396.1 GE/6–254: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1

top secret

Tedul 159. For Under Secretary from Secretary. Re Dulte 141.2 I am in general accord subject to the following considerations:

In view of dubious future role of Bao Dai as indicated your second paragraph, doubt he should be made the recipient of any express or implied pledges from US.
Doubt that US should be so completely identified with France and Vietnam that our own independence of action and freedom to disassociate ourselves would seem to be impaired. I refer in this connection to last sentence of fifth paragraph about “coordination”.
I have some concern that your proposed statements with reference to necessity Vietnam cooperation with French might be interpreted as asking Vietnam to take pressure off French for clarification of their independence and completion independence treaty.
We do not yet have any firm position as to what action we would take in relation to local authorities if French agreed to sell-out unacceptable to them. It would under these circumstances be most unlikely that we would openly intervene there, but we might want to encourage local resistance and help maintain some sort of a non-communist government, [Page 1045] even if it were a government wholly or partially in exile. However, as you suggest, it is not at all clear that Bao Dai would be the best person for us to rely upon under these circumstances. This accentuates the desirability of avoiding any statement which he might regard as personal pledge to him.
I hope you can use conversation to draw him out, particularly on the two points of:
what French can do to carry conviction in Indochina that the people are fighting for their own independence, and
how a more effective native government can be established.

  1. Drafted by the Secretary of State. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4428 and to Saigon as telegram 2507.
  2. Dated June 2, p. 1008.