110.11 DU/6–1354: Telegram

SmithEden Meeting, Geneva, June 12, Morning: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Dulte 176. Repeated information Moscow 119, London 273, Paris 425. Limit distribution. Eden came to see me immediately following his talk with Molotov yesterday morning on Indochina. Eden said Molotov agreed with his analysis of the three fundamental issues facing the conference: That is; (1) separate treatment of Laos and Cambodia, (2) functions and powers impartial supervisory organization, (3) composition impartial supervisory organization.

With respect to the first, in reply to Eden’s statement that the Vietminh invaders must withdraw, Molotov suggested that “we go on thinking about it”. Molotov then went on to suggest that some “neutral formula” be found under which military staff talks on Laos and Cambodia could be gotten under way. Although neither Molotov nor British mentioned or discussed any specific form of words, Eden gained impression that Molotov had in mind a proposal to general effect that “military talks be held between the staffs in order to deal with disposition of forces in Laos and Cambodia with view to preparing a cessation of hostilities”. Eden pointed out very doubtful such a formula would accomplish anything, as Laos and Cambodia would immediately demand formula be interpreted as calling for withdrawal of Vietminh forces, and Vietminh would make opposite interpretation. Eden said he thought it important any formula arrived at make specific that military staff discussions would be with regard withdrawal Vietminh forces but could obtain no commitment from Molotov along this line. Eden stated he was not sure whether Molotov’s apparent attempt to find formula get separate staff talks going Laos and Cambodia was a face-saving gesture to cover Vietminh withdrawal or stalling device, but was inclined toward latter view. However, felt he must pass on to us, as well as France, Laos and Cambodia. He was to see them yesterday afternoon. Both of us felt they would also reject. In this event, he plans again see Molotov, probably today (he said he hoped for last time) and pass rejection on to him.

On political side Molotov stated they wanted elections in all three of the Associated States. Eden said he recalled that Laotians had expressed willingness hold elections under UN supervision following [Page 1125] withdrawal Vietminh forces, but apparently not much discussion on this point.

Respect composition and operation supervisory commission, Molotov said that he was not necessarily opposed to having majority decisions some questions, but remained firm on 50–50 composition. He rejected Eden’s suggestion of each side adding one to the five Colombo powers. Molotov suggested conference might begin examination categories of questions upon which majority vote and unanimous vote of supervisory organization would be required. Eden rejected pointing out impracticability and lack of real distinction between majority and unanimous vote with 50–50 composition. Eden said Molotov mentioned published reports India would refuse to serve with Pakistan. (Eden said to us with some bitterness this reflected Menon’s activities.)

Molotov asked Eden for another Indochina plenary Monday suggesting might return to restricted sessions after that. Eden demurred, pointing out futility of sessions under present conditions, but Molotov was insistent. I said if session held would plan to make statement. We discussed without conclusion having Laos and Cambodia at Monday’s session2 indicate that as they had been unable to obtain any results at conference, were bringing their case before UN.

  1. For a further report on this meeting, see telegram Dulte 178, June 13, p. 1130.
  2. June 14.