851g.00/8–548: Telegram

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


4034. Deptel 2891, July 29. Bollaert is of opinion that President French Union may legally ratify Baie d’Along agreements but that change in status Cochinchina requires Assembly action. He maintains that he will not return to Saigon unless there is an Assembly debate on government’s policy in Indochina and approval of Baie d’Along agreements and change in status Cochinchina.

Baeyens, DeLavignette1 and Moutet2 share Bollaert’s views. All consider that regardless of legal considerations, failure by Assembly to meet issue squarely will have practical effect of arousing such mistrust in Indochina as to nullify completely such progress as has been made.

In last night’s session of Assembly, Frederic DuPong (PRL) introduced motion calling for discussion Indochina prior to adjournment [Page 36] for summer despite request by Ramadier3 that motion be withdrawn “as it deals with subject too delicate for government to undertake without prudence and without a full review of all aspects of the situation”. Motion was carried by narrow vote 288 to 286. Date of debate will be set by conference of presidents.

Sent Department 4034; repeated Saigon 36.

  1. Governor-General Robert Delavignette was head of the political section of the French Ministry of Overseas Territories.
  2. Marius Moutet was French Minister of Overseas Territories from January 26, 1946 to November 24, 1947.
  3. Paul Ramadier was President of the French Council of Ministers in 1947.