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The Times of London on the CIA revolt against JFK, 1961-1963
Paul Rigby Wrote:From our own correspondent, "CIA Is Blamed for Laos Crisis: Washington Policy Conflict: Encouragement of General Phoumi," The Times, Thursday, 24 May 1962, p.14

Quote:Washington, May 23. There have been many crises here recently but, engaged as it is in Europe and Asia, the Administration is now grappling with another here at hand. It is a familiar crisis but no less difficult; the Administration is now convinced that the Central Intelligence Agency has been up to its old devices again and must share a large part of the responsibility for the situation in Laos.

From our own correspondent, "Washington Inquiry into CIA Activities in Laos," The Times, Wednesday, 31 May 1962, p.11

Quote:Washington, May 30 The Administration is conducting an investigation into the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency in Laos. Both President Kennedy and Mr Averell Harriman, the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, were perturbed by the report published in this correspondence last Thursday, and investigations are now under way.

Your Correspondent reported that CIA agents who helped to bring about the downfall of Prince Souvanna Phouma in 1960 were long suspected of influencing and strengthening the resistance of the right wing to a political solution; that apparently the evidence showed that CIA agents opposed the official American objective of trying to establish a neutral Government, and that it was believed they provided General Phoumi Nosavan with some funds after the suspension in February of the monthly subsidy of $3m. (more than £1m.)

It is understood that the American Embassy in Vientiane has reported there is no evidence of the agency disregarding official policy. The Ambassador is believed to have expressed his confidence that all arms of the United States Government in Laos, including those responsible for military and civil assistance as well as intelligence, are loyally carrying out official policy.


It is admitted that officers and agents who were close to General Phoumi when he overthrew Prince Souvanna were not withdrawn, except when their tours of duty expired, and that the decision to leave them in Laos was made because of their usefulness; the point is made that they were perhaps best equipped to deal with the general. The Embassy, however, is convinced that they have not been involved.

All this is reassuring, although in the past American Ambassadors have been unaware of the activities of CIA men placed in their own embassies, but the Administration has received information to the contrary from other foreign missions on Vientiane, including the embassies of Britain and France. There appears to be a disposition, however, to minimize the importance of this information, although it is agreed that both embassies are well informed.

Contrary evidence of a kind is provided by General Phoumi himself. The general apparently was quite outspoken and made it known that he could disregard the American Embassy and the military advisory group because he was in communication with other American agencies.


The truth will probably never be fully revealed, although apparently the investigations have yet to be completed. The situation at present is that the American Ambassador in Laos is confident of the loyalty of all American officials; foreign embassies, which are not concerned with the loyalty of the American officials as such, believe that American agents have encouraged General Phoumi in his intransigence, and the general seems to have provided confirmation.

The general's remarks are perhaps not to be taken entirely at face value, but for many here the danger of employing an agency such as the CIA in a backward Asian country is that American policy can be misunderstood. The danger is enhanced when officials and agents who helped to establish the general and the right wing of the princes in power remain after official American policy has been radically changed.
Here more concern was expressed than in the past because President Kennedy is not an umpire ensuring fair play between his departments and agencies, but a chief executive determined that his policies shall be carried out loyally and efficiently. It can be assumed that this determination will prevail.


The Administration is now anxious that this should be demonstrated. United States policy, it has authoritatively learnt, remains unchanged. As before, the Administration is working for a neutral Laos with a Government of national unity. When General Phoumi is persuaded to return to Laos, the negotiations will continue.

The Administration seems convinced that the Soviet Union is also anxious to stabilize the situation, and the recent speech of Mr Khrushchev was well received. Unfortunately, because of the recent disasters, the Laotian right wing is no longer so well placed and the fear is that the Pathet Lao will increase their demands. Nevertheless, the effort is to be made.
"There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

Joseph Fouche

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