751G.00/6–1354: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Dillon ) to the Department of State

top secret

4832. Sent Geneva 389 repeated information Department 4832. We took up with De Margerie June 12 contents Tedul 175 to Geneva.1 He had no specific comments on particular points raised but he had following general observations to make:

He could not help but feel that there was a growing “discrepancy” between the context of these secret negotiations of conditions for U.S. intervention in Indochina and recent public statement by highest American officials which the French could only interpret as meaning that there was less and less disposition in Washington to intervene militarily. It was becoming increasingly obscure as to what and when the U.S. intended or was prepared to do. The points raised in Tedul 175 he considered reflected this constantly increasing tendency on our part toward more caution, more conditions and more qualifications.
Margerie expressed opinion that Admiral Radford’s suggestion to Valluy about possible use ROK units in Indochina was most disturbing and again reflected U.S. intention to withhold direct American military intervention.2 He considered any such plan as extremely dangerous, not only because it might break uneasy Korean truce arrangements but would provide tailor-made excuse for open Chinese intervention in Indochina, should Peking so decide. He added that the formula that “Asians should fight Asians” was an extremely dangerous one and concluded by saying that any threat or plan to use ROK units in Indochina was a “false deterrent” and the formula for extension of the war with the loss of any Asian support.
Margerie stated that Lippman’s analysis which appeared in Paris Herald Tribune June 11 entitled “The Best of a Bad Job” had found wide acceptance in France.
Bidault, Margerie thought, would almost certainly remain on as Foreign Minister, no matter who succeeded Laniel. Washington must realize, however, that Bidault would return to Geneva with virtually no cards whatsoever in his hands to obtain a cease-fire and an honorable armistice arrangement with the Communist side. The logic of this situation is that Bidault will now be compelled to go much further with the Vietminh than he has ever been prepared to go. In short all along the only real deterrent to the Russians, Chinese and Vietminh has been the fear of possible, probable and serious U.S. intervention. If this card is now virtually withdrawn from the play, as it now appears to be, or its presence and validity discounted by the opposition, there is very little left for the French to do except to bargain for the best terms obtainable which are now almost certain to be extremely bad for France and the West.
Margerie stated that Bidault had all along been in favor of the U.S. taking over training responsibilities for the Vietnamese National Army but could not understand why nothing apparently was being [Page 1132] done about this since General Ely had indicated some weeks ago his acquiescence. Margerie said that unless we got our training personnel in soon a cease-fire arrangement would probably freeze the situation in such a way that it would be impossible for us to introduce additional personnel at a later date.

Margerie commented that we should consider the foregoing comments to be his own and not necessarily reflecting precisely the views of Bidault or how his chief would express them at this time.

As set forth in Embtel 4780 June 9,3 in his speech before the National Assembly on Wednesday, Bidault nowhere mentioned the U.S. or its role in Indochina or at Geneva, and we got the impression from Margerie that Bidault’s feeling toward the U.S. is becoming increasingly bitter, primarily for the reasons outlined in paragraph 1.

  1. Dated June 8, p. 1081.
  2. See telegram Tedul 178, June 9, p. 1100.
  3. Not printed.