751G.02/2–950: Telegram

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

confidential

98. President’s recognition letter1 delivered Bao Dai at Dalat twelve noon February 9. Also presented Gullion. Emperor requested me convey his sincere thanks and appreciation to President and Secretary. Reply to President’s letter in preparation and will probably be delivered ConGen tomorrow. Emperor stated he would take up problem selection diplomatic representation in US without delay.

Bao Dai retained us a ceremonial luncheon at which Viet officials were presented as well as French Colonial member of Bao Dai’s military household and French administrator at Dalat. In private conversation with Gullion and myself without French present Bao Dai emphasized importance to him of international recognition particularly by US both as regards his internal position before his people and his relations with French. He claimed his progress depended on degree to which French kept hands off. He repeated and expanded on remarks he made to Jessup re necessity of extreme caution to prevent infiltration his administration by Commies. He hinted at approaches made to him by disaffected VM supporters and difficulty distinguishing genuine article from provocateurs. Claims Vietminh now doubtful of [Page 726]military victory and have shifted to united front tactics with initial emphasis on lower administration levels.

Thus Bao Dai feels he must proceed carefully and avoid too sweeping amnesty proclamations. Claims Ho Chi Minh will shortly leave IC (if he has not already left) to devote himself to leadership SEA Comintern.

Bao Dai evinced considerable interest in possibilities of US aid and referred to memorandum summarized in mytel 69, January 31. He was eager to consider any details to be raised by US. Gullion said summary of requests received just before his departure from Washington and question of aid under study indicating that while matter had sympathetic interest some of initial request at first sight might appear excessive.

Among reasons why any equipment delivered should go first to Viet troops Bao Dai cited fact that they were sometimes able to obtain rendition of enemy with minimum of bloodshed. He urged wisdom of equiping village readiness contingents on home guard pattern.

Gullion and I leave tomorrow for Phnompenh.

Sent Department 98 Department pass Paris 48 Bangkok 16.

Abbott
  1. For text, see telegram 59 to Saigon, February 4, p. 720.