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FOREIGN OFFICE FILES: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Series Two: Vietnam, 1959-1975

Part 2: Laos, 1959-1963

Brief Chronology, 1959-1963

1940


AUGUST 30

Matsuoka-Henry Pact ends the Franco-Thai War giving all Laotian territories west of the Mekong River to Thailand


SEOTEMBER

Japanese forces invade Indo-China, but leave French administrative structure intact

1941


MAY 9

Peace Convention signed between France and Thailand


AUGUST 29

Treaty of Protectorate between France and the Kingdom of Louangphrabang

1945


MARCH

Japanese take over direct control of Laos from French administrators


APRIL

Under pressure from the Japanese King Sisavang Vong declares Laos’ independence


Following the defeat of Japan, the King repudiates earlier declaration of independence and reaffirms the continuation of Laos as a French protectorate


MARCH 9

Khana Lao Issara (Committee for Independent Laos) establish a nationalist government under Sisavang Vong in Vientiane and declare an independent Laos.


Activists seize power in , Savannakhét, and other Laotian towns, establish provisional government.
September Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam an independent nation

1946


? Sisavang Vong deposed by Lao Issara government


? French begin reoccupation of Laos


MARCH

Sisavang Vong reinstated as king by Lao Issara government


MARCH

French retake Vientiane


MARCH

Lao Issara government flees to Thailand and sets up a government in exile


? France and Laotian royal family establishes unity of Kingdom of Laos as a single country


? Thailand returns former Laotian territories of Xaignabouri and Champasak lost to Laos in 1940

1947


MAY 11

Constitution introduced, making Laos a constitutional monarchy; elections held for National Assembly; Prince Souvannarath forms government of Kingdom of Laos.

1949


Kaysone Phomvihan forms Latsavong detachment, armed forces of Pathet Lao, the later to become the Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA);


JULY 19

ranco-Lao General Convention grants Laos limited self-government within French Union


? Lao Issara government-in-exile splits, some members return to Laos others follow Souphanouvong to North Vietnam.

1950


FEBRUARY

United States and Britain recognize Laos as an Associated State within the French Union.


AUGUST

Souphanouvong forms Pathet Lao "resistance government."

1951


FEBRUARY

Indochinese Communist Party dissolves; separate parties established in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.


AUGUST

National Progressive Party wins 15 of the 39 seats in elections to the Lao National Assembly 1953


APRIL 19

Pathet Lao forces under Souphanouvong establish a government in Houaphan Province


OCTOBER 22

Franco-Lao Treaty of Amity and Association signed, transfering remaining French powers (except control of military affairs) to Royal Lao Government (RLG) establishing Laos as an independent member of the French Union


NOVEMBER

French parachute sixteen thousand troops into Dien Bien Phu, to control the traditional invasion route from Vietnam into Laos.


Geneva Peace Conference on Indochina opens


Vietnam gains independence


Ngo Dinh Diem becomes prime minister of Vietnam


Geneva Conference divides Vietnam at the seventeenth parallel prior to nation-wide election

1954


MAY 7

French surrender at Dienbienphu, Vietnam


MAY

Laos participates in Geneva Conference on Indochina


JULY 20

Agreement signed by French and Viet Minh, whereby Viet Minh troops return to Vietnam, and Pathet Lao forces are to withdraw to the northern provinces of Phôngsali and Houaphan; Pathet Lao are to be integrated into the Royal Lao Army


JULY

International Control Commission established to implement agreements.


AUGUST 6

Ceasefire comes into effect between Viet Minh and French forces


SEPTEMBER 8

South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) established

1955


MARCH

Phak Pasason Lao (Lao People's Party-LPP) is established and holds its first congress


DECEMBER

US Programs Evaluation Office opened in Vientine to provide covert military assistance to the RLG


DECEMBER 14

Laos admitted to the United Nations.


DECEMBER

Elections held by RLG won by the Progressive Party

1956


JANUARY

Pathet Lao congress establishes Lao Patriotic Front (LPF).


AUGUST

Negotiations begin between RLG and Pathet Lao result in renewed cease-fire agreement and political integration of the Pathet Lao.


AUGUST

Souvanna Phouma visits Beijing and Hanoi


SEPTEMBER

Constitution amended to allow formation of coalition government.

1957


FEBRUARY

Negotiations resumed between RLG and Pathet Lao


MAY

Souvana Phouma resigns, ending RLG/Pathet Lao negotiations


AUGUST

Souvana Phouma is re-appointed Prime Minister


OCTOBER

Communists begin insurgency in South Vietnam


OCTOBER 22

Final agreement reached between RLG and Pathet Lao


NOVEMBER 18

Pathet Lao relinquish civil and military control of their two northern provinces to the RLG


NOVEMBER

First Loatian coalition government formed under the premiership of Souvanna Phouma.

1958


JANUARY

Souvanna Phouma visits Washington


MAY 4

Pathet Lao and allies win partial elections for National Assembly.


JUNE

US cuts aid to Laotian coalition government on grounds of ‘corruption’


JULY

Souvanna Phouma government resigns following loss of a confidence vote over withdrawal of American aid.


AUGUST

n anti-communist government under Phoui Sananikone comes to power and excludes the LPF/Pathet Lao from the government.


DECEMBER

North Vietnamese forces occuppy a number of Laotian villages, claiming them to historically belong to Vietnam

1959


MAY

Phoui Sananikone demands the immediate integration of two remaining Pathet Lao battalions into the Royal Lao Army; non-complience leads to a resumption of hostilities


MAY

Souphanouvong and other Pathet Lao leaders are arrested and sent to prison on treason charges


JULY

Heavy fighting breaks out in northern Laos between Pathet Lao and RLA units; UN subcommittee investigates charges of North Vietnam's involvement


SEPTEMBER

North Vietnamese create Group 959 to supplyPathet Lao with military equipment


OCTOBER

King Sisavang Vong dies; succeeded by Savang Vatthana


DECEMBER

General Phoumi Nosavan, occupies key government buildings in Vientiane, but fails to gain total control of the government

1960


JANUARY

Kou Abhay forms provisional government following coup attempt by army.


APRIL 24

Elections, believed to be rigged by Phoumi, gives power to rightest parties


MAY

Souvanna Phouma becomes President of the National Assembly


MAY 23

Souphanouvong and three other Pathet Lao leaders escape from prison


JUNE 3

Prince Somsanith made Prime Minister whilst Phoumi becomes Minister of National Defense


AUGUST 9

Captain Kong Le stages a successful Neutralist coup d'état against government of Prince Somsanith and requests Phouma become Prime Minister


AUGUST 14

Somsanith resigns and the King agrees to nomination of Phouma as new Prime Minister


AUGUST 15

General Phoumi Nosavan forms countercoup committee in Savannakhét and declares martial law


AUGUST 16

Kong Le hands over power to a government headed by Souvanna Phouma


AUGUST 29

At a convocation of teh National Assembly, Souvanna Phouma and Phoumi agree to form a coalition government


AUGUST 31

The new coalition government is invested, Phoumi dissolves his Counter Coup Committee


SEPTEMBER 10

Prince Boun Oum announces the abolition of the Constitution and the assumption of power by himself and Phoumi


NOVEMBER 8

John F Kennedy elected president of the USA


NOVEMBER 11

Failed army coup against South Vietnamese President Diem


NOVEMBER 21

General Phoumi begins millitary offensive


DECEMBER

he National Liberation Front (NLF) is formed; it is referred to as the Vietcong by the South Vietnamese Government


DECEMBER 9

Phoumi and leading members of his administration flee to Phnom Penh, leaving the military in control


DECEMBER 11

National Assembly passes vote of no confidence in Phoumi’s government


DECEMBER 12

The King dismisses Phoumi’s administration and hands power to Phoumi’s Revolutionary Committee


DECEMBER 13

General Phoumi Nosavan attacks Vientiane; prompting a Soviet airlift to aid Souvanna Phouma.


DECEMBER 14

Prince Boun Oum appointed Prime Minister of the new government


DECEMBER 16

Phoumi’s troops take Vientiane

1961


JANUARY 1

Troops loyal to Phouma’s government, led by Kong Le, take control of the Plain of Jars


JANUARY 4

National Assembly passes vote of confidence in Boun Oum’s government


JANUARY 7

North Vietnamese troops enter the conflict in support of Phouma


JANUARY

John F Kennedy is inaugurated as US President


JANUARY

Pathet Lao forces, supported by North Vietnamese troops, force Phoumi to retreat


JANUARY

Souvanna Phouma government recognized by communist bloc


JANUARY

Prince Boun Oum's Vientiane government recognized by West


MARCH

Kennedy announces US support for Laotian sovereigny; Britain and the Soviet Union propose an international conference on Laos


MARCH

Peace talks held between General Phoumi and Souvanna Phouma


APRIL 19

US establishes a Military Advisory Group (MAAG) in Laos


? British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan meets President Kennedy to discuss the Laotian crisis


MAY

US Vice President Lyndon B Johnson tours South Vietnam


MAY 3

A cease-fire, organised by the Co-Chaimen of the Geneva Conference , comes into effect


MAY 16

Geneva Conference reconvened


? Pathet Lao forces down CIA chartered Air America aircraft, proving US violation of the ceasefire


JUNE 3-4

Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in Vienna and reaffirm their support for the neutrality of Laos


SEPTEMBER

Formation of the Nonaligned Movement

1962


JUNE

Agreement among Neutralists, Pathet Lao, and Rightist factions at the Geneva Conference to set up a coalition ‘Provisional Government of National Union’ under Souvanna Phouma.


JUNE 23

Phouma’s new administration takes office


JULY 23

Geneva Protocol signed, guaranteeing the neutrality of Laos.


JULY

Phouma visits Washington


OCTOBER

US withdraws its MAAG personel from Laos


? Kennedy and Macmillan meet in the Bahamas


1963


FEBRUARY

Elements within Kong Le's neutralist troops join Pathet Lao igniting conflict between the former allies.


Kong Le switches sides and and joins forces with General Phoumi Nosavan


APRIL 1

Assassinaton of Laotian Foreign Minister in Vientiane; Souphanouvong and other Pathet Lao officials flee Vientiane for the Pathet Lao head quarters at Khang Khay, effectively ending the second coalition government


? Pathet Lao offensive against Neutralists on Plain of Jars succeeds; International Control Commission proves ineffective


? Bombing of Laos by United States begins.


OCTOBER

The USSR ceases its airlift operation to the Pathet Lao


NOVEMBER

South Vietnamese generals seize power, President Diem killed


NOVEMBER

Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as President


DECEMBER

By the end of the year, the number of US ‘advisors’ in Vietnam has grown to 9,000

 

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