396.1–LO/5–350: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State
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Secto 112. From Jessup for Secretary. Our preliminary thinking re possible public declaration on SEA following:

Increasingly apparent that even if we wished tripartite solidarity statement, British desire clear with all Commonwealth governments would eliminate possibility on time element alone. French draft Secto 911 obviously inadequate.
Unilateral US statement (as contemplated in aide-mémoire to French Embassy April 282 and conference paper C–3a3) should obviously therefore not emerge from tripartite conference. It might however appropriately be made by President immediately following Secretary’s meeting with Schuman May 8 and be based on following outline which submitted without trimmings:
Schuman and Acheson have examined Indochina situation and their views largely coincide.
Meeting the threat to the security of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos which now enjoy independence within the French Union is primary responsibility of France. US however considers situation such as to warrant its according military and economic aid to those states and France for purpose restoring stability and permitting states pursue their peaceful and democratic development.
Consequently US Government, convinced that national independence and democratic evolution is nonexistent in any area that falls within network Soviet imperialism, is able, after consideration of requests of associated states and France, to announce that MDAP funds already appropriated have been made available to supplement military equipment of armies of associated states and French Union forces engaged in struggle against Soviet-inspired imperialism in Indochina and that first shipload supplies will leave US during month May.
Furthermore the Executive branch of government preparing include in its request to Congress for MDAP legislation for next fiscal year an appropriate sum for this purpose (while this wording may not be practicable, essential that continuity of military program beyond July be brought out).
With respect economic aid US Government on basis report of Griffin mission4 has decided on limited supplementary economic aid for Indochinese states based on immediate health and rehabilitation needs arising from present hostilities. Funds for [Page 943] initial aid during present fiscal year have already been set aside and US Government hopes expend in that area additional funds when authorized by Congress.
It is recommended that statement be issued by President immediately after Paris meeting and before tripartite meetings London begin. Presidential statement would carry special weight and is in fact justified by his discretion re 303 funds. It might easily be received as extension Truman Doctrine and arouse excessive expectations, but is appropriate if serious effort is really to be made to hold Indochina.
Obvious in view publicity re place SEA on tripartite agenda, three ministers cannot omit any reference to SEA in closing communiqué. While this reference might necessarily be very general if British agreement to be secured principal objectives should already have been obtained by unilateral statement.5

Pending consideration this cable request no announcement military or economic aid will be made (reDeptel 1951 to Paris6).

Sent Department Secto 112, repeated AmEmbassy Paris 728, Department please pass Saigon.

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 5, p. 940.
  2. Vol. vi, p. 789.
  3. FM 33 C–3a, “Indochina,” dated April 25, not printed, recommended that the Secretary of State:

    • “1. Ask the French to describe their program for Indochina.
    • “2. Explain that we regard Indochina as primarily a French responsibility but are prepared to assist.
    • “3. Indicate that the U.S. is prepared to issue a statement after the conference to the effect that Indochina has been discussed and broad agreement reached.
    • “4. Explain that the U.S. will not aid France exclusively but will also assist the Associated States.
    • “5. Confirm that the U.S. does not favor joint staff talks on Indochina but would be glad to send a small military liaison group there.
    • “6. Be ready to discuss with M. Schuman what his attitude would be if the Indochina situation comes before the UN.”

    An earlier draft of this paper, FM D C–3, dated April 20, not printed, contained the same set of recommendations except for point 5 (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 149: May FM Meeting C, D Series). For the text of the Joint Chiefs of Staff comments on FM D C–3a, see United States Department of Defense, United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1971), Book 8, pp. 315-317.

  4. For documentation on the Griffin technical assistance mission to Southeast Asia during March of 1950, see vol. vi, pp. 24 ff.
  5. In Tosecs 109 and 120, May 5, and Tosec 2 from Saigon to Washington, May 6, none printed, Jessup was informed of the general agreement with the main lines of the proposed public declaration and of the Department of State’s concurrence in the course which he was pursuing with regard to Indochina and Southeast Asia (396.1 LO/5–350 and London Embassy Files: Lot 59 F 59: 320 FMC).
  6. Not printed.