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Before the QuagmireAmerican Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961$
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William Rust

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813135786

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813135786.001.0001

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Drawing the Line

Drawing the Line

(p.105) Chapter 5 Drawing the Line
Before the Quagmire

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

The failures of the PEO prompted Washington policymakers to authorize a new military assistance plan, conceived primarily by U.S Army Brigadier General John Heintges, to introduce covertly U.S. Army Special Forces training teams into Laos. French officials raised strong objections, basing them on the provision of the Geneva Accords that allowed only the French to provide training to the Lao army. A compromise was reached, and in July 1959 “Hotfoot” Special Forces teams, dressed in civilian clothes, began arriving at training sites in the interior of Laos. The death of John Foster Dulles and the retirement of Assistant Secretary of State Walter S. Robertson created a leadership vacuum in developing U.S. policy in the Far East. With the bureaucratically weaker team of Christian Herter and J. Graham Parsons leading Lao affairs, State Department policy authority became more widely diffused through U.S. national security agencies. In the late summer of 1959, a Pathet Lao offensive led the Eisenhower administration to the precipice of overt U.S. military intervention in Laos.

Keywords:   Heintges plan, Hotfoot, Christian Herter, Pathet Lao

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