July 23, 1962 - In a casual 25-minute ceremony today in Geneva, representatives of 14 countries signed agreements guaranteeing the neutrality and independence of Laos. The ceremony in the green and gold council chamber of the Palais des Nations, European headquarters of the U.N., ended the 15-month conference designed to take the Southeastern Asian kingdom out of the power struggle between West and East. Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko of the Soviet Union presided over the ceremony. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and W. Averell Harriman, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs, signed for the U.S.
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