15. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

2872. Representative French Embassy called on Department Jan. 10 to inform us receipt an instruction from Paris which made following points:

General Ely now returned Saigon with instructions implement rapidly possible “decisions taken by three Ministers Paris December 18” to continue efforts broaden base of Diem government and bring [Page 33] about internal reforms and also as discussed by three Ministers work out eventual formula for “changing” Diem government. In latter respect Bao Dai to be associated with change in some respect but his exact role to be decided only after consultation ElyCollins.

Went on to say La Chambre now seeing Bao Dai in Cannes but we should be assured not a unilateral approach concerning his future but only to express concern over situation Viet-Nam and explore ways making “government of South Viet-Nam more effective”.

Ely’s instructions apparently misinterpretation Secretary’s position Paris talks. U.S. made no commitment change Diem or associate Bao Dai with any such change except in event his failure to make progress makes alternative desirable.

According recent information Diem is gaining popular support, had highly successful trip through South Annam,2 now seems to be putting emphasis on making decisions. Department gratified learn from General Collins Diem beginning make progress on implementation programs. We intend continue firm support for Diem and Government national union around him.

Paris inform appropriate French authorities above U.S. views.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751G.00/1–1355. Secret. Drafted by Hoey and cleared by Young and MacArthur. Sent also to Phnom Penh, Vientiane, and Hanoi and to Manila and Paris by pouch.
  2. A report of that trip, January 2–4, is in telegram 2582 from Saigon, January 5. (Ibid., 751G.13/1–555)
  3. See Document 21.