LAOS: Removing the Last Obstacle

With Communist control over the government and armed forces of Laos nearly complete, only one obstacle blocked a total victory: the U.S. presence. Last week that too crumbled. As the last rightist territorial strongholds in Laos collapsed when Communists marched into Savannakhet and Pakse, the State Department bowed to the inevitable. It ordered the evacuation of nearly all Americans from the tiny landlocked kingdom, ending two decades of intense—and at times dominant—U.S. involvement in Laotian affairs. The order also removed the last significant elements of Washington's once enormous military, diplomatic and economic influence in Indochina.

The American exodus climaxes a month-long...

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