851G.00/7–3147: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State


3046. Embassy has read with interest Hanoi’s 23340 and 235, July 21st, to Department, and would like to make certain comments. It is not believed curious that French first became particularly aware of Communist menace in Ho Chi-Minh Government after September 1946. It will be recalled that beginning shortly after withdrawal of Chinese forces from Tonkin in March 1946, change began in Vietnam Government tending to eliminate both pro-Chinese VNQDD41 and other moderate elements, which culminated in reorganization of Government by Ho Chi-Minh upon his return from France in September. This resulted in considerable increase in influence of Extremist and pro-Communist elements in Viet-Minh.

It must further be remembered that in France itself realization of world-wide menace of Communism developed rapidly from about end of Paris Peace Conference. Eviction of Communists from French Government, increasingly open anti-Communist stand of all other [Page 128] French political parties have naturally increased interest and distrust of Communist tendencies in Ho Chi-Minh’s Government. In addition, knowledge of Ho’s long and prominent connection with world Communism has only slowly become generally known in France.

Evidence of Communist confidence in political views and aims of Ho Chi-Minh and his Government is furnished by attitude of French Communist Party. In conformity with fundamental Leninist doctrine, French Communist Party supports nationalist movements in all French colonies but it is only in Indochina that this support is given exclusively and openly to one man and one party. French Communists have never varied in their slogan that independence of Vietnam must be entrusted to Ho Chi-Minh and to Viet-Minh and to no others. In North Africa they support nationalist aims of oppressed Arab people but they do not support Istiqlal42 or Bourguiba43 or Messali Haj (who also has Communist background).

Absence of any widespread belief in or sympathy for Communism among masses of Ho Chi-Minh’s admirers and their apparent apathy towards Communist teachings cannot seriously be regarded in these times as potent factors against establishment of government which would follow Moscow’s directions. Recent experiences have shown only too well how relatively small, but well-trained and determined, minority can take over power in area where democratic traditions are weak. Nor can remoteness of Moscow be regarded as adequate safeguard. From Ho Chi-Minh’s past career there can be little doubt but that he maintains close connections in Communist circles not only in China and India but throughout world.

Department please repeat to Hanoi as Paris 8 and Saigon as Paris 19.

  1. Dated July 19, p. 120.
  2. Vietnam Quoc Dan Dang, the Vietnamese Kuomintang (Nationalist Party).
  3. Independence Party in Morocco.
  4. Habib Bourguiba, leader of Independence Party in Tunisia.