Memorandum by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation (Heath) to the Head of the Delegation (Smith)1
[Geneva,] 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 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.