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

2223. Ref: Deptel 2333.2 I told De Gaulle that it was our general intention to recognize the Vietnamese Government when it was formed and provided they did not take action which would be inimical in the near future. De Gaulle said that of course France had never supported the Diem regime because they had not shown the proper attitude towards French interests there and while regretting the assassination of Diem and his brother they did not have any great regrets for the regime. The U.S. on the other hand had continually supported Diem until the very end when he had lost our confidence. De Gaulle then gave his view of the future of the present regime along typically De Gaulle lines. He said the military were in power, the military meant war, this would mean that they would intensify their war efforts and would press us for increased assistance, demands which we would find hard to resist. He saw very little hope in the Indo-Chinese situation and attempted obliquely to place some blame on the U.S. for coming into the south while China and Russia were coming in from the north. I pointed out to the General however that we would have been perfectly willing to live with a divided Vietnam but that the Communists were the ones who had started the current war and that it was either a question of helping Vietnam resist these attacks or letting the entire country go Communist. I asked the General whether he thought a divided Vietnam was worse than a divided Korea. He replied that the division of Korea meant that there was no solution there, to which I agreed but said that there was at least an accommodation that kept the peace. He repeated his prophecy that the present government [Page 569] would have to be more active in the war and that this would eventually make it unpopular with the people as had been the case with Diem.

Comment: I did not feel it wise to raise with De Gaulle our feeling that the change in regime would end any question of neutralization. I did not think this added anything to the discussion and he certainly gave me no evidence of any interest in the question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 S VIET. Secret; Limit Distribution. Received at 6:03 p.m.
  2. Document 294.