294. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France 1

2333. For the Ambassador. Re Embtel 2164.2 Circular 8333 sent you for info re recognition new regime Vietnam. Our intent still is to recognize as soon as possible after interim government formed and provided generals do not in meantime take any actions which would be inimical to our interests or their international posture. Suggest you inform De Gaulle accordingly and inquire as to GOF intent but not press for parallel action by France.

Deptel 697 to Saigon4 also being passed to you for background. Suggest you draw on 697 and on following guidance at your discretion in light of your own assessment of De Gaulle’s view of problem. Suggest you tell De Gaulle we think new regime in SVN offers good opportunity for improvement GVN relations with Cambodia and Laos. Improvement with Cambodia would be particularly helpful and in best interest these two countries as well as area in general. If French agree, it would be helpful if they could use their influence in Phnom Penh toward this objective. Suggest you also indicate to De Gaulle our feeling that change in regime ends any thought in Saigon of accommodation with NVN on basis of neutralization which idea previous regime may have toyed with.

Death of Diem and Nhu regrettable no matter in what manner it occurred. According to information from Embassy Saigon death not intended or ordered by coup leaders. Coup carried out in remarkably restrained and efficient manner indicating wisdom and sense of responsibility on part of generals and also that coup overwhelmingly supported by populace. We feel that generals committed to vigorous prosecution of war and will re-energize struggle not only in military [Page 566] but in civilian aspects. In sum we feel basis has been laid for an effort in Vietnam that gives far greater hope for success than was case under Diem government. We intend to support this effort to the extent possible and feasible. In this connection we plan resume very near future flow of our aid which was temporarily in suspense.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 S VIET. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Koren; cleared by Johannes Imhof, McGeorge Bundy, and Harriman (in draft); and approved by Hilsman. Repeated to Saigon.
  2. Telegram 2164, November 4, requested information on plans to recognize the new government in Vietnam and guidance on what to say to President De Gaulle when Bohlen met with him on November 5. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 277.
  4. Document 279.