751G.00/5–854: Telegram

The Chargé at Saigon (McClintock) to the Department of State


2276. Repeated information Paris 785, Geneva 65, London 49. I discussed French position on Indochina phase of Geneva Conference [Page 1512] as set out Secto 106, repeated Paris 201, Saigon 33 from Geneva1 with De Jean this morning, making it clear, however, that this was an informal position which had not yet been adopted by French Government. De Jean felt that Bidault’s outline was highly satisfactory and that it indicated acceptance of advice he has been urging from here, particularly in requirement for armistice to spell out effective military aid administrative controls. He feels hopeful that his recommendations, and not Navarre’s demand for an immediate cease-fire will prevail in councils of French Government.

De Jean said, however, it was most important that Communist side realize that there were effective guarantees and that there would be retaliation if cease-fire and armistice were violated. He felt it essential therefore that powers at Geneva formulate a guarantee and of course, had in mind principally position of US in this regard.

Should Geneva Conference not arrive at armistice and should war continue past October when next campaigning season will begin, De Jean felt that it would be clearly impossible for French and Vietnamese forces unaided to continue the fight, as by that time Viet Minh would have regrouped and would undoubtedly be strengthened by continuing supply from China. In this case he thought internationalization of war on much larger scale would be only alternative to capitulation.

  1. For text of telegram Secto 106 from Geneva, May 5, see vol. xvi, p. 694.