Laos gained independence within the French Union in 1949. In the mid-1950s, the British embassy office was in a small bungalow belonging to the Laotian government, who wanted it back urgently to house the Ministry of Justice; the residence was in a small two-storey house at Voravong, with two rooms on each floor, shared by the ambassador and head of chancery; and there were eight other UK-based staff living in rotten conditions. The Foreign Office told the Ministry of Works that Vientiane had the worst-suited accommodation in the world. In 1955, another government department bought, perhaps in desperation and without London’s approval, a freehold site of about 0.45 hectare for about £17,000. It lay on the north bank of the Mekong river, on Thadeau Road, about three kilometres south of the city and close to the Friendship Bridge crossing to Thailand. It was called the MIC site after its vendor, Manufacture Indochine de Cigarette, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. The site already had two bungalows on it, one of which was then divided into two. A proposal to build two more bungalows with a local prefabricated system fell through
The Ministry of Works then began to take proper notice of Vientiane. First, a 0.3 hectare site, called the Thao Teng site, was leased for 50 years from 1957 at Rue Pandit J Nehru with the intention of building embassy offices on it in due course. Second, in 1958, an adjacent site, Plot 796 Phong Xay Quarter, of 0.45 hectare was bought on which to build a residence, and a two-storey small ambassadorial residence to an in-house design was completed here in 1960. Third, and concurrently, two more bungalows were built at the MIC site (which had also been extended in 1957 by the purchase for £830 of about 40 more metres of road frontage).
Fighting throughout most of the next decade precluded further physical construction, but some useful land acquisition continued. A small site opposite the still-undeveloped office site was bought in 1964 for a future staff bungalow. And, in 1968, two sites adjoining the residence and office sites were leased to enable a swimming pool and a tennis court to be included in the office plans being slowly drawn up in London. All leases were negotiated to be co-terminous in 2007.
Construction of the single-storey offices, the staff amenities and the two-storey staff house opposite the offices was finally achieved in the late 1960s by direct labour under the supervision of a senior clerk of works, William Silcock. On completion, Vientiane was, at long last, well accommodated for a difficult small Post.
But the Post had little future. Laos became a people’s democratic republic in 1975, the ambassador in Bangkok was accredited to Laos [?when], and the Vientiane staff was gradually reduced, and surplus accommodation sub-let. The Post closed entirely in 1985, after which the Australian embassy took over tenancy of all the buildings, on a reduced rent in exchange for meeting all the maintenance costs. One part of the offices was retained on a lock and leave basis for the use of visitors from the Bangkok embassy. The entire estate was sold to the Australians in [?] 2003. The Post re-opened in 2012 [?how accommodated]