Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, The Geneva
Conference, Volume XVI
Memorandum by the Special Adviser to the United
States Delegation (
) to the Head of the Delegation (
,] May 27, 1954.
- Meeting of the Six Delegations May 27.
- At this morning’s meeting the French Delegation submitted an
entirely new paper2 regarding establishment of contact between
military commands for the determination of regrouping zones in
VietNam. Under general principles, the paper reproduces the
language of the Viet Minh proposal for exchanges of territory
based on a variety of political, demographic, and economic
principles. French military and political experts (Major
Debarnot and Cheysson) spoke briefly in favor of the
proposal. The Vietnamese Delegate took strong issue with the
proposed acceptance of the Viet Minh language which he said
would merely lead to partition; (in this he was conservative;
acceptance of the Viet Minh principles would very probably give
to the Viet Minh a firm springboard from which they could
rapidly absorb the entire country). It was finally agreed that
if the French make their proposal, they will include only
strictly military considerations plus a positive statement
against any arrangements leading to partition.
- This current French proposal takes as a point of departure
Eden’s May 25
- The British paper3 providing for the regrouping in Viet-Nam of
Viet Minh troops in Laos and Cambodia was read but was not given
thorough consideration. It appears that the problem of the
simultaneity of the cessation of hostilities is recognized to be
a practical rather than a theoretical one.
- The Cambodian Delegation strongly restated the well known
Cambodian position regarding the necessity for a withdrawal of
all Viet Minh forces from Cambodia.
French Proposal for the
Settlement of the Military Problem of Vietnam
(Further proposals will be put forward in the immediate future
for Laos and Cambodia and it is understood that nothing agreed
for any one area will prevent the entry into force of a
cease-fire in all areas simultaneously.)
- Representatives of Commanders-in-Chief of the two parties
will meet at Geneva on_____.
- They will examine, in the first place, the demarcation of
the zones of regrouping in Vietnam.
- They will present their recommendations and observations
to the Conference.
- It will be their task to propose the basis upon which the
regroupment will be carried out, taking into account the
following two principles: (a) the
regroupment must not lead to a dismemberment of Vietnam, and
(b) the regroupment has for its
objective the reestablishment of peace and security in
- If it should be considered necessary, they will be able to
request the Conference to define such points as they
- During this time the Conference will continue to study
other problems relative to the peace in Indochina.
Proposal of the U.K. Delegation
In order to facilitate the early and
simultaneous cessation of hostilities [it
end]4 it is proposed that:
- Representatives of the two commands should meet
immediately in Geneva in order that
this should also contribute to the establishment of
contacts between the two parties on the
- Their first task should be to work out the regrouping
areas for Vietnam [the
- They should report their findings and recommendations
to the conference as soon as possible.
- The conference meanwhile should proceed with
examination of other military matters, beginning with
arrangements for international supervision.