851g.01/6–948: Telegram

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

confidential
us urgent

3063. Baeyens has informed Embassy that prevailing opinion in French Government circles is that Xuan Government has only dubious chance of success and that best indication its viability will be extent decrease in guerrilla activities during next month. States both Foreign Office and Overseas France would welcome changes in Provisional Government giving it a more representative character, as for example, [Page 25]replacement by Xuan by Diem.1 He added that Bao Dai who dislikes Xuan has repeatedly stated Provisional Government would remain in power only long enough to “secher les murs”.

Commenting on Bay of Along agreement, which had previous approval of French Government (Saigon’s 130, June 7, to Department,2 34 to Paris), Baeyens stated referendum in Cochin China was prerequisite to Assembly approval of change in status which would undoubtedly be vigorously opposed by Gaullists (my 3006 June 72). (Baeyens spent three hours with D’Argenlieu3 yesterday in discussion devoted primarily to means of protecting French interests in Cochin China). In addition to published text there is secret annex which Baeyens describes as “neither more nor less” than Bay of Along protocol of last December. Implementing arrangements called for in paragraph 3 of agreement (text in immediately following cable2) must be “negotiated from scratch,” according to Baeyens who envisages conference similar Dalat or Fontainebleau.

Bollaert returns to Paris about June 20 in order confer with Coste–Floret4 before latter’s departure for Madagascar June 23. Baeyens does not believe he will return Indochina. Baeyens gives as principal reason other than personal for Bao Dai’s forthcoming European visit his desire to remove himself from Far East during difficult period of of establishment of Provisional Government and negotiations with France.

Department pass Saigon as 23.5

Caffery
  1. Ngo Dinh Diem, who had consulted ex-Emperor Bao Dai in Hong Kong in December, 1947.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Adm. Thierry d’Argenlieu, French High Commissioner in Indochina until March, 1947.
  5. Not printed.
  6. French Minister for Overseas Territories.
  7. This was done the same day; the telegram was repeated in 30, June 17, 6 p. m. to Hanoi.