LAOS: The Other Party

When Laos' two Communist-run northern provinces were integrated into the little kingdom last December, Laotians and many foreign observers remained relaxed. The Pathet Lao's leader, Prince Souphanouvong, was no Communist but a royal prince and a devout Buddhist, they argued; his followers were few and badly organized, and their program in any case was moderate: peace, unity, neutrality and cooperation with all nations, including Communist China and the neighboring Viet Minh. Only a few pessimists feared that by the general election of 1960 the Pathet Lao—which renamed itself the Neo Lao Hak Xat or Patriotic Front—might successfully subvert the...

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