Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Laos 1
cease-fire and evacuation of foreign armed forces and foreign military personnel
The Commanders of the armed forces of the parties in Laos shall order and enforce the complete cessation of all hostilities in Laos by all armed forces under their control, including all units and personnel of the ground, naval and air forces.
In accordance with the principle of a simultaneous cease-fire throughout Indo-China the cessation of hostilities shall be simultaneous throughout the territory of Laos in all combat areas and for all forces of the two parties.
In order to prevent any mistake or misunderstanding and to ensure that both the cessation of hostilities and the disengagement and movements of the opposing forces are in fact simultaneous,
- Taking into account the time effectively required to transmit the cease-fire order down to the lowest échelons of the combatant forces on both sides, the two parties are agreed that the complete and simultaneous cease-fire throughout the territory of Laos shall become effective at 8 hours (local time) on August 6, 1954. It is agreed that Pekin meantime shall be taken as local time.
- The Joint Commission for Laos shall draw up a schedule for the other operations resulting from the cessation of hostilities.
All operations and movements entailed by the cessation of hostilities and re-grouping must proceed in a safe and orderly fashion:
- Within a number of days to be determined on the spot by the Joint Commission in Laos each party shall be responsible for removing [Page 1522] and neutralizing mines, booby traps, explosives and any other dangerous substance placed by it. In the event of its being impossible to complete the work of removal and neutralization in time, the party concerned shall mark the spot by placing visible signs there.
- As regards the security of troops on the move following the lines of communication in accordance with the schedule previously drawn up by the Joint Armistice Commission in Laos, and the safety of the assembly areas, detailed measures shall be adopted in each case by the Joint Armistice Commission in Laos. In particular, while the forces of one party are withdrawing by a line of communication passing through the territory of the other party (road or waterways) the forces of the latter party shall provisionally withdraw two kilometres on either side of such line of communication, but in such a manner as to avoid interfering with the movements of the civil population.
The withdrawals and transfers of military forces, supplies and equipment shall be effected in accordance with the following principles:
The withdrawals and transfers of the military forces, supplies and equipment of the two parties shall be completed within a period of 120 days from the day on which the present Agreement enters into force.
The two parties undertake to communicate their transfer plans to each other, for information, within 25 days of the entry into force of the present Agreement.
- The withdrawals of the Viet-Namese People’s Volunteers from Laos to Viet-Nam shall be effected by provinces. The position of those volunteers who were settled in Laos before the hostilities shall form the subject of a special convention.
- The routes for the withdrawal of the forces of the French Union and Viet-Namese People’s Volunteers in Laos from Laotian territory shall be fixed on the spot by the Joint Commission.
- The two parties shall guarantee that the withdrawals and transfers of all forces will be effected in accordance with the purposes of this Agreement, and that they will not permit any hostile action or take action of any kind whatever which might hinder such withdrawals or transfers. The parties shall assist each other as far as possible.
- While the withdrawals and transfers of the forces are proceeding, the two parties shall not permit any destruction or sabotage of any public property or any attack on the life or property of the local civilian population. They shall not permit any interference with the local civil administration.
- The Joint Commission and the International Commission shall supervise the implementation of measures to ensure the safety of the forces during withdrawal and transfer.
- The Joint Commission in Laos shall determine the detailed procedures for the withdrawals and transfers of the forces in accordance with the above-mentioned principles.
During the days immediately preceding the cease-fire each party undertakes not to engage in any large-scale operation between the time when the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities is signed at Geneva and the time when the cease-fire comes into effect.
prohibition of the introduction of fresh troops, military personnel, armaments and munitions
With effect from the proclamation of the cease-fire the introduction into Laos of any reinforcements of troops or military personnel from outside Laotian territory is prohibited.
Nevertheless, the French High Command may leave a specified number of French military personnel required for the training of the Laotian National Army in the territory of Laos; the strength of such personnel shall not exceed one thousand five hundred (1,500) officers and non-commissioned officers.
Upon the entry into force of the present Agreement, the establishment of new military bases is prohibited throughout the territory of Laos.
The High Command of the French forces shall maintain in the territory of Laos the personnel required for the maintenance of the two French military establishments, the first at Seno and the second in the Mekong valley, either in the province of Vientiane or downstream from Vientiane.
The effectives maintained in these military establishments shall not exceed a total of three thousand five hundred (3,500) men.
Upon the entry into force of the present Agreement and in accordance with the declaration made at the Geneva Conference by the Royal Government of Laos on 20 July 1954, the introduction into Laos of armaments, munitions and military equipment of all kinds is prohibited, with the exception of a specified quantity of armaments in categories specified as necessary for the defence of Laos.
The new armaments and military personnel permitted to enter Laos in accordance with the terms of Article 9 above shall enter Laos at [Page 1524] the following points only: Luang-Prabang, Xieng-Khouang, Vientiane, Seno, Pakse, Savannakhet and Tchépone.
disengagement of the forces-assembly
The disengagement of the armed forces of both sides, including concentration of the armed forces, movements to rejoin the provisional assembly areas allotted to one party and provisional withdrawal movements by the other party, shall be completed within a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days after the cease-fire.
The Joint Commission in Laos shall fix the site and boundaries:
- —of the five (5) provisional assembly areas for the reception of the Vietnamese People’s Volunteer Forces,
- —of the five (5) provisional assembly areas for the reception of the French forces in Laos,
- —of the twelve (12) provisional assembly areas, one to each province, for the reception of the fighting units of “Pathet Lao”.
- —The forces of the Laotian National Army shall remain in situ during the entire duration of the operations of disengagement and transfer of foreign forces and fighting units of “Pathet Lao”.
The foreign forces shall be transferred outside Laotian territory as follows:
The French forces will be moved out of Laos by road (along routes laid down by the Joint Commission in Laos) and also by air and inland waterway;
Vietnamese People’s Volunteer Forces:
These forces will be moved out of Laos by land, along routes and in accordance with a schedule to be determined by the Joint Commission in Laos in accordance with the principle of simultaneous withdrawal of foreign forces.
Pending a political settlement, the fighting units of “Pathet Lao”, concentrated in the provisional assembly areas, shall move into the Provinces of Phongsaly and Sam-Neua except for any military personnel who wish to be demobilised where they are. They will be free to move between these two provinces in a corridor along the frontier between Laos and Viet-Nam bounded on the south by the Line Sop Kin, Na Mi, Sop Sang, Muong Son.[Page 1525]
Concentration shall be completed within one-hundred-and-twenty (120) days from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement.
Each party undertakes to refrain from any reprisals or discrimination against persons or organizations for their activities during the hostilities and also undertakes to guarantee their democratic freedoms.
prisoners of war and civilian internees
The liberation and repatriation of all prisoners of war and civilian internees detained by each of the two parties at the coming into force of the present Agreement shall be carried out under the following conditions:
- All prisoners of war and civilian internees of Laotian and other nationalities captured since the beginning of hostilities in Laos, during military operations or in any other circumstances of war and in any part of the territory of Laos, shall be liberated within a period of thirty (30) days after the date when the cease-fire comes into effect.
- The term “civilian internees” is understood to mean all persons who, having in any way contributed to the political and armed strife between the two parties, have been arrested for that reason or kept in detention by either party during the period of hostilities.
- All foreign prisoners of war captured by either party shall be surrendered to the appropriate authorities of the other party, who shall give them all possible assistance in proceeding to the destination of their choice.
The Commanders of the forces of the two parties shall ensure that persons under their respective commands who violate any of the provisions of the present Agreement are suitably punished.
In cases in which the place of burial is known and the existence of graves has been established, the Commander of the forces of either party shall, within a specified period after the entry into force of the present Agreement, permit the graves service of the other party to enter that part of Laotian territory under his military control for the purpose of finding and removing the bodies of deceased military personnel of that party, including the bodies of deceased prisoners of war.[Page 1526]
The Joint Commission shall fix the procedures by which this task is carried out and the time limits within which it must be completed. The Commanders of the forces of each party shall communicate to the other all information in his possession as to the place of burial of military personnel of the other party.
The present Agreement shall apply to all the armed forces of either party. The armed forces of each party shall respect the territory under the military control of the other party, and engage in no hostile act against the other party.
For the purpose of the present article the word “territory” includes territorial waters and air space.
The Commanders of the forces of the two parties shall afford full protection and all possible assistance and co-operation to the Joint Commission and its joint organs and to the International Commission
If an inspection team is unable to settle an incident or considers that assigned to them by the present Agreement.
The costs involved in the operation of the Joint Commission and its joint groups and of the International Commission and its inspection teams shall be shared equally between the two parties.
The signatories of the present Agreement and their successors in their functions shall be responsible for the observance and enforcement of the terms and provisions thereof. The Commanders of the forces of the two parties shall, within their respective”commands, take all steps and make all arrangements necessary to ensure full compliance with all the provisions of the present Agreement by all military personnel under their command.
The procedures laid down in the present Agreement shall, whenever necessary, be examined by the Commanders of the two parties and, if necessary, defined more specifically by the Joint Commission.
joint commission and international commission for supervision and control in laos
Responsibility for the execution of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities shall rest with the parties.[Page 1527]
An International Commission shall be entrusted with control and supervision over the application of the provisions of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Laos. It shall be composed of representatives of the following States: Canada, India and Poland. It shall be presided over by the representative of India. Its headquarters shall be at Vientiane.
The International Commission shall set up fixed and mobile inspection teams, composed of an equal number of officers appointed by each of the above-mentioned States.
The fixed teams shall be located at the following points: Paksé, Seno, Tchépone, Vientiane, Xieng-Khonang, Phongsaly, Sophao (province of Sam Neua). These points of location may, at a later date, be altered by agreement between the Government of Laos and the International Commission.
The zones of action of the mobile teams shall be the regions bordering the land frontiers of Laos. Within the limits of their zones of action they shall have the right to move freely and shall receive from the local civil and military authorities all facilities they may require for the fulfilment of their tasks (provision of personnel, access to documents needed for supervision, summoning of witnesses needed for holding enquiries, security and freedom of movement of the inspection teams etc.…2). They shall have at their disposal such modern means of transport, observation and communication as they may require.
Outside the zones of action defined above, the mobile teams may, with the agreement of the Command of the party concerned, move about as required by the tasks assigned to them by the present Agreement.
The International Commission shall be responsible for supervising the execution by the parties of the provisions of the present Agreement. For this purpose it shall fulfil the functions of control, observation, inspection and investigation connected with the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities, and shall in particular:
- Control the withdrawal of foreign forces in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities and see that frontiers are respected;
- Control the release of prisoners of war and civilian internees;
- Supervise, at ports and airfields and along all the frontiers of Laos, the implementation of the provisions regulating the introduction into Laos of military personnel and war materials;
- Supervise the implementation of the clauses of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities relating to rotation of personnel and to supplies for French Union security forces maintained in Laos.
A Joint Commission shall be set up to facilitate the implementation of the clauses relating to the withdrawal of foreign forces.
The Joint Commission shall form joint groups, the number of which shall be decided by mutual agreement between the parties.
The Joint Commission shall facilitate the implementation of the clauses of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities relating to the simultaneous and general case-fire in Laos for all regular and irregular armed forces of the two parties.
It shall assist the parties in the implementation of the said clauses; it shall ensure liaison between them for the purpose of preparing and carrying out plans for the implementation of the said clauses; it shall endeavour to settle any disputes between the parties arising out of the implementation of these clauses. The joint groups shall follow the forces in their movements and shall be disbanded once the withdrawal plans had been carried out.
The Joint Commission and the joint groups shall be composed of an equal number of representatives of the commands of the parties concerned.
The International Commission shall, through the medium of the inspection teams mentioned above, and as soon as possible, either on its own initiative, or at the request of the Joint Commission, or of one of the parties, undertake the necessary investigations both documentary and on the ground.
The inspection teams shall submit to the International Commission the results of their supervision, investigations and observations; furthermore, they shall draw up such special reports as they may consider necessary or as may be requested from them by the Commission. In the case of a disagreement within the teams, the findings of each member shall be transmitted to the Commission.[Page 1529]
If an inspection team is unable to settle an incident or considers that there is a violation or a threat of a serious violation the International Commission shall be informed; the latter shall examine the reports and the findings of the inspection teams and shall inform the parties of the measures which should be taken for the settlement of the incident, ending of the violation or removal of the threat of violation.
When the Joint Commission is unable to reach an agreement on the interpretation of a provision or on the appraisal of a fact, the International Commission shall be informed of the disputed question. Its recommendations shall be sent directly to the parties and shall be notified to the Joint Commission.
The recommendations of the International Commission shall be adopted by majority vote, subject to the provisions contained in Article 35. If the votes are equally divided, the chairman’s vote shall be decisive.
The International Commission may make recommendations concerning amendments and additions which should be made to the provisions of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Laos, in order to ensure more effective execution of the said Agreement. These recommendations shall be adopted unanimously.
On questions concerning violations, or threats of violations, which might lead to a resumption of hostilities, and in particular,
- refusal by foreign armed forces to effect the movements provided for in the withdrawal plan,
- violation or threat of violation of the country’s integrity, by foreign armed forces, the decisions of the International Commission must be unanimous.
If one of the parties refuses to put a recommendation of the International Commission into effect, the parties concerned or the Commission itself shall inform the members of the Geneva Conference.
If the International Commission does not reach unanimity in the cases provided for in Article 35, it shall transmit a majority report and one or more minority reports to the members of the Conference.[Page 1530]
The International Commission shall inform the members of the Conference of all cases in which its work is being hindered.
The International Commission shall be set up at the time of the cessation of hostilities in Indo-China in order that it may be able to fulfil the tasks prescribed in Article 27.
The International Commission for Supervision and Control in Laos shall act in close co-operation with the International Commissions in Viet-Nam and Cambodia.
The Secretaries-General of these three Commissions shall be responsible for coordinating their work and for relations between them.
The International Commission for Supervision and Control in Laos may, after consultation with the International Commissions in Cambodia and Viet-Nam, and having regard to the development of the situation in Cambodia and Viet-Nam, progressively reduce its activities. Such a decision must be adopted unanimously.
All the provisions of the present Agreement, save paragraph (a) of Article 2, shall enter into force at 24 hours (Geneva time) on July 22, 1954.
Done at Geneva (Switzerland) on July 20, 1954, at 24 hours, in the French language.
,Général de Brigade
For the Commander-in-Chief of the fighting units of “Pathet-Lao” and for the Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Army of Viet-Nam:
Vice-Minister of National Defense of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam
This document was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Secto 702, July 21. (396.1 GE/7–2154) Revisions issued by the International Secretariat were transmitted in telegram Secto 703, July 21. (751G.00/7–2154) Additional revisions to this document were issued by the International Secretariat in a note by the Secretariat of July 24. (396.1 GE/7–2454)
This agreement was also printed in American Foreign Policy, 1950–1955: Basic Documents, pp. 775–785; Cmd. 9239, pp. 18–26; and Conférence de Genève, pp. 443–452.
The revisions made to this agreement were entered on the two source texts by typewriter and by hand. As far as can be determined there is no final copy of IC/51 Rev. 1 in Department of State files; there is no indication that a final, revised copy of IC/51 was ever issued by the International Secretariat at Geneva.↩
- Ellipsis in the source text.↩