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Legacies Library's
Library of Congress Resource Page

Welcome to Legacies Library’s Library of Congress Resource Page!

 

Whether you are a researcher of the history of The American Secret War in Laos or simply interested in learning more about what archives and resources exist at our nation’s largest library, this is the place to start your journey. Below you will find a list with links to archive materials focused on the history of The American Secret War in Laos as well as resources on how you can access these materials through the The Library of Congress (LC) or lending program at your local library. We aim to expand this resource to also include archives of the American bombings on Vietnam and Cambodia.

DATABASE - AVAILABLE AT ANY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS BUILDING
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports and Annexes

As the United States' principal historical record of political open source intelligence for more than half a century, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report is an indispensable source for insights into decades of turbulent world history. The original mission of the FBIS was to monitor, record, transcribe and translate intercepted radio broadcasts from foreign governments, official news services, and clandestine broadcasts from occupied territories. Accordingly, it provides a wealth of information from all countries outside of the U.S.—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. FBIS Daily Reports, 1941-1996 constitutes a one-of-a-kind archive of transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news that provides fascinating insight into the second half of the 20th century. Many of these materials are firsthand reports of events as they occurred. Digitized from original paper copy and high-quality microfilm, this definitive online collection features full-text transcripts from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, China, Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Soviet Union.

Fully searchable for the first time, this unique digital collection features individual bibliographic records for each report and highlighted events to assist researchers. Like the Reports themselves, FBIS Daily Report Annexes offers international, national and local perspectives on historical events from thousands of monitored broadcasts and publications. Created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit analysts and policy makers, Annexes were "For Official Use Only." Although a very small number of copies may have found their way into the Government Documents collections of some libraries, no institution outside of the Central Intelligence Agency holds all of the records. These previously unavailable transcripts provide views on Middle East crises and negotiations, the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the secret acquisition of radar systems by the People's Republic of China, and much more.

Where to find: Database, accessible from any LC building (Jefferson, Madison, Adams) as long as you are on The Library of Congress public guest wifi

See further full list of onsite only databases: https://guides.loc.gov/asian-eresources/southeast-asian

Note, there is a companion translation series for print materials, Joint Publications Research Service, https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009641111

Conflict in Indochina: Foreign Office Files for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, 1959-1979, Module 1: Crisis and Upheaval, 1959-1964

This collection of Foreign Office Files provides a comprehensive history of key events across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos during a period of political upheaval, civil unrest and escalating conflict. Published in two sections, Conflict in Indochina explores the rising tension across Indochina after 1959. Comprising correspondence, maps, photographs and memoranda, the first section, Crisis and Upheaval, 1959-1964, examines how the conflict crossed international borders and impacted the wider region. Administrative reports offer insight into the internal politics of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, covering key themes such as trade, economic development and increasing political instability. Documents reveal the growing intervention from foreign powers, as China and the Soviet Union sought to expand their influence over communist parties in the region.

Where to find: Database, accessible from any Library of Congress building (Jefferson, Madison, Adams) as long as you are on the LC public guest wifi

Also listed on https://guides.loc.gov/asian-eresources/southeast-asian

US Air Force Institutional Histories

These are highly detailed and based on telegrams exchanged between the US embassy in Laos, Washington DC (State, DoD, White house) and US military officials (which are the same sources you will find at NARA).

Victor B. Anthony and Richard R. Sexton, The War in Northern Laos (Washington, DC: Center for Airforce History, 1993)  (freely accessible on Worldcat: https://worldcat.org/title/232549943

Bernard C. Nalty, The War against Trucks Aerial Interdiction in Southern Laos 1968-1972 (Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museum Program, 2005) (also on Worldcat: https://worldcat.org/title/70886603

Jacob Van Staaveren, Interdiction in southern Laos, 1960-1968 : the United States Air Force in Southeast Asia (Washington, DC: Center for Air Force History, 1993) https://worldcat.org/title/26353295

 
U.S. Declassified Documents Online
 
Listed on the https://guides.loc.gov/asian-eresources/southeast-asian page
 
Wikileaks
 
A search, for instance, of "Souvanna Phouma" yields over 500 results: https://search.wikileaks.org/?q=souvanna+phouma


MANUSCRIPT READING ROOM

Souvanna Phouma, Prince of Laos, Papers, 1961 January 1-1970 December 31, (500 items in 5 containers) 

Link to Online Public Access Catalog record: https://lccn.loc.gov/mm84060491

Archival material, open to research, and accessible at the Manuscript Reading Room by appointment.)

Manuscript Reading Room webpage to contact staff and learn more: https://www.loc.gov/research-centers/manuscript/about-this-research-center/

W Averell Harriman papers, 1869-2001, (346,760 items in 1,041 containers)

Link to Online Public Access Catalog record: https://lccn.loc.gov/mm85061911

Link to finding aid: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms003012.3

Archival material, open to research (some material classified), and accessible at the Manuscript Reading Room by appointment.

 

Other State Department and DoD officials, accessible in the Manuscript Reading Room

 

 

MSS also has private papers of members of Congress

 

And journalists

 

Miscellaneous

 

AMERICAN FOLKLIFE CENTER

 

Anthropologist Joel Halpern papers. He was an anthropologist based in Laos in the 1950s who returned in 1969.

 

THE ASIAN READING ROOM

 

The Asian Reading Room holds all of the Asian language texts in the Library. One notable collection isthe Phoui Sananikone papers. Phoui was prime minister in 1958-1959 when the Second Indochina War broke out with the Pathet Lao. Another special collection we have is the USIA Cold War era propaganda works in Lao language. These contain info sheets noting where each document was printed, in what quantity and to whom it was distributed.

 

The Asian Reading Room also has Lao language newspapers before 1975. But for English or French language newspapers, those are available at the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. One title that reports on both the opening of the bridge in Luang Prabang and the U.S. bombing of Laos is Lao presse : bulletin quotidien.

 

Also in the Asian Reading Room, but not catalogued yet, is a small set (17 documents) of U.S. Information Agency propaganda in Lao language. This is part of a larger set of Cold War era USIA publications in Lao, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Khmer and Indonesian. Uniquely, all of these works have a data-sheet indicating when and where they were printed (always Manila) and distributed, and in what quantity (sometimes, like with Vietnam, in the millions).

 

LAW LIBRARY

 

The Law Library holds legal texts in every language, such as The RLG gazette:

Journal officiel du Royaume du Laos.

(microfilm version, 1955-1970


GEOGRAPHY AND MAP READING ROOM

300 single-sheet maps of Laos, or regions/cities within Laos, dated 1950s-present. Subjects include general maps, roads, administrative divisions, economics, ethnography and linguistics, geology, waterways, etc. Most maps are in English or French, with some Lao, Russian, Thai, Japanese, and other languages represented. 

Laos is covered in multi-sheet map sets at scales ranging from 1:5,000 to 1:2,000,000. The map sets are largely English, French, or bilingual English-Lao. They are predominantly topographic; some show geology and land use; and there’s an interesting set of “photomaps” – topographic map symbols overlaid over aerial photography – from the 1960s.
Spray Locations
 
Geography and map reading room– contact Emilia at Cartographic and photographic branch at National Archive: Emilia, stillpix@nara.gov 301-837-0561
 
CIA READING ROOM
 
https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/home


NATIONAL ARCHIVES, COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND
 
All official records for the US State and DoD

All written records from all federal civilian agencies. Army records until WW1, Navy records until WW2
 
For sources on the US bombing of Laos you can find official documents (State Dept. and DoD) at NARA. They have an excellent facility open to researchers in College Park, MD

https://www.archives.gov/college-park
https://www.archives.gov/college-park/researcher-info

Email: inquire@nara.gov
Cartographic: consultation.carto@nara.gov
Still Pictures: consultation.stillpix@nara.gov
Moving Image and Sound: consultation.mopix@nara.gov 

For further questions regarding these resources, please contact Ryan Wolfson-Ford, Southeast Asian reference specialist, Asian Reading Room, Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson building room 150, rwolfsonford@loc.gov

 

An excellent way to contact reference staff at LC is the Ask a Librarian service: http://ask.loc.gov/

There is a general site, as well as sites for each reading room:

http://ask.loc.gov/

https://ask.loc.gov/asia - Asian Reading Room

https://ask.loc.gov/manuscripts - Manuscript Reading Room

https://ask.loc.gov/map-geography - Geography and Map

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