751G.00/5–1354: Telegram

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


2384. Sent Geneva priority 102, Paris priority 836, repeated information London 62. Re final paragraph Embtel 2356,1 De Jean this morning asked me to read text of his comments on Viet Minh armistice proposals (Secto 162, repeated Saigon 53, Paris 234, London 146).2

De Jean had considerably quieted down from rather hysterical outburst against these proposals which he expressed yesterday, although in their ensemble he regards them as exceedingly dangerous. Following are main points De Jean is making to Bidault. I shall associate them to numbered paragraphs of Viet Minh armistice proposals: [Page 1558]

France has already recognized independence of Laos and signed joint declaration with Vietnam on independence. Declaration of July 3 last year promised independence and for all practical purposes Cambodia has already negotiated its independence.
To withdraw all foreign troops from Associated States would mean complete destruction of French Expeditionary Force which is made up in large part of Vietnamese, Laotian and to some extent Cambodian elements but is still dependent on French cadres and colonial troops. France should counter by insisting that Expeditionary Corps remain in present strength and be allowed free circulation in agreed zones in order to protect friendly population and French nationals.
De Jean points out similarity of Viet Minh election proposals to familiar Communist pattern both in North Korea and in Germany. First paragraph of numbered paragraph 3, he points out, would lend itself to effective Communist manipulation of “patriotic parties, groups and social organizations” and to rigging of elections in Communist favor by proposed local commissions. He insists that minimum of 18 months to two years must elapse before elections are undertaken and then only under conditions of scrupulous international control.

This is merely rehash of Soviet proposition to enter NATO.

Paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 might be subject to profitable negotiation.

Apparently De Jean’s French text of Viet Minh proposals differs from English translation set out Secto 162 since in his interpretation it is possible that cease-fire would only be agreed upon after measures specified in preceding seven paragraphs have been agreed upon. However, De Jean admits he is not certain on this point, whereas from translation of our version of paragraph 8 it seems perfectly clear that a cease-fire will take place before implementation of measures referred to in paragraphs 1 to 7.
(8) (a)
De Jean feels can be negotiated. (He has already given us details of recommendations sent to Bidault on zones to be occupied by Viet Minh and Franco-Vietnamese forces. I have prepared map showing these areas, and if Geneva has not already done so, will send photostatic copies by air pouch.)
(8) (b)
There is discrepancy in enumeration of paragraphs since De Jean in his telegram to Bidault refers to paragraph 8(c) as being designed to eliminate Americans from Indochina and to cause cessation of US aid to Associated States. This in translation provided Secto 162 appears as subparagraph 8(b). De Jean recommends complete rejection of this concept and that French take position that independent countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were attacked by Viet Minh with active Chinese assistance, and that US has right to continue supply aid to these legitimate governments during period of armistice.
(8) (c)
De Jean repeats his previous recommendation that ceasefire be supervised by mixed commission with possibility of over-all armistice provisions being entrusted to supervision of international commission.3

  1. Dated May 12, p. 1537.
  2. For the text of Secto 162 from Geneva, May 10, see vol. xvi, p. 753.
  3. Telegram 2388 from Saigon, May 13, contained a paraphrase of Dejean’s telegram to Paris commenting on the Viet Minh proposals. (751G.00/5–1354)