851g.00/8–2448: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consulate General at Saigon


136. Bollaert’s position as expressed in Paris tel 4384 Aug 24 to Dept1 (rpt Saigon as 48) unclear. Dept notes (pgh 7) Bollaert believes as “...it becomes apparent that Bao Dai has been able to achieve more by negotiations than Ho has or will be able to achieve by force of arms’ there will be increasing tendency in ranks of non-Communist elements of Viet Minh to switch over.” It not clear how Bao Dai can show he has gained more from France by negotiation than Ho has or will gain by force arms when French not prepared to make any “irrevocable commitments” (pgh 6) to Bao Dai or any provisional govt of which he may form part as High Commissioner states (pgh 5) that such govt will remain provisional until peace restored sufficiently to permit popular referendum on permanent form govt.

Abbott might see Bollaert (who reportedly left Paris Aug 26 for Saigon) and attempt clarify ambiguities his statement to Embassy. At that time, you may wish point out that it difficult see how course action he proposes will in absence firm commitments by France dispel Vietnamese distrust of French, split off adherents of Ho, or materially reduce hostilities.

Sent Saigon as 136; repeated Paris as Airgram.

  1. Not printed.