751G.551/10–2151: Telegram

The Minister at Saigon (Heath) to the Secretary of State


888. ReLegtel 887, October 21.1 Gen De Lattre returned from Washington, London conf October 19, recd most grandiose reception yet witnessed at air drome with presence of usual honor guard, considerable additional troops, including armored units ranged on apron and outside admin building. De Lattre Constellation escorted to field by flight of MDAP F8F fighters and greeted with fly-past of MDAP privateers and fighters. After reviewing troops and mixed group of functionaries, dipl corps etc., De Lattre eloquently delivered remarks communicated in reftel from manuscript written in his own hand. Delivery acquired some spontaneity since microphone moved from original emplacement and close ring of persons gathered around De Lattre. At close of formal remarks, De Lattre made gracious impromptu gesture indicating me at his right and Gen Brink close by, expressing his appreciation for our assistance during his US visit, stating that we were strong friends of AS and Fr union.

Return to city made under bamboo and palm triumphal arches erected 2 or 3 days before, surmounted with banners inscribed with grateful sentiments, e.g., “deference, gratitude, admiration, affection”. These of course prefabricated by info services but possibly significant that year or so ago they wld not have remained standing over night.

In contrast to Pres Huu’s reception week ago, which saw school children and other groups Viets placed in formation along convoy route, Viets schools participation this time was ragged or nil and few Viets witnessed although holiday was declared for banks and business houses, which not done for Huu return.

Sent Dept 888, rptd info Paris 351, Hanoi unnumbered.

  1. Not printed.