396.1 GE/5–2554: Telegram

SmithMenon Meeting, Geneva, May 24, Evening: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 108. Repeated New Delhi 17. Eyes only Ambassador. I spent three hours with Krishna Menon last night. He did most of the talking and I made very few comments. He said he was giving his own ideas and did not speak with any authority from his government. I knew, of course, that he would not have spoken as he did without Nehru’s authority.

Summary of his remarks as follows:

The conference should reach some agreement on Korea, if only agreement in principle that Korea should be reunited and an agreement to disagree. On procedure, therefore, even an agreement to disagree was a small step forward and not a step backward. After “two years or twenty years” of loose association and some trade and cultural exchanges, they could learn how to get along together. I asked him whether he was suggesting an international body to mediate between the United Nations and the Communists on Korea. He said no, the United Nations, while a belligerent, was also the “umbrella held over the world”. In this dual capacity it could mediate with itself [Page 914] (meaning that the non-participating nations of the UN could mediate between the 16 participants on the one side, and the Communists on the other).
Agreement could be reached on Indochina. He estimated Chou En-lai as a man “with whom one could do business”, and Molotov as “quite different and much improved”.
There should not be a partition in Indochina, but after a standstill the opposing forces should be gradually gathered into “pockets”.
It is unrealistic to think that all military problems can be settled without some corresponding political settlements. For instance, Cambodia and Laos had been invaded, but there were indigenous elements associated with the invaders. All belligerents should stand still and ground their arms while a neutral authority sorted out the invaders. Presumably the indigenous elements remaining in opposition would have little significance in an election. Also, without some political understanding, in which all three states participated, Cambodia and Laos would have no assurance against repetition of trouble.
I asked (because I knew) what his ideas were about a supervisory authority. He said that to be effective it would have to be accepted by all five major participants. India, if agreed to by all and requested to do so, would probably accept the responsibility along with some European nation. He thought Norway was the only one left that might accept and be acceptable to everyone. I mentioned several others, such as Sweden, et cetera, and he said they would probably not accept or would not be acceptable to the Communist side because of close association with NATO. A Latin American country would not do because considered part of the “American Bloc”. Canada, though otherwise very good, was probably out for the same reason. Thailand, though Asiatic, was considered generally aligned with the American bloc. Burma might be acceptable, but had local troubles. However, Burma might be able to provide some “token representation”. The United Nations as a direct supervisory authority would, he thought, be rejected by Communist China.
The only way an agreement can be reached on a supervisory authority is by private discussions among heads of the five delegations themselves. If India’s services were desired, it would have to be a governmental decision; therefore India should not become a bone of contention.

He will be here until Wednesday, will probably talk with Eden again, and may ask to see me once more before he goes to New York.