The Pentagon Papers
Document 92, Telegram from Walter Bedell Smith on the Vietnamese Position, 19 July 1954, pp. 569-70.
TO: Secretary of State
NO: SECTO 673, July 19, 9 p.m.
Vietnamese DEL handed us late this afternoon their new proposal. It is elaboration of idea in note to French (SECTO 633) and conference was advised of its preparation in yesterday's restricted session. Unofficial translation follows:
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.
Although this partition is only provisional in theory, it would not (repeat not) fail to produce in Vietnam the same effects as in Germany, Austria, and Korea. It would not (repeat 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 (repeat not) fail to threaten a peace so dearly acquired.
Before discussing the conditions of a de facto partition with disastrous consequences for the people of Vietnam and for the peace of the world, the DEL of the state of Vietnam renews its proposal for a cease-fire without a demarcation line, without partition, even provisionally.
The Vietnamese DEL therefore proposes:
1. A cease-fire on present positions
2. Regroupment of troops in two zones which would be as small possible.
3. Disarmament of irregular troops
4. 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
D. Of the administration of the entire country
E. Of the general elections, when the United Nations believes that order and security will have been everywhere truly restored.
This proposal made on the formal instructions of His Majesty Bao Dai, and of the 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 consideration, and that the national government of Vietnam would prefer this provisional UN control over a truly independent and United Vietnam to its maintenance in power in a country dismembered and condemned to slavery.
Vietnamese DEL renews its request that a conference session be devoted to the study of its proposal for a cease-fire without partition.
In adding this proposal to those of other members of the conference, the DEL of the state of Vietnam means to bring a positive contribution to the search for a real and durable peace which conforms to the aspirations of the Vietnamese people.
Geneva, July 19, 1954.
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