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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 04, 1954


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    Zhou reports on the eleventh restricted session on Indochina. During the session, Zhou opposes using the UN as a supervisory body, and asserts that the joint commission should take major responsibility in implementing the armistice, and that the NNSC's function is to supervise the joint commission's work and the Indochina borders.
    "Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Eleventh Restricted Session," June 04, 1954, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 206-Y0050. Translated by Gao Bei.
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Chairman Mao, Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi, and the Central Committee:

(1) Bao Dai's delegate said at yesterday's eleventh restricted session on the Indochina issue that only the United Nations could take charge of the task of supervising. Bidault spoke to support Bao Dai's delegate and said: [“] the NNSC should be responsible to the United Nations.[”] In addition to repeating that the organization of the joint commission of both sides cannot apply to Laos and Cambodia, Bidault also emphasized that the joint commission should function under the authority of the NNSC so that the NNSC can serve as a judicial [organization]. However, since [the members of] the joint commission are parties concerned [in the war]; parties concerned cannot act as judges at the same time. Therefore, the joint commission can only function as a tool and cannot take major responsibilities for supervision. Smith stated the US preference for the United Nations as supervisory authority. However, he said that he probably will not assert this. Smith said: [“] four countries, Switzerland, Sweden, India, and Pakistan are suitable to take charge of supervising, however, [China, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam] must disagree [”]. He suggested that the two chairmen should discuss the issue of composition in private. I made statements not only resolutely opposing the United Nations supervision, but also pointing out that the relationship between the NNSC and the joint commission should be equal. The NNSC was by no means to be over the joint commission. Since the two belligerent sides are the main parties concerned, whether or not the armistice agreement can be carried out depends on both sides' sincerity. The joint commission of both sides should take major responsibility. The division of work between the two is: the function of the joint commission is to supervise the implementation of the provisions of the armistice; meanwhile, the function of the NNSC is to supervise and inspect whether or not the two sides have violated the provisions of the armistice agreement. The NNSC's functions either inside or outside Indochina will be two-fold: one is to supervise demilitarized areas; the other is to supervise throughout Indochina and along common frontiers with other countries the prohibition of introducing new troops, military personnel, and arms and ammunition, whether by land, sea, or air. Thus within Indochina there would be two kinds of organizations working together. However, the NNSC will be directly responsible for supervising along the borders. Regarding the issue of to whom the NNSC should report, I pointed out that I agreed with Bidault's original proposal to let the nine [conference] participants guarantee. Chairman Eden agreed to discuss the issue of the composition of the NNSC in private. He stated that a restricted session on the Indochina issue will be held today and a plenary session on the Korean issue on the 5th. The 6th is [Sunday]. A restricted session on the Korean issue will be held on the 7th and a plenary session on the Indochina issue on the 8th.

(2) The Soviet, Vietnamese, and Chinese sides are discussing issues concerning the functions of the members of the joint commission and the NNSC, the relationship between the two committees, and the international guarantee. We are also drafting detailed provisions now. I will report later after we have made decisions.

Zhou Enlai
4 June 1954