851G.01/5–2349: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State


2121. Cochin China bill will be considered by Council Republic May 25.1 Second reading by Assembly, if required, cannot take place before middle next week at earliest as Assembly recesses 26th for long Ascension week-end.2 De Peyrera, who replaced Pignon in Political Affairs Division Ministry Overseas France, states March 8 agreements will be made public immediately final action taken Cochin China law and understands Bao Dai now considering leaving Dalat directly for Saigon.

He stated implementation March 8 agreements has in fact already begun and will proceed as rapidly as possible with step by step transfer administration Vietnam to Bao Dai Government. Entire process to be completed well before December 31 deadline.

Regarding ratification agreements, he expressed opinion, which he says is widely shared in his Ministry, that agreements, which enter into effect upon exchange instruments, will not be submitted Assembly as such. Recalled that agreements were concluded with Bao Dai as “most representative element Vietnam” but not as chief of state. France therefore does not wish to “impose” them on Vietnam before freely elected government established there. Following formation such government, [Page 33] treaty incorporating June 5 accords, March 8 agreements and supplementary agreements envisaged thereunder would be signed between Vietnam and France which, following Parliamentary ratifications, would consitute “act” required Article 61 constitution establishing relations between France and Vietnam. In this connection he added that while French commitments under March 8 agreements firm, agreement itself not static but subject enlargement in light future developments. He believes final treaty will be concluded within next six or seven months.

De Peyrera volunteered information that within next two or three weeks France would approach friendly powers including US informing them that while Vietnam temporarily accrediting missions only to Siam, India, and Vatican, France would “welcome” decision other nations to accredit missions to Vietnam. Juridical aspects recognition problem now under urgent study in Foreign Office. Latter tells us Bao Dai’s people are pressing for quick action and have indicated to French their intention to send two special roving missions (one to US and Western Europe and one to neighboring countries) to announce Vietnam’s new international status and invite recognition.

De Peyrera stated that Pignon’s telegrams reporting internal situation Vietnam as developing more favorably than anticipated. Expected Viet Minh attacks Tonkin had not developed and even terrorist activities had fallen off. Pignon favorably impressed with Bao Dai who is proceeding slowly and carefully with composition government. De Peyrera stated that Bao Dai is in contact with non-Communist elements Vietnam and hopes for their inclusion in government. Despite recent “rumors” it was inconceivable that Bao Dai would consider inclusion Communists, particularly such conspicuous figures as Ho Chi Minh or Giap.3 In reply question, De Peyrera expressed doubts that Bao Dai has any intention leave Indochina within next few months but considered possible that in perhaps six or eight months after his government established as going concern he might visit France “for a month or so.”

De Peyrera warned against expecting startling results in immediate future but believes that within next two or three months it will be evident whether or not Bao Dai solution will succeed or fail. He stated Pignon and Ministry Overseas France at present more optimistic than at any time previously.

Repeated Saigon 83.

  1. The bill was approved early on May 26.
  2. The second reading took place on June 3; the bill would become law after publication.
  3. Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, Commander in Chief of Vietnamese Armed Forces.