396.1 GE/7–1754: Telegram
The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 630. Repeated information Paris 76, Saigon 48. Caccia gave Johnson brief account of Mendes-France, Eden, Molotov meeting last night. More complete account will be received and transmitted later today.1 The three met for approximately three hours, from 6 until 9 p.m.
It was agreed the following eight documents are working papers before some or all conference members: French draft cease-fire agreement on Vietnam, French draft cease-fire agreement on Laos, French draft cease-fire agreement on Cambodia, Viet Minh draft cease-fire agreement on Vietnam (not yet received by US delegation), French draft control organization for Vietnam, French draft control organization for Laos and Cambodia, declaration by Cambodia on military and political matters and similar declaration by Laos (neither country has yet presented drafts), and French-Russian drafts and counter-drafts on final declaration of conference.[Page 1405]
Discussion then turned to substantive issues, with Mendes listing: (1) line in Vietnam, (2) elections in Vietnam, (3) international control organization as major issues requiring ministerial decision. Molotov added (1) time required for completion regrouping; that is, French proposal for 380 days vs. Communist proposal for maximum for six months; (2) prevention of entry of arms, ammunition and foreign forces to all three states; (3) foreign bases in all three states; (4) nonentry of three states into military alliances. Eden added regroupment in Laos.
There was vigorous but inconclusive discussion on three French points, neither side moving from previously stated positions.
The Laotian delegation informs us that they had talk with Viet Minh this morning with completely negative results. The Viet Minh demand about half the country for regroupment zone for Pathet Lao and at same time that there be formed for entire country government of national unification in which Pathet Lao would be represented. These demands were rejected by Laotian delegation.
Latournelle tells us that at Mendes-France dinner for Molotov July 15, Molotov on two occasions referred to US as “war-like power”.2 Mendes-France denied this stating that he would not have gone to Paris to see Secretary unless he was convinced sincerity US desire for restoration of peace in Indochina on terms which Mendes-France believes acceptable and honorable.