396.1 GE/5–954: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 158. Repeated information Paris 230, London 144, Saigon 49. Ambassador Heath saw Dac Khe of Vietnamese delegation this morning for discussion of positions taken at yesterday’s plenary. Dac Khe expressed understanding and approval of US, France and UK positions on matter of inviting powers and on status of Lao and Khmer “ghost” governments. He expressed concern at French armistice proposal on following grounds:

Vietnamese position (as set forth in Secto 144 repeated Paris 223, Saigon 42)1 is that military arrangements should be concluded at same time rather than independently of political settlement. Dac Khe fears that purely military armistice would result merely in highly illusory and dangerous cease-fire.
Vietnamese criticize French armistice proposal which they consider vague and unsatisfactory from their standpoint on two counts:
Franco-Vietnamese forces are apparently to be given same treatment in matter of withdrawal and regrouping as those of rebel Viet Minh. (We note that Laniel proposals referred only to Viet Minh troops2).
French plan fails to make any provision for internationally supervised zone along Chinese border. Vietnamese consider establishment such zone imperative if any political or military arrangements are to have chance of stability.

It is to be noted, that French proposal which Dac Khe considers weaker than requirement his country’s safety is probably stronger than proposal which this or a successor French Government will in long run adhere to under present circumstances, i.e., in absence injection new positive elements on our side.

The present tactical plans of Vietnamese delegation in the next two or three plenary sessions are as follows:

Delivery of short speech against the admission to the conference of delegations of phantom “free governments” Cambodia and Laos.
Immediately or twenty-four hours after the conclusion of Viet Minh delegation’s opening address (which was interrupted by debate on the candidacies free Laos and Cambodia “governments”) to address the conference or rather the Viet Minh delegation, urging the latter, now that Vietnam’s independence has been obtained, to end the war, free themselves from foreign Communist direction and elements, and rally to the legal government. The delegation does not plan in its [Page 745] first address to spell out all of the details of its plan for eventual elections after an armistice will have brought peace to the country.

Vietnamese are anxious to know whether we will support their view that military armistice and political program must be in single agreement. Department instructions requested.3

  1. Dated May 8, p. 732.
  2. Made on Mar. 5, reported in telegram 3240 from Paris, Mar. 6, p. 435.
  3. See telegram Tedul 49, p. 747.