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Full text of "Pentagon Papers"



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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III The Geneva Accords 1954 

A. U.S. Military Planning and Diplomatic 
Maneuver, January-July, 1954 

B. Role and Obligations of the State of Vietnam 

C. The Viet Minh Position and Sino-Soviet 

Strategy 

D. The Intent of the Geneva Accords 



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UNITED STATES • VIETNAM RELATIONS 

1945 • 1967 




VIETNAM TASK FORCE 



OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE 




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III 

THE GEHEVA ACCORDS 






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PART III THE GENEVA ACCORDS 

195^ 



Foreword 



This part of the study examines the Geneva Conference of 
195^- • Section A deals with U.S. positions before and during 
the conference* Section B discusses the role of the Bao Dai 
Government of Vietnam during Geneva, and its consequent obli- 
gations. Section C relates the Viet Minh position at Geneva 
to overall objectives and strategy of the communist powers. 
The final portion, Section D, analyzes the outcome of the 
conference as viewed first by the communists, then by the 
West, and finally as its spirit and effects can be seen in 
objective retrospect. 



A. U.S. Military Planning and Diplomatic 
Maneuver, January- July, 195U 



B. Role and Obligations of the State of Vietnam 



C. The Viet Minh Position and Sino- Soviet Strategy 



D. The Intent of the Geneva Accords 



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III. A. U.S. MILITARY PLANNING AND DIPLOMATIC MANEUVER, JANUARY -JULY 19^ 



SUMMARY 

It is charged that the U.S. tried to sabotage the Geneva Conference, 
first by maneuvering to prevent the conference from taking place, then by 
attempting to subvert a settlement , and finally, by refusing to guarantee 
the resulting agreements of the conference. The documentation on this 
charge is complete, but by no means unambiguous. While "sabotage" may be 
a strong "word, it is evident that the U.S. by its actions and statements 
during this period did seek to down-play the conference, disassociate 
itself from the results, and thereby did cast doubt on the stability of 
the accords. 

After the Big Four Conference at Berlin in February, 195^, U.S. efforts 
•were directed at preventing a French collapse in Vietnam prior to a settle- 
ment at Geneva. If the conference were to take place, the U.S. believed 
that any settlement likely to result would be contrary to U.S. interests. 
The U.S. aim was, therefore, to take the emphasis off the conference and 
put it back onto the battlefield. This renewed emphasis on a military 
approach was put in the context of what Washington referred to as "united 
action," of the same character as UN intervention in Korea — broad, multi- 
lateral, and military. Even as the French-Vietnamese military position 
continued to deteriorate on the battlefield, the U.S. became more convinced 
than ever of the need for decisive military victory. The recent experience 
of Korea only served to convince Washington that meaningful compromise with 
the communists was impossible. The U.S., however, did have to react to 
French proposals for a peace conference, and did so by insisting on a 
strong French stand, bolstered by continued fighting while negotiations 
were in progress. Moreover, the U.S. threatened to "disassociate" itself 
from the conference if the results were not favorable to the West (Tab l) . 

As the conference became more of a reality, the U.S. aim was to keep 
the united action option open in the event that France would find the 
course of negotiations at Geneva unpalatable. Washington was convinced 
that the conference would fail because of communist intransigence and that, 
therefore, France would have no choice but to turn to the united action 
alternative. France wanted U.S. military support, but was reluctant to 
pay its price. The price was U.S. insistence on complete independence 
for the Associated States of Indochina as soon as possible. The U.S. 
would make no pledges to France, moreover, without firm and broad allied 
support -- support which was never forthcoming on the military side. 
France, unwilling to accept the prerequisites for U.S. intervention, and 
under domestic pressure, decided to pursue a political settlement at the 
conference table rather than united military action. Nevertheless, France 
used these U.S. conditions and the united action option as a lever at the 
conference. When the French situation in Indochina deteriorated beyond 



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■ 
the point that U.S. military assistance would be profitable, and after 

seeing the futility of organizing united action, Dulles withdrew the 

option (Tab 2). 

As the negotiations at the conference progressed, Washington shifted 
its weight away from intervention through united action and instead con- 
centrated on unifying the West into a regional military pact and creating 
a united diplomatic front at the conference to obtain the best possible 
settlement for the West. The implied, threat of U.S. intervention, how- 
ever, was allowed to remain. Throughout July of 195^, then, united, action 
took on a futuristic bent -- as a Free World. Regional Defense Organization 
(ultimately to become SEATO) to secure Laos, Cambodia, and a "retained. 
Vietnam" -- after the conference completed, its work. Diplomatically, the 
U.S. took the initiative in forming a seven-point negotiating position 
with the British, a position which was, in large part, ultimately accepted 
by France. Except for a provision admitting the ines capability of a 
partitioned, Vietnam, the seven-point program was a maximum western position. 
Yet, even as we urged our d.esires on France, we mad.e clear that we would 
not be able to sign, guarantee, or associate ourselves with any accord. 
The U.S. role was to be passive and formal and. firmly against co-signing 
any document with the communists. In effect, the U.S. delegation attempted. 
to forward, its id.ea.s on a proper settlement to the "active negotiators" 
representing western interests. The U.S. would, do nothing to impair its 
future flexibility with respect to Ind.ochina. As matters turned out at 
the conference, the final terms of the settlement came close to meeting 
seven Anglo-American conditions (Tab 3)- . 



DISCUSSION 



III. A. Tab 1 - U.S. Pre- conference Maneuvers - January-April 195^ 

2 - U.S. and. French on United Action, May-Mid June 195^ 

3 - U.S. Negotiating Position During the Conference 



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III. A. 1. 



U.S. PRE- CONFERENCE MANEUVERS, JANUARY-APRIL 195 1 !- 



TABLE OF CONTENTS and. OUTLINE 



Page 



CD 



1.- U.S." Aims to Keep the Fight on the Battlefield. A- 5 

a. U.S. Opposed, to Geneva Conference A-5 

b. Alternatives to Military Victory Appear 
Inf easible A-5 

c . Elections Would Be Subverted. A-5 

! &. The U.S. Proposes "United. Action" A-6 

e. U.S. Discourages Early Cease-fire A-7 

2. Events Make the Geneva Conference Inevitable A-8 

a. U.S. Plans Initial Geneva Position A-8 

b. NSC Recommends Strong U.S. Stand. A-8 

c. Dulles Announces Possibility of U.S. 
Disassociation A-8 

d. Dulles Deprecates Partition A-9 



3. U.S. Makes Final Preparations for Geneva, A-9 

a. French Inform U.S. of Opening Proposals A-9 

b. JCS Study French Proposals A-9 

c. Eisenhower Suggests Possibility of 

United Action A-9 

d. NSC Recommends Continued Study of 

United Action A-10 

e. U.S. to Be an "interested. Nation," Not a 

Negotiator A-10 



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f . U.S. Takes Hard. Line for Geneva A-ll 

g. French Military Situation Deteriorates . A-ll 

h. Viet Minh Successes Merely Confirm 

U.S. Hard. Line A-12 



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III. A. 1. U.S. PRE -CONFERENCE MAiMJVERS, JANUARY-APRIL 195^ 
I ■*■ • U.S. Aims to Keep the Fight on the Battlefield. 

a. U.S. Opposed, to Geneva Conference 



Negotiation of a settlement of the Indochina War was 
never happily accepted, by the United. States. Consistently, Washington 
took the position that France should negotiate only from a posture of 
', clear military advantage which, assuming success of the Navarre Plan, 

would, not come about until some time in 1955* While recognizing strong 
pressures in the French National Assembly and. among the French public 
for peace, the U.S., clearly influenced, by the experience at Panmunjom, 
hoped to convince the Laniel government against making a premature com- 
mitment to talks with the Viet Minh. The U.S. could, not prevent Laniel 
from expressing publicly his administration's d.esire for peace, but sought 
to persuade him against actually sitting down at the bargaining table. 
As late as December 1953* Laniel agreed, that Washington's approach was 
the correct one. l/ Two months later, however, the picture had 
changed. At Berlin, the Big Four decision to convene an international 
conference on Indochina at Geneva evidenced, the irresistible pressure 
in French government circles for talks with the Viet Minh.. 



b . Alternatives to Military Victory Appear Infeasible 

Compelled, to go along with Anglo-French preference for 
negotiating with the communists, the U.S. nevertheless did. not shake 
its pessimism over the probable results. Our position remained that 
nothing short of military victory could settle the Indochina War in 
a manner favorable to Free World, interests. The rationale behind, this 
unequivocal perspective on negotiations was first set out fully by the 
JCS in March 195^> when the Chiefs examined the alternatives to military 
victory and. found, them all infeasible or unacceptable to the U.S. A 
cease-fire prior to a political settlement, the JCS paper stated, prob- 
ably would, "lead to a political stalemate attended, by a concurrent and 
irretrievable deterioration of the Franco -Vietnamese military position." 
A coalition government would, lead, to communist seizure of power from 
within, with the U.S. helpless to prevent it. Partition, on the other 
hand, would, amount to recognition of communist success by force of arms, 
cession to the communists of the key Tonkin Delta, and. undercutting of 
our containment policy in Asia. 

c . Elections Would. Be Subverted. 

The Chiefs also commented, at some length on the difficult 
question of elections. They took the position that even if elections 
in Vietnam could, be carried, out along democratic lines (which they 
doubted), a communist victory would, almost certainly result because 
of communist territorial control, popular support, and. superior tactics: 



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"Such factors as the prevalence of illiteracy, 
the lack of suitable educational media , and. the 
absence of adequate communications in the outlying 
areas would, render the holding of a truly representa- 
tive plebiscite of doubtful feasibility. The Com- 
munists, by virtue of their superior capability in 
the field, of propaganda, could, readily pervert the 
issue as being a choice between national ind.epend.ence 
and. French Colonial rule. Furthermore, it would be 
militarily infeasible to prevent widespread intimi- 
dation of voters by Communist partisans. While it 
is obviously impossible to make a dependable fore- 
cast as to the outcome of a free election, current 
intelligence leads the Joint Chiefs to the belief 
that a settlement based upon free elections would, 
be attended, by almost certain loss of the Associated 
States to Communist control." 



The JCS views, together with their recommendation that the U.S. not 
associate itself with any settlement that "would, fail to provide 
reasonably adequate assurance of the future political and. territorial 
integrity of Indochina..." were approved by the Secretary of Defense 
on 23 March. 2/ 



d. The U.S. Proposes United. Action 

Secretary Dulles on March 29 publicly proposed, collective 
military operations as a future course of action for the "free world" 
in Indochina. Dulles suggested the organization of a ten-nation collec- 
tive defense alliance for Southeast Asia. 3/ Such a coalition was 
the U.S. Government's preferred alternative to unilateral U.S. interven- 
tion, either at Dien Bien Phu, or subsequently in a more general con- 
text. With the climax at Dien Bien Fnu approaching, the inter-agency 
debate in Washington had me.de clear that American intervention there 
solely with air and. naval forces was neither desirable nor feasible, 
and. there was little support for a ground intervention. United action 
also was the result of the Eisenhower's Administration's inability to 
marshal support among Congressional leaders for a unilateral U.S. in- 
tervention without participation by the allies. President Eisenhower 
himself clearly preferred intervention through united action to a purely 
American undertaking. 

The united action proposal, however, was not acceptable 
either to the British or to the French before the Geneva Conference. 
The British thought that any military intervention under united, action 
prior to Geneva would, impede a political settlement at the Conference 
and. most likely lead, to a further expansion of the war, including a 



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! possible Chinese intervention. London, therefore, was only willing to 

consider the establishment of a collective defense alliance in Southeast 
Asia after the Geneva Conference. France saw Dulles 1 proposal for united 
action as a parry of the urgent French request for immediate U.S. inter- 
vention at Dien Bien Phu. Initially, the French feared, that united, action 
would internationalize the war and thereby pla.ce it beyond control of 
Paris. Later, the French ca,me to fear that united action would be used, 
as a device to impede negotiations. For these reasons, the American 
proposal for united, action failed to gather support either in Paris or 
in London before Geneva. 



e. U.S, Discourages Ea,rly Cease-fire 

In the months before the conference, the U.S. maintained 
an adamant opposition to any course other than full prosecution of the 
war. Dulles told French Ambassador Henri Bonnet on 3 April, for instance, 
that a negotiated settlement would, lead only to face-saving formulae 
for either a French or a Viet Minh surrender. The Secretary termed 
a division of Indochina "impractical" and a coalition government the 
"beginning of disaster." Writing to Chruchill on k April, Eisenhower 
echoed, this line, asserting: "There is no negotiated solution of the 
Indochina problem which in essence would not be either a face-saving 
device to cover a French surrender or a face-saving device to cover a 
communist retirement." And it was precisely to bring about the latter -- 
China's "discreet disengagement" -- that the President wanted British 
cooperation in "united action." h/ 

The U.S. was concerned that a disaster at Dien Bien Phu 
would, propel the French into acceptance of an immediate cease-fire 
even before the conference could begin. Dulles obtained, assurances 
from Bidault that the French would not adopt that approach. 5/ The 
British did not share U.S. fears. Eden doubted that a cease-fire would 
lead either to a massacre of the French or to large-scale infiltration 
of French-held terrain by Viet Mihh forces. 6/ 



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2. Events Make the Geneva Conference Inevitable 

a - U.S. Plans Initial Geneva Position 

Assured that the French would not cease fire prior to the 
conference , Washington forged ahead in late April and early May in 
search of a policy that would guide the American delegation. The 
National Security Council, less than a "week before the opening con- 
ference session, carefully examined American alternatives. 7/ Th e 
NSC urged the President not to join the Geneva deliberations without 
assurance from France that it was not preparing to negotiate the 
surrender of Indochina. Again, the Korean example was foremost: Com- 
munist tactics, the NSC said, will likely resemble those at Panmunjom: 
a cease-fire with lack of compliance by the communists because of in- 
effective supervision, a wilting French position before the communists 1 
typical dilatory tactics, all resulting in the French accepting almost 
any terms. 

b. NSC Recommends Strong U.S. Stand 

• 

The NSC, therefore, decided that the French had to be 
pressured into adopting a strong posture in the face of probable com- 
munist intransigence. The NSC urged a policy of informing Paris that 
its acquiescence in a communist takeover of Indochina would bear not 
only on France's future position in the Far East, but also on its status 
as one of the Big Three; that abandonment of Indochina would grievously 
affect both France 1 s position in North Africa and Franco-U.S. relations 
in that region; that U.S. aid to France would automatically cease upon 
Paris 1 conclusion of an unsatisfactory settlement; and, finally, that 
communist domination of Indochina would be of such serious strategic 
harm to U.S. interests as to produce "consequences in Europe as well 
as elsewhere /without/ ... apparent limitation^ " In addition, the NSC 
recommended that the U.S. determine immediately whether the Associated 
States should be approached with a view to continuing the anti-Viet 
Minh struggle in some other form, including unilateral U.S. involvement 
"if necessary. " 

c. Dulles Anno unces Possibility of U.S. Disassociation 

The NSC T s adamant attitude was reflected in Dulles 1 extreme 
pessimism over the prospects for any meaningful progress in talks with 
the communists. At Geneva on April 25, the Secretary said that the 
solution of the Indochina problem was the primary responsibility of 
France, the non-Communist Vietnamese, andjthe Viet Minh. The U.S. 
would not normally expect to "interpose /.its/ veto" except "where we 
felt that the issues involved had a pretty demonstrable interest to 
the United States itself." And he went on to say that if highly disad- 
vantageous solutions were proposed at the conference which the U.S. 
could not_pre vent , "we would probably want to disassociate ourselves 
from it /the Conference/. " 8/ 

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d. Dulles Deprecates Partition 

This first official indication for public consumption of 
, U.S. refusal to join in a settlement contrary to our interests , was 

coupled with a comment by Dulles on the possibility of partition. In 
views that would change later, Dulles said he did. not see how partition 

[ could be arranged with the fighting not confined to any single area. 

[ , Although he did not actually rule out partition, he made it clear that 

the U.S. would agree only to a division equivalent to a communist sur- 
render, one that would place all the communist troops in a small re- 
groupment area out of harm's way. But that arrangement "might not be 
acceptable to them, " he said, coyly. 

3* U.S. Makes Final Preparations for Geneva 

a. French Inform U.S. of Opening Proposals 

The test of U.S. policy came May 5 when the French informed. 
Washington of the proposals they intended to make in the first round of 
talks. The proposals included a separation of the Vietnam situation of 
"civil war" from the communist aggressions in Cambodia and Laos; a cease- 
fire supervised, by international authority, to be followed, by political 
discussions aimed, at free elections; the regrouping of regular forces 
of the bel3_igerents into defined zones upon signature of a cease-fire 
agreement; the disarming of all irregular forces ( i.e . , the Viet Minh 
guerrillas); and. a guarantee of the agreements by "the States partici- 
pating in the Geneva.. Conference." 

b. JCS Study French Proposals 

Once more, the Chiefs, in reviewing the proposals, fell 
back on the Korean experience, which they said, demonstrated the certainty 
that the communists would, violate any armistice controls, including those 
supervised, by an international body. An agreement to refrain from new 
military activities during armistic^. negotiations would, be a strong 
obstacle to communist violations; but the communists, the JCS concluded,, 
would, never agree to such an arrangement. The Chiefs therefore urged, 
that the U.S. not get trapped, into backing a French armistice proposal 
that then could, be taken up by the communists and exploited, to bind, us 
to a cease-fire. The only way to get satisfactory results was through 
military success, and since the Navarre Plan was no longer tenable, the 
next best alternative was not to associate the U.S. with any cease-fire 
in advance of a satisfactory political settlement. The first step, the 
Chiefs believed, should, be the conclusion of a settlement that would 
"reasonably assure the political and. territorial integrity of the 
Associated States..."; only thereafter should, a cease-fire be entertained. 9/ 

c. Eisen hower Suggests Possibility of United Action 

As previously, the Joint Chiefs 1 position became U.S. policy, 
in this case with only minor emendations. The President, reviewing the 



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JCS paper , agreed that the U.S. could not "back the French proposal with 
its call for a supervised cease-fire that the communists would never 
respect. Eisenhower further concurred with the Chiefs' insistence on 
priority to a political settlement, with the stipulation that French 
forces continue fighting while negotiations were in progress. He added 
that the U.S. would continue aiding the French during that period and 
would, in addition, work toward a united action coalition "for the 
purpose of preventing further expansion of communist power in Southeast 
Asia." 10/ 

d. NSC Recommends Continued Study of United Action 

These statements of position paved the way for a National 
Security Council meeting May 8 which set forth the guidelines of U.S-. 
policy on negotiations for the delegation at Geneva. The decision taken 
at the meeting simply underscored what the President and the Chiefs had 
already stated: 

"The United States will not associate itself with 
any proposal from any source directed toward a cease- 
fire in advance of an acceptable armistice agreement, 
including international controls. The United States 
could concur in the initiation of negotiations for such 
an armistice agreement. During the course of such 
negotiations, the French and the Associated States 
should continue to oppose the forces of the Viet Minh 
with all the means at their disposal. In the meantime, 
as a means of strengthening the hands of the French and 
the. Associated States during the course of such negotia- 
tions, the United States will continue its program of 
aid and its efforts to organize and promptly activate a 
Southeast Asian regional grouping for the purpose of 
preventing further expansion of Communist power in South- 
east Asia." 11/ ^ 

e. U.S. to Be an "Interested Nation," Not a Negotiator 

Before receiving detailed instructions from Dulles, Smith 
spoke twice at the first round of plenary sessions, once on May 10 
(the second plenary) and again on May 12 (at the third). At these 
sessions, Smith brought home two major points of U.S. policy: first, 
he declined to commit the U.S. in advance to a guarantee of the settle- 
ment, despite Bidault's call for all the participants to make such a 
guarantee; 12/ second, he proposed that national elections in Vietnam 
be supervised by an international commission "under United Nations 
auspices." Smith stressed that the UN should have two separate functions 
overseeing not only the cease-fire but the elections as well. Both these 
points in Smith f s speech were to remain cardinal elements of U.S. policy 
throughout the negotiations. 13/ On 12 May Smith received instructions 
clearly designed to make the UoS. an influential, but unentangled and 



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unobligated, participant. The U.S., Dulles cabled him, -was to be "an 
interested nation which, however, is neither a belligerent nor a princi 
pal in the negotiation." Its primary aim would be to: 



"...help the nations of that area /Indochina/ peace- 
fully to enjoy territorial integrity and political 
independence under stable and free governments with the 
opportunity to expand their economies, to realize their 
legitimate national aspirations, and to develop security 
through individual and collective defense against aggres- 
. sion, from within and without. This implies that these 
people should not be ama l gamated into the Communist bloc 
of imperialistic dictatorship." 

Accordingly, Smith was told, the U.S. should not give its approval to 
any settlement or cease-fire. 

"...which would have the effect of subverting the 
existing lawful governments of the three aforementioned 
states or of permanently impairing their territorial 
integrity or of placing in jeopardy the forces of the 
French Union of Indochina, or which otherwise contra- 
vened the principles stated. . .above. " lk/ 

f . U.S. Takes Hard Line for Geneva 

The NSC decision of May 8, Smith's comments at the second 
and third plenary sessions, and Dulles 1 instructions to Smith reveal the 
hardness of the U.S. position on a Geneva settlement. The U.S. would 
not associate itself with any arrangement that failed to provide ade- 
quately for an internationally supervised cease-fire and national 
elections that resulted in the partitioning of any of the Associated 
States; or that compromised the independence and territorial integrity 
of those States in any way.. Smith was left free, in fact, to withdraw 
from the conference or to restrict the American role to that of 
observer. 15/ 

g. French Military Situation Deteriorates 

The pessimistic American view of the conference was founded 
also on the deterioration of the Franco-Vietnamese military effort, 
particularly in the Tonkin Delta. After the debacle at Dien Bien Fhu, 
the French gradually shifted their forces from Laos and Cambodia into the 
Delta; but the Viet Minh naturally did likewise, moving several battalions 
eastward. U.S. Army intelligence reported on May 26, on the basis of 
French reports, that the Viet Minh were redeploying much faster than 
anticipated, to the point where only 2,000 of 35,000 troops originally in 
northwestern Tonkin remained. To thwart the communist military threat, 
General Ely told General Trapnell (on May 30 ) that French forces were 
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made no effort to hide the touch-and-go nature of French defensive 
capabilities during the rainy season already under .way. 16/ The bleak 
picture darkened further after General Valluy reported in early June to 
U.S., British, Australian, and New Zealand Chiefs of Staff assembled in 
Washington that the Delta was in danger of falling to the communists, 
that neither Frenchmen nor Vietnamese would fight on in the south in that 
eventuality, and that only prompt allied intervention could save the 
situation. 17/ 

h. Viet Minh Successes Merely Confirm U.S. Hard Line 

• 

Valluy's presentation merely reinforced what the U.S. already 
was aware of, namely, that while the communists put forth unacceptable 
proposals at Geneva, they were driving for important gains in the Delta 
that would thoroughly demoralize French Union soldiers and set the stage 
for French withdrawal to the south. Deterioration on the battlefield and 
pessimism at the negotiating table, therefore, worked hand- in-hand toward 
confirming to Washington not that its goals for an Indochina settlement 
were unrealistic, but rather that the only way to attain them was through 
decisive military victory in conformity with the original "united action" 
proposal of March 29. 



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III. A. 1. FOOTNOTES 



1. MemCon between Douglas MacArthur II (State, Europe) and Laniel at 
Bermuda, December k, 1953 (SECRET). 

2. Radford memorandum to the Defense Secretary (Wilson), March 12, 195^ 

(TOP secret). 

3- Dept. of State Press Release No. 165, March 29, 1954. See Part II. B. 

k. dalles "EYES ONLY" tel. No. 3^76 to American Embassy - Paris (Dillon) 
and No. 5175 to American Embassy - London (Aldrich), April 3, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET); also Dulles "EYES ONLY" tel. NIACT 5179 to American 
Embassy - London (Aldrich), April k> 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

5. Dulles "EYES ONLY" tel. DULTE 15 to the Acting Secretary (Smith) 
for passage to the President, April 24, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

6. Dulles "EYES ONLY" tel. DULTE 9 from Geneva for Smith, Dillon, and 
Aldrich, April 26, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

7. "United. States Position on Indochina to be Taken at Geneva," undated 

(TOP secret). 

8. The briefing was reported in a priority cable from Dulles at Geneva, 
tel. SECTO 6, April 25, 195^ (CONFIDENTIAL); emphasis supplied. 

9. Radford memorandum to SecDef, May 7, 195^, Enclosure: "Comments to 
be furnished to the Secretary of Defense re Radios SECTO 106 and 
SECTO 110, dated 5 May 195^5 and DA. IN 59296, dated. 6 May 195V 1 ' 
(TOP SECRET). 

10. Ibid . 

11. Reported in Dulles "EYES ONLY" tel. TEDUL 1*3 to Smith at Geneva, 
May 8, I95I4 (TOP SECRET). 

12. Verbatim Minutes of the Geneva Conference (Dept. of State), Second 
Plenary Session, p. 87. (Hereafter cited as U.S. Verb Min /session/) 

' 13. U.S. Verb Min/3, p. 122. 

Ik. Dulles priority tel. TOSEC 138 to Smith at Geneva, May 12, 195U 
(CONFIDENTIAL) ; emphasis supplied. 

15. Ibid . 

16. Dillon priority tel. No. I3I* from Paris, July 11, 195k (TOP SECRET). 

17. Dulles to American Consulate - Geneva, tel.. TEDUL 171, June 7, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

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III. A. 2. 



U.S. AND FRENCH ON UNITED ACTION, MAY-MID JUNE 195^ 



TABLE OF CONTENTS and. OUTLINE 



Page 

1. U.S. Attempts to Reach Agreement with France 

on United. Action A-l6 

a. United. Action Stressed, as an Option A-l6 

b. French Request U.S. Terms for Intervention A-l6 

c. U.S. States Intervention Terms . . . . A-l6 

d..' Eisenhower Still Favors United. Action A-17 

e. The French Reject Independence Options 

for Associated. States A-l8 

f . Laniel Presents Two Additional Questions 

to U. S A-18 

g. The U.S. Replies A-l8 

h. Other Concerned. Western Nations are 

Kept Informed ■ A-l8 



2. Agreement with France Appears Increasingly Unlikely A- 19 

a. U.S. Begins Contingency Planning A- 19 

» 

b . Three Regional Pacts Considered A-19 

c. JCS Point Out Key Planning Considerations A-19 

d. JCS Urge Limited U.S. Commitment. A-20 

e. JCS Call for Meeting of Interested. 

Western Powers A-20 

f. U.S. Again Requests Independence for 

Associated States A-21 

g. French Response is Encouraging A-21 



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^ge 

h. Question of Chinese Air Attack Again Arises A-21 

i. Dillon Outlines French Position A-21 

j • U.S. Repeats Initial Reply . A-22 

k. Other Obstacles to U. S. -French Accord . . A-22 

1. The Continuing Issue of Independence 

for Associated States A-23 

» 

3- United Action Option Withdrawn ' A-23 

a. Issues Begin to Lose Relev3.nce in 

Changing War A-23 

b. Dulles Considers Withdrawing Option of 

United. Action A-23 

c. Dulles Withdraws Option A-2^4 

d. U.S. Turns to Studies with U.K. on 

Intervention A-2k 

e. United. Action Option Has Come Full Cycle A-2k 

■ 

k. French Use Threat of U.S. Intervention at Geneva A-25 

a. French Do Not Intend to Request U.S. 

Involvement A-25 

b. French Bring Out Possible U.S. United Action 

as a Lever in Bargaining A-25 

c. United Action is an Alternative but not a 

Subverting Force A-25 



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III. A. 2. U.S. AND FRENCH ON UNITED ACTION, MAY-MID JUNE 195 1 * 

1 . U.S. Attempts to Reach Agreement with France on United Action 

a • United Action Stressed, as an Option 

The formulation of an American approach to negotiations 
was paralleled, by a search for an appropriate military alternative. 
Perceiving the inevitable bogging down of talks at Geneva as the 
consequence of communist procrastination, but also mindful of the 
bankruptcy of the Navarre Plan, the Administration still hoped, that 
"united, action" could, be achieved, once Britain and. France realized., 
as we had. consistently tried, to convince them, that negotiating with 
the communists was a wasteful exercise. But in keeping open the option 
of united, action, the Administration, during May and. the first half 
of June, as in April, carefully conditioned it on a range of French 
concessions and promises. Thus, this second go- T round. of united, 
action was not designed, to make further negotiations impossible; rather, 
it was intended to provide an alternative which the French might utilize 
once negotiations were conceded by them to be useless. 

b. French Request U.S. Terms for Intervention 

The issue of united, action arose again in early May when 
Premier Laniel, in a talk with Ambassador Dillon, expressed, the view 
that the Chinese were the real masters of the negotiations at Geneva. 
This being the case, Laniel reasoned, the Chinese would, probably seek 
to drag out the talks over any number of peripheral issues while the 
Viet Minh pushed on for a military d.ecision. Readjustment of the 
French position in the field, with a major withdrawal on the order of 
15 battalions to the Tonkin Delta, was probable very soon, Laniel said, 
unless the U.S. decided, to give its active military cooperation. In 
the interim, the Premier requested, that a U.S. general be dispatched 
to Paris to assist in military planning. 1/ 

c. U.S. States Intervention Terms 

Laniel ! s views failed to make an impression in Washington. 
Although the Administration agreed, to dispatch a general (Trapnell), 
Dulles proposed., and Eisenhower accepted, a series of "indispensable" 
conditions to American involvement which would have to be met by Paris: 2/ 

(1) A formal request for U.S. involvement from France 

and the Associated States; similar invitations to other nations; 

(2) An immediate, favorable response to those invita- 
tions from Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, and New 
Zealand, as well as the assurance that Britain "would." 
either participate or be acquiescent"; 



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(3) Presentation of "some aspect of matter" to the 
UN by one of the involved Asian states; 

(k) A French guarantee of complete independence to 
the Associated States, "including unqualified option to 
withdraw from French Union at any time..."; 

(5) A French undertaking not to withdraw the 
Expeditionary Corps from Indochina during the period, of 
united action in ord.er to ensure that the U.S. would be 
providing air and sea, but not combat troop, support; 

(6) Franco-American agreement on the training of 
native forces and a new command structure during united, 
action (Admiral Radford was reported, to be thinking in 
terms of a French supreme command with a U.S. air command); 

(7) Full endorsement by the French cabinet and 
Assembly of these conditions to ensure a firm French 
commitment even in the event of a change in government 
in Paris. 

It was further agreed, that in the course of united, action, the U.S. 
would, pursue efforts to broaden the coalition and. to formalize it 
as a regional defense pact. 

d. Eisenhower Still Favors United. Action 

Eisenhower was still insistent on collective action, but 
recognized, that the British might not commit themselves initially and 
that the Australians, facing a general election later in May, could. * 
only give "evidence" of their willingness to participate. A second 
major problem was Indochinese ind.epend.ence. Dulles posed the American 
dilemma on this score: on the one hand, the U.S. had. to avoid, giving 
Asia reason to believe we were intervening on behalf of colonialism; 
on the other, the Associated. States lacked, the personnel and. leader- 
ship necessary to carrying on alone, "in a sense," said Dulles, "if 
the Associated States, were turned loose, it would, be like putting a 
baby in a cage of hungry lions. The baby would, rapidly be devoured." 
His solution was that the Associated States be granted, (evidently, 
orally) the right to withdraw from the French Union after passage of a 
suitable time period, perhaps five or ten years. A final point con- 
cerned Executive-Congressional relations once a French request, backed 
by Parliamentary assent, reached "Washington. The President felt he 
should, appear before a joint session of Congress and seek a Congressional 
resolution to use the armed, forces in Indochina. At Eisenhower's request, 
Dulles directed that State Department begin working up a first draft of 
such a Presidential message. 3/ 



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e. The French Reject Independence Options for Associated States 

The American response to Laniel 1 s requests set the stage 
for an extended series of discussions over the ensuing five weeks. 
In Paris , Dillon communicated the American conditions to Laniel, who 
accepted the conditions , but with important reservations. First, 
Laniel indicated his dismay at the U.S. insistence on the right of the 
Associated States to withdraw from the French Union. The Premier com- 
mented, that the French public could, never accept this condition inasmuch 
as the Associated. States had themselves never made it and, since even the 
Viet Minh envisioned joining the Union. Second, the obvious U.S. reluc- 
tance to go beyond air and. naval forces disturbed, the Premier. He 
requested that the U.S. provide, in addition, artillery forces and. token 
ground, troops. Moreover, he indicated pleasure that UK participation 
was no longer a prerequisite to American involvement. 

f . Laniel Presents Two Additional Questions to U.S . 

Laniel 1 s qualified, approval of the preconditions was accom- 
panied, by a request for a U.S. response to two other questions: (l) 
Could, the U.S. in some way guarantee the borders and. independence of 
Laos and Cambodia following a French withdrawal from those countries? 
(2) Could, the U.S. provide written assurance of prompt air intervention 
to meet a Chinese Communist air attack on French forces in the delta? kj 

g. The U.S. Replies • 

The American response to Laniel's demurrers and requests 
was for the most part negative. On the French-Associated. States 
relationship, which Ambassador Dillon had. commented was the chief 
barrier to a French request for intervention, 5/ Dulles replied, 
(through Dillon) that the U.S. might have some flexibility on the matter, 
but had to remain adamant on complete independence if we ever hoped, to 
gain Thai and Filipino support. Next, on the question of the extent of 
U.S. involvement, the U.S. was more amenable: we would, not exclude anti- 
aircraft "and. limited. U.S. ground, forces for protection of bases which 
might be used, by U.S. naval and air forces." As for Laniel's specific 
requests, Washington answered that it saw no way, in view of the military 
and. legal impracticalities, to guarantee the security of Laos and. Cambodia; 
the alternative was that Laos and. Cambodia join with Thailand, in seeking 
a UN Peace Observation Commission (POC) on their territories. On the 
possibility of Chinese MIG intervention, considered extremely remote by 
the Defense Department, the French were to be assured that a collective 
defense arrangement would include protection against that contingency. 6/ 

** • Other Concerned Western Nations are Kept Informed, 

During the U.S. -French give-and-take, the British were 
clearly being kept at arm's length, no longer considered essential to 
the beginning of a united, action. This irked. London considerably, 



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especially as the Washington-Paris exchanges were making headlines 
despite efforts to keep them under wraps. It was only because of 
the stories and. British annoyance that Dulles directed, that the 
British, Australian, and. New Zealand, ambassadors be informed, "in 
general terms" regarding U.S. -French talks, jj 

2. Agreement with France Appears Increasingly Unlikely 

a. U.S. Begins Contingency Planning 

Although the setting up of several U.S. preconditions to 
involvement and. the qualifications of the French reply by no means 
made intervention an immediate possibility, the U.S., apparently 
for the first time, moved, ahead, on contingency planning. The State 
Department's Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs took the lead, by producing 
a hypothetical timetable based, on the assumption of U.S. -French 
agreement in principle to the proposed, conditions by 21 May. 8/ 
FEA also outlined, a full slate of urgent priority studies to be under- 
taken by various Government agencies, including U.S. strategy under 
differing circumstances of Chinese involvement in the war. 9/ By 2k May, 
FEA had. forwarded a contingency study of the Operations Planning Board, 
which proposed., among other things, U.S. public and. private communica- 
tions to Peking to prevent, or at least reduce the effectiveness of, 
direct Chinese intervention. 10/ 



b . T hree Regional Pacts Considered. 

The initiation of planning for U.S. intervention extended, 
to more far-ranging discussions of the purposes, requirements, and 
make-up of a Southeast Asia collective defense organization. The frame- 
work of the discussions evidenced, the Government's intention that united, 
action only be undertaken after the Geneva conference had. reached a 
stalemate or, far less likely, a settlement. Three regional formulations 
were envisaged: the first would, be designed, for direct action, probably 
without British participation, either to defeat the Viet Minh or exclude 
them from gaining control of Indochina; the second., formed, after a 
settlement, would, comprise the present SEATO members and. functions, in 
particular actual assistance to the participating Asian states against 
external attack or "Communist insurrection"; the third, would, have a 
broad. Asian membership, with its function limited to social and. economic 
cooperation, ll/ 

c. JCS Point Out Key Planning Considerations 

An important input to contingency planning on intervention 
came from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 20 May, the JCS sent a 
memorandum to the Secretary of Defense entitled. "U.S. Military Partici- 
pation in Indochina." 12/ In the paper, the Chiefs requested, formu- 
lation of a Defense Department position on the size of any U.S. 
contributions and. the nature of the command, structure once united 
action began. They noted the "limited availability of U.S. forces 



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for military action in Indochina" and the "current numerical advantage 
of the French Union forces over the enemy, i.e., approximately 5 to 3* 
Pointing out the disadvantages of either stationing large numbers of 
U.S. troops in Indochina or of basing U.S. aircraft on Indochina's 
limited facilities, the Chiefs considered "the current greatest need" 
to be an expanded, intensified training program for indigenous troops. 
The JCS observed, moreover, that they were guided, in their comments 
by the likely reaction of the CPR to U.S. involvement, as well as by 
the prescription: "Atomic weapons will be used whenever it is to our 
military advantage." 

d. JCS Urge Limited U.S. Commitment 

In view of these problems and prospects, the JCS urged 
the limitation of U.S. involvement to strategic planning and the train- 
ing of indigenous forces through an increase in MAAG to 2250 men. 
Our force commitment should be limited, they thought, primarily to 
air-naval support directed from outside Indochina; even here, the 
Chiefs cautioned against making a "substantial" air force commitment. 
The Chiefs were also mindful of the Chinese. Since Viet Minh supplies 
came mainly from China, "the destruction or neutralization of those 
outside sources supporting the Viet Minh would materially reduce the 
French military problems in Indochina." The Chiefs were clearly tak- 
ing the position that any major U.S. force commitment in .the Far East 
should be reserved for a war against the Chinese. Recognizing the 
limitations of the U.S. defense establishment for large-scale involve- 
ment in so-called "brush-fire" wars, the Chiefs were extremely hesitant, 
as had consistently been the case, to favor action along the periphery 
of China when the strategic advantages of U.S. power lay in decisive 
blows against the major enemy. Thus, the JCS closed, their memorandum 
with the admonition that air-naval commitments beyond, those specified 

"...will involve maldeployment of forces and reduce - * 
readiness to meet probable Chinese Communist reaction 
elsewhere in the Far East. From the point of view of the 
United. States, with reference to the Far East as a whole, 
Indochina is devoid, of decisive military objectives and 
I . the allocation of more than token U.S. armed, forces to 

that area would be a serious diversion of limited. U.S. 
capabilities." 13/ 

e. JCS Call for Meeting of Interested. Western Powers 

The JCS evidently also d.ecid.ed. that it would be a good 
idea to gather together military representatives of the U.S., France, 
the UK, Australia, and. New Zealand. At first, the Chiefs suggested, 
the downgrading of the representatives to below chief -of-staff level; 
but apparently on the strong protest of Under Secretary Smith at 
Geneva, Ik/ and of the British too, 15/ the Chiefs acquiesced, in 
a meeting at chief -of -staff level. But prior to the meeting, which 
! began the first week of June, important developments occurred, in the 

U.S. -France go- 'round on intervention. 

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f. U.S. Again Requests Independence for Associated States 

The ticklish problem of bringing France to concede the 
vitalness of granting full independence to the Associated States occupied 
center stage once more. On 27 May, the State Department, acknowledging 
France's hesitancy to go too far on this score, still insisted, on cer- 
tain "minimum measures," the most important of which was that France 
announce, during or immediately after the signing of the latest draft 
treaties, 16/ that she would, willingly withdraw all her forces from 
Indochina, unless invited, by the governments of the Associated States 
to maintain them or to establish ba,ses. The U.S., the Department added., 
would, be prepared, to make a similar declaration if it committed, forces. 
Beyond that step, the French were also asked, to permit Indochinese 
participation in the programming of economic aid, and their direct 
receipt of all military aid; to find, ways to broaden participation, 
of the Vietnamese defense ministry and armed forces in national de- 
fence; and. to push for the establishment of "representative and au- 
thentic nationalist governments" at the earliest possible date. YjJ 

g. French Response is Encouraging 

The French responded, with surprising a.ffirmativeness to 
these proposals. Dillon was able to report from Paris on 29 May, 
following a conversation with Laniel, that the two perhaps "had. now 
reached, accord in principle on political side." Laniel, he reported, 
urged immediate military talks to complete arrangements on training of ■ 
the Vietnamese, a new command structure, and. war plans. 18/ Inas- 
much as. Ely and. T Daniel in Indochina had reached general agreements 
on American assumption of responsibility for training the VNA, the 
way was apparently cleared for bilateral military talks in Washington 
to take place simultaneously with, and therefore disguised by, the 
five-power staff negotiations. 19/ 

h. Question of Chinese Air Attack Again Arises 

Dillon's optimism was cut short rather quickly. When he 
reported on talks with Schumann, Dillon had added Schumann's and. Pleven's 
concern about Chinese air intervention, which they felt would, be so 
damaging as to warrant a deterrent action in the form of a Presidential 
request to the Congress for discretionary authority to defend, the Delta 
in case of CCAF attack. The French wanted, a virtually instantaneous 
U.S. response, which would, be assured, by a Presidential request before, 
rather than after, overt Chinese aerial intervention. 20/ The State 
Department's retort was that the French first had. to satisfy the pre- 
viously reported, conditions before any such move by the President could 
be considered. 

i. Dillon Outlines French Position 

Dillon was no less disappointed, by Washington's reply 
than the French. He cabled back that there apparently was an "ex- 
tremely serious misunderstanding between U.S. and. French": 2l/ 



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"French draw sharp distinction between (l) US 
intervention in present circumstances with Viet Minh 
bolstered, by Chinese Communist materiel, technicians 
and. possibly scattered, troops and (2) US reaction 
against full-scale air attack mounted from Communist 
Chinese bases." 

Dillon said that, for the French, the U.S. preconditions applied in the 
first case but not the second., wherein only Congressional authoriza- 
tion was understood to stand in the way of direct U.S. action. Ely, 
the Ambassador reported, had all along believed, he had Radford's 
personal assurance of an American reaction to Chinese air attack in 
the Delta. Now, the French wanted, to know if they could count on 
instant U.S. interdiction of a CCAF strike. The Ambassador closed. ' 
by reminding the Department of the incalculable harm to NATO, to the 
whole U.S. position in Western Europe, and. to the U.S. position against 
communist worldwide strategy if a Chinese attack were not met. 22/ 

j • U.S. Repeats Initial Reply 

Despite Dillon's protestations, the Department stuck by 
its initial position of May 15, namely, that Chinese air attack was 
unlikely and. that the U.S. would, meet that problem when it arose. 23/ 
Clearly, the U.S. was unwilling to make any advance commitments which 
the French could, seize upon for political advantage without having to 
give a quid, pro quo in their Indochina policy. Eisenhower affirmed 
this view and went beyond, it: the conditions for united action, he 
said, applied equally to Chinese direct and indirect involvement in 
Indochina. The U.S. would, make no unilateral commitment against any 
contingency, including overt, unprovoked Chinese aggression, without 
firm broad allied support. 2k/ 

k. Other Obstacles to U.S. -French Accord. 

There were other obstacles to U.S. -French agreement, as 
brought into the open with a memorandum to the President from Foreign 
Minister Bidault on June 1. 25/ One was American insistence on 
French Assembly approval of a government request for U.S. intervention. 
The French cabinet considered that to present a program of Allied, 
involvement to the Assembly except under the circumstance of "a complete 
failure of the Geneva Conference" attributable to the communists "would 
be literally to wish to overthrow the /French/ Government." A second, 
area of continuing disagreement concerned, the maintenance of French 
forces in the field, and the nature of a U.S. commitment. The French 
held that the U.S. could, bypass Congress by committing perhaps one 
division of Marines without a declaration of war. 26/ Although 
assured that the Marines, being part of the Navy, would be included 
in a U.S. air-naval commitment, the French wanted, much more. 



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1. The Continuing Issue of Independence for Associated States 

A final, but by no means negligible , French objection to 
the U.S. proposals was the independence issue. Far from having been 
settled, as Dillon supposed, the French were still unhappy about 
American pressure for concessions even after the State Department's 
May 27 revisions. The French were particularly disturbed (as Bidault 
implied) at the notion that the Associated States could leave the Union 
at any time, even while French fighting men were in the field on Indo- 
china's behalf. France was perfectly willing, Bidault remarked, to 
sign new treaties of association with the three Indochinese States, to 
allow them a larger voice in defense matters, and to work with them 
toward formation of truly national governments; but, to judge from 
his commentary, Paris would not go the whole route by committing itself 
in advance to Indochina's full freedom of action. And while this and. 
other issues remained unresolved., as Dulles observed on June h, Laniel's 
reported belief that the U.S. and France were politically agreed was, 
to Washington, a "serious overstatement." 27/ 

3. United Action Option Withdrawn 

a • Issues Begin to Lose Relevance in a Changing War 



- 



Early in June, the unsettled, issues separating the U.S. 
from France began to lose their relevance to the war. Even if they 
could be resolved, it was questionable whether U.S. involvement could 
any longer be useful or decisive. Thus, on the matter of training the 
VNA, we were no longer certain that time would, permit our training 
methods to take effect even if the French promptly removed, themselves 
from responsibility in that area. State Department opinion now held, 
that the Vietnam situation had deteriorated, "to point where any com- 
mitment at this time to send over U.S. instructors in near future might 
expose us to. being faced with situation in which it would be contrary 
to our interests to have to fulfill such commitment. Our position 
accordingly is that we do not wish to consider U.S. training mission or 
program separately from over-all operational plan on assumption condi- 
tions fulfilled, for U.S. participation war Indochina." 28/ 

Simply put, the Department had. determined that the grave 
but still retrievable military situation prevailing at the time united, 
action was proposed and pursued, had,' in June, altered, radically. 
Morale of the Franco-Vietnamese forces had dropped, sharply, the whole 
Tonkin Delta was endangered., and. the political situation in Saigon was 
dangerously unstable. 29/ Faced with this uniformly black picture, 
the Administration moved to withdraw united, action from consideration 
by the French. 

b. Dulles Considers Withdrawing Option of United Action 

By mid- June, American diplomacy was in an unenviable 
position. At Geneva, very little progress had been made of a kind 



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that could lead, any of the Allies to expect a satisfactory outcome. 
Yet, the alternative which the U.S. had. kept open no longer seemed 
viable either. As Dulles told. Smith, any "final agreement" with the 
French would, be "quite impossible," for Paris was moving farther than 
ever from a determination that united, action was necessary. "They 
want, and. in effect have, an option on our intervention," Dulles wrote, 
"but they do not want to exercise it and the date of expiry of our 
option is fast running out." 30/ From Paris, in fact, Ambassador 
Dillon urged the Secretary that "the time limit be now" on U.S. inter- 
vention." 3l/ And. Dulles was fast concluding that Dillon was correct. 

c. Dulles Withdraws Option 

In view of France's feeling that, because of strong 
Assembly pressure for a settlement, no request could, be mad.e of the 
U.S. until every effort to reach agreement at Geneva had. been exhausted, 32, 
Dulles in effect d.ecid.ed on 15 June that united action was no longer 
tenable. In a conversation with Bonnet, in which the Ambassador read 
a message from Bidault which indicated that the French no longer con- 
sidered the U.S. bound, to intervention on satisfaction of the seven 
conditions, the Secretary again put forth the difficulty of the 
American position. He stated, that the U.S. stood, willing to respond. 
to a French request under the conditions of 11 May, but that time 
and. circumstance might make future U.S. intervention "impracticable 
or so burdensome as to be out of .proportion to the results obtainable." . 
While this standpoint would be unsatisfactory to Bidault, especially 
in his dealings with the communists at Geneva, Dulles "could, not conceive 
that it would be expected, that the U.S. would, give a third, power the 
option to put it into war at times and. under conditions wholly of the 
other's choosing." 33/ United action was, then, not removed from con- 
sideration at a later date; but it was shelved, and it never appeared. . 
again in the form and with the purpose originally proposed. 

d. U.S. Turns to Studies with U.K. on Intervention 

Daring this period, of a gradual "brea,k" with France on 
united, action, the alternative for the United. States became a collec- 
tive defense arrangement with British participation. Once again, U.S. 
hopes shifted, to London, particularly when Eden, on 9 June, told Smith 
of his extreme pessimism over the course of the negotiations." Smith 
drew from the conversation the strong impression that Eden believed 
negotiations to have failed, and would, now follow the U.S. lead on a 
coalition to guarantee Cambodia and. Laos "under umbrella of some UN 
action" (Smith 1 s words). Whether the U.S. and. U.K. would, act prior 
to or after a likely settlement at Geneva by the desperate French 
became the major area of inquiry. 3V 

e. United Action Option Has Come Full Cycle 

The rebirth and. demise of united, action was a rare case 
of history repeated, almost immediately after it had. been made. The 

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• 

United. States., having failed to interest Britain in united action prior 
to the start of the Geneva Conference , determined to plunge ahead with- 
out British participation as a sine qua non . But, the caveat to the 
French grew in importance. Conditions which had been given the French 
before the fall of Dien Bien Phu were now augmented, most importantly 
by a greater detailing of the process the French government would have 
to go through before the U.S. would consider intervention. 

k. French Use Threat of U.S. Intervention at Geneva 

a. French Do Not Intend to Request U.S. Involvemen t 

Even while the French pondered the conditions, urged their 
refinement and redefinition to suit French policies, and insisted in 
the end. that they saw no political obstacles separating the U.S. and 
r - France, Washington foresaw that the French were very unlikely to for- 
! ward a request for U.S. involvement. Having learned something from 
1 - the futile diplomatic bargaining in April, Department of State repre- 
sentatives in Paris and Washington saw that what the French wanted was 
[ not the military but the political benefits of U.S. involvement; and. 
■ L they thought they could get them by bringing into the open the fact 
! that the U.S. and. France were negotiating active American participation 

.-.- in the fighting. Thus, Dillon correctly assessed, in mid-May that French 
I inquiries about U.S. conditions for intervention represented a "wish to 

use possibility of our intervention primarily to strengthen their hand 
at Geneva." 35/ Dillon's sensitivity to the French position was proven 
accurate by Bidault's memorandum to the President: France would, in 
reality, only call on the United. States if an "honorable" settlement 
could, clearly not be obtained at Geneva, for only und.er that circum- 
stance could the National Assembly be persuaded that the Laniel govern- 
; ment had done everything possible to achieve peace. 

b. French Bring Out Possible U.S. United Action as a Lever 
in Bargaining 

Our recognition of the game the French were playing did not 
keep us from posing intervention as an alternative for them; but by 
adhering tenaciously to the seven conditions, the U.S. ruled, out either 
precipitous American action or an open-ended commitment to be used, or 
rejected by Paris. "We cannot grant French an indefinite option on us 
without regard to intervening deterioration" of the military situation, 
Dulles wrote 8 June. 36/ As much as the Administration wanted, to avoid 
a sell-out at Geneva, it was aware that events in Indochina might pre- 
clude effective action even if the French suddenly decided they wanted 
U.S. support. 

c. United. Action is an Alternative But Not a Subverting Force 

The United/ States, then, did not propose united action 
with the intention of subverting the Conference. Instead., united, action 
was offered, as a palliative if the Conference should, become an exercise 

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in futility for the Western side. Washington clearly hoped that France 
would find it could not gain an "honorable settlement" through talks 
with the Viet Minh, and that the British could admit to having been 
unrealistic in postponing a commitment to united action pending the 
outcome of talks. In shorty the U.S. predicted and welcomed the 
Conference's "subversion" through communist intransigence; yet when, 
in mid- June, the Conference began to break for what would, be a lengthy 
recess, Washington had to conclude that united action was no longer 
appropriate to military circumstances in Indochina, nor feasible given 
U.S. insistence on intervention only under conditions conducive to a 
decisive success. By the end of June, therefore, the pattern of U.S. 
diplomacy shifted — from united action in Indochina to collective 
defense in Southeast Asia, and from disenchantment with the Geneva 
Conference to attempts to influence a settlement at least basically 
in keeping with our interests. 






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III. A. 2. FOOTNOTES 

1. Dillon tel. from Paris No. U287 to Dalles, May 10, I95U (TOP SECRET). 

2. In forwarding these conditions to the Embassy for transmittal to 
the French, Dalles noted that a prompt, favorable decision would 
be premature inasmuch as it might internationalize the war in a way 
offensive to the British, leaving the French with the difficult 
choice of internationalization or capitulation. Dulles "eyes only 
tel. to Paris NIACT 1*023, May 11, 195 1 )- (TOP SECRET). The conditions 
are also cited in Jean Lacouture and Philippe Devillers, La fin 
& f une guerre: Indochine 195^ (Paris: Editions du Seuil, i960 ) , 
pp. 176-77. 

3. Dulles' words are as paraphrased. In a State Department Memorandum 
of Conversation, May 11, 195^> of a White House conference May 10 
attended by the President, Dulles, Wilson, Deputy Defense Secretary 
Anderson, Radford, Robert Bowie, and Douglas MacArthur II (TOP SECRET). 

k. Dillon "eyes only" from Paris to the Und.er Secretary (for Dulles) 
No. 4383, May lk, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

5. Dillon commented: "I am certain that unless we can find some way 
to get around, this requirement /that the Vietnamese have the option 
of leaving the French Union/, French will never ask for outside 
assistance." In ibid . 

Dillon proposed that the real objection among Asians to the 
position of the Associated States rested not on the "purely juridical" 
problem of the right to leave the Union, but on Indochina's lack of 
powerful national armies. The Ambassador recommended that American 
training and equipping of the Vietnamese National Army (VNA), coupled 
with a French statement of intention to withdraw the Expeditionary 
Corps after the establishment of peace and a national army, would 
significantly dampen Asian antagonism to the Bao Dai regime. (Dillon 
from Paris tel. NIACT kk02 to Dulles, May 17, I95J+, TOP SECRET). 
Why Dillon assumed. Asians would significantly change their attitude 
toward French Indochina when, even with an American takeover of the 
■ training and equipping of the NVA, French forces would still be on 
Vietnamese territory for a lengthy period is not known. 

6. Dalles "eyes only" to Paris (Dillon) tel. NIACT k09k y May 15, 195 1 ! 
(TOP SECRET). 

7. Dulles "eyes only" to Smith at Geneva tel. TEDUL 75, and to Dillon 
at Paris No. lflOU, May 17, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

8. FEA memorandum, "Procedural Steps for Intervention in Indochina," 
undated, (entered into FE files May 17, 195*0 (TOP SECRET). 

9. FEA, Annex on "Studies to be Undertaken Immediately within United. 
States Government," attached to ibid . , (TOP SECRET). 

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10. OCB, Studies with Respect to Possible U.S. Action Regarding Indo - 
china , Tab E, "Plan for Political Warfare in Regard to Communist 
; China intervention in Indochina," undated, in enclosure to memorandum 

from E. F. Drumright to Robert Murphy, May 2k, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

■; 11. This conceptualization stemmed from discussions of the NSC Planning 

Board, and. was part of a broader contingency study program. See 
the Board's statement in an enclosure to a memorandum for Robert 
Bowie (the Board 7 s chairman), May 19, 195*4 (TOP SECRET). 

12. Memorandum from JCS to the Secretary of Defense, May 20, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

I 13. These conclusions were subsequently confirmed, when, at the direction 

of General Ridgway, a technical team of seven officers representing 
the Engineer, Transportation, and Signal Corps went to Indochina 
on a covert mission to determine military and. military-related 
resources available there in the event U.S. intervention was imple- 
. mented. The team spent the period. May 31-June 22 in the field.* 

Their conclusions were, in general, that Indochina was devoid of 
the logistical, geographic, and. related resources necessary to 
a substantial American ground, effort such as Ridgway felt would, 
be required, for a success. The group's findings are in a report 
from Col. David W. Heiman, its leader, to Ridgway, July 12, 195^ 
(CONFIDENTIAL). 

The Chiefs 1 conclusions were disputed, however, by Drumright 
(in a memorandum to MacArthur, May 2k, 1954 , TOP SECRET). He 
argued that if, as everyone agreed, Indochina was vital to Ameri- 
can security, the U.S. should not consider more than a token 
ground, troop commitment to be a serious diversion of our capabili- 
ties. "While not arguing for a substantial troop commitment, 
Drumright suggested, that the U.S. plan for that eventuality rather 
than count on defense with atomic weapons or non-nuclear strikes 
on Chinese territory. Somehow, however, Drumright ! s concern about 
the Chinese did. not extend to the cons id.erat ion that a massive 
U.S. troop commitment, which he stated, elsewhere in the memoran- 
dum might prove necessary should token forces fail to do the 
job, risked, bringing on the Chinese. 

Ik. Smith from Geneva v eyes only" tel. DULTE 100 to Dulles, May 23, 195^ 

(TOP secret). 

15. Dulles to Smith at Geneva tel. TEDUL 116, May 2k, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

16. On April 28 French and. Vietnamese representatives in Paris ini- 
tialled separate treaties of ind.epend.ence and. association. The 
treaties did. not take effect, however, until June k, when the 
French National Assembly finally approved, the documents. 






17. Dulles tel. to American Embassy - Paris No. ^272, May 26, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). See also Lacouture and. Devillers, p. 192. 

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18. Dillon priority telegram from Paris No. ^596, May 29, 195^ (TOP 
SECRET), See also Smith from Geneva SECTO 331, May 28, 1954 
(TOP SECRET) and. Dillon from Paris (reporting talks with Schumann) 
No. 4580, May 28, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

19. McClintock from Saigon No. 2k68 to Dalles, May 19, I95U (SECRET); 
Dillon from Paris "eyes only" for Dulles, Smith, and. McClintock 
No. ^566, May 27, I95U (TOP SECRET), reporting Trapnell-Ely 
talks. Ely and. 0* Daniel were still at odds, Dillon noted., over 
structural changes in the NVA, war strategy, and. the role of U.S. 
advisors. ■ 

20. Ibid . ; also, Dillon priority telegram from Paris No. U612, May 31, 
1955 (TOP SECRET). 

21. Murphy (acting Secretary) to American Embassy - Paris N1ACT V325, 
May 29, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

22. Dillon from Paris No. U607, May 30, I95U (TOP SECRET). See also 
Dillon from Paris No. ^625, June 1, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

23. Murphy to American Embassy - Paris NIACT U332, May 31, I95U (TOP 
SECRET). 

2k. Eisenhower's unwavering attitud.e toward action in Asia only in 

concert with allies put him at odds with Dulles, who was prepared. 
to act unilaterally at least in circumstances of overt aggression. 

: "When the issue of possible CPR air intervention came before the 

President, he is reported, to have reacted sharply. Evidently 
supposing that conflict in the air would mean a Sino-U.S. wa.r, 

• the President said the United. States would, not intervene in China 

on any basis except united action. He would not be responsible 
for going into China alone unless a joint Congressional resolu- 
tion ord.ered. him to do so. The United. States should, in no event 
undertake alone to support French colonialism. Unilateral action 
by the United States in cases of this kind, would. d.estroy us. 
If we intervened- alone in this case, we would, be expected, to inter- 
vene alone in other parts of the world. He made very plain that 
the need, for united, action as a condition of U.S. intervention 
was not related, merely to the regional grouping for the defense of 
Southeast Asia but was also a necessity for U.S. intervention in 
response to Chinese Communist overt aggression. 

Yet,, when reminded, by his Special Assistant, Robert Cutler, 
of NSC 5 i l-05 l s position that U.S. unilateral action could, not be 
ruled, out in the event of overt Chinese aggression against Thailand, 
Burma, or Malaya, and of Dulles' September 2, I953 warning to 
China of a direct U.S. response to Chinese aggression in Indochina, 
the President stated, that no difference existed, between himself 
and Dulles. (Memorandum of conversation between Eisenhower and 
Cutler, June 1, 195^, TOP SECRET.), 

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i ' . 

1 The next day, June 2, the President directly confronted Dulles 

on this matter. Dulles distinguished between U.S. involvement in 
a collective grouping, which could only come about on satisfaction 
of the preconditions, and action in response to overt Chinese 
aggression. The Secretary 1 s view was that in the latter case, the 
U.S. should, act unilaterally upon authorization by Congress, citing 
prior statements by himself and the President that had warned China 
of the consequences of overt aggression. The President responded, 
according to Cutler's report, that direct Chinese aggression would, 
force him to go all the way with naval and. air power (including 
"new weapons") directed at air bases and. ports in mainland China. He 
would therefore have to have much more than Congressional authoriza- 
tion in view of the likely public reaction to a Presidential request 
of Congress for war acts against China. Even though the Thais, 
Filipinos, French, and Indochinese would likely support such action, 
other countries, such as Australia, had to be brought along as well. 
The President, in short, was as concerned about the politics as the 
logic of getting involved in a conflict with China. (Memorandum 
of conference in the President f s office, June 2, 1954, involving the 
President, Dulles, Anderson, Radford, MacArthux, and. Cutler, TOP 
SECRET.) At its 200th meeting on 3 June, the NSC received, considered, 
and agreed, upon the President's views. 

| 

Following this important Presidential determination, Dulles called 
in the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors on the question of 
overt Chinese aggression in Southeast Asia. He explained that direct 
Chinese action was unlikely, but that the French had been pressing 
for assurance of a U.S. reply to Chinese air intervention in the delta. 
He reported, the U.S. position that Chinese aggression required a collec- 
< tive response and a UN appeal, and distinguished this procedure from the 

! united, action concept of March 29. A brief memorandum was suggested, by 

the Secretary by which the ANZUS powers would, pledge, in the event of 
overt CPR aggression, to request approval of their parliaments for the 
use of armed, forces, support a UN appeal by the attacked, party, and 
seek to persuade other free nations to join in acting against China. 
The ambassadors, however, merely asked questions and, apparently, the 
proposed memorandum was not agreed upon by any of the Allies during 
the course of the Geneva Conference. See Dulles priority tel. to 
American Embassy - Canberra No. 238, June 5, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

25. Memorandum from Bidault to Eisenhower, Geneva, June 1, 195^ (TOP 
SECRET). See also Smith from Geneva tel. DULTE I56, June 6, 195^ 

(TOP secret). 

26. Dillon tel. to Dulles No. Vf66, June 9, 195^ (TOP SECRET). Also, 
Dulles tel. to American Embassy - Paris No. 1*286, May 27, 195^ (TOP 
SECRET); here, the American position was that French forces would 
be maintained, during united action except for normal troop rotation, 
replacement by native forces as the military situation permits, and 
consultation with allies engaged in the united action. 



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1 27. Dalles to American Embassy - Paris tel. No. kk21, June k 9 195^ 

(TOP SECRET). 

28. Murphy (acting Secretary) "eyes only" tel. to American Embassy - 
Paris (Dillon), No. I+5O8, June 10, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

29. Dulles "eyes only" priority to American Embassy - Paris No. ^579> 
June Ik, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

30. Dulles priority to American Consul - Geneva (Smith) TEDUL 197> 
June lk 9 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

31. Dillon "eyes only" from Paris to Dulles No. k8kl, June Ik, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

32. See, e.g . , Schumann's remarks to Dillon in the latter 1 s cable from 
Paris No. Vf66, June 9, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

33. Dulles to American Consul - Geneva (Smith) TEDUL 208, June 16, 195^ 

(TOP secret). 

3I+. Smith "eyes only" for the Secretary from Geneva DULTE 164, June 9? 
195^ (TOP SECRET). 

35. Dillon priority telegram to Dulles No. 4424, May 18, 1954. Cf. 
Dulles 1 comment of June 7 in a cable to Geneva (priority TEDUL l69> 
TOP SECRET): "I have long felt and. still feel that the French are ' 
not treating our proposal seriously but toying with it just enough 
to use it as a talking point at Geneva." 

36. Dalles priority tel. to American Consul - Geneva TEDUL 175, June 8, 
1954 (TOP SECRET). 



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III. A. 3- 

THE U.S. NEGOTIATING POSITION DURING THE CONFERENCE 

TABLE OF CONTENTS and. OUTLINE 



Page 
1. Threat of United. Action Influences Negotiations A~3^ 

a. United. Action is Allowed, to Remain a 

Public Option A-3 1 * 

b. France and. U.K. Exploit U.S. Threat k-'ih 

c . Eden Viewed, as Moderating U.S. Threat A-3^ 



. 2. U.S. Pushes for a Regional Pact A-35 

a. Communists Appear Intransigent ' A-35 

b. French Increasingly Interested, in 
Partition A-35 

c. Two New Factors Enhance Partition A-35 

d. Communist Concessions' Show More Promise A-36 

e. U.S. Remains Pessimistic..... A-36 



3. U.S. Attempts to Unify Western Diplomatic Position A-36 

a. French Request Statements of U.S. and. 

U.K. Support A-36 

b. U.S. and U.K. Issue Joint Statement A-37 

" <? 

c. U.S. and. U.K. Formulate "Seven Points 

Agreement • A-37 

d. British Adherence to Seven Points 

Remains Doubtful A-38 

# 

e. French Generally Concur with Seven 

Points A-38 



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k. U.S. Representation at Geneva Influences Favorable 

Outcome A-39 

a. French Request High-Level U.S. 

Representation . A-39 

b. Dulles Objects to High-Level U.S. 

Representative A-39 

c . Dulles Lists Ob j ections A-^+0 

d. Dulles and Mendes -France Agree on the 

Seven Points A-^-0 

e. France Continues Insistence on High-Level 

U.S. Representation A-^l 

f . The U.S. Reconsiders French Request A-4l 



g. Bedell Smith Instructed Not to Commit 

the U.S A-^l 

h. Smith 1 s Presence Reinforces Western 

Position A-^2 



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III. A. 3. THE U.S. NEGOTIATING POSITION DURING THE CONFERENCE 

■ ,.... ... ... . ■ > i i ....I.....!..,., — ■ .■.».. 

1.. Threat of United Action Influences Negotiations 

a * United Action is Allowed to Remain a Public Option 

' Between mid-June and the end of the Conference on 21 July, 

U.S. diplomacy worked at unifying the Western alliance behind a Southeast 
Asia defense pact and at coalescing a united Western diplomatic front at 
Geneva so as to obtain the best possible settlement. In this process, 
the Western alliance gradually cohered. The result was that Anglo-French 
cooperation was gained not only for the concept of a regional security 
pact, but also for a firm negotiating position vis-a-vis the communists. 
Additionally, although the U.S. private position was, by late June, to 
abide by a settlement which partitioned Vietnam and provided for "the 
ultimate reunification of Vietnam by peaceful means" (under the U.S.- 
UoK. seven-point memorandum of 29 June, our public posture at the Conference 
left unclear to the communists just what terms would in fact be acceptable 
to us. For our part, united action was a dead issue by mid- June; but the 
communist negotiators could not have known this. As a result, they may 
well have been influenced toward a settlement by the belief that further 
prolongation of talks would only reinforce Western unity, perhaps coalesce 
a united response in Indochina previously unobtainable by the U.S., and 
Very likely bring the three Indochinese states into the proposed American 
security treaty. 

b. France and U.K. Exploit U.S. Threat 

Both the French and the British negotiators made excellent 
use of America's ambivalent status. The Chief French delegate, Jean 
Chauvel, told a Russian delegate, Kuznetsov, for instance, that France's 
proposed division of Vietnam at the l8th parallel would probably be more 
acceptable to the other conferees than the unreasonable Viet Minh demand 
for the 13th parallel. Chauvel added that a settlement along the French 
line would thereby avert the risk of an internationalization of the 
conflict, l/ Eden also used the implied threat of U.S. involvement. 
During late May, he warned Chou "again" of the dangers inherent in the 
Indochina situation, which could lead to unpredictable and serious results. 
When Chou said he was counting on Britain to prevent this from happening, 
the Foreign Secretary replied Chou was mistaken, since Britain would 
stand by the U.S. in a showdown. 2/ And Bidault and Smith, in mid-June, 
agreed that in view of genuine Sino -Soviet desire to keep the Conference 
going, Chinese concern' over U.S. bases in Laos and Cambodia should not 
be dispelled. 3/ ' 

c. Eden Viewed as Moderating U.S. Threat 

The British seem to have played a particularly vital role 
in exploiting ambiguous American intentions for diplomatic gain. At the 
Conference, Eden was in close contact with Molotov and Chou, and evidently 






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earned their confidence and respect. He was clearly viewed as a moderating 
element who could be counted on (as Chou put it) to influence the U.S. 
away from rash actions such as might subvert the Conference. Eden T s 
conduct, therefore, served as a barometer to the Communists of the pros- 
pects for Western agreement to a settlement. When the British agreed to 
participate in five -power military staff talks in Washington (3-9 June), 
L and when Eden and Churchill flew to Washington in late June for talks 

with Dulles and Eisenhower, the communists may have believed that the 
U.K. was undergoing some kind of reassessment of its attitude toward U.S. 
proposals for a Southeast Asia coalition. The implicit warning of U.K. 
participation in a "united action" approach which it had previously 
rebuffed, whether or not the actual intention of the British leaders, 
could not have been missed in Moscow and Peking. 

2. U.S. Pushes for a Regional Pact 



>■»»»' ■ . >■ 



a. Communists Appear Intransigent 

By mid-June there seemed to be little reason to expect that 
the Geneva Conference, even if it reconvened in July, would see any 
significant breakthroughs from the communist side. Inasmuch as the 
French had decided, under a new government committed to a settlement by 
20 July, to continue their "underground" military discussions with the 
Viet Minh, U.S. diplomatic efforts concentrated on pushing the British 
to agree to a treaty system for Southeast Asia that would, in effect, 
guarantee the security of those areas left in non-communist hands fol- 
lowing a settlement. On ik June, Dulles observed that events at Geneva 
apparently had "been such as to satisfy the British insistence that they 
did not want to discuss collective action until either Geneva was over 
or at least the results of Geneva were known." Dulles assumed that the 
departure of Eden was "evidence that there was no adequate reason for 
further delaying collective talks on Southeast Asia defense." k/ 

b. French Increasingly Interested in Partition 

» ■ ■ ... . .ii ■ ■ » ■ 1 - - » ■ — T . . . ... 

While plans were being laid to press ahead with a regional 
coalition, important developments occurred at the Conference. Partition, 
which the communist side had introduced in late May as a compromise 
formula, was being given serious attention by the French. Informed of 
this by Smith, Dulles reiterated the- view that the U.S. could not possibly 
associate itself with a sell-out of the Delta any more than we could be 
expected (as Jean Chauvel had urged) to "sell" partition to the non- 
communist Vietnamese. 5/ 

c. Two New Factors Enhance Partition 
— --•»•'»'• ...... — -» — - - - - 

Two qualifications to the partition concept cropped up in 
the same period. A five-power military staff conference in Washington 
(U.S., U.K., France , Australia, and New Zealand) had ended 9 June with 



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a report that considered the Thakhek-Dong Hoi line (midway between the 
17th and l8th parallels) defensible in the event Vietnam were parti- 
tioned. 6/ Moreover , Chauvel had told U. Alexis Johnson, then a member 
of the American delegation, that French flirtation with the idea of one 
or more enclaves for each side in the northern and southern zones of 
divided Vietnam had been abandoned. Chauvel indicated his government 
had decided it would rather give up Haiphong than accept a Viet Minh 
enclave in the south if the choice came to that. 7/ The conference 
report and the Paris change of heart on the enclave concept had the 
effect of convincing some that if partition were adopted, it could pro- 
vide for a solid, militarily defensible South Vietnam. 

d. Communist Concessions Show More Promise 

In another area, the communists had conceded -- with Chou 
En-lai T s proposal at a restricted Conference session of l6 June — that 
Laos and Cambodia were problems distinct from that in Vietnam. And in a 
conversation with Smith, Molotov added his conviction that Pham Van Dong 
already had evidenced his willingness to withdraw Viet Minh "volunteers" 
from Laos and Cambodia. 8/ But, here as with partition, communist 
initiatives only satisfied in small part the American conception of 
acceptable terms. Until regular Viet Minh forces were entirely removed 
from Laos and Cambodia, until their puppet Free Khmer and Pathet Lao 
I elements were disarmed or withdrawn, and until the right of the royal 

governments to seek outside support for self-defense was confirmed, 
the U.S. saw little progress in Chou ! s statement. 

e. U.S. Remains Pessimis tic 

The gloom in American circles thickened considerably in 
late June. Continued irresolution at the # conference table, together 
with the strong feeling in Washington that the French delegation, now 
responsible to Premier Mendes-France (as of 18 June), would conclude a 
settlement as soon as the Conference reconvened, led Dulles to caution 
Smith against becoming involved in committee work (as the French pro- 
posed) that would appear to link the U.S. to any final decisions. "Our 
thinking at present," Dulles cabled Smith on 2k June, "is that our role 
at Geneva should soon be restricted to that of observer . ..." 9/ 

3. U.S. Attempts to Unify Western Diplomatic Position 

■ »»■»■■■■. r~ . .. 1, t . ■»■!■■«'» .■■«iii ii. ■»!■»■» «... 

a. French Request Statements of U.S. and U.K. Support 
. ■ ■ . 1 — .. ....... , — . — . . . , . — . ... j*- , x . . . 

While the U.S. wanted to cut back on its involvement in the 
Conference proceedings, the French hoped to obtain, as previously, suffi- 
cient U.S. support to bolster their negotiating position in the face of 
communist pressure. Thus, on 26 June, Henri Bonnet delivered an aide- 
memoire from his government to Dalles and Eden, noting the difficulties 



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of the French position. The French "wanted to "assure the State of Viet- 
nam a territory as solid as possible," but the Viet Minh were unlikely 
to make concessions in the Tonkin Delta, and the Vietnamese in Saigon 
were likely to object violently to a partition arrangement. The French 
government, therefore } hoped that the U.S. could find a way to assist it 
in both directions: first, the U.S. and U.K. might issue a declaration 
following their upcoming talks in Washington that would "state in some 
fashion or other that, if it is not possible to reach a reasonable settle- 
ment at the Geneva Conference, a serious aggravation of international 
relations would result"; second, the U.S. might intercede with the Viet- 
namese to counsel them against opposing a settlement really in their best 
interests. 10/ 

b. U.S. and U.K. Issue Joint Statement 

The second suggestion was never given serious consideration, 
, for the U.S. did not wish to be tied to a settlement that would cede 

territory to the Viet Minh. The first, however, was acted upon when 
Churchill and Eden arrived in Washington on 2k June. Four days later, 
the U.S. and U.K. issued a joint statement which warned: "if at Geneva 
the French Government is confronted with demands which prevent an accept- 
able agreement regarding Indochina, the international situation will be 
seriously aggravated." ll / 

c. U.S. and U.K. Formulate "Seven Points" Agreement 



» i ■ ' » 



Of more immediate consequence for the course of the negoti- 
ations was the unpublicized agreement between the two countries on a set 
of principles which, if worked into the settlement terms, would enable 
London and Washington to "respect" the armistice. The principles, known 
subsequently as the seven points, were communicated to the French. They 
were: 12/ 

(1) Preservation of the integrity and independence of 
Laos and Cambodia, and assurance of Viet Minh withdrawal from those 
countries; . 

(2) Preservation of at least the southern half of Vietnam, 
and if possible an enclave in the Tonkin Delta, with the line of demarca< 
tion no further south than one running generally west from Dong Hoi; 

(3) No restrictions on Laos, Cambodia, or retained Vietnam 
"materially impairing their capacity to maintain stable non-Communist 
regimes; and especially restrictions impairing their right to maintain 
adequate forces for internal security, to import arms and to employ 
foreign advisers"; 

• 

(K) No "political provisions which would risk loss of the 
retained area to Communist control"; 



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(5) No provision that would "exclude the possibility of 
the ultimate reunification of Vietnam by peaceful means"; 

(6) Provision for "the peaceful and humane transfer, 
under international supervision, of those people desiring to be moved 
from one zone to another of Vietnam"; 

(7) Provision for "effective machinery for international 
supervision of the agreement." 

d. British Adherence to Seven Points Remains Doubtful 



Although agreement to the seven points represented some- 
thing of an American diplomatic victory (with the important exception 
of point 2, where the U.S. for the first time conceded that partition 
was inescapable), the U.S. was by no means confident that the British 
would actually abide by the relatively hard bargaining lines set forth. 
". . .we have the distinct impression," Dulles wrote, "that the British 

: look upon this /memorandum of the seven points/ merely as an optimum 

solution and that they would not encourage the French to hold out for a 
solution as good as this." The Secretary observed that the British, 

- during the talks, had settled for agreement to "respect" the final terms; 

they preferred something stronger, and in fact "wanted to express these 
7 points merely as a T hope T without any indication of firmness on our 
part." The U.S , quite aside from what was said in the seven points, 
"would not want to be associated in any way with a settlement which 

j fell materially short of the 7 point memorandum." 13/ The possibility 

of a unilateral withdrawal was still being "given consideration," Dulles 
reported, 1^ / even as the seven points were agreed upon. 

e. French Generally Concur with Seven Points 

Despite reservations about the feasibility of implementing 
the seven points, the U.S. hoped to get French approval of them. On 
6 July Dillon telegraphed the French reaction as given him by Parodi, 
the Secretary -General of the cabinet. With the exception of point 5 
dealing with elections, the French were in agreement. They were confused 
about an apparent conflict between the elections provision and point 4, 
under which political provisions, which would include elections, were not 
to risk loss of retained Vietnam. In addition, they felt U.S. intention 
merely to "respect" any agreement was too weak a term, and requested 
clarification of its meaning. 15/ 

Dulles responded the next day to both matters. Points h and 
5 were not in conflict, he said. It was quite possible that an agree- 
ment in line with the seven points might still not prevent Indochina 
from going communist. The important thing, therefore, was to arrange 
for national elections in a way that would give the South Vietnamese a 



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liberal breathing spell: 

.". . . since undoubtedly true that elections might 
eventually mean unification Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh this 
makes it all more important they should be only held as 
long after cease-fire agreement as possible and in condi- 
tions free from intimidation to give democratic elements 
/in South Vietnam/ best chance." 

And so far as "respect" of that agreement was concerned, the U.S. and 
UbK. meant they 

"would not oppose a settlement which conformed to seven 
points .... It does not of course mean we would guarantee 
much settlement or that we would necessarily support it 
publicly. We consider 'respect' as strong a word as we can 
possibly employ in the circumstances .... 'Respect' would 
also mean that we would not seek directly or indirectly to 
upset settlement by force." 16/ 

k. U.S. Representation at Geneva Influences Favorable Outcome 
• • * ■ ■ i — —— — *■ » .... .... — — . -„ . — 

a.. French Request High -Level U.S. Representation 



•m q ■ » " ^ 



The seven points, Dulles 1 clarification of the U.S. posi- 
tion on elections in Vietnam, and his 'delimitation of the U.S. obligation 
towards a settlement were for the most part satisfactory to the French. 
But to Paris, the firm American position, to be influential at the 
Conference, had to be supplemented by high-level representation. Other- 
wise, Mend6s -France argued, the French could not present a strong front 
when Molotov and Chou resumed their places in the coming weeks. Answering 
U.S. doubts, Mendis-France averred that the French bargaining position 
was precisely in line with the seven points and would not deviate sub- 
stantially from them. With great feeling, he told a member of the U.S. 
Embassy in Paris that the presence of either the Secretary or the Under 
Secretary was "absolutely essential and necessary." lj/ 

b. Dulles Objects to High-Level U.S. Representative 

»■■■ — ■»..»■ ■ . r ' 

The U.S. remained opposed to any proposal that implied 
acceptance of the final terms. While recognizing Mendes-France's 
difficulties in carrying on almost alone, Dulles firmly believed the 
French would end by accepting a settlement unsatisfactory to the U.S. — 
whether or not the U.S. delegation was upgraded. 18/ Moreover, were 
the U.S. to send Smith or Dulles back to Geneva only to find the French 
compelled to negotiate an unacceptable agreement, Washington would be 
required to dissociate itself in a manner "which would be deeply resented 
by the French as an effort on our part to block at the last minute a 



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peace which they ardently desire," possibly with "irreparable injury 
to Franco -American relations . . . ." 19/ 

c. Dalles Lists Objections 

On 10 July these objections to Mende s -France ! s pleadings 
were forcefully raised in a direct message to the French Premier from 
the Secretary. Dulles stated that the presence of high-ranking Western 
Big Three delegates at Geneva would be no "substitute for a clear agree- 
ment on a joint position which includes agreement as to what will happen 
if that position is not accepted by the Communists." Denying that a 
true united front existed even with the seven -point memorandum, Dulles 
went on to say that the seven points seemed to be "merely an optimum 
solution" not only for the British, but equally for the French. He 
cited French willingness to permit communist forces to remain in northern 
Laos, to accept a demarcation line "considerably south of Donghoi," to 
neutralize and demilitarize Laos, and Cambodia, and to permit "elections 
so early and so ill-prepared and ill-supervised as to risk the loss of 
the entire area to Communism . . . ." These, said Dulles, were illustra- 
tive of a "whittling -away process" which, cumulatively, could destroy 
the intent of the seven points. 

Thus, believing that the French had already gone far toward 
nullifying some of the major provisions of the U.S. -U.K. memorandum, 
Dulles reiterated the long-standing position that the U.S. had the right 
"not to endorse a solution which would seem to us to impair seriously 
certain principles which the U.S. believes must, as far as it is con- 
cerned, be kept unimpaired, if our own struggle against Communism is to 
be successfully pursued." Dulles added that a U.S. position that created 
uncertainty in the minds of the enemy "might strengthen your hand more 
than our presence at Geneva . . . .." 20/ 

d. Dulles and Mende s -France Agree on the Seven Points 

■ " ' ■' ■ ■■■■ ■■■■ - ■■■■■!!■■■ ■ --- ■ ... L ,_ -. 

Mende s -France, in reply, stated that France would accept 
nothing unacceptable to the U.S. 2l/ Apparently, this move had some 
effect on Dulles, for he flew to Paris for talks that resulted in a 
Franco -American endorsement of the U.S. -U.K. memorandum. 22/ In 
addition, Mendes-France and Dulles signed a position pape~on the same 
day (l^ July) that reiterated the U.S. position at the conference as 
"a friendly nation" whose role was subordinate to that of the primary 
non -communist parties, the Associated States and France. This paper 
went on to describe the seven points as those acceptable to the "pri- 
marily interested nations" and as those which *che U.S. could "respect." 
However, should terms ultimately be concluded which differed markedly 
from the seven points, the U.S. would neither be asked nor expected to 
accept them, and "may publicly disassociate itself from such differing 
terms." Dulles further obtained from the French certain assurances 

i 
. 

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regarding coordinated action regardless of the outcome of the conference. 
The position paper declared America 1 s intention "to seek, with other 
interested nations, a collective defense association designed to pre- 
serve, against direct and indirect aggression, the integrity of the non- 
communist areas of Southeast Asia following any settlement." 23/ 

e. France Continues Insistence on High-Level U.S. Representation 

On all but one matter, the U S. and France were now in 
complete accord on a negotiating strategy. That strategy, if adhered 
to, would not only prevent a sell-out to the communists, but also 
provide the framework for further allied discussions whether or not a 
settlement were concluded. The point of difference was Mende s -Franc e 1 s 
continued insistence that his delegation be supported by the presence 
of Dulles himself. Writing to Dulles of his understanding of the seven- 
point position paper just signed, the French Premier added: 

". . .In effect, I have every reason to think that your 
absence would be precisely interpreted as demonstrating, before 
the fact, that you disapproved of the- conference and of every- 
thing which might be accomplished. Not only would those who 
are against us find therein the confirmation of the ill will 
which they attribute to your government concerning the re- 
establishment of peace in Indochina; but many others would read 
in it a sure sign of a division of the western powers." 2k/ 

f . The U.S. Reconsiders French Request 

For reasons not entirely clear, Mendes -France* s appeal for 
high-level U.S. representation at Geneva was now favorably received in 
Washington. Dulles was able to inform Mend^s-France on ik July: 

"In the light of what you say and after consultation with 
President Eisenhower, I am glad to be able to inform you that 
the President and I are asking the Undersecretary of State, 
General Walter Bedell Smith, to prepare to return at his 
earliest convenience to Geneva to share in the work of the 
conference on the basis of the understanding which we have 
arrived at." 25/ 

For the first time since mid-1953; the U.S. and France were solidly 
joined in a common front on Indochina. 

g. Bedell Smith Ins tructed Not to Commit the U.S • 

On 16 July Smith received a new set of instructions based 
upon the U S„ -France seven-point agreement. After reiterating the 



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passive, formal role the U.S. was to play at the Conference, Dalles 
told the Under Secretary (l) that if a settlement should be reached 
he was to issue a unilateral (or, if possible, multilateral) statement 
that "conforms substantially" to the seven points; (2) that "The United 
States "will not, however, become cosignatory with the Communists in 
any Declaration"; (3) that the U.S. should not be put in a position 
where it could be held responsible for guaranteeing the results of the 
Conference; (k) that Smith's efforts should be directed toward for- 
warding ideas to the "active negotiators" (France, Cambodia, Laos, and 
Vietnam); and (5) that the U.S. should avoid permitting the French to 
believe that a breakdown of the negotiations was due to U.S C advice or 
pressure, thus making the U.S in some way morally obligated to inter- 
vene militarily in Indochina. Dulles stated with respect to this last 
point that the U.S C was "not prepared at the present time to give any 
commitment that it will intervene in the war if the Geneva Conference 
fails. ..." 26/ This decision, of course, remained unknown to the 
communists at Geneva, who continued to speculate on U.S. intentions. 

h. Smith 1 s Presence Reinforces Western Position 

• * 

Coming soon after the Dulles -Bidault talks in Paris (13-1^ 
July), Smith 1 s return was apparently interpreted by the Chinese, and 
doubtless by the Russians as well, as a sign of a united Western front 
at the Conference. 27/ When taken in conjunction with what Mend£s- 
Frauce had already publicly told the Rational Assembly of his intentions 
to ask for conscripts in the event his 20 July deadline passed without 
a settlement, and with what the Premier told Malenkov about not intending 
Geneva to "turn into a Panmunjom, " 28 / the return of Smith gave the 
French negotiating position the appearance of real strength. The com- 
munist delegations, therefore, were presented with an option. They 
could call France 1 s bluff -- by refusing further concessions or by 
making a settlement contingent on a U.S C • guarantee 29/ — or they could 
seek to gain French agreement that, hopefully, would obviate a U S.-U K.- 
French alignment in Asia. As the Conference ground on toward Mendes- 
France ! s 20 July deadline, major concessions from the communist side 
brought the settlement essentially in line with the seven points. 






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III. A. 3. FOOTNOTES 

1. Johnson priority tel. SECTO 557 from Geneva, July 3, 195*1- (TOP SECRET). 

2. Smith tel. SECTO 267 from Geneva, May 20, I95I1- (SECRET). 

3. Smith tel. DULTE 193 from Geneva, June 17, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 
k. Dulles to Smith tel. TEDUL 196, June lH, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

5. Dulles priority tel. TEDUL 212 to Smith at Geneva, June 17, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

6. Dulles "eyes only" tel. TEDUL 222 to Smith at Geneva, June l8, 195^ 
.(TOP SECRET). 

7. Smith, from Geneva priority tel. DULTE 195, June 18, 1954 (SECRET). 

8. Smith from Geneva tel. DULTE 202, June 19, I95U (TOP SECRET). 

9. Dulles to American Consulate - Geneva tel. TOSEC 478, June 2k, 195^ 
(SECRET). 

10. In Dulles to American Embassy - Paris tel. No. 4852, June 28, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

11. New York Times, June 29, 195^, p. 2. ' ; . - , 

12. Anthony Eden, Memoirs: Full Circle (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, i960), 
P. 1^9- 

13. Dulles to American Embassy - Paris "eyes only" for Dillon priority 
tel. No. 52, July 3, 3_95^ (TOP SECRET). 

Ik. Ibid . 

15. Dillon from Paris priority tel. No. 50, July 6, I95I1 (SECRET). 

16. Dulles to American Embassy - Paris tel. No. 77, July 7, 195^ (SECRET). 
Regarding the U.S. view of a Ho Chi Minh electoral victory, we not 
only have the well-known comment of Eisenhower that Ho, at least in 
195^-j would have garnered 80 per cent of the vote, but also the 
privately expressed view of Livingston Merchant (Dept. of State) that 
Ho would be the likely winner. See the latter in Dept. of State 
Memorandum of Conversation of May 31, 195^-, at which Merchant report- 
edly "felt their /the Associated States v 7 status was sufficiently 
independent so that they could freely express their will on a point of 
this type, although he recognized the possibility that in Viet Nam Ho 
might win a plebiscite, if held today." (TOP SECRET). 

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17. Dillon priority tel. No. 118 from Paris, July 9, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

18. Dalles "eyes only" tel. NIACT 101 to Aldrich in London, July 7, 
195^ (TOP SECRET). 

19. Dulles priority tel. to Dillon in Paris No. 85, July 8, 195^- (TOP 
SECRET) . 

20. Dulles to Dillon tel. No. 127, July 10, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

21. Dillon from Paris priority tel. No. 134, July 11, 195*1 (TOP SECPET) . 

22. "Memorandum of Points Referred to in Paragraph 2 of the France - 
United States Position Paper," July l4, 1954 (SECRET). 

23. Annex A to Dulles letter to Smith of July 16, 1954, signed July l4 
by Dulles and Mendes-France (SECRET). 

2k. Dulles priority tel. No. 179 from Paris, July lk, 1954 (SECRET). 

25. Ibid. 

26. Dulles letter to Smith, July l6, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

27. In a talk between Huang Hua (of the CPR delegation) and Seymour Topping 
of the New York Times , as reported in Smith's tel. SECTO 66l from 
Geneva, July 19, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

28. Dillon priority tel. No. 118 from Paris, July 9, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

29. This threat was transmitted through Seymour Topping by Huang Hua 
near the end of the conference. See Smith's tel. SECTO 639 from 
Geneva, July l8, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 



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3 



} 






CO 



! 



TO 

o 

I— 

LA m 

rn O 

oo 

Tl CO 

<C 

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-• > 

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to 

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III. B. THE ROLE AKD OBLIGATIONS OF THE STATE OF VIETNAM 



SUMMARY 



One principal controversy over the Geneva Accords of 195^ stems from 
the view that Vietnam under the Bao Dai regime was actually still a French 
colony , and hence was obligated by the agreements reached by France at 
Geneva, Specifically, it is argued. Article 27 of the agreement signed 
by the French fixed responsibility for observance on the signatory govern- 
ments "and their successors." The answer to the charge that the State of 
Vietnam thereby became a guarantor of the Accords is partly a matter- of 
international law -- a contentious point of law, given the relatively 
new phenomenon of former colonial states assuming full sovereignty. But 
it is also a matter of fact and of declaratory policy. In fact, the GVN 
was an independent state before the Accords were signed, and was treated 
as a separate state throughout the conference. It signed nothing at 
Geneva. To the contrary, in its declarations it clearly repudiated the 
Accords, and declined to accept any responsibility for observing or en- 
forcing them. 



q 



The GVN had been given full independence from France on h June 195^> 
and was accepted as an equal by the other governments at Geneva. There- 
fore, the GVN was not automatically obligated by the July agreements 
between the Viet Minh and France. From the beginning of the conference, . 
the GVN interests clashed with French desires. The French wanted to end 
the Indochina fighting even if disengagement entailed serious concessions 
to the Viet Minh. Hard-line GVN counterproposals, running against the 
prevailing spirit of compromise, were rejected by both the communist powers 
and the West. The final wording of the agreement on the cessation of 
hostilities was drawn up as the French and the Viet Minh would have it. 
The U.S., intent on promoting some constructive outcome of the .conference, 
offered little support to the GVN. The U.S. did refuse to act on France's 
behalf to pressure the GVN, and did urge the French to be more receptive' 
to the GVN delegates. But since U.K. and French delegates were ready to 
make substantial accommodations with the communists to achieve a quick end 
to the fighting, and with little U.S. backing, the GVN negotiating position 
was foredoomed (Tab l) . 

France, the dominant Western power in the disputed area, and the Viet 
Minh were the designated executors of the Accords. Neither the armistice 
agreement nor other aspects of the settlement were practicable without 
DRV ajid French compliance. The GVN delegates at Geneva were emphatic in 
their repeated refusal to accept GVN responsibility for accords signed 
by France, especially with reference to partition and elections. No pre- 
cipitate withdrawal of French military and diplomatic power from Vietnam 
was foreseen, so that the Accords embodied the anomaly of ignoring the 
sovereign GVN, even with respect to enforcing the Accords on its territory 
(Tab 2). 



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DISCUSSION 



III. Bo Tab 1 - GVN Status and Negotiating Position at Geneva 

Tab 2 - French and GVN Responsibilities after Geneva 









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III. B. 1. 



GVN STATUS AND NEGOTIATING POSITION AT GENEVA 



TABLE OF CONTENTS and OUTLINE 



Page 
I 1. GVN is Independent Before Geneva b-5 

a. Status of GVN Changes B-5 

b . Talks Lead. Toward GVN Independence B-5 

c . GVN Ind.epend.ent After h June 195^ B-6 

• d. GVN and DRV Status at Geneva Differ B-6 



2. GVN Unable to Forestall Partition B-7 

a. GVN Requests Written Assurance Country Will 

Not be Partitioned B-7 

b- France Assures GVN it Will Not Seek 

Partition B-8 

c. DRV Admits Feasibility of Partition B-8 

d. French Opposition to Partition Collapses ' B-9 



3. GVN Refuses to Accept French Leadership ' B-9 

a. Vietnamese are Stubborn and. Unyielding B-9 

■ b. GVN Consistently Opposes Partition , B-10 

c. GVN not Informed of French-DRV Agreements B-ll 

d. Note to French Delegation Rejects Partition B-12 

e. Vietnamese Register Opposition to Elections B-12 

f . GVN Rejects Draft of Final Declaration B-13 

3 

g. GVN Presents Counter-Proposals B-13 

h. GVN Unable to Influence Outcome B-l*4 



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k. U.S.-GVN Relations at Geneva 

a. U.S. Refuses to Influence GVN for France.... 

b. French Disregard. U.S. Requests, Remain Aloof 
from GVN 

c. U.S. Declines to Support Final GVN Position. 



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III. B. 1. GVN STATUS AND NEGOTIATING POSITION AT GENEVA 
1. GVN is Independent Before Geneva 

a. Status of GVN Changes 

The sovereign independence of Vietnam was a constant source 
of irritation and contention between France and the U.S. From the con- 
clusion of World War II until the Geneva Conference , Washington continu- 
ally urged Paris to follow the nationalist winds and establish an 
independent State of Vietnam. Coupled with pressures from Vietnamese 
nationalists, France did. move in this direction -- albeit as slowly as 
possible. 

In June, 19^-8, Bao Dai was persuad.ed. to become political 
leader of a "State of Vietnam/' incorporating Cochin China, Tonkin, and 
Annam, which would, be "independent .. .within the French Union." A treaty 
to this effect, the Elysee Agreements, was drawn up and approved by both 
sides in March, 19^-9? but was delayed In ratification by the French Assem- 
bly until 29 January 1950- There were a number of qualifications on the 
meaning of "independence" in the French Union, including complete free- . 
d.om of movement of French military forces throughout the countries of 
the Union and legal immunity for French enterprises on the territory of 
other Union nations. On 3 July ^-953* "the French were pressured into 
announcing plans to negotiate and redefine Franco-Vietnamese political 
relations. 'But it was not until March, 195^ that these negotiations be- 
gan, producing on 28 April a joint declaration recognizing what it called, 
"total independence" for Vietnam. Buttinger calls this "a shabby inde- 
pendence." The country became fully sovereign on 3 June 195*+ • 

It is important to remember that French procrastination, 
among other reasons, on setting the d.emand.s for full Vietnamese indepen- 
dence led. to hesitancy on the part of the U.S. to intervene militarily 
in support of the French. With all, the status of the Bao Dai government 
did begin to change prior to the conclusion of the Geneva Conference -- 
too late to figure in Franco-American deliberations about "united, action," 
but soon enough to make Vietnam an independent state before the Confer- 
ence agreed, to a settlement of the war. 

1 

b. Talks Lead. Toward GVN Independence 

Between July, 195 3> &nd. April, 195^* French and Vietnamese repre- 
sentatives had. a series of talks on ways to complete the independence of 
Vietnam promised in France 1 s 3 July 1953 declaration. On 8 March 195^? 
the final round, of talks began in Paris, and at a meeting on 28 April, 
agreement was reached, by a Franco-Vietnamese political committee on the 
text of separate treaties of independence and association, with the latter 
(consisting of seven articles) to be spelled out in subsequent conventions. 
Premier Laniel and Vice President Nguyen Trung Vinh signed, a common declara- 
tion that same day which specified that the treaties would, come into force 



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upon ratification by the two governments. But, the ratification -process 
was delayed, for over a month. The U.S. Mission in Saigon was clearly annoyed 
that the long-awaited break in the Franco-Vietnamese deadlock did not 
lead immediately to ratification. The Mission speculated that the French 
were delaying to keep a free hand, at Geneva by making no commitments on 
Vietnam until the outcome of the conference could be known. The Mission 
noted that in so doing, the French were only feeding the doubts and suspi- 
cions of the Vietnamese about future French intentions toward. Indochina. 1/ 
Washington, for its part, refused to consider the 28 April initialling 

j of agreements as satisfying its pre-condition on complete Vietnamese in- 

I dependence. 2/ 

c. GVN Independent After h June 195^ * 

Not until k June, did the French National Assembly finally 
ratify the two treaties. 3/ By the Treaty of Independence, Vietnam was 
recognized "as a fully independent and sovereign State invested with all 
the competence recognized by international law." Vietnam agreed to re- 
place France "in all the rights and. obligations resulting from interna- 
tional treaties or conventions contracted by France on behalf or on account 
of the State of Vietnam or of any other treaties or conventions concluded. • 
by France on behalf of French Indochina insofar as those acts concern 
Vietnam." In other words, the GVN assumed, responsibility for all agree- 
ments executed prior to ratification of the independence treaty. Under 
the accompanying Treaty of Association, Vietnam's status as an equal in 
the French Union was acknowledged, for the first time, and with it the 
right (subsequently re-confirmed) to determine its extent of participa- 
tion in the Union. The State of Vietnam was, therefore, a fully indepen- 
dent entity by k June 195^- • France's international obligations in or 
for Vietnam as of that date were freely taken over by the GVN. This was 
; in contrast, it might be added, to the DRV's abrogation of agreements 

concluded in Vietnam's behalf by France when Ho's regime took power on 
2 September 19^5- k/ / 

d. GVN and DRV Status at Geneva Differ ■ 

9 The final communique of the Berlin Conference (18 February 195*0 

specified, that the Indochina phase of the Geneva deliberations would be 
attended by the United. States, Great Britain, Communist China, the Soviet 
Union, France, "and. other states concerned." Invitations to participants, 
it was further agreed, would, be issued only by the Berlin conferees (U.S., 
UK, USSR, and France). 

There had been some doubt as to the status of the DRV at 
the upcoming Indochina convention, but subsequent talks between Molotov 
and Bidault in April clarified, the position of the DRV. 5/ Although 
the WN was still considered a rebel group by the West, rather than an 
interested State, admission of the Viet Minh to the conference was never 
a serious problem. As one of the principal combatants whose consent to 
a cease-fire was considered indispensable, the Viet Minh could, hardly be 

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ignored. Moreover, the Soviet Union indicated, to the French that it would, 
not accept the presence of delegates from the Associated. States unless the 
DRV were admitted to the conference. 6/ The principal Western objection 
concerning the DRV was that the invitation had. been tendered to the Viet 
Minh not only by the Soviet Union but also by Communist China, a move 
admitted, by Molotov at the first plenary session on 8 May and. protested 
by France and. the United States, jj 

Word of the DRV's admission naturally angered, the Bao Dai 
government. When informed, of Franco-Soviet Agreement on the DRV's admission, 
the Bao Dai government d.ecid.ed that Vietnam would, go to the conference 
only upon invitation of the Western Big Three -- that is, only if the SVN 
status differed, from that of the DRV. On 2 May the invitations arrived, 
with the Soviets being informed that GVN participation would in no way 
confer d.e jure recognition on the DRV. 8/ Although the Bao Dai govern- 
ment could not bar the DRV from the conference table, it did not accord 
Ho's regime anything more than the status of a belligerent. 

There was, then, a distinction between the status of the 
DRV and the GVN at the Geneva Conference. Whereas all the major powers 
implicitly or explicitly recognized the full status of the GVN as a state, 
the Western powers conceded only belligerent status for the DRV/Viet Minh. 
In practice, however, the Viet Minh were much more a part of the negotiat- 
ing process, particularly as regards military arrangements. The GVN, in 
its own right, pursued, a consistent public line, emphasizing its independence 
and. its hope for the continued, political unity of Vietnam -- under Bao Dai. 

2. GVN Unable to Forestall Partition 

a. GVN Requests Written Assurance Country Will Not be Partitioned. 

At the time the Conference began, the State of Vietnam was 
concerned, and suspicious about the possibilities of a partitioning of 
the country. Mindful of past instances of partition in Korea and Germany, 
and deeply in doubt of French willingness to stand firm against Viet Minh 
territorial claims, the GVN urged, the French government to give written 
assurance that Paris would 'not seek a division of Vietnam. On 25 April, 
Bao. Dai had. served notice on the French that his government would, not 
tolerate partition. GVN representatives in Paris issued, a communique 
in the name of Bao Dai's cabinet which noted various plans in the air for 
a partition of Vietnam. The communique stated that a partition "would. 
be in defiance of Vietnamese national sentiment which has asserted, itself 
with so much strength for the unity as well as for the ind.epend.ence of its 
country. Neither the Chief of State nor the national government of Viet- 
nam admit that the unity of the country can be severed legally..." In 
calling for French assurances that they would not negotiate a sacrifice 
of Vietnamese interests with the "rebels," the communique implied, that 
the Vietnamese government would not sign the April treaties until such 
assurances were received. And, the GVN cabinet warned that a compromis- 
ing agreement would, never receive Vietnam's approval: 



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"...neither the Chief of State, nor the Vietnamese 
Government, will consider themselves as bound by decisions 
running counter to the interests, i.e., independence and 
unity, of their country that would, at the same time, violate 
the rights of the peoples and offer a reward to aggression 
in opposition to the principles of the Charter of the United 
Nations and democratic ideals." ^J 









b . France Assures GVN it Will Ifot Seek Partition 

I In response to this clear-cut statement, the French came 

forward with both oral and written promises. On 3 May, Maurice Dejean, 
the Commissioner General for Indochina, said, in Saigon: 



"The French government does not intend to seek a settlement 
of the Indochina problem on the basis of a partition of Vietnamese 
territory. . .Formal assurances were given on this subject last 
April 25 by the French minister for foreign affairs to the minis- 
ter for foreign affairs of Vietnam, and they were confirmed to 
j him on May 1." 10/ 

Written assurance came from Bidault on 6 May, when he wrote Bao Dai that 
the task of the French government was to establish peace in Indochina, 
not "to seek here /at Geneva/ a definitive political solution." Therefore, 
the French goal would be, said Bidault, to obtain a cease-fire with guaran- 
tees for the Associated States, hopefully with general elections in the 
future. Bidault continued: 









"As of now, I am however in a position to confirm to Your 
] Majesty that nothing would be more contrary to the intentions 

J of the French government than to prepare for the establishment, 

at the expense of the unity of Vietnam, of two states having each 

an international calling ( vocation )." 11/ 

c. DRV Admits Feasibility of Partition 

1 In their talks with the Viet Minh, however, the French found. 

their adversary as stubborn at the bargaining table as on the battlefield. 
The negotiations during most of May made insignificant progress; but toward . 
the end of the month, the Viet Minh made their first major concession when 
they strongly hinted that, given the right conditions, they might lift their 
demand for a united Vietnam. This, it can be speculated, was seen by Paris 
as a way of getting itself off the hook. While it may have been unacceptable 
to negotiate all of Vietnam away, half of Vietnam could be sold to the U.S. 
as a realistic compromise. 






On May 24, Hoang Van Hoan, DRV Ambassador to Peking and. spokes- 
man of the DRV delegation, informed, a special envoy of the French newspaper 
Le Monde (Jean Schwoebel) that a military settlement through a cease-fire 



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need, not, as the Viet Minh had. previously insisted., be preceded, by a 
political settlement. Hoan reportedly stated: "it is first necessary 
to have a cease-fire. We do not pose a single prior political condition. 
If, in the plan of M. Dong, political proposals precede those which con- 
cern the cease-fire, it is solely a question of presentation..." 12/ 
Hoang Van Hoan's statement was confirmed, the next day when Pham Van Dong, 
speaking at the sixth restricted, session, referred, for the first time 
to territory under Viet Minh control. Dong T s proposals included specific 
reference to areas under the control of each Vietnamese state; in regroup- 
ing forces of the two sides, he suggested, that territorial readjustments 
also be made so that each side would, be able to have complete economic 
and. administrative, as well as military, control. So as not to be mis- 
understood, Dong further urged, that a line of demarcation be drawn that 
would, be topographically suitable and. appropriate . for transportation and. 
communication within each state. 13/ Thus, quite contrary to French and. 
Vietnamese expectations, the Viet Minh had. opened, the way toward parti- 
tion, and. appeared, willing to contemplate the creation, albeit temporary, 
of separate zones of political control. 

d. French Opposition to Partition Collapses 

French support of GVN opposition to partition, which Bidault 
upheld privately to Smith and. Eden at Geneva, lk/ collapsed once the 
new government of Pierre Mend.es -France took over in mid-June. Mendes- 
France, keenly aware of the tenoi: of French public anti-war opinion, was 
far more disposed, than his predecessor to make every effort toward achiev- 
ing a reasonable settlement, and he quickly foresaw that agreement with 
the Viet Minh was unlikely unless he accepted the concept of partition. 
His delegate at Geneva, Jean Chauvel, and. the new Commissioner General 
for Indochina, General Paul Ely, reached the same conclusion. 15/ 

At a high-level meeting in Paris on 2h June, the new govern- 
ment thoroughly revised the French negotiating position. The objectives 
i for subsequent talks, it was d.ecid.ed, would be: (l) the regroupment of 

' forces of both sides and. their separation by a line at about the l8th 

parallel; 16/ (2) the establishment of enclaves under neutral control 
i in the two zones, one for the French in the area of the Catholic bishoprics 

at Phat Diem and Bui Chu, one for the Viet Minh at an area to be deter- 
mined; (3) the maintenance of Haiphong in French hand.s in order to assist 
in the regroupment. At this same meeting, it was also decided that, for 
the purpose of psychological pressure on the Viet Minh, if not military 
preparedness for future contingencies, France should announce plans to, 
send, a contingent of conscripts (later determined as two divisions) to 
Indochina. 17/ ' 

3. GVN Refuses to Accept French Leadership 

a. - Vietnamese are Stubborn and. Unyielding 

The State of Vietnam delegation at Geneva was determined 
Bf to be intimidated neither by the DRV and its communist allies, nor by the 



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Western powers. The GVN representatives continually referred to their 
sense of responsibility to the Vietnamese people and to national aspira- 
tions for unity and freedom. The obvious dependence of the GVN on the 
military power of the West was not mirrored by an accompanying political 
spirit of accommodation: the GVN attitude at Geneva must be characterized 
as stubborn, unyielding, and idealistic. The GVN was the one nation at 
Geneva that remained completely unmoved by the spirit of compromise. 

b. GVN Consistently Oj)-poses Partition 

The attitude of GVN toward the Geneva Settlement was the 
product not only of its non-recognition of the DRV, but also of its hostility 
to partition and its opposition to national elections held in a divided 
country. Evidently quite independent of American instigation or pressure, 
the Saigon government concluded well in advance of the Conference termina- 
tion on 21 July that it could not accept what it regarded as a set of 
agreements contracted in defiance of Vietnamese aspirations and without 
GVN consent. Nguyen Quoc Dinh, speaking for the GVN in the third plenary 
session (12 May) at Geneva, first read into the record in detail the new 
[ treaty guaranteeing GVN independence, then laid down his country T s unyield- 
l ing opposition to any agreement' which would tend to split the country either 

.geographically or politically. Any document tabled for consideration, 
said Quoc Dinh, "Must not lead to partition, either direct or indirect, 
final or provisional, de facto or de jure, of the national territory." 
Free elections can be held, he asserted, "as soon as the /}JNj Security 
Council has decided that the authority of the State has been established 
in the whole of the territory, and that conditions of freedom have been 
obtained." 18/ In the fifth restricted session, on 2k May, Quoc Dinh 
again stressed the GVN's total independence from France: 

• 

"...the problem of the independence of Vietnam 
dominates all events in Indochina whether considered 
from the point of view of the independence which 
the state of Vietnam /has/ secured as a result of 
negotiations with France, or from that of the in- 
dependence which Vietnam must defend from all 
foreign invaders." 19/ 

On the following day, Quoc Dinh repeated, in the Sixth Restricted 
Session, that the GVN "would not agree to any plan which would result in 
the partition of Vietnam." Any partition, he said., would, incur "the grave 
danger one would gradually move down a path which would, lead to what his 
people feared most." 20/ On the 27th of May, Quoc Dinh once again spoke 
on partition. He reminded the other delegates that the GVN had finally 
achieved, independence, the first of its aspirations. The second, aspira- 
tion, also achieved, was territorial integrity. The GVN could, not now 
accept partition "without betraying its own people": 

"With reference to Vietnam, the Vietnam delegation 
wished to warn the conference against any measures tend- 
ing to divide the national territory. If a division 

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of Vietnam were to be sanctioned, the result would not 
be peace but only a pause before fresh hostilities... 
Partition would therefore mean sooner or later — 
probably sooner -- a renewal of war." 2l/ 

On 29 May, speaking in rebuttal to the DRV delegation, Quoc 
Dinh stated, "it is impossible for a people to accept of its own free will 
a mutilation of its country. . .No Vietnamese patriot could accept partition 
This marked the fourth successive meeting in which the GVN delegate empha- 
sized his country's point of view on partition, elections, or both subjects. 
This emphatic repetition continued. In the Seventh Plenary Session, on 
10' June, speaking of a statement made by Molotov, Quoc Dinh accused the 
USSR of laboring .under certain misunderstandings of the GVN and, for the 
! fifth time since tabling his proposals, he repeated the DRV position: 



r 



TT 















"I noted in his statement. . .what I suppose was 
a mistake of inadvertent omission. He said that 
only the Viet Minh delegation had proposed that 
a free general election should take place in Viet- 
nam. I'm sorry that I must contradict. The Dele- 
gation of the State of Vietnam also had the honor 
to propose such elections; the difference being 
that, whereas the Delegation of Viet Minh proposed 
that there should be no international supervision 
which, in the present circumstances, means that 
elections could not possibly be honest and true, 
• the Delegation of the State of Vietnam has proposed 

that elections should take place under international 
supervision." 22/ 

• Quoc Dinh then reasserted the complete independence of GVN from France, 
referring to the treaty of h June 195^ • A week later, the Vietnamese 
delegate was again pushing his case on the floor of the conference: 

"As regards the independence of our country, 
it is a well-known fact that we have indicated the 
contents of two treaties we had with the French 
on that. . .As regards the elections, we ourselves, 
in our proposal of May 12, have taken the initiative 
of proposing elections in Vietnam. These elections 
must be free, sincere, and supervised. The best 
control would be exercised by the UN." 23/ 

The GVN insistence on territorial integrity and on elections only after 
full control was pressed with great energy -- almost with vehemence -- 
up to the very last moment of the Geneva Conference. 

c. GVN not Informed of French- DRV Agreements 

The evidence suggests that it was not until sometime in early 
July that the Bao Dai government learned of France's readiness to parti- 
tion the country, given an acceptable demarcation line. According to a 

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CIA source, based upon the report of a nationalist southern Vietnamese 
' with "extensive" political contacts , Diem was greatly troubled in early 
July over France's apparent inclination to abandon the North rather than • 
seek to retain a foothold there. 2k/ Diem was said to be convinced that 
partition would be suicidal, since it would put an end to active anti- 
Viet Minh resistance. Moreover, Diem was convinced that the French intended 
to maintain a hold on the South only through manipulating independent 
irregular forces, such as the armed sects to whom the French allegedly 
r - were providing rifles. 



d. Note to French Delegation Rejects Partition 

GVN anger at hints of a possible French sellout on the parti- 
tion issue was reflected in a note handed the French delegation (and, with- 
out France's knowledge, to the U.S. delegation also) by Nguyen Huu Chau 
of the Vietnamese delegation on 17 July 195^ • The note maintained, that 
not until 16 July did Vietnam learn that at the very time the French High 
Command had. ordered the evacuation of troops from important areas in the 
Tonkin Delta, the French had also "accepted abandoning to the Viet Minh 
all of that part situated north of the eighteenth parallel and that the 
delegation of the Viet Minh might claim an even more advantageous demarca- 
tion line." The Vietnamese delegation protested against having been left 
"in complete ignorance" of French proposals, which were said, not to "take 
any account of the unanimous will for national unity of the Vietnamese 
people." Disparaging the regroupment plan and the "precarious" nature 
of the cease-fire being considered, the note again urged that a cease-fire 
be accompanied by the disarmament of "all the belligerent forces in Viet- 
nam." This would be followed by provisional United Nations control of 
all Vietnam "pending the complete re-establishment of security, . of order 
and of peace. . .which will permit the Vietnamese people to decide their 
destiny by free- elections." UN control of a unified. Vietnam, the note 
stated, was preferable to "its maintenance in power in a country dismem- 
bered and condemned to slavery." 25/ 

e. Vietnamese Register Opposition to Elections 

The long-standing GVN hostility to partition, expressed well 
in advance of final agreement to that arrangement, was paralleled by a 
wariness of a national plebescite on unification. In June, 195^ > the 
Saigon Mission cabled Washington that a national election: 

".;.to which Department quite rightly attaches 
importance. . .is now of less significance in Vietnam 
than before owing to general feeling of panic and 
anxiety lest entire country be lost through unfortu- 
nate armistice terms. Press has announced, that de- 
crees will presently be signed by Bao Dai providing 
for municipal elections and, with exception of Saigon- 
Cholon, for direct election of mayors. This should 



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to some extent meet Department's requirement in 
this regard although it is far less than national 
elections or preparations for National Constitu- 
ent Assembly." 2( 



c 







The GVN protest note to the French of 17 July asserted, 
that a cease-fire without disarmament was incompatible with a plebiscite. 
They held, further that the regroupment of the armed, forces of the bellig- 
erents into separate north-south zones compromised, in advance the freedom 
of any future elections. Moreover, in the GVN view, elections could, be con- 
sidered, only after internal security and. peace had. been re-established., 
thereby excluding a set time-frame. 2jJ In short, the GVN argued, strongly 
against any scheduled, post-settlement national election, and. warned, that 
a plebiscite to determine a government for a unified. Vietnam could, hardly 
, be envisaged with the northern zone controlled by communist armed forces. 

f . GVN Rejects Draft of Final Declaration 

On 18 July, GVN, in a conference session, Foreign Minister 
Tran Van Do spoke out against the draft Final Declaration of the Confer- 
ence which had. been circulated among the delegations. He said that Viet- 
nam could not associate itself with the declaration, and pointed in 
[ particular to the conditions for a cease-fire, which stipulated a division 

J of the country, and. to Vietnam's lack of an opportunity to present its 

own proposals. Tran Van Do requested, the right to offer Vietnam's own * 
draft declaration at another plenary session. 28/ 

g. GVN Presents Counter-Proposals 

The next day, 19 July, the Vietnamese delegation offered, its 
' proposals, an elaboration of the ideas contained, in the note to the French 
delegation. The proposal warned that the French, Soviet, and Viet Mihh 
drafts all spoke of a provisional partition, whereas the inevitable result 
would, in fact be "to produce in Vietnam the same effects as in Germany, 
Austria, and Korea." The proposal went on: "it would, not bring the peace 
which is sought for, deeply wounding the national sentiment of the Vietnamese 
people; it would, provoke trouble throughout the country, trouble which would 
not fail to threaten a peace so dearly acquired." The delegation then re- 
newed, its plan for a cease-fire in small regroupment zones; the disarming 
of irregular troops and, after a fixed period, of all Viet Minh troops; 
the withdrawal of foreign troops simultaneous with disarmament of the Viet 
Minh; and UN control of the cease-fire, the regroupment, the disarmament 
and withdrawal, the elections which would follow the restoration of order, 
and national administration. 29/ 

Tran Van Do's proposal did. not receive consideration at the 
final plenary session of the Geneva Conference on 21 July. 30/ The dele- 
gation head protested this as well as the "hasty conclusion of the Armis- 
• tice Agreement by the French and. Viet Minh High Commanders only..." 
Furthermore, Tran Van Do protested, the abandonment of national territory 



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to the Viet Minh even though still occupied by Vietnamese troops, and 
the setting up of a date for national elections by a military command 
without Vietnamese agreement. He concluded: "...the Government of the 
State of Vietnam wishes the Conference to take note of the fact that 
it reserves its full freedom of action in order to safeguard the sacred 
right of the Vietnamese people to its territorial unity, national inde- 
pendence, and freedom." After other delegation leaders had indicated con- 
sent to the military agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities and Final 
Declaration, Tran Van Do spoke again. He requested the Conference to incor- 
porate in the Declaration the following text: 

"The Conference takes note of the Declaration 
of the Government of the State of Vietnam undertaking: 
to make and support every effort to re-establish a real 
and lasting peace in Vietnam; not to use force to re- 
sist the procedures for carrying the cease-fire into 
effect, in spite of the objections and reservations 
that the State of Vietnam has expressed, especially 
in its final statement." 31/ 

Tran Van Do's final effort was dismissed by Eden (as chairman), who urged. 
that, the Final Declaration having already been printed., the conferees 
take note of Do's statement. Nevertheless, Do ! s comments then and. previ- 
ously clearly established, his government's opposition to the Geneva Accords. 
That the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was signed by the French and 
Viet Mirth military commands, the main belligerents, accommodated the fact 
that the GVN did not recognize the political existence of the DRV. The 
French, correctly anticipating adverse reactions from the GVN, avoided seek- 
ing GVN official consent to the armistice. The French also knew that the 
GVN would never accede to a partition arrangement, and formal approval 
| • of the armistice by the military commands removed, the possibility of GVN 

obstruction of a cease-fire. 



h. GV^ Unable to Influence Outcome 

The French had good, reason for avoiding communication with 
the Vietnamese during the last days of the Geneva Conference: scheduled 
elections were prominent among the concessions that France had to make 
in order to obtain a settlement at all; and the reunification of Vietnam 
was deferred, by the device of the promised plebiscite. As the Conference 
drew to a close, and time was running out for the French, they traded on 
the Viet Mi.nh desire for the future "integrity of the Vietnam state" in 
order to salvage what they could from their own tottering situation. The 
French finally agreed to Vietnam-wide elections within two years. As in 
the partition agreements, the GVN was not able to influence that decision 
to any appreciable degree. In the larger sense, GVN aspirations were sacri' 
ficed to the position of France versus its Communist antagonist. Each' 
side was determined not to allow all of Vietnam to fall into the hands of 
the other. France agreed to elections, knowing -- as the USSR and. China 
also knew -- that elections might never be held. 32/ 



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k. U.S. -GYN Relations at Geneva 

a. U.S. Refuses to Influence GVN for France 

French readiness to accept a divided Vietnam --a disposition 
which before the end. of June culminated in abandonment of the enclave alter' 
native in favor of a north-south partition -- was not communicated, to the ' 
GVN. To the contrary, then and throughout the conference, the GVN dele- 
gation and government were informed of shifts in position, if at all, as 
faits accomplis . During June, for instance, Chauvel on several occasions 
approached, the U.S. with news of the "underground" negotiations with the 
Viet Minh and. with the hope that, once partition had. been fixed, the U.S. 
would, "sell" that solution to Saigon. 33/ In the same month, Chauvel, 
evincing understanding that the U.S. would, prefer to disassociate itself 
from a partition settlement, nevertheless asked, if the U.S. would, soften 
Bao Dai opposition by indicating it was the best solution obtainable. 
• Chauvel described Diem and. Buu Loc as "difficult," unrealistic, and. un- 
reasonable in their opposition, and likely to upset the delicate negotia- 
tions. 3^4/ The U.S. consistently reacted, negatively to these approaches, 
in the undoubtedly correct belief that the French were merely attempting 
to identify the U.S. with the partition concept in Vietnamese eyes. For 
example, Secretary Dulles instructed, the U.S. Ambassador on 2 July concern- 
ing Diem as follows: 



"it seems to me that the new Vietnamese Prime 
Minister, Ngo Dinh Diem, who has the reputation of 
uncompromising nationalist, is quite in the dark about 
developments critically affecting country he is trying . 
to lead. We fear that if results of French negotiations 
with communists are revealed, to him as a fait accompli , 
the very reaction French wish to avoid will result. 
You should, therefore indicate our concern to the French 
and ascertain their own intentions with respect to con- 
sulting him or minimizing his resentment and. their views 
with respect to plans and. prospects for maintaining order 
in South Vietnam." 35/ 

By refusing to act as intermediaries for the French, the U.S. 
in turn kept free of entanglement in a "French solution" to the Vietnam 
problem. 

b. French Disregard. U.S. Requests, Remain Aloof from GVN 

French aloofness from the GW continued, into July. Despite 
U.S. requests of the French delegation that the GVN be kept informed of 
developments, the French remained, wary of contact for fear of provoking 
a GVN reaction that, in turn, might fracture the delicate French discus- 
sions with the Viet Minh. Chauvel consequently informed. U. Alexis Johnson 
that "he was handling this /liaison with the GVN/ through members of his 
staff and was avoiding direct contact with Vietnamese in order not to have 
to answer their questions." 36/ When Offroy, another member of the French 

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delegation, suggested that the U.S. placate the Vietnamese with assurance 
of free world political, economic, and military support after the settle- 
ment, U. Alexis Johnson replied that this was a matter which the French 
had to handle. 37/ 



c# U.S. Declines to Support Final GVN Position 



When the penultimate session of the Conference recessed, 
Tran Van Do and another member of his delegation, Tran Van Chuong, explained 
Vietnam's position to U. Alexis Johnson. Even though they admitted, that 
they recognized the impracticality of the GVN proposals , the GVN delegation 
felt that "they must make the moral position of their government clear to 
the world, and to the Vietnamese people. If the other sid.e rejected it, 
the position of their government would have been improved." U. Alexis 
Johnson observed that time was short for another plenary session; he suggested 
that they ask Mend.es -France for an extension of his self-imposed, deadline 
for concluding the negotiations. After some hesitation, they did so, and 
Mend.es -France, although he urged the Vietnamese to circulate their proposal, 
stated he definitely could not ask the French National Assembly for more time 
at Geneva. Johnson at this point "reminded. Mend.es-France of the U.S. posi- 
' tion on GVN concurrence with any agreement. • Mend.es -France /said/ he was 
very conscious of this and. was asking De Jean /sic/ immediately to go to 
Cannes to see Bao Dai." 38/ Nothing came of this exchange. 

In summary, however, it must be said, that while the GVN attained, none 
of its major objectives, and. while it received little support from the 
U.S., it continued to exist. Its territorial and political integrity 
J below the 17th parallel was assured, after a fashion, for at least two 

years by the Geneva Accord.s. 



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III. B. 1. FOOTNOTES 

1. McClintock from Saigon tel. No. 502, May 4, 195^ (SECRET). 

2. Dulles to Paris tel. No. ^398* June k, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

3. The treaties are published, in U.S. VerbMin/3 (May 12), pp. 99-101. 

k. See the DEV's Declaration of Independence, in Ho Chi Minh, Selected- 
Works (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 196l), III, 20. 

5. Memorandum from Heath to Dulles and. Smith: "The Indochina Phase of 
the Conference," May 1, I95U (SECRET). 

6. Lacouture and Devillers, p. 122. 

7. The U.S. objection was based, on long-standing opposition to any move 
that would, accord. China the status of a major power equivalent to the 
fifth member of a "Big Five." See, e.g., Dulles to American Embassy - 
Canberra tel. No. I58, April 1, I95U (TOP SECRET). 

8. Lacouture and. Devillers, pp. 122-23. 

9. G. McMurtrie Godley (First Secretary) from Paris tel. No. 2757, 
April 29, 195*4- (UNC). 

10. Lacouture and. Devillers, p. 123 5 n. 3* 

11. Ibid . , pp. 123-24. 

12. Ibid . , p. I87. 

13. U.S. VerbMin/lC Restricted 6, p. 7 (CONFIDENTIAL). 

Ik. Smith from Geneva tel. SECT0 217, May 15, I95I+ (SECRET). 

15. Lacouture and. Devillers, p. 23*4-. 

16. French insistence on the l8th parallel originated, in the recommendation 
of General Navarre, who was asked, several questions by the French dele- 
gation at Geneva regarding the likely impact of the then-existing mili- 
tary situation on the French negotiatory position. Navarre's responses 
were sent April 21. On the demarcation line, Navarre said, that the 
l8th parallel would leave "us" the ancient political capitol of Hue 
and Tourane (Da Nang), and. permit the retention of militarily valuable 
terrain. See General Ely's Memoires: 1 T Indochina dans la Tourmente 
(Paris: Plan, 1964), p. 112, and Lacouture and. Devillers, p. 126. 



17. Ibid.., pp. 235-36. 



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18. U.S. VerbMin/3, pp. 10U, 105. 






19. I.C. Restricted/5, p. 16 (C). Records of the Restricted Sessions are 
summaries rather than word.- for -word, quotations, for the most part. 

20. I.C. Restricted/6, p. 16 (c). 

21. I.C. Restricted/7, p. 13 (c). 

22. U.S. VerbMin/7, p. 3kk. 

23." I.C. Restricted/l^, p. 26 (c). 

2k. CIA Report CS-U2198, July lk, 195^ from Saigon (SECRET)- Lacouture 

and. Devillers hold that Diem was stupefied when he learned of partition 
for the first time from Ambassador Heath via a personal letter from 
Eisenhower, July 12 (pp. 256-57)- 

25. Reported, in Smith's priority tel. SECTO 633 from Geneva, July 17, 195*1 
(SECRET). 

26. McClintock from Saigon tel. No. 2656, June k, 195*+ (TOP SECRET). 

27. Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 633, July 17, I95I4 (SECRET). 

28. Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 65^, July 18, 195^ (COMFIDEHTIAL)j 
Smith from Geneva tel. SECTO 655, July 18, 195^ (SECRET). 

29. Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 673, July 19, 195I* (SECRET). 
.30. U.S. VerbMin/8, pp. 3^7-^8. 

31. Ibid . , p. 355. 

32. Hans Morgenthau, "The 195^ Geneva Conference: An Assessment/ 1 in 

A Symposium on America's Stake in Vietnam , Wew York: American Friends 
of Vietnam, 1956, pp. 6U-70. 

33. Dulles to Smith at Geneva priority tel. TEDUC 212, June 17, 195!* 
(TOP SECRET). 

3^. Smith from Geneva priority DULTE 195, June 18, 195 1 ! (SECRET). In. an 

aide-memoire delivered, by Henri Bonnet, the French ambassador to Washing- 
ton, to Dulles and Eden on June 26, the French government urged the 
U.S. not to encourage an adverse Vietnamese reaction to partition. 
The U.S. was also asked "to intervene with the Vietnamese to counsel 
upon them wisdom and self-control and. to dissuade them from refusing 
an agreement which, if it is reached, is dictated not by the spirit 
of abandoning them, but on the contrary by the desire to save in 
Indochina all that can possibly be saved, and. to give the Vietnamese 



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state , under peaceful conditions, opportunities which have not always 
been possible heretofore because of the war." See Dulles' tel. No. 
4852 to American Embassy - Paris, June 28, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

35. AmEmbassy Paris 39? July 2, I95I1- (TOP SECRET). 

36. Johnson from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 56O, July 6, 195^- (TOP SECRET) 

37. Johnson from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 57^^ July 8, l^k (SECRET). 

38. Smith from Geneva tel. SECTO 655? July 18, I95U (SECRET). 



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III. B. 2. 



FRENCH AND GW RESPONSIBILITIES AFTER GENEVA 



TABLE OF CONTENTS AND OUTLINE 



Page 



1. French Presence Does Not Imply French Sovereignty. » B-21 



{ 2. France Is The Executor Of The Geneva Agreements B-21 

a. GVN Does Not Inherit French Responsibilities B-21 

b . GVN Position is Anomalous B-27 



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III. B. 2. French and. GVN Responsibilities After Geneva 

1. French Presence Does Not Imply French Sovereignty 

The fact that French Union forces were still in Vietnam at the 
time the Geneva military agreements were signed, and. that they remained 
there during and. after the Conference, need, not be interpreted, as evi- 
dence of lack of Vietnamese sovereignty. French Union forces could, 
hardly have left the country immediately without surrendering all Vietnam 
to the communists, and. without inviting the slaughter of the Vietnamese 
National Army. French officers and. noncommissioned, officers led. the 
latter troops. Clearly, . only a gradual withdrawal of the French Expedi- 
tionary Corps was reasonable in view of the prevailing military situation. 
The GVN accepted, these realities and. recognized, the need, for continued. 
French presence. The French government, in granting the GVN ind.epend.ence 
had. agreed, that the Expeditionary Corps would, be pulled out of Vietnam 
at the request of the GVN — although no doubt it hoped, to delay that day. 
In fact, the French moved, swiftly after Geneva, und.er American urging, 
to relinquish to the GVN the full trappings of the sovereignty granted. 
•in June, 195^- • By mid- September, the turning over of the civil service, 
police, and. other public administration in South Vietnam was formally com- 
pleted. By February, 1955 > the Vietnamese Army was placed, under the com- 
mand, of Vietnamese lead.ers, and the French accepted American primacy in 
advising, training, and equipping GVN armed forces. 

2. France Is The Executor Of The Geneva Agreements 

a. GY^ Does Not Inherit French Responsibilities 

Article 27 of the Armistice agreements signed, by France 
. states in part: "The signatories of the present Agreement and. their 
successors in their functions shall be responsible for ensuring and 
observance and enforcement of the terms and. provisions thereof..." 
That clause seemed to obligate the State of Vietnam in the event France ■ 
abrogated its responsibilities — but even if construed, thusly, the obli- 
gation extended only to "the present /militar^ Agreement," and not to 
the political provisions included in the unsigned Final Declaration. It 
is also possible to construe the reference to "successors" as a bind.er 
on the procession of French governments likely to follow Mend.es -France. 
In any event, the State of Vietnam explicitly d.enied responsibility for 
all the agreements concluded, by France at Geneva, although it pledged 
not to interfere with the cease-fire, l/ The declarations of Vietnamese 
disavowal were early, repeated and specific. Moreover, these declarations 
included warnings that the partition and. elections provided for by the 
Geneva Conference would lead, to renewed violence. Examples of these 
statements follow: 



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k 27 May $k 



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29 May $k 



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Geneva Conference Declarations of GVN 



On Partition 



On Elections 



Geneva Conference "must not lead 
to partition, either direct or 
indirect, final or provisional, 
de facto or de jure, of the 
national territory." 



State of Vietnam "would not agree 
to any plan which would result in 
the partition of Vietnam." Parti- 
tion involved "grave danger." 

"...The Vietnam delegation wished • 
to warn the Conference against 
measures tending to divide the 
national territory. If a division 
of Vietnam were to be sanctioned, 
the result would not be peace, but 
a pause before fresh hostilities: 
There was no example of a country 
torn physically apart which had not 
endeavored to recover its -unity and 
its historic frontiers. Partition 
would therefore mean sooner or 
later -- probably sooner -- a re- 
newal of war." 

"We do believe that there are cer- 
tain principles which should guide 
us. Among these principles is the 
political and territorial integrity 
of the Vietnamese country. When it 
was agreed that representatives of 
Vietnam should attend this confer- 
ence, it is obvious that one could 
not ignore the consequences of this 
attendance. It is impossible for a 
people to accept of its own free 
will a mutilation of its country... 
No Vietnamese patriot could accept 
partition o" 



fT 



Elections can be held "as soon 
as the JmJ Security Council 
has decided that the authority 
of the State has been established 
in the whole of the territory, 
and that conditions of freedom 
have been obtained. 



IT 



"The delegation of the State of 
Vietnam. . .had the honor to pro- 
pose. . .elections; . . .whereas the 
Delegation of Viet Minh proposed 
that there should be no inter- 
national supervision which, in 



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. 



7 16 Jun 5^ 



8 17 Jul 5h 






9 18 Jul <jk 









Geneva Conference Declarations of GVN 

(Continued) 



On Partition 



"The de facto partition. . .does 
not take any account of the unani- 
mous -will for national unity of 
the Vietnamese people. . .Vietnam, 
would prefer. . .provisional control 
"by the United Nations over a truly 
unified and independent Vietnam to 
its maintenance in power in a coun- 
try dismembered and condemned to 
slavery." 



"in order to avoid any misunder- 
standing ^ran Van Do/ "wished to 
state firmly that Vietnam dele- 
gation could not associate itself 
with any discussion of this /Final 
Declaration/. . .Vietnam does not 
agree to conditions advanced for 
cessation of hostilities. . .Delega- 
tion of Vietnam can only protest 
the idea of partition. . .Vietnamese 
delegation flatly rejects both 
drafts submitted to the conference 
• . .Vietnamese delegation cannot 
accept declaration or agreement 
where Vietnam, which /was/ invited 
to the conference as £B£J existing 
state, /is/ not even mentioned." 



On Elections 



the present circumstances, means 
that elections could not possibly 
be honest and true, the Delega- 
tion of the State of Vietnam has 
proposed that elections should 
take place under international 
supervision. 



tt 



The GVN, "in our proposal of 
May 12, have taken the initiative 
on proposing elections. . .these 
elections must be free, sincere, 
and supervised. The best control 
would be exercised by the U.N." 

"Pegroupment . . .reinforces the 
threat that they constitute to 
the free expression of the will 
of the people. Therefore not 
only does such a cease fire not • 
lead to a durable peace, since, . 
ignoring the will for national 
unity, it provokes the people 
to f unify* the country, but, by 
the consolidation of the armed 
forces now facing each other, it 
violates in advance the liberty 
of the future elections. . .The 
cease fire... far from leading 
to peace, makes peace improbable 
and precarious . " 



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Geneva Conference Declarations of GVN 

(Continued) 



On Partition 

"French, Soviet and Viet Minh 
drafts all admit the principles 
of a partition of Vietnam in two 
zones, all of North Vietnam being 
abandoned to the Viet Minh. Al- 
though this partition is only pro- 
visional in theory, it would not 
(repeat not) fail to produce in 
Vietnam the same effects as in 
Germany, Austria, and Korea. It 
would not bring the peace which is 
sought for, deeply wounding the 
national sentiment of the Viet- 
namese people, it would provoke 
trouble throughout the country, 
trouble which would not fail to 
threaten a peace so dearly ac- 
quired/ 1 



B-2^ 



On Elections 

"The Vietnamese Delegation there- . 
fore proposes: 

1. A cease fire on present 
positions. 

2 Regroupment of troops in 
two zones which would be 
as small as possible. 

3. Disarmament of irregular 
troops . 

h. After a period to be fixed, 
disarmament of Viet Minh 
troops and simultaneous 
withdrawal of foreign troops. 

5. Control by the United Nations 

A. Of the cease fire. 

B. Of the regroupment. 

C. Of the disarmament and 
the withdrawal o 

D. Of the administration 
of the entire country. 

E. Of the general elections, 
when the United Nations 
believe that order and 
security will have been . 
everywhere truly restored 

This proposal made on the formal 
instructions of His Majesty Bao 
Dai, and of President Ngo Dinh 
Diem, shows that the Chief of 
State of Vietnam once more places 
the independence and the unity of 
his country above any other con- 
siderations, and that the national 
government of Vietnam would prefer 
this provisional UN control over a 
truly independent and United Viet- 
nam to its maintenance in power in 
a country dismembered and con- 
demned to slavery." 

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Geneva Conference Declarations of GVN 






Note Date 
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On Partition 



On Elections 












"Mr. Tran van Do (State of Viet-Nam) (interpretation): 
Mr. Chairman, the Delegation of the State of Viet-Nam -when it 
tabled its proposal, saw an armistice without a partition, even 
provisional, of Viet-Nam through disarmament of all belligerent 
forces after their "withdrawal into perimeters as limited as 
possible and by the establishment of a provisional control by 
the United Nations on the whole of the territory, while the 
re-establishment of order and peace would enable the Vietnamese 
people to decide its fate through free elections. 

"The Delegation of the State of Viet-Nam protests against the 
fact that its proposal has been rejected without an examination, 
a proposal which is the only one to reflect the aspirations of the 
Vietnamese people. It requests urgently that the demilitarization 
and neutralization of the Catholic communities, the Bishoprics 
of the Delta in North Viet-Nam be at least accepted by this Con- 
ference. 

"It solemnly protests against the hasty conclusipn of the 
Armistice Agreement by the French and Vietminh High Commanders 
only, whereas the French High Command does command Vietnamese 
troops only through a delegation of powers given by the head of 
the State of Viet-Nam, whereas especially many provisions of this 
Agreement are of a nature to be seriously detrimental to the 
political future of the Vietnamese people. 

"It further solemnly protests against the fact that this 
Armistice Agreement abandons to Vietminh territories some of 
which are still occupied by Vietnamese troops and which are, 
nevertheless, fundamental to the def-ense of Viet-Nam against 
a greater Communist expansion, and results practically even in 
depriving the State of Viet-Nam from its right to organize its 
defense by other means than by the maintenance of the foreign 
army on its territory. 

"It also solemnly protests against the fact that the French 
High Command was pleased to take the right without a preliminary 
agreement of the Delegation of the State of Viet-Nam to set the 
date of future elections, whereas we deal here with a provision 
of an obviously political character. Consequently, the Govern- 
ment of the State of Viet-Nam requests that this Conference note 
that it does protest solemnly against the way in which the Armis- 
tice has been concluded and against the conditions of this 
Armistice which have not taken into account the deep aspirations 
of the Vietnamese people. 

"And the Government of the State of Viet-Nam wishes the Con- 
ference to take note of the fact that it reserves its full freedom 
of action in order to safeguard the sacred right of the Vietnamese 
people to its territorial unity, national independence, and freedom 



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*• 



11 ...as regards the final Declaration of the Conference, 
the Vietnamese Delegation would request the Conference to 
incorporate in this Declaration after Article 11. the follow- 
ing text: 



'The Conference takes note of the Declaration 
of the Government of the State of Viet-Nam under- 
taking: 



'o 



f to make and support every effort to re-establish 
a real and lasting peace in Viet-Nam; 

'not to use force to resist the procedures for 
carrying the cease-fire into effect, in spite of 
the objections and reservations that the State of 
Viet-Nam has expressed, especially in its final 
statement. '" 

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It has "been held that, the declaratory policy of the State of Vietnam 
disassociating itself from the Geneva Accords notwithstanding, Vietnam was 
obligated by the Treaty of Independence (h June 195*0 "to accept France's 
action on its behalf at Geneva. Yet, the reference in the Treaty of Inde- 
pendence to Vietnam 1 s observance of treaties and conventions signed for it 
| by France is in the past tense; no provision is made for France to conclude 
! binding agreements after h June on Vietnam's behalf. The passage of 

Article 27 of the Geneva Agreements in question charges France with the 
responsibility of insuring Western compliance with the terms of the agree- 
ments, as far as the southern part of Vietnam was concerned. Indeed, 
throughout the conference, France was one of the two principal protagonists, 
shaped the final position accepted by the West, and signed the cease-fire 
agreements (the final declaration was not signed, an oral declaration of 
assent being substituted when it became clear that the U.S. would not sign 
-- the U.S. refrained also from joining in the oral assent). French forces 
and political elements were present in South Vietnam and were not required, 
under the agreements, to be removed. It was not at this time envisioned 
by any of the Geneva Convention nations that France would precipitately with- 
draw its armed forces from Vietnam. 

b. GVN Position Is Anomalous 

It was generally recognized at Geneva that the position of 
the GVN was, at best, contradictory. The GVN asserted its desire for 
international status by demanding concessions which the other nations 
considered impossible. The GVN also was severe in criticism of the French, 
while at the same time acknowledging a debt to France for its very existence 
in the face of Viet Minh military and political pressures -- which even 
France, at chat time, could barely sustain. The unsupported opposition of 
the GVN was understood by the other nations as a small country's fight for 
survival. 

Partition, regroupment, and cease-fire conditions intended to lead to 
a final political settlement at Geneva, were all imposed on Saigon. While 
it is true that the alternatives offered by the GVN were impractical and 
unacceptable given the extent of Viet Minh territorial and population con- 
trol, the salient fact is that the GVN, speaking from what it regarded as 
an independent position, held fast against every proposal that departed 
from its concepts of national unity and self-determination. The limitations 
on the GVN's role as an independent participant at the Conference stemmed 
from French determination to conclude a settlement in line with French 
interests. France commanded the power to attract Conference support; the 
GVN did not. However, the GVN was neither obligated by previous commit- 
ment, by its legal status, nor by the Accords themselves to abide by the 
Franco-Viet Minh agreements which emerged. This anomaly ultimately made 
• France, and French presence in Vietnam, pivotal to the fulfillment of the 
Geneva agreements. 



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III. B. 2. FOOTNOTES 



1. U.S. VerbMin/8, 355 

2. U.S. VerbMin/3, 10^-105 

3. I. Co Restricted/6, 16 

H. I.C. Restricted/7, 13 

l • 

5. I.C. Restricted/8, 8-9 

6. U.S. VerbMin/7, 3^ 

7. I.C. Restricted/^, 26 

8. SECTO 633, July 17, 195^ (SECRET) 

9. SECTO 65U, July 18, 195^ (CONFIDENTIAL) 

10. SECTO 673, July 19, 195^ (SECRET) 

11. U.S. VerbMin/8, July 21, 195U, 3^7-3^8, 35^-355 



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III. C. THE VIET MINH POSITION AND SINO-SOVIET STRATEGY 



SUMMARY 



It has been charged, that Ho Chi Minh was robbed at the conference 
table of what he had. won on the battlefield., that the Geneva Accord.s were 
prejudicial in content and. implementation to legitimate Viet Minh inter- 
ests, and that, therefore, the subsequent actions of the Viet Minh are un- • 
derstandable in light of these disappointments. While it is fair to state 
that the immediate implications of the Accord.s did. not reflect (even accord- 
ing to CIA reports) Viet Minh strength and. control in Vietnam at the -time 
of the conference, it is equally important and. revealing to understand 
why. Viet Minh ambitions were thwarted., not so much by Western resistance 
or treachery, as by Sino-Soviet pressures on them to compromise. If the 
Viet Minh were to look for villains at the Geneva Conference, in honesty 
they would, have to admit that their interests were compromised, by their 
own communist allies, not the West. 

Viet Minh ambitions were broad. The Viet Minh were not only inter- 
ested, in gaining rights to the three-quarters of Vietnam they claimed, 
to have controlled., but in extending their authority throughout Indochina 
into Laos and. Cambodia. Although their offshoots, the Pathet Lao and 
the Free Khmers, controlled, little territory in Laos and. Cambodia, the 
Viet Minh pressed for their full representation in these countries. Argu- 
ing that they spoke for all the Indochinese people, the Viet Minh wished, 
to compel or persuade the French to leave the area and. then to settle 
directly with the indigenous and. weakened non-communists. They were 
pressing for a political settlement prior to a military armistice, or, 
in other words, they wanted, to fight while talking. Their specific objec- 
tives were: partition at the 13th parallel, a deadline for complete French 
withdrawal from the North, and. nation-wide elections to be held, six months 
after an armistice (Tab l). 

The source of DRV disappointments with the Accords can be traced, 
not so much to Western strength and. unity or Western "treachery" as to 
efforts by the Soviet Union and. Communist China to make the conference 
a success; that is, to bring stability to the area and. a settlement to 
the fighting. Together and. separately, Moscow and. Peking pressed, con- 
cessions on the Viet Minh. Invariably, the two principal communist dele- 
gates, Chou En-lai and Molotov, played major roles in breaking deadlocks 
with conciliatory initiatives. While the exact motives of the Soviet 
Union and. Communist China must remain a matter of speculation, the most 
acceptable explanation for their behavior is that both sought to achieve 
their objectives in Southeast Asia without triggering U.S. intervention. 
"Peaceful co-existence" was the hallmark of their diplomacy. The Chinese, 



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in particular, were interested in border security, buffers, preventing 
the formation of a U.S. alliance system with bases in the region, and 
reconstruction at home. The two big communist powers did not hesitate 
in asserting the paramountcy of their interests over those of the Viet 
Minh (Tab 2). 









•■ 









L 



DISCUSSION 



III. C. Tab 1 - DRV Negotiating Position 



2 - Sino-Soviet Objectives and Strategy 



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III. C. 1. 



DRV NEGOTIATING POSITION 



TABLE OF CONTENTS and OUTLINE 



Page . 



1. The DRV is Determined to Press a Very Hard Line C-4 

a. The DRV Recognizes Its Own Strong Position C-k 

b • The DRV Attitude is Defiant C-4 

1 c . The DRV Outlines Its Proposals C-k 

d. The DRV Proposals Demand a Political Settlement Before 
a Cease-Fire C-6 

e. The DRV Indicates Ambitions for Pathet Lao and Free Khmer. C-f 



f . The Initial DRV Demands are Excessive C-8 



2. Later DRV Positions Represent a Compromise C-8 

a . -The DRV Begins to Soften Its Position C-8 

b. A Weak Laniel Position Delays DRV Concessions.... C-9 

c . The DRV Presents a New Series of Proposals . • . C-9 

■ 

d. The DRV Agrees to a Separate Solution for Laos and 

Cambodia C-10 

e. The DRV Reluctantly Accepts .Partition C-10 

f . The DRV is Disappointed on Elections C-12 

g. The DRV Does Not Achieve Its Goals at Geneva . C-12 



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III. C 1. DRV NEGOTIATING POSITION 

m »»■■■»■ ■!■■■■ ■■»■■ m 

1.. The DRV is Determined to Press a Very Hard Line 

a. The DRV Recognizes Its Own Strong Position 

The victory at Dien Bien Phu cost the DRV 21,000 men. Ho 
realized he had paid dearly for this psychologically crippling stroke 
against the French, and he was determined to make the most of his advan- 
tage at Geneva. The effect of Dien Bien Phu on the Western delegations 
at the conference was evident not only in the initial shock, but also in the 
continued sensitivity to military developments in Indochina. Thus, of 
primary importance to the DRV negotiating position was the goal of making 
political capital from battlefield supremacy. Closely allied with this 
sense of military invincibility was the Viet Minh belief that France was 
in political turmoil and, therefore, psychologically weak. 

b. The DRV Attitude is Defiant 

To the DRV, the victories of their troops and the impending 
collapse of France in Indochina were quite clear. Less clear was the 
possibility that the U.S., either unilaterally or in some form of united 
action might intervene. The DRV gambled, however, on the French struggling 
on alone. In the opening phase of the conference, the Viet Minh released 
a communication that indicated there was no need to hasten the conclusion 
of the war: 

"We still remember the Korean lesson which taught us that 
one could negotiate and fight at the same time ..." l/ 

This attitude of mild defiance was intended not only for consumption in 
the West but also for the communist countries. The DRV was resisting 
early pressures of the USSR and the PRC who feared U.S. intervention and 
a wider war to move quickly to a solution. Instead, the DRV moved rapidly 
to increase its own forces in the Tonkin Delta, 2/ to compress the 
French forces there to a smaller territory, and they apparently instructed 
their delegation to continue pressing a hard line on political concessions. 
The goal was to delay a settlement until they bettered the military posi- 
tion even further. The DRV was determined to gain every inch that the 
French could be forced to concede. 

c. The DRV Outlines Its Proposals 

The initial Viet Minh gambit came at the second plenary- 
session of the Conference on 10 May. 3/ Pham Van Dong stated that the 
DRV was the "stronger" force in "more than three-fourths of the country." 
He went on to describe the successful administration of this territory by 
his government, which he said "represents the will of the entire Vietnamese 
nation..." The opposition, characterized as "the government of the tempo- 

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1 rarily occupied zone," did not enjoy popular support, he said, and was 

merely a tool of the French. Pham Van Dong did not, however, propose 

: that France recognize "the sovereignty and independence of Vietnam 

throughout the territory of Vietnam," a statement which amounted to a 
rejection of the Franco -Vietnamese treaties approved on 28 April by 
Laniel and Nguyen Trung Vinh. He instead offered an eight -point pro- 
posal for a political settlement and a cease-fire: 

1. Recognition by France of the sovereignty and independence 
] of Viet -Wain throughout the territory of Viet -Nam, and also 

recognition of the sovereignty and independence of Khmer 
and Pathet Lao. 



.•. 



-i 









2. Conclusion of an agreement on the withdrawal of all foreign 
troops from the territory of Viet -Nam, Khmer, and Pathet Lao 
within the time limits to be agreed upon by the belligerents. 
Pending the withdrawal of troops, the dislocation /sic/ of 
French troops in Viet -Nam shall be agreed upon -- particular 
attention being paid to limit to the minimum the number of 
their dislocation points. Provision shall be made that the 
French troops should not interfere in the affairs of local 
administration in the areas of their dislocation. 

3. Holding of free general elections in Viet -Nam, Khmer, and 
Pathet Lao with a view to constituting a single government 
in each country, convening of advisory conferences of the 
representatives of the governments of both sides in Viet -Nam, 
Khmer, and Pathet Lao — in each of the States separately 

and under conditions securing freedom of activity for patriotic 
parties, groups, and social organizations; the preparation and 
the holding of free general elections to establish a unified 
government in each country. Interference from outside should 
not be permitted. Local commissions will be set up to super- 
vise the preparation for and the carrying out of the elections. 
.Prior to the establishment of unified governments in each of 
the above-mentioned States, the governments of both sides will 
specifically carry out the administrative functions in the 
districts which will be under their administration, after the 
settlement has been carried out, in accordance with the agree- 
ment on the termination of hostilities. 

k. The statements by the Delegation of the Democratic Republic of 
Viet -Nam on the readiness of the Government of the Democratic 
Republic of Viet -Nam to examine the question of the entry of 
the Democratic Republic of Viet -Nam into the French Union in 
conformity with the principle of free will, and on the condi- 
tions of this entry corresponding statements should be made 
by the Governments of Khmer and of Pathet Lao. 



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5. Recognition by the Democratic Republic of Viet -Nam as well as 
by Khmer and Pathet Lao, of the economic and cultural interests 
of France in those countries. After the establishment of uni- 
fied Governments in Viet -Nam, Khmer, Pathet Lao, the economic 
and cultural relations of these States with France should be 
subject to the settlement in conformity with the principles 

of equality and mutual interest. Pending the establishment of 
the unified governments in the Three States, the economic and 
cultural relations of Indochina with France will temporarily 
remain without a change such as they exist now. However, in 
the areas where communications and trade ties have been broken 
off, they can be re-established on the basis of understanding 
between both sides. The citizens of both sides will enjoy their 
privileged status to be determined later in matters pertaining 
to domicile, movement, and business activities on the territory 
of the other side. 

6. The belligerent sides undertake not to prosecute persons who 
collaborated with the other side during the war. 

J. There shall be mutual exchange of prisoners of war. 

8. Implementation of measures that are referred to in paragraphs 
one through seven should be succeeded by the cessation of 
hostilities in Indochina, and by the conclusion to this end 
of appropriate agreement between France and each of the Three 
States which should provide for a complete and simultaneous 
cease-fire throughout the whole of the Indochinese territory 
by all armed forces of the belligerent sides, ground, naval, 
and air force. Both sides, in each of the Three States of 
Indochina, for the purpose of strengthening the armistice, will 
carry out a necessary settlement of territories and of the areas 
occupied by them, and it should also be provided that (a) both 
. sides should not hinder each other during the passage, for the 
purpose of the above mentioned settlement, by the troops of 
the other fslcj side over the territory occupied by the other 
side; (b) the complete termination of transportation into Indo- 
china from abroad of new ground, naval, and air units of per- 
sonnel, or of any kind of arms of ammunition; (c) to set up 
control over the implementation of the terms of agreement on the 
cessation of hostilities, and to establish, for this purpose, 
in each of the Three States, mixed commissions composed of the 
representatives of the belligerent sides, k/ 

- d. The DRV Proposals Dem and a P olitical Settlement Before a 
Cease -Fire 

The meaning of Dong T s list of proposals was clear. A politi- 
cal settlement would precede a military agreement (cease-fire) rather than 

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the reverse, "which the French preferred. Elections "would take place 
under the supervision of local commissions, and the DRV preference was 
for holding them country-wide and soon. By first? removing the French, 
and then by dealing directly with the non-communist Vietnamese on the 
issues of control and supervision of the cease-fire, regroupment, and 
general elections, the Viet Minh could legitimately expect a quick take- 
over of power from the relatively weak Vietnamese National Array. As Dong 
well knew, the relocation of French forces in the Tonkin Delta into a 
tighter perimeter was having, and would continue to have, major reper- 
cussions on Vietnamese army morale. 5/ Once the French were persuaded 
to withdraw, the VITA would undoubtedly collapse under Viet Minh military 
pressure. Moreover, inasmuch as Dong T s plan made no allowance for the 
disarming, much less the regrouping, of indigenous forces on either side, 
the Viet Minh would be militarily in a virtually unassailable position 
to control any general election that might be held (if, in fact, the 
political process were ever to advance that far). Dong's proposal, then, 
amounted to a request that the French abandon Vietnam. 

e. The DRV Indicates Ambitions for Pathet Lao and Free Khmer 

In the same speech, Dong evidenced that the DRV T s ambitions 
extended beyond Vietnam. Acting as spokesman for the Pathet Lao and 
Free Khmer -- whose representatives had formally come under Viet .Minh 
direction with the announcement on 11 March 1951 of formation of a Viet 
Minh-Free Khmer -Pathet Lao "National United Front" — Dong argued that 
these two movements enjoyed widespread popular support and controlled 
most of the territory of their respective countries. With considerable 
distortion of history (subsequently corrected by the Laotian and Cambodian 
delegates), Dong sought to demonstrate that the Pathet Lao and Free Khmer 
were de facto governments carrying out "democratic reforms" in the areas 
their armies had "liberated." The negotiating objective was to gain the 
status of lawful governments for the Pathet Lao and the Free Khmer. Dong 
seemed strongly to imply that the DRV spoke not only for itself, but for 

all the Indochinese peoples. 

t • • < 

Dong included the Pathet Lao and Free Khmer in his settle- 
ment plan. He demanded that France recognize the "sovereignty and inde- 
pendence" of those movements no less than of the DRV: 

"...the Peoples of Khmer and Pathet Lao have liberated 
vast areas of their national territory. The governments of 
resistance have exerted all their efforts in creating a 
democratic power and in raising the living standards of the 
population in liberated areas. That is why the government of 
resistance of Khmer, as well as that of Pathet Lao enjoy the 
support of and warm affection of the population in liberated 
areas and they enjoy great prestige and influence among the 
population of both countries. 



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"These governments represent the great majority of the 
people of Khmer and. Lao, the aspirations of whom they symbolize..." 6/ 

French forces alone were to withdraw from Cambodia and. Laos; 
the Pathet Lao and Free Khmer were not "foreign" troops. As in Vietnam, 
elections then would, be held. -- but, without neutral or international 
supervision. During these elections, Dong insisted, there must be "condi- 
tions securing freedom of activity for patriotic parties, groups, and. 
social organizations...," agreement to which would, have guaranteed, the 
functioning with impunity of various communist fronts. 

f. The Initial DRV Demands are Excessive 

Viet Minh ambitions in Indochina, it must be concluded, were 
not simply oratorical gestures intend.ed. strictly for the establishment of 
a bargaining position. In the absence of Sino-Soviet pressure and. the 
threat of U.S. participation, it seems clear that the DRV would, not have 
reduced, their demands. Viet Minh ambitions were extensive and. partially 
realized. They were, however, excessive and contrary to the compromise 
mood of their communist allies and; to the relatively firm Western posi- 
tion. 

2. Later DRV Positions Represent a Compromise 

a. The DRV Begins to Soften Its Position 

j The implacable DRV position ran contrary to Chinese and 

L-J Soviet d.esires to forestall American intervention in Indochina, and after 

as early gesture of unity, it was soon evident that the large communist 
powers were bringing pressure to bear on the DRV. By 17 May, Pham Van 
Dong was ready to withdraw from his strong position requiring a political 
settlement before a cease-fire, and also to give up his demands for seating 
Khmer and. Pathet Lao delegations, although he still insisted that recog- 
nition of these two movements was a part of the Vietnam solution: 

"As regards procedure, /Dong stated that/ his delegation 
was in full accord with the Soviet proposal that both political 
and military questions be dealt with together. He also agreed. ^ 
to treating the military questions first not because they were 
more important but more urgent. The questions of Khmer and. 
Pathet Lao were closely linked to that of Vietnam and could not 
be separated. He did not see any real question /sic/ for con- 
sidering first the question of Khmer and. Pathet LaoT" jj 

This softening of the DRV position at Geneva was not reflected in the 
military operations in Indochina, where the Viet Minh were still deter- 
mined to achieve control of as much of the Tonkin Delta as possible; in 
fact, the Viet Minh were planning heavier operations in the Tonkin Delta. 
A captured, document in the last days of May directed. Viet Minh commanders 

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f 



in that area to continue their harassing and guerrilla activities for an 
unspecified period "pending commitment of the battle corps." 8/ 

b. A Weak Laniel Position Delays DRV Concessions 

* 

The Viet Minh were considering further concessions in late 
May and early June when it became evident that the Laniel government was 
cracking at the seams, and that a harder communist line might force either 
the fall of Laniel or seme significant concessions from France. Either of 
these results would be profitable, since any government replacing Laniel's 
would certainly be more willing to end the Indochina war. For this reason, 
the DRV hard line once more came to the fore, to the point that Pham Van 
Dong was able to reverse himself on some points he had been ready to con- 
cede. On 8 June, he insisted once again on the necessity for a political 
solution prior to discussions of the cease-fire. As a psychological 
inducement, he added the hint that, whatever the outcome, France would 
remain influential in cultural and economic fields, and even suggested 
that some vestige of the French Union concept would continue to exist: 

"To this effect, finally, the Delegation of the Democratic 
Republic of Viet-Nam invites the conference to embark without 
delay upon the consideration of political questions such as the 
recognition by France of the sovereignty and of the real inde- 
pendence of Viet-Nam and of the other countries of Indochina, 
the organization of general elections in Viet-Nam, the relations 
of Viet-Nam and of France; that is, the question of the economic . 
and cultural interests, as well as the question pertaining to 
the association of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam to the 
French Union, and the conditions under which such associations 
should be effected, and so on and so forth. "9/ 

Possibly the words "and so on and so forth" give a truer indication of 
the environment in which this projection of future ties was made. The 
main point was a demand for immediate general elections in exchange for 
a cease-fire. 

c. The DRV Presents a New Ser ies o f Proposals 

The USSR backed the DRV at this time, insisting on inde- 
pendence for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, free elections in these states, 
and withdrawal of all foreign troops. 10/ With the continued demand by 
the DRV for even more territory than its units held on the ground, and with 
General Ely stating privately in the field that the French Union troops 
were "very, very tired, " 11/ the Laniel government staggered, lost a vote 
of confidence, and fell on 12 June. It was replaced, on 18 June, by the 
government of Mendes-France, pledged to end the war in Indochina by 20 July 
or step down. While the new French government was being formed, the DRV 
brought forth a new position, embodied in six points to be agreed on prior 
to a cease-fire: 

1. Complete and real sovereignty and national independence 
. of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. 



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2. Free general elections by secret ballot throughout 
the territory of Vietnam. - . 

3. No prosecution of collaborators. 

k. Establishment- of economic and cultural relations 
between France and the DRV. 

5. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to respect the independence, 
I unity and internal regime of the other states. 

6. Other political questions concerning Vietnam, Laos 
and Cambodia must be settled at a later time in the interests 
of consolidating peace and the guarantee of democratic rights 
and national interests of the peoples of Indochina. 12/ 

d. The DRV Agrees to a Separate Solution for Laos and Cambodia 

■ »■■■■»«■■■ ■■■■'■■■»•■■ ■■■■»■ ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■i !!■■■> ■ »■»■■ 

The speech by Chou En-lai at this meeting seemed to support 
the DRV view, although it was more mildly stated. In retrospect, however, 
it appears that this meeting marked a turning point, at least for the DRV 
on their insistence for including the Pathet Lao and Free Khmer in a 
settlement. Chou's proposals, contrary to Pham Van Dong's, implied the 
withdrawal of Viet Minh forces from Laos and Cambodia and also suggested 
the postponement of a political settlement for those two states: 

"I have stated, on several occasions at this conference, 
that the situations in the three states are not completely 
alike. That is to say, that the situation in Vietnam is not 
completely the same as that in Laos, while the situation in 
Laos is not completely the same as that in Cambodia. Therefore, 
the concrete situations in Laos and Cambodia should be taken into 
consideration in working out solutions for the problems of these 
two countries." 13/ 

Two days later, Pham Van Dong, in the fifteenth restricted 
session, announced the decisive termination of efforts to include all of 
Indochina in the political agreement: 

"..•I would like to say there have been Vietnam volunteers 
which fought on the side of the resistance elements of Laos 
and Khmer. They have been withdrawn. Today if there are such 
forces they will be withdrawn," 14/ 

e. The DRV Reluctantly Accepts Partition . 

In its early proposals, the DRV did not recognize the possi- 
bility of partition, aiming instead at a unification of all Vietnam. In 
conjunction with their demands for immediate elections, this was calcu- 
lated to give them control of the whole country. Lacking support from 



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Peking and Moscow, the DRV was forced to give in on this point. Molotov, 
on 17 May, opened the door by agreeing that military solutions should 
precede political solutions, and Eden, on 25 May, moved to include on the 
agenda the question of "regrouping areas for Vietnam." Pham Van Dong, in 
reply, accepted this concept of including a demarcation line and made the 
following points: ' • 

1. There should be a recognition of the principles of 
readjusting the areas under control of each state; 

2. -Readjustment would mean an exchange of territory taking 
into account actual areas controlled including population and 
strategic interests; 

3. Each side would get territory in one piece to include 
complete control of the area both economic and administrative; 

k. A line of demarcation should be established following 
the topographical line of territory so that it is easy to follow 
and would make transportation and communications possible within 
each state. 15/ 

The subsequent discussions of a cease-fire and partition were stymied 
initially by the DRV demand for a demarcation line at the 13th parallel. 
After two weeks, by l6 June, the DRV reduced this demand to "all of 
Tonkin and the entire delta area." The French, "without agreeing," said 
if such an arrangement were made, they "would demand a free hand in the 
South, indicating area south of the line starting approximately l8th 
parallel..." 16/ Discussions continued through the rest of June. The 
French Ambassador, Bonnet, commented on 28 June that the Viet Minh dis- 
position to negotiate arose, in the French opinion, from a fear that the 
conflict might expand to include the U.S.; 17 / in other words, the DRV 
had come around to the view of China and the USSR. From this time on, 
the French increasingly threatened the DRV with the possibility of U.S. 
intervention, even though, ironically enough, the U.S. was moving further 
away from such a position: 

"Chauvel reports that he spoke most firmly to Dong regarding 
military discussions. He said French have accepted Viet Minh 
proposal that Viet Minh receive Tonkin area, including Capitol, 
but that further Viet Minh proposal for demarcation line is un- 
acceptable. Chauvel reiterated in strongest terms fact that 
French proposal for demarcation line just north of Dong Hoi would 
be acceptable to conference and would thus eliminate danger of 
extension of war." 18/ 

By 6 July, Pham Van Dong was almost willing to accept the 
17th parallel. His attitude indicated that he, personally, was ready 
to compromise and that he felt his government was coming around: 

"Chauvel had seen Dong this morning. On question of 
demarcation lines, Dong again referred to status of popu- 

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lations sympathizing with Viet Minh who would be left south 
of demarcation line proposed by French. He said this ques- 
tion would be easier for him if he could get some general 
political assurances regarding eventual status these people. 
Chauvel said Dong indicated that with such assurances he 
might be able to accept Dong Hoi line." 19/ 

f . The DRV is Disappointed on Elections 

In Pham Van Dong's 10 May plan, a take-over of all Vietnam 
by the DRV was almost certain. "Foreign" troops would be withdrawn 
and elections would take place as soon as possible. "Local government" 
would fill in during the interval. Supervision of the elections them- 
selves would be by locally composed commissions. The French and the 
GVN vehemently opposed both immediate elections and elections unsuper- 
vised by some kind of international commission. There was no movement 
in this impasse until l6 July when Molotov opened new possibilities by 
suggesting that a decision on elections be left up to the GVN and DRV 
after a military settlement was made. The Chinese were willing to concede 
that elections might not take place for two or three years. Even under 
these pressures, there was no progress until very near the time set by 
the French for termination of Geneva talks-. On 19 July, at an extra- 
ordinary meeting attended by Molotov, Eden, Mendes -France, Chou En-lai, 
and Pham Van Dong agreement was reached on postponing elections for two 
years. 20/ This, of course, represented a severe setback for the ambi- 
tions of the DRV. 

g. The DRV Does Not Achieve Its Goals at Geneva 

■■» ■■■ I. ......... ■ . «. , T .!■.■«, 

The DRV, by the end of the conference, had moved a long way 
from its initial position on every important consideration. The cease- 
fire was considered ahead of the political decisions. The country was 
partitioned, giving the GVN about half the total territory, which was 
probably much more than it deserved on the basis of France-GVN military 
strength. Elections were put off for two years instead of being held 
immediately, and control of the elections was to be international rather 
than local. The Pathet Lao and Free Khmer movements were not represented 
at the convention, and the DRV had drawn its Viet Minh troops out of Laos 
and Cambodia. Bernard Fall's comment that the DRV was forced "to accept 
conditions far less favorable than the military situation warranted" 2l/ 
is. reinforced by a detailed analysis' of the French military position in 
the Tonkin Delta by Lacouture and Devillers in La fin d*une guerre , in 
which the French situation is described as on the verge of collapse. 22/ 
. * The DRV, according to Kahin and Lewis, probably expected, however, that 

the concessions they had made were only temporary: 

"...in evacuating its military units from the South, the 
Viet Minh was not being called upon to abandon its struggle 
for power, but only to transfer the competition from the mili- 
tary to the political plane. And whether in a military or an 
exclusively political contest, the Viet Minh confidently expected 

victory." 23/ 

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This, as Victor Bator points out, was a serious mistake: 

"...there must have been some miscalculation at that time 
on the part of Democratic Republic of Vietnam. They must have 
thought that South Vietnam Government would never be able to 
assert its independence and become strong enough to demand the 
French withdrawal. They underestimated the American interest in 
South Vietnam and expected to exploit the chaotic conditions in 
the South for gaining their political ends. However, as has 
already been observed, the events took a different turn in the 
South." 2k/ 

Ho commented much later on his personal feelings about the results of 
the Geneva Conference, and from these comments comes an indication of 
his feelings on later situations: 

"We thought we had achieved something with the French by 
compromising and it turned out to be shaky. Only through full 
and unconditional independence can we achieve stability. . .We 
are determined to continue to fight until we achieve total 
victory, that is, military and political..." 25/ 
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III. C. I. FOOTNOTES 



1. CIA Study OOI7/66 , "Asian Communist Employment of Negotiations as 
a Political Tactic" (s), p. k2. 



2. CIA Study OOI7/66 (S), p. lQ. 

3. U.S. VerbMin/2, pp. 58 ff. 

■ 

1 k. Ibid. . , pp. 65-66. * ■ ■ 

I 5v After Dien Bien Phu and. the withdrawal of most French forces to the 

1 . Tonkin Delta , Viet Minh strength in and. around the Delta was reported. 

as Sh infantry battalions , 1 artillery division, 110 district companies, 
[ and from ^0,000 to 50,000 militia. French- Vietnamese strength stood 

at 109 battalions (of which some 60 percent was VNA) and about 80,000 
auxiliary troops and. militia. Despite this manpower advantage for 
the French Union forces, an intelligence estimate for the period, said 
they faced possible defections on a mounting scale which could become 
very large if the Viet Minh scored major victories or if the French 
were believed, about to abandon Hanoi and portions of the Delta. See 
NIE-63-4-54, "Probable Military and. Political Developments in Indo- 
china over tie Next 30 Days (15 June-15 July)," June 15, 195^ (SECRET). 
In General Valluy's report to the five-power military staff confer- 
ence on June 4, moreover, he stated, there were no southern Vietnamese 
who could oppose northern Vietnamese once the Tonkin Delta was lost 
and defense of the South became necessary. See Dulles 1 tel. TEDUL 
171 to the American Consul - Geneva, June 7, I95U (TOP SECRET). 



6. U.S. VerbMin/l, pp. 15-16. 

7. IC Restricted/l (c), p. 8. 

8. CIA Study 0017/66 (S), p. 43. 

9. u.s. verbMin/5, p. 198. 

10. U.S. VerbMin/5, pp. 216-228; U.S. VerbMin/7, pp. 333-3^2 

11. CIA Study OOI7/66 (S), p. hk. 

12. IC Restricted/14 (c), pp. 18-19. 

13. IC Restricted/lU (c), p. 9; CIA Study OOI7/66 (s), p. 1*5 
Ik. IC Restricted/l5 (c), p. 16. 

15. IC Restricted/6 (c), p. 7- 

16. DULTE I87, Geneva to SecState, 16 June 195^ (TOP SECRET) 



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17. SECTO lj-89, translation of aide memoir e, Bonnet to State, 28 June 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

18. SECTO 557, Geneva to State, 3 July 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

19. SECTO 560, Geneva to State, 6 July I95U (TOP SECRET). 

20. Lacouture and Devillers, La fin d.'une guerre , p. 268. 

21. Fall, Viet -Nam Witness , p. 135- 

22. Lacouture and Devillers, p. 28U. 

23. Kahin and Lewis, The United States in Vietnam , pp. 1*7-1*8. 
2k. Bator, Vietnam — A Diplomatic Tragedy , p. 17. 

25. CIA Study 0017/66 (S), p. k9. 



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III. C. 2. 



SINO- SOVIET OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY 



TABLE OF CONTENTS and. OUTLINE 



Vage 

1. USSR and China are Motivated by Different Objectives C-l8 

a. Atmosphere at Geneva is Different from Panmunjon C-l8 

b . Soviet Ob j ect ives C-l8 

(1) USSR Seeks to Avert a Major International Crisis 

(2) USSR Wishes to Prevent French Support of EDC 

(3) USSR Seizes the Opportunity to Create a New 
Communist State 

c. Chinese Objectives : The Need for Border Security C-19 

(1) China's Policy Calls for Assistance to "Wars 
of National Liberation" 

(2) China Wary of U.S. Intervention 

(3) China Wishes to Prevent Laos and. Cambodia 
from Becoming U.S. Allies 

(k) China Attempts to Enhance the Image of 
"Peaceful Co-existence" 






o 



2. USSR and. China Serve as Moderating Influences on the 

Viet Minh C-21 

a. Opening Position of Both Countries Supports DRV 

Hard. Line C-21 

b. Shift to Support of Bilateral French-DRV Discussions 

is Apparent Early C-22 

c. USSR and China Change DRV Approach to Cease-fire C-22 

d. DRV Responds to Sino-Soviet Pressure on Partition C-22 

e. Molotov Proposes Compromise on Elections C-23 



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f • DRV is Pressed to Give Up Claims for Pathet Lao and 

Free Khmer Representation C-23 

g. Chinese Play a Major Role in Pathet Lao-Free Khmer 

Exclusion • C-21+ 

h. USSR and China Agree to a Control Commission C-25 

i. Sino-Soviet Influence Has Significant Effect C-25 






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III. C. 2. SINO-SOVIET OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY 

1. USSR and. China Motivated by Different Objectives 

a. Atmosphere at Geneva is Different from Panmunjom 

Daring the Korean War, the initial communist move toward, 
negotiations came at a time of fairly clear-cut military stalemate. Dis- 
cussions at Panmunjom extended, over two years while UN and. communist armies 
fought over small parcels of strategically valuable terrain. In Indochina, 
to the contrary, the first communist indications of willingness to nego- 
tiate came in September 1953 (from both Peking and. Moscow), while the 
Viet Minh were preparing for the "general counteroffensive," and. with 
, the French Union forces constricting their defensive perimeter and. des- 
perately seeking to prevent large-scale desertions, by the Vietnamese. 
Moreover, a final settlement was reached, after only two months of bargain- 
ing. The reasons for this unexpectedly rapid, and. compromise settlement 
lie in Moscow and. Peking. For reasons that were either the same or com- 
plementary, these two communist powers created, an atmosphere for serious 
negotiations. 



b. Soviet Objectives 

Unlike the Chinese, the Soviet Union was never explicit about 
its motivations for working toward, a settlement. Nevertheless, there 
are strong grounds for believing that the Soviets had. these goals in view: 
(l) averting a major war crisis over Indochina that would stimulate Western 
unity, provide the U.S. with support previously lacking for "united, action," 
and conceivably force Moscow to help defend the Chinese; (2) reducing the 
prospects for successful passage of the European Defense Community in the 
French National Assembly; (3) seizing the opportunity to create a communist- 
controlled, enclave in Vietnam which could then be expanded into a new com- 
munist state. 

(l) USSR Seeks to Avert a Major International Crisis 

On the first point, the Soviets were surely aware that 
the United States probably would be prepared, under certain conditions, 
to consider active involvement in the war. Newspaper reports of the time 
added both credence and uncertainty to American plans for "united, action." 
The Soviets during this period, were caught up, moreover, in a full-fledged, 
policy debate over the import of Eisenhower's defense program for Soviet 
national security. When the debate was resolved sometime in April 195^, 
apparently First Secretary Khrushchev 1 s perception of the continued dan- 
ger of a new world war that might be touched off by a reckless American 
nuclear strike won out over the relative optimism of Premier Malenkov. 
Specifically, Moscow probably reasoned, that a failure to settle at Geneva 
would lead, to U.S. involvement and. escalation in Indochina, that at one 
point there might be another direct clash between American and Chinese 
forces, and that the Soviet Union therefore would, be called upon to come 
to the aid of its Chinese ally. 

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As the Soviets entered, the Geneva Conference, then, it 
seems that one of their primary aims was to diminish the possibility of 
U.S. intervention, either in the guise of a united, action or unilaterally, 
! in Indochina. While this outlook did not prevent the Soviets from seek- 
ing to capitalize on the change in administration in Paris from Laniel 
to Mend.es -France, it did work in the general direction of a reasonable 
settlement that would be honorable for the French and generally accepta- 
ble to the Viet Minh. The Russians evidently believed, however, that 
so long as the French (and the British) were agreeable to a settlement, 
the Americans would be hard-pressed, to disregard, their allies and inter- 
vene . 

- 

(2) USSR Wishes to Prevent French Support of EDC 

EDC was also almost certainly on Molotov's mind during 
the negotiations. There is no evidence to support the contention of some 
writers that Molotov explicitly baited. Mend.es -France with a lenient Indo- 
china settlement in return for Assembly rejection of EDC, but 'Molotov 
need, not have been that explicit. Throughout 1953 and into 195^-, Soviet 
propaganda was dominated, by comments on EDC and. the danger of a rearmed. 
Germany. It was certainly in Soviet interest to pressure the DRV for 
concessions to the French, since removal of the French command from Indo- 
f china would restore French force levels on the Continent and thereby some- 
j what offset the need, for an EDC. Soviet interests, in short, probably 

dictated the sacrifice of Viet Minh goals if necessary to prevent German 
re -militarization. 

(3) USSR Seizes the Opportunity to Create a New Communist 
State 

Soviet efforts to gain control of Iran, Manchuria, Greece 
and Korea indicate a possible third, objective of their diplomacy at Geneva. 
In these instances, the Soviet Union attempted, to gain control of the tar- 
get state by establishing a communist enclave in the target state itself. 
This enclave would become, then, "a first stage in the ultimate absorption 
of the whole state by the communist bloc." It may have been that, in 
the Soviet view, the timing for such a move in Vietnam was correct and 
that control of Vietnam would come without the necessity for military 
conquest. 1/ 

c. Chinese Objectives: The Need, for Border Security 

In contrast to the Soviet position, the Chinese made their 
goals at Geneva quite clear: (l) emphasizing the commitment to assist 
"wars of national liberation"; (2) guarding against the possibility of 
U.S. military intervention; (3) preventing the Indochinese states from 
becoming U.S. bases or joining the American alliance system; and. (h) pro- 
moting the "five principles of peaceful coexistence" as part of China's 
effort to extend its influence across Asia. Central to each of these 
objectives was the need to create a zone of security that encompassed. 
Laos, Cambodia, and. the northern half of Vietnam, to insure China 1 s south- 
western flank against intrusion by the U.S. or any other large foreign 
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(1) China's Policy Calls for Assistance to "Wars of National 
' Liberation " 

From the moment Chinese troops arrived at the Sino- 
Vietnamese border, Chinese assistance to the Viet Minh was clearly in 
line with Peking's policy of assisting wars of national liberation. 
This theme was alluded to frequently by Chinese delegates at Geneva. 
The Chinese, however, carefully controlled the dispensation of that aid 
in support of the war, and. only after the Berlin Conference did they 
significantly augment it to assure the fall of Dien Bien Phu. Regardless 
of Marxist rationale advanced by China for its policy toward the Viet 
Minh, China historically had acted to obtain vassal states on its periph- 
ery. China's domestic cohesion having been restored, it turned, consis- 
tent with centuries of policy towards Vietnam, to projecting its influence 
into Southeast Asia via Vietnam. 

(2) China Wary of U.S. Intervention 



In providing less assistance than it could have, Peking 
may very well have been wary of prompting American intervention and. a 

I wider war. In this respect, U.S. warnings to China during 1953 from an 

American Administration which publicly vowed a very hard line toward the 

j communist bloc could, not be ignored, by Peking. The Chinese by. 195^ had. 

evinced, moreover, greater concern than previously over the military effec- 
tiveness of nuclear weapons. Having been through a costly war in Korea, 
and having decided as early as the fall of 1952 to give priority to 

• "socialist reconstruction" at home, Peking was in no position to risk 

provoking the United States. Its willingness, to work for a settlement 
of the Indochina war may have stemmed, in this light, from the conviction 
that: (a) the DRV had made sufficient military gains for China, i.e.., 
territorial control in northern Vietnam; and (b) that the DRV should not 
be allowed, to provoke the West (and. the U.S. in particular) into a pre- 
cipitous military response that would, change the nature of the war and. 
perhaps of China's commitment as well. 

(3) China Wishes to Prevent Laos and. Cambodia from Becoming 
U.S. Allies 

Besid.es assuring that a communist state would occupy the 
northern portion of Vietnam, China also sought to neutralize the two other 
Ind.ochinese states. Chou indicated, at the Conference that he had. no ob- 
jection to the introduction of arms and. military personnel into Cambodia 
or Laos after the cease-fire; 2/ nor did. he object to their monarchical 
form of government, 3/ to their independent handling of internal politi- 
cal problems, k/ or to their joining the French Union. 5/ Surprisingly, 
Chou asked no concessions from the French on these counts, although the 
French had. half- expected. Chou to press for better trade relations, support 
for a CPR seat in the United. Nations, or French diplomatic recognition 
of Communist China. 6/ Instead, Chou made clear that China was concerned, 
preeminently about the establishment of U.S. bases in Cambodia and Laos 
for potential use against the mainland. Concessions to the French may 



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have been seen by Peking as a way of keeping the French "in" and the 
. Americans out. The rapid, collapse of France could, create a vacuum into 
which the U.S. would, be forced, to move. 



The Chinese were disturbed, about the prospect of Cam- 
bodia, Laos , and. the State of Vietnam becoming members of the proposed. 
U.S. security treaty system for Southeast Asia, jj When, for example, 
Chou met with the Cambodian Foreign Minister (Nong Kimny) on 17 July, 
the Chinese Premier implicitly warned against Cambodian participation 
in a Southeast Asia pact or acceptance of foreign bases. The consequences 
of either move by Cambodia, Chou said, would be very serious for Cambodian 
ind.epend.ence and territorial integrity. And. he specifically stated, that 
his remarks applied, equally to Laos and Vietnam. 8/ Peking was not in- 
terested, in new territorial acquisitions; but neither would it tolerate 
an American military threat close by. * 

(k) China Attempts to Enhance the Image of "Peaceful Coexistence " 

A final Chinese objective was to enhance China 1 s image 
as an Asian power sincerely dedicated to peaceful coexistence. The policy 
of "peaceful coexistence" was framed in terms of the five principles: 
mutual friendship, mutual non-interference in internal affairs, non-aggression, 
equality and mutual respect for territorial integrity. The Chinese invested 
much time and. travel in convincing their Asian neighbors of Peking's sin- 
cerity. Seen in this larger context, the Indochina settlement, for which 
Chou must be credited with a major share, bolstered Peking's image as a 
dedicated worker for peace whose voice had to be heeded in Asian councils. 
Not inconsequentially, China 1 s stock in the communist bloc must have risen 
as well. 

2. USSR and. China Serve as Moderating Influences on the Viet Minh 

a. Opening Position of Both Countries Supports DRV Hard Line 

For a variety of reasons the Soviets and Chinese found, it in 
their respective interests to work for a peaceful settlement of the Indo- 
china War. Although giving the impression, at first, of being fully be- 
hind the Viet Minh negotiating position, Molotov and Chou En-lai gradu- 
ally moved, toward, accommodation with the French. The two chief communist 
delegates were in fact instrumental in gaining concessions from the Viet 
Minh and in proposing acceptable alternatives to the French. At the out- 
set of the Conference, Molotov and Chou outwardly supported, without quali- 
fication Pham Van Dong's proposal for a political settlement to be followed 
by a cease-fire. When it became clear that the French were not going to 
accept that proposal, they evidently agreed, that further progress required 
a separation of military from political discussions. Molotov' s suggestion 
at the first restricted, session of 17 May along these lines, and Chou's 
remark to Eden on 20 May that a cease-fire should, have priority, repre- 
sented, real breakthroughs and. probably were the cause of Pham Van Dong 1 s 
willingness to engage in private military discussions with French General 
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b. Shift to Support of Bilateral French-DRV Discussions is 
Apparent Early 

The Soviet and Chinese delegations -- much more than the 
Viet Minh — were more anxious for direct Franco-Viet Minh discussions. 
The fact that Soviet officials on 30 March and again 5 May told Western 
officials that bilateral talks would be the most profitable form of nego- . 
tiations for a cease-fire 9/ suggests that the communists 1 initial back- 
ing of Fham Van Dong's proposal may have been simply a trial balloon. 
Once the French, supported by the U.K. and U.S., refused to budge from 
their call for an immediate , closely inspected cease-fire, Chou and Molotov 
were left free to initiate talks in the direction of compromise. 

c. USSR and. China Change DRV Approach to Cease-fire 

The pressure that the Chinese and the Soviets were able to 
bring to bear apparently forced the DRV to acquiesce in a cease-fire prior 
to a military settlement. Pham Van Dong had argued for a plan which would 
have made a cease-fire throughout Indochina contingent on the satisfaction 
of Viet Minh conditions for general elections and the formation of three 
united governments. But at the first restricted session of the Confer- 
ence on 17 May, Molotov pointed out that French proposals up to that point 
had dealt only with military matters, and proposed therefore that these 
be dealt with before going on to political arrangements. 10/ The Chinese 
agreed with this approach. In a conversation with Eden, Chou En-lai con- 
curred in the separation of military from political matters, with priority 
to a cease-fire, ll/ When, therefore, Hoang Van Hoan reportedly told 
Le Monde on 2k May that the DRV posed "not a single prior political condi- 
tion," he was reflecting the views of the Soviets and Chinese as much as 
paying the way for Dong's initiative of the next day. 

d. DRV Responds to Sino-Soviet Pressure on Partition 

There is evidence to believe that both the Chinese and the 
Soviets were instrumental in bringing about a series of Viet Minh concessions 
on the issue of where to draw the demarcation line between North and South 
Vietnam. The possibility of partition had been suggested initially to 
U.S. officials as early as k March by a member of the Soviet Embassy in 
London, apparently out of awareness of Franco-American objections to a 
coalition arrangement. 12/ The partition line mentioned, at that time 
was the l6th parallel, which would have placed. Tourane (Da Nang) in the 
hands of the Viet Minh (the l6th parallel crosses a few miles south of 
the port). It was also the Soviets who, on the opening day of the con- 
ference, approached the U.S. delegation on partition — this time averring 
that the establishment of a buffer state to China's south would be suffi- 
cient satisfaction of China's security needs. 13/ 

- 

In late June, after several rounds of secret Franco-Viet Minh 
military talks had failed to make headway, Ta Quang Buu (Vice Minister of 
National Defense) was still insisting on the 13th parallel, which strikes 
the coast just south of Tuy Hoa, as the partition line. Ik/ As suggested 

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by Lacouture and Devillers, the Viet Minh may have been seeking to capitalize 
on Mendes-France's reputation as a man of peace, and. on the ongoing with- 
drawal of French Union forces from the southern Delta. 15/ This Viet 
Minh position underwent a drastic change by the middle of July; and. the 
change can be traced to a meeting between Chou En-lai and. Ho Chi Minh at 
Nanning rear the China-Vietnam bord.er • According to CIA reports, Chou applied 
pressure on Ho to accept a partition line much farther to the North, probably 
the 17th or l8th parallel. 16/ Pham Van Dong's subsequent compromise posi- 
tion indicating a willingness of the Viet Minh to discuss partition at 
the l6th parallel seems to have originated in the talks between Chou and. 
Ho. 17/ 



The French, however, refused, to budge from their opposition 
even though Molotov argued, that the 16th parallel represented, a substantial 
Viet Minh concession and d.emand.ed a French quid pro quo . 18/ The Soviet 
delegate then came forward with a new proposal to draw the demarcation 
line at the 17th. 19/ Precisely what motivated Molotov to make this pro- 
- posal is not clear. Speculatively, Molotov may simply have traded consider- 
able territorial advantage to the French (much more than was warranted by 
the actual Tonkin military situation) for some progress on the subject of 
elections. The Western negotiators, at least, recognized this possibility: 
Eden considered a line between the 17th and l8th parallels worth trading 
for a mutually acceptable position on elections; 20/ and Mend.es -France 
observed in a conversation with Molotov that the election and .demarcation 
questions might be linked in the sense that each sid.e could, yield on one 
of the questions. 2l/ 



e. Molotov Proposes Compromise on Elections 

The French had consistently held out for general elections 
in Vietnam, but without a time limit. (Election dates for Laos and. Cam- 
bodia were already set by their constitutions as August and September 1955 > 
respectively.) Molotov, however, reflected Viet Minh thinking in propos- 
ing that a date be fixed, offering June 1955 > but suggesting that elections 
might be agreed upon for 1955 with the exact date to be decided between 
Vietnamese and Viet Minh authorities. 22/ The Chinese proved, much more 
flexible. In a talk with a member of the British delegation, Li K ! o-nung 
argued, for a specific date, but said his government was willing to set it 
within two or three years of the cease-fire. 23/ Once again, the compro- 
mise was worked out on Molotov' s initiative. At a meeting on 19 July 
attended by Eden, Mendes -France, Chou, and Dong y Molotov drew the line at 
two years. 2k/ In view of the DRV d.emand for six months, the French com- 
promise position of 18 months, and. the Soviets 1 own one-year plan, the 
West had good reason to accept Molotov 1 s offer. 

f . DRV is Pressed, to Give Up Claims for Pathet Lao and. Free Khmer 
Representation 

A third, instance in which Viet Minh ambitions were cut short 
by the diplomatic intrusion of their comrades concerned the status of the 

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Pathet Lao and. Free Khmer. Throughout the month of May, the DRV had demanded 
that representatives of these movements be invited to the Conference to 
sit 5 like the Viet Minh, as belligerents wielding governmental power. 
These demands were consistently rejected by the non-communist side, which 
argued that the Pathet Lao and Free Khmer were creatures of the Viet Minh, 
guilty of aggression against the Cambodian and Laotian governments (in 
contrast to the "civil war" in Vietnam) , and not deserving status which 
they had in no way earned. When Molotov, on 17 May, recommended that 
"military matters" should be considered first, the question of seating the 
Pathet Lao and. Khmer delegations was dropped.. 



Nevertheless, the Viet Minh persisted in their position on 
an all- Indochina political settlement when the significant bargaining was 
| reduced, to "underground" military talks between them and. the French begin- 
ning in early June. 25/ The first compromise of the Viet Minh's position 
came on 20 May when Chou En-lai, in the same conversation with Eden at 
which the chief Chinese delegate also agreed to separate military from 
political matters, admitted, that political settlements might be different 
for the three Indochinese states. Chou thus moved a step closer to the 
Western position, which held, that the Laotian and Cambodian cases were 
substantially different from that in Vietnam. Not surprisingly, the Viet 
Minh, at a secret meeting with the French on 10 June, suddenly indicated 
their preference for concentrating on Vietnam rather than demanding the 
inclusion of Laotian and Cambodian problems in the bilateral discussions. 26, 

g. Chinese Play a Major Role in Pathet Lao-Free Khmer Exclusion 

The Viet Minh's major concern, as indicated on 16 June, was 
that they at least obtain absolute control of the Tonkin Delta, including 
Hanoi and Haiphong. 27/ Neither Chou nor the Viet Minh, however, went 
so far as to dismiss the existence of legitimate resistance movements in 
Laos and. Cambodia. But in ongoing talks with the British, Chou proved far 
more willing than the Viet Minh to push aside Pathet Lao-Free Khmer inter- 
ests. On 17 June, at a time when four rounds of secret Franco-Viet Minh 
military talks had failed, to make headway, Chou told Ed.en that it "would 
not be difficult" to gain Viet Minh agreement on withdrawing their "volun- 
teers" from Cambodia and Laos. Eden, moreover, got the impression from 
his meeting with Chou that the latter earnestly wanted a settlement and 
was greatly concerned over the possible break up of the conference. 28/ 
Cambodian resistance forces were small, making a political settlement with 
the Royal Government "easily" obtainable. In Laos, where those forces were 
larger, regroupment areas along the border with Vietnam and China (Sam 
Neua and. Phong Saly Provinces) would, be required. Asked by Eden whether 
. ' there might not be difficulty in gaining Viet Minh agreement to the with- 
drawal of their forces from the two countries, Chou replied it would "not 
be difficult" in the context of a withdrawal of all foreign forces. 29/ 

The Chinese, almost certainly with Soviet support, 30/ had. 
made a major breakthrough in the negotiations by implicitly adopting the 
Western view that the Pathet Lao and. Free Khmer forces did. not represent 



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legitimate indigenous movements and should be withdrawn. The Viet Minh 
volte-face came, as in the other cases, soon after. A Laotian delegate 
reported on 23 June that the Viet Minh were in apparent accord, on the 
withdrawal of their "volunteers" and even on Laos' retention of French 
treaty bases. The Viet Minh f s principal demand was that French military 
personnel in Laos be reduced to a minimum. Less clearly, Dong made sug- 
gestions about the creation of a government of "national union," Pathet 
Lao participation in 1955 elections for the national assembly, and a 
"temporary arrangement" governing areas dominated by Pathet Lao military 
forces. 31/ But these latter remarks were meant to be suggestive; Dong 
had come .around to the Western view (now shared by the Soviets and Chinese) 
on the important point of removing Viet Minh troops from Laos. Later in 
the conference, Dong would have to make a similar retreat on Cambodia. 

h. USSR and. China Agree to a Control Commission 



"While the Viet Minh from the beginning had. pressed for no 
outside control or supervision of either military or political agreements 
concerning Indochina, all other delegations quickly moved in that direc- 
tion. The Soviets took the lead on the communist side. The major issue 
was the composition and voting procedure of .the proposed International Con- 
trol Commission. From the Western standpoint, the ICC should not have 
I had a communist representative, since no communist could be considered 

neutral. The Soviets retorted, as expected, that Western backing of a 
Colombo Power (India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ceylon, or Burma) was subject to 
the same objection, namely, that each of these nations always would vote 
with the Western bloc. As the matter evolved, a compromise settlement 
provided for a three-nation formula including one communist state. Both 
aspects of this agreement were based on Molotov T s original plan. 3^/ 

As to voting procedure, the communists not surprisingly in- 
sisted on unanimity, at least for "major questions." The West, while accept 
ing that rule, considered pushing for acceptance of majority voting to de- 
termine whether a question was minor or major. 33/ The result (Article 
k2 of the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam) was to 
specify unanimous agreement among the Commission representatives on matters 
pertinent to violations, or threats of violations, that might lead to the 
resumption of hostilities. However, minority reports could be issued, where 
the Commission was unable to agree on a recommendation. 

i. Sino-Soviet Influence Has Significant Effect 

There is little doubt that the conference would not have been 
able to move against the initial DRV intransigence without assistance from 
the Soviets and. Chinese. In the opening phase of discussion, both the 
major powers voiced, complete agreement with the DRV in policy and aims, 
but through a series of moves both powers also made great efforts to soften 
the DRV hard line and. to allow enough flexibility for concessions. The 
first problem, involving the seating of the Pathet Lao and Khmer, was solved 
by Soviet and Chinese agreement to postpone — indefinitely, as it turned 
out — any discussion of the question. The second stumbling block was the 

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Viet Minh insistence on a political solution before a cease-fire* The 
ability of the Chinese and Soviets to overcome DRV resistance on this point 
was very encouraging early in the proceedings. Russia and. China were active 
behind the scenes on the question of partition, with Russia taking the ini- 
tiative even before the conference began, and with both major powers in- 
fluencing the decisions as the French and. Viet Minh moved, toward a mutually 
agreeable demarcation line. The common-sense role that the USSR and China 
played with reference to Pathet Lao and. Free Khmer inclusion brought about 
a key concession that had nearly stopped the conference — the need to 
separate the Vietnam question from the rest of Indochina. The final diffi- 
cult quest ion, the composition and function of the Control Commission, 
dragged, along for several weeks, but was finally solved with no little 
assistance of the USSR and. China. 






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III. C. 2. FOOTNOTES 

1. J. M. Mackintosh, Strategy and. Tactics of Soviet Foreign Policy 
(New York: Oxford, 1963), pp. 83-84. 

2. In a talk with Nong Kimny, Cambodian Foreign Minister, July 14; 
in Johnson tel. SECTO 6l6 from Geneva, July 15, 1954 (SECRET). 

3. In a talk with Mendes -France, June 24; in Dillon tel. from Paris 
. priority No. 5035? June 24, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

4. Ibid , and Johnson priority tel. SECTO 517, June 24, 1954, from Geneva 
(SECRET), reporting Mendes -France *s conversation with Chou in Berne. 
Chou qualified this somewhat by urging that the resistance elements 

in the two countries be provided suitable means of re -integration into 
their respective societies. 

5. Dillon tel. from Paris priority No. 5O35, June 24, 1954 (TOP SECRET). 

6. Ibid . See also Johnson priority tel. SECTO 517, June 24, 195^ from 
Geneva (SECRET). 

7. These views were presented, e.g ., to Seymour Topping by Huang Hua at 
a meeting described by Topping as deadly serious and devoid, of propa- 
gandist ic remarks. "When Huang spoke of possibility American bases in 
Indochina or ant i- communist pact in Southeast Asia, he became very 
agitated, his hands shook, and his usually excellent English broke 
down, forcing him to work through interpreter." See Smith's tel. 
SECTO 661 from Geneva, July 19, 1954 (TOP SECRET). See also Johnson 
priority tel. SECTO 517 from Geneva, June 24, 1954 (SECRET); Smith 
priority tel. SECTO 463 from Geneva, June 17, 1954 (SECRET); and. Smith 
tel. SECTO 636 from Geneva, July 17, 195^ (SECRET). 

8. Smith tel. SECTO 635 from Geneva, July 17, 1954 (SECRET). Interestingly, 
at this same conference, Chou indicated, it would, be acceptable for the 
Cambodians to have French or British military instructors, but not Ameri- 
cans. 

9. Central Intelligence Agency, Memorandum : Asian Communist Employment 
of Negotiations as a Political Tactic , RSS^No. OOI7/66, p. 40 (SECRET/ 
No Foreign Dis/ Controlled. Dis.). ' 

10. U.S. VerbMin/lndochina Restricted 1, pp. 4-5 (CONFIDENTIAL). ' 

11. In Smith tel. SECTO 267 from Geneva, May 20, 1954 (SECRET). 

12. CIA Memorandum RS OOI7/66 (cited previously), p. 39 (SECRET/No Foreign 
Dis/Controlled Dis . ) . 



13. Ibid. , p. 4l. 



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Ik. Lacouture and. Devillers, pp. 238-39 



15. Ibid ., pp. 239-1*0. 



16. CIA Memo: "Asian Communist Employment of Negotiations as a Political 
Tactic" (SECRET), RSS OOI7/66. 

17. Lacouture and Devillers, pp. 257-58. 

18. Smith from Geneva tel. SECTO 632, July 17, 195^ (SECRET). 
19.' Lacouture and Devillers, p. 268. - 

20. Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 638, July 18, 195^ (SECRET). 

21. Smith from Geneva tel. SECTO 632, July 17, I95I* (SECRET). 

22. Ibid . 

23. Smith from Geneva tel. SECTO 6k5, July 18, 195^ (SECRET). 
2k. Lacouture and Devillers, p. 268. 

25. See, e.g . , Lacouture and Devillers, p. 213. 

26. Ibid ., p. 215. 

27. This was the demand made by the Viet Minh in secret talks with the 
French. Reported in Smith 1 s priority tel. from Geneva DULTE 187, 
June 16, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

28. Smith from Geneva tel. DULTE 193, June 17, 195^ (TOP SECRET). 

29. Smith tel. DULTE 193 from Geneva, June 17, 195^ (TOP SECRET). See 
also Lacouture and. Devillers, pp. 217 and 219. 

30. In a talk with Smith June 19, Molotov discussed, the Laos and Cambodia 
resistance movements and said he saw the possibility of agreement so 
long as neither side (i.e., the French or the Viet Minh) "adopted 
one-sided, views or put forward, extreme pretensions." Molotov said 
about 50 percent of Laotian territory was not controlled by the royal 
government (a curious way of putting it), with a much smaller move- 
ment in Cambodia. The tone of Smith's report on this conversation 
suggests that Molotov saw no obstacles to Viet Minh withdrawal of 
its "volunteers." Smith tel. DULTE 202 from Geneva, June 19, 195^ 
(TOP SECRET). 

31. Johnson from Geneva tel. SECTO 51k, June 23, 195U (SECRET). 

32. See e^., Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 637, July 17, 195^ (SECRET). 

33. Smith from Geneva priority tel. SECTO 638, July 18, 195*1 (SECRET). 

* 

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III. D. • THE INTENT OF THE GENEVA ACCORDS 



SUMMARY 

One of the principal controversies surrounding the Geneva Conference 
concerns the intent of the Armistice and the Final Declaration. While it 
is clear that the Armistice between the French and the Viet Minh was de- 
signed to end the actual hostilities, the political intent of the bellig- 
erents, and that of the Conference participants expressed in the Final 
Declaration, is in doubt. The central issue in dispute is whether or not 
the participants intended to unify Vietnam, and if so, whether the subse- 
quent actions of the U.S. and the GVN in frustrating that intent make them 
culpable for the present war. 

China and Russia were, in general, pleased with the results of the 
Geneva Conference, even though they had been forced to accept a settlement 
considerably at variance from their initial demands. Since these powers 
were primarily interested in attaining their political goals without 
triggering a massive response from a united West, cessation of the war on 
even minimally advantageous terms would allow them time to consolidate 
gains and to extend their control further into Southeast Asia with fewer 
risks. They recognized that the DRV did not receive concessions commensu- 
rate with its military power and political control, but the Communists, 
probably miscalculating the future U.S. commitment to South Vietnam, no 
doubt felt that they could safely transfer the combat from the battlefield 
to the sphere of politics. However, the final settlement severely compro- 
mised DRV expectations and objectives: the line of partition was at the 
17th parallel, not the 13th; elections were envisaged after two years, not 
immediately; supervision was to be by an international body, not by the 
belligerents themselves; and Communist movements in Laos and Cambodia 
were denied identity and support, not sanctioned by the Conference. Yet, . 
despite these setbacks and disappointments, the DRV apparently expected 
to fall heir to all of Vietnam in fairly short order, either through a 
plebiscite on unification, or by default when the GVN collapsed from 
internal disorder. (Tab l) 

For the United Kingdom as well as for France, the final outcome at . 
Geneva was in the main satisfactory. The bloodshed had ceased; the 
danger of broadened conflict was averted. The U.S C understanding of the 
Accords is more difficult to fathom. Immediately upon the conclusion of 
the conference, the U.S. representative, Under Secretary of State Walter 
Bedell Smith, stated that the results were the best possible under the 
circumstances. Both he and President Eisenhower stated that the U.S. 
"would view any renewal of the aggression in violation of the /Geneva/ 
agreements with grave concern and as seriously threatening international 
peace and security." President Kennedy in December 1961 used this quote 
as justification for his support of South Vietnam,, But the purpose of 



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the U.S. declaration remains obscure. It can "be argued that its intent 
was not a long-term U.S. commitment , but an attempt to deter the DRV 
from attacking the GVN in the two-year period prior to elections. 
According to this argument, the Eisenhower Administration would have 
accepted any outcome if assured that the voting were free. A counter- 
argument is that Smith was throwing down the gauntlet to the Communists. 
An NSC action immediately following the Conference considered the Accords 
a "major disaster for U.S. interests" and called for affirmative political 
action to foreclose further loss. In other words, while the specifics of 
the Accords were much in line with the U.S. negotiating position, the 
overall U.S. evaluation of the Conference v held that territory had been 
yielded to the Communists. In this light, the Smith declaration marks 
the jumping-off point for the concerted U.S. efforts to devise a collec- 
tive security system for Vietnam and all of Southeast Asia, which cul- 
minated in the Manila Pact of September, 195^ (SEATO), and the aid program 
for Ngo Dinh Diem. (Tab 2) 

Interpretations of the spirit of the Accords are as disparate as the 
interests of the Geneva conferees. Yet, it is difficult to believe that 
any of the participants expected the Geneva Accords to provide an inde- 
pendent and unified Vietnam. The Communist states -- the Soviet Union, 
Communist China, and the DRV -- apparently assumed that the development 
of a stable regime in the South was very unlikely, and that the DRV would 
eventually gain control of the entire country. They, in any event, had 
sound evidence that the GVN was unlikely to last out the two years before 
elections. It may well be, then, that the conciliatory posture of the 
Communist states at the conference can be explained by their presumption 
that the specific terms of agreement were less important than the detente 
itself — that their future successes, however slow in coming, were 
inevitable. Western reactions and expectations, on the other hand, were 
no doubt quite different. While France was interested in extricating 
itself from its military failure, it was no less interested in maintain- 
ing its cultural and economic position in Vietnam. Even the United 
Kingdom gave every indication that it wished to prevent a general Com- 
munist takeover. Hence, it would appear that these powers, like the U.S., 
wanted to stop the fighting, but not at the sacrifice of all of Vietnam 
to the Communists. Thus, the spirit of the Accords may have been much 
less significant than the letter of the Accords. In other words, by 
dividing the country at the 17th parallel, with each zone under a 
separate "civil administration," by providing for the regroupment of 
forces and the movement of people North and South, and by putting off 
elections for two years, the Geneva participants jeopardized, if not 
precluded, the unification of Vietnam. Whatever the parties intended, 
the practical effect of the specific terms of the Agreement was a perma- 
nently divided nation. (Tab 3) 



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DISCUSSION 



III. D. Tab 1 - The Outcome for the Communists 



Tab 2 - The Outcome for the West 



Tab 3 - The Spirit and the Practical Effect of Geneva 






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III. D. 1. THE OUTCOME FOR THE COMMUNISTS 









TABLE OF CONTENTS and. OUTLINE 

Page 

1. The Major Communist Powers Achieve Their Objectives D-5 

a. Communists See Complete Takeover as Inevitable D-5 

b. Chinese Not Adverse to Permanent Partition D-5 

c. China Sees Creation of a Neutral Buffer Zone D-6 

d. China's Domestic Economy is Protected D-6 

e. U.S. Threat of Massive Intervention is Forestalled D-6 

f . Prospects of Short-Run Stability Please the . D-6 
Russians 

g. Russians See Influence on French View of EDC D-7 

2. The Major Communist Powers Perceive Certain Losses D-7 

a. Communist Consolidation of All Indochina is 

Not Achieved D-7 

b. U.S. Influence in Indochina is Not Prevented D-7 

■ 

3. The DRV Views its Gains and Losses p»8 

a. Advantages are Gained, but at a Price j)_8 

b. The DRV is Insured of Territorial Consolidation p_8 

c. Election Plans Point to Eventual DRV Domination D-9 

k. The DRV is Satisfied with the Geneva Outcome D-9 



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III. D. 1. THE OUTCOME FOR THE COMMUNISTS 

1. Major Communist Powers Achieve Their Objectives 

To judge from the public commentaries of the communist delegation 
leaders — Molotov and Chou — China and the Soviet Union were satisfied 
with the outcome at Geneva. The final settlement seemed to meet most of 
their objectives, measured not simply in terms of their narrow interests 
in Indochina, but more broadly in terms of their global interests. The 
Viet Minh, however, accepted a settlement considerably at variance not 
only with their initial demands and their actual military control in Viet- 
nam, but with their compromise position as well. Yet, even the Viet Minh 
appeared, content with the results of Geneva. The reason — the belief that 
time was on their side. 

a. Communists See Complete Takeover as Inevitable 

At the final plenary session on 21 July, the Soviet, Chinese, 
and North Vietnamese delegates agreed, that the Accords, if properly imple- 
mented, would, end hostilities and. give the DRV a territorial base in the 
North. The stage would, thus be set for general elections in Vietnam and. 
produce the desired communist takeover. The political situation in South 
Vietnam was precarious. In addition, there was a multitude of armed sects 
• and other groups hostile to the central government of Bao Dai who continu- 
. ally relied on the French. The communists certainly had good, cause for 
f - considering that South Vietnam could not cohere sufficiently within the 

two-year period, prior to national elections, stipulated by the Final Declar- 
ation, to pose a viable alternative to the DRV. The communists had. good 
reason to believe that a stable regime in the southern zone would never 
be formed; hence the DRV would assume control of the entire country almost 
by default. 

b. Chinese Not Adverse to Permanent Partition 

Interestingly, however, the Chinese accepted the notion that 
the Geneva Accord.s had, at least temporarily -- and perhaps permanently — 
created, two separate political entities. As early as June, Chou told Jean 
Chauvel that the Chinese recognized, the existence of Viet Minh and Viet- 
namese governments. In talking of a final political settlement, Chou again 
stated, that this should be achieved, by direct negotiations between the two 
Vietnamese governments, l/ So far as the CPR was concerned, partition 
meant not a simple division of administrative responsibility -- which is 
: the implication of the Vietnam armistice provision (Article ll+a) for the 
conduct of "civil administration" by the "parties" who were to regroup 
to the two zones — but the establishment of governmental authority in 
North and. South Vietnam. What still remains unclear, of course, is the 
permanency which Chou privately attached, to that arragnement. 



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c. China Sees Creation of a Neutral Buffer Zone 



Beyond Vietnam, the Chinese apparently believed that the final 
agreements would preclude the three Indochinese states from involvement 
in the American security system. When Chou communicated to Eden his concern 
about Laotian, Vietnamese, and Cambodian participation in a Southeast 
Asia treaty organization, the Foreign Secretary said he knew of no proposal 
for those States to join. 2/ The next day Eden told Molotov that a security 
pact in Southeast Asia was inevitable and completely in line with British 
policy; but he added, that no consideration was being given to the inclu- 
sion of Cambodia and Laos (a comment which Smith regarded as a "mistake" 
inasmuch as the U.S. hoped to use the threat of their inclusion to get 
a better settlement). 3/ When the conference closed, the Chinese felt 
j sufficiently assured about the matter, it would seem. On 23 July, a Chi- 
nese journalist confided: "We have won the first campaign for the neu- 
tralization of all Southeast Asia." kj 

d. China's Domestic Economy is Protected. 

China, at this time, was greatly concerned with her own in- 
ternal problems, and anxious to consolidate at home before moving further 
into Asia. The Korean War had exacerbated the pressing economic and polit- 
ical' problems within China, as had the attempts by Peking to push an economic 
reconstruction beyond, the limits of possibility. The Chinese were satis- 
fied that the Indochina situation after Geneva allowed, at least, temporary 
r • assurance that a major effort could be turned inward, without fear of reper- 
cussions along China's 'southwestern border. 
- 

e. U.S. Threat of Massive Intervention is Forestalled 

The USSR and China had watched warily the sporadic attempts 
of the U.S.; first, to keep the Indochina problem out of Geneva, and second, 
to gather the Western nations into united, action to prevent communist con- 
solidation of Indochina. There was an element of unpredictability concern- 
ing U.S. action in Southeast Asia, fostered purposely to a great extent 
by the U.S. and UK (with calculated moves such as the bilateral military 
talks in Washington), but also emphasized, by the inordinate number and 
wide variety of public statements on Indochina that were made by official 
and semi-official Washington during the months of June and July, while 
the Geneva Conference sat. Peking and Moscow, then, had some reason to 
believe that they had. pre-empted. U.S. military moves by diplomacy. 

f # Prospects of Short-Run Stability Please the Russians 

The Soviet government was not dedicated to the furtherance 
of Chinese goals in Southeast Asia, nor did the USSR want to see an in- 
crease in U.S. influence in this area. For these reasons, it was greatly 
in the interest of the Soviets to press for the withdrawal of French power 
from Indochina -- but in a way calculated, to inhibit any major increase 
in U.S. or Chinese power to replace the French. The creation, therefore, 



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of a neutral state in Vietnam (or even the creation of two opposed half- 
states) met the immediate requirements of the USSR in the best manner 
possible under the circumstances — and. it was the short-range solution 
that the Soviets, as well as the other delegations, were seeking at Geneva. 
The future would, take care of itself. 

[ - '■■•.' 

g. Russians See Influence on French View of EDC 

Whether or not the cause and. effect relationship can be proved 
with any accuracy, the fact remains that the French did. not ratify the 
EDC agreements when these were presented to the French Assembly a month 
after Geneva. The reaction in the USSR was described as "jubilant," hail- 
ing the French rejection as "an important event in the political history 
of Europe." 5/ This event, following closely on the termination of the 
Geneva Convention, was seen by the Soviets as, at least in part, influenced 
by the communist strategy of letting the French off the hook in Geneva. 



1 












I 



2. The Major Communist Powers Perceive Certain Losses 

a. Communist Consolidation of All of Indochina is Not Achieved 



At least for the immediate future, a communist consolidation 
f of all of Indochina was out of the question. Regardless of how inevitable 
I the surge of communist control into the area might seem, the move had. come 

to a halt temporarily at the 17th parallel. In effect, the communists 
were not prepared, to take the risks in pursuing their very real superiority, 
if not on the battlefield., then in the psyche. The communist assertion 
at Geneva that the Viet Minh controlled three quarters of the area of 
Vietnam was close to the truth. The decision to relinquish this local 
control throughout Vietnam must have been viewed as a loss. 

b. U.S. Influence in Indochina is Not Prevented. 

( A major political and military objective of China was the 

prevention of U.S. bases in Southeast Asia. This aim, paralleling the 
1 , Soviet objective of blocking U.S. influence in Europe, was an important 

part of overall Chinese strategy at' Geneva. But, if the Chinese Govern- 
1 ment considered, the Geneva provisions a first step toward. Southeast Asia's 

.neutralization, this estimate was quickly disabused. The governments of 
Laos and. Cambodia issued, declarations on 21 July, which left room for 
the conclusion of alliances and. the stationing of foreign forces on their 
territory. To ease the communist outcry, both countries vowed, not to 
ally themselves in any manner "not in conformity with the principles of 
the Charter of the United Nations," nor to permit foreign bases while 
their security was not threatened. 6/ Nevertheless, their delegates in- 
dicated, even before the Conference that U.S. protection of their countries 
against aggression was desirable. The two zones of Vietnam, in contrast, 
were categorically enjoined, from permitting the establishment of foreign 
military bases and. from adhering to military alliances (Article 19 of 
the armistice agreement). The Chinese, because they were unable to obtain 



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a U.S. guarantee of the Accords, could not prevent the U.S. from subsequently- 
bringing Cambodia and Laos within the security perimeter of SEATO through 
the Protocol, a device broached by Und.er Secretary Smith at Geneva. 7/ 
Later, the U.S. spread this umbrella over SVN as "well. 

3- The DRV Views Its Gains and Losses 

a. Advantages are Gained, but at a Price 

In terms of advantages, the military accords signed 21 July 
by Ta Quang Buu, Vice-Minister of National Defense of the DRV, and Brigadier 
General Delteil, Commander of French Union Forces in Indochina, ceded, the 
DRV full control of all Vietnamese territory north of the line set roughly 
at the 17th parallel. French attempts to acquire enclaves in the area of 
the bishoprics and. around. Haiphong had been rejected, and all French forces 
r were to be withdrawn from Haiphong within 300 days. Moreover, the Final 

Declaration of the Conference specified that the demarcation line was pro- 
visional and, under Article 7> would be expunged by elections to be held 
in July, 1956* The DRV, therefore, could look forward to a possible legal 
victory at the ballot boxes within two years. 

But, the disappointments to the Viet Minh must have weighed 
heavily also. National unity was specifically compromised, by the creation 
of two zones divided by a demilitarized area at the 17th, rather than the 
13th or lVth, parallel. A fast political solution in six months had to be 
bargained, away as well; elections would, not be held, for two years, and 
even then under international, not strictly Vietnamese, supervision. 
Finally, the Viet Minh had. been forced to yield completely on their claims 
advanced in support of the Pathet Lao and. Free Khmer forces. In Laos and. 
Cambodia, as in Vietnam, international rather than indigenous inspection 
teams were to be admitted.. The so-called resistance forces would, either 
have to be withdrawn (in Laos, following temporary regroupment) or demobilized 
(in Cambodia) on the spot. The Viet Minh could, only salvage promises from 
the governments of Laos and Cambodia -- contained in their separate delcara- 
tions of 21 July — that "citizens" of the two countries would, be able to - 
participate as candidates or electors in elections to be held during 1955 • 
The Viet Minh accepted these results .even though they went well beyond 
compromise positions which they advanced, through the talks. 

b. The DRV is Insured, of Territorial Consolidation 

The Viet Minh had no desire to surrender their de facto control 
over considerable areas of Vietnam outside the Tonkin Delta. During June 
and July, according to CIA maps, Viet Minh forces held down the larger 
portion of Annam (excepting the major port cities) and significant pockets 
in the Cochin-China delta. Their consequent claim to all the territory 
north of a line running northwest from the 13th to the l4th parallel (from 
Tuy Hoa on the coast through Pleiku to the Cambodian border) 8/ was far 
more in keeping with the actual military situation than the French demand 



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for location of the partition line at the 18th parallel. Yet, the French 
would never consent to admitting communist control on the borders of both 
Cambodia and. Laos. The final decision to partition the country at the 
17th parallel was, nevertheless, a success to the extent that it provided 
the DRV with absolute, unchallenged political control of haif of Vietnam -- 
a situation which the Viet Minh began then to view as the first crucial 
step in the series of political moves that would achieve goals commensur- 
ate with their military power: the quick political conquest ("liberation") 
of the rest of the country. 

-C. Election Plans Point to Eventual DRV Domi nation 

In keeping with their desire for haste in achieving an "all- 
Vietnamese" political settlement, the Viet Minh, while agreeing to parti- 
tion, wanted it to be temporary and to be followed quickly by elections. 
The Viet Minh delegates, therefore, had argued that elections should, be 
held six months after a cease-fire. But, the French retorted elections 
should be held 18 months after completion of the regroupment process, or 
between 22 and 23 months after the cease-fire. 9/ The compromise, urged 
by the USSR and. China, accomplished what was in fact the most important 
aim of the election talks: the fixing of a date, thus providing insurance 
that the elections would take place. In a very real sense, though, the 
two year lag gave the GVN invaluable time, and communist strategy on this 
issue seemed, to have backfired. 

k. The DRV is Satisfied, with the Geneva Outcome 



The Viet Minh evidently believed. — and no French authority on the 
spot doubted, this -- that it had the capability to eliminate the French 
j from Tonkin with one major offensive, and to drive on for further gains 

i in the South against a weakened, demoralized Franco -Vietnamese army. 

Fighting and talking simultaneously was pointed, to with approval by the 
Viet Minh as a tactic capable of being pursued for two years (like the 
Chinese in Korea) in order to assure greater territorial control. Whether 
the Viet Minh ultimately envisaged the conquest of all Vietnam before reach- 
ing agreement with the French is not known; but, like the French, the Viet 
I Minh probably regarded maximum control of territory and. population as in- 

surance against future elections. Reporters covering the Geneva Convention 
• quoted bitter comments of the DRV delegation after the final meeting, when 
the agreements were mad.e public. There is good reason to believe, however, 
that, in reality, the Viet Minh were satisfied with the results attained 
at Geneva. This satisfaction was based in part on certain miscalculations 
on the part of the DRV, which underestimated, the future commitment of the 
U.S. to the South Vietnamese and. which also underestimated the survivability 
of Diem and his government. It is apparent that the DRV felt that its 
losses at Geneva amounted, merely to delays that would set back the time 
schedules in Indochina, but that such a payment in time was well worth 
the territorial gains and the prevention of Western united action in Viet- 
nam. Unlike GVN and. U.S. statements during and. after Geneva, Viet Minh 
representatives publicly supported both the military agreements and the 
[ Final Declaration without qualification. 

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III. D. 1. FOOTNOTES 



( » 



1. Dillon priority tel. No. 5035 from Paris, June 2k, 195^ (TOP SECRET) 

2. Smith tel. SECTO 636 from Geneva, July 17, I95U (SECRET). 

3. Smith NIACT tel. SECTO 639 from Geneva, July 18, 195^ (SECRET). 
k. CIA Memorandum RSS OOI7/66, p. k6 ( SECRET/NoFornDis/Contr oiled Dis). 
5. Mackintosh, pp. 8U-85. 



: 






6. The declarations may be found in Great Britain, Foreign Office, 
r , Documents Relating to British Involvement in the Indo-China Conflict 
J 19^5-1965 . Misc. No. 25, Cmnd. 283^ (London: H.M.S.O., 1965), PP- 76 

(Cambodia) and 79 (Laos). 

7. In a talk with the Cambodian Foreign Minister Sam Sary, Philip Bonsai 
suggested that it would not be possible to guarantee Cambodia's security 
by a Conference mechanism subject to communist veto. Bonsai said, how- 
ever, that once a satisfactory cease-fire were concluded, one that did. 
not prevent Cambodia from cooperating with other non-communist states 
in defense matters, "he was confident U.S. and other interested countries 
looked forward to discussing with Cambodian Government" the security 
problem. (Johnson priority tel. SECTO 627 from Geneva, July 16, 195^> 
SECRET. ) When Sam Sary called a few days later on Smith in the com- . 
pany of Nong Kimny (Ambassador to Washington), the Under Secretary 
recommended that Phnom Penh, at the Conference, state its intention 
not to have foreign bases on its territory and not to enter into mili- 
tary alliances. At the same time, though, Cambodia would be free to 
import arms and. to employ French military instructors and technicians. 
While Cambodia would, thus perhaps not be free to join the contemplated 
SEATO, she might still benefit from it. Smith "assured the Cambodian 
Foreign Minister that, in our view, any aggression overt or covert against 

' Cambodian territory would bring pact into operation even though Cam- 
bodia not a member. I took position that French Union membership afforded 

• Cambodia adequate desirable means of securing through France necessary 
arms, some of which would be American, as well as necessary instructors 
and technicians, some of which might well be American trained." Nong 
Kimny "limited himself to statement that Cambodia relies heavily on 
U.S. for eventual protection against aggression and that Cambodia de- 
sires to emerge from current conference with maximum freedom of action 
re measures Cwribodia may take to assure defense." Smith tel. SECTO 
65O from Geneva, July 18, 195^ (CONFIDENTIAL). 

8. See Chauvel's report in Johnson's priority tel. SECTO 553 from Geneva, 
July 2, I95U (TOP SECRET). Also: Lacouture and Devillers, p. 238. 

' 9. Dillon from Paris tel. No. 32, July 2, 195I1. (TOP SECRET). 

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III. D. 2. THE OUTCOME FOR THE WEST 



feg e . 



1. U.K. Diplomacy is an Unqualified. Success D-12 

a. British Prestige is Heightened D-12 

b . Danger of a Wider War is Averted. D-12 

2 . For France , The Results are Better Than Expected. D-12 

a. France is Extricated without Dishonor D-12 

b. France Retains a Significant Foothold, in Indochina D-13 



3 . GVN Achieves More Than Its Situation Warrants D-13 



k. U.S. Attitude on Geneva is Mixed D-l4 



a. Initial U.S. Public View is Cautious D-l^ 

b . Public and. Private Reactions Vary D-lU 

c. U.S. -U.K. Seven-Point Program is Mostly Accomplished. D-15 

d. Smith States U.S. Position on Accords D-l6 



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III. D. 2. THE OUTCOME FOR THE WEST 

lo U.K. Diplomacy is an Unqualified Success 

a. British Prestige is Heightened 

The diplomacy of the Geneva Conference can "be viewed as a 
success for the co-chairmen -- the U.K. and the USSR. Although some 
have described Chou En-lai as the most influential delegate at Geneva, l/ 
and though Molotov rightfully has been credited with a key role in the 
initiation of needed compromises, Anthony Eden's presence and leadership 
made a difference in the results of the conference and in Britain 1 s world 
image. Eden repeatedly acted as an intermediary not only between the 
Communists and the West, but also among the U.S., France, and the GVN 
as well. He aided Molotov in seeing proposals for compromise through to 
agreements, but he was also capable of espousing and maintaining unyield- 
ing support for firm Western positions. In particular, he was able to 
keep the Soviets convinced that the U.K. would be at the side of the 
U.So if Communist intransigence led to a stalemate at Geneva* One 
specific pay-off for the U.K. was Peking's agreement on 17 June (after 
four years of silence on the point) to exchange charges d'affaires with 
London. 

b. Danger of a Wider War is Averted 

Tensions at Geneva were high. The Viet Minh was forcing the 
initiative on the battlefield in Indochina, the French Government was 
unstable, and at that time it seemed to many that all of strategic 
Vietnam would fall into Communist hands. Convictions were strongly held 
by many that that fall was inevitable unless the West took some united 
military action, or unless the diplomacy of Geneva brought unsuspected 
agreement. The danger of a wider war was very real. The U.K. wanted 
to support France and the United States, but not at the price of British 
troops and money . London's goal was to terminate the war and reduce 
international tensions -- to do all this without acceding to a Communist 
victory, and without adversely affecting British interests in that area 
of the world. The U.K. managed to steer a course close to its goals 
despite the fact that the British public was against U.Ko military 
involvement in Indochina. In the end, Eden was able to help avert the 
risks of a wider war and to bring the U.K. into SEATO -- presumably to 
help protect British gains at Geneva,, 

2. For France, the Results are Better Than Expected 

a. France is Extricated without Dishonor 

The French, probably more than any other party to the conference, 
had cause for satisfaction. With cooperation from the other major powers, 
needless to say, the French found themselves a political beneficiary at 



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Geneva despite France's unstable domestic politics and its poor military 
posture in Indochina. The settlements at Geneva were respectable enough 
for the French Government to stay in power. If anything, the results of 
Geneva provided a greater measure of internal political cohesion than 
France had enjoyed in a number of years. It would have been very diffi- 
cult for any French Government to continue the actual fighting in Indo- 
china — especially when it appeared to many that France was losing. 

b. France Retains a Significant Foothold in Indochina 

The results at Geneva also allowed France to hold on to some- 
thing very tangible — most of Indochina itself. The Viet Minh forces 
and auxiliaries in Cambodia and Laos were shunted aside , preserving 
paramount French influence in Vientiane and Phnom Penh. Moreover, in 
South Vietnam the French maintained clear title to their military, 
cultural, and economic interests; in North Vietnam, they had some pros- 
pect of salvaging their investments. 

As early as 26 June, France made it privately clear that its 
intention was to maintain a viable Vietnamese state in the south. Thus, 
when in late June the Franco-Viet Minh "underground" talks were elevated 
to direct discussions between Jean Chauvel and Pham Van Dong, the French 
gave as one of their objectives the hope of arriving at an equitable 
territorial settlement "which will assure the State of Vietnam a territory 
as solid as possible..." Although aware of possible violent GVN reaction 
against partition, the French considered that arrangement best for the 
GVN inasmuch as it would enable the country "to consolidate herself in 
such a fashion as to create in the face of the Viet Minh an authentically 
national and independent force." 2/ In agreeing to partition, the French 
Government, like Washington, was motivated in part by a desire to assure 
the State of Vietnam a defensible territory within which the Saigon 
regime could attempt to construct a stable authority competitive with 
the DRV. 

3. GVN Achieves More Than Its Situation Warrants 

Considering the fact that the newly independent State of Vietnam 
was still little more than a figurehead for French authority, that the 
French by far were carrying the burden of the fighting against the Viet 

. Minh, and that the French and Vietnamese together were not doing well 
against the Viet Minh, the GVN received much more than they could have 
realistically expected from the Geneva Conference. Indeed, Geneva 
opened new opportunity to the GVN. Though territory had been lost, a 
way was gained for the establishment of governmental' authority in the 
south. Only through consolidation of territory and regroupment of 
population could Bao Dai have hopes of being able to meet the challenges 
-- whether at the polls or militarily — that the Viet Minh were sure to 

• provide in the future. The GVN delegation at Geneva nonetheless took the 
view that the Accords were a sell-out to the Communists. While the Saigon 
Regime did not directly disavow these agreements in the sense that they 



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rejected them altogether, or hinted at their intention of ignoring them, 
it clearly put a special interpretation on the agreements. For example, 
the GVN made it plain from the beginning that it would not countenance 
unsupervised elections. Moreover, it refused to contemplate elections 
unless and until it could secure and govern all its territory. This 
position was advantageous for the GVN, because it gave the DRV incentive 
to avoid actions south of the 17th parallel which might disrupt the 
election time-table, or give the GVN an excuse for refusing to hold 
elections. Through the concessions of the Communist countries and the 
firmness of its Western Allies, the GVN had been given time to consolidate 
itself. 

k* U.S. Attitude on Geneva is Mixed 

a. Initial U.S. Public View is Cautious 



The U.S. viewed the Conference results with mixed emotions. 

I > Publicly, the American position was that the Accords represented the • 

best that could have been obtained from a bad situation. The President, 
at a 21 July news conference, declined to criticize the Accords. He said 
they contain "features which we do not like, but a great deal depends on • 
how they work in practice." He announced the U.S. intention to establish 
permanent missions in Laos and Cambodia, and said the U.S. was actively 
"pursuing discussions with other free nations with a view to the rapid 
organization of a collective defense in Southeast Asia in order to 
prevent further direct or indirect Communist aggression in that general 
areao " jj Under Secretary Smith took the same line two days later. 
Denying that Geneva was another "Munich," Smith said: "I am . . . con- 
vinced that the results are the best that we could possibly have obtained 
in the circumstances," adding that "diplomacy has rarely been able to 
gain at the conference table what cannot be gained or held on the battle- 
field,," h/ Finally, Secretary Dulles, also on 23 July, made a statement 
to the press oriented toward the future. Referring to "the loss in Northern 
Vietnam," Dulles expressed the hope that much would be learned from the 
experience toward preventing further Communist inroads in Asia Two 
lessons could be culled, the Secretary observed. First, popular support 
was essential against Communist subversion; "the people should feel that 
they are defending their own national institutions." Second, collective 
defense should precede an aggressive enemy move rather than occur as a 

. - reaction to it. A collective security system in Southeast Asia, he con- 
cluded, would check both outright aggression and subversion. 5/ 

■ * 

bo Public and Private Reactions Vary 

These initial public U.S. reactions to the Conference results 
were at considerable variance with what was being said within government 
councils. The fact that another piece of territory had been formally 
ceded to the Communists obviously weighed heavily on the Administration. 
When papers were drawn up for the National Security Council in August, 
the Geneva Conference was evaluated as a major defeat for Western 



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diplomacy and a potential disaster for U.S. security interests in the 
Far East. The Operations Coordinating Board (OCB) stated that the Final 
Declaration of the Conference "completed a major forward stride of 
Communism which may lead to the loss of Southeast Asia. It, therefore, 
recorded a drastic defeat of key policies in NSC 5^-05 and a serious loss 
for the free world, the psychological and political effects of which will 
be felt throughout the Far East and around the globe." 6/ In a separate 
report, the NSC was somewhat more specific concerning the extent of the 
damage: the Communists acquired "an advance salient" in Vietnam for use 
in military and non-military ways; the U.S. lost prestige as a leader in 
Asia capable of stemming Communist expansion; the Communist peace line 
gained at America's expense; Communist military and political prestige 
was enhanced as the result of their ability to exploit unstable situations 
in Southeast Asian countries without resort to armed attack, jj 

c. U.S. -U.K. Seven-Point Program is Mostly Accomplished 

The provisions of the Accords, however, should have furnished 
the U.S. grounds for some satisfaction. Comparing the U.S. -U.K. seven- 
point memorandum of 29 June with the final settlement nearly one month 
later, the Conference had very nearly satisfied the minimum U.S. objectives 
-- despite Washington's apprehension over faltering British or French sup- 
port . 

(1) The integrity and independence of Laos and Cambodia 
were preserved, and Viet Minh forces were, in the main, withdrawn from 
those two countries. 

(2) Southern Vietnam was retained (although without an en- 
clave in the North) , and the partition line was drawn somewhat south of 
Dong Hoi. 

(3) Laos, Cambodia, and "retained" Vietnam were not prevented 
from forming "non-Communist regimes" (in the case of Vietnam, within the 
two-year pre-election period) ; nor were they expressly forbidden "to main- 
tain adequate forces for internal security." Vietnam's right to import 
arms and other war materiel was, however, restricted to piece-by-piece 
replacement, and a ceiling was fixed on foreign military personnel at the 
number in the country at the War's close. 

(4-5) Recalling Dulles' interpretation of 7 July that elec- 
tions should "be only held as long after cease-fire agreement as possible 
and in conditions free from intimidation to give democratic elements best 
chance," 8/ the Accords did not stipulate "political provisions which 
would risk loss of the retained area to Communist control. . ./or/ exclude 
the possibility of the ultimate reunification of Vietnam by peaceful 
means." Although both Dulles and Mendes-France preferred that no date 
be set for the elections, the compromise two-year hiatus gave the Americans, 
the French, and the South Vietnamese a significant breathing spell. The 



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U.S. priority in the aftermath was accorded to programs designed to 
"give democratic elements best chance" through economic assistance and 
political support for South Vietnam. Elections, as Dulles indicated 
during the Conference, and as the OCB concurred in August ,9/ were 
agreeable to the U.S. ; but they "were two years away, and the primary 
task in the interim was seen as "to maintain a friendly non-Communist 
South Vietnam. . ."10/ The corollary objective (stated by the NSC in 
August, 195^5 &nd approved by the President) "to prevent a Communist 
victory through all-Vietnam elections, "ll/ then did not connote U.S. 
determination to subvert the Accords; rather, it appears to have meant 
that U.S. influence would aim at assuring that the communists would not 
gain an electoral victory through force, deceit, or other undemocratic 
methods . 

(6) The Accords expressly provided for the transfer of 
individuals desiring to move from one zone to another. 

(7) The Accords did seem, at the time , to have basically 
fulfilled the precondition of providing "effective machinery for inter- 
national supervision of the agreement." Although the machinery would 
be the ICC's rather than the UN's, Under Secretary Smith noted that the 
ICC would have a veto power on important questions, would be composed 
of one genuine neutral (India) and one pro-Western government (Canada), 
and would be permitted full freedom of movement into demilitarized zones 
and frontier and coastal areas. Smith, on 19 July, gave this assessment: 

"Taking everything into consideration, I strongly 
feel this is satisfactory and much better than we were 
able to obtain in Korea. French feel, and Eden and I 
agree, that with such composition built-in veto will 
work to our advantage. This setup is best French or 
anybody else could get., and I feel it is within spirit 
of point 7. "12/ 

d. Smith States U.S. Position on Accords 

The final statement by Under Secretary Smith, setting forth 
the U. So position on the Accords, provides the only public measure of 
the U.S. commitment to them. At Smith's urging, Dulles agreed that the 
U.S. delegation could take note of the Final Declaration as well as of 
the military agreement. But, Smith was specifically instructed not to 
take note of paragraph 13 of the Final Declaration. That paragraph aimed 
at ensuring respect for the armistice accords in Laos, Cambodia and 
Vietnam by declaring the conferees 1 agreement "to consult one another on 
any question which may be referred to them by the International Super- 
visory Commission..." Dulles felt that provision implied: 

"...a multilateral engagement with communists which 
would be inconsistent with our basic approach and which 



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• • • 

subsequently might enable Communist China to charge us 
with alleged violations of agreement to which it might 
claim both governments became parties. 13/ 

Aside from taking note of the three military armistice agreements and 
paragraphs 1 to 12 of the Final Declaration, Smith , in line with long- 
standing U.S. policy and his instructions of l6 July from Dulles, 
declared on the Government's behalf that the U.S. "will refrain from 
the threat or the use of force to disturb" the Accords. Moreover, the 
U.S. "would view any renewal of the aggression in violation of the 
aforesaid agreements with grave concern and as seriously threatening 
international peace and security." Finally, Smith reiterated a U.S. 
policy declaration of 29 June 195^ positing U.S. support of UN super- 
vision of free elections designed to reunify countries "now divided 
against their will..." Smith mentioned on this point that the U.S 
could not associate with any arrangement that would hinder "its tradi- 
tional position that peoples are entitled to determine their own future 



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III. D. 2. FOOTNOTES 

1. Hans Morgenthau, in "The 195^ Geneva Conference: An Assessment" 
( America's Stake in Vietnam, New York : American Funds of Vietnam, 
1956) \ says Chou was to Geneva what Metternich was to the Congress 
of Vienna of l8l5- 

2. Aide-memoire delivered by Bonnet to Dulles and Eden June 26, in 
Dulles' Tel Wo. 4852 to American Embassy - Paris, 28 June 195*+ 
(TOP SECRET) 

3. White House press release of 21 July 195^ 

k. Quoted in Richard P. Stebbins, et al., The United States- in World 
Affairs, I95U (New York: Harper and Bros., 1956) , p. 255 

5. Department of State press release No. U00 5 23 July 195^4- 

6. OCB, Progress Report on United States Objectives and Courses of 
Action With Respect to Southeast Asia (NSC 5^05), 6 August 195^ 
(TOP SECRET) 



7 # NSC, Review of U.S. Policy in the Far East (NSC 5U29) , k August 195^ 
(TOP SECRET) 

8. Dulles to American Embassy, Paris, Tel No. 77, 7 July 195 1 ! (SECRET) 

9.' In its Progress Report of 6 August, OCB said there was need for 
"political action" to build a strong foundation in free Asia for 
the continued orientation of the countries there toward the Free 
World. "A test of such political action and orientation will be 
the elections in Laos and Cambodia during 1955 >, and in North and 
South Vietnam during 1956." 

10. This objective, stated in NSC 5^29/l> was approved by the President. 
See NSC, Review of U Q S. Policy in the Far East , 12 August 195 ^ 
(TOP SECRET) ' ~ 

11. Ibid, - .-■•'■ 

12. Smith from Geneva Tel SECTO 666, 19 July I95U (TOP SECRET) 

13. Dulles to Smith at Geneva, Tel TOSEC 576 MACT, 19 July I95H 
(TOP SECRET) 



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III. D. 3- THE SPIRIT AND PRACTICAL EFFECT OF GENEVA 



Page 



1. The Accords, in Theory, are Clearly Drawn D-20 

a. The Primary Objective of the Accords is a Cease-Fire D-20 

b - Key Provisions for Partition and Elections D-20 

(1) Summary of the Cease-Fire Agreement D-20 

(2) Summary of the Final Declaration D-23 

2. Theoretical and Practical Interpretations Differ D-2U 

a. The Election Provision Causes Controversy D-2U 

b . Practical Views Vary D-2**. 

c. Official Positions are in Agreement D-25 

&• The Outcome Could Have Been Predicted D-25 



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III. D. 3- THE SPIRIT AMD PRACTICAL EFFECT OF GENEVA 
1. The Accords, in Theory, are Clearly Drawn 

a. The Primary Objective of the Accords is a Cease-Fire 

■ 

The Geneva Accords -- that is, the armistice agreements for 
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and the Final Declaration of the Conference 
— -were designed primarily to end hostilities and re-establish peace in 
Indochina, and secondarily to provide conditions conducive to the future 
independent political development of the three States of the region. The 
signed armistice agreements -were military, the only exception being the 
Declaration of the Royal Khmer Government , included in the Cambodia armis- 
tice, guaranteeing the political rights of all its citizens, l/ The 
unsigned Geneva Final Declaration deals with a political settlement, but 
in terms of future events -- elections to be held in Laos and Cambodia 
during 1955 as provided in their constitutions, and elections to reunify 
Vietnam following consultations within one year (by July, 1955) , followed 
by a national plebiscite within two years (July, 1956) . The goal for all 
of the powers at Geneva, both W.estern and Communist, was a cessation of 
the war on terms that would permit subsequent progress toward their dis- 
parate political objectives in Southeast Asia. All participants desired 
what might be termed a profitable suspension of the fighting: the Commu- 
nists wanted an agreement providing time for reconsolidation, and also a 
political arrangement that would facilitate future expansion; the West 
was willing to barter, holding out partition and elections in exchange 
for disengagement of French forces, establishment of the GVN as a viable 
political organization, and consolidation of the non-Communist Southeast 
Asian nations in a collective defense arrangement against the further 
encroachments of Communism. , . 

b. Key Provisions for Partition and Elections 

In retrospect, the key political provisions were those that 
produced the partition of Vietnam, and promised elections within two 
years. A short summation of the Vf articles and 2 annexes of the 
"Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Viet-Nam, July 20, 195*+" 
signed only by the French and the DRV, follows below as a review of the 
final Geneva position to which, theoretically, all delegates agreed: 



(l) Summary of the Cease-Fire Agreement 



Article 



1. DMZ established; "Peoples Army of Vietnam regroups north and 
French Union forces" south. 

2. Regrouping to be completed in 300 days. 

3. ICC to control joint waterways. 






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Article 

k. The regrouping zones to include territorial waters , islands. 

5. DMZ to be evacuated within 25 days. 

6. Crossing of provisional military demarcation line prohibited. 

7. Unauthorized entry in DMZ prohibited. 

8. Rules for civil administration of DMZ. 

9. ICC to have freedom of movement. 

10. Military commanders of both sides to order complete cease-fire. 

11. Times for cease-fire; information on planned regrouping movements 
to be exchanged within 25 days of Agreement's entry into force. 

12. Minefields and other obstacles to be removed; regrouping moves 
will avoid contact. 

13 . Provision for air corridors. 

- 1I4.. Political and administrative measures in the two regrouping zones: 
conduct of civil administration; rules for transfer of territorial 
control; prohibition of reprisals; freely permitted transfer of 
residence by civilians. 

15. Details covering disengagement and withdrawals of forces; timing, 
prohibition of hostilities; of sabotage; movement schedules. 

16. Troop reinforcement prohibited; rotation permitted. 

17. Military materiel augmentation prohibited, applicable to aircraft, 
naval craft, vehicles, etc; normal replacement authorized under 
specific ICC supervisory procedures. 

18. Establishment of new military bases prohibited. 

19.. Foreign military bases, alliances, and hostilities prohibited. 



20. Points of entry for rotation established.. 



21. PW liberation within 3° days of cease-fire, to include all PW's 
and civilian internees. 

22. Commanders to insure punishment of violators of these Agreements. 



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Article 

* 

23. Graves registration information to be exchanged. 

2k. Both forces to respect DMZ, undertake no operations , engage in 

no "blockade of any kind in Viet-Nam"; definition of "territory." 

25. Commanders to assist ICC. 

26. Cost of ICC to be shared by both parties. 

27. "The signatories of the present agreement and their successors 
in their functions shall be responsible for ensuring and obser- 
vance and enforcement of the terms and provisions thereof"; 
Commanders to comply in full; procedural refinements permitted 
as necessary. 

.28. "Responsibility for the execution of the agreement of the cessation 
of hostilities shall rest with the parties." 

29. ICC to insure control. 



P 30. Joint Commission (JC) to be set up. 

31. JC to have equal number from both sid.es. 

32. President of the delegations to the JC shall hold General rank; 
joint sub-groups to be established by mutual agreement. 

33. JC supervisory responsibilities: cease-fire, regroupment, observance 
of DMZ, liaison. 

. 3IU ICC to be Canada, India, and Poland; presided over by India. 

35. ICC to set up mobile inspection teams; locations established. 



36. ICC responsibilities: control movements, supervise DMZ, control 
release of PW's, supervise ports and airfields for replacements 
and nonreinforcement. 

37. ICC to begin inspections as soon as possible. 



38. Reporting procedures of ICC inspection teams 

39. ICC handling of violations. 
k0. ICC intermediates JC and parties. 
ij-1. Recommendation procedure for ICC. 



k2. ICC decisions relating to violations which might resume hostilities 
must be unanimous. 

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Article 

lj-3. ICC to inform Geneva Conference members if a recommendation is 
refused. 

kk. ICC to be set up at the time of cease-fire. 

U5. ICC in Vietnam to cooperate with ICC in Laos, Cambodia. 

1+6. ICC may progressively reduce its activities. 

hf. Provisions effective 2^00 hours, 22 July I95U. 



Annexes 

I. Demarcation line. 

' II. Delineation of Provisional Assembly Areas. 

On 21 July, the day following the armistice agreements, the members of the 
Geneva Conference approved a Final Declaration (by voice vote, with the 
U.S. and GVN abstaining; a signed agreement was avoided in order not to 
emphasize U.S. refusal to approve). The declaration is essentially a 
comment on the armistice agreements, "taking note" and otherwise stressing 
certain key points. A summary of the declaration follows: 



(2) Summary of the Final Declaration 



The Conference: 



1 # Takes note of cease-fire in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. 

2. Expresses satisfaction in cease-fire agreements. 

3. Takes note of planned 1955 elections in Cambodia and Laos. 

k. Takes note of prohibition of introduction of additional troops 
and materiel into Vietnam, and of declarations of Cambodia and 
Laos not to request foreign aid "except for the purpose of 
effective defense of their territory." 

5. Takes note of prohibition of foreign bases in Vietnam, and declara- 
tions by Cambodia and Laos that they will not participate in any 
military alliances "not in conformity with principles of the Charter 
of the United Nations." 

] 6. Recognizes the "essential purpose" of the Vietnam agreements is 

the end of hostilities, and that the DMZ is in no way a political 
j or territorial boundary; the political settlement of Vietnam to 

j be achieved in the near future. 



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The Conference: 

* 

7. Declares general elections should be held in July 195&> with 
mutual consultations to this end beginning on 20 July 1955 • 

8. Emphasizes the provision for free movement of civilians. 

9. Cautions against reprisals. 

10* Takes note of French agreement to withdraw troops from Cambodia, 
Laos ^ and Vietnam "at the request of the government concerned." 

11. Takes note of -French recognition of sovereignty of Cambodia, 
Laos and Vietnam. 

12. Agrees as a group to respect sovereignty of Cambodia, Laos, 
Vietnam. 

13- Agrees as a group to consult on questions presented by ICC. 



2. Theoretical and Practical Interpretations Differ 

a. The Election Provision Causes Controversy 

The most serious controversy over the Accords has centered 
on the election provisions (Article 7) of the Final Declaration. The 
Declaration obviously envisaged elections to decide on a united Vietnam 
to be held by July, 1956. Since "the military demarcation line is pro- 
visional and should not in any way be interpreted as constituting a 
political or territorial boundary," the Geneva partition was a temporary, 
expedient measure. The Conference intended then to permit the Vietnamese 
people "to enjoy the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by democratic insti- 
tutions," and to devise a political settlement for their country "in the 
near, future." That settlement, the conferees declared, ought to come 
about (l) "on the basis of respect for the principles of independence, 
unity and territorial integrity" and (2) through "free general elections 
by secret ballot... in July 1956, under the supervision of an international 
commission composed of representatives of the Member States of the Inter- 
national Supervisory Commission. . .Consultation, will be held on this sub- 
ject between the competent representative authorities of the two zones 
from 20 July 1955 onwards." 

b. Practical Views Vary 

The difficulty with the election provisions of the Final 
Declaration, as with the Accords as a whole, relates not to their spirit, 
but to their practicality. It remains a matter of conjecture whether the 
members of the Convention genuinely thought that a political solution to 



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unification had been postponed by only two years , or whether they felt 
that partition, even with the resultant risk of renewed military con- 
frontation was, in reality, the best and only solution that the conflict- 
ing aims and pressures at Geneva could provide. The British, like the 
Russians, thought partition achieved their goal of re-establishing a 
stability, however precarious, in Southeast Asia. The Chinese did" not 
gain as extensive a buffer zone as they had sought, but probably were 
satisfied to see the territorial establishment of the DRV; they could 
not (at that time) have been seriously concerned over a future threat 
from South Vietnam, since the Accords ruled out an extensive U.S. military 
presence there . The U.S. viewed the loss of North Vietnam as a political 
disaster, and immediately set about making treaty arrangements to prevent 
the loss of more Asian territory to Communism; but the U.S. was willing to 
accept partition as all that could be salvaged from a bad military situa- 
tion. The Southeast Asia policy of the U.S. in the aftermath of the 
Geneva Conference was focused on organizing free Asian states against 
further inroads of Communism. The two Vietnams faced each other across 
a demilitarized zone. The DRV, manipulating a Viet Minh infrastructure 
in the South, waited for the elections, or for voracious political forces 
in the South to plunge the Saigon Government into chaos before election 
time arrived. South Vietnam began its attempt to establish complete con- 
trol over its own countryside, and constantly decried the DRV's undemo- 
cratic handling of would-be migrants. 

» 

c. Official Positions dxe in Agreement 

On the surface, however, the parties to the Geneva Accords 
-- with exception of the South Vietnamese Government -- officially sub- 
scribed to the view that partition was, as the Final Declaration stated, 
only temporary. Moreover, and again with the GVN the exception, all the 
parties concluded that partition was the only realistic way to separate 
the combatants, meet the widely divergent military and political demands 
of the French and Viet Minh, and conclude an armistice. 

d. The Outcome Could Have Been Predicted 

But such assertions did not affect the practical import of 
the Geneva documents. By creating two regimes responsible for "civil 
administration" (Article 14. a. of the Vietnam Armistice Agreement), by 
providing for the regroupment of forces to two zones and for the move- 
ment of persons to the zone of their choice, and by putting off national 
elections for two years, the conferees, whatever their intentions, made 
a future political settlement for Vietnam unlikely. The separation of 
Vietnam at the 17th parallel was designed to facilitate the armistice, 
but in fact it also facilitated the development of two governments under 
inimical political philosophies, foreign policies, and socio-economic 
systems. Thus, reunification through elections remained as remote 
in Vietnam as in Korea or Germany. "Elections," as Victor Bater has 

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commented , 2/ "can, indeed, decide secondary problems of coexistence in 
circumstances where some measurable minimum "basis for political agreement 
exists. But they are incapable of acceptance by two opposing states, or 
parts of a state, when diametrically opposite philosophies are involved." 
If the Geneva Accords were subverted, the subvert ers were the Geneva 
conferees themselves, who postulated an ideal political settlement incom- 
patible with the physical and psychological dismemberment of Vietnam they 
themselves undertook on July 21, 195^- 



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III. D. 3. FOOTNOTES 

1. Future elections in Vietnam are mentioned, in Article Ik of the Vietn 
Cease-Fire Agreements almost as a political aside. 

2. Bator, "One War « Two Vietnams," Military Review , XLVII, No. 6 
(June, 1967), 87. 



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