Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Southeast Asian Affairs (Moffat)

In the course of conversation M. Lacoste stated that recently General Juin had visited the French Ambassador in China and then returned to Indochina whence he had sent a telegram to the Ambassador. In this telegram, dated April 27, he had deplored the Easter Sunday incident, April 21, when a Chinese and French truck in Hanoi collided and the Chinese troops promptly began shooting at the French. He stated his opinion that any further incidents would have very serious repercussions as, undoubtedly, the French troops would intervene en masse in order to protect French civilians. Such incidents must, therefore, be avoided at all costs. He thought that such incidents were disapproved by the Central Government and in conversation with General Lu Han he had found Lu Han well disposed.

The 53rd Chinese Army and independent units still remain in Indochina and M. Lacoste emphasized the importance which the French Government attaches to their prompt evacuation to avoid further incidents. General Juin was continuing negotiations at the time he telegraphed the French Ambassador in China hoping to secure at least the evaluation of all Chinese troops from Hanoi by April 30. However, M. Lacoste stated, the troops are still there. General Juin, therefore, has taken up with General Marshall the possibility of evacuating the 53rd Army by ship, thus expediting their departure and minimizing the damage they might do in evacuating overland. M. Lacoste understood that General Marshall was taking this matter up with the Chiefs of Staff and inquired of me whether this was so. I stated I had no information on the subject and suggested he take the matter up with Mr. Penfield.41

A[bbot] L[ow] M[offat]
  1. James K. Penfield, Deputy Director, Office of Far Eastern Affairs.