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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. Asia and the Pacific (in two parts)

Indochina,   pp. 332-582 PDF (99.7 MB)

Page 339

   Prince Savang, however, appeared confident that these counter-
 guerrilla movements would in a very short time, perhaps within a
 month, clear central and northern Laos of Viet Minh marauders who
 now operate in rather small groups of 20 to 50 men. In the south, he
 said, it would be somewhat more difficult because the Viet Minh are
 able to send in larger units and the local authorities and population
 are less patriotic and loyal to the throne than in the center and north.
 In the extreme northern part of Laos, several bands have been roam-
 ing around apparently with the idea of investigating Laos as a pos-
 sible invasion route, locating sources of food, and practical transporta-
 tion routes. Prince Savang was under the impression that neither
 Viet Minh forces nor Chinese Communists who might invade would
 attempt to seep southward through Laos due to the difficulty of the
 terrain, the lack of food and the hostility of the population.,
                                                DONALD R. HEATH
 751G.00/1-551: Telegram
      The Minister at Saigon (Heath) to the Secretary of State
 SECRET    PRIORITY               SAIGON, January 5, 1951-10 p. m.
   1181. 1. At his invitation, I saw Bao Dai at Dalat yesterday for a
 yearend survey outstanding problems. I was accompanied by Blum,1
 STEM. chief, who had been asked to set up medical and agricultural
 aid program in southern high plateau which like northern border
 zone territories and minorities are crown territories under direct rule
 of Bao Dai and not central or regional governments. Bao Dai has an
 interest and feeling of authority over these regions and their tribes-
 men quite distinct from his attitude toward the settled parts of Viet-
 nam. I had the distinct impression Bao Dai toys with idea, in case
 Viet Minh, with or without Chinese help, takes over the arable areas
 of Vietnam, of personally continuing resistance with tribesmen and
 his special mountain division in this wild area which he thoroughly
 knows from his hunting expeditions. He has been pushing STEM for
 an aid program for area. When De Lattre was in Dalat two days ago,
 Bao Dai persuaded the latter to promise French contribution of 25
 million piasters toward 50 million piaster deficit in region's total
 budget of 61 million piasters. Viet Government would make up
 balance. Bao Dai complained that De Lattre's "Colonial-minded en-
 tourage" tried to persuade latter to withdraw or qualify promise.
 2. To my question as to progress made in forming national army,
 Bao Dai said he had definitely decided to make Governor Giao chief
 of staff. He had been forced postpone this appointment, however, be-
 1Robert Blum, Chief of the Special Technical and Economic Mission to
Viet-N~am, Laos, and Cambodia.

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