Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 321

Memorandum by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation ( Davis ) to the Deputy United States Representative ( Robertson )

confidential

Subject:

  • Indochina Guarantees

I think the following quotations are of considerable importance in connection with the guarantee feature of the French Indochina proposals.

General Smith’s statement regarding the French proposals includes the following paragraph:1

“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.”

Bidault’s statement of yesterday contains the following paragraph:2

“The French Delegation considers that the institution of an international control is an indispensable guarantee to a correct application of the agreements. It should like to mention further that under [Page 815] Chapter Three of the French proposals of the eight[h] of May, the guarantee for the agreements would be, and should, by the state members to this Conference. It notes that the delegation of the United States, of Viet-Nam, Laos, of Cambodia have already assented to the principle of international supervision and to the guarantee to be given to those agreements.”

The underlined3 portion of Bidault’s remarks constitutes a flat statement that the U.S. has assented to the guarantee to be given to the proposed agreements. The discrepancy between this and General Smiths’ statement is, in my opinion, so strong that it should not remain unchallenged. Otherwise we shall be tacitly committed to a form of guarantee to which I am sure we cannot agree.4

A. C. Davis
  1. Made during the Second Plenary Session on Indochina. For Smith’s statement, see telegram Secto 161, May 10, p. 751.
  2. Made during the Fourth Plenary Session on Indochina. See telegram Secto 212, May 14, p. 795.
  3. Printed here as italics.
  4. Handwritten notation on the source text and a chit attached to the source text indicate that Robertson and Johnson agreed with Admiral Davis.