751G.00/5–1354: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

secret

Tosec 158. Deteriorating political and military situation Vietnam reflected in such telegrams as Saigon’s 23722 indicates need for urgent consideration of possible countermeasures.

Appears from here that first step this connection is to urge Bao Dai to return at once to Vietnam. If Bao Dai proves unresponsive to Heath’s approach you should discuss with Bidault re possible further steps that could be taken.

We are of course aware however of uncertainty as to what role Bao Dai could or would play under existing circumstances. Nevertheless Bao Dai’s return to Vietnam is the one remedial measure we might put into effect most quickly. If Bidault and USDel concur, and if Bao Dai does not respond affirmatively to first suggestion, might be put up to Bao Dai that unless he is willing accept our recommendation, French and US policy with regard to him and his regime will have to be reexamined.

I believe moreover that we must at once undertake fullest discussions with French at Geneva as well as Paris and Saigon concerning [Page 801]further steps which might be taken toward rectifying political situation Vietnam and toward preventing apparent disintegration of governmental authority from further compromising Franco-Vietnamese military posture.

Dulles
  1. Drafted by Sturm of FE/PSA. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4074, to Saigon as telegram 2300, and to Hanoi as telegram 630.
  2. In telegram 2372 from Saigon, May 13, McClintock reported that Defense Minister Phan Huy Quat had stated, citing recent desertions, that the internal situation had so deteriorated that all semblance of government might disappear within ten days. The Chargé further indicated that according to certain French authorities, unless Bao Dai returned and faced up to his responsibilities within ten days to three weeks there would no longer be a state of Vietnam. (751G.00/5–1254)