851G.01/2–1849: Telegram

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


718. Buuloc, Bao Dai’s cousin and Chef de Cabinet, who has just returned from Cannes, told us last night that conversations were progressing in generally satisfactory manner and it was hoped complete negotiations next week when Bao Dai comes to Paris at invitation President Auriol. In this event Bao Dai would return in early April on French warship. His cousin said he had ordered complete set tropical clothing.

Formula for changed status Cochin-China and ratification by French Parliament which Buuloc indicated Bao Dai had accepted now appears to be following: Article 75 French Constitution provides status parts French Republic and French Union can evolve and that change from one category to another takes place by law voted by French Parliament after appropriate territorial assembly and Assembly French Union have been consulted. Cochin-China, now French overseas territory, would become part of Vietnam, an associated state of French Union. Thus abandonment of sovereignty or cession of territory, as contemplated under Article 27 of Constitution, would take place and no referendum required. Therefore after return Bao Dai and favorable vote of to-be-organized territorial assembly of Cochin-China and Assembly French Union, French Parliament would be requested vote law confirming desire Cochin-China change its status under Article 75 rather than cession of territory under Article 27. (Not clear why this was not thought up before.) Presumably Parliament receive at same time above described law for approval and treaty for ratification.

Re diplomatic classes agreement, Buuloc told us that Bao Dai could have diplomatic secretaries attached to any French mission but that number of separate missions would be limited to three. He and French are agreed on Siam and Vatican but for third French propose China and Bao Dai wants (but does not expect to get) Washington. There is no limitation, however, on number foreign missions Bao Dai can receive and Buuloc hinted strongly that former Emperor was looking forward to welcoming in the near future first American minister there.

Sent Department, repeated Saigon 18.