740.0011 Pacific War/3531
The Washington Delegation of the French Committee of National Liberation to the Department of State 2
According to certain information which has come to the knowledge of the Committee of National Liberation, Allied plans of operation in the Far East would, in the near future, include the start of operations against the frontiers of Indo-China, operations entrusted to Chinese troops.
The Washington Delegation of the Committee has already had occasion to call the Department of State’s attention to the absolute importance to the Allied cause of associating the competent French authorities with the detailing of Allied war plans in the Far East, especially when their execution involves French Indo-China. The aforementioned authorities possess, in this field, documentation and experience which can be of the greatest use to the Allied High Command. The role which France has traditionally played in the Far East, the important interests which she has there, the dispositions already taken by the Algiers Committee to participate when the time comes in the struggle for the liberation of Indo-China, are all, as many more, reasons for an effective French participation in Inter-Allied Councils where the general strategy of the United Nations in the Far East is determined.
As concerns the project of a Chinese offensive against Indo-China, the Algiers Committee—if the information which has reached it on this subject is correct—must very seriously draw the attention of the American Government to the great danger which its realization would present.[Page 883]
A Chinese attack against Tonkin would have the immediate effect of causing the whole Indo-Chinese population to rise against the Allies.
For the Annamites, the Chinese, who have so frequently in the past invaded and ravaged their frontier regions, represent the hereditary enemy. Far from greeting them as liberators, the local population would impede their advance by every means in their power. Moreover, the population and the French troops, who would take the side of the Allies if it were French, American and British forces which were coming to their help, might very well react against an attack by the Chinese, whose true intentions could easily be confused by enemy propaganda. The position which a Chinese attack apparently will cause civilian and military French Indo-Chinese to take will in the future be difficult to modify and the consequences of such a mistake run the risk of weighing heavily upon the development of the campaign.
The French Committee of National Liberation believes, therefore, that it is of the highest importance to set aside a project which, far from serving Allied interests, runs the risk of causing the greatest harm. The Committee, likewise, equally believes that, as concerns military operations whose theatre would be French territory, it is imperative to ask the Allies that no decision should be taken without our previous agreement.
- Handed on October 21 to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) by Henri Hoppenot, Delegate of the French Committee of National Liberation.↩