Laos: The Raft in the River

The festive sounds that came from the tin-roofed village school at Namone last week suggested a cocktail party more than a peace conference. Burgundy and beer at lunch added to the hilarity. While the spokesman for the ''neutralist" bloc laughed uproariously at his own jokes, pigs rooted about on the dirt floor scavenging bits of juicy pork and chicken from the table. Even stone-faced General Phoun Sipraseuth, leader of the Communist Pathet Lao delegation, occasionally showed a frozen smile.

He had reason to smile. After five months of talk and 37 meetings at...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!