396.1 GE/3–154: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France1

secret

2986. FYI only. Understanding here is that initiative for organization Indochina phase of Korean political conference is primarily French responsibility just as United States has such responsibility for Korean phase. On specific subject of participants in Indochina phase there is involved (a) agreement between France, US and UK with French views being given major weight and (b) discussion with USSR of tripartite position and resulting quadripartite agreement on invitations to other participants. It would be our hope that the taking of these steps could be deferred until meeting of Foreign Ministers of France, UK, USSR and US at Geneva on April 26. Invitations could then be issued for Indochina discussions to take place some weeks later. A deferment of Indochina discussions until after the end of current fighting season and conduct discussions in atmosphere of what we would hope would be active and effective preparations for decisive phase of Navarre Plan, including especially progress in creating combatworthy Vietnamese units would be highly desirable in our view. End FYI only.

Department assumes immediate pressures on French Government have been much eased as result of Berlin agreement on Indochina. Department therefore hopes French Government will agree that further discussion Indochina phase by France, UK and US on one hand and by USSR on other be held after Foreign Ministers meet for opening of Geneva Conference. Department interprets Paris 3072 repeated [Page 427]Saigon 337 and London unnumbered as indicating Bidault thinking along these lines. (See numbered paragraph 2.2)

In any case, Department counts on opportunity make known its views on participants in Indochina phase prior any crystallizing of a French position and would anticipate a request from French Government for its views at such time as French Government believes it desirable proceed toward firming up of tripartite position this matter.

Discuss matter with Bidault along above lines, stating they represent Secretary’s thinking and Secretary has now left for Caracas whence he will return about March 10. Comments other recipients invited.

Smith
  1. Drafted by Bonsal of PSA. Repeated to London as telegram 4450, to Moscow as telegram 550, and to Saigon as telegram 1569.
  2. Paragraph 2 of Paris telegram 3072, Feb. 25, not printed, read: “In response question by Moch (Socialist) as to whether Ho would be present Geneva, Bidault quoted as saying: ‘In eyes of France, Ho Chi Minh Government does not represent state and Berlin text (of communiqué) does not make its presence obligatory. That will be discussed at Geneva where it will be question taking up Korea and IC simultaneously.’” (751.00/2–2554)