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An analysis of the role of Vietnamese Communists in the Lao Communist (Pathet Lao) insurgency. The Pathet Lao (PL) revolutionary movement owes its existence and much of its success to the guidance and support of the Viet Minh movement. After a 20-year struggle, the PL now control perhaps one-half of Laos territory and one-third of its population. The North Vietnamese virtually selected PL leadership and have trained almost all its cadres. Vietnamese political advisers are attached to the Lao revolutionary army and pervade the PL political system. DRV military aid includes assigning troops to supplement or even lead PL forces, planning PL military operations, and providing supplies and logistic support. The Vietnamese have maintained a good working relationship with their Lao associates, and the Lao Communists are firmly committed to the struggle. How the Vietnamese will use the political capital they have amassed in Laos will depend on the outcome of the Vietnam war. In any case they will regard North Vietnam/Laos border regions as essential to their security. (See also RM-5688.)

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