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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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Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

(p.66) Chapter 3 Behind the Scenes
Before the Quagmire

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

Following the November 1957 Vientiane agreement between the RLG and Pathet Lao, Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma traveled to Washington, D.C., to defend his coalition government before skeptical Eisenhower administration officials. To assist conservative Lao candidates in the May 1958 elections, U.S. policymakers put the CIA in charge of a village-aid program called Booster Shot. Like the agency's civic action program, a counter-subversion initiative with an ostensibly humanitarian purpose, Booster Shot is hampered by misunderstandings and poor coordination among U.S. and Lao officials. Central Intelligence Director Allen W. Dulles is profiled, and his emphasis on covert action is discussed. Another focus of the chapter is the toxic relationship between U.S. and French officials, who disagreed sharply over Lao political leadership, military assistance to the kingdom, and other issues.

Keywords:   Vientiane Agreement, Booster Shot, Civic action, Allen W. Dulles, Covert action

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