Laos Accords and Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

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Laos Accords and Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand

In his book "The Key to Failure -- Laos and the Vietnam War"[1], Norman Hannah argues that accepting pretense of the Harriman Accords which the North Vietnamese had immediately reneged upon, converted eastern Laos into the route for the North's invasion of South Vietnam.

Eisenhower had warned Kennedy that Laos was the place for the U.S. to take a stand against Communist aggression in Indochina.[2] After the rout of the Lao units at the battle of Nam Tha, Kennedy decided that he didn't want to conduct a war in a landlocked country primarily composed of non-martial Buddhists. He allowed Harriman to make a deal for neutralization which was immediately non-binding. The other governments in the region responded according to perspectives. Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia concluded that the West was going to lose the war. He immediately recognized the Red Chinese and ordered the French and American Embassies in his country to close their doors. President Ngo Dinh Diem saw the agreement as an indication that the American were too naive about Asian politics, that he had to chart a more independent course rather than rely on his U.S. Advisors, including the Ambassadors. That ultimately led to his overthrow and assassination under the gentle stewardship of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge. Only in Thailand, under the guidance of Ambassador Kenneth Young, did the government realize that this event made the U.S. and Thailand more interdependent and they threw their hats in the ring for the next fourteen years, during which their economy prospered. In 1976, the Americans used Thai Bases to recuse the Mayaguez without consultation with the Thais, and that relationship was terminated.

This is a "stump" essay which will be revisited when time permits.


  1. Hannah, Norman B. (1987). The Key to Failure: Laos and the Vietnam War (First ed.). Toronto, ONT: Madison Books. ISBN 9780819164407. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  2. "Eisenhower cautions successor about Laos - Jan 19, 1961 -". Retrieved 25 October 2017. 

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