Indochina - The Cease-Fire Agreements in Indochina: Statement by the President, July 21, 1954 (1)

I am glad, of course, that agreement has been reached at Geneva to stop the bloodshed in Indochina.(2)

The United States has not been a belligerent in the war. The primary responsibility for the settlement in Indochina rested with those nations which participated in the fighting. Our role at Geneva has been at all times to try to be helpful where desired and to aid France and Cambodia, Laos, and Viet-Nam to obtain a just and honorable settlement which will take into account the needs of the interested people. Accordingly, the United States has not itself been party to or bound by the decisions taken by the Conference, but it is our hope that it will lead to the establishment of peace consistent with the rights and the needs of the countries concerned. The agreement contains features which we do not like, but a great deal depends on how they work in practice.

The United States is issuing at Geneva a statement to the effect that it is not prepared to join in the Conference declaration, but, as loyal members of the United Nations, we also say that, in compliance with the obligations and principles contained in article 2 of the United Nations Charter, the United States will not use force to disturb the settlement(3). We also say that any renewal of Communist aggression would be viewed by us as a matter of grave concern.

As evidence of our resolve to assist Cambodia and Laos to play their part, in full independence and sovereignty, in the peaceful community of free nations, we are requesting the agreement of the Governments of Cambodia and Laos to our appointment of an Ambassador or Minister to be resident at their respective capitals (Phnom Penh and Vientiane). We already have a Chief of Mission at Saigon, the capital of Viet-Nam and this Embassy will, of course, be maintained.

The United States is actively pursuing discussions with other free nations with a view to the rapid organization of a collective defense in Southeast Asia in order to prevent further direct or indirect Communist aggression in that general area.

(1) Department of State Bulletin, Aug. 2, 1934, p. 163. Back

(2) Cease-fire agreements of July 20, 1954. Back

(3) Statement of July 21, 1954, by Under Secretary Smith. 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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