13. Telegram From the Special Representative in Vietnam (Collins) to the Department of State1
Saigon, January 9, 1955.
2660. Reference Deptel 2766, Paris telegram 2870, repeated Saigon 443, Embtel 2554.2
- Greatly disturbed, as I indicated yesterday to Ely, that French are clearly stalling on approval Ely–Collins minute of understanding. Proposal contained in Paris telegram 2870 tantamount to complete rewrite our minute. Should be particularly noted that no reference is made to granting autonomy to Vietnamese forces. Furthermore, it includes [Page 30] circumscribing details which I refused to accept from Ely and which would tend to hamstring implementation our training program. I am sure Ely, O’Daniel and I can develop common sense procedures on ground here covering all points raised in French proposal. I urge flat refusal by Department of French proposal. I will certainly not agree to it unless specifically instructed by higher authority.
- As indicated in separate message to follow,3 Ely stated categorically yesterday that French Government had approved our minute of understanding. He also reaffirmed agreement my proposal to negotiate directly with Vietnamese Government as outlined my telegram 2554.