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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 22, 1954


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    Zhou Enlai reports on the Indochina session and the upcoming Korea session. All sides agree on the order of discussion of a ceasefire in Indochina and that they are open to including more in the discussion.
    "Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Fourth Restricted Session," May 22, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 206-Y0049. Translated by Chen Zhihong.
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Chairman [Mao], Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and report to the Central Committee:

(1) At the restricted session on Indochina yesterday our side insisted that the Cambodia and Laos questions should not be dealt with separately. As a result of the discussion, the other side agreed to two points:

a. First, to discuss the general principles regarding a ceasefire throughout the entire territory of Indochina related to the three countries, and then discuss the implementation of these principles, namely, how the questions concerning each of the three countries will be taken care of.

b.The discussion will begin with the first and fifth clauses of the French proposal as well as the first item in clause eight of the proposal of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, although other suggestions can be considered at the same time.

After back-and-forth discussion, Molotov, as chair of the session, in summarizing the opinions of all, put forward five main issues as follows:

1. The question of achieving a ceasefire in the whole territory of Indochina.

2. The question of [defining] zones for troop concentration.

3. The question of whether or not to allow troops and ammunition to be imported from outside of the region.

4. The question of having an international institution supervise the implementation of the agreements.

5. The question of guaranteeing the agreements.

Molotov also stated that if there were questions apart from the above five, they could also be raised for discussion. Laos and Cambodia continuously insisted upon their uniqueness. Bidault proposed to establish a special committee to draw up agendas, and our side immediately expressed disagreement to this. Eden raised the question of the representatives of the military commands of the two sides dispatching representatives to Geneva, and Pham Van Dong stated that this conference should only discuss matters of principles, and that the concrete issues could be discussed by the commanders of the two sides on site, although the representative of any country might call upon his own military advisors for providing assistance to his work, and this question would be discussed continuously next week.

(2) On the 20th Eden already expressed the willingness to search for compromise while having dinner together with Molotov. On the 21st, the other side made a step toward compromise on the agenda issue. However, they will be persistent with regard to the question of dealing separately with Cambodia and Laos. After the session, the Western press was of the opinion that the conference had made progress. They said that the Cambodia and Laos questions had been
tabled, but the reality is that they made concession on the procedures of discussion on this issue.

(3) Regarding the question of arranging a ceasefire and zones for troop concentration, on what principles (and their scopes) should be determined here, and how the discussions here and the discussions by the commanders on site should be defined, we will work out a plan and then report it to the Central Committee.

(4) Regarding the plenary session on the Korea question today, it is our prediction that the other side will put forward the issue of having the United Nations supervise the election and the issue of "the Chinese communists withdrawing first." So I plan to take the initiative to speak first, breaking up [the plot of the other side] by raising the point of having the neutral countries supervise the elections throughout all of Korea. Bidault returned to Paris on the evening of the 21st, and Eden will be returning to England today. [Indian Delegation to the United Nations Chief V.K. Krishna] Menon will be arriving here today, and I am preparing to have a meeting with him.

Zhou Enlai
22 May 1954