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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1955

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TALKS WITH THE STATE DELEGATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

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    Instructions outlining topics of discussion for an upcoming meeting between Soviet officials and Democratic Republic of Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh. Main topics of discussion in the first section include the Geneva agreements, relations with France, counteracting US plans in Indo-China, Laos and Cambodia, the United National Front, land reform, and the evacuation of Catholics to South Vietnam. Discussion points on DVR-Soviet Union relations include economic and technical assistance, trade, shipments to the Vietnamese People’s Army, the provision of credit, training DRV specialists in the USSR, advisors and Russian language teachers, military, and the Joint Communiqué.
    "Instructions for Talks with the State Delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam," 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF, fond 022, opis 8, papka 117, delo 30, listy 12-21; translated for CWIHP by Daniel Rozas. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121076
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Attachment #1
Secret. Copy #__

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TALKS WITH THE STATE DELEGATION
OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM [1955]

The essential aim of the talks with the state delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, headed by cde. Ho Chi Minh, is the further development of the friendly political, economic and cultural cooperation between the USSR and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, bearing in mind in this regard the rendering of assistance to the Vietnamese friends for the purpose of all-around strengthening of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its international situation, the reunification of Vietnam on a democratic foundation and the complete fulfillment of the Geneva agreements on Indo-China, and the swiftest possible reestablishment of the Republic’s economy.

In the discussions with cde. Ho Chi Minh, acknowledge the political and economic successes of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the period following the conclusion of the Geneva agreement.  Express satisfaction with the successful conclusion of the first stage implementation of the Geneva agreements - the enactment of the military articles of the Agreement on the cessation of military actions in Vietnam.  

During the course of the discussions with cde. Ho Chi Minh, emphasize that the Soviet people have unfailingly demonstrated feelings of deep sympathy and brotherly solidarity with the Vietnamese people’s struggle against colonialism and for their national independence.  State that the Soviet government will continue, in its cooperation with the Chinese comrades, to lend the necessary support to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and in its struggle for independence and reunification, as well as in the matter of economic and cultural development of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

x    x    x

In the discussion of specific issues with the state delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, it is necessary to be guided by the following:

1. Implementation of the Geneva agreements.

Noting the successful implementation of the military provisions of the Armistice Agreement in Vietnam, tell cde. Ho Chi Minh that we are prepared to continue to render all-around assistance to the DRV in its struggle for the exact implementation of the political provisions of the Geneva agreements - the preparation and holding of general elections in Vietnam in July 1956, and the convocation on 20 July 1955 of a consultative conference of the representatives of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the authorities of South Vietnam for discussing questions pertaining to the preparations for these elections.  

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the Soviet delegation intends, at the upcoming conference of the heads of the four countries, to raise the question of rendering needed assistance by the great powers for the purpose of political settlement in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, in accordance with the Geneva agreements.

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the CC CPSU has familiarized itself with the “theses on the general line, tactics and political platform in the struggle for unity,” prepared by the Vietnamese friends, and that, in its opinion, the goals and tactics for the struggle in South Vietnam as laid out in these theses are generally correct.  

Express our positive attitude toward the Vietnamese friends’ intention to fight for the establishment of a South Vietnamese government that would fulfill the Geneva agreement on carrying out all-Vietnamese elections.

2. Questions pertaining to relations between the DRV and France.

Speak positively regarding the intentions of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to use opportunities to create a broader front, together with France and with pro-French elements, against the Americans in South Vietnam.  Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that, in conjunction with these efforts, the Soviet government generally approves of the measures proposed by the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam:  the guarantees for the continuation of operations of French businesses and plantations in South Vietnam, as well as for cultural cooperation between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and France.  

State that the Soviet Government shares the opinion of the Vietnamese friends regarding the expediency of increasing DRV contacts with the representatives of French social and business circles.  

In connection with the question raised regarding the expediency of having the DRV government make a statement, with the aim of facilitating the reunification of the country, that the currently different political regime in South Vietnam could remain for a certain period following reunification (a republican regime with the participation of French capital in the economy and with a slower pace of democratic transformation):  inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that, in the opinion of the Soviet government, it would be essentially acceptable to have a situation where, for tactical reasons and for a specifically pre-determined period, the pace of democratic transformation in South Vietnam would be somewhat slower than that of North Vietnam.

3. On counteracting US plans in Indo-China.

With regard to US actions toward the countries of Indo-China, which are aimed at destroying the Geneva agreements, express the opinion that it is necessary to establish a broad front of progressive forces in Indo-China to carry out a struggle against US interference in the affairs of Indo-Chinese countries.  Emphasize that, in the opinion of the Soviet government, the Vietnamese friends should direct their efforts toward vitalizing work among all segments of the South Vietnamese population, with the aim of counteracting American influence.  Advise them to make wider use of religious sects in Indo-China to strengthen anti-imperialist and, above all, anti-American feelings in the country, bearing in mind the sect leaders’ dissatisfaction with the policies of the American protégé, Ngo Dinh Diem.

4. The questions of Laos and Cambodia.

Be guided by the fact that the Soviet government agrees with the policy of establishing normal political, economic and cultural ties between the DRV and Laos and Cambodia, on the basis of the five principles of co-existence.  Emphasize that the more correct path of political settlement in Laos is the path of immediate negotiations between the royal government and Patet-Lao, along with mutual concessions.  

Noting that the agreement on military assistance, signed on 16 May 1955 between the USA and Cambodia, is a clear violation of the Geneva agreements and is opposed by a number of political groups in Cambodia, recommend to the Vietnamese friends to take steps to organize a political and social movement in Cambodia directed against this agreement.

Taking into consideration that American penetration into Laos and Cambodia contradicts Indian interests, advise the DRV to take steps to establish closer cooperation with India in the struggle against the increase of American influence in Laos and Cambodia.  

Express the wish that the Vietnamese friends, mindful of the aforementioned circumstances and guided by the internal political situations in Laos and Cambodia, increase their work with the democratic forces in these countries.  In connection with this, it should obvious that no actions should be taken that would provide justification for accusing the DRV of violating the Geneva agreements.  

5. On broadening Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s relations with other countries.

Advise the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to make broader use of the decisions of the Conference in Bandung to establish and broaden the DRV’s political, economic and cultural ties with Asian and African countries.  Advise cde. Ho Chi Minh to use the decisions of the Conference in Bandung, and particularly Article 11, Section A of the concluding Conference communiqué, that recommends that the national governments appoint a representative to participant countries of this conference with the aim of exchanging information for all-around broadening of ties with Asian and African countries.  

6. Questions of the DRV’s relations with the PRC and the USSR.

Express satisfaction with the friendly relations that have developed between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the area of political, economic and cultural cooperation.  

Let cde. Ho Chi Minh understand that in practical matters pertaining to the assistance needed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, it would be sensible for the Vietnamese comrades to consult and seek advice more often from the Chinese friends, noting that the latter are better informed on the situation in Vietnam and since the government of the DRV is now dealing with questions that have been recently or are currently being dealt with by the PRC.  

If Ho Chi Minh raises the question of the establishment of a mixed Soviet-Chinese economic and military mission in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, explain to Ho Chi Minh the inexpediency of such a step, since a practical level of cooperation between the Vietnamese and Chinese friends has already developed and proved itself, which does not, of course, preclude the provision of technical assistance by the Soviet Union.

7. The broadening of the United National Front.

Speak positively of the plans to broaden the United National Front by way of encompassing in it all segments of the population that support the platform of peace, unity and Vietnamese independence on the basis of the Geneva agreements.  Emphasize the particular importance of broadening the United National Front through the establishment of new Front organizations not only in the liberated regions, but also in South Vietnam.

Focus the Vietnamese friends’ attention on the expediency of a broader use of the idea of reunification in order to strengthen the patriotic and democratic movement in South Vietnam.  Recommend to cde. Ho Chi Minh to examine the expediency and possibility of establishing a mass organization for the reunification of Vietnam, which could attract wide-ranging patriotic and democratic forces in the South and the North, and which at the same time would not be formally associated with the United National Front.  From a tactical point of view, it would be advantageous if the initiative for the establishment of such an organization manifested itself in the South, and that the first organizations of this type were established in South Vietnam.  

8. On land reform.

Express the opinion that the implementation of land reform is one of the most important factors for a successful outcome in the DRV’s struggle to establish Vietnamese unity on a democratic foundation.  Express our positive opinion of the decision by the Workers Party Central Committee to conclude land reform prior to the holding of elections in July 1956.  Tell the Vietnamese friends that we agree with the Workers Party Central Committee’s judgment that the implementation of land reform would help rally the suppressed Vietnamese masses around the DRV government, would strengthen the union of the working class and the peasantry, and reinforce the leading role of the Workers Party in the countryside.  

9. On the evacuation of Catholics to South Vietnam.

If the Vietnamese friends raise the question of the evacuation of Catholics from North to South Vietnam, express the opinion that the Vietnamese friends should probably not hinder unrelated instances of evacuation even after 20 July 1955, so as to eliminate the grounds for speculation by hostile propaganda regarding the question of refugees.  However, along with this, the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam must, in our opinion, steadfastly demand the same treatment by South Vietnamese authorities of populations evacuating from South to North Vietnam.  

Recommend to the Vietnamese friends to expand investigatory work among Catholics and carry out a more flexible policy toward the Catholic Church with the goal of counteracting hostile propaganda by Catholics resettled in the South.

QUESTIONS OF SOVIET-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS

1. On the provision of free economic and technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Noting that the economy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was destroyed during the war of liberation and requires urgent reconstruction, the Soviet Government, having examined the request of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, has decided to provide for the rebuilding of the Republic’s economy and appropriated 300 mln. rubles in the form of free assistance for the period 1955-1956.

In accordance with the wishes of the Vietnamese side, the Soviet government has agreed to deploy the aforementioned sum of 300 mln. rubles in the following manner:

125 mln. rubles for the reconstruction and building of 25 industrial and communal enterprises, including an apatite mine with 500 thou. ton/year capacity, a superphosphate factory with 100 thou. ton/year capacity, pyrite mine with 60 thou. ton/year capacity, mechanical factory with capacity of 3000 different mechanical products per year, 6 electric power plants with combined capacity of 18-22.5 thou. kW, two fish-canning factories, and 2 tea factories.

Included in this sum is also the technical assistance that will be rendered by the dispatch of Soviet specialists who will carry out geological survey work, establish prophylactic health enterprises in the battle against trachoma, malaria and other diseases, organize a hydro-meteorological service, and provide other types of assistance.

125 mln. rubles for the shipment of goods to fulfill the immediate needs of the population and the national economy.

50 mln. rubles as a reserve for additional orders by the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Along with this, inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the following draft agreements were handed to the DRV Ambassador to the USSR on April 29th of this year:

a) “Agreement on USSR’s provision of free assistance for economic reconstruction of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam”;

b) “Agreement on the terms of payment for Soviet specialists dispatched to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to provide technical assistance”;

c) “Agreement between the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on the terms of manufacturing-technical training practicums in the USSR for citizens of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam” (attached).

In the instance of cde. Ho Chi Minh’s agreement with the drafts of these agreements, inform him that the Government of the USSR is authorizing the First Assistant Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, cde. A. I. Mikoyan, to sign the first agreement.  The second and third agreements are delegated to be signed by the Director of the Chief Administration on Economic Relations with Countries of People’s Democracy, cde. K. I. Koval.

2. On trade between the USSR and the DRV.

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the Soviet government has examined the request of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to develop trade relations between the USSR and the DRV and has agreed to conclude a trade agreement with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.  The draft Trade Agreement was delivered to the DRV Ambassador to the USSR on April 23rd of this year.  

In connection with this, the Government of the USSR would like to establish a USSR Trade Representative’s Office in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.  The drafts of exchange letters on this question were also delivered to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ambassador in Moscow on May 18 of this year.

In the case of cde. Ho Chi Minh’s agreement with these documents, ask him to give instructions for their signing.

The Soviet government is delegating the signing of the trade agreement to the USSR Minister of Foreign Trade, cde. I. G. Kabanov.

3. On shipments to the Vietnamese People’s Army and on the provision of credit.

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the Government of the USSR has examined the request of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam for the shipment of materials and goods to fulfill the needs of the Vietnamese People’s Army and has decided for this purpose to extend to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam a long-term credit line of 30 million rubles to be used during 1955-1956 on preferential terms, specifically: the principal would consist of only half of the cost of the shipped goods, and would be repaid over eight years, starting in 1960, with an annual interest rate of 2%.  Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that in the case of his agreement with the conditions for these shipments, the signing of the corresponding protocol on the part of the Soviet side is delegated to the Chief Administration on Economic Relations with Countries of People’s Democracy (cde. K. I. Koval).

4. On assistance in the training of DRV specialists in the USSR.

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the Government of the USSR has agreed to satisfy the request by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to accept in 1955 three hundred Vietnamese citizens into USSR educational institutions.  

If cde. Ho Chi Minh requests that the cost of training Vietnamese students in the USSR during 1955-56 be included in the sum allocated for free assistance, agree with this request.

5. On advisors and Russian language teachers.

Inform cde. Ho Chi Minh that the Soviet government has agreed to fulfill the request by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to dispatch six advisors from the USSR to assist in organizing teaching at the highest educational institutions in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, as well as to dispatch five Russian language teachers to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

6. Military questions.

In connection with cde. Ho Chi Minh’s request to assist in the preparation of a defense plan for the DRV and for this purpose convene a conference of military representatives from the DRV, USSR and PRC, state that the Soviet government agrees to render such assistance to the DRV and proposes the following approach in implementing such assistance:

a) The DRV People’s Army High Command will draft a preliminary defense plan for the DRV together with Chinese military advisors.  In necessary instances, the Soviet military attaché in the DRV can render consultative assistance.

b) The Soviet side will dispatch to Beijing 2-3 senior Soviet military specialists to discuss with the Chinese and Vietnamese military officials the completed preliminary defense plan for the DRV.

7. On the Joint Communiqué.

Agree on the publication of a Joint Communiqué, which will contain the essential principles of the friendly relations between the USSR and the DRV, the striving of both countries to maintain and strengthen peace, and the importance of fulfilling the Geneva agreements that pertain to the political settlement in Indo-China.  The Communiqué should mention the conclusion of an Agreement on Economic Assistance by the USSR to rebuild the DRV economy, the Trade Agreement between the USSR and the DRV, and others.