Another Map: of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam (Hanai, Hue, Saigon)
Left off: Geneva conference decision, dividing North and South Vietnam temporarily (2 yrs)
1956- deadline for all-country elections, south Vietnam refused to have anything to do with
One justification for refusing that was what was going on in North.
In North, Ho Chi Minh and leadership were increasingly pushing a communization vote on
their politicians and the country.
There was land reform- they took land from wealthy and
gave it to the poor.
There was some use of terror against anyone who opposed.
This activity, Diem argued, would spread over Vietnam if Minh won.
1958- New war begins (2
war of independence, 1
Americans and Diem.
America should never get involved in land war against Asia because we could not win.
Eisenhauer said this over and over again.
America was limited to logistics, supplies,
Laos was to be independent and permanently neutral state.
It had a capable leader/prime
He was from aristocratic family, held engineering degrees,
and he was strongly neutral.
He was determined to create a prosperous neutral country.
His ambitious and jealous younger brother, Souphanouvong, wanted to displace his older
The easiest way to do that was to turn to a political group and make himself
Pathet Lao, a communist group, the Lao counterpart to Viet-Minh.
If he gained
power, everyone knew, it would be the same as Minh North Vietnam.
Because we knew he was the right kind of leader, we had to do something to counteract.
Souvanna Phouma would not accept help because he was an extreme neutral.
Kennedy becomes president around now.
Lao and Vietnam were the other two crises besides Cuba he had to deal with immediately.
23 March 1961- Kennedy, in a news conference, gave a statement about Laos.
“All we want
in Laos is peace…a truly neutral government, not a Cold War.”
We would support in