396.1 GE/6–2954: Telegram

Nineteenth Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, June 29, 1954, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State 1


Secto 545. Repeated information Paris 520, London 334, Saigon 227, Tokyo 164, Moscow 151, Vientiane, Phnom Penh unnumbered. Tokyo for CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Nineteenth Indochina Restricted Session Tuesday, June 29, with Kuznetsov in Chair.

Qam [ Pham ] Van Dong (Viet Minh) opened with reference Soviet suggestion first meeting that after certain agreement on principles armistice control question could be referred to committee. Dong then, without contributing any new ideas, proceeding to comparison Soviet June 14 proposal and French (Chauvel) statement June 25 to show wide area agreement. He stated “object” of control was terms armistice agreement. Noted that military talks making progress but political questions barely started; although he did not pursue this question he seemed to indicate necessity embodying political terms in agreement.

Basing claims on French statements of June 2 and June 25 and Soviet June 14 proposal; Dong concluded no disagreement in principle on:

Establishment demarcation lines,
Establishment demilitarized zones,
Liberation prisoners and civil internees, and
Prohibition on introduction arms and troops after armistice.

Dong noted detail of Soviet proposal and stated it was good basis for discussion, although certain precisions and additions necessary. For [Page 1262] example, question of duration of control not yet considered. Certain aspects such as regroupment of forces and exchange of prisoners would require control only until accomplishment, but with other aspects, such as prohibition of introduction of arms, control would not terminate automatically. How long this control to be maintained, for example, until final peace treaty or new agreement, should be considered.

Dong described guiding principles of control as efficiency and impartiality but there were other aspects. Communist delegates had stressed necessity for respecting sovereignty of three states. This question most important in connection control. Efficiency of control mechanism must not impair sovereignty of states or rights of people. Control bodies with compulsory authority might become foreign administrations detracting from this sovereignty.

Dong again referred indivisibility of peace in Indochina. This must apply to control of armistice since violation in one state could seriously affect other two.

On question organization of control, Dong claimed following areas agreement Soviet and French proposals:


All recognized necessity joint and international commissions operating parallel manner and in different fields. Although Chauvel statement June 25 and Soviet proposal close, agreement still remains on functions and relationship. Basically, responsibility of carrying out agreement up to both sides, this must be recognized. Sides will settle differences between themselves. Therefore, joint committees should be responsible for control and implementation. In case of differences would refer problem to international commission but this unlikely since both sides have equal interest in success of agreement.

Functions of international commission on other hand would comprise supervision and particularly of non-introduction [of new troops and equipment into Indochina, to]2 note violations and communicate to both sides, and to make suggestions to amendments to agreement.

Between joint and international commissions, Dong stated, no question of subordination, rather coordination and different tasks. He noted Soviet proposal this effect and Chauvel statement June 25 that commissions would begin “juxtaposition”.
On question of unanimous or majority decisions by international commission, he reiterated Communist insistence that decisions not be of unilateral (i.e, majority) character. He again quoted Chauvel statement June 25 to show that in serious cases international commission might submit majority and minority reports to guarantor states but they would not have force of unanimous reports.
With reference control for Cambodia [and Laos] he noted all agreed necessary. Reserved position on Cambodian proposal for separate commissions for each of three states. He thought Chauvel‘s suggestion three control bodies with additional coordinating body not too far from Communist position.

[Page 1263]

Dong finally stated belief conference now has basic factors with which to reach agreement in principle on control, and questions could now be referred to committee as proposed by Soviet delegate.

US delegate then made statement Secto 542.3

Chauvel followed with preliminary comment on Dong‘s statement. He asked for copy for more thorough study and noted several problems or deficiencies in Dong‘s speech:

To avoid confusion, term “control” should probably not be used with reference to the joint commission but rather terms such as “execution” and “implementation”. “Control” is more relevant to international aspects of problem.
Dong‘s analysis omitted reference to mediation or arbitration by international control body. Even though that body may have only few occasions to act, it must have power to make compulsory recommendations.
Dong said that control machinery must respect national sovereignty. This is very well in normal peace time but we are dealing with abnormal situation.

Concerning Johnson‘s statement on Korean experience, Chauvel agreed conference must benefit by this and other experience, but observed all experiences not absolutely comparable. Chauvel then made somewhat cryptic remark about guarantees of settlement, saying this is complicated problem on which some data may still be lacking. He suggested this problem might well be reserved for return of heads of delegations.

In closing, Chauvel remarked French delegation now engaged on work on entire control question and welcomes suggestions from other delegates.

After recess, Cambodian delegate, Sam Sary, spoke briefly. He endorsed French proposal for establishment of committee of experts and agreed with Soviet recommendation that conference provide experts with a list of questions. He saw no need, however, for more restricted conference sessions to formulate such questions, as Soviets had proposed.

Cambodian delegate then made following points concerning supervision of armistice:

Each Indochinese state should have separate international control commission. He agreed with French suggestion that coordination between three commissions could be achieved by special body, but hoped that such body would act solely in liaison capacity and have no authority over country commissions. Liaison body could, he suggested, work through secretariats of three country commissions.
In Cambodia, joint commission representing belligerent sides would be needed only for a short period of withdrawal of foreign troops.
International control commission should be set up under aegis of UN and composed of really neutral states. It is hard for Cambodia to believe Poland and Czechoslovakia [are neutral], since they have [recognized] DRV and not Cambodia.

Conference agreed next restricted session would be July 2.

  1. A set of minutes of this session (IC Restricted/19) are in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 279. The minutes indicate that the session convened at 3 p.m. and adjourned at 5:45 p.m. The minutes are also printed in Conférence de Genève, pp. 347–355.
  2. These and following words in brackets supplied from the verbatim record of the Nineteenth Restricted Session.
  3. Infra .