The Pentagon Papers
Gravel Edition
Volume 1
Document 45, Excerpts from the First Plenary Session, the Geneva Conference, Indochina Phase, 8 May 1954, p 504-06


Excerpts from the First Plenary Session
The Geneva Conference
Indochina Phase
May 8, 1954

The French Proposals

".....The French Government is thus confident that it has done everything in its power to put an end to the conflict. Not only has it removed all reason for this conflict to exist by recognizing fully and unreservedly the independence of Viet-Nam, Laos and Cambodia but, furthermore, the French Government has manifested for a long time its readiness and its desire of obtaining a reasonable settlement which would allow for the hostilities to be brought to an end. This is the main and primary task assigned to this Conference....

"We propose that the Conference should, first of all, declare that it adopt the principle of a general cessation of hostilities in Indochina based upon the necessary guarantees of security.....

"....in agreeing upon the withdrawal of the invading forces and the restoration of the territorial integrity of those states....

"....For France there is a Viet-Nam state of which the unity, territorial integrity and independence must be respected....

"....the most just solution of the political problem can be found and finally assured only when the population is in a position to express in complete freedom its sovereign will by means of free elections. For the present moment I repeat the problem is that of bringing about a cessation of hostilities and the guaranteeing of that cessation. These guarantees, in our opinion, must be of two kinds.

"....the regular forces of the two parties would be brought together in clearly demarcated regrouping zones . . . . the implementation of the agreement should be placed under the supervision of international commissions....

"....the agreement . . . . should be guaranteed in appropriate conditions by the states participating in the present Conference....

"....The French proposal is as follows:

"I. Vietnam

1. All regular units to be assembled in assembly areas to be defined by the Conference on the basis of proposals by the Commanders-in-Chief.
2. All elements not belonging either to the army or to the police forces to be disarmed.
3. All prisoners of war and civil internees to be released immediately.
4. Execution of the above provisions to be supervised by international commissions.
5. Hostilities to cease as soon as the agreement is signed. The assembly of troops and disarmament of forces as above provided to begin not later than x days (the number to be fixed by the Conference) after the signature of the agreement....

"II. Cambodia and Laos

1. All regular and irregular Vietminh forces which have entered the country to be evacuated.
2. All elements which do not belong either to the army or to the police forces to be disarmed.
3. All prisoners of war and civil internees to be released immediately.
4. Execution of the above provisions to be supervised by international commissions.

"III. These agreements shall be guaranteed by the States participating in the Geneva Conference. In the event of any violation thereof there shall be an immediate consultation between the guarantor States for the purpose of taking appropriate measures either individually or collectively.

"This, Mr. President, is the proposal submitted to the Conference on the responsibility of the French Delegation and by that Delegation. Thank you, Sir....

The Viet Minh Proposals

"...In the same spirit, expressing the sentiment of the three peoples of Vietnam, Khmer, and Pathet Lao, the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam proposes to the conference that ~t invite the official representatives of the governments of resistance of Khmer and of the government of resistance of Pathet Lao to take part in its work. We submit this proposal having in mind the following:

"....the peoples of Khmer and Pathet Lao have liberated vast areas of their national territory....

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

"....Alas, the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam proposes to the conference that it adopt the following resolution:

In view of the present situation of the countries of Indochina and in the interests of the thorough and objective examination of the question of the cessation of hostilities and the reestablishment of peace in Indochina, the conference recognizes the necessity to invite the representatives of the governments of resistance of Khmer and Pathet Lao to take part in the work of the conference in regard to the question of the reestablishment of peace in Indochina.

"Having submitted this proposal to the conference, I would ask the President of this meeting to authorize me to continue my statement when the conference has discussed the proposal that I have submitted. . . ."

The United States Proposal

"The United States proposes that any idea of inviting these nonexistent, so-called governments be rejected...."

The Red China Position

"....The delegation of the People's Republic of China fully supports the views of Mr. Pham van Dong....

The Soviet Union Position

"In view of the aforesaid, the Soviet Delegation supports the proposal of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam to invite the delegates of the Democratic Governments of Pathet Lao and Khmer to take part in our conference...."


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