What Agreement Split Vietnam

What had worried the Communists the most was not so much the determination of MendèsFrance as the return of Smith. This became clear after a private meeting requested by a member of the CP delegation, Huang Hua, with Seymour Topping, the New York Times correspondent in Geneva. Topping, as the Chinese were to expect, reported to the U.S. delegation about the conversation. He said Huang Hua, who spoke with mortal seriousness and without innuendo propagandists, interpreted Smith`s return as an American attempt to prevent a deal. According to Huang Hua, the Paris talks between Dulles and Mendès-France on July 13 and 14 were mainly responsible for Mendès-France`s stubbornness; the French Prime Minister had apparently reached an agreement with the United States in which he agreed to increase the price of a settlement. (Doc. 78] The Geneva Convention temporarily established two zones of Vietnam, separated by a line that runs approximately along the 17th parallel and is further divided by a demilitarized zone. The approval of the demarcation line was apparently the work of Molotov, who obtained French`s acceptance of the 17th parallel when he found the Frenchman resolutely opposed to the 16th, a late compromise of the Viet Minh perhaps initiated by Molotov himself.

[Doc. 72] What motivated molotov to propose is unclear. Speculatively, he could simply have traded a considerable territorial advantage enjoyed by the Viet Minh for a specific election date that he, Chou, and Pham Van Dong had wanted from the beginning. Western negotiators certainly recognized the possibility of a compromise: Eden held a line between the 17th and 18th day. the latitude of an exchange for a mutually acceptable position on elections; and Mendès-France noted in an interview with Mob-toy that issues of choice and demarcation could be interconnected in the sense that each party could yield to one of the issues. {Doc. 72] After intense negotiations that began on May 8, 1954, the day after the fall of the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu, agreements were finally signed on July 21 between French and Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian representatives. The most important provisions were an armistice line along the 17th line.

latitude (which effectively divided Vietnam into two parts); 300 days for each party to withdraw its troops to its side of the line; and communist troops and guerrillas to evacuate Laos and Cambodia, where free elections would be held in 1955 and where French troops could be stationed if the Lao or Cambodian government so requested. It was explicitly stated that the demarcation line “shall in no way be interpreted as a political or territorial border”. The implementation of the agreements should be monitored by a commission composed of representatives of India, Poland and Canada. One provision, known as the Final Declaration, provided that by July 1956, Vietnamese elections as a whole should be held under the supervision of the Committee for the Reunification of the Country. .