851G.00/7 347: Telegram

The Vice Consul at Hanoi (O’Sullivan) to the Secretary of State 19


213. Aide of General Salan20 called this morning to offer use band and honor guard at July 4 reception.

Under cover this offer, he talked considerable length making following points:

Viet Minh is exclusively communistic. French intelligence reports during last week indicate group of eight Russians now on Indochina border at unidentified spot under leadership character whose name phonetically spelled Karkov. Group designed reorganize Vietnam military forces which not operating too effectively.21
If Viet Minh took power, there would be no democratic liberties (I remarked that French Sûreté here gave little evidence of respect for them also).
Question of Indochina is question which affects entire white race and policy of “firmness” is necessary.
Vietnam was really last part Axis set up by Japs which was proved by fact that Japs now fighting in Vietnam ranks (to this, I said that because Germans were fighting for French in Indochina, no one accused France being Axis creation and expressed doubt as to whether what Japs there may be among Vietnam military forces had important position, or if they did, French would certainly have great deal more difficulty militarily).
Check Paris Conference on Marshall Plan made evident necessity for world choose between American and Russian philosophies.

I have noted in past 2 weeks increasing French official talk both here and in Saigon that Viet Minh is communistic. While it appears that there may be Communist flavor to troubles in Kwangtung and it reasonable to assume that Vietnam Govt will turn more and more toward Russia if aid not available other sources, there has been no recent evidence of high credibility which adds to what was known of character of Vietnam Govt 6 months ago.

This task [talk?], coming on heels Dept declaration re Indochina (Deptel 54, June 1722) and recent note Indonesian Govt, seems designed prepare for new turn French policy probably of repressive [Page 109] nature. What makes it doubly auspicious is fact French tried same tactics during months which preceded Haiphong incident in fall last year.

  1. Repeated to Paris as telegram 2529, July 10, 1 p.m., and to Saigon as 117.
  2. Gen. Raoul Salan, commanding officer of French forces in north Indochina.
  3. In airgram A–191, September 30, from Nanking, the Embassy in China reported on a group of White Russian musicians traveling in China as probably the reason for this report. The French Consul General at Kunming informed the American Vice Consul there that he regarded the report as a fabrication of French military intelligence in Indochina. (851G.00/9–3047)
  4. Same as telegram 2201, June 17, p. 106.