396.1 GE/5–1554: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 224. Repeated information Paris 274 Saigon 80. Reference Sectos 215, 219.1 I have received from Molotov acknowledgment of my letter2 and copy of his reply to Bidault which reads:

“I have today received your letter of May 14 regarding the evacuation of wounded from Dien Bien Phu.

“In accordance with your wish, I have brought the content of your letter to the attention of the head of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Pham Van Dong.

“I also am aware of the statements which you mention of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam of May 10 to the effect that its Commander would carry out no discrimination among the wounded on considerations of race or nationality.

“As you remember, at the Geneva Conference, May 10, a statement by the head of the delegation of the DRV was heard concerning its readiness to undertake without delay measures directed toward the evacuation of the seriously wounded taken prisoner at Dien Bien Phu. At the same time, the wish was expressed that representatives of both commands undertake practical steps on the spot to carry out this evacuation, and all participants in the Conference took cognizance of this.

“In accordance with this it is reasonable to think that all practical questions concerning the evacuation of wounded from Dien Bien Phu should be settled by agreement among the commands of both sides on the spot.

“It is possible that you, Mr. Minister, will find it expedient to establish direct contact with the delegation of the DRV which is in Geneva to clarify those questions, the settlement of which might assist in the establishment of a system of evacuation which would be satisfactory to both sides.”

Bidault was struck by its courteous tone, its reference to nondiscrimination, its reiteration that practical questions be dealt with on the spot, and suggestion that French discuss it with Viet Minh here. He has not decided what to do next.3

  1. Both dated May 15, pp. 809 and 810 respectively.
  2. Dated May 15. See footnote 3, p. 811.
  3. Bidault’s comments on the Molotov reply are contained in a memorandum from Achilles to Johnson, May 15, in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 303.