As in previous Lao elections, the U.S. provides overt and covert assistance to anti-Communists, but Lao-army fraud in the April 1960 election was transparent and its favorable results for conservatives were discredited. General Phoumi Nosavan, the Lao official responsible for election security, sought to become the kingdom's new prime minister. U.S. government officials, fearful that a military-dominated government would provoke an undesirable international reaction, opposed the appointment. Prince Somsanith Vongkotrattana, an amiable but not particularly able executive, became premier in June 1960, leading a conservative cabinet that included Phoumi as minister of defense and excluded Souvanna and Phoui, the country's best known and most experienced politicians. Ambassador Smith, who was “instructed to resign” by the State Department, was replaced by Winthrop Brown, a diplomat who would disagree often with Washington but retained the confidence of his superiors. With security in the countryside deteriorating, U.S. policymakers were disturbed by the insistence of French officials that the French Military Mission resume sole responsibility for training the Lao army and that the U.S. government remove its military trainers from the kingdom.
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