396.1 GE/5–2154

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Special Adviser to the United States Delegation ( Heath )

secret

Participants:

  • M. Marc Jacquet, French State Secretary for the Associated States.
  • Donald R. Heath, Ambassador to Vietnam and Cambodia

During the conference intermission today I spoke with Jacquet. He said:

1.
The political situation in Paris was very shaky.
2.
Reports of political deterioration in Vietnam were very disquieting.
3.
He was also disturbed by the friction between Generals Cogny and Navarre. The latter had lost much of his former moral authority over his command.
4.
To my question whether he had heard rumors of the reconciliation between Bao Dai and Ngo Dinh Diem, he said that last December he would have favored Bao Dai’s appointing Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister, now he is not so sure it would be a good idea to change Buu Loc.
5.
He had heard rumors of contacts between members of the Vietnamese and Vietminh Delegations which he found alarming. If there was a conciliation of the two factions it would be the Bao Dai crowd which would lose out. In that connection he recalled that Bao Dai, during a recent conversation had made a cryptic remark which had disturbed him. Bao Dai had said “we should approach this situation as we did in 1945”. Bao Dai would not explain this statement and Jacquet recalled that in 1945 Bao Dai had abdicated and accepted a job as Political Counselor to Ho Chi Minh.

Comment: It was rather interesting to hear Jacquet worry about contacts between the Vietminh and Vietnam Delegations. According to a memorandum1 from Chester L. Cooper, “M. Marc Jacquet, without [Page 882] Bidault’s knowledge, has designated staff members Michel Audiat and Tezenas du Montcel for secret contacts with the Vietminh in Geneva. Bao Dai is aware of this arrangement”.

  1. Not printed.