Laotian premier moves to bolster independence
27 August 1945. Reacting to local takeovers by French or nationalist forces, the viceroy and head of the Laotian government, Prince Phetsarath, takes control of the country’s administrative capital, Vientiane. The Japanese troops previously running the city are repatriated across the Mekong into Thailand to begin their long journey home via Bangkok. Phetsarath immediately authorizes creation of a Lao Issara Army out of the forces Japan had organized into a civic guard. Next day, he notifies all provincial governors that Lao independence remains an immediate goal and warns them to resist foreign intervention. This is part of Phetsarat’s strategy of unifying the Kingdom of Luang Prabang with the territories of central and southern Laos, which had been administered as colonies rather than protectorates under the authority of the French résident supérieur . This action creates a rift between traditional conservatives and progressive nationalists, who differ in their schedule and framework for the realization of Lao independence.