751G.02/1–1350: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France


186. Fol steps being considered re recognition Vietnam at appropriate time after ratification by Assembly of Mar 8 Agreements:

Announcement by Sec of de facto recognition of Vietnam as an associated state in Fr Union.
Granting of appropriate rank and title to Consul General Saigon. Dept believes rank and title in this case might be similar to that accorded Brit to their rep after de facto recognition.
Reply by President to Bao Dai’s letter requesting “establishment of relations.”1
Dept studying question according similar treatment Laos and Cambodia.

Reaction of India, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand and Philippines to recognition Vietnam so far negative and prospects not encouraging.

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You may discuss foregoing with FonOff and request their views as to most desirable way of handling mechanics of recognition.

Dept assumes that Emb, in its discretion, is exercising such pressure as it deems necessary and useful upon Fr to insure earliest possible ratification Mar 8 Agreements.

Fol are Dept’s comments on program for Fr action proposed in numbered Para 8, Embtel 5197, Dec 11:2

Dept believes transfer Indochinese affairs to FonOff wld be more helpful than transfer from Min Overseas France to simply another Govt Dept. Dept considers change of latter nature wld be interpreted by US public and SEA countries as only change in name of a section of Min of Overseas France. Dept, however, does not believe US can usefully intervene again on official basis. Emb, therefore, is authorized to take such unofficial and informal action as is possible in the circumstances to obtain shift IC affairs to FonOff if possible (if not some agency other than Overseas France).
Dept uncertain how far Fr Govt prepared to go re public statement of evolutionary character of France’s relations with Vietnam. Dept inclined to believe statement wld be more effective if it immediately fol ratification. Penultimate para, New Delhi 34 of Jan 7 gives indication of helpfulness of such statement if it includes concrete plan for further evolution of Vietnam.

Dept hopes that “spontaneous” statement by Auriol or Bidault3 wld, in addition to elaborating Pignon4 Dec 30 speech and welcoming independent Vietnam within Fr Union, refer to Mar 8 agreements and supplementary accords as basis for independence within union and indicate that Fr desire their liberal interpretation. Dramatic effect might be enhanced by using statement to announce transfer Vietnam from Overseas France to FonOff (which decision according Embtel 5083, Dec 2,5 might be executive prerogative. If transfer requires some form Assembly approval inform Dept re procedure and timing).

  1. For a translation of Bao Dai’s letter of August 31, 1949, to President Truman, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 74.
  2. For telegram 5197 from Paris, December 11, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 105.
  3. Georges Bidault, Premier of France.
  4. Léon Pignon, French High Commissioner in Indochina.
  5. Telegram 5083 from Paris, December 2, 1949, is not printed.