396.1 GE/7–954: Telegram

Twenty-second Restricted Session on Indochina, Geneva, July 9, 3 p.m.: The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 579. Repeated information Saigon 20, Paris 29, London 11, Tokyo 4, Moscow 5, Phnom Penh and Vientiane unnumbered. Department pass Defense. Tokyo for CINCFE. Following is text my statement at 22nd restricted Indochina session Friday, July 9:

“Mr. Chairman, in continuation of our discussion at the last meeting, I desire briefly to comment on the statements made at that meeting by the Dels of Cambodia and Laos on the important subject of the defense of their countries.

As the US and other Dels have stated on several occasions, the problem of restoring peace in Laos and Cambodia is solely one of ending a foreign invasion. It seems to the US delegate unthinkable that these sovereign states should be forced to divest themselves of their right of self-defense as the price of obtaining the withdrawal of foreign aggressive forces. I cannot seriously believe that anyone could regard Cambodia and Laos as potential threats to the peace and security of their neighbors. All possible doubt on this score has long since been removed by the declarations made before this conference.

The proposal made by Mr. Chou En-lai on June 16 appears to have paid at least some lip service to the right of Laos and Cambodia to import arms for their self-defense. However, as the Del of Cambodia pointed out at our last session, that proposal does not seem to have recognized the right of Laos and Cambodia to seek foreign technical assistance and to employ foreign military advisers whenever necessary to the proper development of their defense forces. As General Smith said on June 19, ‘The small Cambodian and Laotian forces have a few French officers and noncommissioned officers. If they are deprived of these, their capacity for self-defense is materially reduced. The USDel considers that in the same way as any other sovereign state, the states [Page 1320] of Laos and Cambodia should be free to request and to obtain technical assistance and advice.’

The position of the Chinese Communist Del on the military facilities established in Laos under agreements between the governments of Laos and France also requires clarification. The purely defensive nature of these facilities has been made clear by the Dels of Laos and France. Moreover, since both Laos and France are members of the French Union these facilities are clearly not ‘foreign’ bases in the sense that that term has been used by several Dels.

The Chinese Communist Del has proposed that separate negotiations be held on the question of the amount and type of arms that may be introduced into Laos and Cambodia for self-defense after the cessation of hostilities. At our last session, a number of questions were raised concerning this proposal. The Del of Cambodia, supported by the Del of Laos, also set forth certain principles which should be recognized if the proposed separate negotiations are in fact undertaken. These principles are entirely reasonable and indeed essential from the point of view of the future security of these small countries, which are even now being forced to defend themselves against attacks originating outside their borders. As the head of the Cambodian Del made clear on an earlier occasion, the representatives of these two countries would be gravely derelict in their duty to their peoples were they to deliver them with hands and feet tied, defenseless to foreign aggressors. Indeed, after all the statements we have heard on the necessity for respecting national rights and sovereignty, I find it strange that we find ourselves in the position of discussing limitations on the most fundamental aspects of the sovereignty of these two countries.

I hope that the responses to the questions raised at our last meeting will lead to a concrete recognition of the sovereign rights and the defensive requirements of Laos and Cambodia.”