308. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

6582. A. Asian Director told Pol Counselor in strict confidence May 19 that on May 18 just prior resumption bombings Mai Van Bo (head of DRVN delegation Paris) had made fairly pressing approach at Quai of which essentials follow:

Indian proposals2 involving Cordon Sanitaire by Afro-Asian troops on 17th parallel were not acceptable to Hanoi since they did not respond to situation in which South Vietnamese struggling for freedom and for which Geneva Agreements and ICC already existed. (Source dismissed this as usual propaganda position.)
Bo said French govt should understand that four points enunciated by Pham Van Dong April 83 (withdrawal US troops, respect for Geneva Accords pending reunification, internal SVN settlement along FNL lines and peaceful unification without foreign intervention) were to be considered not as prior conditions but rather as working principles for negotiation which should in DRVN view represent ultimate goal of settlement in Viet Nam. In response query, Bo said he speaking with authorization his govt. Our source opinion is that Bo was making approach on orders sent from Hanoi as result suspension US bombings.
Source referred to Indian mediatory role undertaken with Hanoi at USG request. Any info from Dept on this score would be most welcome to Embassy (Embtels 6454 & 60174).
Source added that French Amb Peking has reported signs of Chinese embarrassment in face of various indices of desire to negotiate on Viet Nam from other parties involved. (In this connection Rumanain Ambassador has told Amb Bohlen that his ChiCom colleague has recently shown signs of greater flexibility in this matter.)
Source added that Asian Director recommendation to Couve that further approach be made to Sihanouk on Cambodian gambit was still under study. Meantime Quai has been filled in on Sihanouk letter to Wilson5 and considers this hopeful sign. Source said he considered this text [Page 674] more official than other Sihanouk lucubrations and GOF itself has had no indication that Sihanouk has withdrawn alternative which would allow SVN to be represented by Saigon Govt. Though obvious Cambodians prefer two-headed representation by GVN and FNL
Info re North Vietnamese approach here given by source without authorization and should be most closely held.

  1. Source: Department of State, Vietnam Negotiating Files: Lot 69 D 412, Mai Van Bo 1965. Secret; Priority; Noforn.
  2. See Document 285.
  3. See Document 245.
  4. Telegrams 6454 and 6017 (May 13 and April 24) both queried the Department of State about U.S. negotiations with the DRV over cessation of the bombing. (Department of State, Central Files,POL 27 VIET S)
  5. Not further identified.