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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1952-1954. Indochina (in two parts)

Prelude to the Geneva Conference, January-April 1954: continued deterioration of the French military position; the siege of Dien Bien Phu; the question of United States intervention; the search for united action,   pp. 937-1409 ff. PDF (190.3 MB)

Page 943

               PRELUDE TO THE GENEVA CONFERENCE                   943
   "I add that the necessary personnel, crews and ground mechanics,
 would be sent from France in sufficient time in order to assure putting
 in operation the supplementary aircraft requested, as soon as latter
 would have been delivered." 2
   2 InNote No. 216 to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 6, the
 bassy acknowledged receipt of the letter from Premier Laniel and indicated
 it would be referred to Washington. The texts of the Laniel letter and the
 bassy's reply were transmitted as enclosures to despatch 1711 from Paris,
Jan. 6.
 Memorandum    by. the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far
   Eastern Affairs (Drtmmright) to the Under Secretary of State
 SECRET                              [WASHINGTON,] January 5, 1954.
 Subject: French Ambassador's call with regard to additional air-
     craft and other facilities for Indochina,
   The French Ambassador will presumably set forth the requirements
 stated on page 2 of Ambassador Heath's telegram 1151 of January 3,2
 a copy of which is attached.
   It is recommended that you tell the Ambassador that the Depart-
 ment of Defense is actively canvassing the possibility of satisfying
 these new French requests and that it is hoped within a very short
 time to have definitive answers. You might add that General Trapnell
 is now conferring with General Weyland of FEAF in Tokyo on this
   While emphasizing our earnest desire to be as helpful as possible,
you may wish to suggest to, Ambassador Bonnet that we are confident
French air authorities will endeavor to make available additional
French Air Force personnel.not only for increased requirements of
the current situation in Indochina but also to meet the long standing
understaffing of maintenance and flight personnel which MAAG/
Saigon has so frequently pointed out.3
  For your information only:    We should shortly have a report. from
Defense and from FEAF regarding additional planes and other equip-
  Drafted by Bonsal of PSA.
  Ante, p. 937.
  SNo memorandum of the conversation between Under Secretary Smith and
French Ambassador Bonnet has been found in Department of State files.
However, telegram 1190 to Saigon, Jan. 6, repeated to Paris for informa-
tion as telegram 2416, indicated that the meeting occurred on Jan. 5. Smith
assured the Ambassador that the United States was actively engaged in deter-
mining the extent to which further French aid requests could be met. The
Secretary expressed the hope that the French Government would do its utmost
supply additional personnel to meet the existing crisis and to meet the long-
standing understaffing of maintenance and flight personneL. (751G.00/1-354)

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