Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Indochina

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geneva Agreements of 1954 on Indochina


adopted at a conference of the foreign ministers of the USSR, the People’s Republic of China, Great Britain, the USA, and France. The conference was held in Geneva between April 26 and July 21, 1954, to consider a peaceful settlement in Korea and the restoration of peace in Indochina. (Also participating in the discussion of the Indochina question were representatives of the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic Re-public of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam.)

The Geneva Agreements put an end to France’s war against the peoples of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, which had begun in September 1945. Under the agreements, the participants at the conference were obliged to respect the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the Indochinese states and to refrain from interfering in their internal affairs. The principles of a political settlement in Indochina were outlined, including the holding of general elections in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The establishment of foreign military bases on the territory of the three countries was prohibited, and the Indochinese countries were forbidden to participate in military blocs. To supervise the implementation of the Geneva Agreements, an international commission was created, consisting of representatives of India (the chairman), Poland, and Canada. The agreements were summarized in a Final Declaration that was approved by a majority of the participants in the conference. However, the US representative announced that his government would not agree to join the Final Declaration in the form in which it had been submitted to the conference. Instead, he presented a unilateral declaration stating that the USA would take the Geneva Agreements into consideration and would refrain from any threat of force and from any use of force intended to disrupt the settlement.

After the cessation of hostilities in Indochina, elections were held in Cambodia (1955) and Laos (1958). However, the opposition of South Vietnamese authorities, who were sup-ported by the imperialist states, thwarted the unification of Vietnam on the basis of general elections scheduled for July 1956. (The territory of Vietnam had been divided by a provisional demarcation line running slightly south of the 17th parallel.) The flagrant violation of the Geneva agreements by the USA and its allies, who launched military operations against the peoples of Indochina and engaged in other forms of interference in the internal affairs of the Indochinese states, gravely aggravated the situation in Southeast Asia and evoked a protest movement throughout the world.


“Zhenevskoe soveshchanie ministrov inostrannykh del: Dokumenty.”Novoe vremia, 1954, nos. 19-22, 24-25, 30-31 (supplement).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.