851g.01/6–2248: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in China 1


974. ReEmbtel 1116 Jun 22.2

Depts info indicates that Ho Chi Minh is Communist. His long and well-known record in Comintern during twenties and thirties, continuous support by French Communist newspaper Humanité since 1945, praise given him by Radio Moscow (which for past six months has been devoting increasing attention to Indochina) and fact he has been called “leading Communist” by recent Russian publications as well as Daily Worker makes any other conclusion appear to be wishful thinking.
Dept has no evidence of direct link between Ho and Moscow but assumes it exists, nor is it able evaluate amount pressure or guidance Moscow exerting. We have impression Ho must be given or is retaining large degree latitude. Dept considers that USSR accomplishing its immediate aims in Indochina by (a) pinning down large numbers of French troops, (b) causing steady drain upon French economy thereby tending retard recovery and dissipate ECA assistance to France, and (c) denying to world generally surpluses which Indochina normally has available thus perpetuating conditions of disorder and shortages which favorable to growth Communism. Furthermore, Ho seems quite capable of retaining and even strengthening his grip on Indochina with no outside assistance other than continuing procession of French puppet govts.
Dept considers Xuan govt has popular support comparable to that of Thinh3 govt in Cochinchina during latter half 1946.
Consul Hanoi was given no instructions re his attendance proclamation Xuan govt as Dept preferred rely his judgment this matter. Assumably he attended in response official invitation French authorities whose sovereignty over Indochina we recognize. Emb might observe to FonOff that Chin Con Gen Saigon for past 2 years has been attending official ceremonies of govt autonomous republic Cochin-china, and later govt South Vietnam.
For urinfo only, Hanoi has reported that absence Chin representation Hanoi installation ceremonies was form of protest against French reestablishment Chinese congregations, a situation in which Dept does not wish become involved this juncture.
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Dept concurs that approach to Chinese should be governed by considerations outlined in second para reference telegram. While details above are for info only, Emb authorized in its discretion make general statement to FonOff.

  1. Paragraphs 1 and 2 repeated in telegram 109, July 7, 2 p. m., to Saigon, in response to inquiries made at the request of the Chinese Foreign Office.
  2. For text, see United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967, Book 8, pp. 125–126.
  3. Dr. Nguyen Van Thinh, President, with Colonel Nguyen Van Xuan as Vice President, of the “provisional government” of Cochinchina; Dr. Thinh committed suicide on November 11, 1946.