751G.00/6–1654: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation 1

top secret
limit distribution

Tedul 208. For Under Secretary and Ambassador. Bonnet has just left after reading a long message from Bidault, the substance of which was that the French no longer felt that US was committed to intervention on the conditions stated in our May 11 basic cable to Paris2 and that this left them in a very difficult negotiating position at Geneva.

I said that it was quite true that the French could not have a continuing option to call US into war at some future undetermined date [Page 1167] and under conditions which could not now be foreseen. On the other hand if and when there was a French Government which had the confidence of the Assembly and if it should then decide that it could not conclude an honorable armistice and that it was thus necessary to continue the struggle, the US would be prepared promptly to respond and that response would probably be along the lines of our May 11 telegram unless in the meantime the situation had further deteriorated to a point where the making of a stand in Indochina had become impracticable or so burdensome as to be out of proportion to the results obtainable.

I said that I regretted not being able to make a response that would be more satisfactory to Bidault but that I could not conceive that it would be expected that the US would give a third power the option to put it into war at times and under conditions wholly of the other’s choosing.

I suggest that Under Secretary or Ambassador (whoever sees Bidault first) should summarize foregoing to Bidault as am not confident that Bonnet who was in highly emotional state will adequately report.3

  1. Drafted by the Secretary of State. Repeated to Paris as telegram 4624.
  2. Telegram 4023 to Paris, May 11; see volume xiii .
  3. For a memorandum of the conversation between Secretary Dulles and Ambassador Bonnet, June 16, see volume xiii .