The United States Delegation to the Department of Defense
Army Message Gento 58. Action Defense, information USARMA Paris, USAEMA Saigon, USARMA London, State Department. From Defense representative for Hensel from Sullivan. Following is summary French-Vietnamese military talks with Viet Minh 14 June reported to Defense representative by member French delegation:
- Maps exchanged 11 June by both sides (see Gento 571) compared and found to be widely divergent regarding areas over which each claims military superiority. Substantially Viet Minh position is that French hold only population centers. (Maps being reproduced by French delegation, copies promised US delegation when available.) No discussion thus far of possible regroupment areas.
- Principal topic of discussion was preparation of paper setting forth summary of results of all meetings to date. Viet Minh representative tabled his version which French representative found unacceptable. Chief point of disagreement was Viet Minh assertion that French had put forward Laniel proposal of 5 March2 on take it or leave it basis, and that Viet Minh had rejected it. French representative stated his reference to Laniel proposal intended merely as starting point for military discussions, that he expressed willingness to modify it, and that therefore, it was not subject to acceptance or rejection. Another point of disagreement in Viet Minh draft was statement of French position regarding Dong proposals of 25 May, advanced by Viet Minh representative at 4 June meeting. French representative found Viet Minh expression of reasons for French disagreement with Dong proposals inaccurate. French representative is redrafting paper and will present his version to Viet Minh 15 June. Presumably next meeting will be devoted to further discussion of maps and draft summary of progress to date.
- French delegation contact, in response to direct question, flatly stated there were no military talks with Viet Minh going on in Geneva other than those herein reported;
- Further informed Defense representatives that instructions were issued to General Ely to have a liaison officer at Dinh Cau 14 June during POW exchange available to make contact with Viet Minh liaison officer and discuss time and place for meeting of representatives military commanders in field. Viet Minh were informed in advance. French delegation has no information yet whether contact was made.