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Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961

By William J. Rust

In the last decade previous the 1st U.S. wrestle operations in Vietnam, the Eisenhower management sought to defeat a communist-led insurgency in neighboring Laos. even though U.S. overseas coverage within the Fifties centred totally on threats posed by means of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the yank engagement in Laos developed from a small chilly struggle skirmish right into a superpower war of words close to the tip of President Eisenhower's moment time period. finally, the yank event in Laos foreshadowed some of the error made by way of the us in Vietnam within the 1960s.

In Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954--1961, William J. Rust delves into key coverage judgements made in Washington and their implementation in Laos, which turned first steps at the route to the broader battle in Southeast Asia. Drawing on formerly untapped archival resources, Before the Quagmire files how useless and occasionally self-defeating counsel to Laotian anticommunist elites mirrored basic misunderstandings in regards to the country's politics, historical past, and tradition. the yankee aim of stopping a communist takeover in Laos was once additional hindered through divisions between Western allies and U.S. officers themselves, who at one element supplied reduction to either the Royal Lao executive and to a Laotian basic who plotted to overthrow it. Before the Quagmire is a shiny research of a serious interval of chilly battle background, filling a niche in our realizing of U.S. coverage towards Southeast Asia and America's access into the Vietnam War.

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USAMHI. Herter, Christian A. Interview by means of Richard D. Challener, August 31, 1964. JFDOHP. Johnson, U. Alexis. Interview by means of Philip A. Crowl, may perhaps 28, 1966. JFDOHP. Karnow, Stanley. Interview via William Rust, September 23, 2010. Lair, invoice. Interview by means of Steve Maxner, December 11–13, 2001. Vietnam middle and Archive, Texas Tech Univ. Little, Ruth. Interview by means of wish Meyers and Patricia Squire, November 17, 1986. FAOHC. Mendenhall, Joseph. Interview by way of Horace Torbert, February eleven, 1991. FAOHC. Methven, Stuart. Interview through William Rust, November 1, 2009.

The main tough publish within the whole international carrier 1. Yost, interview by way of Richard D. Challener, December thirteen, 1966, JFDOHP. 2. younger to Yost, February 20, 1955, CWYP, field 15, folder four; Ted M. G. Tanen, interview via Charles Stuart Kennedy, September 21, 2000, FAOHC. three. Memorandum, September 1, 1954, NARA, RG eighty four, Laos, U. S. Embassy Vientiane, categorized basic files, 1954–1963, field 1A. four. Halpern, “Lao Elite,” p. forty six. five. Crosswell, Beetle, p. sixteen; Smith, July 23, 1954, FRUS, XVI, p. 1552; Yost, interview. 6. Yost, interview.

Even earlier than the present political predicament ended, Smith prompt Savang to reaffirm publicly the kingdom’s conventional dedication to peaceable, reasonable guidelines. The 4 chiefs of undertaking requested the king if he may percentage his perspectives at the prestige of the generals who claimed accountability for engaging in the company of the Lao govt. this question, stripped of its diplomatic embroidery, used to be either meant and perceived as a pointy protest of the army’s unconstitutional seizure of the govt. The king answered that the generals had “de facto yet unlawful regulate” of his executive.

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Forty six. 30. “The hazard of crimson Asia,” March 29, 1954, reprinted in division of kingdom Bulletin, April five, 1954. 31. Gaddis, recommendations of Containment, pp. 138–39. 32. Johnson, interview through Philip A. Crowl, may well 28, 1966, JFDOHP. 33. Memorandum, August 18, 1954, FRUS, XII, p. 752. 34. Memorandum, September 30, 1958, FRUS, XVI, pp. 254–55. 35. Mendenhall, interview by way of Horace Torbert, February eleven, 1991, FAOHC. 36. Dulles, February 23, 1955, JFDP, sequence five, field 333. 37. Yost to kingdom Dept. , February 21, 1955, FRUS, XXI, p. 610n.

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