751G.5/5–1554: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 70. Limit distribution. I took occasion to tell Bidault last night that we should be under no illusions about troop withdrawal in Indochina, that it would be very difficult to prevent any lines fixed from developing into de facto partition which was something US could not accept. If we saw things heading that way, we would have to disassociate ourselves from this particular proposal.

Bidault replied that would be very serious. He said that military regrouping would postpone any political settlement and that neither Vietnamese nor Viet Minh would accept partition. He realized that if there were any clean-cut split on a given parallel, it would inevitably become partition and for that reason he felt jumbled and irregular lines like frontiers of Israel far safer. I said I agreed with this line of thought.

I also told him that we were making progress with British and I felt much more optimistic than two weeks ago. I also said we could do a great deal for the long pull, including training, provided it was not necessary for us to intervene directly in present fighting.