396.1 GE/6–1754: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

top secret

Tedul 215. For Under Secretary and Ambassador from Secretary. Reference Sectos 458, 459, 461, 463 and Dulte 190.2 Chou En-lai’s [Page 1175] proposal concerning Laos and Cambodia (Secto 458) seems to us discouraging in that it marks little advance over his proposal of May 27 (Secto 3263), except that it acknowledges our insistence on separate identities of three Associated States. Following particulars seem open to serious objection.

New proposals would still have the enemy represented by a phony Khmer and Pathet Lao command and appear designed in effect to perpetuate Vietminh presence in Laos and Cambodia.
Secto 458 fails to make any provision for withdrawal of Vietminh forces from Laos and Cambodia. Its wording would tend to provide sanction for Vietminh troops now in the two countries to remain there in support of any Khmer or Pathet Lao troops which could be mustered. Moreover no foreign troops could be admitted to Laos and Cambodia to defend the countries, as part of united action in the area, or train their armies, nor could the latter be provided with the means to fight.
Paragraph 4 in later proposal admits the concept of an international control commission and makes no mention of the joint committee of military representatives which all Communist proposals regarding a cessation of hostilities have hitherto described as bearing the real responsibility for implementing any armistice.
Broadly speaking, think important that neither we nor other friendly delegations give any impression of agreement which would exclude possibility bringing Laos and Cambodia into some collective security system in Southeast Asia or if this should be done making the military arrangements implicit in any such relationship.

I was interested in reaction you were able to draw from Molotov on composition of control Commission. I doubt we can get Thailand or Philippines, let alone both, on it. Our position of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Indonesia seems the one we should stick on.

  1. Drafted by the Secretary of State, Sturm of FE/PSA, and Gullion of S/P. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4649.
  2. All dated June 17, pp. 1162, 1163, 1157, 1170, and 1165, respectively.
  3. Dated May 27, p. 947.