396.1 GE/7–654: Telegram

Twenty-first Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, July 6, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 561. Repeated information Paris 13, London 7, Saigon 11, Tokyo 3, Moscow 3, Vientiane, Phnom Penh unnumbered. Department pass Defense; Tokyo pass CINCFE. Twenty-first Indochina restricted session, Tuesday, July 6, Kuznetsov presiding.

Li Ko-nung opened meeting with review of Communist position on armistice supervision. He read his support of the Soviet and DRV statements on this question and also noted that the French statements deserve attention. He stated that views of various delegates were drawing closer but that some gaps still needed to be bridged. In alleged effort to further negotiations, Li made following principal points:

Although some delegates have not expressed their views, agreement apparently reached on principle that Joint and Neutral Commissions [Page 1290]will work side by side and that one will not be subordinate to other.
On functions and powers of two commissions, Soviet proposal of June 14 and French statement of June 25 are similar and should provide basis for agreed position.
It is not necessary in terms of reference of Neutral Commission to stress compulsory nature of Commission’s recommendations. If sides have good faith, they will pay serious attention to recommendations of Neutral Commission. Compulsory recommendations will not provide any additional protection for armistice, but merely lead to interference in internal affairs of states of Indochina.
On voting procedure of Neutral Commission, French statement of June 25 distinguished between method of handling important questions and that for other questions. Discussion on this problem should continue on basis of Soviet proposal for [of] June 14.
On composition of Neutral Commission, constructive Soviet proposals can provide basis for agreement. Proposal that UN supervise armistice deliberately obstructs progress of conference.
On armistice supervision in Laos and Cambodia, Li argued since problems of peace in these countries are component parts of total Indochina problems, unified Neutral Commission should be established for all Indochina. Differing conditions in the three states of Indochina could be taken into account in administering armistice.
Statement by US delegate on June 29 distorted Korean armistice experience and demonstrated unconstructive attitude.
More restricted session, as proposed by Soviet delegate, to consider various proposals on armistice supervision and to refer to experts points agreed in principle should be adopted.

Chauvel spoke next. He stated French delegate is continuing work on comprehensive draft of control problem. He therefore preferred not to go into various issues involved but to wait until work finished.

He then turned to new subject and observed that point 3 in Chinese Communist’s proposal of June 16 had not yet been discussed. He asked Chinese Communist delegate what was meant by statement that “The question of the amount and the type of arms that may be introduced into Laos and Cambodia for requirements of self defense shall be the subject of separate negotiations.”

Sam Sary (Cambodia) followed with reminder that Cambodian delegate had several times restated opposition to Van in introduction arms and military personnel following cease-fire. Made points that after armistice Cambodia will not reduce its right and freedom to strengthen army for legitimate defense of kingdom; that if fear existed that arms would transit Cambodia for Vietnam international control could be set upon Cambodia-Vietnam border; that it ridiculous to believe country of 5 million, even armed to teeth, could menace countries of several tens or hundreds of millions population. Repeated willingness Cambodia, under certain conditions, make commitment [Page 1291]introduction arms and personnel would remain compatible with defense needs.

Sam Sary pointed out Chinese Communist proposal of June 16 recognized need for import of arms following armistice but failed mention requirements foreign experts and instructors. He noted other Asian countries, independent longer than Cambodia, still required assistance its personnel in military establishments. Since Cambodia needed both arms and personnel two questions should not be separated.

If separate negotiations this subject, as proposed by Chinese Communists did take place, following principles should govern: Cambodian sovereignty must be recognized and Cambodia must be able organize defense without interferences; insofar as security Cambodia not imperiled, Cambodia would give assurances defensive character its defense organization and would not menace neighbors.

Cambodia ready participate in such negotiations but must know how organized, when, between what parties, and whether results to be incorporated in general armistice agreement or in separate convention. Ended by inviting views other delegates, particularly Chinese Communists.

Laotian delegate, Kamphan Panya, endorsed statement of Cambodian delegate and drew attention to certain, points particularly applicable to Laos. He stated that Laos has vast area along difficult borders and young army. As a result Laos has requested and received French assistance. Under Laotian-French agreements, French Union troops would be stationed in Laos even in peacetimes for defensive purposes. Maintenance of these bases is for the time being essential to defense of Laos. Assistance of French officers and technicians necessary to raise Laotian army to proper level of defensive efficiency. Any lack in proportion between the size of the French training mission and task of such mission could easily be detected.

He pointed out that sparse population and geography were such that Laos could not be threat to neighbors. In closing, he stated technical military data on Laos, including relations with French, would be placed before military subcommittee.

Next restricted session scheduled for Friday, July 9.

  1. A set of minutes of this session (IC Restricted/21) 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 p.m. The minutes are also printed in Conférence de Genève, pp. 362–367. The comments by Sam Sary on the introduction of military supplies and personnel, Indochina Document IC/40, July 6, is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 279A.