396.1 GE/7–1554: Telegram

JohnsonKimny Meeting, Geneva, July 15, Morning: The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 616. Repeated information Paris 64, Saigon 37, Phnom Penh 3. Nong Kimny called on me this morning. He described call yesterday by Chou En-lai, accompanied by two aides and interpreter and Cambodian Foreign Minister arranged at Chou‘s request. Chou stated his recent interviews with Nehru, U Nu and Ho Chi Minh permitted him to assert that all three want peace in Indochina and that this also is wish of all countries of South and Southeast Asia. Unanimous desire is that three Associated States be united and have cordial relationship with Colombo powers, such as Burma, India and Indonesia. Chou stated that India was willing to participate in International Control Commission. Chou recalled the two declarations which had been issued on occasion of his visits to New Delhi and Rangoon, reiterating the five points contained in the Chinese-Indian Treaty regarding Tibet.2

Chou then asked Cambodian Foreign Minister regarding prospects of Conference. Foreign Minister replied that in two meetings he had had with Dong, latter had insisted on injecting political problem into military aspect and that if this continued, Foreign Minister is dubious as to prospects. He reported that Dong had asked that certain provincial officials appointed by resistance movement be retained, and that resistance youth movements be preserved. These demands are contrary to Cambodian constitutional processes. Chou is reported to have laughed at these claims, and to have stated that these are internal matters which Cambodian Government should handle unilaterally.

[Page 1379]

Chou then referred to the two documents he had received the day before (July 13) from French delegation, namely draft of Conference declaration (Secto 5973), and working paper regarding controls in Cambodia and Laos (Secto 6054) with important draft declaration, Chou stated that in this document, France recognizes independence and sovereignty of Cambodia without discriminating against elements having cooperated with either party and contemplates the evacuation of all foreign forces. Also Chou interpreted document as meaning that there would be no military foreign bases in the three States of Indochina and that no military alliances would be permitted between the three States and other States. (Nong Kimny stated he was unable to find any basis for these assertions in French draft declaration; it is, however, included in Soviet draft just received.) Referring particularly to Cambodia, Chou stated his understanding intent was that countries would gain complete independence and that all elements belonging to resistance movement could return to national community. This would leave only military problem for solution.

Cambodian Foreign Minister replied that after cessation of hostilities, all elements of the population who had formerly worked with Viet Minh would be able to return to national community without deprivation of constitutional civic rights. (In reply to my question, Nong Kimny stated amnesty was not designed to apply to crimes against persons and property.) Foreign Minister then asked Chou for his thinking regarding introduction of arms and military personnel in Cambodia after cessation of hostilities. Chou stated that this matter was to be subject in case of both Cambodia and Laos to separate negotiations, but did not elaborate on this theme, taking refuge in statement that he had not thoroughly studied French draft document which, however, he had received favorably as representing French desire to reach agreement. In reply to Foreign Minister’s insistence on impossibility of accepting limitation on introduction of arms and military personnel into Cambodia, Chou replied that he would make further study of question and hoped Cambodian and Laotian representatives would submit their ideas. He expressed interest in knowing quantity of foreign troops, military personnel and arms which Cambodian and Laotian Governments consider necessary for defense of their countries.

Cambodians reiterated point that arms limitation incompatible with sovereignty and pointed out that defense establishment in Laos and Cambodia would depend on armament of Cambodia’s neighbors.

[Page 1380]

Chou then referred to his June 16 proposal and stated belief that perhaps principles therein had been badly stated or badly understood. He referred particularly to paragraph 3 of that proposal which reads:

“3. After the cessation of hostilities, the introduction in Laos and Cambodia from outside of fresh troops and military personnel of ground, naval or air forces and of all types of arms and ammunition shall be prohibited.

“The question of the amount and the type of arms that may be introduced for the requirements of self-defense shall be the subject of separate negotiations.”

Chou stated that he wished to make clear that the provisions regarding non-introduction of arms and military personnel refers only to armistice period and not to permanent situation which will prevail after armistice has given way to definitive peace. Nong Kimny expressed view that this represents important development in Chinese thinking but added that Chou continues to link armistice in Cambodia with armistice in Laos and Vietnam and apparently contemplates that there will be one armistice for all three countries with simultaneous termination. Since Cambodians believe their problem extremely simple and recognize Vietnam problem extremely complex, it appears evident to them that if Chou‘s view prevails they may be bound by armistice terms long after peace could be definitively restored to their country.

Chou established differentiation between situation in Vietnam where neither party is to bring in arms and troops and that in Cambodia and Laos where limited introduction of arms and munition will be contemplated. Chou did not mention military personnel.

Later in day (July 14) Cambodians met with French. French told them they contemplate three basic documents in connection with cessation of hostilities:

Draft declaration copies of which have already been submitted to all delegations;
Three separate agreements on cessation of hostilities;
Unilateral statements by governments concerned including in case of Cambodia and Laos statement of intent regarding elections and regarding arms and equipment needed for self-defense.

Nong Kimny thought well of my suggestion to amend statement on elections by adding phrase “in accordance with constitutional processes” since Cambodians did not wish to assume obligation of holding special elections. (Normal elections scheduled in 1955.) Cambodians also raised point with French that it would have been desirable instead of submitting draft declaration and draft control document to all delegations if agreements could not have been reached between six friendly delegations before handing these papers to Communists. [Page 1381]French replied that they recognized justice of observation but that from practical point of view it was necessary to discuss these papers simultaneously with both friendly and unfriendly elements if practical conclusions are to be reached within available time periods.

I took occasion in this connection to express the view that French position regarding general terms of settlement in Indochina was as firm and courageous as we could expect in view of realities of present situation. I stated Secretary had been much heartened by his talks with Mendes-France. I added that it seemed to me that Cambodian unilateral declaration envisaged in French draft need be no more than repetition of what Cambodians have already stated at conference regard to elections and to Cambodian defense plans.

  1. Telegram transmitted in two sections.
  2. The “communiqué on Talks between Mr. Nehru and Mr. Chou En-lai, 28 June 1954” and the “Joint Statement by the Prime Ministers of China and Burma. Mr. Chou En-lai and U Nu, 29 June 1954” are printed in Documents on International Affairs, 1954, pp. 313–314. The Sino-Indian Agreement on Tibet, signed on Apr. 29, 1954, is in 70 UNTS 229.
  3. Dated July 13, p. 1355.
  4. Dated July 14. p. 1369.