Reference: Your Tel 3114 October 13.†
Repeat Washington, NATO Paris, Paris, New York, Delhi, Canberra, Wellington (OpImmediate), Saigon (Priority) from Delhi (Information).
By Bag Phnom Penh from Saigon, Djakarta, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Warsaw from London.
Your preliminary comments to MacDermot accurately reflect our general approach to problems of Laos. We have, of course, followed with keen interest and growing concern the failure of successive attempts to re-establish a central government which all our Western friends could support, the resulting progressive disintegration of Laotian army, the rising threat of Pathet Lao dominance or partition of the Kingdom, and the possibility that any such outcome might lead to grave international complications.1
2. Our info on these developments, as the Foreign Office is aware, has come in large part from UK sources, and we are grateful to them for having kept us so fully informed. We have also been continuously in touch with Australian thinking, and have had less frequent but useful indications of French and New Zealand views. While the broad objectives of USA Government are of course known to us through direct contacts as well as indirectly, we have felt at times that we did not repeat not fully understand the reasons which led them to take particular initiatives. We understand that this feeling has been shared by other interested Western governments.
3. Because we have had no repeat no representative in Laos since the adjournment of the Commission in 1958 (occasional visits have been made since that time, but none since the coup d’état in August) and because, as you pointed out, we are not repeat not directly involved through membership in SEATO, we have been reluctant to express firm views as to the best course of action for our friends to adopt at any particular time in this complex and rapidly changing situation. The Minister has indicated that we should not alter this position now.
4. Before the adjournment of the Laos Commission we did of course express definite views which are on public record. For example, we actively participated in the Commission’s efforts to encourage the Laotian government and the Pathet Lao to reach a political settlement as envisaged in Article 14 of the Geneva Agreement for Laos. When this settlement had, in the opinion of both parties and of the Commission, been achieved, we took the view that the Commission had completed its task, and we stated that we could not agree to any further Commission action which would infringe upon Laotian sovereignty. We have noted that successive Laotian governments, including the present government, have reaffirmed a policy of neutrality and respect for the Geneva agreements. We have also noted that Souvanna Phouma has stated on several occasions that his present negotiations with the Pathet Lao are concerned solely with the implementation of the 1957 agreements.
5. We should be interested in any comments on the feasibility of the proposal advanced by Sihanouk and “welcomed with great sympathy” by the Laotian representative in the UNGA for the neutralization of Cambodia and Laos with international guarantees.2
For London: You should speak along these lines to the Foreign Office. (Your telegram 3225 October 24†) similar reports from Delhi have appeared in Globe and Mail October 22 and Ottawa Citizen October 25. There is no basis in fact for statements that Canada has protested in Washington concerning USA “ultimatum” or made representations there in favour of support for Souvanna Phouma.
For Washington, D.C.: We shall of course be most interested to learn USA assessment of situation following Parson’s visit to Laos.
For Delhi: Your telegram 647 October 18.† Reports of any further comments by Mr. Nehru or Indian officials would be much appreciated.
For Wellington: Your telegram 182 October 24.† Your reports on New Zealand views have been most helpful. New Zealand office here does not appear to receive copies of all messages on Laos.
1Sur les événements survenus au Laos pendant la première partie de l’année 1960, voir G. Barraclough, Survey of International Affairs 1959-60 (London, Royal Institute of International Affairs/Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 294-97.
On events in Laos during the earlier part of 1960, see G. Barraclough, Survey of International Affairs 1959-60 (London, Royal Institute of International Affairs/Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 294-97.
2Voir/See Documents on International Affairs 1960 (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs/Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 518-20.