Laos: At the King's Knee

After more than a year of evasion, dispute and disagreement, the kingdom of Laos last week finally had its new coalition government.

The Cabinet ministers involved raced through the investiture ceremonies like men on roller skates. Prince Souvanna Phouma, his halfbrother, Red Prince Souphanouvong, and the outgoing Premier, Prince Boun Oum, drove to the royal palace in Vientiane. Brought before recluse King Savang Vatthana, all three princes—including the Communist, Souphanouvong—bowed low, reverently touched the King's knee, and formally announced their success in creating a government.

Next, Souvanna presented his 19-man Cabinet to...

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