396.1 GE/6–954: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 162. Personal for Secretary from Under Secretary.

Your Tedul 169.1 I agree with what you say about French, and you are right in thinking that Heath overstated our confidence deliberately for morale reasons. However, there is this to be said for French. I think they are as confused about our real intentions as we are about theirs. We make strong statements, and then qualify them, and I am sure French believe that air and naval support alone will not prevent ultimate loss of Delta with its almost inevitable consequences of a rapidly deteriorating political and military situation.
Bidault was unable to keep an appointment he requested with me before leaving for Paris yesterday because of protracted plenary session, but De Margerie told us that Bidault was alarmed by report from General Valluy of his talk with Radford that latter would give no assurance that American marines would be furnished in case “internationalization” of the Indochina conflict were agreed upon but had suggested that ROK divisions be sent instead. De Margerie stated emphatically that a substitution of Korean troops for American marines would be utterly unsatisfactory as destroying belief and confidence that Americans would really participate in defense of Indochina.
Bidault was also concerned by Valluy’s report that Radford had said no firm decision had yet been taken on sending American training mission. De Margerie said that it was certainly possible within, say, two weeks there might be a cease-fire and it would thereafter be impossible for an American training mission to enter Vietnam. Bidault hoped for an accelerated decision on this point. The date of June 15 keeps coming up, although the French avoid any definite explanation.
Bidault was worried that there was no clear understanding as to American counter-action in case of a sudden and unprotected mass attack by Chinese aircraft. De Margerie pointed out that the French had absolutely no anti-aircraft or other defense against such an occurrence. He said, however, that French were somewhat less urgent on this point in view of American intelligence reports to Valluy that there was no evidence that from South China or Hainan airfields such air attack could be mounted in the immediate future.
Bidault had also noted that understanding had not yet been reached as to the organization of the command and the division of duties.
I conveyed your feelings, as given me in Tedul 169, rather strongly to French, representing them as my own and that of Department, but of course the reply, at least by implication, is always to suggest considerations given in first paragraph of this message.
  1. Dated June 7, p. 1056.