The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 499. Repeated information Paris 481, London 317, Tokyo 155, Saigon 194, Moscow 142, Phnom Penh, Vientiane unnumbered. Re [Page 1214] Secto 495, repeated Paris 477, London 315, Moscow 141, Tokyo 154, Saigon 19 ,1 As indicated reference telegram Chou En-lai last night entertained Cambodian, Laotian and Viet Minh delegates at dinner. Accounts given us by Laotians and Cambodians indicate dinner was excellent with numerous toasts to peace and friendship followed by movies and by conversations.
Cambodians were favorably impressed at Dong’s attitude toward Cambodia. He accepted principle of withdrawal of Viet Minh “volunteers”. He said aspirations of minorities in resistance movements should, however, be taken into account. He expressed satisfaction at Cambodian intention of granting general amnesty following cessation of hostilities. He admitted great popularity of King Norodom Sihanouk in Cambodia. He expressed satisfaction with agreements for transfers of power from France to Cambodia which Cambodians showed him and with which he apparently unfamiliar. He expressed understanding of Cambodian requirements for self-defense while claiming his main worry was possibility of American bases in Cambodia.
Conversation with Laotian delegate followed generally similar course. Chou En-lai evinced sympathetic interest in Laotian territorial integrity and independence. According to Ourot, “he almost promised us the protection of 600-million Chinese”. Dong stated he accepted Franco-Laotian military agreements including continued existence of French Union bases on Laotian territory. He expressed concern at the possibility of American bases and of agreements between Laos and the US for defense. Dong accepted principle of withdrawal of Viet Minh volunteers and pointed to fact most of them had already departed and that operations are at low ebb (Laotian reports confirm this).
With regard to resistance movements in Laos, Dong’s attitude was different from that followed with regard to Cambodia. He suggested meeting between Souvanna Phouma (Prime Minister) and his brother Prince Souphanouvong, the resistance leader. Dong said he would like to talk further with Laotian delegate on this subject. (Comment: It is quite evident that Dong regards Laotian resistance movement as more valuable asset than Cambodian resistance movement.)
According to our informants, there was no mention at this meeting of possible establishment of relations between Communist Chinese and Laos and Cambodia.
Comment: It seems clear that Viet Minh with Communist Chinese support will endeavor to secure at price of conciliatory friendly attitude they are adopting toward Laos and Cambodia involving withdrawal [Page 1215] of Viet Minh and cessation of hostilities in those countries, a commitment or understanding which would in effect neutralize these two countries or at least prevent them from participating in Southeast Asian defense organization. Since participation depends not only on their willingness to participate but also on US willingness to make specific commitments for defense of Laos and Cambodia, US delegation would appreciate urgently instructions as to attitude we should advise Laotians and Cambodians to adopt. We are suggesting, of course, that they, while protesting their peaceful intentions and their complete sovereignty and independence make no commitments which would prejudice their ability to enter into collective security arrangements with other countries.