396.1 GE/7–1654: Telegram
The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 627. Repeated information Paris 73, Saigon 45. After background statement by Laloy for benefit of Associated States representatives who although they had received original French draft declaration to be issued by conference (Secto 5971) had only today shortly before meeting received Soviet counterproposal (Secto 6152) and new French draft (Secto 6283). Laloy also explained reasoning behind new French draft along general lines of conclusions reached at tripartite [Page 1399]working level meeting yesterday (Secto 6174). He gave following as guiding principles in new French text:
- Separation of Vietnam from Cambodia and Laos;
- Non-repetition in declaration of matters already handled in proposed military agreements;
- Maintenance of position regarding not fixing date for elections in Vietnam;
- Modification of article regarding withdrawal of French troops so that these are now to be withdrawn on request of governments concerned;
- Acceptance of Soviet idea contained in paragraph 3 of Soviet counterproposal (Secto 615), but
- By maintaining in brackets portion of Soviet proposal (reproduced in paragraph 9 of new French proposal) to leave this phrase open for further clarification.
Cambodian Ambassador Nong Kimny took issue with paragraph 3 of new draft. He wished to get across idea that Cambodia (as well as Laos) had held periodic elections and would continue to do so. This was finally redrafted so that it now reads “all citizens … will be able to take their place in the national community by taking part in the next general elections which, in accordance with the constitutions of each of these countries, will take place by secret ballot respecting fundamental liberties”.
With regard to Article 4, Cambodians presented a proposed Cambodian declaration to the effect that for duration of armistice period in Vietnam, Cambodian Armed Forces would be no larger than those sufficient for defense of Cambodia and would not constitute a threat to anyone. He proposed that a definite time period for duration of Vietnamese armistice might be fixed in Cambodian declaration. This proposal was somewhat brusquely disapproved by other delegations including French and Vietnamese who pointed out that it was essential that no time period be set in any way for duration of pre-electoral period in Vietnam. Nong Kimny withdrew his draft and said he would think the matter over.
Sam Sary remarked that proposed declaration in fact gives Cambodia no assurances or guarantees for her security in the future. He entered a general reservation based on fact Cambodian delegation had only received text less than hour before meeting.
After meeting Sam Sary told Bonsal that Cambodia most reluctant to make any commitment with respect to territorial integrity of Vietnam because Cambodia considers boundary between Cambodia and Vietnam was set arbitrarily by President of France and that it leaves [Page 1400]outside of Cambodia large number of people of Cambodian racial origin. For this reason Cambodia makes a general reservation.
Vietnamese representative (Chau) emphasized need for leaving imprecise duration of pre-electoral period in Vietnam.
UK (Allen) and US (Bonsal) expressed view new text represented considerable progress. US position on not participating in consultation with other conference members regarding questions transmitted to them by international control commissions was reiterated.
After meeting, Bonsal endeavored to make clear to Cambodian delegates that it would not be possible practically to guarantee Cambodian security through any mechanism composed of conference members and subject to Communist veto. He stated that Cambodian security would have to be insured through other means which he was confident US and other interested countries looked forward to discussing with Cambodian Government once satisfactory cessation of hostilities achieved. Such cessation to be satisfactory must not bind hands of Cambodian Government or prevent it from cooperating with other non-Communist states in defense matters.