(The Genera Agreements theoretically ended the war between French Union forces and the Vietminh in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. These states were to become fully independent countries, with the last-named partitioned near the 17th parallel into two states pending reunification through "free elections" to be held by July 20, 1956. The United States and Vietnam are not signatories to these agreements.)
CHAPTER I-PROVISIONAL MILITARY DEMARCATION LINE AND DEMILITARIZED ZONE
A provisional military demarcation line shall be fixed, on either side of which the forces of the two parties shall be regrouped after their withdrawal, the forces of the People's Army of Viet-Nam to the north of the line and the forces of the French Union to the south.
The provisional military demarcation line is fixed as shown on the map attached (omitted).
It is also agreed that a demilitarized zone shall be established on either side of the demarcation line, to a width of not more than 5 kms. from it, to act. as a buffer zone and avoid any incidents which might result in the resumption of hostilities.
The period within which the movement of all the forces of either party into its regrouping zone on either side of the provisional military demarcation line shall be completed shall not exceed three hundred (300) days from the date of the present Agreement's entry into force.
When the provisional military demarcation line coincides with a waterway, the waters of such waterway shall be open to civil navigation by both parties wherever one bank is controlled by one party and the other bank by the other party. The joint Commission shall establish rules of navigation for the stretch of waterway in question. The merchant shipping and other civilian craft of each party shall have unrestricted access to the land under its military control.
The provisional military demarcation line between the two final regrouping zones is extended into the territorial waters by a line perpendicular to the general line of the coast.
All coastal islands north of this boundary shall be evacuated by the armed forces of the French union, and all islands south of it shall he evacuated by the forces of the People's Army of Viet-Nam.
To avoid any incidents which might result in the resumption of hostilities, all military forces, supplies and equipment shall be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone within twenty-five (25) days of the present Agreement's entry into force.
No person, military or civilian, shall be permitted to cross the provisional military demarcation line unless specifically authorized to do so by the Joint Commission.
No person, military or civilian, shall be permitted to enter the demilitarized zone except persons concerned with the conduct of civil administration and relief and persons specifically authorized to enter by the Joint Commission.
Civil administration and relief in the demilitarized zone on either side of the provisional military demarcation line shall be the responsibility of the Commanders-in-Chief of the two parties in their respective zones. The number of persons, military or civilian, from each side who are permitted to enter the demilitarized zone for the conduct of civil administration and relief shall be determined by the respective Commanders, but in no case shall the total number authorized by either side exceed at any one time a figure to be determined by the Trung Gia Military Commission or by the Joint Commission. The number of civil police and the arms to be carried by them shall be determined by the Joint Commission. No one else shall carry arms unless specifically authorized to do so by the joint Commission.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as limiting the complete freedom of movement, into, out of or within the demilitarized zone of the Joint Commission, its joint groups, the International Commission to be set up as indicated below, its inspection teams and any other persons, supplies or equipment specifically authorized to enter the demilitarized zone by the Joint Commission. Freedom of movement shall be permitted across the territory under the military control of either side over any road or waterway which has to be taken between points within the demilitarized zone when such points are not connected by roads or waterways lying completely within the demilitarized zone.
CHAPTER II-PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURE GOVERNING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRESENT AGREEMENT
The Commanders of the Forces on each side, on the one side the Commander-in-Chief of the French Union forces in Indo-China and on the other side the Commander-in-Chief of the People's Army of Viet-Nam, shall order and enforce the complete cessation of all hostilities in Viet-Nam by all armed forces under their control, including all units and personnel of the ground, naval and air forces.
In accordance with the principle of a simultaneous cease-fire throughout Indo-China, the cessation of hostilities shall be simultaneous throughout all parts of Viet-Nam, in all areas of hostilities and for all the forces of the two parties.
Taking into account the time effectively required to transmit the cease-fire order down to the lowest echelons of the combatant forces on both sides, the two parties are agreed that the cease-fire shall take effect completely and simultaneously for the different sectors of the country as follows:
Northern Viet-Nam at 8:00 a. m. (local time) on 27 July 1954
Central Viet-Nam at 8:00 a. m. (local time) on 1 August 1954
Southern Viet-Nam at 8:00 a. m. (local time) on 11 August 1954
It is agreed that Pekin mean time shall be taken as local time.
From such time as the cease-fire becomes effective in Northern Viet-Nam, both parties undertake not to engage in any large-scale offensive action in any part of the Indo-Chinese theatre of operations and not to commit the air forces based on Northern Viet-Nam outside that sector. The two parties also undertake to inform each other of their plans for movement from one regrouping zone to another within twenty-five (05) days of the present Agreement's entry into force.
All the operations and movements entailed in the cessation of hostilities and regrouping must proceed in a safe and orderly fashion
(a) Within a certain number of days after the cease-fire Agreement shall have become effective, the number to be determined on the spot by the Trung Gia Military Commission, each party shall be responsible for removing and neutralizing mines (including river- and sea-mines), booby traps, explosives and any other dangerous substances placed by it. In the event of its being impossible to complete the work of removal and neutralization in time, the party concerned shall mark the spot by placing visible signs there. All demolitions, mine fields, wire entanglements and other hazards to the free movement of the personnel of the Joint Commission and its joint groups, known to be present after the withdrawal of the military forces, shall be reported to the Joint Commission by the Commanders of the opposing forces;
(b) From the time of the cease-fire until regrouping is completed on either side of the demarcation line:
(1) The forces of either party shall be provisionally withdrawn from the provisional assembly areas assigned to the other party.
(2) When one party's forces withdraw by a route (road, rail, waterway, sea route) which passes through the territory of the other party (see Article 24), the latter party's forces must provisionally withdraw three kilometres on each side of such route, but in such a manner as to avoid interfering with the movements of the civil population.
From the time of the cease-fire until the completion of the movements from one regrouping zone into the other, civil and military transport aircraft shall follow air-corridors between the provisional assembly areas assigned to the French Union forces north of the demarcation line on the one hand and the Laotian frontier and the regrouping zone assigned to the French Union forces on the other hand.
The position of the air-corridors, their width, the safety route for single-engined military aircraft transferred to the south and the search and rescue procedure for aircraft in distress shall he determined on the spot by the Trung Gia Military Commission.
Political and administrative measures in the two regrouping zones, on either side of the provisional military demarcation line:
(a) Pending the general elections which will bring about the unification of Viet-Nam, the conduct of civil administration in each regrouping zone shall be in the hands of the party whose forces are to be regrouped there in virtue of the present Agreement
(b) Any territory controlled by one party which is transferred to the other party by the regrouping plan shall continue to be administered by the former party until such date as all the troops who are to be transferred have completely left that territory so as to free the zone assigned to the party in question. From then on, such territory shall be regarded as transferred to the other party, who shall assume responsibility for it.
Steps shall be taken to ensure that there is no break in the transfer of responsibilities. For this purpose, adequate notices shall be given by the withdrawing party to the other party, which shall make the necessary arrangements, in particular by sending administrative and police detachments to prepare for the assumption of administrative responsibility. The length of such notice shall he determined by the Trung Gia Military Commission. The transfer shall he effected in successive stages for the various territorial sectors.
The transfer of the civil administration of Hanoi and Haiphong to the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam shall be completed within the respective time-limits laid down in Article 15 for military movements.
(c) Each party undertakes to refrain from any reprisals or discrimination against persons or organizations on account of their activities during the hostilities and to guarantee their democratic liberties.
(d) From the date of entry into force of the present agreement until the movement of troops is completed, any civilians residing in a district controlled by one party who wish to go and live in the zone assigned to the other party shall be permitted and helped to do so by the authorities in that district.
The disengagement of the combatants, and the withdrawals and transfers of military forces, equipment and supplies shall take place in accordance with the following principles:
(a) The withdrawals and transfers of the military forces equipment and supplies of the two parties shall be completed within three hundred (300) days, as laid down in Article 2 of the present Agreement;
(b) Within either territory successive withdrawals shall be made by sectors, portions of sectors or provinces. Transfers from one regrouping zone to another shall be made in successive monthly installments proportionate to the number of troops to be transferred;
(c) The two parties shall undertake to carry out all troop withdrawals and transfers in accordance with the aims of the present Agreement, shall permit no hostile act and shall take no step whatsoever which might hamper such withdrawals and transfers. They shall assist one another as far as this is possible
(d) The two parties shall permit no destruction or sabotage of any public property and no injury to the life and property of the civil population. They shall permit no interference in local civil administration;
(e) The Joint Commission and the International Commission shall ensure that steps are taken to safeguard the forces in the course of withdrawal and transfer:
(f) The Trung Gia Military Commission, and later the Joint Commission, shall determine by common agreement the exact procedure for the disengagement of the combatants and for troop withdrawals and transfers, on the basis of the principles mentioned above and within the framework laid down below:
1. The disengagement of the combatants, including the concentration of the armed forces of all kinds and also each party's movements into the provisional assembly areas assigned to it and the other party's provisional withdrawal from it, shall be completed within a period not exceeding fifteen (15) days after the date when the cease-fire becomes effective.
The general delineation of the provisional assembly areas is set out in the maps annexed to the present Agreement.
In order to avoid any incidents, no troops shall be stationed less than 1,500 metres from the lines delimiting the provisional assembly areas.
During the period until the transfers are concluded, all the coastal islands west of the following lines shall be included in the Haiphong perimeter:
-meridian of the southern point of Kebao Island
-northern coast of the Ile Rousse (excluding the island), extended as far as the meridian of Campha-Mines
-meridian of Champha-Mines.
2. The withdrawals and transfers shall be effected in the following order and within the following periods (from the date of the entry into force of the present Agreement)
Forces of the French Union........ Days
Hanoi perimeter....... 80
Haiduong perimeter....... 100
Haipbong perimeter....... 300
Forces of the People's Army of Viet-Nam.......Days
Ham Tan and Xuyeninec provisional assembly area....... 80
Central Viet-Nam provisional assembly area-first instalment..... 80
Plaine des Jones provisional assembly area....... 100
Point Camau provisional assembly area........ 200
Central Viet-Nam Provisional assembly area-last installment.. 300
CHAPTER III-BAN ON INTRODUCTION OF FRESH TROOPS, MILITARY PERSONNEL, ARMS AND MUNITIONS, MILITARY BASES
With effect from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement, the introduction into Viet-Nam of any troop reinforcements and additional military personnel is prohibited.
It is understood however, that the rotation of units and groups of personnel, the arrival in Viet-Nam of individual personnel on a temporary duty basis and the return to Viet-Nam of individual personnel after short periods of leave or temporary duty outside Viet-Nam shall be permitted under the conditions laid down below:
(a) Rotation of units (defined in paragraph (c) of this Article) and groups of personnel shall not be permitted for French Union troops stationed north of the provisional military demarcation line laid down in Article l of the present Agreement, during the withdrawal period provided for in Article 2.
However, under the heading of individual personnel not more than fifty (50) men, including officers, shall during any one month be permitted to enter that part of the country north of the provisional military demarcation line on a temporary duty basis or to return there after short periods of leave or temporary duty outside Viet-Nam.
(b) "Rotation" is defined as the replacement of units or groups of personnel by other units of the same echelon or by personnel who are arriving in Viet-Nam territory to do their overseas service there;
(c) The units rotated shall never be larger than a battalion-or the corresponding echelon for air and naval forces;
(d) Rotation shall be conducted on a man-for-man basis, provided, however, that in any one quarter neither party shall introduce more than fifteen thousand five hundred (15,500) members of its armed forces into Viet-Nam under the rotation policy.
(e) Rotation units (defined in paragraph (c) of this Article) and groups of personnel, and the individual personnel mentioned in this Article, shall enter and leave Viet-Nam only through the entry points enumerated in Article 20 below:
(f) Each p arty shall notify the Joint Commission and the International Commission at least two days in advance of any arrivals or departures of units, groups of personnel and individual personnel in or from Viet-Nam. Reports on the arrivals or departures of units, groups of personnel and individual personnel in or from Viet-Nam shall be submitted daily to the Joint Commission and the International Commission.
All the above-mentioned notifications and reports shall indicate the places and dates of arrival or departure and the number of persons arriving or departing.
(g) The International Commission, through its Inspection Teams, shall supervise and inspect the rotation of units and groups of personnel and the arrival and departure of individual personnel as authorized above, at the points of entry enumerated in Article 20 below.
(a) With effect from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement, the introduction into Viet- Nam of any reinforcements in the form of all types of arms, munitions and other war material, such as combat aircraft, naval craft, pieces of ordnance jet engines and jet weapons and armoured vehicles, is prohibited.
(b) It is understood, however, that war material, arms and munitions which have been destroyed, damaged worn out or used up after the cessation of hostilities may be replaced on the basis of piece-for-piece of the same type and with similar characteristics. Such replacements of war material, arms and munitions shall not he permitted for French Union troops stationed north of the provisional military demarcation line laid down in Article 1 of the present Agreement during the withdrawal period provided for in Article 2.
Naval craft may perform transport operations between the regrouping zones.
(c) The war material, arms and munitions for replacement purposes prov ided for in paragraph (b) of this Article, shall be introduced into Viet-Nam only through the points of entry enumerated in Article 20 below. War material, arms and munitions to be replaced shall be shipped from Viet-Nam only through the points of entry enumerated in Article 20 below;
(d) Apart from the replacements permitted within the limits laid down in paragraph of this Article, the introduction of war material, arms and munitions of all types in the form of unassembled parts for subsequent assembly is prohibited;
(e) Each party shall notify the Joint Commission and the International Commission at least two days in advance of any arrivals or departures which may take place of war material, arms and munitions of all types.
In order to justify the requests for the introduction into Viet-Nam of arms, munitions and other war material (as defined in paragraph (a) of this Article) for replacement purposes, a report concerning each incoming shipment shall be submitted to the Joint Commission and the International Commission. Such reports shall indicate the use made of the items so replaced.
(f) The International Commission, through its Inspection Teams, shall supervise and inspect the replacements permitted in the circumstances laid down in this Article, at the points of entry enumerated in Article 20 below.
With effect from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement, the establishment of new military bases is prohibited throughout Viet-Nam territory.
With effect from the date of entry into force of the present Agreement, no military base under the control of a foreign State may be established in the regrouping zone of either party; the two parties shall ensure that the zones assigned to them do not adhere to any military alliance and are not used for the resumption of hostilities or to further an aggressive policy.
The points of entry into Viet-Nam for rotation personnel and replacements of material are fixed as follows:
-Zones to the north of the provisional military demarcation line: Laokay, Langson, Tien-Yen, Haiphong, Vinh, Dong-Hoi, Muong- Sen;
-Zone to the south of the provisional military demarcation line: Tourane, Quinhon, Nhatrang, Bangoi, Saigon, Cap St. Jacques, Tanchan.
CHAPTER IV-PRISONERS OF WAR AND CIVILIAN INTERNEES
The liberation and repatriation of all prisoners of war and civilian internees detained by each of the two parties at the coming into force of the present Agreement shall be carried out under the following conditions:
(a) All prisoners of war and civilian internees of Viet-Nam, French and other nationalities captured since the beginning of hostilities in Viet-Nam during military operations or in any other circumstances of war and in any part of the territory of Viet-Nam shall be liberated within a period of thirty (30) days after the date when the cease-fire becomes effective in each theatre.
(b) The term "civilian internees" is understood to mean all persons who, having in any way contributed to the political and armed struggle between the two parties, have been arrested for that reason and have been kept in detention by either party during the period of hostilities.
(c) All prisoners of war and civilian internees held by either party shall be surrendered to the appropriate authorities of the other party, who shall give them all possible assistance in proceeding to their country of origin, place of habitual residence or the zone of their choice.
The commanders of the Forces of the two parties shall ensure that persons under their respective commands who violate any of the provisions of the present Agreement are suitably punished.
In cases in which the place of burial is known and the existence of graves has been established, the Commander of the Forces of either party shall, within a specific period after the entry into force of the Armistice Agreement, permit. the graves service personnel of the other party to enter the part of Viet-Nam territory under their military control for the purpose of finding and removing the bodies of deceased military personnel of that party, including the bodies of deceased prisoners of war. The Joint Commission shall determine the procedures and the time limit for the performance of this task. The Commanders of the Forces of the two parties shall communicate to each other all information in their possession as to the place of burial of military personnel of the other party.
The present Agreement shall apply to all the armed forces of either party. The armed forces of each party shall respect the demilitarized zone and the territory under the military control of the other party, and shall commit no act and undertake no operation against the other party and shall not engage in blockade of any kind in Viet-Nam.
For the purposes of the present Article, the word "territory" includes territorial waters and air space.
The Commanders of the Forces of the two parties shall afford full protection and all possible assistance and co-operation to the Joint Commission and its joint groups and to the international Commission and its inspection teams in the performance of the functions and tasks assigned to them by the present Agreement.
The costs involved in the operations of the Joint Commission and joint groups and of the International Commission and its inspection Teams shall be shared equally between the two parties.
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. The Commanders of the Forces of the two parties shall, within their respective commands, take all steps and make all arrangements necessary to ensure full compliance with all the provisions of the present Agreement by all elements and military personnel under their command.
The procedures laid down in the present Agreement shall, whenever necessary, he studied by the Commanders of the two parties and, if necessary, defined more specifically by the Joint Commission.
CHAPTER VI--JOINT COMMISSION AND INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR SUPERVISION AND CONTROL IN VIET-NAM
28. Responsibility for the execution of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities shall rest with the parties.
29. An International Commission shall ensure the control and supervision of this execution.
30. In order to facilitate, under the conditions shown below, the execution of provisions concerning joint actions by the two parties, a Joint Commission shall be set up in Viet-Nam.
31. The Joint Commission shall be composed of an equal number of representatives of the Commanders of the two parties.
32. The Presidents of the delegations to the Joint Commission shall hold the rank of General.
The Joint Commission shall set up joint groups the number of which shall be determined by mutual agreement between the parties. The groups shall be composed of an equal number of officers from both parties. Their location on the demarcation line between the regrouping zones shall he determined by the parties whilst taking into account the powers of the Joint Commission.
33. The Joint Commission shall ensure the execution of the following provisions of the Agreement on the cessation of hostilities:
(a) A simultaneous and general cease-tire in Viet-Nam for all regular and irregular armed forces of the two parties.
(b) A re-groupment of the armed forces of the two parties.
(c) Observance of the demarcation lines between the regrouping zones and of the demilitarized sectors.
Within the limits of its competence it shall help the parties to execute the said provisions, shall ensure liaison between them for the purpose of preparing and carrying out plans for the application of these provisions, and shall endeavor to solve such disputed questions as may arise between the parties in the course of executing these provisions.
34. An International Commission shall be set up for the control and supervision over the application of the provisions of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Viet-Nam. It shall be composed of representatives of the following States: Canada, India and Poland.
It shall be presided over by the Representative of India.
35. The International Commission shall set up fixed and mobile inspection teams, composed of an equal number of officers appointed by each of the above-mentioned States. The fixed teams shall be located at the following points: Laokay, Langson, Tien-Yen, Haiphong, Vinh, Dong-Hoi, Muong-Sen, Tourane, Quinhon, Nhatrang, Bangoi, Saigon, Cap St. Jacques, Tranchau. These points of location may, at a later date, he altered at the request of the Joint Commission, or of one of the parties, or of the International Commission itself, by agreement between the International Commission and the command of the party concerned. The zones of action of the mobile teams shall be the regions bordering the land and sea frontiers of Viet-Nam, the demarcation lines between the re-grouping zones and the demilitarized zones. Within the limits of these zones they shall have the right to move freely and shall receive from the local civil and military authorities all facilities they may require for the fulfilment of their tasks (provision of personnel, placing at their disposal documents needed for supervision, summoning witnesses necessary for holding enquiries, ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the inspection teams etc. . .). They shall have at their disposal such modern means of transport, observation and communication as they may require. Beyond the zones of action as defined above, the mobile teams may, by agreement with the command of the party concerned, carry out other movements within the limits of the tasks given them by the present agreement.
36. The International Commission shall be responsible for supervising the proper execution by the parties of the provisions of the agreement. For this purpose it shall fulfill the tasks of control, observation, inspection and investigation connected with the application of the provisions of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities, and it shall in particular:
(a) Control the movement of the armed forces of the two parties, effected within the framework of the regroupment plan.
(b) Supervise the demarcation lines between the re-grouping areas, and also the demilitarized zones.
(c) Control the operations of releasing prisoners of war and civilian internees.
(d) Supervise at ports and airfields as well as along all frontiers of Viet-Nam the execution of the provisions of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities, regulating the introduction into the country of armed forces, military personnel and of all kinds of arms, munitions and war material.
37. The International Commission shall, through the medium of the inspection teams mentioned above, and as soon as possible either on its own initiative, or at the request of the Joint Commission, or of one the parties, undertake the necessary investigations both documentary and on the ground.
38. The inspection teams shall submit to the International Commission the results of their supervision, their investigation and their observations, furthermore they shall draw up such special reports as they may consider necessary or as may be requested from them by the Commission. In the case of a disagreement within the teams, the conclusions of each member shall be submitted to the Commission.
39. If any one inspection team is unable to settle an incident or considers that there is a violation or a threat of a serious violation the international Commission shall be informed; the latter shall study the reports and the conclusions of the inspection teams and shall inform the parties of the measures which should be taken for the settlement of the incident, ending of the violation or removal of the threat of violation.
40. When the Joint Commission is unable to reach an agreement on the interpretation to be given to some provision or on the appraisal of a fact, the International Commission shall be informed of the disputed question. Its recommendations shall be sent directly to the parties and shall be notified to the Joint Commission.
41. The recommendations of the International Commission shall be adopted by majority vote, subject to the provisions contained in article 42. If the votes are divided the chairman's vote shall be decisive.
The International Commission may formulate recommendations concerning amendments and additions which should he made to the provisions of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Viet-Nam, in order to ensure a more effective execution of that agreement. These recommendations shall be adopted unanimously.
42. When dealing with questions concerning violations, or threats of violations, which might lead to a resumption of hostilities, namely:
(a) Refusal by the armed forces of one party to effect the movements provided for in the regroupment plan;
(b) Violation by the armed forces of one of the parties of the regrouping zones, territorial waters, or air space of the other party;
the decisions of the International Commission must be unanimous.
43. If one of the parties refuses to put into effect a recommendation of the International Commission, the parties concerned or the Commission itself shall inform the members of the Geneva Conference.
If the International Commission does not reach reach unanimity in the cases provided for in article 42, it shall submit a majority report and one or more minority reports to the members of the Conference.
The International Commission shall inform the members of the Conference in all cases where its activity is being hindered.
44. The International Commission shall be set up at the time of the cessation of hostilities in Indo-China in order that it should lie able to fulfill the the tasks provided for in article 36.
45. The International Commission for Supervision and Control in Viet-Nam shall act in close co-operation with the International Commissions for Supervision and Control in Cambodia and Laos.
The Secretaries-General of these three Commissions shall be responsible for co-ordinating their work and for relations between them.
46. The International Commission for Supervision and Control in Viet-Nam may, after consultation with the International Commissions for Supervision and Control in Cambodia and Laos, and having regard to the development of the situation in Cambodia and Laos, progressively reduce its activities. Such a decision must be adopted unanimously.
47. All the provisions of the present Agreement, save the second sub-paragraph of Article 11, shall enter into force at 2400 hours (Geneva time) on 22 July 1954.
Done in Geneva at 2400 hours on the 20th of July 1954 in French and in Viet-Namese, both texts being equally authentic.
For the Commander-in-Chief of the French Union Forces in Indo-China
For the Commander-in-Chief of the People's Army of Viet-Nam
TA-QUANG BUU, Indo-China
Vice-Minister of National Defence of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam
Source: U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, 90th Congress, 1st Session, Background Information Relating to Southeast Asia and Vietnam (3d Revised Edition) (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1967), pp. 50-62
Return to Vinnie's Home Page
Return to Vietnam Page