396.1 GE/5–2054: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

secret

Secto 267. Repeated information Paris 307, London 191, Saigon 98. Eden advised Bidault and me of his talks this morning with Chou along following lines:

Eden had argued case for separation of Laos and Cambodia. Chou had agreed that military and political aspects must be dealt with separately with priority for cease-fire. Cease-fire should take effect in all three States on same date. Political settlements might be different for three. Eden’s advisers who had accompanied him felt that Chou wanted an early agreement for cease-fire. Chou had repeatedly stated that if no progress could be made on one line, another should be tried.

Bidault observed that situation with respect to cessation of hostilities was different in three countries. It could be brought about immediately in Cambodia and Laos where it was simply a problem of external forces, while some regrouping of forces would be essential [Page 864]in Vietnam. Any extension of this regrouping concept to Laos and Cambodia (as distinct from withdrawal) would complicate their situation by establishing pockets. He did not wish to free conference, but if we abandoned principle of separation, even temporarily, we would not know when or on what level we would be able to take it up again. Laos and Cambodia had said this morning they would not go along if we abandoned separation.

I said I believed Communists desire to produce troop concentrations which they could point to as areas controlled by resistance movements. It would be difficult to determine whether such concentrations were natives or invaders and much would depend on composition and effectiveness of supervisory commission, which was matter of supreme importance. We must maintain our position regarding separate consideration Laos and Cambodia, but might explore Communist ideas regarding mechanism of an armistice.

Eden had said West denied so-called resistance movements in Laos and Cambodia had any existence whatever. Chou had said they might be minorities, but they existed and could not be swept out of countries.

French believed Viet Minh proposal (Secto 259, repeated information Paris 299, London 188, Saigon 931) to discuss their point 8(a) and French points one and five, indicated possibility Communists might still agree to separation. I said we would fully reserve our position on separation, but having done so, would agree look at these specific points.

Eden subsequently told me that he had warned Chou again that Indochina situation was dangerous and might lead to unpredictable and serious results. Chou had said he was counting on Britain to prevent this happening. Eden had warned him not to do so, since even though Britain desired moderation, in event of showdown, she would stand with United States.

Smith
  1. Dated May 19, p. 854.