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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 12, 1954

TELEGRAM, ZHOU ENLAI TO MAO ZEDONG AND OTHERS, REGARDING THE SECOND PLENARY SESSION (EXCERPT)

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    Zhou Enlai reports mainly on the second session of the Indochina issue. Participants are divided on the issue of a ceasefire. The Republic of Vietnam's Pham Van Dong agrees that the releasing of sick and wounded POWs will include both French and Vietnamese troops.
    "Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Second Plenary Session (Excerpt)," May 12, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 206-Y0049. Translated by Chen Zhihong. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110610
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(Top secret)

Chairman [Mao], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and the Central Committee:

(1) There is no session on the 9th (Sunday). The specific proposals raised by Comrade Pham Van Dong in his comprehensive presentation at the first plenary session on the 8th have caught the attention of many. The English language text of Pham's presentation has been dispatched to Beijing. At one point, the spokesperson of the French delegation rejected the proposal on the afternoon of the 8th. However, on the 11th, he took it back and said that the proposal should not be completely rejected. At the second session on the Indochina issue, convened on the 10th, [the fact] that Pham Van Dong took the initiative to raise the issue of sick and wounded prisoners has produced much impact. Eden and Smith spoke in support of Bidault's proposal, contending that it should be taken as the basis of further discussion. Although Eden's tone was relatively moderate, he still favored stationing military forces by dividing zones and taking measures to guarantee a ceasefire. Smith followed Dulles's stance as expressed in the statement of the 7th and threatened to do everything possible to support France and the three countries in Indochina in resisting outside “aggression.” He also supported France's proposal for a ceasefire and favored effective international supervision. However, he only said that he had noticed France's point on guaranteeing a ceasefire by participants of the Geneva conference, and did not make a clearer statement [about this]. Smith also stressed that the United States was willing to help the development of collective security in Southeast Asia. Toward the end of the session, the representative of [State of Vietnam Chief (Quoc Truong)] Bao Dai stated that the release of sick and wounded prisoners should not be restricted to French prisoners but should also include prisoners of [the State of] Vietnam. Pham Van Dong had no time to make a response then. After the session, the spokesperson of the Vietnamese delegation issued a statement to the effect that the releasing of sick and wounded prisoners would also include prisoners from Bao Dai's [troops]. I plan to make a comprehensive presentation to support Pham Van Dong's proposals and to rebut Bidault's proposal at the third session on Indochina this afternoon. The presentation notes were completed on the night of the 9th, and were agreed to by the Soviet side on the 10th. After repeated revision of the language and text, the notes have been finalized.

(2) [Excised by the Department of Archives of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

Zhou Enlai
12 May 1954, 12:00 p.m.