396.1 GE/6–2754: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State


Secto 536. Repeated information Saigon 221, Paris 513. From Heath. Ex-Premier, Tran Van Huu, has been in Geneva the last three days. He is planning to remain in Europe for at least a month and, I would guess, much longer if situation Vietnam seems insecure.

After talking with Huu, his position as a southern Vietnam separatist seemed quite clear. The possibility of partition of Vietnam and specifically possible entire loss of Tonkin appeared not unduly to afflict him.

He is as consistently anti-Bao Dai as ever and said it would be impossible to build up a viable state if latter continued as monarch. While recognizing his honesty he is dubious about Ngo Dinh Diem‘s chances of success. He insists that without delay a National Assembly must be formed according to suggestion he had made two years ago, which was that 45 percent of members be elected and 55 percent be designated by Chief of State. He insists that elections could be held now. He justifies having majority of members appointed by pointing out that under Confucianist tradition which still prevails in Vietnam, best elements would be unwilling to campaign for office. That, he asserts was shown in municipal and communal elections of last year. Prominent men in villages generally refused to run for office, and it was younger and less responsible elements who campaigned. He claimed that later when villages were attacked or infiltrated by Viet Minh newly-elected counselors usually gave in or ran away.