The Geneva conference on Laos of 1961-1962, which Britain helped initiate and bring to a conclusion, throws light on Britain's policy in Southeast Asia during what in some sense may be seen as the last of the decades in which its influence was crucial. This book is the first to make full use of the British archives to explore the conference, but it also bears on the history of Laos, of Vietnam, and of Southeast Asia generally. The core of the Geneva settlement was the neutralisation of Laos, the United States to strengthen its commitment to Thailand and Vietnam. North Vietnam could accept this result only if it allowed continued use of the Ho Chi Minh trail, which sustained resistance in South Vietnam. Under these circumstances, the agreement on neutralisation, though elaborately negotiated, had little chance of success. In the longer term, however, the agreement played a part in developing the concept of a neutral Southeast Asia advanced by ASEAN. The book is important for scholars in the various fields it touches, including modern Southeast Asian history, the history of Laos, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and international relations. It will be of expecial interest to those studying British policy at a time when Britain was seeking to reduce its commitments while continuing to avert the escalation of the Cold War.