247. Research Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to the Secretary of State1
- DeGaulle’s Proposals For Indochina and Likely Reactions Thereto
Although little official response has so far emerged to President Charles deGaulle’s proposal for an international conference to neutralize the Indo-China peninsula, the recent actions of relevant governments support the following speculation concerning their likely reaction.
DeGaulle’s July 23rd press conference went beyond his earlier proposals for international neutralization of the Indo-China peninsula chiefly in detail.2 Noteworthy was his proposal that four powers, France, Communist China, the Soviet Union, and the United States, agree “no longer to be committed there.” In addition to his earlier rationale, DeGaulle may have been prompted to this move by a sense of increased risk that hostilities would escalate, on the one hand, and a feeling of greater Communist receptivity to his proposals, on the other hand. Asian Communist reaction is likely to be more favorable than to his January statements, as indicated by statements from representatives of Hanoi and the Viet Cong. Peiping’s attitude remains ambiguous but the regime appears to have taken some steps, especially in the diplomatic sphere, to anticipate this proposal. Soviet reaction is likely to be favorable, if only to keep the proposal alive. Pakistan’s increasing support for Communist China’s position on Southeast Asia may foreshadow explicit support for DeGaulle’s policy, thereby effectively [Page 574]shattering the SEATO front. In Saigon, the official reaction will certainly be negative but the proposal will further promote destabilizing factors and undermine morale.
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