396.1 GE/7–1054: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Secto 584. Repeated information Paris 33. Department limit distribution. Paris eyes only Ambassador. Chauvel today called in Bonsal to ask latest developments regarding United States representation at Conference next week. Bonsal replied that he was familiar with message regarding Secretary’s position transmitted yesterday by Joyce to Mendes (Tosec 526)1 and with press accounts to effect that further representations had been made by Bonnet. Bonsal stated he had no information as to Secretary’s reaction to these further representations.

Chauvel then stated with great earnestness that he believed it would be “most dangerous” if United States delegation not headed by either Secretary or General Smith. He recalled that his whole effort over past three weeks in dealing with Viet Minh, Soviets and Communist Chinese had been predicated on possibility of attaining at least military settlement which would have international sanction. He said that chance of reasonable settlement along lines United States–United Kingdom aide-mémoire2 depends entirely on judgment of Communists as to United States attitude. If Communists believe United States disassociating itself from negotiation, they will push their demands much further. Chauvel recalled that Molotov raised question of United States representation with Chauvel at their conversation yesterday and stated, when Chauvel indicated he had no information on subject, “we will have to go ahead anyhow”. Chauvel concluded with earnest reiteration of importance that either Secretary or Smith be here. He attaches greatest value even to “silent presence” of Secretary or Smith in order to achieve settlement short of loss entire area in fairly near future.

Chauvel reported that de Jean had found Bao Dai quite amenable to military settlement along lines Dong Hoi demarcation line. Bao Dai most interested in possibility of French and United States military and economic assistance to reduced Vietnam which would result from military settlement.

Chauvel reported that Brebisson today briefed two Soviet officers regarding military negotiations with Viet Minh. This was in accordance with suggestion Chauvel had made to Molotov (Secto 5783). Brebisson had impression Soviet officers wholly unfamiliar with situation. Chauvel hopeful that result will be helpful in sense of Soviet-Chinese Communist influence to restrain exaggerated Viet Minh demands.

  1. Telegram Tosec 526 to Geneva was sent as telegram 85 to Paris, July 8, p. 1309.
  2. For text, see telegram 4853 to Paris. June 28, p. 1256.
  3. Dated July 9, p. 1321.