396.1 GE/5–1054: Telegram

Second Plenary Session on Indochina, Geneva, May 10, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 161. Repeated information Paris niact 233, Saigon niact 52, London niact 145, Tokyo niact 39, Moscow 58, Phnom Penh and Vientiane unnumbered. Tokyo for CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Following is statement by United States representative today in second Indochina plenary session:

“The United States delegation warmly welcomes the proposals made and accepted this afternoon for the evacuation of the long suffering wounded of Dien Bien Phu and hopes sincerely that this evacuation will be effected without delay.

“Regrettably, for the subsequent two hours of our session we listened to a remarkable distortion of the events of the past few years in Indochina. The Viet Minh spokesman is well trained in the Communist technique of distorting history and calling black white. The world has learned to evaluate such spurious allegations. The charges made against the United States by the Viet Minh representative are substantially identical with those made by other Communist representatives during the opening phase of the Korean discussion. They have been already amply and adequately refuted, and I see no reason to divert this Conference from its important task by according them further attention at this time. I cannot refrain, however, from commenting on his remarkable effrontery in describing the brutal Viet Minh aggression against Cambodia and Laos as a movement of ‘liberation’. At present, I will merely say that after his statement, it is extremely difficult to believe that the Viet Minh representative has come to this Conference with any intention of negotiating a just and durable peace.

“The United States has come here with sincere hopes that the work of this Conference at Geneva will result in the restoration of peace in Indochina and in the opportunity for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to enjoy their independence under conditions of a real and lasting peace.

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“The United States has watched with sympathy the development of the peoples of Indochina toward independence. The United States and many other countries have recognized the three States of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We have followed with great interest the negotiations which have been undertaken by France and the Associated States to perfect the independence of the Associated States.

“The United States has shown in many ways its sympathy for the effort of the Associated States to safeguard their independence. We have provided material aid to France and the Associated States to assist them in this effort and have given them support to enable them to resist open and covert invasion from without their borders. We will continue to do so, for the simple reason that it is the wish of the American people to assist any nation that is determined to defend its liberty and independence.

“The United States maintains that the first principle of any settlement in Indochina must be to assure the independence and freedom of the States of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

“The United States also maintains that any settlement in Indochina must give assurance of real and lasting peace. To this end, the United States believes that any settlement must be preceded by an armistice agreement which incorporates effective and adequate safeguards.

“The United States maintains that such an armistice agreement can be effective only under international supervision. The United States, therefore, believes that any settlement must include provisions for effective international supervision and assurance of powers and privileges on the part of the international supervising authority equal to enable it to carry out its various responsibilities.

“The United States welcomes the French initiative and believes the French representative has made a helpful contribution toward the restoration of peace in Indochina. The French proposals are consistent with the general principles to which any satisfactory settlement must conform. In our opinion, they should be accompanied by a program for the resolution of political problems. We look forward to hearing the views of the government of Vietnam on such a program.

“The United States notes the French proposal that ‘agreements shall be guaranteed by the States participating in the Geneva Conference’. The United States has already demonstrated its devotion to the principle of collective security and its willingness to help in the development of collective security arrangements in Southeast Asia, as elsewhere. Until it is possible to see more clearly, the exact nature of the agreement to be guaranteed and to determine the obligations of the guarantors, we will, of course, not be able to express any judgment on this section of the proposal.

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“The United States delegation suggests that the Conference adopt the French proposal as a basis of discussion and hopes that we will move forward constructively and rapidly in bringing about a restoration of peace in Indochina.

“The American delegation has listened with sympathy to the factual recital of the representatives of Cambodia and Laos and will study with interest their proposals for the restoration of peace in Cambodia and Laos.”