396.1 GE/5–2054: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 92. Eyes only for Secretary. Your Tedul 79.1 It is difficult to estimate duration Geneva. Communists have not given an inch and [Page 865]I do not believe they will make any concessions. They have a big fish on the hook and intend to play it out. They must feel sure that one way or another they will get at maximum a major part or possibly all of Indochina, and at minimum a partition which would produce a Communist state comprising considerable part Vietnam with a slice of Laos and possibly even part of Cambodia. Believe they have decided to risk chance of our intervention, estimating that even if this occurs the result will be another, and for us a more expensive, Korea. They probably count on restraining influence of our allies to prevent us from extending war or striking directly at Communist China or even at the direct source of all the trouble. They must anticipate that the present French Government cannot long survive, and certainly cannot survive a complete impasse here, so it is to their interest to prolong this conference without making concessions. Churchill’s statement that no commitments will be made till after Geneva should convince them that time is on their side. On Korea there is nothing whatever to be expected from them. Dean’s latest message indicates that it will be impossible to produce proposals agreed to by all 16. Best we can hope to do is avoid open opposition by our side when Pyun produces his 14 points. Others of the 16 will possibly then present proposals of their own or speak in support of Eden’s points. We will continue, and try to induce others to continue, to hammer as hard as possible on repudiation by all Communist delegations of authority and moral force of United Nations. World public opinion seems becoming conditioned to negative results. Unless something unexpected happens the Korea phase will drag along with an occasional plenary session while Indochina discussions go on.

How long the Indochina phase will continue depends on length of time French are able to sustain the pressure and British believe, either honestly or for political effect, that they can continue to play the role of mediator. Best hope seems to me to be injection of the United Nations factor. I suppose I must stay here as long as Molotov, Eden and Bidault remain, and apparently they have no immediate intention of leaving. Molotov obviously attaches real importance to this meeting. We will certainly go on for another two weeks at very minimum, and probably longer. Our only strength lies in what you are doing in Washington. Were it not for that, I would suggest that you give serious consideration to coming here when we approach the break-off. If Molotov and Eden leave, I will ask you to replace me. If the conference really gets into an Indochina settlement we could have another Panmunjom.

Smith
  1. In telegram Tedul 79, May 18, the Secretary asked Under Secretary Smith if he had “any estimate as to duration Geneva or at least duration of your tour of duty there?” (396.1 GE/5–1854)