Menaced Laos

September 23, 1959

Report Outline
Red Threat to Independence of Laos
Laos and the War in French Indochina
Cold War Pressures in Southeast Asia

Red Threat to Independence of Laos

Inqauiry by U.N security Council Committee

The security of Southeast Asia appears to have been put in ultimate, if not immediate, jeopardy by action of Communist or Communist-controlled guerrillas in the remote and mountainous kingdom of Laos on the Indochinese peninsula. A subcommittee of the United Nations Security Council is now on the spot trying to find out just what has been going on. Although the military skirmishing that has been reported periodically for several weeks bears the aspects of civil war, the Laotian government has charged that the rebel bands have received material if not direct troop support from neighboring Communist North Viet Nam. Secretary of State Christian A. Herter told the U.N, General Assembly, Sept. 17, that “The freedom and independence of Laos have been threatened by forces from outside its borders.”

In any case, the situation has been sufficiently serious to engage the attention of the Security Council and to provoke sharp exchanges between spokesmen of leading free world and Communist powers. The whole affair is complicated by a procedural tangle involving, not only the United Nations, but also various commissions and agencies created to carry out agreements made in 1954 to liquidate France's long war in Indochina and to safeguard all of Southeast Asia against future aggression. When the subcommittee reports, therefore, a squabble almost certainly will ensue over what to do about its findings. But pressure for positive action will be increased if impending termination of the season of monsoon rains brings intensification of the fighting in Laos.

It was toward the end of July that the Laotian government first reported attacks on army outposts in the northeastern part of the country, a region formerly under the effective control of the Pathet Lao, a rebel group that has had close ties with North Viet Nam Communists. The U.S. State Department on Aug. 1 said the attacks might represent “a deliberate effort of insurgent elements, apparently backed by Communists from outside, to provoke a crisis in Laos.” The ink was then barely dry on an agreement under which this country had agreed to send a 150-man advisory training group to Laos to work with French military instructors assigned to the Laotian army. With the situation apparently worsening, the United States announced, Aug. 26, that it would fly in additional military equipment for the government forces.

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Jun. 14, 1961  Guerrilla Warfare
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Sep. 23, 1959  Menaced Laos
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