396.1 GE/3–454: Telegram
The Chargé at Saigon (McClintock) to the Department of State
1597. Repeated information Paris 491, Moscow 5. As yet there is no evidence that French are exerting pressure on Associated States to refrain from participating Indochina phase Geneva Conference (Deptel 1570 repeated Paris 29881), but I have no doubt that it is Bidault’s settled policy to exclude them from conference if possible.
I saw De Jean before his departure this morning for Paris. He indicated desire of French Government that initial phase of Indochina conference be confined to discussions by the four powers, (cf. Deptel 2986 sent Paris repeated London 4450, Moscow 550, Saigon 1569.2) De Jean said that principal objective was to get Communist China to cease aiding Viet Minh, and that if this were main topic for discussion he saw no reason why three Associated States should participate. He likewise sought to argue that situation here differs from that in Korea since in Indochina Viet Minh permeate body politic, whereas in Korea there is a hard and fast line of demarcation between north and south.
Latter argument of course has nothing to do with seating of Associated States at forthcoming conference, but does indicate that De Jean feels under compulsion to justify exclusion of these governments from Geneva Conference if at all possible. Such a policy we feel is foolish and will merely serve to confirm suspicions here and elsewhere in Asia that Associated States are not in fact independent. We thoroughly concur in Department’s opinion Associated States should be present as full participants at Geneva.
De Jean arrives Paris March 6 and I suggested utility of his getting in touch with Achilles.
Quat, Minister Defense, departed same airplane this morning with De Jean. He whispered to me that prospect of Geneva Conference has shaken Vietnamese people and in particular has had a disastrous effect on morale in Vietnamese armed forces.