396.1 GE/7–1554: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of Defense

top secret

Defense Message Gento 81. For Sullivan from Dwan. Following are principal provisions of French Delegation draft agreement on cessation of hostilities in Vietnam, copy of which shown me today by member of French Delegation who promised to give US Delegation copy as soon as finalized:

  • Article I: Cease-fire.

    This article provides for complete separation of opposing forces to be completed within 380 days from date of cease-fire and for division of final zones of regroupment along line in vicinity Porte d’Annam (18th parallel). Disengagement of forces to consist of initial separation and is to proceed to final positioning of opposing forces.

  • Article II: Principles for Execution of Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities.

    This article prescribes that the cease-fire, separation, and regroupment of forces will take place simultaneously for both sides. It includes details such as that forces both sides will be withdrawn from demilitarized zones; that civilians who desire may leave regroupment zones; that persons may cross demarcation line only with authorization of Joint Commission; that civil administration and relief is responsibility of commanders of zones concerned; that sides must remove mines and [Page 1383]provide safe conditions for supervisory organs etc. It further makes distinction between regular and irregular forces, defining former as organized formations which on Viet Minh side include both regular and regional forces, and defines irregular forces as partisans.

  • Article III: Separation of Combatants.

    This article provides for inclusion of a specific time for cease-fire and calls for execution of separation of forces as soon as possible thereafter. It provides for (but for the moment leaves blank) the number of days during which regroupment of forces into initial assembly areas must be completed and prescribes that Joint Commission is to fix local conditions therefor. It further provides for (but for moment leaves blank) number of days thereafter during which movement into primary regroupment zones must be completed and leaves to Joint Commission responsibility for fixing details for this movement. Following are primary regroupment zones designated for each side:

    North Vietnam.

    French Union Forces to be regrouped into following areas in three stages:

    (1)
    Area delimited by present battle line in delta (details to be fixed by Joint Commission, both sides to agree to undertake no offensive action during fixing of detailed line);
    (2)
    Enclave extending inland just beyond Haiduong;
    (3)
    Enclave around Haiphong.

    Central Vietnam.

    Viet Minh Forces located between Col des Kuages (above Tourane) and Porte d’Annam to be evacuated north of Porte d’Annam; Viet Minh Forces located in quadrangle Col des Nuages, west to Laos border, south to junction borders of Annam, Cochin-China and Cambodia, east to Phan-Ri, to be regrouped in Quang-Ngai and Binh-Dinh Provinces, with five-kilometre demilitarized zone to be established around this regroupment area; Viet Minh Forces in Central Vietnam south of quadrangle described above to be regrouped in South Vietnam.

    South Vietnam.

    Viet Minh Forces east of Saigon Eiver to be regrouped in Xuyen-Moc and Ham-Tan Provinces. Viet Minh Forces west of Saigon River to be regrouped vicinity Long-My and in Ca Mau Peninsula.

  • Article IV: Withdrawals and Transfers.

    This article describes simultaneous phased movements of opposing forces from regroupment areas. (1) When French Union Forces withdraw to Haiduong enclave, Viet Minh evacuate Long-My and Ca Mau regroupment areas in South Vietnam. (2) When French Union Forces withdraw to Haiphong enclave, Viet Minh evacuate Xuyen-Moc, Ham-Tan regroupment area. When French Union Forces withdraw from Haiphong enclave, Viet Minh evacuate regroupment area in Central [Page 1384]Vietnam. This article also prescribes that embarkation port in Central Vietnam is at Qui Nhon, and in South Vietnam at Can Tho, Ham-Tan, or Phan Thiet. It further prescribes that first simultaneous withdrawal phase is to be completed within three months, second within one additional month and third within eight months 15 days additional (total 380 days after cease-fire).

  • Article V:

    This article prohibits the introduction into Vietnam of re-enforcing military personnel, and weapons, and contains wording similar to Korean Armistice Agreement (paragraphs 13(C) and (D)). It further prescribes 11 ports of entry on each side through which all military personnel and arms must enter and leave under supervision of International Commission.

  • Article VI, prisoners of war; and Article VII, further details, were not available in draft.

    Provisions for control machinery also to be included.

Member of French Delegation said French would present to Viet Minh draft of agreement including first four articles described above. Balance of draft, including article on re-enforcement of military personnel and arms, would not be presented and French would wait for Viet Minh initiative on this subject. Member French Delegation also said similar draft agreement on Laos currently under preparation.