396.1 GE/4–1654: Telegram

The Ambassador at Saigon (Heath) to the Department of State


2029. Repeated information Paris 670, Hanoi 377. In conversation with Australian Foreign Minister Casey with regard to Indochina phase of Geneva conference, he said that merely “thinking out loud” it seemed to him that there were only two pieces of “bait” which would induce Communist China to stop aiding Viet Minh. One would be American recognition of Communist China and other would be an allotment of a part of Vietnam—Northern part—to Viet Minh. He remarked humorously that there seemed to be no possibilities of first “bait” being offered due to present American feeling against China and second “bait” had every sort of objection against it.

We discussed present reluctance of Vietnamese Government to participate in Geneva conference on ground that if they participate they would have to admit a Viet Minh delegation on an equal basis which would constitute a de facto recognition of Viet Minh regime. Casey remarked that he could not see how peace could be obtained unless both Vietnamese Government and Viet Minh sat down together. I remarked that present feeling of Buu Loc was that Viet Minh had no intention of making peace at least for present and purpose of their having delegation at conference would be propaganda attack on allegedly non-representative and non-democratic character of Bao Dai Government.

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There ensued discussion in which Alan Watt (who formerly was Australian Minister in Moscow) and Casey participated as to possibility that Communist China could be brought to conviction that in her own interest she should cease aiding Viet Minh since continued aid might result in renewal of hostilities in which China might suffer. Both Casey and Watt agreed that it was unlikely that in any publicized conference China would publicly agree to “drop” Viet Minh. Only hope was that in side line conversation she might be brought to see wisdom of taking such action—without publicity.