751G.5 MAP/4–550: Telegram

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


1592. Tomap 1. During short visit with, and at request of, General Cherrière, chief of permanent staff of the president of the council, General Richards1 was given following information with respect to Indo-China.

2. General Carpentier, Commander-in-Chief Indo-China, in letter to General Cherrière dated 31 March 1950, stated that according American source the Chinese Communist armies were concentrating northern borders Tonkin and that attacks near future expected on [Page 773] Hainan, Formosa and Indo-China. According General Cherrière, French Intelligence confirms information on concentration and attacks Hainan and Formosa, but reports attack on Indo-China not imminent. French also report Russians now furnishing aircraft Chinese Communists. General Cherrière stated French aerial reconnaissance has reported that main roads leading from Southeast China into Tonkin are being repaired and that main road into Cao-Bang paralleling frontier is being banked on curves as if being prepared receive high-speed traffic.

3. In conclusion, General Cherrière made urgent request that some form American military aid arrive Indo-China as soon as possible for psychological and morale purposes, and that 37 mm. aircraft ammunition be dispatched with least possible delay. To both these necessities he gives equal priority. Reason for priority of ammunition is that French Air Forces playing important role gathering information and in ground strafing in Tonkin. Meager supplies this ammunition being used up rapidly and replenishment these stocks needed urgently to continue this important mission in theater.

4. It is considered that these two requests are justified. Recommend that action be taken upon them as soon as possible. Role of French Air Forces in surveying and guarding northern approaches from China into Northern Tonkin is of utmost importance for timely warning and protection of ground forces there. Early arrival military aid to Indo-China is bound to boost morale of all those opposed to Communist penetration and Communist-directed internal disorder. In addition, these shipments should bring further supporters to the French-Vietnam cause from the ranks of those who have remained in a state of prudent waiting. These latter will be influenced by clear evidence of immediate military assistance.

Sent Department 1592; repeated London (for JAMAG) 462. Department pass Saigon 75.

  1. Maj. Gen. George J. Richards, Chief, United States Military Assistance Advisory Group in France.