851g.01/7–648: Telegram

The Consul General at Saigon (Abbott) to the Secretary of State

top secret

155. Whether or not French Government feels ratification by Assembly Baie d’Along agreement constitutionally necessary, (Deptel 2466, July 3 to Paris) feel that situation here has reached such point of confusion that positive, unequivocal and prompt action in Paris essential. Feel this should include both recognition change in status Cochin China and official acceptance Baie d’Along agreement in form and manner not easily disavowed by future French Government. Local colonialists and anti-Bollaert official circles are arguing that entire present set up is illegal particularly past and present local regimes in Cochin China and implying that compliance with laws of these regimes including tax measures unnecessary. (Messmer1 privately admits that technically this is true.)

Lack of action in Paris will confirm Vietnam belief that Bollaert has been disavowed and that they have nothing to hope for from Baie d’Along agreement or from any future negotiations. At same time few Viets here blame Bollaert present situation and his statements on [Page 31] arrival France made favorable impression. Thus if he wins his fight for acceptance of his plan he should gain prestige invaluable in future negotiations and in implementation period.

Department please pass Paris as Saigon 42.2

  1. Pierre Messmer, French Commissioner for north Indochina and formerly director of High Commissioner Bollaert’s cabinet.
  2. This was done the same day.