851G.01/5–649: Telegram

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


141. Due note taken Deptel 70, May 2. Agree any action re endorsement or recognition must await:

Publication March 8 agreements.
Action by French Parliament to join Cochinchina to Vietnam.
Formation by Bao Dai of Cabinet of sufficient calibre to give chance success.

However, when b and c accomplished and if text agreements reveal no jokers feel prompt change from passive to active attitude important.

Assumed Department desires success Bao Dai experiment since no other feasible non-Communist solution in view. Only suggested alternatives are: (a) Agreement with Ho Chi Minh which means setting up Communist controlled government in SEA; (b) New attempt at purely military solution for which resources are not available unless US furnishes them.

While fully aware many difficulties in path Bao Dai, feel chance success still exists and that policy US in critical initial period can have important influence. Our support will not insure Bao Dai success but the lack of it will probably make certain his failure.

The following measures are suggested for the Department consideration:

Immediate and continued pressure on French at highest level pointing out danger of delays such as that caused by present recess French Assembly and necessity for bold liberal and rapid implementation and interpretation March 8 agreements.
Statement from Department indicating our interest in and sympathy with new developments Indochina to be issued when conditions paragraph b fulfilled.
Consultation with British and Indians looking towards parallel recognition at early stage.
Exploration of possibility of at least token economic aid either direct or through ear-marking French ECA funds.

Would appreciate clarification of “reliability Bao Dai solution” used Deptel 70. Does this refer to rumors re Emperor’s present or proposed contacts with Ho Chi Minh and fears expressed certain French circles Communists will infiltrate and take over new regime? Obvious such danger exists. Nevertheless adherence substantial portion non-Communist elements resistance is essential feature Bao Dai solution and this requires contacts with them and probably inclusion resistance elements in government. Selection such elements will be crucial test Bao Dai’s political ability and he may be tempted to include some Communists perhaps even Ho in order to achieve immediate end fighting. It might be desirable to bring to his attention many examples proving futility and danger of collaboration with Stalinists but presume Department does not desire me to establish contact with Bao Dai or his entourage at this time.

Pouched Hanoi, repeated Paris.