Indochina - Consultations with the French Premier and the British Foreign Secretary: Statement by the Secretary of State, July 15, 1954 (1)

I return from consultations at Paris with the new French Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, M. Pierre Mendes-France. These talks were also participated in by Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary.

These talks have brought about an understanding concerning Indochina much more complete than has heretofore existed. It enabled us to demonstrate anew the solidarity of the Western powers in the face of Communist hostility and intrigue.

The United States has been concerned to find a way whereby it could help France, Viet-Nam, Laos, and Cambodia find acceptable settlements without in any way prejudicing basic principles to which the United States must adhere if it is to be true to itself, and if the captive and endangered peoples of the world are to feel that the United States really believes in liberty.

I had the opportunity in Paris fully to explain the United States position in this respect to M. Mendes-France, whom I had known before but whom I had not met since he assumed his new offices.

The conclusion was that we would ask the Under Secretary of State, Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, to return to Geneva at an early date to renew his participation in the Indochina phase of the Conference(2). But this is on the understanding, to which both the French and British Ministers expressly agreed, that renewed participation by the United States at the ministerial level will be without departing from the U.S. principles which I had described.

I believe that we have found a formula for constructive allied unity which will have a beneficial effect on the Geneva Conference. And it carries no danger that the United States will abandon its principles.

(1) Department of State Bulletin, July 26, 1954, p. 123; see also statement of July 12, 1954, by Secretary Dulles (ibid.). Back

(2) General Smith left for Geneva on July 16. [Note in Bulletin]. Back

American Foreign Policy 1950-1955
Basic Documents Volumes I and II
Department of State Publication 6446
General Foreign Policy Series 117
Washington, DC : U.S. Governemnt Printing Office, 1957

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