396.1 GE/5–2054: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Secto 260. Repeated information Saigon 94, Paris 300. Heath comments on Saigon’s 2419, May 17,1 to Department that the thought of deposing Bao Dai and establishing a regency council is not a new one and has been advanced by some Vietnamese and has received some consideration by the French. Heath observes that regency might conceivably be a future solution but is very strongly of the opinion that it should not be talked about with the French or anybody else at this time. Principal Vietnamese support for such proposals in the past has come from certain southern Vietnamese who propose regent be the Empress who is a southerner. It’s unlikely that the Empress or the Crown Prince would connive at deposing Bao Dai. A government headed by Tri and Premier Quat as proposed in reference telegram would be very unpalatable to the southern Vietnamese and Tri would be very unhappy heading a government in which Tam, whom he dislikes and distrusts, held the extremely important portfolio of the interior. The French would certainly not agree to such a proposal at the present time and without their consent, in view of the French armed forces in Saigon, the coup could hardly be pulled off. Bao Dai states that Ngo Dinh Diem has agreed to rally to him and this is confirmed by Diem’s brother, whom Bao Dai has appointed as secret personal observer for the conference and a channel of secret communication, if need should arise, between himself and the American delegation.

In short, Heath feels we must, at least for the time being, bear with the Bao Dai solution.

  1. For text, see volume xiii .