751G.00/5–854: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation 1

top secret

Tedul 43. Eyes only Smith from Secretary.

At special meeting this morning NSC 2 considered French proposals contained in Secto 1323 which was read to meeting.
After discussion NSC took following decision:4

“The United States will not associate itself with any proposal from any source directed toward a cease-fire in advance of an acceptable armistice agreement, including international controls. The United States could concur in the initiation of negotiations for such an armistice agreement. During the course of such negotiations, the French and the Associated States should continue to oppose the forces of the Viet Minh with all the means at their disposal. In the meantime, as a means of strengthening the hands of the French and the Associated States during the course of such negotiations, the United States will continue its program of aid and its efforts to organize and promptly activate a Southeast Asian regional grouping for the purpose of preventing further expansion of Communist power in Southeast Asia.”

Referring your Dulte 545 I would stress that position set out in para 2 was considered as minimum one from which U.S. shld not recede. NSC felt any cease-fire without acceptable armistice agreement wld be such disaster as to require us to dissociate ourselves from it.
NSC decision was based on assumption that armistice would be approved by Associated States as well as France. In event of split between them NSC would want to reconsider U.S. position.
Secto 1436 not received until after NSC meeting. Comments will follow.
  1. Drafted by Bowie of S/P.
  2. The 196th meeting of the National Security Council, May 8. For a memorandum of discussion of the meeting, see volume xiii .
  3. Dated May 7, p. 714.
  4. NSC Action No. 1110–a, May 8, 1954.
  5. Dated May 8, p. 712.
  6. Supra .