396.1 GE/6–854: Telegram

Fifth Plenary Session on Indochina, Geneva, June 8, 3:03 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

Secto 403. Repeated information Paris 402, London 258, Saigon 151, Tokyo 116, Moscow, Vientiane, Phnom Penh unnumbered. Tokyo pass CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Following is text Undersecretary’s statement at fifth Indochina plenary Tuesday, June 8: “At our previous meetings the United States delegation has stated from time to time its firm position with regard to the special nature of the problem existing in Laos and Cambodia. This position is as described this afternoon by M. Bidault as well as Mr. Eden and I will not enlarge on the subject except to say that the US associates itself with France and that the US delegation continues to maintain that peace would automatically be restored to Laos and Cambodia if the invading Viet Minh forces would withdraw.

Our object is to secure a real and lasting peace in Indochina. To do this we must be sure that there are adequate safeguards for any settlement which this conference may reach. My delegation has repeatedly, in our restricted session, stated the view that one essential element for [Page 1076]safeguarding a settlement is the creation of an International Supervisory Commission whose composition and terms of reference would permit it to function effectively.

The composition of an International Supervisory Commission is a question of such importance that I have suggested that it be taken up in private conversations among the members of this conference. I still believe that we might move forward more rapidly if this point could be settled in private discussions. I think it will be helpful, however, again to make clear the principle upon which I feel certain we must proceed in arriving at the membership of an effective International Commission.

In one word that principle is impartiality. An impartial commission, as Mr. Eden pointed out, if endowed with adequate authority, can safeguard a settlement. A partial, or divided commission, will obstruct or prevent achievement of the real and lasting peace which must be our common objective. We must therefore search for impartial membership on a Supervisory Commission.

Mr. Molotov has suggested a four country commission to consist of India, Pakistan, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Two of these states, Poland and Czechoslovakia, are the same two Communist countries that have exercised their power of veto to frustrate the effective operation of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea. Last Saturday, in our meeting on Korea, it was necessary for me to point out the unhappy experience which we have had [with?] this Korean commission. I described how the truly impartial members of this commission, Sweden and Switzerland, have been forced repeatedly to protest against the continued arbitrary refusals of the Communist countries to permit the carrying out of the obligations of the commission. My statements have been made a matter of public record in our Korean meeting. I will not repeat them here because the facts have been clearly demonstrated.

Mr. Molotov’s proposal is that a Supervisory Commission should be established under arrangements exactly like those in Korea, where the Communist States, by exerting a veto over the activities of the commission have completely blocked effective performance of the obligations of the commission. This is obviously an unsatisfactory and unacceptable proposal. We must not repeat a mistake which has not only served to obstruct the carrying out of an international agreement, but has also placed two truly impartial nations in the intolerable situation of being innocent parties to such obstruction.

Mr. Molotov did propose, however, that India and Pakistan should be requested to serve as two of the members of a Supervisory Commission. [Page 1077]As I have already said in our restricted sessions, I believe this is indeed a helpful proposal and one that merits serious considerations. It has seemed to me for a long time that India and Pakistan, in association with other actually impartial states, might provide a basis for a satisfactory and really effective International Supervisory Commission. It is for that reason that I welcome with satisfaction the proposal that the delegate of the United Kingdom has just made, and for that reason believe it should be given our very careful consideration.

Smith