FOREIGN OFFICE FILES: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Series Two: Vietnam, 1959-1975
Part 2: Laos, 1959-1963
Brief Chronology, 1959-1963
Matsuoka-Henry Pact ends the Franco-Thai War giving all Laotian territories west of the Mekong River to Thailand
Japanese forces invade Indo-China, but leave French administrative structure intact
Peace Convention signed between France and Thailand
Treaty of Protectorate between France and the Kingdom of Louangphrabang
Japanese take over direct control of Laos from French administrators
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
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
? Sisavang Vong deposed by Lao Issara government
? French begin reoccupation of Laos
Sisavang Vong reinstated as king by Lao Issara government
French retake Vientiane
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
Constitution introduced, making Laos a constitutional monarchy; elections held for National Assembly; Prince Souvannarath forms government of Kingdom of Laos.
Kaysone Phomvihan forms Latsavong detachment, armed forces of Pathet Lao, the later to become the Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA);
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.
United States and Britain recognize Laos as an Associated State within the French Union.
Souphanouvong forms Pathet Lao "resistance government."
Indochinese Communist Party dissolves; separate parties established in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
National Progressive Party wins 15 of the 39 seats in elections to the Lao National Assembly
Pathet Lao forces under Souphanouvong establish a government in Houaphan Province
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
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
French surrender at Dienbienphu, Vietnam
Laos participates in Geneva Conference on Indochina
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
International Control Commission established to implement agreements.
Ceasefire comes into effect between Viet Minh and French forces
South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) established
Phak Pasason Lao (Lao People's Party-LPP) is established and holds its first congress
US Programs Evaluation Office opened in Vientine to provide covert military assistance to the RLG
Laos admitted to the United Nations.
Elections held by RLG won by the Progressive Party
Pathet Lao congress establishes Lao Patriotic Front (LPF).
Negotiations begin between RLG and Pathet Lao result in renewed cease-fire agreement and political integration of the Pathet Lao.
Souvanna Phouma visits Beijing and Hanoi
Constitution amended to allow formation of coalition government.
Negotiations resumed between RLG and Pathet Lao
Souvana Phouma resigns, ending RLG/Pathet Lao negotiations
Souvana Phouma is re-appointed Prime Minister
Communists begin insurgency in South Vietnam
Final agreement reached between RLG and Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao relinquish civil and military control of their two northern provinces to the RLG
First Loatian coalition government formed under the premiership of Souvanna Phouma.
Souvanna Phouma visits Washington
Pathet Lao and allies win partial elections for National Assembly.
US cuts aid to Laotian coalition government on grounds of ‘corruption’
Souvanna Phouma government resigns following loss of a confidence vote over withdrawal of American aid.
n anti-communist government under Phoui Sananikone comes to power and excludes the LPF/Pathet Lao from the government.
North Vietnamese forces occuppy a number of Laotian villages, claiming them to historically belong to Vietnam
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
Souphanouvong and other Pathet Lao leaders are arrested and sent to prison on treason charges
Heavy fighting breaks out in northern Laos between Pathet Lao and RLA units; UN subcommittee investigates charges of North Vietnam's involvement
North Vietnamese create Group 959 to supplyPathet Lao with military equipment
King Sisavang Vong dies; succeeded by Savang Vatthana
General Phoumi Nosavan, occupies key government buildings in Vientiane, but fails to gain total control of the government
Kou Abhay forms provisional government following coup attempt by army.
Elections, believed to be rigged by Phoumi, gives power to rightest parties
Souvanna Phouma becomes President of the National Assembly
Souphanouvong and three other Pathet Lao leaders escape from prison
Prince Somsanith made Prime Minister whilst Phoumi becomes Minister of National Defense
Captain Kong Le stages a successful Neutralist coup d'état against government of Prince Somsanith and requests Phouma become Prime Minister
Somsanith resigns and the King agrees to nomination of Phouma as new Prime Minister
General Phoumi Nosavan forms countercoup committee in Savannakhét and declares martial law
Kong Le hands over power to a government headed by Souvanna Phouma
At a convocation of teh National Assembly, Souvanna Phouma and Phoumi agree to form a coalition government
The new coalition government is invested, Phoumi dissolves his Counter Coup Committee
Prince Boun Oum announces the abolition of the Constitution and the assumption of power by himself and Phoumi
John F Kennedy elected president of the USA
Failed army coup against South Vietnamese President Diem
General Phoumi begins millitary offensive
he National Liberation Front (NLF) is formed; it is referred to as the Vietcong by the South Vietnamese Government
Phoumi and leading members of his administration flee to Phnom Penh, leaving the military in control
National Assembly passes vote of no confidence in Phoumi’s government
The King dismisses Phoumi’s administration and hands power to Phoumi’s Revolutionary Committee
General Phoumi Nosavan attacks Vientiane; prompting a Soviet airlift to aid Souvanna Phouma.
Prince Boun Oum appointed Prime Minister of the new government
Phoumi’s troops take Vientiane
Troops loyal to Phouma’s government, led by Kong Le, take control of the Plain of Jars
National Assembly passes vote of confidence in Boun Oum’s government
North Vietnamese troops enter the conflict in support of Phouma
John F Kennedy is inaugurated as US President
Pathet Lao forces, supported by North Vietnamese troops, force Phoumi to retreat
Souvanna Phouma government recognized by communist bloc
Prince Boun Oum's Vientiane government recognized by West
Kennedy announces US support for Laotian sovereigny; Britain and the Soviet Union propose an international conference on Laos
Peace talks held between General Phoumi and Souvanna Phouma
US establishes a Military Advisory Group (MAAG) in Laos
? British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan meets President Kennedy to discuss the Laotian crisis
US Vice President Lyndon B Johnson tours South Vietnam
A cease-fire, organised by the Co-Chaimen of the Geneva Conference , comes into effect
Geneva Conference reconvened
? Pathet Lao forces down CIA chartered Air America aircraft, proving US violation of the ceasefire
Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in Vienna and reaffirm their support for the neutrality of Laos
Formation of the Nonaligned Movement
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.
Phouma’s new administration takes office
Geneva Protocol signed, guaranteeing the neutrality of Laos.
Phouma visits Washington
US withdraws its MAAG personel from Laos
? Kennedy and Macmillan meet in the Bahamas
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
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.
The USSR ceases its airlift operation to the Pathet Lao
South Vietnamese generals seize power, President Diem killed
Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as President
By the end of the year, the number of US ‘advisors’ in Vietnam has grown to 9,000