396.1 GE/5–1154

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser to the United States Delegation ( Bonsal )1



  • M. Paul-Henri Spaak, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Leader of the Belgium Delegation
  • Philip W. Bonsal


  • M. Spaak’s views on Indochina

After General Smith’s dinner, I had a lengthy conversation with M. Spaak whom I had known in the early days of the Marshall Plan.

[Page 774]

M. Spaak believes the US should take the leadership in a policy for Southeast Asia similar to that which has given such good results in Europe. His thought is that we should establish a line on our side of which the governments and peoples will give adequate support to the concepts of free world orientation and collective security. We should make it quite clear to the Communists that if they step over that line they will risk a generalized war. With regard to Indochina, about which M. Spaak states he has no “expert” knowledge, it is his belief that we should leave the French and Vietnamese and the Vietminh to work out the best possible solution reflecting their relative potentialities and that we should not involve ourselves directly in the situation. I observed that we had already made a very considerable investment of prestige, material and funds in Indochina.

M. Spaak is most discouraged about the French situation although he expressed great admiration for M. Bidault personally. He states that the French Government must force the EDC matter to an issue in the Assembly without any further delay. He states that if Europe is not “created” in the near future, the whole structure of security which has been erected during the past few years will be in danger of falling to the ground. It is his thought that the other EDC partners should issue a pressing appeal to the French Government to move forward.

In the course of our walk from the Hotel du Rhone to the Hotel Beau Rivage we met General Bethouard who is in Geneva for two or three days. He expressed the gloomiest views regarding the French cabinet situation. He castigated the attitude of the Gaullists in most severe terms.

  1. Summary of conversation transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Secto 195, May 13. (396. GE/5–1354)