851G.01/5–1149: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consulate at Hanoi 1


14. Reur informative tel 36:2 In talks Xuan and reps his govt you may take fol line as representing consensus informed Americans:

In light Ho’s known background, no other assumption possible but that he outright Commie so long as (1) he fails unequivocally repudiate Moscow connections and Commie doctrine and (2) remains personally singled out for praise by internatl Commie press and receives its support. Moreover, US not impressed by nationalist character red flag with yellow stars. Question whether Ho as much nationalist as Commie is irrelevant. All Stalinists in colonial areas are nationalists. With achievement natl aims (i.e., independence) their objective necessarily becomes subordination state to Commie purposes and ruthless extermination not only opposition groups but all elements suspected even slightest deviation. On basis examples eastern Eur it must be assumed such wld be goal Ho and men his stamp if included Baodai Govt. To include them in order achieve reconciliation opposing polit elements and “national unity” wld merely postpone settlement issue whether Vietnam to be independent nation or Commie satellite until circumstances probably even less favorable nationalists than now. It must of course be conceded theoretical possibility exists estab National Communist state on pattern Yugoslavia in any area beyond reach Soviet army. However, US attitude eld take acct such possibility only if every other possible avenue closed to preservation area from Kremlin control. Moreover, while Vietnam out of reach Soviet army it will doubtless be by no means out of reach Chi Commie hatchet men and armed forces.

Fol is for urinfo and such reference as you deem judicious:

Dept naturally considers only Fr can through concessions to nationalist movement lay basis for solution Indochina problem. As suggested Deptel 83 to Saigon, if nationalists find concessions Mar 8 agreements inadequate, much may depend upon willingness Fr put agreements in [Page 30] most favorable possible context by emphasizing expectations rapid evolution Vietnam beyond status envisaged those agreements. Provided Fr display realistic and generous attitude, most important part remainder immed program—viz, winning support nationalists away from Commie leadership—must devolve upon Baodai and Xuan group seconded by other South Asian govts who stand in most immed danger from Commie conquest Indochina and who by full polit and propaganda support Baodai solution might more than anyone else be able deprive Ho of talking-points in event he continues demand armed resistance Baodai regardless circumstances (which appears certain in light vitriolic tone current Vietminh broadcasts on Baodai which give no recognition any Fr concessions to nationalist demands). Even with conditions for US support Baodai realized, it futile expect US be able assist effectively this initial task beyond stressing requirements situation in talks South Asian govts and providing materials evidencing realities of Communism through USIS for distribution as you and Congen Saigon consider desirable in conjunction with Baodai efforts arouse compatriots to Commie menace. Experience Chi has shown no amt US mil and econ aid can save govt, even if recognized by all other powers and possessed full opportunity achieve natl aims, unless it can rally support people against Commies by affording representation all important natl groups, manifesting devotion to natl as opposed personal or party interests, and demonstrating real leadership.

Re Viet opinion reported Saigon’s 1453 that US abandonment Nationalist China presents unfavorable augury for non-Commie regime Vietnam, there no objection emphasizing to persons with this view that Nationalist China came to present pass through deficiency above qualities and lack will to fight, not because US “wrote it off”.

Re Xuan query whether US wld propose Vietnam for membership UN shld Fr renege, you shld avoid discussion this matter, at most if pressed state circumstances at moment will of course determine US action. For urinfo only it unlikely US eld even vote for Vietnam membership UN if as it appears now Fr wld remain in control Vietnam fon relations.

  1. Repeated as 84 to Saigon and 1713 to Paris and in 379, May 24, 5 p. m., to New Delhi, 286 to Bangkok, and 636 to Manila.
  2. May 11, p. 25.
  3. May 11, 10 a. m., not printed.