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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 340

cause of the bitter feud between Giao and Huu. He had to find a
Defense Minister agreeable to both parties. Tri was the only man
for position and Huu, who has gone to Hanoi for several days, will
try to persuade him to accept the job.
  3. To my inquiry when other Cabinet changes which sometime ago
he told me were pending would be announced he replied it was ex-
tremely difficult to find the proper men. He had not, for example,
been able to find a good man for Washington. He said in confidence
he had more difficulty with his government than with the opposition.
He would have to retain Huu for time being because if dismissed, Huu
would start a separatist movement for Cochin-China which would
probably find support from French who bitterly regretted ever hav-
ing given up their former Colony to a unified Vietnam. Asked whether
he would change director of information service, Bao Dai admitted
that present incumbent was not up to the requirements of political
situation. I remarked we had-already extended facilities and equip-
ment from both ECA and USIS to them and indicated Legation might
be in position increase such assistance, if we could be assured it would
be utilized imaginatively and energetically. Bao Dai said his informa-
tion service was not reaching the people but it was difficult to find
anyone really capable of heading the program. That was always the
trouble. Even if the US were in a position to increase its generous aid
to Vietnam, he, Bao Dai, would hesitate accepting it for he was not
sure of finding men-who could administer it honestly and effectively.
I remarked I had been disturbed by rumors that officials of his govern-
ment were hoping to utilize the grant of economic independence given
by Pau accords to feather their own nests. This would create- a most
serious situation. We had seen our aid to the Philippines in part
wasted by grafting officials. Vietnam, in a previous regime, had a
system of censors designed to prevent and punish graft. I said I hoped
he was taking steps to prevent any. such corruption. Bao Dai replied
that it would take a long period to establish a tradition of adminis-
trative probity in Vietnam.
   4. Returning to question of an effective iinformation service I re-
 marked that, of course, much depended on his own actions and those
 of his government. I felt there should be both announcement and initial
 implementation of a social program capable of offsetting Viet Minh
 propaganda. American economic assistance provided a basis for such
 a program. As important deliveries arrive, or new activities of our
 aid program begin, they should be marked by public appearances and
 statements. Bao Dai and the Vietnamese Government could take es-
 sential credit for the accomplishments realized through American
 aid. We had not embarked upon our program of economic assistance
 in Indochina merely to get credit for American goodwill and, gen-
 erosity but with the idea of building up and raising prestige of a

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