Chapter

Drawing the Line

William J. Rust

in Before the Quagmire

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780813135786
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813136844 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813135786.003.0006
Drawing the Line

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The failures of the PEO prompted Washington policymakers to authorize a new military assistance plan, conceived primarily by U.S Army Brigadier General John Heintges, to introduce covertly U.S. Army Special Forces training teams into Laos. French officials raised strong objections, basing them on the provision of the Geneva Accords that allowed only the French to provide training to the Lao army. A compromise was reached, and in July 1959 “Hotfoot” Special Forces teams, dressed in civilian clothes, began arriving at training sites in the interior of Laos. The death of John Foster Dulles and the retirement of Assistant Secretary of State Walter S. Robertson created a leadership vacuum in developing U.S. policy in the Far East. With the bureaucratically weaker team of Christian Herter and J. Graham Parsons leading Lao affairs, State Department policy authority became more widely diffused through U.S. national security agencies. In the late summer of 1959, a Pathet Lao offensive led the Eisenhower administration to the precipice of overt U.S. military intervention in Laos.

Keywords: Heintges plan; Hotfoot; Christian Herter; Pathet Lao

Chapter.  10863 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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