851G.01/2–1849: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France


598. Urtel 718, Feb 18. Dept despite reported progress Fr–Bao Dai negots queries whether Fr are really making such concessions as to (1) induce Bao Dai return Indochina (2) give him best opportunity succeed even if he returns there. For months, even though Commie successes China should have induced Fr make outstanding effort, negots have dragged, with Fr unable or unwilling put question status Cochinchina before Fr Assembly. Foregoing connection Dept fully realizes polit difficulties present Fr Govt putting this question before Assembly but Dept equally aware that over past three years Fr have shown no impressively sincere intention or desire make concessions which seem necessary solve Indochina question. Present formula solving status Cochinchina may have virtue but in Dept’s thinking it may be but another device to obtain delay and unless proof is adduced to offset record of past three years Dept is now far from inclined give public approval any arrangements with Bao Dai. This disinclination springs from Dept’s considered belief it would be unwise give public support to any arrangements for Indochina concluded by Fr unless that arrangement embodies means clearly sufficient insure its success or until it achieves substantial measure of success. Thus even though Bao Dai induced return Indochina Dept views failure Fr Govt take decisive action, at very least re status Cochinchina, as seriously weakening possibility ex-Emperor will obtain support any appreciable portion population. Without such support Bao Dai cannot hope, even though supported by Fr arms as he must necessarily be, wean away militant and organized followers of Ho Chi Minh.

Dept believes therefore it should not now be committed in any way to approval Fr action vis-à-vis Bao Dai and must reserve aforementioned public expression until Fr have provided Bao Dai with means to succeed and he has demonstrated ability use successfully such means to obtain support appreciable portion Vietnamese population. This connection, Emb may recall doubts expressed in several Fr quarters re Bao Dai’s capacities and abilities when negots were first undertaken with him two years ago. Accordingly Emb should make clear to FonOff that for these reasons US not prepared give public indication its approval until, in Dept’s opinion, conditions noted above fulfilled.

At same time Emb may state while US remains willing reconsider its ECA Indochinese policy such reconsideration must await developments.

Sent Paris as 598. Rptd Saigon as 15.

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Emb should note particularly with respect to first part para 1 that above tel was drafted before receipt Embtel 771 Feb. 24, 4 p. m.1

  1. Not printed.