Memorandum by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation (Heath) to the Head of the Delegation (Smith)1



  • 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 proposal.
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.

[Attachment 1]


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 Vietnam.
If it should be considered necessary, they will be able to request the Conference to define such points as they consider useful.
During this time the Conference will continue to study other problems relative to the peace in Indochina.

[Attachment 2]


Proposal of the U.K. Delegation

In order to facilitate the early and simultaneous cessation of hostilities [it is necessary to determine the areas within which the forces of both sides shall be regrouped.

To this 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 spot.
Their first task should be to work out the regrouping areas for Vietnam [the two sides and first of all for Vietnam]4.
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.

  1. Drafted by Bonsal.
  2. Attachment 1 below.
  3. Attachment 2 below.
  4. Brackets in the source text.
  5. Brackets in the source text.