396.1 GE/7–1954: Telegram
The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Secto 671. Repeated information Paris 105, Saigon 74. French Delegation has told us that they intend to maintain position re text of final conference declaration set forth in Secto 6281 with following possible changes (see also Secto 6472 in which current Soviet positions are set forth). References are to be numbered paragraphs of French text transmitted Secto 628.
- French anticipate no difficulty in satisfactory wording here which will give away nothing of previously assumed position.
- French will insist on maintaining reference to “constitution of each of these countries” and that elections be fixed in August or September 1955 and will reject Soviet proposal of elections within one year.
- French will endeavor to secure Communist agreement to text of declaration made by Governments of Laos and Cambodia and which Laotian and Cambodian delegations have already accepted. This article will then refer to those declarations. French will not accept Soviet proposal cited Secto 647.
- French will insist on inclusion of language to the effect that military line of demarcation does not constitute definitive territorial or political boundary.
- French plan to propose following alternative wording for this article: “The conference declares that the settlement of political problems in Vietnam must be effectuated on the basis of respect for the principles of the independence of the unity, and the territorial integrity of Vietnam. This settlement will involve free general elections, with secret ballot, which will take place in the course of the year 1956, under the control of an international commission composed of the representatives of the states members of the international commission, it being requisite that all conditions must be present to assure the respect of fundamental liberties and of free expression of the national will”.
- The French Government will insist upon maintenance of French drafting on this point, i.e., that French troops will be withdrawn from the territories of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam only in agreement with the governments concerned.
With regard to additional paragraph which Soviet Delegation desires to have included and which is the same as paragraph 10 of the Soviet proposal transmitted in Secto 615,3 French will accept first sentence reading: “The competent representative authorities of the northern and southern zones of Vietnam as well as the authorities of Laos and Cambodia must not permit individual or collective persecution [Page 1464]of persons, or members of their families, who had collaborated in any way with one or the other side during the war.” But will reject second sentence: “These persons and the members of their families should be afforded individual freedom and freedom of political activity and right to elect and be elected.”