Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 03, 1954


  • Citation

    get citation

    Zhou reports on the tenth restricted session on Indochina. Bidault spoke of the five functions of the NNSC for Indochina. Bidault opposes Poland's and Czechoslovakia's participation in the NNSC because he believes communist nations cannot be neutral.
    "Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Tenth Restricted Session," June 03, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 206-Y0050. Translated by Gao Bei.
  • share document


English HTML

(Top Secret)

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

(1) Yesterday morning, the Soviet, [North] Korean, and Chinese sides met and agreed that we should try to hold a plenary session on the Korean issue this week. [We will] let Nam Il refute [South Korean Foreign Minister] Pyun Yung Tai's proposal and statements by the other delegations that supported Pyun. Although I will also speak to refute Pyun, I will emphasize the necessity and effectiveness of the neutral nations' supervision of the all-Korean free elections. As I reported in a previous telegram, we are planning to let the Soviet side present the “draft agreement regarding basic principles for the peaceful resolution of the Korean issue by the participating countries of the Geneva Conference.”

(2) Yesterday, at the tenth restricted session on the Indochina issue, Bidault presented a comprehensive plan regarding the issue of the neutral nations' supervision. Its major points are as follows:

1.The NNSC has five functions:

(a) to supervise the regrouping of troops;
(b) to supervise the movement of troops;
(c) to investigate incidents that violate the armistice agreement in non-military zones;
(d) to supervise the prevention of new troops and arms being introduced across the borders of Indochina. However, this point is still not quite clear;
(e) to supervise the issue of the release of POWs and civilian internees.

2. The NNSC should set up local commissions and ad hoc subcommissions; the decisions of all levels of international commissions should be taken by a majority;

3. The joint commission of both sides should function under the authority of the NNSC;

4. Regarding the issue of the composition of the NNSC, Bidault disagreed with Gromyko's proposal and said: [“] Communist countries cannot be neutral[”]. He also quoted from Chairman Mao's On New Democracy that “neutral is simply a deceiving word.” However, he did not say that he agreed with those countries. Bidault especially emphasized that what he had said should only apply to Vietnam since the mission and organizational style of neutral nations' supervision in Laos and Cambodia is different from that in Vietnam. Smith spoke and cited Switzerland and Sweden's letter to the Military Armistice Commission on 4 May (the original letter was distributed after the meeting) to explain that the United Nations forces did not violate the armistice agreement. The Korean NNSC was unable to carry out its work because of the two communist members' obstruction. He said that none of the communist countries could be considered neutral countries, nor could they take charge of supervision. Therefore, he opposed Poland's and Czechoslovakia's participation and was [only] willing to accept India and Pakistan [as members of the NNSC]. I spoke immediately to refute Smith's statement and cited Poland's and Czechoslovakia's letters dated 15 April, 30 April, 8 May, and 20 May as proof (the original letters were distributed after the meeting). I expressed my support for Gromyko's proposal and pointed out that [we] should not confuse the non-neutrality of political thoughts with neutral nations that have not participated in the [Indochina] war. Eden made a statement and insisted that we should use Bidault's plan as a basis for discussion. He suggested that we should set up a technical committee to discuss the issues of functions and structure of the NNSC. Eden also suggested that the NNSC should be composed of Asian nations and emphasized that the joint commission of both sides should be subject to the command of the NNSC. Molotov spoke to refute Smith's statement[:] “if Smith basically opposes communist countries joining the NNSC it means that he does not want to settle the problem. This attitude hampers the settlement. Such an attitude that denies all non-capitalist countries a role in the NNSC is close to the thoughts of the anti-communist league.” Molotov also cited documents signed jointly by four member countries of the Korean NNSC acknowledging that the United States violated the [armistice] agreement. However, [he] explained that the NNSC was still effective despite these weaknesses and that the four countries could reach an agreement. The four neutral countries that the Soviet Union proposed included two Asian countries and two European countries. Among those countries, two of them had diplomatic relations with France and the other two with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. They will be able to reflect the opinions of both sides.

(3) Our counterparts have not yet reached a consensus on the issue of the composition of the NNSC. They were unable to make any suggestions at the meeting. Based on newspaper [accounts], it seems that France does not agree with the Southeast Asian countries completely.

(4) I will report the situation at yesterday's first formal meeting of the representatives of commanders of both sides in a separate telegram.

Zhou Enlai
3 June 1954