396.1 GE/5–2154: Telegram
Smith–Eden Meeting, Geneva, May 20, Evening: The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 275. Repeated information Paris 313, London 195, Saigon 103, Moscow 79. Limit distribution. Eden told me at dinner last night Molotov made “personal” observation could get ahead with work on Indochina by examining certain proposals (within framework of French and Viet Minh proposals1) for cessation of hostilities, which would in any event inevitably apply to all three Associated States. Molotov specifically mentioned the question of supervisory machinery and the segregation of opposing forces. Molotov suggested after this has been done, conference could examine application to each country of the general proposals. Over and above foregoing, political issues with respect to each country could be dealt with separately. Molotov said [Page 875]he did not know what Chinese would say to such proposition and was putting it forward only as his own personal idea.
Eden stated he made no commitment. He reported conversation to Bidault after returning from dinner last night. Neither Eden nor I yet have any information on Bidault’s reactions.
Eden said that Molotov was in very relaxed mood. At opening of their conversation had referred to various press rumors on US-UK differences, stating he did not believe them. Eden said he replied that Molotov was right. Molotov then went on to state we should not imagine the Soviet Union does not have its differences with its allies and stated it would be wrong to believe that Soviet Union controls China.
Eden stated he had impression Molotov really wanted to “get moving” on Indochina. Said much easier to deal with him than Chou Enlai who was personally stiff and unresponsive, usually giving a cold exposition of China’s position in response to Eden’s attempts at fruitful discussion. Eden stated throughout evening Molotov refrained from any criticism US and again adverted to Secretary’s departure from Geneva with some puzzlement. Eden said he referred to Secretary’s statements at Berlin that he would be unable to spend any length of time in Geneva. Eden agreed with my observation that Molotov was probably worried over what the Secretary is doing back in Washington, and that this was a good thing.