396.1 GE/7–1354: Telegram

JohnsonDo Meeting, Geneva, July 12, Evening: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

secret

Secto 594. Repeated information Paris 43, Saigon 28. USDel at dinner last night entertained Vietnamese Foreign Minister Tran Van Do and his brother Tran Van Chuong, Minister of State, who also carries title Ambassador-at-large. According to Chuong, latter title is provisional to permit his visit Washington pending formalities obtaining agreement his formal assignment Ambassador to US. His intended departure for US tomorrow postponed when he learned of Secretary’s trip, and he hopes to see Secretary in Paris today.

Tran Van Do is progressing toward acceptance necessity of settlement considerably short hopes and desires his government. We had [Page 1344]factual discussion of problems involved in assigning zones, in which I emphasized such arrangement considered by us as temporary pending eventual reunification of country and also interest of US to continue economic and military support of Vietnam. He stressed, with strong and emotional support from Chuong, necessity retaining Hanoi-Haiphong enclave which is not only cradle of Vietnamese race but produces only Vietnamese willing actively to fight for independence.

Long discussion, principally by Chuong, took place on failure French to grant real independence to Vietnam.

Chuong claimed that even formal signature treaties independence and association insufficient without economic, cultural and other conventions. Unless this effected, neither French military effort nor US aid will give Vietnam Government needed popular support. In spite of repeated attempts to draw out both Do and Chuong on immediate problems of redressing political and military situation in Vietnam and program of new government for next few weeks, they insisted on returning to question of total independence. Customary indictment French record in Indochina, particularly since 1945, climaxed by Chuong statement that he would prefer living in days of undisguised colonialism to false independence of last few years.

In spite of tendency to indulge in overdrawn and strongly biased polemics, Chuong is engaging man with pleasant manner.

Do is seeing Pham Van Dong this morning; in my absence Bonsal will see Do this afternoon convey Secretary’s message to Ngo Dinh Diem (Tosec 5331) and sound him out on results contact with Dong.

Chuong and Do say Bao Dai really ill with kidney complaint and will take cure at Vittel.

Johnson
  1. Not printed, but see footnote 2, p. 1340.