Volume #23 - 711.|
INDOCHINE : COMMISSIONS INTERNATIONALES DE SURVEILLANCE ET DE CONTRÔLE
Note du sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 21 février 1956|
IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE-FIRE RESOLUTION IN LAOS|
You will recall that shortly after your return to Ottawa last November, I submitted for your approval a draft telegram on the subject, Laos: Political Objectives. In this telegram to our High Commissioner in London (No. Y-1958 of December 575) we examined the likelihood of increased pressure by the Royal Government for restoration of its authority over Phong Saly and Sam Neua provinces, after the December 25 elections. We anticipated the possibility that the Government might declare that, having made a sincere effort to reach a political settlement with the Pathet Lao within the recognized time limit, it had discharged its obligations under the Geneva Agreement by holding general elections. The logical projection of this line of argument would be an assertion that the Pathet Lao after the elections had no further right to sanctuary in Phong Saly and Sam Neua under Article 14, and a demand for restoration of RLG authority over these provinces by military means.
2. In the face of this possibility we decided in effect that some limits must be set on the extent of our support for the Royal Government's restoration demands. To persuade the Indians to carry on in the Vietnam Commission in support of the armistice, despite the apparent remoteness of the political settlement there, we would have to be somewhat tolerant of their seeking a similar separation of the military from the political settlement in Laos. That is, we should have to consider sympathetically their argument that the Commission's job in Laos was to maintain the existing cease-fire line, while continuing to aim to achieve unification by peaceful means. In any event, it appeared likely that RLG efforts to dislodge the Pathet Lao by force would fail, and that resumption of hostilities in Laos with open Vietminh intervention would upset the cease-fire in Vietnam. With these considerations in mind, we recognized that it would be undesirable to push our promotion of the Royal Government's sovereign rights over Phong Saly and Sam Neua to the point where there would be risk of resumed hostilities, even if this reservation meant that military partition of Laos might continue for some time.
3. These views were discussed with British, French and United States officials, and proved to be generally acceptable to them. They have remained the fundamental principles on which our actions in the Laos Commission have been based. The continuing force of Articles 14 and 19 pending a political settlement has been recognized. In the hope of retaining Indian support for our views on political settlement we have remained receptive to Indian efforts to achieve effective Commission action to stabilize the military situation.
4. An Indian resolution recommending that the Commission's Military Committee should define the areas in which the troops of the Royal Government were located in Phong Saly and Sam Neua provinces, bearing in mind the nature of military control, size of posts and considerations of local supply and maintenance, was passed by the International Commission on April 20, 1955. The Polish delegate refused to vote on it, and never recognized its passage. This resolution was rejected by both the Pathet Lao and the Royal Government, and no effort was made by the Commission to enforce its provisions. During the early summer the Commission attempted to secure resumption of military negotiations between the two parties, and meetings finally were resumed on July 15, with the International Commission's Military Committee in attendance. The objects of these negotiations were, first, to settle the Muong Peun dispute, and then to draw up a plan for a permanent military settlement. The discussions made little significant progress, and were completely deadlocked before the parties went to Rangoon in early October. The Rangoon Cease-Fire Agreement of October 11, which was not tied to any agreement on a political settlement and was signed by the Royal Government against our private advice, was the first of the various cease-fire arrangements between the parties which officially committed the Government to accept establishment of a continuous neutral zone with concretely demarcated limits. The International Commission took note of this provision in its cease-fire resolution of December 9.76 It recommended that the Commission's Military Committee, in consultation with the parties, should draw up proposals for demarcation lines separating the opposing forces, basing its deliberations on the Rangoon Agreement and the Joint Minutes covering the pre-Rangoon military talks (signed by the parties on October 28).
5. The Military Committee's proposals constitute the demarcation arrangements which the Indian draft resolution now before the Commission seeks to formalize as a recommendation to the parties. The line proposed is not less favourable to the Royal Government than that of which (in our opinion) the RLG implied its acceptance by signing the Rangoon Agreement. If the Government failed to accept the demarcation resolution now, it would be laying itself open to Indian charges of breach of faith. This and other arguments in favour of our supporting the draft resolution were enumerated in our telegram Y-37 of February 8 to Vientiane, which also outlined the possible arguments for voting against the resolution. On balancing the pros and cons, we concluded that we probably should have to support the demarcation resolution in the end, because of:
(a) our earlier commitments;
(b) our desire to retain Indian support for our views on the political settlement;
(c) the necessity to avoid the possibility of being accused of frustrating the Commission's efforts to prevent resumption of hostilities; and
(d) the desirability of having a clear demarcation line behind which the Pathet Lao would be confined, should the Commission be compelled to withdraw before a political settlement is reached.
6. In conveying this advice to Mr. Bridle, we suggested that when the resolution was introduced he might introduce amendments embodying our reservations. When these were defeated, he could then agree to vote for the recommendation, at that time making the point that if it were rejected by either side, he could not support anything more than a factual report to the Co-Chairmen.
7. It is along these lines that our Commissioner has been participating in the current discussion of the demarcation resolution, with the intention of ultimately voting for it. However, the attitude of grave concern which is the official French reaction to the draft text, and the reservations with which it has been received in Washington, apparently make it desirable to review our position again before we commit ourselves finally.
8. The Quai d'Orsay has confined itself to expressing concern in general terms over the implications of the demarcation resolution and makes no detailed suggestions for improving it. (Telegram 113 of February 19? refers.) French failure to protest during the several months that demarcation proposals have been under discussion is explained by saying that the idea of a demarcation line as such was not necessarily unacceptable, but that the Quai must object to the Commission's recommendations as set forth in the draft resolution. They apparently see no harm in the Commission suggesting demarcation arrangements to the parties, provided no attempt is made to impose a particular demarcation line. (This bears some resemblance to our own desire to have the Commission's action in the form of a proposal, rather than a recommendation - which change we already have tried to obtain without success.) The French raise particularly strong objections to the reference, in paragraph VIII of the draft, to the possibility of an appeal to the Co-Chairmen should either party reject the resolution. They urge that any action by the Commission which opens the way for a reference to the Co-Chairmen is unfortunate from the viewpoint of governments anxious to avoid re-convocation of the Geneva Powers, in that such appeals tend to support the Chinese Communist call for a new conference. The Quai also questions the competence of the Commission to invoke Article 36 with a view to compelling compliance with recommendations such as are embodied in the demarcation resolution. Article 36, it is argued, was meant to enable the Commission to report violations of the Geneva Agreement itself, rather than refusals of the parties to accept Commission recommendations which amount (as the French claim the demarcation recommendation does) to addition of new elements to the Agreement. There is no indication as to whether the French will translate their objections to the resolution into advice to the Royal Government to reject it.
9. The State Department's view ( Washington telegram 270 of February 16?) is that we should not support a demarcation resolution in the form now before the Commission. It opposes the whole idea of a demarcation line because it considers this a dangerous concession to the Pathet Lao. However, if the demarcation issue must be faced, the State Department would consider the setting of demarcation lines acceptable only after concrete steps had been taken towards implementing the political resolution of January 7. Given some evidence that the Pathet Lao would agree to implement the political resolution, the United States would turn the full weight of its influence towards the achievement of an effective cease-fire. By implication, we assume that if the demarcation resolution is passed in its present form, the United States will urge the Royal Government to make its acceptance conditional upon the establishment of some working connection between the demarcation resolution and the political resolution of January 7.77
10. The Foreign Office in effect has promised full British support for our original plan of ultimately voting for the resolution, after expressing our reservations in proposed amendments and statements for the record. ( London telegram 157 of February 16? refers.) Lord Talbot will be instructed not only to advise the Royal Government to accept the demarcation resolution, but also to explain to Katay why (in the U.K. view) the Canadian Commissioner has to support the resolution.
11. The instructions contained in our telegram Y-37 of February 8, concluding that Bridle should support a resolution on a demarcation line, were sent before we received the text of Sen's draft resolution contained in Vientiane telegram 64 of February 11.? It would be possible, although somewhat embarrassing to Bridle, for us to take the line that our instructions did not authorize Bridle to go as far as the Sen draft. We could still support the demarcation line but only as
(a) a proposal to the parties and not as a recommendation, and
(b) a provisional basis for Commission efforts to secure implementation of Article 19.
12. A telegram in the sense of the preceding paragraph is attached for your consideration. The alternative is to authorize Bridle to vote for the Sen draft after proposing amendments and making a statement to make our views clear as indicated in telegram Y-37. If you wish, Holmes, Menzies and I might discuss this question with you.
Attached for convenience of reference are copies of:
(a) Sen's draft resolution;?
(b) Our telegram Y-37 of February 8 which conveys the instructions on which Bridle is now operating;
(c) Commission Cease-fire resolution of December 9, 1955;
(d) Rangoon Agreement of October 11, 1955.78
[PIÈCE JOINTE 1/ENCLOSURE 1]
Le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
Secretary of State for External Affairs
Reference: Your telegram No. 56 of February 4, 1956.?
Repeat London Y-213; New Delhi Y-115; Paris Y-118; Washington Y-234.
IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE FIRE RESOLUTION - LAOS
Your telegram under reference and earlier telegrams have proven most helpful in presenting the pros and cons of the demarcation line issue.
2. As we see it the main arguments in favour of our supporting the proposed demarcation line recommendation are:
(a) If hostilities are to be effectively stopped a clearly defined cease fire line is necessary.
(b) Whether they now like it or not the Royal Government officially committed themselves to the demarcation line principle at Rangoon, if not in the October 28 minutes. There would be some justification therefore for the Indian contention that their failure to accept it now would be a breach of good faith.
(c) We have previously committed ourselves to support the idea of a demarcation line slightly less favourable than the one now proposed.
(d) In view of the Indian insistence on making such a recommendation we might lose their support on the more vital political issues at a later stage.
3. The main arguments which might be put forward in favour of our voting against a demarcation line recommendation appear to be:
(a) A Royal Government acceptance of a demarcation line recommended by the Commission while there is no political settlement in sight would have the effect of giving a form of official blessing to a de facto permanent partition. Partition of Laos is not envisaged in the Geneva Agreement and for the Commission to formally recommend a demarcation line at this stage would tend to confirm the status quo which is what the Pathet Lao, in view of their obvious intention of not wanting to reach a political settlement, appear to want.
(b) A rigid demarcation line would prevent the Royal Government from winning over by peaceful persuasive methods the sympathies of the population in the Northern provinces. An acceptance by it of a demarcation line might have unfortunate political implications throughout the rest of the country.
(c) The line as drawn up does not provide the LNA with entirely satisfactory defensive positions.
4. Weighing of the pros against cons leads us to the conclusion that we will probably have to end up supporting the demarcation line recommendation because of:
(a) our earlier commitments;
(b) the desirability of retaining Indian support for our views on the political side;
(c) the undesirability of putting ourselves in a position whereby we could be accused, justly or unjustly, of frustrating an attempt by the Commission to prevent hostilities.
5. Another more long range factor which brings us to this conclusion is that if for any reason the Commission should be compelled to withdraw from Laos before a political settlement is reached it would appear to be in the Royal Government's interest to have a clear demarcation line drawn in agreement with the Pathet Lao in order to contain the latter and any Vietminh assistance to a limited area.
6. Before finally voting for the recommendation, however, you may wish to consider the plan of action outlined below. You will realize of course that these are only suggestions which appear to us to have considerable merit and you may find it necessary or desirable to modify them, according to the changing situations on the spot:
(a) When demarcation recommendation is introduced, presumably by the Indians, you might introduce an amendment which would include the time limit concept and would emphasize the dependence of the military issue on the political realities. We have noted that you are attempting, with little success, to persuade Sen to change the recommendation to a proposal. As we have always taken the view that in the light of Article 36 there is a clear distinction between a proposal and a recommendation from the Commission you might include this suggestion in your amendment. In this way you may have some success in getting Sen to make it clear on the record what he told you confidentially about not considering the demarcation line recommendation as coming under Article 36. We think it is very important to have Sen's views on this in the official minutes to forestall:
(i) a possible deliberate misunderstanding by the Poles when a report to the Co-Chairmen is made;
(ii) a change of attitude on the part of Sen which might be brought about by later instructions from New Delhi or possible annoyance with the RLG's response to the recommendation.
The introduction of your amendment would give you an opportunity to present a full statement of our views for the record.
(b) If your amendment is defeated, as it undoubtedly would be, you might then agree to vote for the demarcation recommendation. In stating your intention to vote for the recommendation you could make the point that you won't agree to associating yourself with anything more than a factual report to the Co-Chairmen should either side turn down the recommendation. This might elicit from Sen the statement on the recommendation in relation to Article 36 mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
(c) You might privately advise the Royal Government of our view that it would be in its best interests to accept the recommendation, possibly with certain qualifications, rather than reject it outright. If the final demarcation recommendation embodies the formula outlined in paragraph 2 of your telegram under reference an acceptance might be less difficult for the R.L.G. In any event we think it would place it in a better light even if when accepting R.L.G. should make reservations, possibly to the effect that:
(i) The R.L.G. has accepted and is prepared to abide by the cease fire resolution of December 9;
(ii) It has and will continue to uphold Article 19 but cannot be held responsible for any limited military action which might prove necessary if there are breaches of the December 9 resolution and Article 19 by the Pathet Lao;
(iii) The R.L.G. can only accept the line as provisional and not as a recognition of the present de facto partition of its country which has resulted from Pathet Lao intransigence on the political side.
A qualified acceptance by the R.L.G. along these lines would make it more difficult for the Indians to accuse it of complete nonco-operation. If in its qualified acceptance it includes a careful and complete restatement of its position, it would also ensure that the R.L.G.'s views were included in any ensuing report to the Co-Chairmen. Inclusion of these qualifications would, of course, be preferable in the recommendation itself but this is unlikely. We think however, you might like to consider outlining them in the statement you make when introducing our amendment.
(d) Should the R.L.G. not accept the recommendation, or should the Indians and Poles decide that a qualified acceptance is not good enough, you should make every effort to ensure that our full views are either embodied in any report made to the Co-Chairman or, if you cannot succeed in reaching agreement on this, submit a minority report after having reached the maximum agreement.
7. During conversations with Foreign Office officials who accompanied Eden and Lloyd during their visit to Ottawa it was agreed that the Foreign Office would caution the Indians against pressing for recommendations which would have the effect of formalizing the de facto partition of Laos.79 This advice was included in the oral communication to Nehru the
text of which has been transmitted to you.80 In view of this there is possibility that Foreign Office may not advise Talbot to suggest to Royal Government that they accept recommendation. Should Indians not heed U.K. suggestion, which they probably won't at this late date, Talbot may still wish to advise Royal Government to accept recommendation as lesser evil. You may wish to discuss this possibility with him.
8. It would seem to us that the principal thing to strive for, if our support of the recommendation seems inevitable, is that it is clearly placed on the record, preferably the public record if the Commission should decide to make a press release, that the dominating factor in the present Laotian problem is the failure of the Pathet Lao to accept the Commission's proposals regarding restoration of the R.L.G. administration in Phong Saly and Sam Neua and that the real bad faith is on the Pathet Lao's side. It is the Pathet Lao position which has caused the Royal Government to have fears about partition of their country and has prevented the realization of the aims of the Geneva Conference.
9. London: Please pass copy to Foreign Office.
10. Paris & Washington: Please convey gist of this to Quai d'Orsay and State Department.
11. New Delhi: Please see our following telegram81 on this subject.
[PIÈCE JOINTE 2/ENCLOSURE 2]
Le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
Secretary of State for External Affairs
Repeat New Delhi Y-158; London Y-294; Washington Y-331; Paris Y-180.
LAOS: IMPLEMENTATION OF CEASE FIRE RESOLUTION
I have reviewed the instructions in our telegram No. Y-37 of February 8 in the light of:
(a) Sen's draft resolution forwarded in your telegram No. 64 of February 11;
(b) comments of interested governments on this draft;
(c) position, as I understand it, that we and your delegation have taken regarding this matter;
(d) undesirability of strengthening Pathet Lao claim to separate de facto administration in two Northern provinces in the absence of any evidence of progress toward implementation of political resolution of January 7; and
I have concluded that Sen's draft goes much farther than it was our intention to authorize you to go in our Y-37 which was sent before draft was received.
2. Having in mind the history of Commission effort to ensure an effective cease fire in the Northern provinces, and in the light of the Pathet Lao rejection of the political resolution of January 7, it is my considered view that the Commission resolution on implementation of the cease fire resolution of December 9, should provide at this stage for something less than a take-it-or-leave it recommendation with the threat of reference to the Co-Chairmen under Article 36. I consider that the present situation calls for Commission action which will maintain and if possible advance the measure of agreement reached between the parties regarding a cease fire but not go so far as to court rejection with the consequent upset that it might entail to the present degree of military stability achieved.
3. Accordingly, I think that the Commission should confine itself at this stage to a resolution:
(a) conveying formally to the RLG and the FUPL the proposals of the Military Committee (which we have not yet seen) or proposals based on these as a basis for the renewal of discussions in the Joint Military Committee provided for in Article 5 of the Rangoon Agreement looking toward direct agreement between the parties; and
(b) adopting the proposals of the Military Committee, insofar as agreement has been reached, pending the conclusion of a direct agreement between the RLG and the FUPL, as the provisional basis on which the Commission will endeavour to secure the cooperation of the RLG and the FUPL in the implementation of Article 19 for an initial period of 60 days subject to review during the second 30 days of this period on the basis of views conveyed to the Military Committee by the military representatives of the RLG and FUPL.
4. Since the Pathet Lao did not accept the political resolution of January 7 it is important that the key clauses should be repeated in this resolution so that the Pathet Lao cannot use this military resolution as a means of achieving the de facto division of Laos while disputing the Commission's views regarding the unity of Laos and the sovereign right of the Royal Government to establish its administration in the Northern provinces. A sentence should also be included indicating the belief that progress in implementing the political settlement will reduce tension and the cause of hostilities. It is principally Pathet Lao intransigence and not the sporadic shooting incidents which has delayed the political settlement.
5. I would be grateful if you would speak to Sen privately first and explain that I have personally given this matter most serious consideration. We share Indian concern over continuing hostilities in the Northern provinces. We consider that the formula in paragraph 3 will strengthen and advance the measure of agreement achieved so far and the basis for future Commission action in ensuring implementation of Article 19. We are frankly concerned, however, about the ground that would be lost if Sen's draft resolution were adopted and rejected by either party. We are also concerned that the Pathet Lao, having in fact rejected the political resolution and other Commission and RLG efforts to give practical effect to the principles of sovereignty and unity of Laos, will use what Sen intends as a purely military resolution as a means of effectively partitioning Laos and confirming their exclusive civil as well as military control of the area behind the demarcation line. I realize that these views will require the complete recasting of Sen's draft resolution, but I cannot see my way clear to authorizing you to vote for Sen's resolution in its present form. If he insists on an early vote on his draft, you should speak in Commission along lines outlined in paragraphs 2-4 above, and then abstain on vote.
6. I would be grateful for your comments and a redraft of resolution incorporating views in paragraphs 2-4.
7. Please wire us and Delhi if you wish High Commissioner to convey my views in paragraphs 2-5 to Indian authorities.
8. Delhi, London, Washington, Paris: Above is for your information only pending reply from Bridle. You may say that we are still exchanging views with our Commissioner to see what improvements can be effected in Sen's draft resolution.