396.1 GE/5–1154: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Dulte 63. For Secretary from Smith. French have flash press report statement attributed to you that Southeast Asia can be held without Indochina or words to that effect.1 Bidault is in complete tailspin. Sure [Page 773] this taken out of context from more comprehensive statement. Give me urgently anything I can say to him which will help counteract.2

  1. A telegram from the French Embassy in Washington (En Clair No. 380, May 12) contained the following report: “Dulles said [in his news conference yesterday] the United States wanted a South East Asian alliance against Communism which would pledge member nations to fight if openly challenged by Communist aggression. While he hoped such an alliance would cover all Indo-China he firmly asserted that the loss of some or all of that country would not necessarily bring the loss of all South East Asia. In conversations with friendly nations the United States was trying to create a situation in which South East Asia would not go down like a row of dominoes if Indo-China fell.” (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 311)

    In his news conference the Secretary of State stated in response to questions that the “purpose of this collective security arrangement which we are trying to create is to save Southeast Asia, to save all of Southeast Asia if it can be saved; if not, to save essential parts of it.” He said that the “situation in that area, as we found it, was that it was subject to the so-called ‘domino theory.’ You mean that if one went, another would go?) We are trying to change it so that would not be the case. That is the whole theory of collective security.… And what we are trying to do is create a situation in Southeast Asia where the domino situation will not apply. And while I see it has been said that I felt that Southeast Asia could be secured even without perhaps Viet-Nam, Laos, and Cambodia, I do not want for a minute to underestimate the importance of those countries nor do I want for a minute to give the impression that we believe that they are going to be lost or that we have given up trying to prevent their being lost.” (Department of State Bulletin, May 24, 1954, p. 782)

  2. The Department of State transmitted to the U.S. Delegation in telegram Tosec 125, May 11, the verbatim text of some of the pertinent questions and answers from the Secretary’s press conference. (396.1 GE/5–1154)