSIDER OUH PROPOSITION BECAUSE THE ALTERNATIVE WOULD ONLY MEAN. COMPLETELY WITHDRAWING ITS SUPPORT WHICH WOULD HAVE DISASTROUS RESULTS. PHOUMI SAID THAT IF HE WENTABINET MEETING AND ASKED HIS FELLOW MINISTERS TO GO ALONG WITH THIS, THEY AND EVEN THE KING WOULD LAUGH AT HIM, AND ACCUSE HIM OF BEING THE SLAVE OF THE AMERICANS. AT THIS POINT WE ASKED IF IT WOULD HELP ANY FOR US TO TALK TO OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CABINET. PHOUMI SAID,O IT IF YOU WANT TO. "

NO OBJECTIONS. PHOUMI SAID HE WOULD TALK TO SARIT BUT NOT ABOUT OUR SUPPORT. PHOUMI TOOK US TO THE DOOR AND SAID THAT MAYBE WE SHOULD TRY THIS ON SOMEONE ELSE. ON'TAN GO ALONGOUVANNA PHOUMA GOVERNMENTAY RETIRE TO THAILAND." PHOUMI WAS URGED TO GIVE UTMOST CONSIDERATION TO OUR TALKS. WE SAID THAT AFTER HIS RETURN TO VIENTIANE, WE WOULD ASK HIM FOR HIS ANSWER. IF NECESSARY WE WOULD TALK LATER ABOUT RETIRING.

16. COMMENTS:

THE WHOLE CONVERSATIONSOMEWHAT SUBDUED, BUT WAS COURTEOUS

ONLY INDICATION THAT THE ABOVEOR PERHAPS ADMIRAL FELT'S EARLIERMADE ANY IMPRESSION ON PHOUMI WAS HISTO THE VERY DIFFICULT OR SEVEREWHICH HE FOUND HIMSELF, HIS RECURRENTTHE AMERICAN POSITION IS VERY DIFFICULT TO UNDER-

PAGE TEN ANY SUGGESTION THE FIRST TIME.

WE WILL MAKE APPROACH TO BOUN OUM, ALONG ALREADY APPROVEDAR. WE WERE UNABLE SEE HIMAR.

AMBASSADOR BROWN HAS SEEN THIS MSG.

END OF MESSAGE

Original document.

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