851g.00/5–1248: Telegram

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


2567. Baeyens1 has informed me that French Government has authorized Bollaert to approve formation provisional Vietnam government headed by Xuan2 but to insist that seat of government be located at either Hanoi or Hué and not at Saigon. Bollaert-Xuan negotiations will be conducted on basis Bay of Along protocol3 which Xuan will countersign. Bao Dai will countersign agreement reached with Xuan.

Baeyens stated Foreign Office was not optimistic as to extent popular support provisional government could achieve and expressed hope that representatives from Annam and Tonkin would be of sufficient stature to offset at least in part government’s being characterized as French puppet.

He had no information other than press report of early Bao Dai–Bollaert meeting and Bao Dai’s visit to Europe. Foreign Office endeavoring to block latter which they consider could only lend support to charges of puppet government.

Department pass Saigon as No. 18.4

  1. Ferdinand Jacques M. G. Baeyens, head of the French Foreign Office section on Asian Affairs.
  2. General Nguyen Van Xuan, President of Cochinchina.
  3. For report on agreement reached in December 1947, see telegram 5398, December 16, 1947, 6 p. m., from Paris, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vi, p. 150.
  4. This was done the same day; it was repeated in telegram 23, May 14, 11 a.m., to Hanoi.