The Pentagon Papers
Gravel Edition
Volume 1
Document 87, Telegram from Walter Bedell Smith to Secretary of State Dulles on the Vietnamese Position, 18 July 1954, pp. 563-65.

FROM: Geneva

TO: Secretary of State

NO: SECTO 655, July 18, 11 p.m.

At recess after today's meeting Tran Van Do and Tran Van Chuong immediately approached Johnson stating they wished U.S. clearly understand reasons they felt compelled make their statement at today's meeting (SECTO 654) and why they were asking for a plenary session. They said they desired at such a plenary session put forward position contained their note to French (SECTO 633) and asked Johnson's opinion on position. Johnson replied that did not feel it was practicable proposal, to which they responded they fully realized that it was not practicable and would be rejected by other side, but they felt they must make moral position their government clear to world and to Vietnamese people. If other side rejected it, position of their government would have been improved. Upon rejection by other side they would be prepared accept settlement along lines now being discussed.

Johnson pointed out that time was short and it was late for such proposal to which they replied that Mendes could of course ask for and obtain additional time from French Assembly. Johnson expressed strong doubt and urged they speak directly with French. After repeated strong urgings they finally approached Mendes, who listened sympathetically and at length. He suggested and they promised to consider formulation their proposal in writing and circulation to other delegations. He categorically stated he could not even if he so desired ask Assembly for any extension time he has given self.

Johnson told Mendes he was concerned over reaction to Vietnamese statement and reminded Mendes of U.S. position on Vietnamese concurrence with any agreement. Mendes stated he was very conscious of [word illegible] and was asking De Jean immediately go to Cannes to see Bao Dai.

Chauvel said that from De Jean's previous talk with Bao Dai it appeared Bao Dai had no knowledge of Do's conversations with Dong and in general had given delegation here free hand.


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