396.1 GB/6–854: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 397. Repeated information Paris 395, London 253, Saigon 149. In conversation yesterday with Heath and Page,1 De Margerie stated he not sure Bidault would maintain strong stand that joint committees of belligerents must be subordinate to authority of proposed international commission for control of Indochina armistice. Taking Communist evasion and noncompliance for granted, it is De Margerie’s view that too precise supervisory structure might make it impossible for France, after a cease-fire, to bring United States matériel or United States personnel into Indochina for training of troops. De Margerie also thought that Chou En-lai had made slight concession in agreeing that international commission should have authority over demilitarized zones between or along periphery or regroupment areas. Since there would probably be at least five demilitarized zones this would give international commission considerable authority.

Chauvel in conversation with Bonsal made following points:

French very much concerned and annoyed at lack of any progress either in military talks or with reference composition and set up of proposed international control commission. French aware that between June 15 and June 20 Giap will be ready to resume offensive. French however in dark as to enemy intentions.
No progress at all has been made in military conversations here. Viet Minh wish to discuss principles contained in their May 25 proposal. French are anxious to get to concrete discussion actual regrouping areas. French suggested Saturday that exchange of views as to present military positions of opposing sides might be helpful in furnishing base from which discussion of regrouping zones could take off. French were planning make information on their position available to Viet Minh representatives yesterday.
Bidault has talked to Chou En-lai and Chauvel has seen Wang Ping-nan, Secretary General of Chinese Communist delegation, three times on matter of composition of international control commission. CPR position is firmly to effect control commission must have two members having relations with Viet Minh. India, in spite of India’s current dispute with France over France’s Indian possessions and in spite of India’s unsympathetic attitude toward France’s North African problems, is considered by CPR to be one of our side’s neutrals. Bidault saw Chou En-lai yesterday evening and something may have developed further.
BidaultMolotov talk yesterday morning was absolutely negative although Molotov was amiable like a “smiling log” in Chauvel’s phrase. [Page 1062] Molotov insisted on earlier Soviet position regarding composition of control commission. He suggested possible delays in military conversations arose from fact Viet Minh delegation incomplete. French have impression Molotov’s attitude since his return from Moscow June 1st has hardened. They noted that since his return he has had no direct contact with Eden. (Fuller account of conversation follows.2)
Krishna Menon saw Bidault for one and one-half hours yesterday. He too, insisted generally on Soviet view regarding composition of control commission, i.e., inclusion of country or countries having diplomatic relations with Viet Minh.
Bidault plans to make speech generally reiterating French proposals and argument as set forth during restricted sessions. He plans leave Geneva after plenary tomorrow in order to take part in Assembly debate. He is pleased that he will have opportunity of speaking plenary here before commenting before Assembly on progress of conference.

  1. See memorandum of conversation, p. 1049.
  2. See telegram Secto 399, June 8, p. 1065.