Britain and the Neutralisation of Laos

Nicholas Tarling

Britain and the Neutralisation of Laos

Nicholas Tarling

Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

532 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $36.00 ISBN: 9789971695033 Published January 2011 For sale in North and South America and China only
This study focuses on the Geneva conference on Laos of 1961-2, which Britain played a role in bringing about and bringing to a conclusion. It throws light on Britain's policy in Southeast Asia in what in some sense may be seen as the last of the decades in which its influence was crucial. It is the first book to make full use of the British archives on the conference.
 
 The book also bears on the history of Laos, of Vietnam, and of Southeast Asia more generally. The core of the Geneva Settlement was the neutralisation of Laos. That was, however, an argument for the United States to strengthen its commitment to Thailand and Vietnam. It could, moreover, be accepted by North Vietnam only if it did not prevent continued use of the Ho Chi Minh trail, through which it could sustain resistance in South Vietnam. Under such circumstances, the agreement on neutralisation, though elaborately negotiated, had little chance of success. In the longer term, however, it was not without its legacy, for the agreement played a part in developing the concept of a neutral Southeast Asia that ASEAN was later to advance.
 
 The book will interest in the various fields on which it touches, such as modern Southeast Asian history, the history of Laos, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and international relations. It will, of course, be of especial interest to those studying Britain's policy at a time when Britain was increasingly anxious to reduce its commitments, but also as always to avert the escalation of the Cold War.
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