American Policy toward Laos

American Policy toward Laos

American Policy toward Laos

American Policy toward Laos

Synopsis

Presents a brilliantly conceived, detailed analysis of American efforts in beleaguered Laos. Presents facts that are certain to be controversial, and perhaps discomforting to many people.

Excerpt

For over a decade and a half, the United States has been intimately involved in the affairs of the Kingdom of Laos. The purpose of this volume is to shed light on the symbiotic tie between these two nations.

Whoever sets out to investigate an area of current controversy is confronted by an unnerving difficulty: that of obtaining accurate information. Since so many of the major figures in this narrative remain alive and active in political life, and since a resolution of the struggle in Indochina has yet to occur at the time of this writing, many of the individuals and governments concerned seek to conceal information that may prove embarrassing to them. For instance, based on information currently available, it is impossible to ascertain the precise extent to which the Pathet Lao is controlled by North Vietnam or the degree of American responsibility for the fall of Souvanna Phouma's government in the summer of 1958. A complete explanation of Phoumi Nosavan's decision, in September 1960, to take up arms against Souvanna's government must await the disclosure of information still locked in official files. The same may be said of Soviet, Communist Chinese and North Vietnamese involvement in Laotian affairs. One suspects, furthermore, that presently undisclosed aspects of American participation in Laotian military matters, particularly after 1962, will come to light as time passes and documents become declassified.

An additional problem that the chronicler of current affairs must recognize is that of the veracity of available information. This matter assumes increasing significance to the extent that the writer relies on the recollections of the participants in the events he seeks to reconstruct. As even the best memories are fallible, and all individuals seek to present a decorous appearance when they stand before the tribunal of history, the . . .

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