396.1 GE/6–2254: Telegram

Seventeenth Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, June 22, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 503. Repeated information Paris 48, Saigon 198, London 318, Tokyo 157, Moscow 143, Phnom Penh, Vientiane unnumbered. Department pass Defense; Tokyo pass CINCFE. Following is text my statement in 17th Indochina restricted session Tuesday, June 22:

Both the delegates of France and the People’s Republic of China have spoken of the task now confronting this conference with respect to the question of international control. Mr. Chauvel has I believe given us a most useful analysis of the task we face in this regard.

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As Mr. Li has noted, on June 14 Mr. Molotov made a rather extensive statement on the subject of International and Joint Commission control over the provisions of an armistice agreement in the three states and submitted a proposal on this question. He later developed his ideas on that same day and on June 16. I would like in a spirit of helpfulness to address myself to some of the questions raised by this proposal and its explanation, and to refer to some of the principles which my delegation feels must be accepted with regard to each of the three states if this control is to be effective.

I regret I must first note the small degree of progress which seems to have been achieved. Mr. Molotov did accept that certain categories of decisions by the International Supervisory body could be taken by majority vote. I regret that he stopped there and thereby placed such limits on the capacity of the Commission to take executive and rapid decisions. If unanimity were to be applied, and I quote from Mr. Molotov’s proposal, to “questions connected with violation of provisions of the agreement or the arising of a threat of such violation which could lead to the re-opening of hostilities”, it is obvious that on matters of the gravest importance the Commission could be paralyzed just at the time when rapid and effective decisions were most needed.

However, this progress is slight when we consider the major questions which are still unresolved. I refer particularly to the questions of composition of the International Supervisory Commission, the authority of this Commission, and the relation of Joint Commissions to the International Commission.

The position of my delegation has been made clear several times on the question of composition of the International Commission. I can only reiterate that I consider either the United Nations as mentioned by several delegations or the Colombo powers as proposed by Mr. Eden as meeting the criterion of impartiality upon which this Commission must be founded. The views of the USDel are well known on the question of the inclusion of countries of the Communist bloc. These views are amply supported by the records, the neutral nations Supervisory Commission in Korea which there is no need for me to repeat at this time.

I turn to the question of the authority of the International Commissions. The provisions of Mr. Molotov’s proposal which are concerned with the functions and powers of the International Supervisory Commission, particularly when read in conjunction with the remainder of his proposal, would give us a Commission which the USDel feels not only lacked the real power of decision but which also lacked any substantive field in which to operate. I understand that the term in the Russian language used by Mr. Molotov in describing the Commission is correctly translated into English as “observation” rather than “supervisory”. Indeed, “observation” describes more accurately the functions proposed by Mr. Molotov for this Commission, and it is on this principle that we find our greatest divergence of view.

A further weakness in the functions assigned to the International Commission by the Soviet proposal is in the proposal’s failure to spell [Page 1221] out clearly that the Commission should have free access to the entire country in which it is operating and that this access should not be conditional upon an invitation by one or both of the opposing sides. This access should be facilitated, as M. Chauvel has pointed out, by providing the Commission with adequate means of transportation and communication as well as with sufficient personnel to carry out any missions which it considers appropriate to its functions.

The Soviet and other Communist delegations desire the acceptance of a powerless and unworkable body which would have no authority in relation to the two belligerent sides or to the Joint Commissions made up of representatives of these two sides. We, to the contrary, insist on a truly impartial International Commission in a position of authority over the parties to the armistice and over any Joint Commissions which it might be necessary to create.

I noted with interest Mr. Molotov’s statement on June 14 that to insist on subordination of the Joint Commissions to the International Commission would mean that we do not want to re-establish peace in Indochina. I find that statement somewhat difficult to understand as it seems to me that the premise bears no relation to the conclusion. It is the belief of our delegation that the best means of maintaining a cessation of hostilities would be to give the necessary powers to the International Commission, including full authority over the Joint Commissions.

In summary, the United States delegation desires to see the creation of an impartial and effective International Supervisory Commission, endowed with real authority to supervise and control the provisions of the agreements with respect to each of the three states and provided with the personnel and material means which will permit it to carry out its mandate.

I have, Mr. Chairman, put forward this analysis in the hope that by pointing up what seems to our delegation the fundamental principles in this regard which still must be resolved, we can expedite the resolution of these problems.