211. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State 1

Secto 5. For Sebald and Young. During tripartite meeting today Macmillan gave US and French message he just received from Foreign Office re Vietnam elections.

It was agreed UK Embassy would discuss this matter in Washington tomorrow June 18 with our FE experts2 (French may also wish participate) as prelude to further consideration by three Ministers San Francisco Monday morning June 20. It was considered probable that Molotov would raise Vietnam problem with three powers San Francisco.3

Begin verbatim text.

UK memo: Elections in Vietnam. An aide-memoire was handed to the UK High Commissioner in New Delhi on June 16 by the Indian Govt requesting the two co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference to intervene with the Vietnamese and Viet Minh authorities, in order to get consultations started about elections in Vietnam. The following is the text of the operative paragraphs:

“Having regard to the relations between the parties and the circumstances prevailing in Vietnam, it appears to the Government of India that consultations may not take place without some initiative being taken by the two co-chairmen. The Govt of India therefore feel that the co-chairmen should request the authorities in charge of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the State of Vietnam to start consultations. To facilitate such consultations they may further offer the parties the services of the three delegates on the International Supervisory Commission in Vietnam. The delegates will not act as members of the Commission but as individuals representing their respective govts and their task will be to assist the parties (a) to convene a conference of competent representative authorities of the two sides for interzonal consultations and to assist in the preparation and the approval of the agenda, and (b) to elect a chairman either from among themselves or from outside to preside over the deliberations of the Consultative Conference.

“The delegates from the Supervisory Commission will withdraw from the conference after the agenda has been settled and a chairman has been chosen to preside over the deliberations.

“The chairman agreed upon by the parties will act both as conciliator and as technical expert on the essentials of a free general [Page 460] election by secret ballot and will assist the parties to come to agreed conclusions as regards the principles and procedure which would ensure free and fair general elections by secret ballot. Agreed modalities of the elections can thereafter be worked out and adopted by the authorities in each of the two zones as the law in force for the time being to regulate the elections. Thereafter the electoral commission envisaged in paragraph 7 of the Geneva Declaration will be set up to supervise the elections in accordance with the agreed principles and procedure.”

The aide-mémoire concludes with a request to the co-chairmen to put these proposals to the Vietnamese and Viet Minh authorities, and states that Canadian and Polish Govts have been informed with an expression of the Indians’ hope that they will agree to this procedure. An identical aide-mémoire has been handed to the Russian Chargé d’Affaires.

End verbatim UK text.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751G.00/6–1755. Secret; Niact. Dulles was in New York for informal meetings with the British and French Foreign Ministers and West German Chancellor Adenauer in preparation for the upcoming summit meeting at Geneva, July 18–23.
  2. A memorandum of this discussion is infra .
  3. At the ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.