396.1 GE/5–854: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1


Tosec 152. For your background information and for your use as check list in connection with proposals already made by French [Page 788](Secto 143 as modified by Secto 1522) and any compromises which French may appear to favor hereafter, following principles seem to us basic to any acceptable settlement in Indochina:

The establishment of international control machinery in place and ready to function prior to an actual cease-fire.
Representatives of the international control commission should be guaranteed unrestricted movement in, and free access to all of Indochina.
Such a commission should have sufficient military personnel and logistic support to discharge its responsibilities in connection with the armistice terms.
Provision for UN assumption of responsibility for supervision of the international control commission. (Some other form of effective international control might well be a satisfactory substitute for UN supervision.)
Measures to provide for the security of troops and populations, and guarantees against abuses of the cease-fire by either party.
Provisions for the humane and orderly liberation of POW’s and internees.
Evacuation of Viet Minh forces from Laos and Cambodia.
Provision for examination of political and economic problems following an armistice agreement.
No provisions in armistice of a political nature, such as for early elections, or for troop withdrawals that would clearly lead to a Communist take-over.

French proposal appears to us to depart from above criteria at following points:

Hostilities are to cease immediately on signature of agreement and no time is allowed for installation of control commission.
Proposal omits statement re measures to protect Franco-Vietnamese military forces and civilian populations of Associated States, which statement was contained in Secto 132,3 and only measure this nature proposed concerns regrouping of forces.
No provision is made for examination of economic and political problems following a cease-fire.

French proposal needs much spelling out in detail if significance is to be judged accurately. If French should proceed to attempt to reconcile their proposal with that made by Communists in effort negotiate compromise, careful attention must be paid to adherence or nonadherence to principles set forth above as well as to proposed details of implementation in order to determine point at which a French proposal would cross the line of what is not acceptable to US, thereby requiring a decision in the light of the NSC action of May 8.4

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You are authorized to discuss contents this message as you may deem appropriate with French and other friendly delegations.

  1. Drafted by Fisher of EUR/WE and Sturm of FE/PSA. Repeated to Saigon as telegram 2284, to Paris as telegram 4066.
  2. Both dated May 8, see telegram Secto 143, May 8, p. 730.
  3. Dated May 7, p. 714.
  4. For a report on decisions taken by the NSC on May 8, see telegram Tedul 43, May 8, p. 731.