396.1 GE/5–2654: Telegram

Sixth Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, May 25, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 304. Repeated information priority Paris 331, priority Saigon 111, Tokyo 88, London 207, Moscow 87, Phnom Penh, Vientiane. Department pass Defense. Tokyo pass CINCFE. Reference Secto 302,1 repeated foregoing addressees. Correct first quoted statement by General Smith to read as follows:

“When we left yesterday I was under the impression that we would talk today about a cessation of hostilities in all of Indochina, with specific reference to examining the problem of Vietnam.

“If I understand the proposal of the Viet Minh representative, he is now proposing to partition Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I do not believe we should seriously consider this proposal. I believe, however, that we can achieve a cessation of hostilities if agreement can be reached on three general points: These are (1) withdrawal into specified areas of regular forces in Vietnam; (2) disarmament and disbanding of irregular forces; (3) establishment of adequate safeguards and creation of an international supervisory commission whose composition and terms of reference would permit it to function effectively.

“On the first point, M. Bidault has made a proposal for assembling all regular units in Assembly areas. If such a regrouping is a preliminary step to provide for the ultimate unification of all Vietnam under its recognized government, I can support M. Bidault’s proposal. However, we will want to examine the specific suggestions which may be advanced.

“In the meanwhile, Mr. Eden has submitted proposal which is an inevitable preliminary to achieving a cessation of hostilities. I believe that we should accept it and proceed with it immediately.

“With reference to the second point, the US believes that agreements for cessation of hostilities should include provisions for the disarmament of all irregular forces. From the statements made yesterday, it appears that there is a general consensus of opinion on this point.

“Finally, it seems to us to be essential that there be effective safeguards to provide for the security of armed forces and the civil population, and to insure against abuses of the cessation of hostilities agreement by either party. It seems unlikely that men who have been fighting for months will ground arms and keep the peace unless they are under competent international supervision. From our point of view the most competent authority in existence for such purpose is the United Nations. To be effective, it seems clear to me that adequate UN control machinery must be in place and ready to function at the time of actual cessation of hostilities.

“I have addressed myself exclusively to the problem of Vietnam because it was my understanding that was our agreement. However I [Page 927] shall repeat what I have said before that the situations of Laos and Cambodia present a special case, and hostilities in Laos and Cambodia can be stopped by arranging for the withdrawal from those two countries of the invading Viet Minh forces. I would hope that this arrangement can be made without delay. I will not say anything further on this point at this time.”

The foregoing text being circulated to other delegations.

Additional correction: Date of next restricted meeting Indochina phase given incorrectly Secto 302. Should read Thursday May 27.