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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 1408

Minh, whose attachment and obligation to Peking were too close to be
broken. I pointed out that stopping of aggression in Korea, at cost of
severe fighting and casualties, had 'nevertheless made Japan much
safer from Commie expansion than it would be if Commies controlled
Korean Peninsula. Similarly, hard fighting was necessary to give
Commies bloody nose in Indo-China in order to protect South Asia and
India. Pillai agreed but said Nehru hoped both sides had let sufficient
blood in Indochina to make them ready for cease-fire. If psychological
moment had arrived, as it had in Korea last year, proposal "just might
provide the out both sides are looking for".
751G.00/4-2554: Telegram
  The Charge at Saigon (McClintock) to the Department of State
SECRET     RInORITY                SAIGON, April 25, 1954-6 p. m.
                                 [Received April 26-2:-49 a. m.]
  2110. Sant Paris priority 706, Geneva priority 7, repeated infor-
mation London 42, Bangkok 153, Singapore 67, Tokyo 81, Manila 212,
Taipei 27, Seoul23. Our army attache has been queried by his Depart-
ment re immediate political ,and military consequences of fall of DBP.
I suggested to army attach6 that immediate political consequences
would be:
  1. An instant feeling of panic among French civilian population in
  2. A covert and later open feeling of pride on part of Vietnamese
that Asiatics had triumphed over whites, coupled in Cambodia and
Laos reaction that "DBP is none of our business". This might stimu-
late attempt by certain Vietnamese groups to come to terms with Viet
  3. A secondary shock wave of mounting panic in Vietnam that
achievement of complete independence should coincide with military
disaster thus leaving Vietnamese, at time when French may be prone
to withdraw, almost completely defenseless before victorious Viet
Minh. Unless prompt action (not words) by free world is taken, Viet-
namese might be increasingly impelled to make their own arrange-
ments with Viet Minh.
  As possible antidotes I would suggest:
  (a) Immediate statement by the Three Western-Powers repre-
sented at Geneva reiterating determination already expressed by Sec-
retary that Indochina will not be allowed to fall to Communists;
  (b) If possible statement 'from free Asiatic nations aligning them-
selves with declaration suggested in Pact A;
  (c) Indications by our information media that loss of DBP mili-
ta~rily means only loss of 15 Franco-Vietnamese battalions at cost to
Viet Minh of 'between 15,000 and 17,000 casualties.

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