Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents


Postwar Relations with the United States

Perhaps more understandable than its brutality toward its own people was the party's hostility toward the formerly large United States aid program, which had been directed at supporting the RLG. Even so, the public humiliations inflicted on the departing aid mission personnel--forced to leave behind everything they could not carry aboard a plane--were excessive by any standard. Aid projects such as the Operation Brotherhood hospital at Longtiang were abandoned overnight. In spite of Souvanna Phouma's assurances to the United States ambassador that the government would provide continuity in medical services, foreign nurses and other technicians were not replaced.

No record exists of any discussion by the United States embassy--staffed at the chargé d'affaires level after the departure in April 1975 of Ambassador Charles S. Whitehouse--of United States "participation" in healing war wounds or of the reconstruction aid mentioned in Article 10c of the Vientiane Agreement. Even had the United States been predisposed to discuss these matters, the conditions of the takeover by the LPRP would have precluded it. Ambassadorial relations resumed in 1992.

Another issue was opium production, which, in Laos as in the rest of the Golden Triangle of Laos-Burma-Thailand, had grown as the demand for the opium derivative heroin grew. Opium production and trade became a source of tension in relations between the two governments. Laos resented official United States pressure as an attempt to shift the blame for the problem (see Bilateral Relations , ch. 4; Narcotics and Counternarcotics Issues , ch. 5).

Data as of July 1994