The driving force behind China`s quest for leadership for Asia during the Geneva Conference was the issue that made it possible to negotiate solutions to all outstanding global problems. At the time of Geneva, Beijing was already involved in the ceasefire in Korea, the agreement with India on Tibet and bilateral declarations of mutual respect with India and Burma. Moreover, as early as September 1953, China, together with Moscow, had supported the negotiations on the Indochina war, while the Sino-Indian and Sino-Burmese declarations also contained demands for early settlement. The important role played by Chou En-Lai in Geneva has therefore not only confirmed China`s interest in peace, but has also established China`s reputation as a flexible negotiator willing to negotiate disputes and make concessions to resolve them. Indeed, after the end of the conference, Beijing said the conference had proved that the negotiations could solve other East-West problems such as a Korean final settlement, arms control, nuclear proliferation, German unification and European security. Although the Viet Minh made demands that the French, Cambodians and Laotians could not accept, the debate was reduced to details. The question of when national elections should be held in Vietnam is illustrative. The Viet Minh did not give in to their insistence that elections be held six months after the ceasefire. But the Frenchman, trying to move the talks forward, withdrew from the insistence on not setting a date (a position the Vietnamese had supported) and offered to hold elections 18 months after the end of the regroupment process, between 22 and 23 months after the cessation of hostilities.
(Doc. 69) The French now admitted that, even if they were still looking forward to keeping Haiphong and the Catholic dioceses as long as possible, perhaps in a neutral environment, a complete withdrawal from the north would probably be necessary to avoid cutting Vietnam into enclaves. [Doc. 66] But the division was somehow facing the hostile Vietnamese French, and for this reason Chauvel not only proposed American intervention to bring About Vietnamese self-control, but also received the approval of Pham Van in a conversation on the 6th. July that military commandos, not governments, should sign the final ceasefire so as not to have to get Vietnamese approval. As suspected by Ngo Dinh Diem, who became prime minister on June 18, the French were ready to withdraw from Tonkin as part of the ceasefire agreements. There were also divisions and disagreements within the communist bloc. China and the Soviet Union, for their own strategic reasons, refused to support the Viet Minh`s claim to rule all of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh`s chief negotiator, Pham Van Dong, has chosen not to ally too closely with Moscow or Beijing, preferring that North Vietnam consider its own destiny in hand. After the cessation of hostilities, a great migration took place. North Vietnamese, especially Catholics, intellectuals, businessmen, landowners, anti-communist democrats and members of the middle class, moved south of the ceasefire line prescribed by the agreement during Operation Freedom Passage.