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The Universe UnravelingAmerican Foreign Policy in Cold War Laos$
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Seth Jacobs

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801445477

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801445477.001.0001

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“A Soft Buffer”

“A Soft Buffer”

Laos in the Eisenhower Administration’s Grand Strategy

(p.50) Chapter 2 “A Soft Buffer”
The Universe Unraveling

Seth Jacobs

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at U.S.-Lao relations from 1954 to 1958. Along with establishing the U.S. Operations Mission (USOM) in Vientiane to administer economic assistance, Washington created a thinly disguised training organization—the Programs Evaluation Office (PEO)—within USOM to handle military aid. A U.S. Information Service (USIS) unit responsible for propaganda was also established in the Lao capital. Operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also began carrying out a variety of enterprises, from information gathering to providing arms. However, all attempts to institute in Laos what had been built in South Vietnam had failed. According to the U.S. legation in Vientiane, the Lao premier “totally failed to show [the] expected energy,” his advisers were “falling down on the job,” and every day American officials “discover[ed] new fields in which the Lao are incompetent.”

Keywords:   U.S.-Lao relations, U.S. Operations Mission, Programs Evaluation Office, U.S. Information Service, Central Intelligence Agency, Laos

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