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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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(p.132) Chapter 6 Dichotomy
Before the Quagmire

William J. Rust

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter analyzes the “dichotomy” in the U.S. mission in Laos in late 1959, when Ambassador Smith backed Prime Minister Phoui Sananikone and CIA Chief of Station Henry Hecksher supported the Lao's political opponents in the CDNI. Hecksher was recalled to Washington and Smith's pessimistic reporting on the effectiveness of U.S. programs in Laos undermined policymakers' confidence in the ambassador. At yearend, Phoui was ousted by the CDNI, and Phoumi Nosavan attempted to establish a military dictatorship. The Western allies protested the army's unconstitutional seizure of the government, prompting the king to appoint a caretaker government, under the leadership of Khou Abhay, to oversee the April 1960 general elections. Included in the chapter is a summary of a CIA review of the Smith-Hecksher dispute and an analysis of the views of Richard Bissell, the agency's deputy director of operations.

Keywords:   Phoui Sananikone, Phoumi Nosavan, CDNI, CIA in Laos, Richard Bissell

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