851g.00/9–748: Telegram

The Consul General at Saigon (Abbott) to the Secretary of State 1


194. Deptel 136, August 27. In long talk with Bollaert today (in presence diplomatic counselor De Pereyra which restricted conversation both sides) gained impression his confidence somewhat shaken by unfavorable reception (apparently unforeseen by him) Marie statement and Assembly debate.

He continues insist Assembly “approval” Baie d’Along protocol gives him full authority rapid implementation even in Cochin China but gave no details action contemplated and indicated prompt return Bao Dai essential to success. He said negotiations supplementary agreements could begin immediately Bao headed provisional government, but French could not negotiate with individual with no official position or mandate. Expressed indignation at my suggestion that mere hope for future concessions on reserved points might not be sufficient to win support non-Communist nationalists for Bao Dai. Claimed mere fact Emperor’s return would indicate latter satisfied with Bollaert’s promises. He refused to admit impracticability postponement of formal agreements and ratification thereof by French Assembly until after referenda and formation constitutional government.

He indicated his future plans depended on Bao Dai’s decision Prake [and?] would stay if Emperor returned (and if he were asked). In latter connection Pham Van Binh, private secretary Bao Dai, recently arrived Saigon, informed press here “Emperor determined not return [Page 42] before definitive settlement of all outstanding questions— there remains to decide precisely meaning word independence. Still undecided if agreements will be negotiated Saigon or Paris.”

Bollaert first informed me talks must be here, later admitted possibility negotiations Paris. Emphasized difficulty delay negotiating with Orientals.

Presence Saigon all provisional commissioners, other high French officials, and scheduled meeting Xuan Cabinet interpreted as presaging important developments before end week.

  1. Repeated in telegram 3496, September 8, 6 p.m., to Paris.