396.1 GE/5–2854: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

top secret

Tosec 307. Reference Sectos 332,2 3333 and 336.4 We realize from Secto 336 that you are fully alive to the dangers of associating Laos and Cambodia with Viet Nam in any cease fire and troop regroupment. We agree with Phleger’s analysis of the position and believe that great attention must be paid to the wording of any agreed proposal on this subject.

As we have stressed in a series of messages, especially Tosec 2545 and Tosec 288,6 we firmly maintain the position that the three Associated States are not to be treated as a bloc in proposed military arrangement.

As to paragraph (b) of UK draft (Secto 332 and 336) we believe that our position could be fairly represented by a redraft along the following lines:

“The first task should be to work out regrouping areas within Vietnam, for Vietminh forces operating in all three Associated States, and for Franco-Vietnamese forces operating in Vietnam”

[Page 977]

With reference to the Eden version in Secto 336, we oppose the words of the preamble “and simultaneous” unless it is made clear thereafter that regrouping would be effected only within Vietnam.

As you know (Tedul 137)7 we fear that zonal “regrouping” may tend to de facto partition which would raise serious questions for us. Also, the feasibility of maintaining the integrity of enclaves and isolated sectors is problematical. Without effective policing and guarantees, which an Asian commission may be unable to supply, we fear a possible general merging under Communist pressure, unless Western powers are willing and ready to intervene on detailed and regional questions.

We should like as soon as practicable receive whatever series of maps or other topographical descriptions of the zones projected under the various propositions may be obtainable from French or other sources.

  1. Drafted by Sturm of PSA and Gullion of S/P.
  2. Telegram Secto 332, May 28, contained the U.K. proposal presented to the Drafting Committee on Indochina. (396.1 GE/5–2854) For minutes of the meeting of this committee, May 28, and the text of the British proposal, see p. 955.
  3. Telegram Secto 333, May 28, contained the summary minutes of the first meeting of the Drafting Committee on Indochina. (396.1 GE/5–2854) For minutes of this meeting, May 28, see p. 955.
  4. Dated May 28, p. 965.
  5. Dated May 24, p. 912.
  6. Dated May 28, p. 966.
  7. Dated May 28, p. 967.