Memorandum by the Adviser to the United States Delegation (Bonsal) to the Deputy United States Representative (Robertson)
Geneva, June 18, 1954.
- Meeting of the Six this morning.
- Chauvel reported on Bidault’s talk yesterday with Chou En-lai. Chou En-lai apparently agrees to recognize the Royal Governments in both countries and, with regard to Cambodia, to recognize that the handling of the Khmer movement is a question of internal politics only. With regard to Laos, Chou still insists on regrouping zones in [Page 1176] northern Laos, along the Chinese and Vietnamese frontiers, for the Pathet Lao. Chou’s position is that the Vietminh in the countries are “volunteers”, the withdrawal of which could be worked out by military staff conversations.
- The Cambodians and Laotians will talk this afternoon with reference to the formal Chinese Communist proposal. They will ask for certain clarifications regarding the parties concerned and the terms of reference of the military talks. If these clarifications seem satisfactory, they will then make a definite proposal for military conversations. The Cambodians insist that these conversations take place in Cambodia and not at Geneva. The Cambodians and Laotians will speak separately with the idea that perhaps this afternoon we can reach agreement on military conversations for both Laos and Cambodia. (With regard to the military conversations, the Cambodian position is that because of the fluid military situation in Cambodia and because of the danger that the Vietminh might send some alleged Khmer resistants to Geneva they prefer conversations on the spot. The Laotians expressed themselves strongly against any regrouping zones in Laos.) The military conversations could result in recommendations which would be reported back to the Conference so that these recommendations could be correlated and coordinated with the other work of the Conference including the military settlement in Vietnam.
- Chauvel spoke about the future work of the Conference and the desirability of providing for continuity after the departure of Eden and General Smith. He said the Chinese Communists believe they lost a good deal of face because of the method by which the Korean phase was terminated. Chauvel indicated that he probably would not discuss his proposal for a nine-delegation committee this afternoon although he left this open.
- Chauvel may present a French proposal for the conditions of international control in Laos and Cambodia.