The United States Delegation to the Department of State
Dulte 183. Eyes only Secretary from Under Secretary. Your Tedul 197.1 Fully concur in your personal opinion that we should at this time try to carry situation along, avoiding either formal refusal to train Vietnamese or massive commitment of additional personnel to MAAG. Depending on development of SEA situation, could we not if appropriate moment occurs, proceed with beginning of O’Daniel plan2 in small way, say the start of one Vietnamese division, without material increase in MAAG? Realize that decision on timing, and extent of action, would depend on what happens to Vietnam Government as well as the field.
My Dulte 1743 was written after my last hurried talk with Bidault, during which I got impression that principal sticking point on final agreement with French would be our insistence on unqualified assurance that “France will not itself withdraw from the battle until it is won”. Bidault indicated that this implied too much to the French people. I asked Bidault at that time to see Dillon as soon as he could, get clearly in mind present state of military discussions, and give his definite and minimum position. Since then, of course, I have asked Chauvel categorically if French do or do not want to internationalize, and as I told you he replied that “he did not know”, and that “Bidault still expected to get something here”.
Your conclusion regarding present French position re internationalization is certainly correct. It might change, however, and it may be that we should not close the door too soon, even though it could be opened again. British attitude after Geneva will have important bearing on our overall plans for the area. Incidentally, Casey has given me a copy of Chiefs of Staff report as result of five-power conference.4 He is very disappointed, as is Eden, at mediocre results; i.e., [Page 1153] a jump from the delta to the Kra peninsula with no consideration of intermediate positions or alternatives.