Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 290

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation ( Heath )1



  • M. Roland de Margerie, French Delegation
  • Donald R. Heath, US Delegation
  • Edward Page, US Delegation

In conversation this morning the following points were brought out by de Margerie:

While Bidault in the last session had taken a strong stand that the mixed commission must be subordinate to the authority of the international commission, de Margerie is not sure that he would maintain this line for the following reasons: If France desired, after a cease fire, to bring U.S. matériel or U.S. personnel into UN for training of troops a too precise supervisory structure might make this impossible. He had therefore recommended to Bidault that any final plan—he was under no illusions, that any armistice could be drawn which could not be evaded by the Communists—should be “short and vague”. He cited the incident of Abbe Sieyes saying to Napoleon that “a constitution must be short and clear” only to be interrupted by the latter stating “yes I agree that a constitution must be short and obscure”.
He thought Chou En-lai had made a slight concession in agreeing that the international commission would have authority over the demilitarized zones between or along the periphery of the regroupment areas. There would probably be at least five demilitarized zones which would give the international commission considerable authority.
Bidault was now in favor of an Indochina plenary tomorrow for it would give him an opportunity to make a detailed statement on the French position prior to his statement in Parliament on Wednesday2 which would be of a more general nature. Bidault’s line in Tuesday’s plenary would probably be to review the serious practical concise French proposals and the fact they had been met by vague impractical and unacceptable proposals from the Communists.
Bidault would let General Smith know whether he thought it advisable for the General to speak tomorrow. de Margerie thought it possible that Bidault might desire the General to reiterate the U.S. position of the composition of the international commission.

  1. Drafted by Heath and Page.
  2. June 9.