The Pentagon Papers
Document 54, Telegram from the US Delegation in Geneva to Secretary of State Dulles, 9 June 1954, pp. 519-21.
TO: Secretary of State
NO: DULTE 164, June 9, 10 p.m.
EYES ONLY SECRETARY
I had a long talk with Eden this morning. He said that we are clearly coming to end here on Indochina. Three major issues have emerged on which we cannot compromise and on which Communists show no intention of receding. These are (1) separate treatment of Laos and Cambodia, which are clearly victims of Viet Minh aggression; (2) status and powers of impartial international supervisory authority; and (3) composition of international supervisory authority.
He is convinced that we can get no further on these issues and should break within next few days. While he feels no useful negotiating purpose would be served, he is inclined to think that for public opinion it would be desirable that he privately see Molotov once more before a break in order to make clear to Molotov firmness our position and obtain Communist position. He is hopeful of forcing Molotov into public rejection Colombo powers for supervisory organization. This will have very beneficial effects in south and southeast Asia I pointed out, and he agreed, that French situation is such that we would probably have to leave the French and Viet Minh military officers here talking about zones in Vietnam.
Immediately following break he feels Cambodia and Laos should put their cases to the UN entirely divorced from Thailand request. (I gathered that he was thinking of something more than just a POC.) He thinks it highly important that they move rapidly after the conference is wound up, but equally important until that time there be no hints or press leaks whatever that such action is contemplated. He feels that if properly handled and appeals are spontaneous on their part, with no implication of US-UK initiative or prodding, they will receive general Asian support. I pointed out, and he agreed, that France might oppose but we should go ahead anyway. In meanwhile he feels very strongly we must not now complicate matter by insisting on broadening Thailand appeal to Laos and Cambodia. He rightly points out that language in Security Council draft resolution is largely academic, as it will in any event be voted. Resolution can be written any way that appears desirable at the time matter comes before General Assembly. He said he would send instructions to Dixon to try to work out with Lodge some language that would meet his point, while not necessarily precluding POC operations outside Thailand. I am sending separate telegram repeated to USUN replying to your TOSEC 378 giving only latter part this paragraph.
Eden said he had not yet put to cabinet his ideas with regard to UN appeal by Cambodia and Laos, and therefore asked that the matter be treated with strictest secrecy.
Eden also said he was considering recommendation reduce strength of Commonwealth division in Korea by about half or one brigade in order to reinforce Malaya. If things eased up in Egypt, he was also hopeful that forces could be spared from there for Malaya. I told him that in view of more critical situation in southeast Asia and our ability within the armistice to train and equip ROK forces as replacements, I thought we would have no objection.
Clear that Eden now considers negotiations here have failed. Believe he is prepared to move ahead quickly in southeast Asia coalition which would guarantee Cambodia and most of Laos under umbrella of some UN action with respect to those two countries. He expects active cooperation from Burma, and hopes for benevolent neutrality from India. He apparently does not feel much can be salvaged in Vietnam.
As you know, Bidault is not here and we will not know where French stand until Assembly debate completed, if then. If French continue negotiations, point will probably arrive shortly when deteriorating military situation will force them accept simple cease-fire in attempt temporarily salvage something. Therefore one question we may shortly face is what we and UK do if France insists on continuing negotiations somewhat longer. It is one thing to withdraw if France negotiates an agreement with which we cannot publicly associate ourselves, and another to withdraw prior to that time.
Eden's tactics recommend themselves very strongly to me.
Chauvel spoke to me after the above was dictated. In Bidault's absence he and others have been considering recommending to Bidault that France and three Associated States together make appeal to UN. He had reports from Valluy, part of which he read to me. He is obviously convinced that things will go badly in Delta. I made no comment except to suggest that Laos and Cambodia commanded a certain sympathy in Asia and Middle East which France plus Vietnam did not. I asked him categorically if France wanted to internationalize on conditions we had tabled some time ago, saying neither you nor I knew where France stood. He replied that he did not know:--that "Bidault still hoped to get something here".
I would appreciate your thoughts and guidance.
With respect Korea, Eden indicated he would probably speak next plenary (which we plan for Friday or Saturday). He would not be adverse to making this last session on Korea. However, not all of sixteen are yet prepared to do this. I do not know whether we will be able get them lined up. If not, one more plenary may be necessary.
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