MINUTES, MEETING BETWEEN WANG BINGNAN AND FRENCH DELEGATION MEMBER [JEAN] PAUL-BONCOUR (SUMMARY)CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationPaul-Boncour and Bingnan discuss the Korean issue. Paul-Boncour states that the US is joining 15 other countries to "sabotage" the conference on the issue of international supervision of Korean unification."Minutes, Meeting between Wang Bingnan and French Delegation Member [Jean] Paul-Boncour (Summary)" June 14, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CFMA, Record No. 206-C0068. Obtained by CWIHP and translated for CWIHP by Gao Bei. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111497
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Time: 14 June 1954, 7:30 p.m.
Place: Paul-Boncour's office in the United Nations Building
Interpreter and Recorder: Dong Ningchuan
Paul-Boncour: Today I would like to discuss two issues:
(1) The Korean issue.
As we have discussed previously, if the Korean issue is to be discussed at the United Nations, China will be invited. However, Mr. Wang said that China was willing to enter the United Nations only through the front door and therefore had no intention of taking this opportunity. Meanwhile, since the situation is newly changed, I would like to give some personal opinions:
Regarding the issue of the All-Korean Commission, please pay attention to one paragraph in Bidault's statement. Bidault pointed out that Molotov's proposals must be revised to: under the guarantee of international organizations, the existing North and South Korean governments should get on well with each other so that they can await free elections. This proposal is not new. I proposed at the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea in 1948 that relations between North and South Korea must be improved. It should start with cultural and economic relations, and then gradually realize the political unification. The United States at the time suggested that it should be discussed later. India also knew about this since I used to ask for the Indian delegation's opinions.
Fifteen days ago, [Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal] Nehru also stated publicly that North Korea's political system should not be forced on South Korea. Neither should South Korea's political system be forced on North Korea. They must seek a way to coexist with each other peacefully. They should begin with cultural and economic issues, and solve their political problems thereafter.
Not long ago we anticipated that the French government would face a crisis, therefore we asked Bidault to present this proposal so that the conference could note it for the record. This is France's claim on the issue of peace in Korea. It was simply a personal proposal before, however, now the French government is using it for the first time as a proposal of its own. The United States is preparing to invite the other fifteen countries to join it to sabotage the conference on the issue of international supervision. If other countries decide to do so, France will agree with them.
(2) [Paul] Ramadier wants to meet Mr. Zhou Enlai.
Former French Prime Minister Ramadier is a member of the Socialist Party. He is currently attending a conference of the International Labor Organization in Geneva and is also the chair of the conference. He is a good friend of my uncle Mr. [Joseph] Paul-Boncour (former prime minister from the Socialist Party), my wife and I are all very familiar with him. He will return to Paris after the conference and therefore wants to take this opportunity to meet Mr. Zhou Enlai. If Mr. Zhou Enlai agrees, I will arrange a lunch or dinner in a restaurant in the countryside so that two of them will be able to meet there. For the time of the meeting, we prefer next Sunday.
As far as we know, a session on the Korean issue will be held tomorrow. Now I would also like to express some personal opinions:
(1) We have stated many times that this conference has nothing to do with the United Nations. Although this issue was discussed many times in the United Nations before, no result was reached there. Therefore, the Berlin Conference decided to hold the Geneva Conference.
(2) Discussing the Korean issue at the Untied Nations is completely different from the issue of restoring China's status at the UN. They should not be confused.
We believe that the Geneva Conference should reach a conclusion on the Korean issue. Since the delegations have all agreed on some basic issues such as unification, free elections, and the phased withdrawal of foreign troops, it made it easy to solve specific problems. We cannot understand why anybody would say that the conference will not succeed.
We constantly insist at the Geneva Conference that we only want the conference to be successful, and we do not want it to fail. It is obvious that the Americans' attitude is the opposite of ours. They want the conference to fail and do not want it to succeed. If the conference is to be sabotaged on the issue of supervision, our side does not have any responsibility for that. We hope to call the French delegation's attention to this.
If we share opinions on matters of principle, we should not have any problems dealing with specific issues. For example, if we have decided on the principle that we will hold the Geneva Conference, then there is no need to argue about whether the delegations should come here by plane, train or ship. We cannot say that you will not come to Geneva if you do not take the train. If anybody wants to sabotage the conference by using the issue of supervision, it means that they are intentionally preventing the conference from reaching any solutions.
It sounds very reasonable from the point of view of the Chinese delegation and Chinese public opinion. However, China cannot prevent the other sixteen countries from [considering these issues] from the perspective of the United Nations. To them, their statements are as well-founded as those of China. They have the right to decide whether the Korean issue should be discussed in Geneva or in New York. Therefore China's attitude should be flexible.
I need to clarify one thing. Mr. Wang Bingnan just said that he wanted to get the French delegation's attention. I am not speaking as a representative of the French delegation and am simply giving some personal opinions as a good friend of China and the secretary general of the sixteen countries.
We believe that since related countries could not reach any solution at the Geneva Conference, and [some countries are now] talking about how the United Nations can actually solve the problems, isn't it intentional sabotage?
What does Mr. Paul-Boncour think about the sessions, especially today's session, on the Indochina issue?
I haven't yet had a chance to exchange opinions with the French delegation. However, my own opinion is that today's session made important progress at the end. Mr. Molotov had already agreed to let India take the chair of the Commission of Neutral Nations. It thus denied Mr. Eden's argument a few days ago. He said at the time that although the conference was still ongoing, it was already hopeless. Therefore, we should be prepared to end the conference. Of course the United States also wanted to sabotage the Indochina session. However, France is different. France wants the conference to succeed, not to fail.
We have problems translating Mr. Molotov's detailed proposals. Our two translators have been working on them since three o'clock and still haven't finished yet. Therefore, Mr. [Jean] Chauvel cannot make any clear statement, simply depending on what he heard from the session. Nevertheless, Mr. Wang Bingnan should pay attention to one thing about which Smith is going to make a disappointing reply. He said that Molotov's proposals did not contain anything new. However, Chauvel expressed that he was willing to consider them carefully. He did not want to easily put Molotov's proposals aside before they are discussed.
Although Mr. Paul-Boncour said that these were his personal opinions, I believe that they are similar to our own.
As far as I know, the military session also made great progress, and the atmosphere of the session was very good, too.
Mr. Molotov's important proposals paved a new way for the conference. We welcome Mr. Chauvel's attitude of careful consideration. The United States said that there was nothing new in the Soviet proposals. It shows that the Americans' purpose is to let the conference fail. They obstruct [the conference] immediately every time it makes progress. France is an important concerned party. We hope that, as you said, France wants the conference to succeed. Then we believe that the conference must reach a conclusion.
Unfortunately, France does not have a government anymore.1 However, the French delegation and I all hope to be able to organize a technical committee, which will discuss the issue of supervision. This committee can discuss issues of the membership and authority of the NNSC. After the discussion, it should submit its report to the conference like the session of military experts does. According to the French constitution, the president is the commander-in-chief of the three armed services. Although he has no authority to talk about political issues, he can take responsibility for the military issues of the armistice. The expert who is doing research on the issue of supervision in France is [Counselor to the French delegation] Colonel [Jacques] Guillermaz.
Wang Bingnan: Do you think that the restricted sessions or the expert sessions should be continued?
I still cannot answer you now, because we have to discuss Mr. Molotov's proposals first.
How long will it take to set up the new French government? How many chances does [French National Assembly Member Pierre] Mendes-France have to form a cabinet?
I think it is difficult to form a new cabinet. It will take longer. I hope that Mendes-France will be successful, however, I think he will fail.
Currently, the French delegation is responsible to the president. The negotiation of the armistice issue is led by Chauvel, [French Chief of the Special Staff of the Secretary of State for Relations with the Associated States, Colonel Michel] de Brebisson, [Counselor to the French delegation, Colonel Jacques] Guillermaz, and others.
Russia just joined the International Labor Organization. The meeting between Mr. Zhou Enlai and Mr. Ramadier will be beneficial.
I will answer you after I report to the head
of our delegation.
1. Editor's Note: Joseph Laniel's government fell on 12 June after Pierre Mendes-France led a vote of non-confidence in the French National Assembly, which passed by a vote of 306 to 293. Mendes-France formed a new cabinet on 19 June.P