ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Mild Coup in Laos.

Weekly Notes from Volume XII, August 13, 1960.

Details of this week’s coup in Laos are still too incomplete to make it prudent for anyone to attempt an analysis of the motives behind it, or of the possible course of events in the immediate future in this kingdom of Indo-China. But a few facts, at least, are fairly clear. It does not appear that the army as a whole has rebelled; only a part of it seems to have won partial control in Vientiane, the capital, and is now trying to spread its authority. If it is true, as it well might be, that the coup is a reaction on the part of a politi-cally-minded army group against Govern-ment’s pronounced pro-Western policies, then it is certainly significant that Hanoi is maintaining silence on it for the time being. Obviously there is not complete confidence in North Vietnam that the coup will be able to consolidate itself. Government, in the mean-time, is reported to be contemplating an ap-peal for United Nations intervention. The purpose as well as the scope of the coup has a limited appearance. The leaders of the coup have been quick to pledge them-selves to maintenance of the monarchy and the present Constitution; nor is religious tol-erance in any way to be interfered with. This may indicate that the coup leaders have no au-thoritarian ambitions, certainly at this stage, merely wanting to reduce the country’s exces-sive leanings towards America and opt for neutralism. Whether this new neutralism would itself lean in the opposite direction, towards Peking, remains to be seen; but for the mo-ment the neutralists can take comfort from the fact that the coup leaders have taken the first opportunity to emphasise their intention of suppressing Communists in the country.

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