396.1 GE/5–854: Telegram

First Plenary Session on Indochina, Geneva, May 8, 4: 35 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

Secto 153. Repeated information Paris 226, Saigon 45, London 138, Tokyo 33, Phnom Penh and Vientiane unnumbered. Department pass Defense. Tokyo pass CINCFE. Following is statement by US representative in first Indochina plenary session:

“The United States delegation takes this opportunity to recall that at Berlin, the US joined with France, the UK and the USSR in agreeing to organize a conference at Geneva to consider the problems of Korea and of Indochina. Subsequently, the same four powers reached agreement as to the composition of the Indochina phase of the conference, an agreement reflected in the presence here today of the nine delegations in this hall. As in the case of the Korean phase, there are only four inviting powers, the UK, France, the US and the USSR. Therefore, if, as has been stated in press reports, the invitation issued to the so-called democratic republic of Vietnam appears in the name [Page 737] of both the USSR and the Communist Chinese regime, that invitation is, in its form at variance with the clear understanding of the Foreign Ministers present at Berlin last February. Assuming the press reports to be accurate the US delegation can only regret that the Indochina phase of this conference should be initiated by a procedural evasion of previously reached agreements.

At Berlin we agreed that ‘the problem of restoring peace in Indochina’ would be discussed at this conference ‘to which representatives of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Chinese People’s Republic, and other interested states will be invited’.

At Geneva the four inviting powers have agreed that in addition to the participation specified at Berlin there should be representatives at this conference of the governments of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and of the Viet Minh.

The United States cannot agree to the suggestion which has just been made that non-existent so-called governments or states, such as the so-called Pathet Lao or free Cambodians, can in any way be considered as qualifying for invitations to this conference under the Berlin agreement.

The United States proposes that any idea of inviting these nonexistent so-called governments be rejected. If there is opposition to this United States proposal, the United States suggests this meeting be adjourned to allow for further discussions on this point between the four inviting powers.”

Summary of meeting follows.1

  1. Summary of the First Plenary Session on Indochina contained in telegram Secto 154, supra .