Christoph Giebel - Hiệp định Genève 1954 và “hai quốc gia” trên lãnh thổ Việt Nam?

  • Bởi Khách
    16/06/2014
    96 phản hồi

    Christoph Giebel<br />
    Đinh Lý Trần Lê chuyển ngữ

    “Đường ranh giới quân sự tạm thời này không thể diễn giải bằng bất cứ cách nào rằng đó là một biên giới phân định về chính trị hay lãnh thổ.”

    Điều 6, Tuyên bố chung của Hội Nghị Genève về vấn đề khôi phục hòa bình ở Đông Dương, 1954.

    Lời giới thiệu của dịch giả: Thời gian gần đây diễn ra nhiều cuộc tranh luận sôi nổi xoay quanh vấn đề chủ quyền của Việt Nam với hai quần đảo Hoàng Sa và Trường Sa cũng như giá trị pháp lý của Công hàm Phạm Văn Đồng tháng 9 năm 1958. Trong các cuộc tranh luận này đã xuất hiện câu hỏi liệu Hiệp định Geneve 1954 có dẫn tới việc hình thành ở Việt Nam de facto hai quốc gia với chủ quyền lãnh thổ riêng biệt hay không? Đây là một câu hỏi hóc búa, không dễ dàng có ngay được câu trả lời chính xác, nhưng có ý nghĩa quan trọng và cũng rất lý thú.

    Chúng tôi xin lưu ý với bạn đọc các ý kiến có liên quan tới câu hỏi này của ông Christopher Giebel, Phó Giáo sư, giảng dạy tại Department of History, University of Washington, đồng giảng dạy tại Jackson School of International Studies. Ông Christopher Giebel là chuyên gia lịch sử Đông Nam Á và Việt Nam, là tác giả cuốn Tổ tiên tưởng tượng của Chủ nghĩa Cộng sản Việt Nam (Imagined Ancestries of Vietnamese Communism) cùng nhiều bài viết, nghiên cứu về Việt Nam.

    Các ý kiến này được ông Christopher Giebel đưa ra trong một cuộc tranh luận trên trang điện tử của Vietnam Studies Group ngày 17.11.2006 với tiêu đề “Partition” of Viet Nam. Để tôn trọng tác giả, chúng tôi xin giữ nguyên câu chữ, dấu phụ tác giả dùng trong tranh luận, chỉ xin lược bỏ một vài đoạn không có liên quan trực tiếp tới chủ đề.

    Để bắt đầu, lưu ý Hiệp định Genève 1954 hoàn toàn không dẫn tới một sự “phân chia” nào cả.

    Hiệp định Genève về cơ bản giải quyết hai vấn đề lớn, quân sự và chính trị. Trong vấn đề thứ nhất, Khu phi quân sự DMZ chỉ được thiết lập như một đường ngừng bắn tạm thời nhằm tách rời các lực lượng *quân sự* đối đầu, các lực lượng của Việt Minh/Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa (phía tới thời điểm đó kiểm soát một phần lớn đất nước, phải rút về phía bắc Khu phi quân sự) và các lực lượng của Pháp và lực lượng quân đội non nớt của Quốc gia Việt Nam (rút về phía nam). Giải pháp chính trị được nhắm định tới một đợt tổng tuyển cử trên toàn đất nước trong năm 1956. Đợt tổng tuyển cử này dự tính sẽ mang lại một chính phủ thống nhất, hơn là hai chính phủ cạnh tranh với nhau đã tồn tại từ năm 1945 (Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa) và 1949 (Quốc gia Việt Nam), cả hai, tất nhiên, đều yêu sách quyền lực hợp pháp duy nhất trong toàn bộ quốc gia Việt Nam.

    Như thế Việt Nam chưa bao giờ được phân chia thành hai quốc gia, cũng như không có chính phủ nào trong số hai chính phủ kình địch (với Quốc gia Việt nam được thay bằng Việt Nam Cộng hòa vào năm 1955) khẳng định như thế. Điều này khá khác biệt, thí dụ như với hai nước Đức trong thời gian Chiến tranh Lạnh hay sự ly khai của Miền Nam Hợp chủng quốc Hoa Kỳ trong những năm 1860).

    Ngay cả khi chúng ta bỏ qua không xét tới các yêu sách chính trị cạnh tranh nhau, đều yêu sách quyền lực chính phủ/nhà nước với toàn bộ Việt Nam, chỉ tập trung vào xem xét kiểm soát lãnh thổ và dân cư, ý niệm cho rằng Hiệp định Genève mang lại kết quả “phân chia” Việt Nam de facto thành hai “thực thể” là, nói một cách tốt đẹp nhất, có vấn đề. Thứ nhất, điều này hoàn toàn không phải là kết quả của Hiệp định Genève, một hiệp định thực chất định ra một quá trình chính trị giải quyết tranh chấp, mà là kết quả của các quyết định sau đó từ phía Cộng hòa Việt Nam và Mỹ (cả hai phía này từ chối không ký kết thành các hiệp định), không cho tổ chức tổng tuyển cử nhằm mang lại một chính phủ trong toàn cõi Việt Nam và một nhà nước cho toàn cõi Việt Nam. Thứ hai, trong lúc Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa kiểm soát phần lớn toàn bộ “thực thể” nằm ở phía bắc Khu phi quân sự sau năm 1954, “thực thể” phía nam Khu phi quân sự chưa bao giờ hoàn toàn nằm trong kiểm soát của chính phủ Sài Gòn, trừ những năm 1956-1958, khi Ngô Đình Diệm đã có những nỗ lực tối đa. Nhiều dải đất trong lãnh thổ phía nam vĩ tuyến 17 hoặc là đang bị tranh chấp, hoặc bị kiểm soát bởi các lực lượng chống đối Mỹ và chống lại yêu sách quyền lực hợp pháp của Việt Nam Cộng hòa và hoặc là theo Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa, hoặc ít nhất là có các mường tượng khác nhau về một nước Việt Nam cách mạng, thống nhất.

    Tóm lại, (1) Hiệp định Genève 1954 de iure không “phân chia” Việt Nam thành hai quốc gia, và (2) quyết định về phía Việt Nam Cộng hòa/Mỹ không cho tiến hành tổng tuyển cử toàn quốc đã de facto dẫn đến sự tan vỡ của Việt Nam thành nhiều, chắc chắn là không phải chỉ hai, thực thể, phần nào không có định hình rõ ràng, đấu đầu nhau trong một cuộc chiến tranh.

    Tôi cũng không thể đồng ý với khẳng định cho rằng “hai ‘vùng tạm thời riêng biệt’ đã trở thành [nhấn mạnh do tôi bổ sung] de facto hai nhà nước riêng biệt, mỗi nhà nước được công nhận quốc tế bởi một số quốc gia trên thế giới.” Chúng (tức hai nhà nước nói trên) không “trở thành” như thế trong thời kỳ 1954-1956: Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa đã tồn tại từ năm 1945, Quốc gia Việt Nam của Bảo Đại từ năm 1949; công nhận quốc tế của mỗi nhà nước (mặc dù theo cách loại trừ lẫn nhau) xuất hiện năm 1950. Thế là Việt Nam có “de facto hai nhà nước riêng biệt” từ năm 1949. (Chúng ta sẽ bỏ qua người Pháp ở đây nhằm làm cho suy luận thêm sáng rõ.) Việt Nam Cộng hòa thay thế cho Quốc gia Việt Nam vào cuối năm 1955, đầu năm 1956. Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa, ở một phía, và Quốc gia Việt Nam/Việt Nam Cộng hòa, ở phía thứ hai, cả hai đều yêu sách quyền lực hợp pháp duy nhất với toàn bộ quốc gia Việt Nam và coi phía thứ hai là không hợp pháp.

    Nhà nước tồn tại thông qua các tập hợp khác nhau của các yếu tố sau: Tuyên ngôn, Hiến pháp, cơ chế, luật pháp, chính phủ, quân đội, thuế khóa, nhân sự, “các cộng đồng hình dung”, trung thành, yêu sách với/tin tưởng có quyền lực hợp pháp,… Nhà nước đưa ra các yêu sách lãnh thổ và dân cư, mặc dù những yêu sách này có thể không bao giờ được thực hiện hoàn toàn.

    Tôi thực không hiểu, như thế, Khu phi quân sự (tức là tiêu điểm của ý tưởng sai lệch về “phân chia”) thì có liên quan gì đến tất cả các điều trên, cũng như không hiểu Hiệp định Genève (chỉ được ký kết bởi một trong hai nước kình địch, lưu ý thêm) thì có liên quan gì tới các điều trên, ngoài việc Hiệp định này thiết kế một đường hướng giải quyết một vấn đề đã kéo dài 5 năm (từ năm 1949) giữ hai nhà nước/chính phủ kình địch: tách rời quân sự về hai phía Vùng phi quân sự năm 1954, di chuyển dân cư tự nguyện qua Vùng phi quân sự trong các năm 1954-1955, quản lý tạm thời các vùng lãnh thổ phía nam/bắc Khu phi quân sự bởi hai nhà nước đối đầu đặt tại Sài Gòn/Hà Nội trong các năm 1954-1956, và cuối cùng là tổng tuyển cử trong năm 1956 để thiết lập một chính phủ cho toàn cõi Việt Nam, cai quản toàn bộ quốc gia Việt Nam, trải dài từ biên giới phía bắc giáp Trung Quốc tới mũi Cà Mau.

    Nhầm lẫn tu từ học xảy ra khi (A) hai vùng lãnh thổ được tạm thời thiết lập bởi Khu phi quân sự đã bị tráo lộn/nhầm lẫn với (B) sự tồn tại của hai nhà nước loại trừ lẫn nhau.

    Hiệp định Genève có “chia” Việt Nam thành hai QUỐC GIA: “Bắc Việt Nam” và “Nam Việt Nam”, với biên giới tại vĩ tuyến 17 không? Câu trả lời tất nhiên là không.

    Hiệp định Genève có TẠO RA hai NHÀ NƯỚC, phân chia bởi Khu phi quân sự: Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa (tức “Bắc Việt Nam”) và Quốc gia Việt Nam/Việt Nam Cộng hòa (tức “Nam Việt Nam”) không? Câu trả lời rõ ràng là không; hai nhà nước này đã tồn tại từ năm 1945 và 1949 và cả hai đều yêu sách quyền lực hợp pháp duy nhất với toàn bộ quốc gia Việt Nam.

    Hiệp định Genève, vậy có GIẢM PHẠM VI hai nhà nước đã tồn tại từ trước đó (đều có yêu sách quyền lực hợp pháp với toàn bộ quốc gia Việt Nam), theo một cách thức CHÍNH THỨC/PHÁP LÝ trong hai vùng lãnh thổ riêng biệt, bắc/nam tính từ Khu phi quân sự hay không? Không. Không nhà nước nào trong số hai nhà nước trên tự từ bỏ hày giảm bớt yêu sách chủ quyền lãnh thổ, mặc dầu Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa, thông qua chữ ký của mình, đồng ý với *quản lý* tạm thời chỉ trong vùng lãnh thổ phía bắc tính từ Khu phi quân sự cho tới tổng tuyển cử 1956, trong lúc Quốc gia Việt Nam của ông Bảo Đại, phía không ký Hiệp định, không tìm cách quản lý bất kỳ một vùng lãnh thổ nào khác ngoài vùng lãnh thổ phía nam Khu phi quân sự.

    Việc Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa từ chối tổ chức tổng tuyển cử năm 1956 có CHÍNH THỨC tạo ra hai nhà nước tại các vùng lãnh thổ khác biệt, phía bắc/nam Khu phi quân sự hay không? Một lần nữa, câu trả lời là không. Việt Nam Cộng hòa không hề giảm bớt yêu sách chủ quyền với toàn bộ lãnh thổ nhà nước này thừa hưởng từ Quốc gia Việt Nam, cũng như Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa -- phía bị “lừa” mất tổng tuyển cử -- không bỗng dưng bằng lòng với quyền lực hợp pháp và phạm vi lãnh thổ giới hạn ở phía bắc Khu phi quân sự. Nếu có gì đáng nói ở đây thì sau năm 1956, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa và lực lượng ủng hộ họ ở phía nam thấy không còn bị ràng buộc bởi các điều khoản hạn chế bởi Hiệp định Genève cho việc thực thi yêu sách nhà nước toàn phần của họ.

    Điều này dẫn chúng ta từ khía cạnh chính thức tới khía cạnh de facto:

    Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa, sau thời kỳ 1954-1956, về thực chất -- de facto -- có trở thành nhà nước “Bắc Việt Nam” hay không? Không. Nhà nước này, với trung tâm ở Hà Nội, phần lớn kiểm soát khu vực lãnh thổ phía bắc Khu phi quân sự từ năm 1954, nhưng họ (cũng như các lực lượng ủng hộ họ ở phía nam) không công nhận Khu phi quân sự như một phân chia hợp pháp giữa các nhà nước và phạm vi kiểm soát của Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa (hay nói một cách rộng hơn, của Cách mạng) trong khu vực lãnh thổ phía nam Khu phi quân sự là đáng kể, nhất là sau năm 1958, với mức kiểm soát khác nhau tại các dải đất rộng phía nam.

    Vì thế, người ta có thể gọi Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa là “nhà nước Việt Nam phía bắc” -- được một số đối tượng coi là có quyền lực hợp pháp, một số khác là không hợp pháp -- nhưng đó không chính thức cũng không phải de facto là “Bắc Việt Nam” (định nghĩa như lãnh thổ nằm ở phía bắc Khu phi quân sự).

    Việt Nam Cộng hòa, sau các năm 1955-1956, có trở thành de facto nhà nước “Nam Việt Nam” không? Không. Nhà nước này có trung tâm ở Sài Gòn, có thảo ra -- nếu ta có thể tin ông Nguyễn Cao Kỳ -- các kế hoạch quân sự cho công cuộc “Bắc Tiến” để khẳng định quyền lực hợp pháp với, và mở rộng kiểm soát tới, miền bắc, nhưng có phạm vi kiểm soát, nhất là sau năm 1958 và dù chỉ là ở phía nam Khu phi quân sự, được cho là luôn bị giảm sút đáng kể, khi quyền kiểm soát của họ tại nhiều vùng lãnh thổ phía nam bị chối bỏ bởi các lực lượng cách mạng và sau năm 1965 bởi các lực lượng chống đối lại Việt Nam Cộng hòa hợp tác với lực lượng của “nhà nước Việt Nam phía bắc”.

    Vì thế, người ta có thể gọi Việt Nam Cộng hòa như là “Nhà nước Việt Nam phía nam” -- được một số đối tượng cho là có quyền lực hợp pháp, một số là không hợp pháp -- nhưng không bao giờ chính thức, hay de facto là “Nam Việt Nam” (định nghĩa như lãnh thổ nằm ở phía nam Khu phi quân sự). Tất nhiên là Việt Nam Cộng hòa “tồn tại”: nhà nước này tồn tại Ở phía nam Việt Nam, nhưng trong phần lớn tồn tại của mình, nó KHÔNG tồn tại NHƯ LÀ “Nam Việt Nam.”

    Christoph Giebel
    UW-Seattle

    Chủ đề: Lịch sử

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    96 phản hồi

    JULY 29, 1954
    MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION, BETWEEN SOVIET PREMIER GEORGY M. MALENKOV AND ZHOU ENLAI

    Top Secret

    RECEPTION OF G. M. MALENKOV BY CDE. ZHOU ENLAI, PRIME MINISTER OF THE STATE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL AND MINISTER OF
    FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 29 July 1954

    Deputies to the PRC Minister of
    Foreign Affairs Zhang Wentian and Wang Jiaxiang

    Cde. Zhou Enlai expresses ideas about several issues of the international situation.

    Having suffered defeat in Indochina, the US government is trying to provoke conflict in other regions of the Far East. The chief target of these conflicts is China. With the support of the US the Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] pirates are infringing upon the freedom of navigation in the open ocean and plundering ships headed for China. Guomindang aircraft make raids on the Chinese coast.

    Recently the Americans moved aircraft carriers to the maritime boundaries of China. Several days ago aircraft operating from these aircraft carriers shot down two Chinese aircraft in the area of the island of Hainan.

    Preparations are being made to conclude a defense pact between Jiang Jieshi and the US government. The Americans still have not decided to sign the pact. They cannot fail to understand that this act will provoke still stronger anti-American feelings in China and might hinder the settling of differences with China in the future.

    The US government will continue efforts directed at forging a bloc in Southeast Asia. Evidently, this bloc will initially include a limited number of countries: the US, Britain, France, New Zealand, and Australia. It might also include the Philippines and Thailand. The US will exert pressure on Indonesia, which is wavering, trying to force it to join this bloc.

    In light of these facts the CCP CC intends:

    To again raise the question of the liberation of Taiwan and take steps to disrupt the conclusion of the pact between the US government and the Jiang Jieshi regime. After he, Zhou Enlai, returns to Beijing, a declaration of the PRC government is supposed to be published in which it will be pointed out that at the present time a source of military conflict exists in only one place, Taiwan; with US government aid, the Jiang Jieshi clique is committing outrages at sea, raiding Chinese territory, and essentially committing hostile acts against China;

    To strengthen the defense of the Chinese coastline. The navy and air force will need to be strengthened to do this. The Chinese Armed Forces must be ready at any moment to halt a violation of the maritime or air boundaries of China;

    To achieve the failure of the organization of an aggressive bloc in Southeast Asia. To do this means tearing their allies away from the US and exacerbating of the differences between the US and other capitalist countries.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov replies that he heard the ideas of Zhou Enlai with pleasure and says that questions about measures connected with the international situation are examined and decided in the CPSU CC. Cde. Zhou Enlai's statements deserve great attention. The goal of disrupting the conclusion of a pact between the US and Jiang Jieshi is correct. The question of Taiwan is undoubtedly a critically important problem for China. He agrees with Zhou Enlai's comment that the goal of achieving an exacerbation of the differences between the US and other bourgeois countries is important.

    Cde. Zhou Enlai informs [Malenkov] of the conversations with the Indonesian ambassadors in Delhi, Rangoon, and Beijing: they invited him to visit Indonesia. Zhou Enlai could not avail himself of this invitation since he was soon to return to the Geneva Conference. During Zhou Enlai's stay in Geneva, the Indonesian minister of foreign affairs, who was in the Netherlands, sent the Indonesian ambassador in Paris to Zhou and repeated the invitation to visit Indonesia. It has become clear from conversations with Indonesian ambassadors that the time has come for a decision to conclude a non-aggression pact with China. Zhou Enlai proposed that a draft of this pact be developed in Beijing by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Indonesian ambassador in order for it to be possible to sign it during Zhou Enlai's visit to Jakarta. Zhou Enlai is supposed to visit Indonesia in August.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov wishes him success. He agrees with Zhou Enlai's comment about Indonesia and says that the inclusion of Indonesia in the American bloc being forged in Southeast Asia cannot be permitted. He talks briefly about conversations with [Chairman of the All-India Peace Council Dr. Saifuddin] Kitchlu and Subandrio, the Indonesian ambassador to the USSR, noting in this context that India, and, to a certain degree, Indonesia are gravitating toward a rapprochement with the PRC and USSR. He stresses that the conclusion of a Sino-Indian agreement is a quite successful step by the PRC government. The principles on which this agreement is based are being propagandized in the Soviet press in every possible way.

    Cde. Zhou Enlai informs [Malenkov] of a conversation with V.K. Krishna Menon, the Indian [permanent] representative to the UN, about the issue of Korea. Menon suggested that elections be held separately in North and South Korea, after which a national Korean body would be formed. Menon tried to also find out what the Chinese reaction would be if the United Nations expressed a desire to convene a Geneva conference again to discuss the Korean issue. He, Zhou Enlai, replied to Menon that China would support the idea of convening a Geneva Conference in order to continue the discussion of the Korean issue. He thinks that, if a Geneva conference were convened again, its membership would have to be expanded, inviting India to participate in it.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov says that Menon also raised this question with Cde. Molotov.

    Zhou Enlai says that in connection with the intention of the PRC government to accelerate the strengthening of coastal defense it will evidently have to reexamine existing plans to develop the navy and air force. Zhou Enlai plans to immediately deal with this question on return to Beijing.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov notes that strengthening the defense of the Chinese coast, the navy, and the air force is an important goal.

    Referring to the fact that the Soviet military comrades recommend that a long-range heavy bomber division (of TU-4s) be created in China, Cde. Zhou Enlai says that, in the opinion of the Chinese military, these aircraft are obsolete and it is desirable for a division of long-range aircraft to be equipped with jet technology.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov replies that the Soviet military comrades will look into this issue.

    Cde. Zhou Enlai asks whether the PRC government might expect the arrival of a government delegation of senior Soviet comrades in Beijing to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic. If such a delegation can be sent then the PRC government will send an official invitation.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov replies that, of course, a delegation will be sent; the CPSU CC will determine the composition of such a delegation.

    Cde. G. M. Malenkov asks that greetings be sent to Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, and the other comrades in the CCP CC.

    Recorded by M. Kapitsa

    Authenticated by: [illegible signature]
    Distributed to members of the CPSU CC Presidium
    12 August 1954
    to Cde. V. M. Molotov

    JULY 27, 1954
    TELEGRAM, CCP CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO ZHOU ENLAI, CONCERNING POLICIES AND MEASURES IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND JIANG JIESHI AFTER THE GENEVA CONFERENCE

    Ambassador Zhang [Wentian], convey to Premier Zhou (top secret)

    Comrade [Zhou] Enlai:

    The Central Committee recently discussed the situation related to the Geneva Conference, and it believes that after the agreements in Korea and Indochina, the United States is unwilling to accept its failure at the Geneva Conference, and will inevitably continue to carry out the policy of creating international tension for the purpose of further taking over more spheres of influence from Britain and France, of expanding military bases for preparing for war, and remaining hostile to our Organization of Defense, and of rearming Japan. The United States will surely continue to use Taiwan to carry out pirate-style robberies of ships from various countries coming to our country, and it is likely to expand the sphere of blockade of our country to the areas off the Guangdong coast and to the Gulf of Tonkin area. Recently the United States and Jiang Jieshi have been discussing signing a US-Jiang treaty of defense, and the United States has repeatedly increased military aid to the Jiang bandits in Taiwan. All of this is worthy of our main attention. According to public information, it seems as if the United States still has some concerns about signing a US-Jiang treaty of defense, and it seems as if they have not made a final decision. But if the United States and Jiang sign such a treaty, the relationship between us and the United States will be tense for a long period, and it becomes more difficult [for the relationship] to turn around. Therefore, the central task of our struggle against the United States at present is to break up the US-Jiang treaty of defense and the Southeast Asian treaty of defense.

    We believe that after the victorious conclusion of the war of liberation on our mainland and the victorious armistice of the Korean War, now we are still facing another war, that is, the war against the Jiang Jieshi bandit bloc in Taiwan. Now we are still facing a task, that is, the task of liberating Taiwan. After the end of the Korean War, we failed to highlight the task [the liberation of Taiwan] to the people throughout the entire country in a timely manner (we were late by about six months). We failed to take necessary measures and make effective efforts in military affairs, on the diplomatic front, and also in our propaganda to serve this task. If we do not highlight this task now, and if we do not work for it [in the future], we are committing a serious political mistake. The introduction of the task is not just for the purpose of undermining the American-Jiang plot to sign a military treaty; rather, and more importantly, by highlighting the task we mean to raise the political consciousness and political alertness of the people of the whole country; we mean to stir up our people's revolutionary enthusiasm, thus promoting our nation's socialist reconstruction. In addition, we can use this struggle to enhance our fulfilling of the task of national defense, and learn how to carry out maritime struggle.

    Toward this issue the Central Committee has adopted the following measures:

    (1) In the political field, a propaganda campaign emphasizing that we must liberate Taiwan and exposing the Americans and Jiang has already begun at home. We are also prepared to issue a open statement about the Taiwan issue in the name of the foreign minister after your return to Beijing, which will be followed by a joint statement by the representatives of various parties. Then, in accordance with the two statements, broad, profound, and prolonged propaganda and education will be carried out among the people of the whole country. In addition, we are organizing broadcast specifically aimed at Taiwan.

    (2) In the military field, the Military Commission has already issued a special instruction for enhancing naval and air operations against the Jiang bandits in coastal areas. In the meantime, it is strictly regulated that the operation targets of our navy and air force should be restricted to Jiang Jieshi's military planes and vessels, and, toward American planes and warships, unless under the circumstance that they attack our troops, they are not permitted to take the initiative for attacks. The shooting down of a British transporter close to Yulin on 23 July was a mistake that is completely possible to be avoided. Apart from taking diplomatic measures to manage this, we also should use this accident to carry out serious education among our troops.

    (3) Considering that our struggles against the Americans and Jiang in the coastal area will be a matter of a very long period, and that our troops lack the capacity and experience for maritime struggles, it should become a long-range task to enhance the construction of our navy and air force. Our navy should follow a policy of first constructing boats and then constructing ships, and our air force should learn to carry out operations over the sea. In order to meet the needs of the struggle at the present time with urgency, we plan to increase orders for naval and air force equipment from the Soviet Union in the next three years. The Military Commission has put forward an order of 500 million rubles. There is no financial or budgetary difficulty for putting forward such an order. However, we should find more ways to get foreign aid. About this we will discuss and make decisions after you have come back home.

    Please report the above policies and measures to the comrades of the Soviet Party central leadership, and ask for their opinions.

    Apart from the above, the various aspects of domestic situation are good, except that the flooding disaster of this year is quite serious.

    The Central Committee,
    27 July 1954

    JULY 20, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI AND CAMBODIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TEP PHAN (SUMMARY)

    Time: 20 July 1954, 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
    Place: Prime Minister Zhou Enlai's residence

    [Attendees on] the Chinese side: Zhou Enlai, Chen Dingmin (interpreter and recorder)
    [Attendees on] the Cambodian side: Tep Phan, [Head of Cambodian military delegation at the Geneva Conference, Nhiek] Tioulong, [personal delegate to the King of Cambodia] Sam Sary, Thao Lenam.

    Zhou Enlai:We have almost finished our working documents except for some problems concerning the Cambodian issue. We will work harder on them and hopefully we can reach an agreement at the same time [with the other agreements] at today's meeting. I have already read two documents concerning Cambodia: one was [issued on] 16 July, the other was [issued on] 19 July. We have already discussed the longer document, but have not yet discussed the shorter one in detail.

    Tep Phan: We have not yet read the document of 19 July. We received a new proposal from the Vietnamese side on Sunday evening [18 July]. Our opinions still have differences regarding political issues and some on military issues as well.

    Zhou Enlai: We also have something in common. We can discuss the differences.

    Tioulong: It is difficult for us to accept some of the suggestions from the Vietnamese side. We have currently prepared a joint statement for the conference. We also have a unilateral statement to be presented to the conference by the Cambodian delegation. Some points we referred to in the unilateral statement can also be included in the joint statement. There are also some differences regarding military issues. We have not yet exchanged our opinions with the Vietnamese delegation. I wanted to meet with the Vietnamese delegation yesterday but was not able to do so since they were very busy. I hope I can meet with them today. As the Cambodian delegation claimed in the unilateral statement presented to the conference, we will not discriminate against Vietnamese elements in Cambodia. They will enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other Cambodian citizens. We definitely will not discriminate against them. We will make no reprisals against either themselves or their families. After they have returned to civilian life, they can be employed by administrative organizations on the same terms as other citizens.

    We would also like to talk with you about [military] personnel. After peace is restored, they can enter military institutes, military academies, and military training schools.

    Regarding the issue of foreign military personnel, [we believe that this issue] should be distinguished from [other military issues]. There are French combatant personnel in Cambodia; there are also technicians and experts here, and they are not soldiers.

    We accept the provisions of the joint statement claiming that there should be no combatant personnel in Cambodia; however, we should be allowed to keep foreign technicians and experts there. The number [of such people] will not be too many.

    In addition, there is [a difference regarding] the issue of the introduction of weapons and armaments. We have already talked about that last time. Under the condition that we do not threaten our neighbors, we wish to be allowed to introduce a certain number of weapons and armaments for our own security reasons. Our troops are in the process of being consolidated. This is for the protection of our own country's security.

    Now I would like to talk about other differences [between the Vietnamese and us]:

    First of all, the Viet Minh suggested a six-month period for withdrawal. This is too long. According to our side's estimate, it will only take one month to withdraw the Viet Minh troops and elements from Cambodia.

    Zhou Enlai: The areas are too spread out. There are some difficulties for them to withdraw.

    Tioulong: But six months is still too long. There is another suggestion that we cannot accept: the Viet Minh suggested that people who were originally non-Cambodian nationals should remain armed until the general elections or even until the realization of the unification of Cambodia.

    Tep Phan: It is unreasonable for us to keep these armed elements gathered in local areas. We hope that all people in Cambodia can join the national community life. It does not matter whether they originally grew up in Cambodia or came here later. In addition, according to our constitution, [military] personnel cannot participate in general elections.

    Zhou Enlai: Why is that?

    Tep Phan: According to our constitution, people on active service do not have the right to participate in elections or to be elected either.

    Zhou Enlai: Don't you have a system of military service?

    Tep Phan: Yes, we do have one. France and many European countries all have this system.

    Zhou Enlai: American servicemen can participate in elections.

    Tioulong: French police officers can participate in elections. In our country, servicepersons cannot participate in elections; monks do not participate in elections either.

    Tep Phan: There are about 60,000 monks in our country. None of them participate in elections.

    Zhou Enlai: Why?

    Tep Phan: Because they renounce the world, and stand aloof from worldly affairs. They are not interested in politics. The monks I am talking about are people who wear the yellow kasaya robe. In our country everyone is Buddhist.

    Tioulong: There is another issue. Some people also ask us to declare that we will not establish military bases within our own territory.

    Tep Phan: Our country is an independent country. We need to have our own military bases and airports for defensive purposes.

    Zhou Enlai: This is ridiculous. Of course [you] should not make strict rules like these.

    Tep Phan: It is completely for self-defense. Every Cambodian believes in the independence of our country. We should have the right to build our own bases and airports within our own territory.

    Zhou Enlai: You surely can build your own airports.

    Tioulong: In addition, the Vietnamese proposal suggested that we should withdraw our troops two kilometers from each side of the road along which they are to withdraw their troops. We cannot accept that either, since the width of two kilometers extends to places we live. However, our side agreed to guarantee their security when the Viet Minh withdraw their troops. We are also getting ready to provide them all with conveniences and we will provide the means of transportation such as trains, trucks and ships on the railway, on the road and on the sea. We are willing to do so. The above are the differences concerning military issues I would like to point out.

    Sam Sary: There is another difference regarding the type and amount of the military personnel and weapons imported to Cambodia. [Although they said to] discuss it separately, it is not clear enough to us. With whom on earth should we discuss this? When should we discuss it? And where should we discuss it? I was wondering if we can present the issue in the unilateral statement of the Cambodian delegation on whether we are allowed to introduce a certain number of weapons and military personnel for the requirements of territorial defense.

    [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]

    Tioulong: [Mr. Prime Minister,] our opinions on general and even practical issues can be quite close to [yours] when we discuss them with you. However, they are different [when we talk with] the [Vietnamese] side.
    It is also worth studying the way we express ourselves. [For example,] what issues we need to raise in the joint statement for the conference, and what issues we can raise in the unilateral statement of our delegation.
    It is stipulated in Chapter 3 Article 5 of the draft armistice agreement of Cambodia: after the restoration of peace in Cambodia, the original non-Cambodian elements can be accepted in the Cambodian Royal Army or local police forces or can be demobilized based on their own free will. After they are demobilized and become civilians they can be employed by all administrative or other organizations of the Royal government of Cambodia.

    Zhou Enlai: I appreciate that you raised all these differences in detail.

    Tioulong: We fully intend to make more efforts to help reach the agreement. We hope that we can revise the documents. Moreover, we believe that it is necessary to let our counterparts understand that the agreement should be reached on an equal footing.
    I would also like to discuss the suggestion that we should gather these elements together and not disarm them temporarily. However, if they do not enter the military academy, they cannot obtain military ranking. They will be trained at the military academy and should pass their exams. Other service persons will oppose them if these people obtain military positions without military training and passing exams.

    Tep Phan: We would like to have the Premier's opinions on the issues we presented.

    Zhou Enlai: I appreciate the differences you presented. We all hope that we can reach an agreement at today's meeting. We do not have much time left, so let's make some efforts together. I deeply regret that agreements on all other issues have already been reached except the issue of Cambodia.

    What we have to do now is to work to resolve our differences. We believe that we can settle the differences. I have already said many times that the basic principles concerning restoration of peace in Cambodia are independence, foreign non-intervention, unification and the integrity of sovereignty. We said on 16 June that we had been insisting on and giving support to such an argument. [We hope that we can] reach a reasonable solution that will not interfere with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cambodia and will take care of both internal and external [issues].

    The Vietnamese People's Volunteer Forces [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.] will definitely withdraw. Regarding the issues of the period of withdrawal and of passing through the withdrawal route, if [you think] the period is too long, [we can ask them to] cut it short. [However,] one month is too short. Sooner or later they will withdraw.

    Regarding the security issue of the withdrawal, the issues of the joint commission and international supervision and the issue of the means of transportation, [we believe that] all these issues can be solved since you have already said that you are willing to cooperate.

    Regarding internal issues, you should categorize all the soldiers in Cambodia taking their wishes into consideration. Some of them originally lived there and do not want to leave. Some of them are from Cochinchina. However, [you] should not discriminate against them. If some of them hope to stay in Cambodia, you surely cannot expel them. However, they should obey the Kingdom's laws.

    Tioulong: Do you mean those elements who joined the resistance movement? People who enter Cambodia from Cochinchina need passes. We inspect all persons who enter Cambodia from foreign countries. [Only after we check] whether they are honest and act dutifully, will we allow them to enter. We have already informed the Vietnamese side about this.

    Tep Phan: They surely can choose to leave or stay in Cambodia of their own free will. However, we have to check whether or not they are honest. Only people who act dutifully can stay in our country. We cannot let those dishonest people, even bandits, stay in our country. We must take the necessary measures since we are worried about our national security. Mr. Premier, can we make decisions for our internal affairs?

    Zhou Enlai: You surely have the right to deal with [your] internal affairs. However, you should not expel them and create tension. The Royal government should not persecute those who want to stay in Cambodia and are willing to obey the laws. [The Royal government] should not discriminate against those who used to cooperate with the other side, either.

    Tep Phan: We have our own constitution and laws. Our constitution is democratic.

    Zhou Enlai: Regarding the armed forces of Cambodia, [you] can first gather them on the spot, and then settle problems with peaceful and political solutions. Try your best to accept them into military and administrative services. As you just said they can enter the military academy or have other choices based on their own will. Regarding political issues, [you] should pay attention to three points:

    1. Do not persecute people who used to cooperate with the other side.
    2. Arrange suitable jobs for them.
    3. Since they still have some political organizations, parties and other groups, you should recognize their legal positions based on the constitution. You can meet and negotiate with the leaders of local political organizations.

    Tep Phan: We have always gotten in touch with them until now.

    Zhou Enlai: It is possible. As long as you keep the door open, you can reach an agreement. Regarding general problems of military issues, [you should] not introduce new troops and weapons from abroad, establish foreign military bases, or join military alliances. The necessary type and amount of weapons that are defined as [being] for the self-defense of Cambodia is not included in this limitation.

    Tep Phan: The word "self-defense" can be described by two words in French. One is autodefense, the other is defense a l'interieur du pays (domestic defense). We prefer the second one since the first, "self-defense," which can also be translated as local defense.

    Zhou Enlai: I can agree with this.

    Tioulong: Mr. Pham Van Dong also used the word self-defense. Regarding the prohibition of the introduction of weapons, we also cannot agree with their interpretation. They even included shotguns. Meanwhile, we need to add "when Cambodia is not invaded by foreign countries or threatened by foreign invasion" to the provision [that Cambodia] "should not establish foreign military bases and join military alliances."

    Zhou Enlai: We can consider that.

    Tep Phan: Our country is an independent country. Don't we have the right to sign agreements with foreign countries?

    Zhou Enlai: Of course you do if you sign a trade agreement.

    Tep Phan: What if we sign a military agreement with China?

    Zhou Enlai: China has never signed any agreement of military alliance with any country. Regarding French military personnel who are training the troops [of Cambodia]?

    Tioulong: (Interrupting) France or foreign countries?

    Tep Phan: It's not limited to France. Regarding France, we?

    Tioulong: (Interrupting) We have the experience of being ruled by France for several decades. We will not be interested in French ?aid? anymore.

    Zhou Enlai: You should not be pro-America, either.

    Tep Phan: We won't. Even Mr. [General Walter Bedell] Smith said that the United States has no intention of providing aid.

    Zhou Enlai: Smith can speak like that. However, there are still people like [US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Arthur W.] Radford and Vice President [Richard] Nixon in the American government.

    Sam Sary: We can still establish technical collaboration with countries like India and China.

    Tep Phan: However, we are cautious about France.

    Tioulong: We are cautious about the cooperation of French experts and technicians, too.

    Zhou Enlai: France has somehow changed its attitude recently.

    Tep Phan: We still have to reconsider joining the French Union. Last time when we discussed drafting documents with the French delegation, we asked them not to add the point regarding joining the French Union to the documents.

    Tioulong: Personally, I have already met with the Premier three times. However, I have never met Mendes-France.

    Tep Phan: We are not interested in joining the French Union [since] we do not want to be ruled by them anymore. France is no better than the Viet Minh.

    Zhou Enlai: However, being pro-America is even worse. China has its experience [of dealing with the US]. Sino-British relations have a long history. The United States was a newcomer. America's attitude was relatively moderate at first. However, it changed after the United States excluded British influence [from China] after World War II.

    Tep Phan: I understand that.

    Zhou Enlai: It is good that you understand it. The time for the meeting is approaching. I hope that you can reach an agreement with the Vietnamese delegation regarding these issues at the meeting in the afternoon. We will also push the Vietnamese side forward so that the meeting can be successful.

    Tep Phan: Thank you very much for your help. [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]

    Zhou Enlai: I am sure that Vietnam does not have any such intention. Chairman Ho Chi Minh firmly clarified the position of Vietnam when I met with him on the Guangxi border this time. He promised that Vietnam would not invade any countries because an invasion is destined to fail. I am telling you the truth since we are all relatives.

    Tep Phan: Yes. We need to protect our independence because we want to survive. Our situation is very difficult since our neighbors, such as Thailand and Vietnam, are all big countries. Since our country is a small country, we have no intention of attacking others and only hope that we can survive. In addition, the religion in which we believe does not allow us to attack others.

    Zhou Enlai: Your situation is relatively good. The conference will publish a joint statement to guarantee [the armistice], and you have the support of the participants of the Colombo Conference [India, Ceylon, Pakistan, Indonesia, Burma]. It is much better than [the situation in] Korea.

    Tioulong: I understand this. Cambodia will be a new country after peace is restored. As in China, all the people [of Cambodia] need to make efforts to build up [our country]. The Chinese and Cambodian people also have a blood relationship. For example, I myself have Chinese blood. My grandfather is Chinese. You can tell that from my name. My [last] name is Tioulong.

    Zhou Enlai: Very good.

    Tioulong: Our peasants cultivate [crops] and merchants do business. We all hope to live in peace. It will make our economy develop. We are currently opening up wasteland for development.

    Zhou Enlai: We all want peace. The Chinese people are also conducting peaceful development.

    Tep Phan: The help we get from you can speed up the achievement of the agreement, and will therefore help us obtain peace and independence. We will need China's help at all different levels in the future.

    Zhou Enlai: Yes. We also welcome you to come to visit China in the future if you have the chance.

    Tep Phan: We would love to. Thank you. H

    Zhou Enlai: We will even have diplomatic relations in the future.

    Tep Phan: Yes. (Standing at the door and leaving.)

    Tep Phan: We appreciate the Prime Minister's help. We hope that Cambodia will become an independent and free country and will peacefully coexist with all its neighbors after peace is restored.

    Zhou Enlai: I also hope that the friendship between the people of our two countries will be improved.

    JULY 20, 1954
    TELEGRAM, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING ZHOU’S MEETINGS WITH PIERRE MENDES-FRANCE AND EDEN, AS WELL AS DISCUSSIONS OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE

    Chairman [Mao], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and the Central Committee:

    (1) Mendes-France and Eden visited me in the afternoon of the 19th and focused their talks on the problems of Laos. Mendes-France said that the French troops, about 3,000 men, stationed in Laos for security reasons, [were] not threatening anyone. He agreed to numerical limit of French troops there, but didn't agree to a time limit. I said that the question of how long, which area, and how many French troops should remain stationed in Laos could be discussed with other related issues. Regarding the regrouping of the Laos resistance forces, he said that the resistance forces had only 2,000 men, not enough to control a special administrative region. I told him that the resistance troops should regroup in one area, not spread to eleven points (the French proposal suggested eleven points). With respect to their local administration, it is their own domestic affairs that should be discussed through the local contacts between Royal government and resistance force representatives. Mendes-France said that the regrouping points could be reduced, but it would become complicated if all the troops had to move from the south to the north for regrouping since the resistance forces were all over the country. Determining certain regrouping points in the south may be considered, since most people over there have become used to the way of their local life, so that it should be solved locally. I said that the eleven points for regrouping in Laos would not bring peace and stability, and could cause some local conflicts. The resistance forces are local troops that should group together, not disperse to eleven points. They should be protected. After their assembly, they will gradually participate in the life of the state under international supervision. Laos is different from Vietnam. Its Royal government will be responsible for the armed forces so that they will not worry. If someone doesn't want to go to the north, the resistance movement and Royal government could send representatives to meet and discuss this matter. Then Eden asked me whether I oppose one regrouping area in the south. I didn't answer him. Lastly, Mendes-France said that our opinions are not too far apart and that [we should] let the experts continue their discussions. He also agreed that the main regrouping areas be in the northwest, and said that there still may be a regrouping area in the south. The specific limits of the areas can be determined on the spot. After the regrouping, the commanding officers of the resistance troops can establish contact with the local governments in order to cope with all the issues after regrouping.

    (2) After my meeting with Mendes-France and Eden, Eden's assistant, Caccia, who came with Eden, stayed and talked to Ambassador [to the Soviet Union and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC] Zhang [Wentian] about the problem of drawing the line. Caccia said that France definitely wanted to have Route 9. “If this cannot be not negotiable, we all have to buy our train tickets and go home.” He also demanded to have enough areas north of Route 9 in order to secure the [French troops'] safety. He suggested that one of the two rivers between Route 9 and the 18th parallel could be chosen as the line. Regarding the election date, he proposed it [be held] during 1956. Talking about the military alliance, Caccia described the position of [the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth] as the following. If an agreement accepted by all the delegations were reached here and the agreement stipulates that the three countries of Indochina [Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos] cannot participate in any military pact, Britain thereby believes that the three countries are not supposed to be invited [to the Southeast Asian military pact]. And Britain itself won't [invite them]. He said that Laos and Cambodia would make their [own] announcements respectively, saying that they will not join any military alliance.

    (3) The delegations of the Soviet Union, China, and Vietnam have discussed the final proposal this afternoon, and have presented it to Britain. The main points of the proposal have been telegraphed [to Beijing] yesterday.

    (4) I met [V.K. Krishna] Menon this evening. I told him about the proposal that had been presented to Britain. He said that France hopes to draw the line in the area near a river. Regarding the election date, Menon suggested not having a scheduled election date, but scheduling the date for forming an election committee. I firmly opposed his suggestion and said that there is an agreement that the election will be under international supervision. If an election committee is formed, it needs to have both sides plus another country. This may cause foreign intervention in domestic affairs. Both sides in Vietnam won't accept this kind of suggestion. And China does not agree [with it] either.

    (5) Comrade Pham Van Dong met Mendes-France again during the night. Mendes-France proposed to draw the line along the provincial border between Quang Binh and Quang Tri, that is, the 17th Parallel. Pham did not respond. Mendes-France agreed to set up the troop withdrawal deadline within 245 days. But he asked for two more months as a psychological preparation period. He agreed with our proposing the election date, that is, two years. The first year is for discussions and negotiations. Mendes-France disagreed with the gradual withdrawal. Regarding the protection of French economy and business in Vietnam, he presented a new proposal asking for much more than that [contained in] the previous proposal. In short, the only solution so far is the election date.

    Zhou Enlai
    20 July 1954, 12:00 p.m.

    JULY 19, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF MOLOTOV: SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH EDEN AT HIS VILLA IN GENEVA, 10:00 P.M.

    Present were [Andrei A.] Gromyko, Harold Caccia, British deputy undersecretary for foreign affairs, and Anthony [Rambold], Eden's principal private secretary

    Eden welcomes V. M. Molotov and says that in his, Eden's, opinion the words about the withdrawal of foreign military personnel from Laos and Cambodia for inclusion in the decision about the negotiations between the representatives of the commands for Laos and Cambodia on which V. M. Molotov insisted at today's meeting do not have great importance since they are covered by the previous part of this phrase in which it talks about the withdrawal of all foreign armed forces from Laos and Cambodia.

    Molotov points out that the combination of these two formulations gives this part a nuance which would be less distinct if the words about the withdrawal of foreign military personnel had been omitted.

    Eden expresses his satisfaction that the conference has managed to adopt a decision about negotiations between the representatives of the commands for Laos and Cambodia. We have done what we could, he says, and now we can leave with a clear conscience.

    Molotov asks whether Eden means that the ministers have already done all their work and that further negotiations ought to be entrusted to the belligerent parties.

    Eden replies that he meant that the ministers have done everything that they could at this stage of the conference but, in his opinion, they will have to meet again to approve the reports of the representatives of the commands as well as to settle such issues as supervision, safeguards, etc.

    Molotov replies that such a procedure for further work is evidently correct.

    Molotov says that he does not understand the position of the French. On one hand, they are seemingly not in a hurry with the negotiations but, on the other, Mendes-France promised in the National Assembly to achieve a settlement of the Indochina issue by 20 July.

    Eden notes that he does not understand this either.

    Molotov notes that possibly [the French parliament] subsequently intends to extend the deadline indicated by Mendes-France.

    Eden says that yesterday he talked with Mendes-France on the telephone and asked him if he planned to come to Geneva. Mendes-France replied no, declaring that he cannot come to Geneva. Thus, Eden continues, he has already lost three days of the time he himself had set.

    Eden says that he was glad to hear that tomorrow Zhou Enlai will receive the ministers of foreign affairs of Laos and Cambodia. In his, Eden's opinion, a great deal depends on the talks about Laos and Cambodia. He, Eden, already said to Zhou Enlai that he was concerned that if Vietnamese troops continue to attack as they have done recently then this would provide fodder for new accusations from those who have a skeptical attitude toward the Geneva Conference and [would] say that Ho Chi Minh and his supporters are using the talks in Geneva as a front to conduct further combat operations. Eden seems to say jokingly that he hopes that Pham Van Dong will not display too much belligerency in the upcoming weeks when talks will be held with the representatives of the commands.

    Molotov notes that Pham Van Dong is a civil person and belligerency is unlike him. It seems to me, continues Molotov, that, in stressing the importance of the issues regarding Laos and Cambodia, [we] also ought not forget about [those] of first importance, which are the Vietnamese issues.

    Eden agrees with this, but says that from the point of view of the Western delegations there is a difference between Laos and Cambodia on the one hand and the issue of Vietnam on the other, since, in the opinion of the Western delegations, there is a civil war going on in Vietnam while events in Laos and Cambodia have a different character.

    Eden again expresses the hope that now, when steps have been taken to start talks between the representatives of both commands, no large offensive will be attempted as long as these talks are being conducted.

    Molotov states that, in his opinion, the danger is not whether a new offensive will or will not be attempted but that the patience of the people in Indochina, who have already been fighting for eight years, is starting to be exhausted.

    Molotov asks whether, in Eden's opinion, Mendes-France's elevation to prime minister meant that the French want to find a solution to the issue of the war in Indochina.

    Eden replies affirmatively but says that it cannot be forgotten that Mendes-France cannot capitulate and will agree to a peace in Indochina only on terms acceptable to France. The French will exhibit a genuine desire to negotiate, Eden continues, but he, Eden, doubts that Mendes-France's peace conditions were significantly different from the conditions of his predecessors.

    Molotov notes that no one is demanding capitulation by the French.

    Molotov says that in yesterday's conversation with him, Molotov, [US Under Secretary of State General Walter Bedell] Smith explained the position of the American government on the issues being discussed at the Geneva Conference. The Americans are evidently afraid that the French will make concessions that are too great, although there is nothing to indicate that, and the position of the US government is evidently to deter the French from finding a way out of the situation which has developed. At the same time as the French and American positions are quite clear, says Molotov, the position of the British is not clear.

    Eden, as if joking, replies that the British have no position at all. Essentially, Eden continues, we think that the French ought to decide themselves what conditions they consider acceptable to conclude an agreement. We think that it is not right to tell the French how they are to act. It is possible, Eden added, that the position of the Americans is partly explained by the fact that, as allies of the French, they want the French to gain the most favorable conditions.

    Molotov says that, all the same, the impression is being created that the Americans are interested in deterring the French from an agreement. We observed such a picture at yesterday's meeting, Molotov continues. The French declared that, in their opinion, the Chinese proposals deserved serious attention. The representative of Laos declared that these proposals were acceptable as a basis for negotiations. [US Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Walter S.] Robertson essentially spoke against both France and Laos. It is necessary to understand whether he wanted to be more French than the French and more Laotian than the Laotians.

    Eden says that yesterday he received a telegram from London in which it mentioned a conversation which a Briton who had attended a lunch at the Soviet embassy had had with [Soviet Ambassador to the UK Jacob A.] Malik. Malik told this Briton that Eden was just as bad as [US Secretary of State John Foster] Dulles and that he and Dulles had simply assigned roles between themselves at the Geneva Conference in such a way that Dulles was to reflect intransigence and Eden was to play an appeasing role.

    Molotov replies that he does not think that Malik could have said this or anything like this. But if Malik actually said that he, Molotov, would try to convince him that he is wrong.

    Eden says that he told Molotov about this in passing and that he would not want Malik to have any trouble on account of this.

    Molotov says that he received this report in confidence and can only make an appropriate hint to Malik, also in confidence. Dulles spent only several days in Geneva, adds Molotov, at the same time as Eden has been here for eight weeks. This alone speaks about the difference in their positions.

    Eden agrees with this.

    Molotov notes that Dulles evidently did not favor the Geneva Conference from the very start.

    Eden points out that Dulles agreed in Berlin to convene the conference all the same.

    Molotov notes that this still does not mean anything.

    Eden says that he tried to convince Dulles not to leave Geneva, but that his appeals remained unsuccessful.

    Eden notes that Dulles might still return to Geneva if the talks develop favorably.

    Molotov says that in yesterday's conversation with him, Molotov, Smith mentioned his, Smith's, or Dulles' possible return to Geneva, but this was said very indefinitely.

    Molotov asks Eden what, in his opinion, are the primary difficulties with which the Geneva Conference is still faced.

    Eden replies that it is hard for him to answer this question and that all the existing difficulties will come to light in the next three weeks when the talks of the representatives of the commands both sides are held. However, he, Eden, thinks that the primary difficulties concern Vietnam since the issues of Laos and Cambodia are much simpler in their nature.

    Molotov notes that all the questions regarding Indochina are interconnected. If the talks about Vietnam go well then it will be easier to solve the issues regarding Laos and Cambodia. On the other hand, success in examining the issues regarding Laos and Cambodia will promote a solution to the issue of Vietnam.

    Eden asks whether Molotov is satisfied with the progress of the talks of the military representatives about Vietnam.

    Molotov replies that he cannot say that he is satisfied with the progress of these talks. The French have manifested some desire to hold the talks. However, their actions were evidently connected with the government crisis in France.

    Eden says that the French informed him that the representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam have taken a more intransigent position since [French Prime Minister Joseph] Laniel's government fell [in June 1954]. For his part, he, Eden, thinks that it would be a mistake to think that Mendes-France will turn out to be more pliable than his predecessors.

    Molotov says that he has not formed such an opinion that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has taken a more intransigent position recently, since there have been no changes since the fall of the Laniel government in the talks between the representatives of the two commands about Vietnam. The latest proposals of the representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam were offered even before the fall of this government.

    Eden asks what Molotov thinks about the possibility of the ministers returning to Geneva. For my part, says Eden, I think that when the reports about the talks of the military representatives are presented after 21 days we will be able to consult one another diplomatically about the question of our return to Geneva.

    Molotov notes that these ideas seem reasonable to him inasmuch as otherwise the ministers might return to Geneva when the ground for their talks still has not been sufficiently prepared.

    Eden states that he had formed the impression from recent talks with Zhou Enlai that Zhou Enlai favors a settlement of the Indochina problem.

    Molotov replies that he also thinks so. China wants calm south of its borders. This would unquestionably agree with its interests.

    Molotov expresses satisfaction that more friendly relations between the Chinese and British have been established in Geneva.

    Eden notes that this occurred with Molotov's assistance.

    Molotov says that it depended on Eden and Zhou Enlai in the first place. Relations between the French and the Chinese, on the other hand, have changed little during the time of the Geneva Conference, although some improvement has been noted here.

    Eden says that, on the basis of his conversations with Zhou Enlai, he has come to the conclusion that the PRC has no ambitions with respect to Laos and Cambodia and that there is reason to hope that these two countries will be able to lead a happy life as neutral countries without having any foreign military bases on their territory. It is based on this very assumption, Eden continues, that I stayed to work here in Geneva and hope that my assumptions will not turn out to be mistaken.

    Molotov says that, in his opinion, Eden is not mistaken. The PRC does not, of course, have any ambitions with respect to Laos and Cambodia. However, in his, Molotov's, opinion some steps should to be taken in Laos and Cambodia which would be in keeping with the sentiments which exist in several regions of these countries. This, of course, is the internal affair of these countries, but nonetheless it requires a decision. On the basis of my conversations with Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong, Molotov continues, I have formed the opinion that the situation in Cambodia is such that a settlement of the issues relating to this country should not cause significant difficulty. The situation in Laos is more complex. Still more complex is the issue of Vietnam. But solutions to all these issues are unquestionably equally necessary.

    Eden notes that Zhou Enlai might help in this matter.

    Molotov says that it is the business of the French to obtain such aid.

    Eden states that, in his opinion, if the talks of the representatives of the commands turn out successfully, then a solution to the question of monitoring might turn out not to be nearly so difficult a matter as it seems at the present time.

    Molotov says that Eden previously attached inordinate importance to this question. Now, however, he seems to be holding to the opposite point of view. As regards the Soviet delegation, it is agreeable not to exaggerate the importance of this question.

    Eden says that the question of monitoring still has great importance but its resolution might be made easier thanks to the improvement of relations between the sides.
    Eden notes that much work has to be invested in the matter of coordinating the decisions of the Geneva Conference both regarding Vietnam as well as Laos and Cambodia.

    Molotov says that the French have not displayed special initiative in solving these issues. It was possibly explained by the domestic political situation in France. He, Molotov, hopes that the matter will now proceed more quickly.

    Eden notes that French governments are different [than other governments] in that they exhibit great energy only in the first weeks of their existence.

    Molotov says that during these first weeks they will possibly be able to overcome the current difficulties in the Indochina question.

    Eden says that before the Geneva Conference the international situation concerned him very much. However, in his opinion, the conference has done much to relax the tension in international relations. The danger still exists; however the situation has started to become less acute.

    Molotov says that, in his opinion, in spite of its shortcomings, the Geneva Conference has played a positive role in this respect.
    Molotov, seemingly joking, says that during the upcoming trip to Washington Churchill and Eden will be able to coordinate all the issues and help [bring] a favorable outcome to the Geneva Conference.

    Eden replies that what has already been achieved in Geneva will help him and Churchill to hold talks in Washington.

    JULY 19, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI, PIERRE MENDES-FRANCE, AND EDEN

    Time: 19 July 1954, 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Location: Premier Zhou's residence
    Chinese Participants: Zhou Enlai, [Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Vice Foreign Minister] Zhang Wentian, Li Kenong, [Director of the Foreign Ministry Staff Office] Wang Bingnan, [Foreign Ministry Asian Affairs Department Director] Chen Jiakang, Huan Xiang, Pu Shouchang (interpreter), Dong Ningchuan (interpreter)
    French Participants: Pierre Mendes-France, Jean Chauvel
    British Participants: Anthony Eden, Harold Caccia, Ford

    Mendes-France: The conference has now entered into [its] concluding stage, but the question of Laos has not seen much development. I wish to discuss this question with Your Excellency the Premier.

    The question of Laos has two sides: on one hand, the restoration of peace and the problems afterwards, and on the other, the question of French troops in Laos. French troops are stationed there at the request of the Laotian government, and the number of troops is not large at around 3,000. This is a security measure to help Laos, and cannot be regarded as a danger. I have also discussed this with Mr. Pham Van Dong, and it is not necessary to worry about it. Laos has a border of about three to four thousand kilometers, and it needs an army that can maintain order and safeguard security. Therefore help from French troops is necessary. Would Your Excellency, the Premier, agree? I need to repeat that the French troops are by no means aggressive and will not threaten anyone.

    Zhou Enlai: The question of the French troops stationed in Laos within a given time, at certain location, and in a certain number could be considered in connection with other questions. I wonder if the question of regrouping the Laotian resistance force in concentration areas has been solved. French troops should mostly be stationed along the Mekong River, and Xiangkhoang would be too close to the Vietnamese border.

    Mendes-France: We have two bases along the Mekong River, and this should be no problem. As to the base in the Plain of Jars[1], we can try to find another way out. We agree to a limit on the number of French troops in Laos, but in terms of duration, I hope we could reconsider the issue, for Laos needs to take some time to establish its armed forces for self-defense.

    The regrouping of the resistance force in Laos is a subtle question of principle. But it should not be a big problem, since the number of the resistance troops is not large: in the beginning there were only 2,000, later the number grew to 2,500, and now it is said to be 4,000 which may not even be true. But at any rate the number is small and this question could be solved. We also agree to guarantee that these troops will be allowed to participate in state affairs and will not be retaliated upon. Their civil servants can get jobs in administrative institutions, and soldiers can be incorporated into the national army. They can be entitled to the right to vote, to be elected, and all the other civic rights. However, we do not understand why such military troops should be entitled special political rights and control a special administrative region, even part of a region. It is inappropriate when the majority does not have such political privileges while the minority does. We are willing to consider all specific suggestions in a conciliatory spirit, but it is not a good idea to partition Laos and delimit discriminatory political regions.

    Zhou Enlai: The opinions that Your Excellency the Prime Minister has just stated are quite similar to mine. I discussed solutions with the Laotian foreign minister and defense minister yesterday. We believe that a distinction should be made between two questions: one is the withdrawal of foreign troops, and the other is the regrouping of local forces. These forces should be regrouped in one area, rather than at eleven points. The regrouping of the resistance force should be protected, and after the elections, they can either join the national armed forces, the police force, or be demobilized at their own volition. Thus reunification can be realized. After the withdrawal of foreign troops, the international supervision at the ports around the country will serve as a guarantee. A further distinction should be made between two questions. The resistance force is a military organization, and it can be protected after regrouping and political work. When reunification is achieved through elections, they can be placed well. As to the question of local administration, it is a matter of internal affairs and thus the [Laotian] Royal government and the representatives of the resistance forces should meet on the spot to look for a solution. The resistance force stood in opposition to the government during the war, but now that they recognize the Royal government, the Royal government should unite with them. Mr. Mendes-France has also said that they should be granted various rights, given jobs, and placed well.

    The central question now is to make the regrouping areas the areas where the resistance forces have been for a long time. This would be conducive to resolving the problem. I say candidly that we are willing to consider the French plan to retain some troops in Laos within a given time and at certain locations so as to train and strengthen Laos' self-defense forces. We hope to see Laos become a peaceful, independent, free, and friendly country, and be capable of defending itself. We believe that Mr. Mendes-France should also consider delimiting a fairly large regrouping area. Later reunification could be realized through supervised elections, and the resistance force should be taken good care of. This would be promoting reunification from another side. After the withdrawal of the Vietnamese Volunteer Forces, the resistance force should have protection.

    We can promote reunification from two sides. We are willing to have Laos become a buffer zone as described by Mr. Eden. I am delighted that Mr. Eden is also here, so that we can discuss ways to reach our common goals. We should all urge upon the Royal government to assume responsibilities. When everything is done through the Royal government, it could be normalized.

    Mendes-France: As Your Excellency the Premier has said, our opinions are no longer far apart. The question of French troops in Laos should be easy to solve. The retention of French troops in Laos should not cause anyone to worry; the Vietnamese People's Army should be withdrawn; the resistance forces should be well taken care of. Specific solutions to these questions should not be too difficult to find. The reason why I proposed eleven regrouping points is that we believe it to be a fairly appropriate solution. If you think there should be fewer points, it can be done easily, but it would complicate the problem to move all the people in the south to the north. Since the resistance force is all over the country, shouldn't we also consider regrouping points in the south? Most of the people there are accustomed to local life, and the question should be solved there. The other part of the people can be transferred north. As to regrouping in the north, the question is relatively easy. We suggest that we protect the resistance force as best we can, and grant them all civic rights, but no special political rights.

    Laos is a weak country; we all agree that it could be totally independent. What needs to be avoided now is that we should not give Laos and other countries the impression that just as a country is acquiring independence, people begin to consider dividing it up and marking out administrative regions with special positions. The real independence of Laos should be guaranteed, and it should not be threatened either from within or from without, otherwise it would have a negative influence on Asia and on other areas. I hope Your Excellency the Premier would pay attention to this.

    Zhou Enlai: I said in a talk with Mr. Mendes-France and Mr. Eden in June that there should be a regrouping area for the resistance force in Laos. But this is different from the situation in Vietnam. In Vietnam, there are two regrouping areas and two governments. Within a specific period they control their respective areas. But the regrouping areas in Vietnam are only a provisional solution, and this does not harm reunification. The proposed eleven regrouping points in Laos will not bring about stability; rather, they might cause local conflicts. The retention of French troops in Laos is to help Laos establish a force for self-defense, reunification, and independence. We will not call this French aggression, but French troops are foreign forces. The resistance forces are local forces and should be concentrated rather than scattered at eleven points. They should have protection, and after regrouping gradually participate in state affairs under international supervision. Laos is not like Vietnam, and the Royal government should be responsible for solving their problems and reassuring them.

    It is possible that some people in the south do not want to move to the north. This is a political issue, and can be solved through negotiations by the representatives of the resistance force and the Royal government. Administrative questions should be separated from military questions. What I said in June was based on realistic concerns, and what I say now is the same, without any additions or reductions. On the contrary, we are willing to consider the retention of French troops in Laos. This is a new point.

    Mendes-France: Now that our opinions are no longer far apart, I suggest that the discussion be continued by experts.

    Eden: I hope so, too. From what we have heard, agreements have been reached on some points here. As we understand, Mr. Zhou Enlai is not opposed to the idea of a regrouping area in the south, but to the idea of eleven scattered points. I think this question can be handed to experts to be discussed along with the question of French troops in Laos.

    Zhou Enlai: What I proposed in June and what I have always stated is the establishment of a regrouping area in the northeast, and not eleven scattered points. Otherwise unrest would result, and the cease-fire would not be stable. This regrouping area is only provisional, and after reunification through elections, the resistance force could become part of the Royal armed forces of part of local police forces, or simply be demobilized. This would be promoting reunification and not disunity.

    Mendes-France: Regarding the question of the number and location of the regrouping areas, I think the main regrouping area can be established in the northeast. Perhaps regrouping points could still be established in the south, but as to the question of specific borders, it can be solved on the spot. After regrouping, representatives of the resistance forces can get in touch with the local authorities to solve all the problems after regrouping.

    Zhou Enlai: I agree with Your Excellency the Prime Minister. The questions shall be studied by experts.

    Mendes-France: The experts can meet this afternoon.

    Eden: If we are through with the Laos question, I would like to propose another thing. [Mr.] Caccia and Ambassador Zhang had a very productive talk. I suggest that they talk again.

    Zhou Enlai: Good. Mr. Caccia, why don't you stay for lunch so you can have a talk.

    [1] A collection of fortified bunkers surrounding an airfield, this installation was built in Xiangkhoang province, near the Plain of Jars, in May 1953 as a landing point for French troops and equipment.

    JULY 19, 1954
    TELEGRAM, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING THE SITUATION AT THE TWENTY-THIRD RESTRICTED SESSION

    Chairman Mao, Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi and the Central Committee:

    (1) Eden sent [Harold] Caccia to come and meet with Ambassador [to the Soviet Union] Zheng [Wentian] on the morning of the 18th. Caccia first said that he wanted to clarify one thing: if the Geneva Conference can reach an armistice agreement acceptable to all the participants, the establishment of foreign military bases in the three countries of Indochina [Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam] and the participation of the three countries in a Southeast Asia defense pact will never happen. These two issues and the issue of the prohibition of the introduction of new weapons across the border will be confirmed in either the armistice agreement or the statement by Laos and Cambodia. Caccia also said that he hoped that the atmosphere of the meeting in the afternoon would not be too tense, and [we] should not attack a certain delegate [meaning US Under Secretary of State General Walter Bedell Smith] to create tension since it is harmful to the progress of the meeting. Caccia also guaranteed that the British delegation will not create tension.

    (2) At the same time, Eden also met with Comrade Molotov and gave the same opinions. Comrade Molotov therefore went to consult [Pierre] Mendes-France before the meeting in the afternoon, and told him that we are willing to support his [plan to] establish a ceasefire on the 20th. The tone of the statement of our side at the meeting will be mild, too. Since our counterparts have changed and relatively softened their attitude under our pressure, we accordingly changed the tone of the text of our statement to make it milder.

    (3) Comrade Molotov chaired the meeting in the afternoon. His tone was mild when he made the opening speech. He summarized the results that had been achieved [through previous meetings] and expressed his belief [that such success will continue]. He hoped that the parties concerned will display sincerity to agree on unresolved points in the agreement. At last, Molotov said that he “believes that today's session will help to move forward the solution of problems.” Bao Dai's Foreign Minister Tran Van Do first spoke to oppose the division [of Vietnam]. He protested it and refused [to accept] the draft declarations of both the Soviet Union and France since they all referred to the division of Vietnam into two zones. Smith spoke after that and made clear the position of the US in these critical days [of the conference]. Smith said: “The attitude of the United States toward the Geneva Conference has consistently been that it is willing to assist in arriving at an honorable settlement. Such a settlement will contribute to the maintenance of peace in the area. The United States is not a belligerent in this conflict and is also not willing to impose its will upon others. However, we have been very interested in this conference. If the agreement concluded here can be accepted by the American government, the American government will declare unilaterally that, in accordance with its obligations under the United Nations Charter Article II and IV, it will refrain from the threat or the use of violence to disturb this agreement.”

    (4) An intermission followed after Smith's speech. All the delegations became lively in the bar and energetically carried out diplomatic activities. Smith came to talk to me, and said to me: “I hope that our two countries can move toward a better mutual understanding.” Smith said: [US State Department Far Eastern Affairs Assistant Secretary Walter S.] Robertson is sick and is staying in the United States. He asked Smith to send his regards to me. Robertson also hopes that this conference can reach a positive solution, and the relations between our two countries will be gradually improved. Eden asked me if my speech was long, and I said no. Eden said that currently there are not many unsolved problems left except the issues of division, election dates and Laos. I said that there is also the issue of the composition of the NNSC. I asked him if he had already known about the French proposal. He said that he agreed to have India as chair plus Poland and Canada [as members of the NNSC]. I agreed with that, too. Eden told Mendes-France that I agreed. Mendes-France said that was good, but he still wanted to keep it secret because he needed to deal with others. The issue of composition was thus resolved. Mendes-France told me that what he worried about was the issue of Laos. I told him that I had already given my detailed opinion to the foreign minister of Laos. He said that was good. Moreover, Bao Dai's foreign minister, Tran Van Do, talked with me through the introduction of the French delegation. The foreign minister of Cambodia asked my opinions on Cambodia's draft unilateral declaration that he presented.

    (5) The atmosphere of the meeting and the intermission was very relaxed, and everyone was polite. Eden then made the suggestion to Molotov that Britain and France all believe that the meeting does not need to be continued. Comrade Molotov agreed that the meeting should be adjourned after he discussed it with us. The two chairmen also decided to announce the same communique as usual, and then the meeting was adjourned. Neither Comrade Pham Van Dong nor I used the texts of the statements we prepared. The meeting began tensely but ended in a relaxed mood. We do not necessarily need to put any pressure on the conference since the United States made their position clear, Britain and France began showing a true spirit of conciliation, and the issue of composition has been solved. We will try to fend off [our counterparts on] other issues in these two days. If our counterparts are willing to keep making compromises, we believe that we can reach the agreement on the 20th.

    Zhou Enlai
    19 July 1954

    JULY 19, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHANG WENTIAN AND HAROLD CACCIA, SECOND MEETING OF 19 JULY

    Time: 19 July 1954, 5:45 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    Location: Headquarters of the British delegation
    Chinese Attendees: Huan Xiang, Pu Shouchang (interpreter)
    British Attendees: Ford

    Ambassador Zhang said that the information that Mr. Caccia requested this afternoon would be provided now, and that he please convey it to Foreign Secretary [Anthony] Eden.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the first point concerned the demarcation line. Now the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has made a further concession, i.e., accommodating the topographical details, the demarcation line is to be set ten kilometers north of Route 9. If the other side still refuses to accept this, we should just buy our tickets home. According to this proposal, the security of Route 9 is no longer a problem.

    Caccia said he was afraid that a ten-kilometer area might be too narrow.

    Ambassador Zhang said that a five-kilometer demilitarized zone on each side of the demarcation line would be established.

    Caccia said that he could not accept this proposal on behalf of the French side. He said that this matter needed to be discussed further by [Pierre] Mendes-France and Pham Van Dong, and that he believed that the French side might want a few more kilometers.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the second point concerned the date for elections. The DRV has also made a further concession to hold general elections two years after the signing of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities. The precise date and the actual method of the elections would be negotiated by qualified and representative authorities from the northern and southern regions of Vietnam, and a decision was to be made no later than June 1955.

    Caccia made no comment on this point and only said that it would be discussed by Mendes-France and Pham Van Dong.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the third point concerned the membership of the International Supervisory Commission. The International Supervisory Commission is to be composed of representatives from the following three countries: India, Poland and Canada, chaired by the Indian representative. This has been accepted by Mr. Eden and Mr. Mendes-France, and we can confirm it now.

    Caccia said that the UK accepted this, and that France had said that it would accept it. The United States had not stated its attitude, but hopefully would accept it, too. For the sake of certainty, Caccia said that he would try to learn the American attitude and telephone the Chinese side about it.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the fourth point concerned the timing of the withdrawal and transfer of troops by both sides. The regrouping of the armed forces within Vietnam is to be completed with 245 days.

    Caccia said that when this question was first raised, it was divided into two parts. The first part was based upon the material conditions for the withdrawal of troops, such as the railway and ports. Based on calculations of the transportation capacity per day, France proposed 305 days, and later, after some reconsideration, proposed 260 days. The second part took into account estimates of inclement weather, and France proposed two and a half months in addition. Putting forward the present proposal of 245 days is to ask Mendes-France to enstrust all his hopes to good fortune, and Mendes-France might feel dismayed by this.

    Ambassador Zhang said that, according to our calculations, six months would be enough. The present proposal of 245 days has taken into consideration bad luck. Generally speaking, Mr. Mendes-France has had good luck, and only a few days of bad luck.

    Caccia said that this question needed to be discussed by Mendes-France and Pham Van Dong.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the fifth point concerned the guarantee by all the participating countries at the Geneva Conference to negotiate the adoption of collective measures when the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission presents the problem of a breach of the agreement. This was the last article of the political declaration. The French draft used the expression "individual and collective measures," but we think it would be better if we adopt collective measures.

    Caccia said that he had not seen the final draft yet, and that he could only say that he had noted our opinion. He said that US representatives said yesterday that if an agreement was reached here, they were willing to honor it. They would issue an individual statement to promise that they would not sabotage this agreement. If someone else had the intention to sabotage it, they would consider it a grave matter. These remarks by the US representatives indicated that they did not want to be bound on the issue of collective measures. Caccia then added that US representatives said yesterday that they would act in accordance with the second and fourth articles of the United Nations Charter, and that any actions taken in accordance with the UN Charter could be said to be collective in some degree. Caccia said that the question of collective measures therefore might encounter some difficulty.

    JULY 19, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHANG WENTIAN AND HAROLD CACCIA, FIRST MEETING

    Time: 19 July 1954, 1:30 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.
    Location: Premier Zhou's residence
    Chinese Attendees: Huan Xiang, Pu Shouchang (interpreter and note-taker)
    British Attendee: Ford (interpreter)

    1. The Question of the Demarcation Line in Vietnam

    Caccia said that he had reported to Eden what Ambassador Zhang said the day before. Eden had conveyed the message to [Pierre] Mendes-France. The French side thinks that France has made considerable concessions in northern Vietnam, but the French side feels that "fortunately Route 9 does not fall on the 18th parallel."

    Ambassador Zhang asked where Eden thinks a demarcation line is south of the 18th parallel that is acceptable to the French side?

    Caccia answered that there were two major considerations on this issue:

    The first is Route 9, and second [is the fact that] there should be sufficient space north of Route 9 to make those who use and maintain Route 9 feel safe.

    Caccia said that there are two rivers between Route 9 and the 18th parallel, one of which enters the ocean at Dong Ha and the other at an unspecified location. These two rivers could both provide some protection for Route 9. Perhaps one of the two rivers can be chosen.

    Ambassador Zhang asked whether Eden means that as long as Route 9 is safe, it would be acceptable to the French side?

    Caccia said yes, but that the demarcation line should not be a preposterous line. Some topographical details must be taken into consideration, and thus a river is recommended.

    Ambassador Zhang asked whether the French side insisted on Route 9?

    Caccia answered that [this is] absolutely so. If this cannot be negotiated, we can only buy our tickets home.
    Ambassador Zhang said that he would report Eden's opinions to the premier.

    2. The Question of Date of Elections

    Caccia said that he had reported to Eden the two solutions proposed by Ambassador Zhang the day before. He had also told Eden that the Chinese side was in favor of determining a date right now. He then said that based on the experience of Burma and India, it would take two to three years, and so it seems that the Soviets had promised an impossible task in their draft by proposing that the elections be held by the end of 1955. He finally said that the elections perhaps could be held in 1956, or by the end of 1956, or as early as possible in 1956.

    3. The Question of Military Alliances

    Caccia said that some British newspapers had run inaccurate reports of the Caccia-Zhang talk the day before, and so he would like to repeat what he had said. If an agreement could be reached here that was acceptable to all, and if the agreement stipulates the non-entry of the three Indochinese states into any military alliances, then the British side believes that the three states will not be invited to join in any military alliances, and the United Kingdom will by no means do that. At the same time the UK believes that the Chinese side had the same attitude. Caccia went on to say that in saying so he represented not only the UK, but also the countries in the [British] Commonwealth. As to the United States, American representatives had clearly stated their attitude the previous afternoon, and this further proved what Caccia had said the previous morning. Ambassador Zhang said that we have the same understanding of what we discussed yesterday morning.

    Caccia said that, as he understood, Laos and Cambodia would issue their separate declarations saying that they would not enter into any military alliances.

    Ambassador Zhang asked in what way the two sides in Vietnam would express this point?

    Caccia answered that this point could be included in the armistice agreement. He promised to check the armistice agreement to see whether this point is already included.

    JULY 18, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI AND LAOTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER PHOUI SANANIKONE (SUMMARY)

    Time: 18 July, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
    Place: Prime Minister Zhou Enlai's residence
    Attendees on the Chinese side: Zhou Enlai, Li Kenong, Dong Ningchuan (interpreter)
    Attendees on the Laotian side: Sananikone, Ku Keolavong (Secretary of Defense), [Director of the General Office of the Foreign Ministry] Thao Lenam.

    Sananikone: At our last meeting, the Prime Minister said that you were willing to help us solve problems, therefore I came to ask for your help today. We met with Mr. Pham Van Dong yesterday and the day before yesterday. We believe that there is no problem concerning military issues which we cannot overcome. There are differences on political issues. Mr. Pham Van Dong said that first we must seriously recognize the existence of the resistance movement. Then we can delimit concentration areas and establish an independent administrative organization. This is not different from dividing our territory, and it is in fact the division of the country. It is difficult for us to accept it. Our secretary of defense also attended the meeting. Now I would like to ask him to convey our opinions to the Prime Minister.

    Keolavong: Mr. Sananikone said earlier that Laos is a small country and wants to have a peaceful and friendly existence. Regarding the issue of restoring peace, we are willing to try our best to make the biggest compromise. We admit that there is a resistance movement. However, we have to point out that the resistance movement does not have a lot of influence and only has two to three thousand people. In addition, the existence of the resistance movement is based on support from the Viet Minh. Mr. Pham Van Dong suggested that the king[1] should appoint some administrative officials based on suggestions from the resistance movement. This is not suitable to our constitution. We agreed to delimit some concentration areas and to establish several joint committees and a central committee in these areas. During the time when we wait for elections, joint committees can function as a united government. We are willing to consider all suggestions. However, we cannot accept the plan to divide the country. We will be truly appreciative if the Prime Minister could consider our situation.

    Sananikone: Right now what we need to achieve is the reconciliation of all the Laotian people. It is not a [true] reconciliation if we cannot live together, and we have to be separated in two different regions after the armistice. Therefore, the disadvantage of the concentration areas is bigger than the advantage. I used to ask Mr. Pham Van Dong why they argued that we should divide [the country] like this. We all need to conduct propaganda activities freely throughout the country during the elections. If we delimit concentration areas, it will be impossible to conduct such activities. Also, they can keep cadres and weapons. They should be able to accept our plan.
    [Prince] Souphanouvong has many strengths, and we all know that well. He graduated from Paris Industrial University. There are very few talented people like him in Laos. We believe that after the elections, he will surely get the most honorable position in the government. He can even be our prime minister.

    Zhou Enlai: Thank you both for informing me of these situations. I would also like to give some of my opinions.

    The Laotian issue can be divided into two parts to discuss: the internal one and the external one. We worked hard in June to suggest that the Vietnamese Volunteers forces and French Union forces should be withdrawn from Laos. We can then begin preparation after the above principles are decided. It is a good thing to confirm these principles in the armistice agreement on Laos. I said in my statements on 16 and 19 June, and also in my conversation with the foreign minister on the 21st, that we hope that Laos will not allow foreign countries to establish military bases within its territory or to form military alliances with foreign countries. We hope to see Laos become a peaceful, independent, unified, and friendly country with all others. [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.] We are neighbors. We are happy to see such a situation. It will also make us feel relieved. We believe that these points should be written into the draft agreement presented by the French delegation. However, France did not agree. This is not right. The Foreign Minister also said before that Laos would not allow foreign countries to establish military bases and would not join any foreign military group. Our common desire like this should still be achieved. Then the armistice agreement can [eventually] be reached.

    Regarding internal issues, the resistance forces of Laos should recognize the Royal united government; and the Royal government should recognize the resistance forces. The number [of troops] is not an important issue. You said that there are two or three thousand of them. We think that there are more than that. It is important to contact them and then decide on concentration areas. We have already read the eleven points presented in the draft of the Laotian armistice agreement. The concentration areas are scattered in upper, central, and lower Laos, and they are too spread out. It might be because you think that the concentration areas proposed by Vietnam are too large. [However,] such a distribution of [concentration areas] will make all parties anxious and may even cause localized conflict. Therefore, we believe that large areas are better than small ones. I have already discussed this with the foreign ministers, [French Prime Minister] Mr. [Pierre] Mendes-France, and Mr. [Anthony] Eden. [You] should delimit a concentration area in northeast Laos and establish a joint committee to deal with mutual and local relations. After the elections, the resistance movement [should] be able to join the Royal government. This is a good way to handle it.

    As far as I know, no one has ever considered Laos [in the same way] as Vietnam. The delimitation of concentration areas is simply a temporary idea. Laos only has one Royal government. This is not a division of the country. After the withdrawal of all foreign forces, Laos can therefore become a peaceful, independent, and unified country. Ports around [Laos] will still be supervised in the future. Therefore, Laos's security can be guaranteed. During the armistice period, defensive weapons that Laos needs to import can be decided on through negotiations. The foreign minister said on 16 June that [members of] the resistance will be able to enjoy all civil rights and will be accepted to work [for the government?]. This is very good. Resistance forces mostly have fought the French troops. Now we need to help them and unite them. It will be great if the Royal government and Mr. Souphanouvong can meet in Laos and deal with these issues. You should start uniting them not only after the elections but also before the elections. Since Laos is a small country, it should try even harder to unite all forces within the country. I think that Mr. Pham Van Dong also shares the same thoughts.

    Sananikone: I appreciate the Prime Minister's invaluable advice. It is a good basis for us to consider [those issues] carefully. We have discussed with Mr. Pham Van Dong a meeting between our prime minister [Prince Souvanna Phouma] and his brother [Prince Souphanouvong]. [We believe that] if the military conference here does not make any progress it will not be effective, even if they meet in Laos. However, if the Prime Minister believes that it is the right time for the brothers to meet, we are willing to help. In sum, our prime minister is very willing to talk directly with his brother.

    Zhou Enlai: It is best [if they can] discuss internal issues directly. Mr. Pham Van Dong is simply the representative of the Laotian resistance movement and cannot discuss details. Therefore, the sooner that they meet locally the better. You are family, there will not be any problems you cannot solve. Isn't it great to have all forces of the country unified under the Royal government and have all the people of the country support the government in the future?

    Sananikone: Regarding the issue of military bases, as we discussed last time, the Laotian-French agreement allowed France to keep two bases in Laos. Mr. Bidault stated at the conference that if Laos requests that France withdraw its troops from Laos, France is willing to do so after the withdrawal of the Viet Minh troops. Therefore, if we ask French troops to withdraw, they will not refuse. However, we want to ask France to withdraw the majority of its troops and keep a few personnel to fulfill security needs. If the prime minister thinks that [we] should not allow the French Union troops to stay in Laos, and France is also willing to withdraw troops, then France should express its opinions at the conference. We are willing to accept that. We will follow the agreement. However, if France wants to abandon it, we will not oppose it, either.

    Zhou Enlai: What kind of agreement is the Laotian-French agreement?

    Sananikone: It is the agreement we signed in October 1953. Laos joined the French Union based on this agreement. If Laos is invaded, France is to provide protection. However, if the armistice agreement can be guaranteed by all participants of the conference, even by the participants of the Colombo Conference, then we will not necessarily need a guarantee from France. We think that France does not have much interest in keeping a great number of troops in Laos after the armistice since France is having economic difficulties.

    I would like to ask another question. If we accept the principle of delimiting concentration areas, what areas does the Prime Minister think they should be? I hope that the Prime Minister can briefly talk to us about that so that we can consider [this issue better].

    Zhou Enlai: The details should be negotiated by the Laotian military commission. I said on 21 June that concentration areas could be delimited in two provinces in northeast Laos and should not be scattered in eleven places in upper, central and lower Laos. If so, central and lower Laos can be stabilized. [You] should not [keep] too many troops there. They can be merged into the Royal army or policy forces. Some of them can also be demobilized. This is only a tentative idea. What I said in June is still valid now. Some of the problems can be solved here, the others should be discussed in Laos. Regarding the issues of military bases and military alliance, we are most opposed to American bases and military alliance with the United States. I think you all know this.

    Sananikone: The Laotian government has never been formally informed about these issues. We simply learned from newspapers that the United States is planning to establish a Southeast Asian Defense Pact, which will include the three countries of Indochina. However, we do not have such an idea. I have said so to many journalists.

    Zhou Enlai: If the conference can reach an agreement, then we all should join together to guarantee that there will be no instances of conflict inside Laos and Cambodia. We hope that Laos and Cambodia become peaceful, neutral areas and do not join any international military groups. Otherwise, the restoration of peace will become meaningless. [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]

    Sananikone: If all countries join together to sign [the agreement], Laos will therefore have a guarantee and should not join any military groups.

    Zhou Enlai: Perhaps you will think that China is a big country and will be anxious [about us]. However, after the peace agreement has been reached, the Kingdom of Laos will be a unified country through elections. We are willing to establish a friendly relationship with Laos. The Five Principles [of Peaceful Coexistence] we referred to before can also apply to the relationship between us. We are also willing to make the same statement and will keep our promise. We do not want to threaten anyone; we do not want to be threatened by anyone either.

    Sananikone: Thank you very much for this very interesting conversation. We will go back and carefully consider the points to which the Prime Minister referred. We will be back after we have reached some conclusions. We know that the Prime Minister is very busy, and we have already taken up too much of his time, please excuse us.

    [1] ‘King' here refers to Sisavang Vong, King of Laos.

    JULY 18, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHANG WENTIAN AND HAROLD CACCIA

    Time: 18 July 1954, 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Location: Villa of the Chinese delegation
    Chinese Participants: [Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs] Zhang Wentian, Huan Xiang, Zhang Wenjin (interpreter)
    British Participants: [Deputy Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs for Administration Harold] Caccia, Ford (interpreter)

    Caccia said that Eden had dispatched him because the day before Premier Zhou had mentioned certain issues regarding the Southeast Asian pact. Eden had contacted his friends and allies, and it could be said now that if the two sides could reach an agreement here, then the inclusion of the three Indochinese states in the Southeast Asian pact [Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia] absolutely would not be mentioned. The British side believed that in the resolution to be reached, these states would be neutralized so that they would not form any alliance with any side.

    Ambassador Zhang then asked the question of foreign military bases. Caccia said that it was a different issue. But it was understood that such questions as bases, armed forces and military equipment would all be mentioned in the draft. So far as he knew, the agreement would include the following four issues: military alliances, military bases, entrance of foreign personnel from outside the country, and foreign arms and munitions. These decisions should apply to both sides.

    Ambassador Zhang said that Premier Zhou had stated repeatedly that the binding force is equal on both sides: China would not form an alliance with Vietnam, and the three Indochinese states should not enter into any alliance with other countries.

    Caccia then said that he had two issues which Eden had instructed him to raise:

    First was the question of Laos. Eden had heard the day before that during the French-Laotian and Vietnamese military talks, Vietnam had demanded that half of Laos be marked as the regrouping area. Eden asked China to look into the matter. Laos would soon come up with a counter-proposal detailing a series of regrouping areas, and everyone would recognize it as a sincere and good proposal. The United Kingdom hoped that everyone would deem this as a satisfactory solution. Caccia added that both Premier Zhou and Ambassador Zhang were aware that countries like India and Burma regarded the Laos question as a touchstone for testing whether we were serious about our work.

    Ambassador Zhang said that we have not seen the proposal by Laos. As to our attitude towards the question of Laos, Premier Zhou has said that a regrouping area in northeastern Laos should be marked out, that it should be provisional, and that it would be reunified with Laos once the question of the resistance forces is solved in the future. As to the demand by the Vietnamese military representative, it was based on the status quo. They have not formally proposed a final regrouping area. Premier Zhou's opinion has not changed. The French delegation has proposed a series of smaller areas, which are quite scattered. We are not very supportive of this proposal. We are in favor of a single assembly area in the northeast.

    Caccia said that a meeting is going to be held this afternoon, and many questions have yet to be solved. Time is short, too. Take two examples: acting on Premier Zhou's advice, [Pierre] Mendes-France went to visit Pham Van Dong and discussed the questions of demarcation and the membership of the supervisory commission. Regrettably no agreement was reached. Eden hopes that at the meeting this afternoon, the participants' attitudes will not be too stiff and polarized, which will make it even harder to solve many of the questions. Hopefully after this afternoon's meeting, everyone will come closer rather than walk farther away from each other. Mr. Ambassador certainly knows that if a delegation is attacked, its friends will come out to protect it, and such is the case with the other side. As a result, opposition groups will be formed. The Chinese delegation can rest reassured that the British delegation will never do anything to heat up the temperature, and it hopes that the Chinese delegation will adopt the same attitude.

    Ambassador Zhang said that the Chinese delegation also hopes to see everyone come closer rather than standing divided, but both sides must be willing to come closer. For example, the reason why the demarcation question has dragged on is that although the Vietnamese side has conceded to the 16th parallel, the French side still insists on the 18th parallel. If France could adjust its attitude, things would be much easier.

    Caccia said, France feels that its concessions in the north could not be compensated by the Vietnamese concession from the 13th parallel to the 16th parallel.

    Ambassador Zhang said, this is the opinion from the French perspective. In Vietnam's view, they have made much greater concessions, giving away their traditionally controlled zones. Both sides say that they have made enough concessions, and the question now is how to solve the problem.

    Caccia said, France's basic attitude is that under no circumstances
    should Route 9[1] leading to Laos be controlled by Vietnam completely and unrestrictedly. Fortunately this route does not fall on the 18th parallel, otherwise we would all have to buy our return tickets home.

    Ambassador Zhang said, there is also the question of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. This question has been under discussion for a long time, and the other side has not explicitly stated its attitude.

    Caccia said, at the talk between the British, French, and Soviet foreign ministers yesterday, Eden has said that he was personally prepared to agree to have seven member states: one communist state, one non-communist state, and the five Colombo states [India, Ceylon, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Burma]. Despite the rather large number of states, some of them could not supply many people. He emphasized that their side had made concessions concerning two principal issues: 1) agreeing to have a communist state as a member, and 2) agreeing to require a unanimous vote on certain issues in the voting procedures. He heard that the other side might accept this new proposal, and Molotov said he would discuss it with Pham Van Dong. Due to late time, it has not been discussed yet. Eden also mentioned a point that would have impact on both sides, which was that choosing yet another state from the Colombo states would be difficult and unfavorable to both sides, or at least the UK thought so.

    Ambassador Zhang said that we have chosen two states. Moreover, the fewer the states, the easier it is for our work.

    Caccia said that these states, particularly Ceylon, supplied many people.

    Ambassador Zhang asked what to do with the specific date for elections. If a deadline is not set, it would be hard to explain to the Vietnamese people. With a specific date, the Vietnamese people could feel hopeful.

    Caccia said that we all have to be realistic, and it is better not to promise something that one cannot reasonably accomplish. In fact, even without wars, countries such as India took two to three years to hold elections. He admitted that a specific date would be encouraging. He said that another solution would be not to set a definite date but stipulate that “after the armed forces are assembled, a meeting shall be held by the elections commission, a neutral nations commission, or a certain institution to determine the date for elections.” Every country has its own experience regarding elections. For example, China has its own experience, France has post-World War II experience, and the UK has experience in the elections in India and Burma.

    Ambassador Zhang said that our proposal for a definite date is not merely based on China's experience, but we have also sampled experience from various sides. Once a date is set, there is a goal, and the Vietnamese could see that the reunification of Vietnam is being brought about. Without a definite date, the Vietnamese would have no idea when the elections are postponed to, and when they cannot see good prospects, the people will begin to doubt.

    Caccia asked Ambassador Zhang whether he felt that between the two proposed solutions, the former was better, even if the date for elections was far away, for a realistic time had to be found.

    Ambassador Zhang said that a definite date has to be set. If we refer to everyone's experience, we can always find a realistic time. Time, after all, cannot be unrealistic.

    In the end, Ambassador Zhang said that he would debrief Premier Zhou on the talk. Caccia also asked the Ambassador to convey the opinions on elections to Premier Zhou, and hoped that the meeting in the afternoon would not be too heated up.

    [1] Route 9 is an east-west roadway located in Quang Tri province. It stretches from Dong Ha in the east to the Laotian border, via Ca Lu, Khe Sanh, and Lang Vei.

    JULY 17, 1954
    MINUTES OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN ZHOU ENLAI AND ANTHONY EDEN

    Time: 17 July 1954, 11:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.
    Location: Eden's residence Chinese Participants: Zhou Enlai, Zhang Wentian, Li Kenong, Huan Xiang, Pu Shouchang (interpreter and note-taker)
    British Participants: Anthony Eden, William D. Allen, Anthony Rumbold, Ford (interpreter)

    Eden: Last night we had a talk, and I think you have learned the contents of it. It seems that the biggest questions are those of demarcation and the date of the elections. Other issues can all be resolved.

    Zhou Enlai: Yes, Mr. Molotov has notified me. The three of you had a long talk on these two questions, and I believe a solution can be found in the end. Therefore, I would like to discuss another question with you today. It is the question of a Southeast Asian defense pact. Since the Paris talks, there has been much information from various sources, as well as a lot of publicity. Does the United States intend to sabotage the reaching of an agreement on restoring peace in Indochina with this question? Rumor has it that the three Indochinese states [Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam] will be included in this pact. If this were to be so, then peace would have no meaning other than preparation for new hostilities. So I would like to ask Your Excellency directly, for I could obtain first-hand information from Your Excellency.

    Eden: There has been no sudden change regarding this question. As I have said in Parliament, two issues are involved here.

    First, to be honest with you, the US might not like any agreement that could be possibly reached here. But we are hoping that they will at least like it enough that they will issue a statement. This is what we are trying our best to urge them to do. Then every one of us will likewise issue a statement to support the agreement. Your Excellency mentioned that you would like the Colombo Conference countries to be involved, and perhaps they can issue a statement, too. Thus the arrangements made here could be reinforced.

    Secondly, our Southeast Asia pact with the US [SEATO]: this is a defensive arrangement.

    A research group is evaluating it in Washington. This is an arrangement that is symmetrical to the Sino-Soviet alliance, and it is defensive just like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with duties exactly like those in NATO.

    As to the other point you asked about, I can only give you a personal answer. So far as I understand, there has been no proposal for the three Indochinese states to join in the Southeast Asian pact, but as sovereign states they are free [to do so]. They can issue statements for the conference to notice.

    Many things will depend on how we solve the questions here. If an arrangement could be made that is acceptable to all of us, then the atmosphere will improve and confidence will increase. I hope that Laos and Cambodia could become a “buffer” for both of us. So I hope that Your Excellency could help us obtain a guarantee that Laos and Cambodia will be independent. This way, confidence will grow.

    [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.] It is precisely for this reason that I am delighted to hear the Premier say that the introduction of arms should be allowed into Laos and Cambodia for self-defense. This illustrates that the two countries can be independent. This has been greatly influential.

    I can say with much confidence that the US has no intention of establishing military bases in either of the countries.

    Zhou Enlai: Thank you, Mr. Eden, for your explanations.

    In order for an agreement to be reached on the issue of restoring peace in Indochina, this question needed to be clarified at this important stage. All efforts must come from both sides.

    First of all, regarding Laos and Cambodia, our attitude has not changed since I spoke with Mr. Eden on 16 June, and we will keep our promises. During the three weeks while I was away from here, my activities also highlighted this point and proved that I am making an effort in this regard.

    We have had Mr. Eden's repeated assurance; as Mr. Eden just said, it would benefit both sides for Laos and Cambodia to become a peace zone. In order for these two countries to become a peace zone, they must be made peaceful, independent, and friendly to all countries. The two countries must not have any foreign military bases, must not establish military alliances with other countries, and they should have guarantees from both sides, or even from various sides. If the circumstances remain unchanged as Mr. Eden and Mr. [Pierre] Mendes-France have promised and as [Indian] Prime Minister [Jawaharlal] Nehru, Prime Minister [of Burma] U Nu and Chairman Ho Chi Minh have witnessed, then our attitude will not change. Thus, peace in Indochina will have a basis. This is the first situation.

    Another situation would be that the US includes the three Indochinese states in the so-called Southeast Asian Defense Pact, and the United Kingdom, France, and the three Associated States have agreed to the US requests or have made promises. In such a situation, circumstances would be different. Peace would have no meaning other than to diminish the battlefield of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for American purposes, and to prepare for new hostilities. In that case we would have to be concerned, for it would differ from our 16 June talk.

    Eden: If I remember correctly, the Americans themselves have said in past meetings that they had no intention to establish military bases in Laos and Cambodia. If you do not object, I will raise your concerns with General Smith when I see him this afternoon.

    Zhou Enlai: Thank you. I would like to ask foreign Secretary Eden to clarify whether the US is already engaged in activities to include the three Indochinese states in the so-called Southeast Asia Defense Pact. This is, in principle, the same as the question of military bases. When we discussed the questions of Laos and Cambodia on 13 July, I said that Laos and Cambodia must not have any foreign military bases and that the two countries must not enter into military alliances with foreign countries. Mr. Eden agreed with me at the time.

    Eden: As I said just now, the Americans have told me that they have no intention of establishing military bases in Laos and Cambodia. Of course, if the Viet Minh wants to take over Laos and Cambodia before or after an agreement can be reached, then we and the US will express our concern.

    I have said just now that I will [confer] with General Smith to get further clarification.

    Zhou Enlai: This brings us to the second question. Regarding the so-called Southeast Asian Defense Pact, Mr. Eden presented an argument just now that because there is an alliance between China and the Soviet Union, the UK, the US, and France needed a defense pact. But the Sino-Soviet alliance is concerned with the revival of Japanese militarism and not with Southeast Asia. The problem in Southeast Asia is of a different character. Precisely for this reason Prime Minister Nehru and I are trying to create a peaceful region and expand it. When I was in India, both Prime Minister Nehru and I thought highly of a Southeast Asian Locarno Pact[1] [as] proposed by Mr. Eden. I do not know if our interpretation is correct, but we thought that your proposal meant putting all the Southeast Asian states together to form a collective peace pact. Such a pact would not exclude anyone: if the US wanted to join in, it would not be rejected. Thus regional peace could be guaranteed, and it would include not only the two hostile sides, but also third-party states. This way we can experiment with peaceful co-existence in Southeast Asia. If Mr. Eden thinks along similar lines with Prime Minister Nehru, Prime Minister U Nu, Chairman Ho Chi Minh, and me, then an opposing alliance should not be established in Southeast Asia, for it would undermine the idea of collective peace as well as the idea of a Locarno Pact proposed by Mr. Eden. We would like to know how far Mr. Eden has gone with that effort. Of course, the US opposes it, as we have read in the newspapers. But for peace in Indochina, we should try to persuade the US.

    Eden: I have run into some trouble. I used the word “Locarno,” not knowing that the US did not like it. I still do not know why they don't like it. They say that it belongs with things like [the 1938] Munich [Agreement], but in fact it is not so. Mr. Churchill and I have always been in favor of such an idea. This could be connected to the first part of our discussion just now. If an agreement could be reached here, and if every one issues a statement announcing their support for the agreement and opposing any sabotage of the agreement, then it would be a Locarno-style arrangement. Perhaps we should not use the term “Locarno.” I agree with you that not only the participating countries in the Geneva Conference, but also the Colombo Conference countries should be involved in this arrangement. I do not see how such an arrangement would be incompatible with a NATO-style Southeast Asian pact. The Southeast Asian pact is concerned with a potential situation. An important issue at the Paris talks was to ask the Americans to come here. We hope that as a result of coming here, they will feel delighted and issue a statement to honor the agreement reached here, agree not to undermine the agreement, and to oppose anyone else sabotaging the agreement. Every one of us should do the same.

    Zhou Enlai: If an agreement could be reached on restoring peace in Indochina, and it could have the support of not only all the participating states at the conference but also of the Colombo Conference countries or even more countries, then it would be the result of an effort for collective peace. It would also affirm the idea of a Locarno Pact as proposed by Mr. Eden. Although the US opposes this term, in essence it is so. Given this, if an opposing alliance is formed, it would create an unstable situation. We could promote solidarity in Southeast Asia and bring about regional peace, but if an opposing alliance is established, it would only divide the scene. In this regard, due to more interactions with the Associated States, Mr. Eden must know that some of these states support it but others oppose it, or at least it is so among the Colombo Conference countries. In consequence, as soon as some positive results are achieved, they would be undermined in some negative ways. This would generate fear, suspicion, opposition, disunity, and disquiet. When I was in Delhi, I discussed this issue with Prime Minister Nehru from various perspectives, and we both believed that it would not be beneficial. At that time we thought that Mr. Eden was trying to counter a Southeast Asian defense pact with [the] Locarno [idea]. If the two were to exist at the same time, it would be unthinkable.

    Eden: It is not as bad as that. The idea of a Southeast Asian pact is an old one; it was proposed a few years ago. It is purely defensive in nature, just like NATO. As I have explained in Parliament, two things are involved here: first, everyone has to join in to support the agreement reached; second, our own defense arrangements. It should not cause concern, for, just like NATO, it is defensive in nature. I do not know how many states will join in, and nothing has been drafted yet, but it does not threaten anyone, just like NATO is defensive. I want to add that it is not just about Southeast Asia; it includes the western Pacific, for Australia and New Zealand are included. Australia and New Zealand had had prior arrangements in the [1952 Australia, New Zealand, and United States Security Treaty] ANZUS pact. If it is to be expanded, it will not be a bad thing, but a good thing. You will agree that Australia and New Zealand will not attack others. We are confident that the US will not attack others either.

    Zhou Enlai: The ANZUS pact is directed against the possible resurgence of Japanese militarism, just as the Sino-Soviet alliance, and therefore it is somewhat justified. This is because all these countries face the menace of Japanese militarism. But the problem in Southeast Asia is of a different nature.

    NATO has created confrontation in Europe, and people are looking for ways to repair the damage. NATO has made it difficult to achieve peaceful co-existence. Now the possibility exists in Southeast Asia, but some people want to create disunity. We not only disdain it but also oppose it. Prime Minister Nehru, Prime Minister U Nu and Chairman Ho Chi Minh all gave similar feelings. We are all very pleased by the British effort here, for it brings close together the Southeast Asian countries, and therefore we welcome it. We also welcome the improvement of Sino-British relations. But the creation of disunity separates us. It brings trouble, and it is not beneficial to future development. Undoubtedly the people in Southeast Asia oppose it just like we do, for it will generate fear and suspicion.

    Eden: The idea of this pact has no new content. Six years ago I myself pressed for NATO. When [US Secretary of State] Mr. [John Foster] Dulles visited London this April, we openly expressed our support for this idea. Therefore there have been no sudden or bad changes. The better our relations here, the less reason there is for making defensive arrangements elsewhere. I am above all opposed to the creation of disunity.

    Zhou Enlai: I agree with your last sentence. Hardly have we promoted peace here when someone is trying again to create disunity. Our attitude towards the Paris talks is this: if they create disunity, then we oppose them; if they invite Smith to come back, then we welcome them. If they bring about disunity in Southeast Asia, then we oppose them.
    We are in favor of peace and against disunity. This is our attitude.

    Eden: The Southeast Asian pact is not a new idea, and it was not invented at the Paris talks but has been around for some time. I have just said that the better we do things here, the less we need to consider defensive arrangements.

    Zhou Enlai: You can say that sentence in reverse: if someone tries to create disunity, it would bring trouble to achieving peace.

    Eden: In any event, relations between our countries are good. Please do not worry about this.

    [1] Eden had proposed a “Locarno type” system for guaranteeing the security of neutral states through collective defense. “Locarno” references the 1925 Locarno Treaties.

    July 17, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF MOLOTOV: TOP SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH ZHOU ENLAI AND PHAM VAN DONG

    Molotov asks Pham Van Dong about his conversations with [British Foreign Minister Anthony] Eden and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia [Tep Phan].

    Pham Van Dong says that in conversations with Eden and the representative of Cambodia he had mainly touched on foreign military bases in Bao Dai Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and the issues of a military bloc in Southeast Asia. Both Eden and the minister of foreign affairs of Cambodia declared that the US supposedly did not intend to create military bases on the territory of these states; for their part, the governments of these countries also did not want foreign military bases to be created on their territory. In reply to a question about the possibility of the Americans involving Bao Dai Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the military bloc they are planning in Southeast Asia, Eden and the representative of Cambodia replied that they did not give the Americans their agreement to this and did not intend to do this in the future. They added that it was another matter if the three Associated States were subjected to aggression. Regarding the creation of a military bloc in Southeast Asia Eden said that the US has been acting in this direction for a long time and that nothing new was added to this in Paris. Eden added that the aforementioned bloc being created by the Americans was supposedly of a defensive nature.

    Pham Van Dong said that he had taken a sharply critical position with respect to the creation of foreign military bases in Bao Dai Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and also with respect to the creation of military blocs in Southeast Asia in this conversation with Eden and the representative of Cambodia.

    Zhou Enlai says that in the new version of the draft declaration just received from the French, just like in the first version, there is no provision prohibiting the creation of foreign military bases on the territory of Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia and that this provision is also not in the draft documents about Laos and Cambodia.

    Molotov says that it is necessary to get the appropriate changes entered in these drafts.

    Molotov asks what questions we ought to discuss today.

    Pham Van Dong says that, in his opinion, it is necessary to exchange opinions about how we need to act to get an agreement acceptable to us about the line of demarcation, about the elections, and about a number of other important issues, the regrouping zones, the composition of the supervisory commission, etc.

    Zhou Enlai suggests first exchanging opinions about the main fundamental issues of our positions and then discussing the texts of the documents that have been prepared.

    Molotov agrees and names the main documents and the primary issues which need to be discussed the line of demarcation, the dates of the elections, the composition and functions of the observation commission, the withdrawal and importation of weapons and military personnel into Indochina, and the prohibition against the creation of foreign military bases on the territory of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and a military bloc in Southeast Asia. Molotov then says that in the private meeting on 16 July Mendes-France hinted that political representatives ought to discuss the primary issues on which both sides might make mutual concessions.

    Molotov raises for discussion the first of the above seven issues (about the line of demarcation) and asks Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong to express their ideas.

    Zhou Enlai says that in a conversation with Wang Bingnan, secretary general of the PRC delegation, Colonel [Jacques] Guillermaz, a representative of the French delegation, told the former that the French delegation cannot agree to Route 9 being jointly used and let it be understood that the French would insist on the line of demarcation being located north of this road. Guillermaz also said that the French delegation would insist on the setting of a more distant date for holding elections in Indochina and named a time: two years.

    Molotov asks to what final position can we fall back to in the question of the line of demarcation.

    Pham Van Dong says that the DRV can concede Route 9 to France and agree to locate the line of demarcation somewhat to the north of this road. He adds that it is necessary to demand concessions from the French in the regions of Tourane [Da Nang] and Hue. Mendes-France hinted earlier to the possibility of such concessions, says Pham Van Dong.

    Molotov asks what concessions the DRV intends to demand from France in Tourane and Hue.

    Pham Van Dong replies that he intends to demand that France not create a naval base in Tourane. Pham Van Dong says that he does not yet have any specific ideas with respect to Hue and has to think a little [about it]. Pham Van Dong then says that it is necessary to demand agreement from the French to set an exact date for holding elections in Indochina [in exchange] for the indicated concession about the issue of the line of demarcation. He adds that this date can be somewhat extended but it should be named in order that the DRV government have an opportunity to get certain organizational work started among the population.

    Zhou Enlai states that Pham Van Dong's proposal about a final position on the demarcation line issue accords with the instructions which our delegations have and [they] can agree to it. Concerning the question of Tourane, Zhou Enlai says that, in a conversation with him, Mendes-France hinted at the possibility of concessions on the part of France.

    Zhou Enlai asks Molotov if, based on his conversations with Mendes-France and Eden, it is possible to count on our being able to achieve something on the issue of the elections.

    Molotov says that Mendes-France and Eden talked about the issue of the elections and stresses that it is necessary to get a definite period set within which the elections ought to be held. With regard to an exact date for holding the elections then [we] might propose that it be set locally [na meste] by agreement of the competent authorities of both sides.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree with Molotov's suggestion.

    Molotov says that if we ought be prepared to agree to set the line of demarcation north of Route 9 then it is necessary to determine this line.

    Pham Van Dong says that he will give instructions to his military experts to study this question and prepare an appropriate map indicating the aforementioned line on it.

    Molotov raises for discussion the issue of a military bloc in Southeast Asia and asks the opinions of Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong about what our side ought to attempt.

    Zhou Enlai suggests getting the representatives of Laos and Cambodia to declare definitely in their statements that they will not allow the creation of foreign military bases on the territory of Laos and Cambodia and that Laos and Cambodia will not participate in any military alliances or blocs.

    Molotov says that he considers it advisable to include in the text of the declaration an obligation by Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia not to create foreign military bases on their territory and not to participate in military alliances.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree.

    Molotov raises for discussion the issue of the international supervisory commission.

    Zhou Enlai says that, in a conversation with [Head of the Indian Delegation to the United Nations, V. K. Krishna] Menon on 16 July, the latter informed him that the French are inclined to form a supervisory commission consisting of representatives of India, Canada, and Poland. Menon spoke approvingly of this alternative and expressed satisfaction that it did not provide for the participation of Pakistan. Zhou Enlai then said that he touched on this French alternative in a conversation with Eden. The latter expressed his agreement with this composition of the supervisory commission but declared at the same time that Britain cannot submit this proposal on its own initiative since this would produce displeasure on the part of Pakistan.

    Molotov says that regarding the issue of the composition of the international supervisory commission it is advisable to adhere to the position which our three delegations agreed on earlier.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree.

    Zhou Enlai proposes coming to agreement about the scope of activity of the commission. He says that the French delegation submitted a proposal that the international commission conduct observation along the borders (including land and sea) and not at individual points, as was proposed by the Chinese-Vietnamese side. Zhou Enlai thinks that it would be more to the advantage of the DRV and PRC to establish monitoring along all the borders, which would allow for the achievement of more careful observation that the Americans or French do not move troops or weapons to the territory of Indochina.

    Molotov proposes keeping to this tactic on this question: if the French insist on their proposals then agree with them so as to make a seeming concession.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree.

    Molotov raises for discussion the issue of establishing the regrouping zones in Laos and Cambodia.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong suggest as a final position agreeing to the establishment of regrouping zones in the northeast part of Laos.

    Molotov asks who will sign the agreements about Laos and Cambodia from our side.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong think it possible to authorize two representatives, the representative of the People's Army of Vietnam and the representative of the resistance forces. They add that this issue needs to be studied more.

    Zhou Enlai raises the issue of the timing of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Indochina. He says that [they] can agree to the establishment of a period of 240 days (instead of 380, as the French propose).

    Pham Van Dong agrees.

    Molotov recommends proposing the establishment of a separate period for the withdrawal of troops and the period for the withdrawal of weapons, and adds that the period for the withdrawal of weapons can be made longer than the period for the withdrawal of troops.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree.

    Molotov raises the draft declaration for discussion.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong agree with Molotov's suggestion to take the French draft as a basis and make the necessary changes to it.

    Then Molotov, Zhou Enlai, and Pham Van Dong exchange opinions about all the points of the text of the declaration and make changes.

    The conversation lasted one hour.

    Recorded: /signature/ (A. Ledovsky)

    JULY 17, 1954
    MINUTES OF ZHOU ENLAI’S MEETING WITH PIERRE MENDES-FRANCE

    Time: Beginning at 4:45 p.m., 17 July 1954
    Location: Mendes-France's Mansion
    Chinese participants: Zhou Enlai, Li Kenong, Wang Bingnan, and Dong Ningchuan (translator)
    French participants: Pierre Mendes-France, Jean Chauvel, Jacques Guillermaz, and one translator

    Zhou Enlai: Our opinions are gradually getting closer now. We don't have much time, and we should reach some solutions quickly. At the present, the two issues that have been most debated are how to draw the [demarcation] line and when to hold elections. I talked to Mr. Prime Minister during the last two meetings [and said that] that we wanted to push the conference forward for a settlement. [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.] Now two problems remain. The three-person talks tonight and the meeting between Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Pham Van Dong should find some solutions. However, I'd like now to discuss another problem, that is, the so-called Southeast Asia Defense Pact.

    After the Paris meeting, there is some recent propaganda that the United States intends to organize a Southeast Asian group, and that it also push the three countries in Indochina to participate in the organization. That is much different from what Mr. Mendes-France, Mr. Eden, and I have been talking about. This problem causes us concern. Our wish is that a restoration of peace will be realized in Indochina, and that Laos and Cambodia will become peaceful, independent, friendly, and neutral countries. If they join America's alliance and establish American bases, then the restoration of peace becomes meaningless. It will increase America's influence, and decrease the influence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This is not beneficial for the Indochinese people or the French people. According to our conversations in the past meetings, I think it shouldn't happen like this. But there are so many rumors out there, as if Paris has some kind of promise. Thus, I'd like to talk to Mr. Prime Minister directly and frankly.

    Mendes-France: I appreciate that Mr. Premier recalls our conversations in the past meetings and intends to maintain a consistent stance. I also want to maintain my previous position.

    After our two meetings, as Mr. Premier knows, there has been some development in the situation. Our deadline—I should say my deadline—is now coming soon. But we still face many difficulties.

    [Passage excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]

    Zhou Enlai: I can't talk about this issue in detail. It should be dealt with directly by Mr. Pham Van Dong and Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. Prime Minister had said that the current problems are not only to draw the line, but also including the political problems. I have told this to Mr. Pham Van Dong and Mr. [Vyacheslav] Molotov. I guess that it may be easier to solve the two problems if we can connect them together. Tonight's meeting may bring us some results.

    Mendes-France: I can now respond to Mr. Premier's concerns about the Southeast Asia alliance. I think it unnecessary for Mr. Premier to worry about this. The Paris meeting did not consider any kind of Southeast Asia alliance to include the three countries of Indochina. As far as I know, the United States does not intend to establish any military bases in Indochina. Therefore we don't need to worry about any change to our previous position in the past meetings. Certainly, if the war can't be stopped, it will be a different story. If the cease-fire becomes a reality, some country may come up with its own separate statement to strengthen its original position. Nevertheless, I want to assure Mr. Premier that we do not consider any Southeast Asia alliance to include the three countries of Indochina. Please trust me, this is my word without any reservation.

    Zhou Enlai: Thank you for your explanation. What we hope to see is the expansion of a peaceful region. If the United States fixes a Southeast Asia pact, including the three countries of Indochina, then, all of our efforts to push these compromises will become fruitless. That is why I want to mention my concerns.

    Mendes-France: The best way to consolidate future peace is to solve the current problems reasonably. If Laos can be an example, we hope that Laos can join the French Union, and that it won't sign any military pact with other countries. Following the regulations under the France-Laos agreements, no foreign military base can be established there. But Laos' problems remain unresolved. The Vietnamese government put forward some unrealistic requests. They suggested their regrouping area stretch from north to south nearly 1,000 kilometers. It is difficult to accept. I hope Mr. Premier can give Mr. Pham Van Dong some advice as you did on many occasions and ask him to make more realistic considerations.

    Zhou Enlai: It is proper to discuss the Laos problems with Vietnam's problems such as drawing the [demarcation] line and [when to hold] elections. We have read the draft of the second political statement of the French delegation. We think it should include these issues, such as non-establishment of foreign military bases and no military alliances with foreign countries. I have mentioned this in my speeches on 16 and 19 June. Otherwise, there won't be any guarantee.
    It is said that French military representatives have drafted a cease-fire proposal for Laos. [The proposal] requests that, after foreign troops withdraw, local resistance forces should regroup at certain points. Vietnam, however, asks for some pre-determined areas for the regrouping of the resistance forces, instead of regrouping at [certain] points. I think that the military staff through their negotiations can solve this problem. Moreover, this also relates to the problem of drawing the [demarcation] line in Vietnam. My hope is that Mr. Mendes-France can talk directly to Mr. Pham Van Dong again. The three-person meeting tonight may also discuss this problem.

    Mendes-France: I have asked the staff of the French delegation to contact the staff of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Hopefully, there will be some progress. Of course, the meeting with the two presidents tonight is also very important for me.
    Mr. Chauvel said a little while ago that the French delegation staff had suggested to the staff of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam's delegation [that France and the DRV should] work together and draft a political statement based on common ground. However, this task is somehow suspended right now. Hopefully, Mr. Pham Van Dong can give a push to this task.

    Zhou Enlai: Besides political issues, the discussions over the cease-fire should also identify some of the main common points that may produce an agreement. Otherwise, the whole package of the truce agreement can't be put together overnight as a booklet.

    Mendes-France: I fully agree with such an idea.

    Zhou Enlai: Today is the 17th. It will be a success only if some agreements can be achieved on the major issues within the next two days.

    Mendes-France: I am very glad to hear this word. I fully agree.

    JULY 16, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF MOLOTOV: SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH ZHOU ENLAI AND PHAM VAN DONG

    Molotov says that he would like to inform Cdes. Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong about the substance of his conversations with Eden and Mendes-France which occurred on
    15 July.

    1. The Conversation with Eden

    Molotov: In the conversation with me, Eden said that he had still not managed to carefully study the changes we (the Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese delegations) had made to the French draft declaration about Indochina, but would like to make the follow preliminary comments: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are placed together in the text of the declaration. In Eden's opinion, they ought to be separated and spoken of separately inasmuch as the conditions in each of these countries are different. Eden was told in reply that real differences exist but there is also much in common.

    Eden stressed that, in his opinion, it is very difficult to set a time to hold elections.

    He expressed a desire to exclude military issues from the declaration drafts and move them to the cease-fire agreement.

    Eden then said that the representatives of Laos complained to him that an intensified movement of men and weapons into Laotian territory had recently been observed and this is causing them concern. I replied to Eden that I was hearing about this for the first time.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong say that the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of defense of Laos said nothing about this in the conversation with them.

    Molotov: I told Eden that we have not yet received the text of the draft agreement about the cease-fire from the French delegation and that the French are giving us the draft of this document in parts. Eden said that some delay had occurred with this matter and that now the preparation of the documents ought to be sped up.

    2. The conversation with Mendes-France.

    Molotov briefly describes the substance of the conversation with Mendes-France about the main issues, elections in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, the line of demarcation, and the timeframes for the evacuation of foreign troops.

    Molotov says that as a result of the conversation with Mendes-France he has formed the impression that the French can agree to the establishment of a line of demarcation only somewhere north of the 16th parallel.

    Molotov further reports about Mendes-France's proposal about holding a meeting of the three representatives (Eden, Mendes-France, and Molotov) and about how he reacted to the proposal by Mendes-France.

    Molotov asks the opinions of Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong about this question.

    Zhou Enlai says that he shares the position taken by Molotov; moreover, thinks it advisable to agree with Mendes

    France's proposal about holding meetings with the representatives of the USSR, France, and Britain. Zhou Enlai adds that the participation of US representatives in meetings would be undesirable to us and therefore it seems inadvisable to insist upon the participation of PRC representatives. Pham Van Dong expresses agreement with the opinion expressed by Zhou Enlai.

    Molotov talks about Eden's and Mendes-France's objections to holding elections before June 1955 and asks Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong whether we ought to press for our previous position about this issue or [whether it is] advisable to offer new proposals during the discussion. For example, propose that the elections be conducted in 1955 or recommend the adoption of this formula: propose that both sides solve the issue of the dates to hold the elections in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia no later than June 1955.

    Zhou Enlai states that it would be advisable to take to the following position about the issue of the times of the elections: insist that the conference establish a time to hold the elections, no later than June 1955. If this proposal is declined then offer a new proposal direct that the elections are to be held in 1955. If this proposal, too, is not adopted, then, as the last position, insist that a decision be made which provides that both sides are to decide among themselves no later than June 1955 to solve the issue of setting the dates for holding elections.

    Pham Van Dong says that he agrees with the above ideas of Zhou Enlai.

    Zhou Enlai stresses that the issue about the dates to hold the elections was discussed in detail during a meeting with Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh gave agreement in principle to the third alternative for solving the issue of the dates for the elections mentioned by Zhou Enlai being offered as a last resort.

    Molotov then asks what questions Pham Van Dong intends to discuss during today's meeting with Mendes-France.

    Pham Van Dong says he prefers to touch on the main issues about Indochina, primarily the questions about the elections and the line of demarcation. Pham Van Dong added that he will insist on setting definite times for holding elections in accordance with the exchange of opinions between us and also on locating the line of demarcation at the 16th parallel.

    Zhou Enlai says that we will probably be able to reach agreement on the issues mentioned above in the next few days but one more very important issue remains which ought not be overlooked. This is the issue of the creation of an American military bloc in Southeast Asia. Zhou Enlai stresses that there is reason to suspect that the US, Britain, and France have in principle achieved some sort of agreement among themselves about this question. If the Americans manage to draw Bao Dai's Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia into a military bloc then the agreement we have drafted about prohibiting the creation of foreign military bases on the territory of the states mentioned would lose the importance which we attach to it. Zhou Enlai added that in a conversation with Nehru in India and in a conversation with Eden in Geneva he stressed that foreign military bases should not be created on the territory of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and that Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia ought not to be drawn into any military alliances [gruppirovki] or blocs. Zhou Enlai asks whether Cde. Pham Van Dong ought not touch on this issue in the conversation with Mendes-France and express our position.

    Molotov expresses his agreement with the opinion of Zhou Enlai and says that in conversations with Mendes-France and Eden we ought to point to the reports available in the press about attempts being undertaken to create military blocs in Southeast Asia and declare that we are against such blocs. Molotov asks whether any documents need to be tied to this.

    Zhou Enlai says that the representatives of the Western powers will hardly agree to write about this in any particular document.

    Molotov says that the issue of military blocs in Southeast Asia ought to be touched upon during the discussion at the Geneva Conference of the text of the declaration being prepared on the issue of Indochina.

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong express agreement.

    Zhou Enlai says that according to information available to him Britain is taking vigorous action to create an alliance of countries in Southeast Asia which would be tied to one another by a system of treaties of the Locarno type. The US is trying to counter the British plan with their own plan. They are relying on the basis of an alliance of the five powers taking part in a meeting in Singapore and creating a military bloc under their aegis including Thailand, Pakistan, Bao Dai's Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, in addition to these five countries. Zhou Enlai said that we ought to oppose the creation of military blocs in Asia, taking advantage the existing differences between the US and Britain in doing this.

    Molotov and Pham Van Dong express their agreement with the opinion of Zhou Enlai.

    Molotov asks whether, during negotiations about the issue of the time to carry out the regrouping of forces, [they] ought not say that the transport of French troops from North Vietnam might be accomplished not only by sea but also by rail and highway. He stressed that it would be possible to use this as an argument in order to insist on a reduction of the period of regrouping proposed by the French delegation (380 days).

    Zhou Enlai and Pham Van Dong say that the movement of enemy troops from North Vietnam to the south does not seem possible in view of a whole range of circumstances (the lack of suitable roads, the difficulties associated with the supply of the troops with food, etc.)

    Zhou Enlai then says that in a conversation with Cde. Molotov Mendes-France might touch on the issue of the schedule for the withdrawal of French troops from the southern regions of Vietnam. In this connection Zhou Enlai would like to direct Cde. Molotov's attention to the fact that France is counting on keeping its troops in the south of Vietnam a little longer. Zhou Enlai said that such a delay is to our advantage inasmuch as the presence of the French in Vietnam can serve as an obstacle to the establishment of military and political collusion between the Americans and the Bao Dai authorities. Zhou Enlai added that, of course, the French troops ought to be withdrawn from South Vietnam by the time that general elections are held there.

    The conversation lasted three hours and 30 minutes.

    Recorded by: /signature/
    A.Ledovsky

    JULY 15, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF MOLOTOV: SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION AT DINNER IN HONOR OF FRENCH PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MENDES-FRANCE

    Molotov asks whether Mendes-France received the changes and additions that the Soviet delegation made to the draft declaration drawn up by the French delegation.

    Mendes-France says that right now the French delegation is familiarizing itself with the changes made by the Soviet delegation and that apparently it will accordingly send its amended draft tomorrow. The draft of the Soviet delegation can serve as a basis, although a number of issues still [handwritten: need discussion]. It can already be said now that the changes by the Soviet delegation are essentially based on the principle of an equal approach to the situation in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, whereas the situation in these countries is different and requires a different approach.

    Molotov notes that basic principles are described in the beginning and then the particulars of the situation in each country are examined in the draft sent to Mendes-France by the Soviet delegation.

    Mendes-France suggest discussing the issue of elections and their timing. If a very close date is chosen to hold elections then it can turn out that the elections will be held in a situation when all the necessary conditions have not yet been established and they will not lead to a genuine solution of the issue of the unification of Vietnam. If, however, a date is established which is too distant this could cause legitimate discontent on the part of the population of Vietnam. Therefore it would be better to define the main principles at the Geneva Conference on which an exact date for the elections would be set.

    Molotov notes that the Soviet delegation draft does not envision the setting of an exact date for the elections but identifies a time limit during which these elections are to be held.

    Mendes-France says that is one and the same thing, for a time limit is for practical purposes usually a [one illegible word handwritten above] date. The decision of the Geneva Conference could indicate that the elections ought not be delayed without special reason and determine which bodies ought to be established, under what kind of monitoring the elections are to be held, and what conditions are needed for there to be a possibility of establishing this date.

    Molotov says that time for the elections ought to be clearly established in the Geneva Conference declaration. With Vietnam divided into two parts, [its] people will expect a definite answer to the question of the country's unification from the Geneva Conference.

    Mendes-France thinks that it is sufficient to indicate the desire to unify the country in the declaration and not to delay this unification. This is a complex and difficult issue which will be hard to solve in several days.

    Molotov agrees that little time is actually left and notes that in the French draft declaration there is a reference to a document about a cease-fire in Indochina. However, the Soviet delegation has not received a draft of this document.

    Mendes-France replies that right now the French delegation is working hard on a number of draft documents which it will present to the participants of the Geneva Conference in the very near future.

    After dinner Mendes-France asked that the conversation continue one-on-one without any witnesses. Molotov agreed.

    Mendes-France says that, in his opinion, the most difficult issues right now are those about determining the line of demarcation and organizing elections in Vietnam. In agreement with Eden [Translator's note: this phrase was inserted at the beginning of the sentence] he is proposing that work in Geneva be stepped up to establish the practice of tripartite meetings consisting of Molotov, Eden, and himself, Mendes-France, so that Eden can take charge of the coordination of the issues under discussion with the American delegation, Molotov with the PRC and DRV delegations, and Mendes-France with the delegations of the Associated States of Indochina.

    Molotov asks exactly what issues Mendes-France proposes to discuss in such tripartite meetings.

    Mendes-France says that [Translator's note: An arrow indicates that Mendes-France's paragraph above is to be inserted at this point]. All issues concerning the establishment of peace in Vietnam ought to be discussed at such tripartite meetings. This would provide an opportunity to more easily find compromise solutions, make concessions on individual issues by compensating on others, etc.

    Molotov asks whether it would be impossible [handwritten: proposes] also including Zhou Enlai among the participants of such unofficial meetings. Such a necessity might definitely arise during the discussion of some issues.

    Mendes-France objects, for, in his opinion, [handwritten: there would be a risk that] the number of participants of the meetings [handwritten: would grow] to five [handwritten: one would have to invite the Americans, but] this would offend the DRV delegation and the delegations of the associated states.

    Molotov agrees to hold unofficial meetings among the three.

    Mendes-France offers to hold the first meeting tomorrow, 16 July, after lunch.

    After this Mendes-France switches to the question of the organization of the elections. As regards Laos and Cambodia this question, in his opinion, is easily decided, for the domestic laws of these countries provide for holding general elections in the near future. [Faint hand-written sentence crossed out.]

    Molotov says that in Laos and Cambodia a special situation [handwritten: has been created as a result of] the war, armed struggle, which has still not ended [handwritten: still going on], and therefore in the question of establishing a normal situation in these countries it would be more correct not to rely on the domestic laws of Laos and Cambodia, but on formulating [handwritten: a certain formulated] desire of the Geneva Conference which might facilitate the quickest possible establishment of a normal situation.

    Mendes-France says that [one/we] ought not to confuse the situation in Laos and Cambodia [handwritten: differs from] the situation in Vietnam. There are uniform constitutional laws and government institutions in Laos and Cambodia which ought to be strengthened. The unrest which has taken place in these countries in recent years is mainly connected with events in Vietnam. Therefore after the solution of the Vietnamese problem they [handwritten: Laos and Cambodia] can independently conduct elections in accordance with their constitution[s]. Outside interference would infringe their sovereignty of these states and would hinder the creation of democratic procedures of these still young [handwritten: states] countries. The Geneva Conference could remark in its decision that it was noting that the elections in Laos and Cambodia should be held within certain periods in conformance with the local constitutional laws. A careful formulation ought [handwritten: needs] to be found with full respect [which does] [handwritten: not infringe] the sovereignty of these states.

    Molotov agrees that no interference in the internal affairs of these states ought to take place. However, he says, the issue of holding elections in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia has been discussed for a number of weeks at the Geneva Conference and the participants of the Conference, in particular France, are probably interested in expressing their certain wishes to the governments of Laos and Cambodia.

    Mendes-France repeats that [we] ought not confuse the situation in Laos and Cambodia. [It] [handwritten: differs from] the situation in Vietnam, where there are no uniform institutions or uniform legislation is lacking; rather there exist two state institutions and two [bodies of] legislation at the same time whereas Laos and Cambodia have their own constitutions and laws, which need to be strengthened.

    Molotov says that actually it is not necessary to lump the situation in these two countries together; each has its own characteristics, its own specifics. [Translator's note: at this point in the transcript a single diagonal line is drawn from the word specifics back through the last two paragraphs to the word that at the beginning of Mendes-France's last statement. It is not clear whether this is intended as a deletion].

    Mendes-France says that in Laos and Cambodia it is possible to hold elections before long, for the situation is not so convulsed; the opposition has the opportunity to exercise its rights, and life can soon return to normal limits. This is a comparatively simple issue. to set longer periods [handwritten: Longer periods] are necessary to hold prepare for elections in Vietnam. Before starting to hold elections it is necessary to conduct a number of complex operations. First of all In particular, the evacuation of the troops of both sides from zones which cross to the other side. We have talked about evacuating the delta, he said. It is possible that the proposed periods for evacuation [handwritten: in 3[[80]] days] are too large. This question ought to be discussed more. However, months will be required for an evacuation. There are other steps: the relocation of the population which wants to resettle to another zone and the creation of a new civilian administration in regions which cross to the other side. It is also necessary to grant an opportunity to organize parties, to strengthen them, and to develop their propaganda. All this requires time and it is difficult to determine it right now. In addition, The international situation will [handwritten: also] have great psychological importance. If it improves, developments in Vietnam will proceed more quickly. If it worsens, then this will have an effect also complicate the situation in Vietnam. Therefore it is impossible right now to set an exact date time. If a very short time is set there is a risk that the elections will not bring a satisfactory resolution and the impression will be created among the population of Vietnam that we do not want to give them an opportunity to exercise their rights. In addition, nine countries are participating in the Geneva Conference and it is practically impossible to solve this complex issue about the periods for holding elections in Vietnam in the several days remaining. It would be realistic and reasonable not to try to set a mandatory time but to set conditions for setting a time for those who will be entrusted with setting such a time. The setting of the time can be entrusted, for example, to the two interested parties monitored by [pod kontrolem] the nine countries. Mendes-France amended and clarified: not monitored by the nine but under specific international monitoring.

    Molotov says that if it is difficult to set a time for the elections right now then [we] might think about setting a time to solve this issue, that is, not set a time for the two sides to hold elections but a time by which they should set a date for elections.

    Mendes-France says the he will think about this alternative, but at first glance it seems interesting to him. [Translator's note: The above sentence is circled in the transcript and an arrow indicates that it is to be moved to just before MendesFrance's next statement].

    Molotov says that the best and most obvious solution to the issue would be to set a time limit for holding elections at the Geneva Conference and that [the conference] reserve for itself the right to return to this issue in order to find more flexible and acceptable forms. However [we] might also think about setting a time for the competent bodies of both sides to solve the issue of the date of the elections with instructions not to drag them out, although this would also be a more difficult way.

    Mendes-France points on the map of Vietnam to the location of the line of demarcation at the 18th parallel proposed by the French delegation. The French delegation, he says, proceeded from a wish expressed by Pham Van Dong that the demarcation line be possibly shorter, follow traditional administrative boundaries, and take into consideration the distribution of the zones presently occupied by both sides. In the opinion of the French delegation, the border between the former states of Tonkin and Annam following the 18th parallel is such a natural boundary from the point of view of topography and the historical, racial, political, and religious boundary. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam proposed placing the line of demarcation at the 13th or 14th parallel, intending to keep for itself a zone which was under its control for the entire war, a narrow coastal strip between the 13th and 14th parallels and the 16th parallel, about 150 km long. When meeting with him, Mendes-France, Pham Van Dong agreed to move the line of demarcation to the 16th parallel, that is, he abandoned this region which the DRV had apparently been most interested in keeping. This concession, in the opinion of Mendes-France, corresponds to the concession of the Tonkin Delta by the French side. The French are to evacuate about 300,000 troops from the delta at the same time as the DRV is to evacuate about 30,000 men. Such concessions accord with the idea of an extensive regrouping of forces in Vietnam. The question before us is thus about locating the line of demarcation at the 18th or the 16th parallel. This region has always been a zone controlled by French authorities. France is interested in keeping the city of Hue, the political and spiritual capital of Annam, the bay and port of Tourane [Translator's note: present-day Da Nang] (Mendes-France stipulated that Tourane does not have value for France from the military point of view and the French government is ready to give a commitment not to use it as a naval base), and Route 9, the only route linking Laos and the sea. When he, Mendes-France, described these ideas to Pham Van Dong, Pham Van Dong replied that a special status [rezhim] might be provided for Route 9 and Hue. This readiness to immediately make an exception is, in Mendes-France's opinion, evidence that the 16th parallel line proposed by Pham Van Dong is somewhat unrealistic and inadvisable. [Translator's note: a single diagonal line was drawn through the previous two sentences and a forward slash was typed at both ends]. He, Mendes-France, will not be able to convince the French government of the need to reject the location of the line of demarcation at the 18th parallel and abandon Hue and Route 9. In addition, the location of the line of demarcation is a temporary measure and ought to be based on the actual state of affairs. French troops have always occupied the region located between the 16th and 17th parallels, and the DRV has no grounds to demand this region for itself.

    Molotov says that, when regions being left by the DRV are compared with the northern part of Vietnam being left by the French, it evidently means that the DRV is also leaving [handwritten: to the French side] all of southern Vietnam, including Cochin. Pham Van Dong's concession is evidence of a desire to simplify the solution of the issue, for the line proposed by the DRV meets the interests of both sides. It needs to be taken into consideration that as few complications as possible arise in Vietnam after the cease-fire agreement is carried out. As everyone knows, in the zone between the 16th and 18th parallels the French authorities control only a small strip of land along the coast, behind which the entire area is in the hands of the DRV. It is also impossible to speak as though the French [handwritten: authorities] exercise full control over Route 9. It would be worth examining the question of the possibility of ensuring such conditions so that the French side can use Route 9 more freely than it has the opportunity to do right now. It would also be worth trying to find an agreement about the issue of Hue. The proposal of Pham Van Dong about locating the line of demarcation at the 16th parallel might serve as a basis for an agreement between the sides. In rejecting a demand to locate the line of demarcation at the 13th parallel, Pham Van Dong made a great step forward in trying to reach an agreement. One cannot fail to take into account that it was hard for the DRV to give up its own longtime region and to do this required great force of conviction.

    Mendes-France replied says that if it is hard for the DRV to give up its own region in central Vietnam then it might have kept this region for itself on condition of appropriate compensation for France in the north. Another solution is, of course, possible: both sides remain in their places, but such solution might undermine the principle of an exchange of territory. He again repeated that the French government would never approve a concession on Hue and Route 9.

    Molotov said that, in making a concession from the 13th to the 16th parallels, the DRV naturally ought to stop at such a line where there would be appropriate territorial compensation from the French side. As regards the use of Route 9, then an agreement might be found which is more in keeping with the interests of both sides.

    Mendes-France repeated that he considers the concession of the delta as such compensation.

    Molotov says that the concession of the delta, including Hanoi and Haiphong, is tied not only to the issue of the concession from the 13th to 16th parallels but is in keeping with the DRV concession of south Vietnam and also the concessions on a number of other issues. If it were possible to come to an agreement about the French giving up the delta, including Hanoi and Haiphong, then in the spirit of accommodation it would also be worth finding a solution for central Vietnam.

    Mendes-France again repeated that he views giving up the delta as a very important concession which is not compensated by all the concessions made by the DRV in the southern part of Vietnam, and right now he does not see any concessions which the DRV might make in exchange for the French giving up Hue and Route 9.

    Molotov says that he is ready to explain the point of view of Pham Van Dong about this issue again.

    Mendes-France repeats that he cannot envision such a solution to the issue which would mean the French would give up Hue and Route 9. It would be easier for him to give up the region between the 16th and the 13th or 14th parallels to the DRV for suitable compensation in the north, for this would at least agree with the status quo in this region. If Pham Van Dong agrees to locate the line of demarcation at the 18th parallel, then Mendes-France could find compensation on other issues regarding a peaceful settlement in Vietnam.

    Molotov says that he is ready meet with Mendes-France and Eden tomorrow, but if Mendes-France has questions right now, he can discuss them right now, [handwritten: that he can explain the point of view of Pham Van Dong about this issue again].

    Mendes-France says that he would like [one handwritten word illegible] to discuss the issue of monitoring, but the French delegation has still not prepared its draft proposals. The work on this draft is proceeding well, and it is hoped that [handwritten: the draft] might be sent to the Soviet delegation tomorrow.

    Molotov says that in the French draft declaration there is a reference to a cease-fire agreement; however the Soviet delegation has not yet received the draft of such an agreement.

    Mendes-France says that the French delegation is working on a number of documents right now which it would submit to the other delegations for discussion in the near future. It is possible that not all the documents will be agreed upon and adopted by 20 July. It is important that a cease-fire agreement based on an agreement in principle about the most important remaining issues be concluded by 19 or 20 July. The other documents might be finished after 19 or 20 July. At this point he repeated that such a deadline had been set by Parliament; he would not be able to receive an extension and would not request one.

    Molotov notes that much depends on the French delegation and, in particular, on how soon it submits its drafts for discussion.

    At the conclusion of the conversation Molotov confirms that he is ready to meet with Eden and Mendes-France and stipulates that he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the DRV and PRC and can express only his own personal opinion, but when an agreement is reached at the tripartite meeting on any issues he will try to describe these ideas to the PRC and DRV delegations objectively and with maximum force of conviction.

    The dinner and conversation lasted until 1:00 a.m.

    Recorded:
    (Kazansky)
    [signature] p

    JULY 13, 1954
    MINUTES OF ZHOU ENLAI’S MEETING WITH JEAN CHAUVEL

    Time: 7:00 p.m., 13 July 1954
    Location: Premier Zhou's hotel suite
    Chinese participants: Zhou Enlai, Li Kenong, Wang Bingnan, [PRC Foreign Ministry Asian Affairs Department Director-General] Chen Jiakang, and Dong Ningchuan (translator)
    French participants: Jean Chauvel, Jacques Guillermaz, and one translator

    Chauvel: I am now presenting a document to The Honorable Premier. This document is drafted for the cease-fire agreement and some principles after the cease-fire. It also points out that the current solution is not for separate governments.

    The fourth part of this document is about limiting the armed forces in Laos and Cambodia. The discussion of this issue is beyond the responsibilities of the military representatives of Laos, Cambodia, and the Vietnamese government. It should belong to the nine-nation conference. Therefore, after this document is read at the conference, the representatives of Laos and Cambodia will be invited to make a statement. Their statement will be included in the document. It seems the best way to handle the situation.

    Mr. [Pierre] Mendes-France also talked to Mr. Pham Van Dong about this issue. Mr. Pham Van Dong believes that this document should include the French Union [as well as] French cultural and economic relations with Vietnam. We think that these issues are about the French-Vietnamese relations, not about the conference nations. However, to restrain the armed forces in Laos and Cambodia are different issues. Thus, we would ask Mr. Pham Van Dong to re-consider this.
    This is an unofficial document. Nevertheless, we have already handed it out to each delegation at the conference. We asked all the delegations to provide their additional suggestion or further corrections. So far we haven't yet got everything back from the delegations. But we have collected some of them. Mr. [Anthony] Eden is very happy with this document. The Soviet delegation shows its interest in the document. Mr. Pham Van Dong, however, responded that he agrees in principle, but he needs more time to read it carefully. Other member nations of the Union haven't sent their feedback. The American delegation hasn't yet responded to it.

    Zhou Enlai: I really appreciate Mr. Chauvel's effort. As we return here, we saw this document. Even though it is a preliminary draft, it is a document for us to consider. We will study it in detail and provide our response to the French delegation as soon as possible.

    JULY 10, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF MOLOTOV: SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION AT DINNER IN HONOR OF MENDES-FRANCE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER

    Molotov asks the opinion of Prime Minister Mendes-France about the organization of the renewal of the work of the Conference of Ministers. Molotov notes that, being one of the chairmen of the Geneva Conference, it would be desirable for him to know the opinion of the other representatives about a day acceptable to everyone to convene the Conference of Ministers and also to find out the wishes of the ministers with respect to the method for the further work of the Conference. Molotov adds that it is possible that private conversations might turn out to be useful at this stage of the conference. Molotov asks what day would be convenient for the Prime Minister.

    Mendes-France replies that the chairmen set the nearest date for the Conference of Ministers, and that he is ready for the opening of the conference on any following day. Mendes-France says that, in his opinion, at the present stage of the talks unofficial conversations and personal contact between the representatives might be of greater use than the official plenary meetings. In this connection he, Mendes-France, completely shares Molotov's point of view about the effectiveness of unofficial conversations.

    Molotov says that the Geneva Conference has already gone through a period of speech-making. Several decisions have been prepared by now, both during closed meetings as well as in unofficial conversations. Now the stage of the Conference has come when it would be more advisable to move from a general discussion of the issues to a specific discussion of them and, accordingly, to prepare the necessary specific decisions. Molotov asks what wishes the Prime Minister has in order to impart the proper direction to the conference to achieve peace in Indochina.

    Mendes-France says that tomorrow he is to meet with DRV representative [and foreign minister] Pham Van Dong and begin a discussion with him of more specific issues. Mendes-France thinks that an opportunity will be presented during this conversation to identify common ground and differences. Mendes-France adds that all the participants of the Geneva Conference are undoubtedly interested in establishing peace in Indochina. However, France and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam are the directly-interested countries. Mendes-France says that it is necessary to find a basis for agreement on many issues during the conversation with Pham Van Dong. That is why, concludes Mendes-France, he considers it his first business to meet with Pham Van Dong.

    Molotov says that the idea of direct talks between the Prime Minister and Pham Van Dong is completely warranted and that, as it seems, all the participants of the Geneva Conference are interested in both directly-interested parties finding a common language and coming to an agreement acceptable to both sides. Molotov adds that the other delegations, including the Soviet delegation, ought to be interested in offering the necessary assistance to the directly interested parties. To be true, at the same time it cannot be excluded that there are also such delegations which possibly desire to prevent the achievement of an agreement.

    Molotov then says that he has formed the impression that the conference has made certain progress in recent weeks, which is a definite plus. Consequently, at the present time all the conditions have been created to move on to a discussion of more specific issues and obtain specific decisions. Molotov notes that, according to information he has, the conference has recently dealt more with issues affecting only the north and south of Vietnam. However, they paid no attention at all to the central part of Vietnam. With regard to the issues of Laos and Cambodia, says Molotov, apparently no special difficulty in solving them is foreseen. Then Molotov asks Mendes-France whether his information about the difficulties which have arisen about the central part of Vietnam is correct.

    Mendes-France says that certain difficulties actually have been identified regarding the issues of the central part of Vietnam. At first the French delegation assumed that there would be no special difficulty about this issue since initially, as the French delegation thought, the DRV was interested only in the north of Indochina, that is, the Tonkin region.

    The French delegation has assumed and [still] assumes that the line of demarcation, which corresponds to natural and historical requirements, ought to pass along the Annamese Gates [sic, Annamskie vorota]. This line is narrow and it is easy to monitor. However, the French delegation was deeply disappointed when the French delegation found out that this line cannot satisfy the Vietnamese delegation and when the latter presented new demands. The French delegation, as before, holds to the opinion that the most reasonable border ought to pass somewhere along the 18th parallel. Mendes-France adds that, in his opinion, it was not be advisable to create such enclaves inside each zone. The creation of such enclaves would cause political and military complications. Mendes-France says that, in his opinion, it is most important to create homogeneous zones.

    Molotov says that obviously these issues still have not been discussed in all the details by the military representatives. Molotov adds that he knows that the DRV delegation initially proposed to locate the line of demarcation between the 13th and 14th parallels since this corresponds to natural requirements and, moreover, this refers to a number of regions located along these parallels which have been under the influence of a particular side for more than 10 years. According to available information, says Molotov, an attempt was made by the DRV delegation to be accommodating and a proposal was made yesterday or the day before, according to which the line was to pass to the north. As regards the other side he, Molotov, did not know whether a similar attempt had been made.

    Mendes-France says that it seems difficult for the French delegation to change [its] position with regard to the line of demarcation. The DRV military representatives are actually submitting new proposals according to which the line of demarcation is to move back about 40 kilometers to the north. However this proposal does not significantly change the situation. Mendes-France notes that this cannot be about trade but about the need to find objective solutions.

    Mendes-France says that he agrees with the accurate comment by Molotov about there being regions in the south of Vietnam which have been under DRV influence for a long time. However, says the prime minister, there are also regions in the north which are controlled by French authorities at the present time. Mendes-France adds that at the beginning of the discussion of these issues at the meeting of the representatives of nine countries Pham Van Dong advanced certain principles according to which regrouping zones were to be determined. The French delegation listened with interest and subscribed to specific principles, and if the determination of the line is to be based on these principles then the 18th parallel is the most reasonable line of demarcation. Mendes-France adds that it would be desirable at the same time to create homogeneous zones.

    Molotov notes that the prime minister's idea about the creation of homogenous zones is undoubtedly the correct idea and it is shared by many conference participants. Molotov adds that up to now the military representatives had dealt more with general issues and less with specific issues, in particular issues relating to the central part of Vietnam. Molotov says that he has found out that French military representatives are attaching special importance to Route 9, which connects Laos with Vietnam. Molotov says that it is not completely clear to him why such great importance is attached to this road. But if it plays an important role then it is possible to talk about its use separately. Molotov adds that the arrival of the prime minister in Geneva will provide an opportunity to discuss these issues more specifically.

    Mendes-France says that at the beginning of the talks the discussion was not about Route 9 since according to French proposals this road ought to be in the southern zone, that is, in the zone of the French authorities. This road passes somewhere along the 16th parallel. But if the DRV delegation expresses a desire to use this road in the future then the French delegation does not object to talking about this in particular and coming to an agreement about granting the DRV the opportunity to use this road. Mendes-France repeats that the French delegation holds to its position about the 18th parallel.

    Molotov says that the prime minister obviously knows well that Pham Van Dong, the head of the DRV delegation, has already expressed his ideas about a line of demarcation between the 14th and 16th parallels and that the DRV delegation is steadfastly maintaining this position. Thus the question right now is one of discussing the specific issues connected with the determination of the line of demarcation. These are issues of both a technical and political nature. As everyone knows, Molotov continues, much attention has been devoted to military issues recently. But political issues have almost not been discussed [at all] although these issues also have great importance. They ought to be discussed, and solutions for them ought to be found.

    Mendes-France says that the political problems undoubtedly exist in connection with the fact that the French delegation is trying to prepare a general statement about political issues which ought to be acceptable to all the participants of the Geneva Conference.

    Molotov says that obviously the time has now come when it is necessary to prepare specific decisions which will be acceptable both to the two directly-interested parties as well as to all the participants of the Geneva Conference.

    Molotov further adds that, taking advantage of MendesFrance's presence in Geneva, he would like to exchange opinions with him not only about the problems affecting Asia, but Europe, too.

    Mendes-France says that this would please him very much. However, as Mendes-France says, at the same time it needs to be borne in mind that he is, so to speak, a novice in French
    foreign affairs and that he is not familiar with all the problems. However, he, Mendes-France, will be extremely happy to hear out Mr. Molotov and he will report this to his government. Mendes-France says that such a conversation would be useful.

    Molotov says that with respect to the Geneva Conference the Soviet delegation understands its task to be the promotion of the adoption of equitable solutions which are in accord with the vital interests of the peoples of Indochina and the achievement of honorable and fair conditions from the French point of view. The participation of the Soviet delegation will be in accord with the achievement of such solutions. Molotov adds that the Soviet delegation will act in the direction of establishing cooperation with the French delegation in the matter of achieving favorable results.

    Molotov stresses that the position of Mendes-France, the prime minister of France, impresses the Soviet delegation. This position, which is directed at establishing peace in Indochina, will facilitate the strengthening of peace in the entire world.

    Mendes-France thanks Molotov and says that the French delegation will act in this same spirit.

    Molotov asks at what time Mendes-France will meet with Pham Van Dong.

    Mendes-France replies that the meeting will be held tomorrow, but [that] the time has not yet been set. Mendes-France adds that a short time remains to reach an agreement.

    Molotov notes that time ought to be valued.

    In conclusion Mendes-France thanks Molotov for the cordial reception and asks Molotov's permission to display initiative in organizing another meeting with him.

    Molotov says that he is ready to meet with Mendes-France at any time.

    Present from the Soviet delegation were V. V. Kuznetsov and S. A. Vinogradov; from the French delegation, [Jean] Chauvel and [de la Tournelle].

    Recorded by /signature/ K. Starikov

    JULY 10, 1954
    TELEGRAM, LI KENONG TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING THE SITUATION AT THE TWENTY-SECOND RESTRICTED SESSION

    Chairman Mao [Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi and the Central Committee, also forwarding Zhou [Enlai] and [PRC Vice Foreign Minister] Wang [Jiaxing] in Moscow:

    At the 22nd restricted session on the Indochina issue on the 9th, the American and Cambodian delegations once again created difficulties on the issue of the introduction of defensive weapons into Laos and Cambodia. The American delegation made a statement and emphasized the sovereignty of Laos and Cambodia and their requirements for self-defense. He [Smith] said that China's proposal regarding the introduction of defensive weapons into Laos and Cambodia had not recognized Laos and Cambodia's rights to seek foreign aid and employ foreign military advisors whenever it is necessary to the development of their defensive position. He also required China to clarify its position on French military facilities established in Laos. I spoke and made three points in response:

    (1) I emphasized that the prohibition on the introduction of military personnel, arms and ammunition is one of the most important conditions that guarantees the ceasefire. I pointed out that the delegations of Laos and Cambodia had already agreed to introduce weapons for self-defense only on 6 July.

    (2) [I stated that] the issue of the introduction of defensive weapons should be discussed based on the principles of prohibiting the establishment of foreign military bases. I also pointed out that the Cambodian delegation stated on 8 June that Cambodia had no intention of allowing foreign countries to establish bases within its territory.

    (3) In consideration of the relationship between Laos, Cambodia and the French Union, [I said] that we can discuss Laos' and Cambodia's needs for French [military] instructors and technicians. At last, I said that issues concerning the quantity and type of defensive weapons should also be included in discussions between the representatives of the two commands based on agreements.

    Pham Van Dong made an overall statement on the issue of supervision. [Jean] Chauvel spoke to support the American delegation. He disagreed with what I said about letting military representatives discuss issues concerning the quantity and type of defensive weapons. Regarding Pham's statement, Chauvel said that Pham mistakenly stated that we had agreed in areas where in fact there was no agreement. He denied that he had agreed that there should be a single armistice agreement for all Indochina. He believed that not one single commission, but three commissions [dealing with problems in each of the three countries] are necessary. Also, that there should be three armistice agreements and three different organizations. The Cambodian delegation claimed that Cambodia has no intention of allowing foreign bases to be established on its territory when it is not threatened. This means that [Cambodia] will allow the Americans to establish bases during a war. He also emphasized that Cambodia has the right to choose the origin and quality of military personnel and equipment, meaning that only the quantity [of the equipment] could be limited, not the origin and type. That is, there will be American personnel [in Cambodia] during peace time. Regarding Pham Van Dong's statement, the Cambodian delegate said that he shared the reservation expressed by Chauvel today, and emphasized that supervision could not be ineffective and the sovereignty of Cambodia should not be violated. Kuznetsov spoke to support my statement and pointed out that allowing foreign countries to build up military outposts in its own territory is, itself, a loss of sovereignty. Kuznetsov referred to the French delegation's efforts to discuss the issue of supervision in the past three weeks and warned the participants that we should continue these efforts and should not create any problems on issues on which agreement is almost reached.

    The next meeting will be attended by the foreign ministers, and the two chairmen will decide the date for the meeting.

    Li Kenong
    10 July 1954

    JULY 07, 1954
    TELEGRAM, LI KENONG TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING THE SITUATION AT THE TWENTY-FIRST RESTRICTED SESSION

    Chairman Mao [Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, Comrade [Zhou] Enlai and the Central Committee:

    I spoke first at the 21st restricted session on the Indochina issue on the 6th. I explained our position on the issue of the relationship between the joint commission and the NNSC, the issue of the compulsory nature of [the recommendations of] the NNSC, the issue of voting procedures and the composition [of the NNSC], and the issue of [armistice] supervision in Laos and Cambodia. I did not present anything new. I intentionally drew France over to our side and referred to [Jean] Chauvel many times. For example, I noted that his statement deserves attention from the conference. [I also said that] the Soviet proposal of 14 June and the French proposal of 25 June could provide the basis for deciding the functions and authorities of the two commissions. Lastly, I once again expressed my support for Kuznetsov's proposal of 25 June. I also said that we can push the discussion on the issue of supervision one step forward if we could use the Soviet proposal of 14 June as a basis for discussing proposals from all delegations in the spirit of conciliation. Chauvel spoke next. He said that he had listened to my speech carefully and believed that my speech made a contribution to the conference. Chauvel raised the question of supervising the introduction of defensive weapons into Laos and Cambodia. He asked the Chinese delegation to explain point three in the Chinese proposal concerning the issues of Laos and Cambodia[:] “the question regarding the amount and the type of arms that may be introduced into Laos and Cambodia for reasons of self-defense should be the subject of separate negotiations.” The Cambodian delegate stated his reason for opposing the prohibition of the introduction of military equipment and personnel [into Cambodia] and said that point three of the Chinese proposal failed to consider the issue of military personnel. He said that Cambodia needed military experts, and the limitation on the amount of imported arms and military personnel should not damage the effectiveness of ordinary defense. The Cambodian delegate also asked us questions such as how these negotiations will be organized and who will participate. The Laotian delegate also stated that Laos wants to organize its own defense after the withdrawal of foreign troops. However, French [Union] troops that are stationed in Laos cannot be reduced. Also, Laos needs French technicians. I did not respond to the French and Cambodian delegations' request to clarify [point three of our proposal]. The meeting had a relaxed mood. The next meeting will be held on the 9th.

    Li Kenong
    7 July 1954

    JULY 06, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC FOREIGN MINISTRY TO LI KENONG, ZHANG WENTIAN, AND WANG JIAXIANG

    Vice Minister Li and Vice Ministers Zhang and Wang;

    Premier [and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC] Zhou [Enlai] has returned to Beijing safely on the afternoon of the 6th.

    The Foreign Ministry
    6 July 1954

    JULY 05, 1954
    FROM THE JOURNAL OF V. V. VASKOV, 27 AUGUST 1954: TOP SECRET MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH COMRADE MAO ZEDONG ON 5 JULY 1954

    Today at 7 p.m. I visited Comrade Mao Zedong and, on instructions from Moscow [Tsentr], informed him that the CPSU CC considers it necessary to take advantage of the favorable circumstances developing in France to find a resolution of the Indochina question. In this connection Comrade Molotov will arrive in Geneva on 7 July, intending to meet with Mendes-France before the start of the official sessions. I further informed him that in the opinion of the CPSU CC it would be good if Comrade Zhou Enlai could arrive in Geneva before 10 July. I further informed him that the foreign ministers of England and France would be informed, through the Soviet embassies in London and Paris, that V. M. Molotov would arrive in Geneva before 10 July, in order to rest for a few days before the start of the sessions.

    Mao Zedong said that he considered us to be absolutely correct in seeking to take advantage of the improving situation in France to resolve the Indochina question. At the same time he told me that Zhou Enlai was at present in Liuzhou [Guangxi province] where he was holding discussions with [Vietnamese leaders] Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. These discussions should be concluded on 5 July. Under favorable conditions Zhou Enlai would be able to arrive in Beijing no earlier than 6/7 July. He would be able to fly from Beijing to Moscow on 9/10 July and, thus, would in practice only be able to arrive in Geneva by 12/13 July.

    Later, in the course of the conversation, Mao referred to the recently concluded [informal] discussions between [British Prime Minister Winston] Churchill and [US President Dwight D.] Eisenhower [in Washington]. Mao said that he had read with great interest an article devoted to these talks, translated from Pravda of 3 July. Mao noted that while the US government was slamming the door on talks with the USSR and other countries of the democratic camp, the British government was expressing itself in favor of these talks. Churchill, boasting of his services as an old fighter against communism, nonetheless declared to the Americans that he was in favor of talks with the communists and of peaceful co-existence with the communist countries. Obviously, remarked Mao ironically, the international situation is such that even reactionary figures like Churchill are beginning to acknowledge Marxist-Leninist principles in foreign policy.

    As for the US, Mao continued, they have spread their forces across the globe, but in the event of significant international complications that does not bode well for them. That is why the US tries by all means of its aggressive policy to revive the armed strength of West Germany and Japan. However, relying on West Germany and Japan, in the light of opposition to American policy in those countries, as well as in other countries, especially France, is an uncertain position for the US.

    During the conversation Mao gave me, for my information, Zhou Enlai's telegram sent from Liuzhou on 4 July (we have sent the translated telegram by telegraph to Moscow). The conversation took place in Mao Zedong's apartment and lasted 30 minutes. The CCP CC director of foreign affairs, Yang Shangkun, and the first secretary of the Soviet embassy, I. I. Safronov, were also present during the conversation.

    JULY 03, 1954
    TELEGRAM, LI KENONG TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING THE SITUATION AT THE TWENTIETH RESTRICTED SESSION

    Chairman Mao [Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi and the Central Committee, also forwarding Zhou [Enlai], Zhang [Wentian] and Wang [Jiaxing]:

    At the twentieth restricted session on the Indochina issue on the 2nd, Kuznetsov spoke and summarized the discussion of these two weeks on the issue of supervision. Kuznetsov pointed out that the opinions in the Soviet proposal of 4 June and the French proposals of 25 and 29 June concerning the relationship between the NNSC and the joint commission became closer. In addition, the other delegations now no longer insist that the joint commission should work under the direction of the NNSC. Opinions on definition of the functions and duties of the two commissions and the lack of need for armed forces for the NNSC became closer as well. Kuznetsov also suggested that we should make a draft resolution on the functions and duties of the two commissions that can be accepted by all the participants. However, there are serious differences over the issues of composition and the voting procedures concerning severe violations of the agreement that may cause the recommencement of hostilities. Regarding [Jean] Chauvel's previous proposal that the decision of the NNSC should have binding power for both sides, Kuznetsov asked Chauvel by what means we can guarantee the implementation of binding power. After Kuznetsov spoke, Chauvel claimed that the conference can only reach an agreement on a certain document, but does not have the right to make a decision. Concerning the issue of the compulsory nature [of the ecommendations] of the NNSC, Chauvel said that the NNSC should have the right to explain the agreement, and such interpretation has legal mandatory power over both sides. Regarding the voting procedure on serious problems, Chauvel said that it was not a simple question, and he could only respond to it next time. The British delegate, Lamb, stated that Britain has not changed its original position. He said that although he had not made any statements at the two previous meetings, it does not mean that Britain agrees that the two commissions should not have subordinate relations. Bao Dai's delegate repeated the same old story that communist countries cannot be neutral countries, and only the United Nations can guarantee effective [supervision]. The next meeting will be held on 6 July.

    Li Kenong
    3 July 1954, 3:00 a.m.

    JULY 03, 1954
    TELEGRAM, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG, LIU SHAOQI AND THE CCP CENTRAL COMMITTEE, 'A BRIEF REPORT ON THE MEETINGS AT LIUZHOU'

    Chairman [Mao Zedong], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and report to the Central Committee, and convey to Ambassador Zhang [Wentian] and Minister Wang [Jiaxing] in Moscow, and Vice Minister Li [Kenong] in Geneva:

    I arrived in Guangzhou on the morning of 30 June. Because of the change in the weather and careless eating I suffered from an upset stomach. I took a day of rest in Guangzhou, and flew and arrived in Liuzhou at noon of 2 July. On the same day I met with Comrades Ding [Ho Chi Minh], [Viet Minh General] Vo [Nguyen Giap], Hoang [Van Hoan], Luo [Guibo], Wei Guoqing, [Guangxi Province Governor] Chen Manyuan, and [PRC military advisor to the VWP] Xie Fang, and had a brief conversation with Comrade Ding. I have read the telegrams from the Central Committee via the Provincial Committee. Those telegrams that are conveyed to the friends are being read by them in turn.

    This first meeting was held this morning, and Comrade Vo made a comprehensive presentation. The meeting will be continued in the afternoon, and Wei Guoqing will make a supplementary presentation. It is planned that at the meeting in the evening, I will report on the experience at the Geneva Conference and also on the current international situation. The important issues should wait to be resolved (at the meeting of) the 4th. As to the various issues that have been inquired about in the telegrams from Geneva, I will probably reply this evening.

    Zhou Enlai
    3 July 1954, 1:00 p.m.

    JULY 02, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC FOREIGN MINISTRY TO ZHANG WENTIAN, WANG JIAXIANG, AND LI KENONG

    Vice Ministers Zhang and Wang, and Vice Minister Li:

    The meeting with the Vietnamese comrades has been relocated to Liuzhou. [PRC] Premier [and Foreign Minister] Zhou [Enlai]'s plane will take off this morning in Guangzhou and will arrive in Liuzhou at 12:00 p.m. So this special report.

    The Foreign Ministry
    2 July 1954, 10:30 a.m.

    JUNE 29, 1954
    TELEGRAM, LI KENONG TO MAO ZEDONG, LIU SHAOQI, AND THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, 'BRIEFING ON THE MEETING BY THE CHINESE, SOVIET AND VIETNAMESE DELEGATIONS'

    (top secret)

    Chairman [Mao Zedong], Comrade, and the Central Committee, Zhou [Enlai], Zhang [Wentian], and Wang [Jiaxiang]:

    The Chinese, Soviet, and Vietnamese delegations, following the usual practice, held a joint meeting at 11:00 a.m. on 29 June. The main points of the meeting are reported here as follows:

    (1) Comrade [Vasily V.] Kuznetsov mentions that he had a meeting yesterday afternoon with [Jean] Chauvel, head of the French delegation. Chauvel said that the proposed solution put forward by the Vietnamese side at the meeting by the chief military representatives of the two sides on the 28th was much too demanding, which made him very uneasy. Chauvel further said that as this was the first meeting, it is natural that they [the Vietnamese] asked for a higher payout of debts, and this… [the sentence ends abruptly]
    Kuznetsov said that you [Chauvel] proposed the 18th parallel, and that would not work.

    As a matter of fact, the central part of Vietnam has a small population and is not so much of value, why do they want to have it? Kuznetsov then asked: If it is not of high value, why do you not mention it? Kuznetsov further says: I hope that you will give a comprehensive presentation about the situation of the three countries, so that the question will be settled.

    (2) At today's meeting, Comrade Pham Van Dong at one point introduced the idea of discussing economic interests further, and discussing about the zone division issue less. Kuznetsov does not say much about this issue, only says that they will give further consideration to it. Our delegation then had an internal discussion, and we are of the opinion that at the present time the zone division issue remains a key issue concerning Vietnam and Laos, to ask for too little will be disadvantageous, and to ask for too much will block the realization of an overall agreement. Therefore, we hope that the meeting at Nanning should make an early decision on this issue and inform the Vietnamese delegation us as early as possible, so that the negotiation process will be pushed forward.

    Li Kenong,
    29 June 1954

    JUNE 29, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC FOREIGN MINISTRY TO ZHOU ENLAI

    Premier Zhou [Enlai]:

    Hoang Van Hoan, his seven-person group, and the [PRC] Foreign Ministry messengers Xiao Qing and Shan Daxin, who are carrying top secret documents for you to receive personally, have left for Nanning by plane this morning at 7:30 a.m. So this special report.

    The Foreign Ministry
    29 June 1954

    JUNE 28, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY OPERATIONS DIRECTOR ZHANG ZHEN TO PRC MILITARY ADVISOR TO THE PRC GENEVA CONFERENCE DELEGATION LEI YINGFU

    Comrade Lei Yingfu:

    The documents (those top secret) from you have been conveyed to us by Comrade Wang Yin of the Foreign Ministry today.

    Zhang Zhen
    28 June 1954

    JUNE 27, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC FOREIGN MINISTRY TO LI KENONG

    (Top secret)

    Vice Minister Li:

    Because of the sincere invitation by the prime minister of Burma, Premier [and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC] Zhou [Enlai] has decided to stay one more day in Burma and will not return home until the 30th. The meeting at Nanning thus will also be postponed for one day. So this special report.

    The Foreign Ministry
    27 June 1954

    JUNE 27, 1954
    TELEGRAM, PRC FOREIGN MINISTRY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO LI KENONG, 3:00 P.M.

    Vice Minister Li:

    Messenger Comrade Shan Daxin has just arrived. The three bags of documents have been delivered respectively to Li Qi and Director Zhang Zhen of the Department of Military Operations by specially arranged personnel and automobiles. [PRC Foreign Ministry Messenger] Xiao Qing and Shan Daxin will take the plane to send Hoang Van Hoan and his seven-person group to Nanning, and will deliver the other bag to Premier Zhou Enlai. So this special report.

    Foreign Ministry Administrative Office
    27 June 1954, 3:00 p.m.

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