851G.00/3–1446: Telegram

The Consul at Saigon (Reed) to the Secretary of State


33. Information from north indicates Chinese putting many obstacles in way of French, and Saigon press queries Chinese intentions. Clarac reviewed worsening situation in detail, mentioning unexpected last minute refusal Chinese General Staff to sign agreement for relief Chinese by French (to begin before March 15, to end before March 31) because needed approval Combined Chiefs of Staff. This has been [apparent garble] but Clarac not clear if they have acted, also adding MacArthur26 had said it was not his business which Clarac found astonishing in view of Mountbatten’s27 approval of relief British by French south of 16th [parallel]. He is worried as Chinese digging trenches Haiphong and encircling citadel, Hanoi fears serious clash but hopes Lu Han’s arrival yesterday may ease tension, also Lu may have authority to implement relief agreement.28 Clarac’s information from China shows growing Chinese sentiment against Vietminh-French agreement probably based on Chinese [fear of?] Communist state south of China and also [due?] to failure Chinese sponsored party to have bigger role in Vietminh. Increasing number incidents Saigon and elsewhere but on whole Annamites willing to work out agreement as planned and general belief if Chinese had not changed attitude things would have gone well.

  1. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces, Japan.
  2. Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia.
  3. Telegram 35, March 15, 1946, 10 p.m., from Saigon, reported that the Sino-French military agreement was signed at Chungking on March 14, thereby implementing the earlier agreement for relief of Chinese by French forces (751.93/3–1546).