396.1 GE/7–254: Telegram

Twentieth Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, July 2, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State 1


Secto 554. Repeated information Paris 7, London 5, Saigon 5, Tokyo 2, Moscow 2, Vientiane, Phnom Penh unnumbered. Tokyo pass CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Twentieth Indochina restricted session, Friday, July 2 Lamb (UK) chairman.

Lamb observed that as result of last four meetings conference has clear idea of remaining tasks. Hoped today further progress would be made especially concerning relations between joint commission and international supervisory commission but need much goodwill in order reach satisfactory conclusion.

Chauvel (France) followed saying he too believed we are on path where agreement may be foreseen but he not yet ready offer more precise definitions or specific solutions. Most can be now said is we seeking distinguish problems of joint aspect of control and neutral aspect of control. This broaches delicate problem of way decisions to be taken in important cases.

Chauvel stated he has in back of mind possible way to solve voting problem but not ready set it forth. Said would not make positive contribution to debate today.

Kuznetsov (USSR) then made following comment on control.


Relationship between joint and international commissions.

Said on June 14, Soviets attempted define duties both commissions and relationship between them. Relation would not be that of subordination but each would carry on autonomously. Certain delegates have resisted this idea. French apparently do not insist upon subordination concept and other delegations also now appear not to do so. This testifies to certain rapprochement. We should then be able agree on draft on principle that two commissions work side by side [Page 1273] without one being subordinate. There is also not serious difference of opinion concerning definition of functions and duties of these bodies and we should be able reach agreement.


Procedure for implementation of recommendations of international supervisory commission.

Some have expressed opinion armed forces will be needed to implement recommendations. We against this since would mean in effect occupation Vietnam, violation of sovereignty, and could restart war. Now apparently none of delegations proposes international commission have armed forces. No need stress binding nature of recommendations. Asked delegations, especially French, re-examine this question.


Decisions of the international supervisory commission.

French have proposed that supervisory commissions in addition to making recommendations, should make reports which if not unanimous could be made in form of majority and minority reports. Soviets proposed decisions be made not by majority vote, but by agreement of all members. Seems French position remains same as before but desirable receive from French clarifications this point.


Composition of international supervisory commission.

Kuznetsov dwelled on June 29 US statement which he claimed attempted discredit NNSC and “reiterated outworn, long-since refuted arguments”. Many documents distributed among delegates. If difficulties exist in NNSC that explained by fact US not only has not assisted commission but puts obstacles in way. Important thing is American command must stop obstructionist policy concerning NNSC. US considers as impartial only those countries which act as US desires.

In summary, Kuznetsov saw rapprochement concerning questions.

(1) Inter-relationship of two commissions; (2) lack of need of armed forces at disposal supervisory commission. On other hand, we are far apart on composition neutral supervisory commission and on method of resolving disagreements arising in commissions.

Chauvel then spoke again pointing out that Kuznetsov stated conference could today take “decision”. We cannot take decisions as such. This is question of terminology. Cannot now say anything final on important question procedure of neutral control commission. We need to know what is to be controlled, need terms of reference and how body will act. Suppose neutral body would have to take decisions and would have to do something in case of disagreement. Could we not conceive this aspect from angle of law which is compulsory itself or if sides delegate to body powers of arbitration presume they will accept that arbitration. Goodwill is best guarantee for implementation of armistice [Page 1274] agreement and must function with respect both bodies. Perfect machinery may become clogged. Question of what to do in case serious disagreement is not simple matter. At this point we do not seek specific formula so much as correct description on case. Not ready now make proposal but may be at next meeting.

During his intervention Chauvel, in obvious reference to Kuznetsov‘s attempt to indicate closeness of agreement between French and Soviet positions on relation of international and joint commissions, made statement to effect he could not necessarily be bound by impromptu remarks during course of debate.

After the recess, Lamb (UK) spoke briefly, and said that fact UK delegate had not intervened does not mean UK delegate subscribes to view that question of subordination in relation between mixed and international commissions is not a serious one. UK delegation reserves its position on this. What UK delegate wants, he said, is system that works best. UK delegate has not changed its view that international commission must have mandatory power in order to expedite decision. He concluded by saying UK delegation is studying various proposals and has not adopted any particular viewpoint.

Buu King [ Kinh ] (Vietnam) spoke next noting that after weeks on debate differences are still profound. His delegation, he said, considered principles of efficiency and impartiality fundamental to system of control. He then referred to comments of other delegates that control system should be compatible with principle of national independence, and pointed out that it is not same for country to accept limitation of its sovereignty for benefit of another state as it is to do so in interests of peace. He referred to cases in international law where sovereignty is limited in interests of peace, and cited 26 September 1953 Vishinsky speech in UNGA in which latter said international control should be applied to control of atomic energy.

Turning to subjects of composition and functions of neutral commission and its relation to joint commission, he asked if Soviet proposal would result in selection truly impartial countries. He subscribed to Eden‘s speech in Commons 21 June 1954 in which Eden said neutral commission composed of two Communist and two neutral would not work. He then asked whether neutral commission as proposed by Soviet delegation would be efficient and concluded that if unanimity rule were applied to important questions commission could be paralyzed by one state. As far as giving joint commission control responsibility, he said his delegation warned against this in light of sad memories of 1946. To assume mutual good faith is an illusion and a danger. After eight years of fighting difficult to imagine both sides will cease to distrust [Page 1275] each other. Therefore, his delegation, he said, cannot accept parallel relation between commissions, and supports UK view on this point. In conclusion, he stated that only an international body can perform control function, and that a UN agency would be the best.

There being no further speakers, session adjourned at 1740, and will resume on 6 July.

  1. A set of minutes of this session (IC Restricted/20) is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 279. The minutes indicate that the session convened at 3 p.m. and adjourned at 5:40 p.m. The minutes are also printed in Conférence de Genève, pp. 356–361.