LAOS: Scandal on the Mekong

There are few more backward nations in the world than the 91,400-sq-mi. kingdom of Laos. Population figures in Laos are almost anybody's guess (estimates run from 1,400,000 to 2,500,000), and some Laotians are jungle-dwelling, G-string-clad tribesmen whose chief armaments are bows and arrows. The nation's main export is opium. Laos receives the largest per capita allotment of U.S. aid of all nations in the world (some $43 million for fiscal 1957), but because its economy is so primitive, Laos has practically no trained personnel to administer it. It was a situation marked for trouble, and last week the trouble...

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