The Pentagon Papers
Gravel Edition
Volume 1
Document 27, Telegram from Secretary of State Dulles to Dillon and Aldrich on Conversations with the French, 3 April 1954, p 460.


Apr. 3, 1954

SENT TO:

AMEMBASSY PARIS 3476
AMEMBASSY LONDON 5175

EYES ONLY DILLON AND ALDRICH

FYI Following are main points made by Secretary in long conversation with Bonnet this morning.

1) We see no prospect of negotiated settlement at Geneva which does not boil down to one of following alternatives: (a) Face-saving formula to cover surrender of French Union forces, or (b) Face-saving formula to cover surrender of Viet Minh.

2) Division of Indochina impractical. QUOTE Mixed UNQUOTE government would be beginning of disaster. Both would lead to (a).

3) In addition to consequences in Southeast Asia solution (a) would create gravest difficulties for France in Europe and North Africa. Future of France as great power is at stake.

4) If we are strong and resolute enough to make Chinese Communists see clearly that their conquest of Southeast Asia will not be permitted without danger of extending war they may desist and accept (b).

5) This requires strong coalition of nations (U.S., France, Associated States, UK., Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines) who will recognize threat to their vital interests in area and will be prepared to fight if necessary. This presupposes continuation of French military effort in Indochina.

6) If coalition established U.S. would play its full part.

7) Establishment and announcement of coalition should precede Geneva in order permit us to go there with position of strength.

8) Although UN action not excluded and UN would in any event need to be notified in some formal way, we probably could not count on it. (Soviet veto in SC and long drawn debate in Assembly.)

9) Formal approach to other governments will depend on French desires.

10) Bonnet said he would report immediately to his Government and seek their views.

DULLES


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