396.1 GE/5–3054: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

top secret

Tedul 144. For Smith from Murphy. Re Dulte 134.2 Your urgent need for guidance fully appreciated as well as your capacity to absorb pressures of “irate Foreign Ministers” !

Secretary will not be available until Tuesday3 morning in New York arriving Washington about nine p.m. EDT.

You have been given our thinking on Korea in Tosec 3164 subject Secretary’s approval.

On Indo-China we are giving Secretary outline our thoughts for his consideration as follows (and no doubt he will communicate to you his views as soon as possible).

I. Outlook for Conference.

Conference is rapidly approaching new stage with summoning of military experts to Geneva and forthcoming departure of Molotov and Eden. Therefore, important at this time we review our total position. Military experts cannot, of course, commit us to accept their recommendations or any territorial settlement in Viet Nam which threaten to deteriorate to disadvantage of anti-Communist security position. As you indicated in your remarks May 29 (Secto 3435) we should continue reserve right to decide for ourselves whether any of solutions ultimately proposed are “consistent with our firm position on Laos and Cambodia, as well as Viet Nam”. (Underscoring mine.)

If evolution of military campaign should threaten maintenance of key positions in Tonkin Delta, this might confront United States with grave decisions (key areas may be those outlined in paragraph (4) of Dillon’s 4605, repeated Geneva 560 May 306). It is no less true that loss these key positions through negotiated settlement would be unacceptable to United States.

On basis latest messages from Paris, present French Government seems disposed to hold in the Delta. Our actions in Geneva and elsewhere are calculated strengthen its ability and will to resist. If French Government or its successor should weaken and seek end fighting on worse terms, prejudicial to free world security and integrity of Viet [Page 990] Nam, we might have seriously to consider extent if any to which we could associate ourselves with such a settlement.

Dubious attitude of British as reflected by Eden would not prevent us from making this independent assessment.

II. Composition of Control Authority.

We are opposed to any “counterpart of the NNSC”. Our preferred solution is control commission organized as suggested our Tosec 302.7 You are authorized, however, support commission which included Norway or another friendly European nation provided Asian powers who might be expected make up control commission should indicate no insuperable objection. If, as counterpart to friendly European nation, Soviets should propose European satellite, this would be unacceptable and we would prefer stand for purely Asian membership.

III. International Guarantees.

In my view necessary sanctions against violation should preferably be supplied through UN. It is increasingly clear here that if US must eventually intervene, public and congressional opinion would much more readily support action within UN framework. Moreover, this solution would commend itself to Asian nations, particularly Associated States.

Asian nations acting alone without UN would have neither will nor ability prevent or penalize violations; in fact, they may even be unwilling assume field supervision functions without some relationship to UN.

Action by signatory powers alone would have relatively narrow base. Moreover, on practically every issue action would be inhibited by sharp divisions between Communist and free world components. If intervention were then undertaken “jointly or severally” by free nations it might have aspect of an action by interested powers unbacked by disinterested support of third parties.

In UN there exist established procedures for intervention which could be rapidly utilized, whereas these would have be devised and spelled out for intervention by signatory powers, doubtless over opposition of Communists.

Despite SC veto, UN charter and procedures provide effective means for individual or collective defense against armed aggression.

For above reasons, UN responsibility from outset is preferable but we could accept solution in which: 1) signatories pledge responsibility for no breach in armistice by participants their side; 2) signatories [Page 991] agree as part of armistice that if control commission reports breach in armistice, any signatory may refer matter immediately to UN.

  1. Drafted by Gullion of S/P, Tyler of WE, Popper of UNP, and Sturm of PSA. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4334, to Saigon as telegram 2463, and to London as telegram 6474.
  2. Dated May 30, p. 981.
  3. June 1.
  4. Dated May 31, p. 326.
  5. Dated May 29, p. 975.
  6. For text, see volume xiii.
  7. Dated May 29, p. 969.