The political situation in Laos in 1956 for George and his partner was tenuous at best. Colonel Ouan, the head of the Laotian army, was receptive and definitely wanted more U.S. aid, but the political situation could have gone either way at any moment. The atmosphere was unstable. You even had to be careful who you talked with and cautious about what you said. The tension between the government of Suvannah Puma and the Pathet Lao was tight, and this was on top of the presence of observers under the authority of the Geneva Accords prohibiting rearmament.
Nevertheless, two days after returning to Vientiane from Luang Prabang, the Royal Capital, George and his partner flew to Savannakhet, where they were enthusiastically welcomed by the 3rd Military Regional Commander, a Lieutenant Colonel who was also a relative of Colonel Ouan. He greeted the men at the airfield with a beautiful Laotian and part-French lady on his arm, introducing her as his “second wife,” which meant his concubine. They both spoke excellent French but no English at all.
George had noticed the nepotism in the officer class in the Laotian army. He wondered how well trained these officers were, of course, without saying anything. It seemed here that military attachment had a certain social bent, but time would tell whether there was more to it than that.
I write of George’s service and clandestine experiences in Laos in my book: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying.
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