396.1 GE/5–1354: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 197. Repeated information Paris 254, London 159, Saigon 64, Moscow 68. Pass to Defense. Vietnamese proposal tabled yesterday (text transmitted Secto 190)1 covers both military and political aspects problem. In effect Vietnamese delegation proposes Viet Minh dissolve their government and army under terms political amnesty supervised and guaranteed by “international control”. Later Viet Minh soldiers of this army would be taken into Vietnamese National Army and there would be internationally supervised elections at some unspecified future date (as soon as security council determines Bao Dai Government is established throughout Vietnam and that conditions of freedom exist). This might be ideal solution from standpoint but hardly acceptable to Viet Minh who make same proposal in reverse. Both Vietnamese and Viet Minh proposals are obviously victor’s solution.

Vietnamese proposal, especially with regard incorporating Viet Minh soldiers after they disarm and disband into Vietnamese National [Page 790]Army, will be quite unacceptable to other side. Vietnamese are certainly aware this aspect problem and their proposition clearly reflects basically differing French and Vietnamese objectives this conference. Whereas termination hostilities with more or less satisfactory guarantees is general French objective, Vietnamese, who have less substantial military assets, are primarily concerned avoid loss segments their territory to Viet Minh or any settlement which endangers their position as legal and effective government of Vietnam.

Following are comments on some of specific provisos:

Paragraph 3, Section A on military settlement categorically rejects partition in accordance with known Vietnamese position. From wording it is clear Vietnamese wish avoid not only partition by drawing a line across their country but also by permanent or semi permanent establishment of zones, enclaves etc.
International controls and guarantees of execution military settlement are envisaged (paragraph 4, Section A) but it is not made clear how they will work.
Section B on political settlement contains philosophy Bao Dai Government is sole legal representative Vietnam. This is expressed even more strongly than Pham Van Dong’s allegation regarding right Viet Minh speaks for country. Stemming from this, Vietnamese view settlement is that Viet Minh Army should be merged into Vietnamese National Army, position sure to be unacceptable to Viet Minh. It is noted Vietnamese proposal further call international control of integration Viet Minh Army into National Army Vietnam, which would doubtless be difficult and highly complex problem to execute.
While Viet Minh proposal called for elections to be organized by “democratic republic of Vietnam”, Vietnamese of course insist Bao Dai Government should organize them.
About only point resemblance between Viet Minh and Vietnamese proposals is recommendation clemency for all persons collaborating with other side during hostilities (paragraph 5, Section B).

  1. Dated May 12, p. 783.