World: Man of the Hour

With the U.S. and Russia warily sidling toward negotiations in Laos (see THE NATION), the man in the middle of the muddle was sleek and equivocal Prince Souvanna Phouma.

A man who has made a career of ambiguity, Prince Souvanna may just possibly be the perfect expression of Laos' national Geist. As Premier from 1956 to 1958, Souvanna tried to make a deal with the Pathet Lao, which happens to be headed by his half brother, Red Prince Souphanouvong. Souvanna's view is simple: no Laotian could possibly be a Communist, least of all his brother. When bouncy little Captain Kong Le and...

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