297. Memorandum of Discussion, Washington, January 31, 19561


(See list attached for attendance)2

Secretary Dulles reviewed the work of the delegations during the morning, drawing particular attention to matters which would require the attention of the President and the Prime Minister. In the Far East, the situation in Viet-Nam had been discussed, with particular attention to the problem arising from Diem’s unwillingness to hold general elections in Viet-Nam this year. Secretary Dulles said he would talk to Diem during his visit to the Far East in a month or so. It might be possible, after elections in Viet-Nam are held which are expected to give a legal basis to Diem’s regime, that something can be done on this matter. If Diem still opposed elections, his opposition could be based upon the impracticability of holding free elections in the Viet-Minh area.

The situation in Laos was also discussed during the morning, with recognition that the Communists had not complied with the terms of the Geneva agreement. This non-compliance could be used as a basis for criticism of the Communists.

[Here follows discussion primarily on the off-shore islands question and Chinese representation in the United Nations.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 648. Secret. Drafted by Goodpaster, the President’s Staff Assistant. No drafting date is given.
  2. The list is not attached to the source text. There is a list of participants attached to the U.S. minutes of this meeting, ETW MC–4, February 7. (Ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199) According to it, the U.S. participants were Eisenhower, Dulles, Aldrich, MacArthur, Merchant, Eisenhower’s friend George Allen, Robertson, and Goodpaster. The British participants were Eden, Lloyd, Makins, Caccia, and Sir Leslie Rowan, Second Secretary, British Embassy.