396.1 GE/6–454: Telegram

Twelfth Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, June 4, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 379. Repeated information Paris 387, London 245, Saigon 144, Tokyo 110, Moscow 107, Phnom Penh, Vientiane unnumbered. Tokyo for CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Twelfth restricted session, Friday June 4, Molotov presiding:

Cambodian delegate reiterated views re special character Cambodian problem. He referred to CPR position yesterday that international control including control over introduction war material and troops be extended to Cambodia. After referring to complete independence and sovereignty of Cambodia and to absence French troops there and to foreign (Viet Minh) invasion of which Cambodia victim and after [Page 1032] referring to fact Viet Minh has foreign armament (including shells with Chinese characters) and after stressing pacific nature Cambodian Government and people, Cambodian delegate stated that when peace is restored Cambodia will need to import war materials and also foreign military technicians and instructors for legitimate purposes Cambodian organization for defense. He said international control over this legitimate activity would be dangerous intervention in Cambodian domestic concerns. He added, however, Cambodia would give commitment not permit introduction foreign troops into Cambodia and also to inform control commission re Cambodian importations of arms. He said international control in Cambodia over introduction arms and troops made as much sense as would similar control in Thailand and in China.

Cambodian delegate believes composition of international control commission for Cambodia should be different from that for Vietnam because of Cambodia’s special situation. He reiterated proposal he had made on May 16 and 17 that selection of members international commission basis proposals by Geneva Conference and added that in case of Cambodia it should be Cambodia herself that would make proposal. International control in Cambodia would be designed purely to protect Cambodia against fresh invasion following evacuation of Viet Minh troops.

Cambodian delegate proposes seven states (India, Pakistan, Burma, Philippines, Japan, Canada and Italy), asking conference select three of these for international control commission in Cambodia.

Mr. Eden reiterated that he had always agreed Cambodia and Laos were special cases which should be taken up by conference at an early date, and he referred to views earlier expressed on this subject by UK delegate. Dismissing Cambodian intervention, he then turned to general subject of international supervision. He mentioned statements yesterday by French, US and CPR delegates.

Eden said first important point regards functions and relations between proposed joint committees of belligerents and proposed international supervisory commission. He stated DRVCPR view to effect joint committees have primary responsibility for carrying out ceasefire provisions but added he may not clearly have understood Chou En-lai’s remarks re this topic. He said further clarification would be helpful. He stated his own view to effect joint committees in Vietnam could be helpful but that since obviously differences will arise between two sides, there must be an authority, namely, the impartial international committee of control, to resolve these differences and to assure correct execution all clauses of cessation of hostilities agreement. Mere coordination between two bodies clearly insufficient. Even international [Page 1033] body will not be able function satisfactorily if made up on same bilateral basis as joint committees. Membership of international commission must not reflect points of view of two sides but be truly impartial and endowed with necessary authority for task.

Re composition, Eden referred to agreement that this should be pursued in private discussion. He repeated need for clarification re authority and status of the international committee. Thereafter, conference should take up structure and functions thereof. He stated Bidault ‘s June 2 proposals would be most useful.

Eden said next question would be decision on authority to which international committee will be responsible. He expressed interest in CPR proposal that responsibility could be to Geneva Conference nations who have task of guaranteeing agreements. Eden suggested guaranteeing powers might see fit set up permanent control organism made up of members. This required further consideration.

Summarizing, he stated following questions:

What should be the function and responsibility of joint committees, of impartial international commission and of guarantor powers?
What should be the relations between these three bodies?

Molotov then spoke re composition of international commission. He referred to Soviet proposal (India, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Pakistan) and to objections on basis Communist ideology of Poland and Czechoslovakia. He stated these objections untenable. Capitalistic countries on this basis could not be neutral either. He discussed organization of such bodies as UN, Security Council, ECOSOC and International Court of Justice. He stated charter of ICJ clearly calls for makeup on basis differing juridical systems which reflect existing dominant political, economic systems.

Molotov rejected proposal to introduce UN into Indochina matter. He stated UN unfit if only because absence China whose people denied their legal right of membership. He also pointed out majority members Indochina phase Geneva Conference not UN members.

Re composition of international commission, Molotov stated there should be included countries having diplomatic and political relations with both of the parties to the dispute which means Poland and Czechoslovakia “or others” cannot be omitted.

On subject of relation between joint committees and international commission, Molotov stated relationship should be one of coordination, that they should work in agreement but not be subordinate one to the other. He referred to precedent in Korea where no such subordination exists in case of joint bodies representing belligerents. He described role of international commission as one of helping [Page 1034] parties to carry out terms of their agreement. With reference to matter of appeal by NNSC in event unable settle disputes, Molotov referred to statement made by CPR in which Eden had expressed interest to effect that guarantor states mentioned in original French proposal would receive for consideration disputes which neither NNSC nor, in first instance, joint committees had been unable to settle. The guarantor states would then agree on necessary collective measures.

Molotov stated that NNSC must cover all three countries of Indochina. Otherwise there might occur in Laos and Cambodia a concentration of military personnel and arms or even establishment of foreign bases which would threaten permanence of cessation of hostilities in Indochina. He reminded conference that France and French troops have relations with all three states. He added that original French proposal spoke of international control for all three states, only difference being nature of responsibility in each.

Molotov denied there was any difference in the proposals of Soviet delegation and DRV in matter of NNSC. He expressed full Soviet endorsement of observations made by DRV and by CPR on this question.

Molotov also drew attention to second paragraph of Chinese proposal (Secto 3262) providing that parties concerned should begin negotiations upon appropriate readjustments of their occupied zones and other related problems. He stated contacts have been established between commands in Geneva but noted that none had yet been established in field in spite of fact that conference “resolution” of May 313 clearly provides for special contacts. He expressed hope these would be established in near future. Molotov expressed agreement with suggestion made yesterday re private exchanges of views on international control commission problems.

After intermission, Bidault spoke at some length on need for effective impartial permanent control authority over armistice agreement which could take immediate action whenever necessary.4 Otherwise every agreement would be in danger. If no difficulties arose in implementation agreement, no need for such impartial arbiter. However, all agreed that violations likely and that disputes would arise mixed commission. Therefore, must be dispassionate and responsible control authority which would be removed from heated disputes and able move quickly. French could not abandon this concept.

Bidault continued he would speak of Laos and Cambodia later, and was concerning himself today only with situation Vietnam. He remarked [Page 1035] Chou yesterday had considered it necessary establish two joint bodies—mixed commissions which knew well geographic areas and which would participate in implementation armistice agreement and at same time international commission. He again stressed need of neutral supervision and pointed out areas disagreement which might arise in mixed commissions such as those concerning regroupment troops, exchange prisoners, increase war potential. He considered solution these problems extremely difficult and without precedent that first condition for adequate control over these problems was need for real neutral observers who would have authority and who could act quickly for, if breaches of the armistice were permitted endure, disaster would result. He advocated efficient system of supervision control which would be fixed yet mobile, large enough to be effective, and with modern means of transportation, communication, etc. He said each time dispute arose which could not be settled by mixed commissions it must be referred international commission which would have last word and full authority. If there were no such controls there could be no guarantees for effective armistice.

Bidault continued mixed commissions should actively participate implementation of armistice agreement. Their duties, following directive of international commission, could be widened. But they were always subordinate to international commission. When violations in armistice terms fell within competence international commission, international commission would take action. When secondary violations within competence mixed commissions arose, they would attempt to settle them, but if they were unable they must be referred back international commissions.

Bidault then turned to question composition international commission but made no proposal. He noted various proposals on Indochina armistice had been tabled, including one by Eden today and suggested they be considered seriously and talked over in subsequent restricted meeting. He said he would circulate views French delegation on results thus far Indochinese debate.

General Smith had three brief observations:

Was impossible reach meeting minds on interpretation actual neutrals on one hand and effective impartiality of non-belligerents on other. He suggested new approach in accordance with Eden’s statement today on impartial international controls. He proposed discard word “neutral” and insert “impartial” and then perhaps delegates might find impartial nations for participation in international commission;
He associated himself completely with British and French views re relationship between mixed commissions and impartial international commission. There must be supreme authority by latter and reasonable subordination by former;
He agreed that Chou’s basic principles might in long run be framework for agreement on condition that agreement be reached separately on three points, namely, (1) composition international commissions; (2) relationship between commission and mixed commissions; and (3) nature of obligations of guarantor states. Without this, Chou’s basic principles remained skeleton without substance.

  1. A set of minutes of this session (IC Restricted/12) is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 278. The minutes indicate that the meeting convened at 3 p.m. and adjourned at 7 p.m. The minutes are also printed in Conférence de Genève, pp. 196–204.
  2. Dated May 27, p. 947.
  3. Reference to the communiqué agreed to during the Ninth Restricted Session on May 31: see telegram Secto 356, May 31, p. 983.
  4. French proposal on “Structure of Supervision in Viet-Nam” is infra.