396.1 GE/6–654: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation 1

top secret

Tedul 175. Re Dulte 156.2 Numbered paragraph 1 reftel. We would be interested any specific ideas Bidault might propose with view simplifying request to other nations, so long they meet basic condition that US will not intervene alone. Until we have full agreement, at least in principle, with French on conditions US military participation there would be no actual negotiations with other interested nations. So far we have kept them generally informed concerning current discussions in Paris and have obtained their tentative views. We would seek firm views once French authoritatively tell us they want to internationalize the Indochina War. Meanwhile, UK views are well known [Page 1082] and soundings indicate almost certainly New Zealand and probably Australia would not participate without UK. Our soundings indicate Thailand and Philippines would most likely come along.

Numbered paragraph 3. We agree undesirable President should make formal pledge unilaterally and refer you paragraph 2 Deptel 4272, repeated Geneva Tosec 269,3 which stressed joint character any such pledge. President would necessarily deal with independence question in any request to Congress for authorization use US forces for combat in Indochina.

Numbered paragraph 4. While we would agree substitution words “after re-establishment peace” for “after end of hostilities” we feel our phrasing for rest sentence definitely preferable to that proposed by Bidault. His text carries overtone France retaining right decide timing first and then getting Vietnamese Government to agree after, which precisely type implication we consider it necessary avoid if independence of Viet Nam to be crystal clear.

Numbered paragraph 5. We feel Bidault’s proposed text for paragraph 2 of Deptel 4286, repeated Geneva Tedul 133,4 conflicts with assurance sought by our text. While Bidault’s language might be helpful for EDC debate it provides loopholes for abusive interpretation justifying later claims right withdrawal on one or other of counts listed. When occasion offers suggest you point out to Bidault that we could not commit forces and US prestige in situation when there would be any question concerning premature French withdrawal their forces.

Numbered paragraph 6. After full agreement reached on all conditions and French Government has reached decision it wishes request US intervention, US must have opportunity at that time make its own decision whether prevailing circumstances warrant implementation of formal steps leading to US military participation. We cannot grant French an indefinite option on us without regard to intervening deterioration. Only after these decisions taken would we expect Laniel submit agreement and request for internationalization to Parliament for endorsement and ratification; also he must not prejudice our liberty of decision by approaching Parliament in such way that we would appear be morally committed intervene prior to our decision.5

  1. Drafted by Tyler and Fisher of EUR/WE. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4470.
  2. Dated June 6, p. 1039.
  3. Dated May 26; for text, see volume xiii .
  4. Dated May 27, not printed, but see footnote 3, p. 1039.
  5. Under Secretary Smith informed the Department of State in telegram Dulte 166, June 10, that he would “be unable discuss referenced telegram [Tedul 175] with French until early next week since understand Bidault will probably not return until then. Department may wish instruct Embassy Paris take questions up with Bidault or De Margerie who with Bidault in Paris.” (396.1 GE/6–1054)