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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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Dangerously Unstable

Dangerously Unstable

(p.87) Chapter 4 Dangerously Unstable
Before the Quagmire

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

Divisions among the non-communist Lao politicians, a disciplined slate of Pathet Lao and leftist candidates, and the failure of Booster Shot to achieve its objectives lead to a May 1958 election debacle for conservatives in the kingdom. Eisenhower administration officials, convinced of the need for a new generation of anti-communist leaders in the RLG, provided covert support for the Committtee for the Defense of National Interests (CDNI). Comprising younger, better-educated civilian elites and backed by elements of the Lao army, the CDNI became a powerful political force that helped depose Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma and his successor, Phoui Sananikone. The leading CDNI figure is Phoumi Nosavan, a CIA protégé and ardent anti-communist. This chapter includes biographic sketches of American Ambassador Horace Smith and Henry Hecksher, the CIA chief of station in Vientiane.

Keywords:   Booster Shot, Committtee for the Defense of National Interests (CDNI), Phoumi Nosavan, Horace Smith, Henry Hecksher

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