At a Press Conference in Washington, USA, March 23rd, President Kennedy gave a strong warning on Laos.
WASHINGTON D.C USA (23 March 1961) (REUTERS)
SV PAN..President Kennedy enters room, walks to dais.
CU. Laos map pan to Kennedy
SOF STARTS: "In this military advance...." SOF ENDS "...of this responsibility."
"In this military advance the local Communist force known as the Pathet Lao, have had increasing support and direction from outside.
Soviet planes, I regret to say, have been conspicuous in a large-scale air-lift into the battle area - over 1,000 sorties since last Dec. 13, plus a whole supporting set of combat specialists mainly from Communist North Vietnam. And heavy weapons have been provided from outside, all with the clear object of destroying by military action the agreed neutrality of Laos.
It is this new dimension of externally supported warfare that creates the present grave problem.
The position of this Administration has been carefully considered and we have thought to make it just as clear as we know how to the Governments concerned.
First, we strongly and unreservedly support the goal of a neutral and an independent Laos tied to no outside power or group of powers, threatening no one, and free from any domination.
Our support for the present duly constituted Government is aimed entirely and exclusively at the result. And if in the past there has been any possible ground for misunderstanding of our desires for a truly neutral Laos, there should be none now.
Secondly, if there is to be a peaceful solution there must be a cessation of the present armed attacks by eternally supported Communists. If these attacks do not stop, those who support a truly neutral Laos will have to consider their response.
The shape of this necessary response will, of course, be carefully considered, not only here in Washington but in the SEATO conference with our allies, which begins next Monday......Thirdly, we are earnestly in favour of constructive negotiation among the nations concerned and among the leaders of Laos which can help Laos back to the pathway of independence and genuine neutrality.
We strongly support the present British proposal of a prompt end of hostilities and prompt negotiations.
We are always conscious of the obligation which rests upon all members of the United Nations to seek peaceful solutions to problems of this sort. We hope that others may be equally aware of this responsibility.
Background: At a Press Conference in Washington, USA, March 23rd, President Kennedy gave a strong warning on Laos. He said: "The United States strongly and unreservedly supports an independent and neutral Laos"....During his announcement, the President said: