396.1 GE/7–1954: Telegram

SmithMendès-France Meeting, Geneva, July 19, Afternoon: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Secto 669. For the Secretary from the Under Secretary. I had long talk with Mendes-France this afternoon, as I told you. He urgently asked that we expand our proposed unilateral declaration so as take note not only of agreements between military commands, but also take note of paragraphs one to nine proposed conference declaration. (See Sectos 6281 and 6472). I made it clear that we could under no circumstances associate ourselves with declaration even though it is anticipated it will be only conference document and not signed agreement, nor could we note or otherwise imply any acquiescence in or approval of paragraph 10 which provides for consultation among conference members on questions transmitted to them by international control commissions.

Text of declaration not yet agreed between French and Communists, but I am transmitting immediately by following telegram French estimate probable final text.3 I am also transmitting texts of unilateral statements to which Laos and Cambodia have agreed which are referred to in paragraph 4 draft declaration4 and draft French unilateral declaration referred to in paragraph 8.5

French position is this conference declaration is integral part of agreements reached at conference and they will be sorely disappointed if we simply disassociate ourselves from declaration without even [Page 1453]taking note in same manner as with respect to cease-fire agreements. I recommend that I be authorized to amend our proposed declaration (Annex B my instructions6) by inserting a brief addition taking note of paragraphs one to nine of conference declaration if its final content does not too greatly differ from that which French have indicated they prepared to accept. I would like some latitude on this, and am sure I know what would be acceptable to you. I will, of course, have to state in conference that the US is unable to join in a multilateral declaration (since the one planned would include the Communists) but it is making a declaration of its own position, et cetera. This may come to a head tomorrow afternoon or evening, and while it would be possible to make our declaration later it is infinitely preferable to do it at the time of settlement. Otherwise we will have to disassociate ourselves with a lengthy and detailed conference declaration without anything of our own to offer except the very brief declaration we already have prepared.7

  1. Dated July 16, p. 1400.
  2. Dated July 18, p. 1438.
  3. Telegram Secto 667, July 19, p. 1460.
  4. Telegram Secto 668, July 19, p. 1456.
  5. Telegram Secto 670, July 19, p. 1462.
  6. Dated July 16, p. 1391.
  7. French Ambassador Bonnet telephoned the Secretary of State at 8:32 a.m. on July 20 and reported that he had had a telephone conversation with Mendès-France that morning. Mendès-France had reported that there would be some “little” changes in the wording of the final declaration but that the general meaning would not be changed. Mendès-France wanted to show the solidarity of the three Western Powers and told Bonnet that he would appreciate it if Smith had as broad instructions as possible to take note of the final act of the conference. Mendès-France mentioned point 9. The Secretary of State said it was not a question of what was in the final act, but rather a “question of making it with the Communists.” Secretary Dulles told Ambassador Bonnet that he was studying the second part of point 9 and that instructions would be sent to Smith. Bonnet asked to be notified. At 8:47 a.m. the Secretary informed the Ambassador that Smith was being told he could make a unilateral declaration on behalf of the United States, which would include acceptance of article 9. Ambassador Bonnet said he was delighted. (Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, Telephone Conversations)

    For the instructions to Under Secretary Smith, which were contained in telegrams Tosec 578 and Tosec 586, July 20 and 21, see footnote 4, p. 1472.