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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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V.B Justification of the War (1 1 Vols.) 

Internal Documents (9 Vols.) 

1. The Roosevelt Administration 

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1945 - 1967 




r^r +t* 

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The Roosevelt Administration, I9UO-I9U5 


Sec Bel __,_,..* 

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• { 




This portion of the study consists of a collection of 
U.S. Government documents which set forth the rationale of 
U.S. policy toward Vietnam. The collection represents the 
internal commitment of the U.S. as expressed in classified 
documents circulated at the highest levels in the govern- 
ment. The documents are organized chronologically within 
each Presidential administration. This volume covers the 
Roosevelt years, 19^0-19^5- 

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The Roosevelt Administration, 19^0 - 19^5 


Contents and 
Chronological List of Documents 

I9I4O Page 

1. U.S. views on Japan's demands concerning French Indochina are 
given to the French Embassy. Memorandum by Mr. Dunn (Political 
Adviser) to Under Secretary Welles, 6 August I9U0 1 

2. Welles instructs Ambassador Grew to convey to the Japanese that 
the U.S. was "seriously perturbed" over Japanese demands con- 
cerning Indochina. Welles 293 to Tokyo, 6 August 19I+O 3 


3. Mr. Cecil Gray, Assistant to the Secretary of State, reports on 
Secretary Hull's view of the Japanese occupation of Indochina. 
The occupation was seen as a threat to trade routes of "supreme 
importance to the United States." Secretary Hull also remarks 
to Sumner Welles that "the Japanese are seeking to dominate 
militarily practically one-half the world...." and will continue 
"unless something happens to stop her." Two memoranda by Mr. 
Cecil Gray, 2k and 25 July I9I+I k 

k. President Roosevelt proposes to the Japanese Ambassador to 

neutralize Indochina, creating in effect an Asian "Switzerland." 

Memorandum by Sumner Welles of conversation between Roosevelt 

and the Japanese Ambassador, 2k July 19*+1 » 8 

5. U.S. publicly declares that the agreement between France and 
Japan regarding Indochina was unjustified. State Department 

press release, 2 August 19^1 ••• •> 11 

6. U.S. proposes to Japan that the two countries endeavor to con- 
clude a multilateral non-aggression pact Tmong Britain, China, 
Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Thailand, and the United States 
which would respect the territorial integrity of Indochina. 
Cordell Hull to Ambassador Nomura (japan), 26 November 19J+I...... 13 

7. President Roosevelt expresses to Emperor Hirohito that continu- 
ance of the Japanese troop movements into Indochina is "unthink- 
able." Message from Roosevelt to Hirohito, 6 December 19U1 1I4. 

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19^2 Page 

8. U.S. assures France that she will be restored to full indepen- 
dence "in all the greatness and vastness" which she possessed 
before the war in Europe and in her colonies overseas. Letter 
from Mr. Murphy to General Giraud, 2 November I9U2. (Other 
U.S. policy statements for 19 1 +2 are quoted in Document No. 11, 

page iv, following) l6 


9. There follows a series of commuications concerning the use of 
Chinese troops in Indochina. The U.S. rejected the French 
protestations and contended that the problem was primarily 
military. (President Roosevelt's decision was influential 

in the eventual Chinese occupation of Tonkin and their subse- 
quent replacement by the French. ) 17 

a. Expressions of concern over Chinese participation in the 
liberation of Indochina by the French Committee of National 
Liberation. M. Henri Hoppenot memorandum to Mr. Adolph 

Berle, Assistant Secretary of State, 20 October I9V3 ^ 

b. Mr. Berle expresses to the French that it is a military 
problem but privately expresses the fact that Chinese 
intervention forces the issue of Western colonialism 
versus Eastern liberation as a policy. Memorandum of 
Conversation by Mr. Berle, 21 October 19^3 ^ 

c. Berle writes to Edward Stettinius, Under Secretary of State, 
that military matters must predominate because if the 
Chinese do not intervene, then the U.S. must reconquer 
Indochina single-handed and later police and protect it 
against the Chinese. Memorandum by Berle to Stettinius, 

22 October I9U3 19 

d. Mr. John Carter Vincent, Assistant Chief of Far Eastern 
Affairs, views the post-war status of Indochina as a matter 
of speculation but does not rule out the influence of the 
Chinese. Memorandum by Vincent to Berle, 2 November 19^3* •• 2 ^ 

e. Stettinius recommends to the President that the problem 
is primarily military. Memorandum by Stettinius to 
President Roosevelt, 8 November 19^3 • • 21 

f . President Roosevelt defers judgment on Chinese involve- 
ment and leaves the whole matter to the "discretion of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff" as essentially a military ' 
problem. Memorandum by President Roosevelt to Stettinius, 

9 November I9U3. 21 

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19U3 (Contd) P a g e 

The French offer a renewed expression of concern over the 
apparent intent to use Chinese troops in Indochina and a 
last minute warning of dire consequences to the Allied 
cause if the Chinese were used. Letter from M. Hoppenot 
to Berle, 13 December i9^3 


10. President Roosevelt conversation with Marshal Stalin on the _ 
possibility of a trusteeship for Indochina which he had dis- 
. cussed with Chiang Kai-shek. Extract from Tehran Conference, 
28 November 19^3 



11. Secretary Hull conveys British interest in U.S. policy on 
French Indochina to Roosevelt with summaries of stated U.S. 
and British positions. The U.S. had continuously promised 

to restore to France its independence and sovereignty over its 
territorial possessions. The British, on the other hand, 
avoided guarantees of "French Empire" integrity but alluded to 
the "greatness of France" and the lack of British designs on 
French territory, lk January 19^ 26 

12. Roosevelt reiterates his opinion to the British that Indochina 
should not go back to France and that he was supported by 
Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek in this view. Memorandum by 
Roosevelt to Secretary of State , 2k January 19^U 30 

13. Stettinius seeks approval from Roosevelt to assume that French 
armed forces or French nationals would be used in the libera- 
tion of Indochina without prejudicing the question of ultimate 
status. Memorandum by Stettinius to Roosevelt, 17 February 
19UU.... • • * 

lk. Views of President Roosevelt with respect to setting up a 
trusteeship for Indochina and expressions of these views to 
the British are' summarized. Memorandum by Mr. Grew, Far East 
Affairs, 10 July 19^ • •— 32 

15. Cordell Hull seeks a decision from Roosevelt on the French 
role in the Far East military operations. The British had 
requested of Hull affirmative answers on the attachment of 
a French Mission to Mountbatten and the establis'hment of a 
Corps in India. Memorandum by Hull to Roosevelt, 26 August 

19^ • ••• • * ' 

16. Roosevelt defers decision on French role in the Far East until 
after the Second Quebec Conference, ll-l6 September 19U4. 
Memorandum by Roosevelt to Hull, 28 August 19^ 35 



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igM (Contd) Page 

17. Hull follows-up with a new request to Roosevelt for decision 
with the information that the British were going ahead with 
bringing a French Mission into South East Asia Command (SEAC) 
and other activities to get them installed. Memorandum by 

Hull to Roosevelt, 10 October I9M ^ 

18. Secretary Hull requests Roosevelt's decision on rendering 
support to resistance groups, both French and native, in 
Indochina. Memorandum by Hull to Roosevelt, 13 October 13hh... 36 

19. Roosevelt decides that the U.S. "should do nothing in regard 
to resistance groups or in any other way in relation to Indo- 
china." Memorandum by Roosevelt to Hull, 16 October 1944 37 

20. Anthony Eden's views on the question of trusteeship for Indo- 
china. Memorandum by H. F. Mathews, Office of European Af- 
fairs, 2 November 19UU 3 ' 7 

21. Stettinius summarizes recent developments in relation to 
Indochina for President Roosevelt. Among the points covered 
was that the O.S.S. representative in SEAC reported that 
British, French, and Dutch strategy appeared to be to win 
back control' of Southeast Asia with U.S. resources but **f ore- 
closing the Americans from any voice in policy matters." 
Memorandum by Hull to Roosevelt, 2 November 19M 38 

22. Roosevelt appears adamant in a four point reply to Secretary 
of State; it was to be made clear that the U.S. had made no 
final decisions on, and expected to be consulted by the 
British, Dutch and French with regard to any future of South- 
east Asia. Memorandum by Roosevelt to Stettinius, 3 November 

19^4 k0 

23. France expresses strong interest in participating in recovery 

of Indochina. Caffrey 316 to Hull, k November 19M ^0 

2k. British aide-memoire covers proposals for the use of French 
forces in pre-operational activities in Indochina. Halifax 
letter to Stettinius, 23 November 19^U *H 

.25. Stettinius informs Roosevelt of British impatience over lack 
of U.S. reply to aide-memoire ; the British were concerned 
that the U.S. had not determined an Indochina policy and 
could hardly keep the French out in light of their increas- 
ing strength. Memorandum by Stettinius to Roosevelt, 
27 December 19^U 3 

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26. Stettinius notes Roosevelt's refusal to get "mixed up in any 
military effort" in Indochina — with the rejoinder that 
action at this time was premature. Extract from Stettinius 
diary, 1 January 19^5 ^ 

27. Stettinius informs Halifax that Roosevelt did not agree with 
sending French agents to Indochina. Memorandum of Conversa- 
tion, Stettinius-Halifax, 2 January 19^5 

28. Secretary of War Stimson replies to State Department query 
whether U.S. actions in Indochina were consistent with Roose- 
velt's instructions. Stimson letter to Stettinius, 2 January 

29. Harriman reviews Soviet attitudes ("hostility to colonial 
exploitation and domination of native peoples by foreign 
imperialism") and assesses intentions in Russian relations 
("not to consent cheerfully to any further establishment of 
Western military and naval power in that area") regarding 
French colonialism and the future of Indochina. Harriman 
(Moscow) 118 to Stettinius , 13 January 19^5 

Sh. Stettinius seeks Roosevelt's approval of a proposed state- 
ment to the effect that the U.S. "Will do all it can to 
support resistance groups." Memorandum by Stettinius for 
Roosevelt, l6 March 19^5 




30. Patrick J. Hurley reports on Indochina situation; General 
Wedemeyer has maintained a "non-committal policy vis-a-vis 
Indochina." Hurley 177 to Stettinius, 6 February 19U5 58 

31. Roosevelt discusses Indochina trusteeship with Stalin at 
Yalta. Extract of Roosevelt-Stalin Yalta Conversations, 

8 February 19^5-.- 59 

32. Hurley forwards a "note" from the French Provisional Govern- 
ment concerning de Gaulle's position on Indochina. Hurley 
despatch 111 to Stettinius, 31 January 19^5 (State Department 
lU February 19^5) 


33. Caffrey reports General de Gaulle's distress over the lack 
of U.S. support to French resistance in Indochina. "What 

are you driving at?.... We do not want to become Communist 

I hope that you do not push us into it." Caffrey II96 to 
Stettinius, 13 March 19^5- • •• ° 5 


35. Roosevelt declines to issue the statement proposed by 
Stettinius (on U.S. support of resistance groups) as 
"inadvisable." Memorandum by Leahy to Hull, 17 March 19U5 68 

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19U5 (Contd) ZM£ 

^6 Admiral Leahy authorizes the War Department to give General 
' Wedemeyer approval to send whatever assistance can he 

spared without interfering with the war effort" to the French 
resistance forces in Indochina. Memorandum of Conversation, 
Assistant Secretary Dunn, 19 March 19^5 y 

37 U.S. assistance through lUth Air Force to French resistance 
in Indochina is approved provided such assistance does not 
interfere with planned operations. Paraphrase of Wedemeyer 
to Chennault message, 19 March 19^5 ' 

38. Stettinius relates U.S. policy to the French Ambassador on 
furnishing assistance to resistance groups in Indochina. 
Stettinius to Bonnet, k April 1945 


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751G.9|/8i • , •' 


Washington, August 6, 1940. 

Acting upon your instructions , I called on the 
French Ambassador this morning and gave him the oral 
reply which you have formulated to the Ambassador's 
aide-memoire of August 6th, on the subject of the demands 
made by the Japanese Government upon the French 
Government with regard to authorization to send troops 
across Indochina, to use the local air fields in Indo- 
china, to station forces at the air fields for the 
purpose of assuring their security, and to send planes, 
munitions, and all necessary material through Indochina 
destined to the Japanese Army. 

I told the French Ambassador that we have been 
doing and are doing everything possible within the frame- 
work of bur established policies to keep the situation 
in the Far East stabilized; that we have been progressive- 
ly taking various steps, the effect of which has been 
to exert economic pressure on Japan; that our Fleet 
is now based on Hawaii, and that the course which we have 
been following, as indicated above, gives a clear 
indication of our intentions and activities for the 
future. I also raised with the French Ambassador the 
question whether it would be practicable for the French 
to delay discussions with the Japanese with respect 
to Indochina for a period. I furthermore told the 
Ambassador that the British Ambassador had been in- 
formed of this matter by you in a most strictly 
confidential manner and that if the 3ritish had any 
observations or comments to make we would transmit 
them immediately to the French Ambassador. 

Count de Salnt-Quentin stated that he felt that 
this reply to the French request for assistance and 
support* in her negotiations with Japan would very 

1 Taken from MSS-for Foreign Rel ations of the United 
States, 19~ ; !0; not yet cleared for publication. 

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probably not be considered by his Government e.s sufficient 
prospect for support to enable them to withstand the 
pressing demands made by the Japanese Government for the 
establishment of certain rights in Indochina In addition 
to the economic demands* accompanying the former. He 
said that he did not think it would be practicable for 
the French Government to delay the negotiations because 
the Japanese had themselves stated at the time of 
making the demands that if the French Government did 
not acquiesce in the granting of these rights , the 
Japanese Government had every intention of taking the 
necessary action to acquire them. He went on to say 
that in his opinion the phrase "within the framework 
of our established policies'' , when associated with the 
apparent reluctance of the American Government to 
consider the use of military force in the Far East at 
this particular time, to mean that the United States 
would not use military or naval force in support of 
any position which might be taken to resist the 
Japanese attempted aggression on Indochina. The Ambassador 
asked me to convey to you thus his construction of your 
oral reply conveyed to him through me this morning and 
his fear that the French Government would, under the 
indicated pressure of the Japanese Government, be 
forced to accede to the demands set forth in his 


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75IG.9V l2 ' a: Telegram 




Washington, August 6, 19^0 
1 p.m. 

293- News agencies have carried reports that Japan has 
made secret demands on France regarding French Indo- 
china. As reported, these demands includo right on 
part of Japan to move ermed forces of Japan through 
that French possession, the right of araed forces of 
Japan to use air bases at certain point j there, etc. 

The statements given by the Secretary of State to 
the press on April 17 and Jiay 11, 19''0, set forth this 
Government's belief that (1) intervention in the domestic 
affairs of the Netherlands East Indies, or (2) any 
alteration, by other' than peaceful processes, in their 
status quo v;ould be prejudicial to the cause of security, 
s"6"ab~Il iTyT" and peace in the entire Pacific area, r.ot 
just in the region in question. Also, there was set 
forth the observation of the Government of the United 
States that the belief restated in the preceding sentence 
was based on a doctrine of universal application and 
that it is a doctrine unequivocally supported by this 
Government. The same belief and the same observation 
naturally apply to French Indochina likewise. This 
Government is seriously pert-urbed, therefore, over the 
.d-marche which it is reported that the • Government of 
Japan" has "made to the French authorities. 

If no objection Is perceived. It is my desire that 
at your early convenience you call upon *$$o Minister 
for Foreign Affairs and that you express to him, as 
under instruction from your Government and along the 
linos above indicated, the concern felt by the Govern- 
ment of the United States regarding the reported 
developments . 


As orinted in Foreign Relations of the Uni ted St ates/ 
rpan, 1931-19^1, vol. II, "pp. 239-290"." 

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In a telephone conversation tltis afternoon with'hp-'First Secretary 

' the Chinese Embassy on a routine matter, Mr. Tsui repeated sub- 

•" itiallv the same question asked by Mr. Liu. My reply was the 

• o as given to Mr. Liu. After seme hesitation and speaking in 

Chinese. Mr. Tsui said that the Embassy was very much concerned 

,.ver these reports. He said that the Central Government felt 

•":... Lung Tun (Chairman of Yunnan Province) . . . might be 

- • vted to be subjected to great Japanese pressure. . . . 

The foregoing situation would seem to be an additional reason for 

•■ .. taking of strong action in the event of the Japanese occupation 

i : - the French colony. 

:r?.0'Jii P. W./420 

Mmormdum by Mr. Cecil W. Gray, Assistant to the Secretary 

of State 

[Washington,] July 24, 1941. 

In a telephone conversation with Acting Secretary Welles at 12 : 30 
n. in. on July 23, there was considerable discussion about the Far 
Eastern situation. The Secretary spoke of the latest venture of 
Japan toward acquiring bases in Indochina in the face of the fact that 
Japan was not threatened by any nation on the globe. This south- 
v.;n-d movement, he said, stemmed from a policy of force and con- 
, ; -:-,t. He referred to the friendship of Darlan !1 and Hitler and of the 
pfcments in the Freneh Government who were in favor of turning all 
France over to Hitler. 

The Secretary said that, of course, our own Government would do 
its utmost to cany out any understanding that might be arrived at 
with Japan, and that Japan was not in danger in the South Sea 
area. Hence that country must be bent on conquest, in which case 

. :ue future Japanese Government would take the final steps toward 
domination of that entire region. 

There followed an exchange of views as to what Mr. Welles should 
; .iy to the Japanese Ambassador later in the afternoon when he kept 

.:. appointment with Sir. Welles. 52 
The Secretary's general idea was that if the Japanese Ambassador 

lUeajpted to explain away the Indochina move by saying that it had 

!• c:t brought about by peaceful means, then such "peaceful means" 

-•■•crc completely contrary to the spirit of the discussions between the 

United States and Japanese Governments looking toward a friendly 

u \&m. Francois Darlau, French Minister for Foreign Affairs and Vice Prcsi- 
• b: i i die Council of Ministers (Vice Prei 
"&» jaetuorandnm by the Acting Sects 
fr-'efton*, Japan, 1931-1941, vol. n, p. 522. 

.\^;;:;. c ruu<ju;.s jjuriiiu, rreucu iiiiui»cj. m. 

■'-• b: of die Council of Ministers (Vice Premier). 
".-"••• taetuorandnm by the Acting Secretary of State, July 23, 10H, Foreign' 

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settlement in the Pacific. The United States Government, Mr. Hull 
said, could only be driven to the conclusion that our discussions for 
a friendly settlement had been wiped out by the Indochina develop- 
ment. The Secretary said that if we waited until ho came home to tell 
Ambassador Nomura the foregoing, then it would come too late as a 
warning to Japan. We must let them see the seriousness of the step 
they have taken and let them know that such constitutes an unfriendly 
act because it helps Hitler to conquer Britain. The Secretary said that 
if we did not tell the Ambassador all this, he would not sit down with 
Admiral Nomura when he came back to Washington. It would be a 
farce to do so. 

There followed quite a bit of discussion about counter measures on 
the part of the "United States, with Mr. Welles explaining what the 
British proposed to do, what our Army and Navy boards favored, 
what the President favored, et cetera, and, as I understood it, the 
Secretary left the decision on these questions to the judgment of 
those on the ground. 

Secretary Hull then came back to the subject of Mr. Welles' forth- 
coming talk with Admiral Nomura, and he said that Mr. Welles 
ruight°begin the conversation by speaking to Admiral Nomura con- 
ceiving a°rcadju3tment of the United Stales position vis-a-vis Japan 
somewhat as follows: There is a profound belief everywhere, in 
view of many reports from many sources, that the Japanese movement 
into Indochina has two probable purposes, or at least two possibilities 
this Government cannot ignore: (1) if this Government is to be safe, 
it is bound to assume that this act constitutes definite notice of the 
launching of a policy of force and conquest on the part of the Japanese 
Government; (2) this Government, in the interest of its own safety 
and in the light of all Japanese utterances and acts, must^ assume 
that by its actions and preparations Japan may be taking one 
more vital and next to the final step in occupying all the South Sea 
area. Such a statement to the Ambassador would lay the basis for 
our own future acts and would let the Japanese understand fully our 

It was agreed between the Secretary and Mr. Welles that there was 
no use to pursue our discussions for a friendly settlement with the 
Japanese unless the Japanese policies are to coincide with their pro- 
fessions. We could get any kind of an agreement from the British 
and other governments looking to the safeguarding of Japanese legi- 
timate interests so that there is no basis for Japanese claim* 
of being threatened or in danger. 

It was agreed between the Secretary and Mr. Welles that some- 
thing must be said to thepress along the lines of the foregoing par.i- 

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cranks" This -would be for the purpose of making a record about 
the real significance of the Japanese movement and likewise to acquaint 
the public with the fact that we knew what was going on. Mr. Welles 
then read to the Secretary a draft of a statement prepared by the 
Far Eastern Division. The Secretary made specific comment as 
follows: make clear the fact that the occupation of Indochina by 
Japan possibly means one further important step to seizing control 
of the South Sea area, including trade routes of supreme importance 
to the United States controlling such products as rubber, tin and other 
commodities. This was of vital concern to the United States. The 
Secretary said that if we did not bring out this point our people will 
not understand the significance of this movement into Indochina. 
The Secretary mentioned another point to be stressed: there is no 
theory on which Indochina could be flooded with armed forces, air- 
craft, et cetera, for the defense of Japan. The only alternative is that 
this venture into Indochina has a close relation to the South Sea 
area and its value for offense against that area. 

The Secretary closed by suggesting that Mr. Welles make clear to 
Admiral Nomura that we are ready and desirous of going forward 
with our discussions should circumstances permit, and that if an 
agreement were readied between our two countries, it would safeguard 
Japan far more securely than taking over Indochina. He said for 
Mr. Welles to ask the Ambassador to send this to his Government, 

C. W. Gray 

740.0011 P. W./421 

Memorandum ly Mr. Cecil W. Gray, Assistant to the Secretary 

of State- 

[Washington, July 25, 1941.] 

Excerpts From Secretary Hull's Remarks in Telephone Conver- 
sation With Acting Secretary Welles on July 25, 19-11 
We have had conversations for several months with the Ambassador 
and his associates covering this matter completely and we couldn't 
have offered more assurance to Japan for her entire satisfaction from 
every standpoint than we did in those discussions. I told him (the 
Ambassador) repeatedly that if this matter progressed I expected to 
get a similar agreement with the British, the Dutch, et cetera. We 
have followed that up as the Indochina phase developed. You will 
remember w.e first considered sending a cable of inquiry to Japan 
about the Irdochina matter. Then we sent, Hamilton to see the Am- 

"For press release issued by the Deportment of State on July 24, 10-11, see 
Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931-10-11, vol. ir, p. 315. 

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bassador when I didn't see liim here to go over the -whole situation. 
Then we sent Hamilton again to see his two associates for the purpose 
of keeping alive the whole situation that we had under discussion. 
Then finally, before they got to a face-saving stage, after it was ap- 
parent that they were preparing the Indochina move, this was followed 
up by a final step of summing up for the record the pros arid cons 
and making a final appeal to the Japs before it was too late. That 
is the record we made. I think it ought all to be kept in mind. It is 
a fact that, in justice to the Administration, the Government and 
the Stato Department, as the Chinese-Japanese difficulties developed 
we not only expressed opposition and condemnation at appropriate 
times, but we gradually took steps of retaliation. I need not men- 
tion all the steps. "When the question of oil became most seriously 
considered for the first time, there was not a long period between 
that point and the point when Japan and the Netherlands proceeded 
with their trade negotiations, which involved oil and raised the whole 
oil question. Now, in those circumstances, not with the idea of 
appeasing Japan ourselves, but merely to deal practically with an 
international situation that had become acute, so far as oil was con- 
cerned, in connection with those negotiations, and which was clearly 
to remain acute until those negotiations were concluded, we rested 
our position before those negotiations had ended. The Japanese 
Government through its Ambassador came to us with a proposal for 
a peaceful settlement covering the entire Pacific area, including the 
question of oil and everything else, and I have had, as you know, 
seventeen conferences with him. There is a strong so-called peace 
group in Japan back of him (the Ambassador). Naturally, it would 
have been utterly impractical for us to have followed a purely appease- 
ment policy when every consideration would prevent us from putting 
on embargoes and penalties and retaliation during these negotiations. 
My judgment is that the State Department and the Government should 
not say too much on this Japanese question. The first thing we know 
we will run into a storm. It is so delicate and there are so many 
angles to it. I am sure Japan is going on unless something happens 
to stop her. This is a world movement. The Japanese are seeking 
to dominate militarily practically one-half the world and apply the 
barbarous methods that they are applying to China and that Hitler 
is applying in Europe, and if they have their way, they will carry 
out what they are saying of their right to be supreme in that half of 
tho world, by which they mean military suprema:y with methods of 
arbitrary, selfish domination and the Hitler method of piracy and 
naval control of the seas and commerce. At any rate, I just want you 
to keep that in mind. 

C[ecil] W. G[!ut] 

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\ /UASIilKGTOIT^/ July 2h, 1S-H. . 

At the request of the Japanese Ambassador, the President 
received the Ambassador for an off-the-record conference in the Oval 
.fcoom at the Bhlte House at five o'clock this afternoon. At the 
President's request, Admiral Stark and I were present. 

The President then vent on to say that this new move "by Japan 
in Indochina created an exceedingly serious problem for the United 
States. Ee said that, as I had stated to the Ambassador yesterday, 
insofar as assuring itself that it could obtain foodstuffs and raw 
materials from Indochina, Japan, of course, had it reached an agree- 
ment with the United States along the terms of the discussions be- 
tween Secretary Hull and the Ambassador, would have been afforded far 
greater assurances of obtaining such supplies than any other nation, 
More than that, the President said, the cost of any military occupation 
is tremendous and the occupation itself is not conductive to the 
production by civilians in occupied countries of food supplies and raw 
materials of" the character required by Japan. Had Japan undertaken to 
obtain the supplies she required from Indochina in a peaceful way, 
she not only would have obtained larger quantities of such supplies, 
but would have .obtained them with complete security and without the 
draining expense of a military occupation. Furthermore, from the 
military standpoint, the President said, surely the Japanese Govern- 
ment could not' have in reality the slightest belief that China, Great 
Britain, the Netherlands or the United States had any territorial 
designs on Indochina nor were in the slightest degree providing any 
real threats of aggression against Japan. This Government, consequently, 
could only assume that the occupation of Indochina was being undertaken 
"by Japan for the purpose of further offense and this created a situation 
which necessarily must give the United States the most serious disquite. 

The Fresident said that he had been following in cor.plete detail 
•the conversations which had been progressing between Secretary Hull 
and the Ambassador and that he was confident that the Ambassador would 
agree that the policies not undertaken in Indochina by the Japanese 
Government were completely opposed to the principles and the letter 
of the proposed agreement which, had been under discussion. 

.lis printed in Fo reign Relations of the United States : Japan, 

1931-19>1j vol, II, pp. 527-530. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

711.9V2177 Con't. 1 

At this point the iimbassador took out of his pocket two sheets of 
notes which he hod prepared and asked the President's permission to 
refer to them in order to make a statement of his Government's 

In this exposition the /jnbassador covered exactly the same ground 
which he had covered in his conversation with me last night. . 

The only points of difference were that at the outset of the 
conversation, the .Ambassador very clearly and emphatically stated 
th^t the move by Japan into Indochina was something wiich he 
personally deplored and with which he personally was not in agreement. 

The President then said that he had a proposal to make to the 
/mb'ssador which had occurred to him just before the /jrbassador had come 
in and which he had not had time to talk over with me before making 
his proposal to the .Ambassador. 

The President said that it might be too late for him to make this 
proposal but he felt that no matter how late the hour might be, he 
still wished to seise every possible opportunity of preventing the 
creation of a situation between Japan and the United States wnich could 
onlv give rise to serious misunder standings between the two peoples, . 
The President stated that if the Japanese Government would refrain from 
occupying Indochina with its military and naval forces, or, had such 
steps actually been commenced, if the Japanese Government would 
withdraw such forces, the President could assure the Japanese 
Government that he would do everything within his power to obtain from 
the Governments of China, Great Britain, the Netherlands and of 
course the United States itself a binding and solemn declaration, 
provided Japan would undertake the same commitment to regard 
Indochina as a neutralized country in the same way m which Switzerland 
had up to now been regarded by the powers as a neutralized country. 
He stated that this would imply that none of the powers concerned 
would undertake any military act of aggression against Indochina and 
would remain in 'control of the territory and would not be conironted 
with attempts to dislodge them on the part of de Gaullist or Free 
French agents or forces. 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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711.9li/21?7 Con't.l 
\ If these steps were taken, the President said Japan writtte 

The embassador then reiterated concisely and quite clearly what 
the President had suggested, Ke then made some stat J^^ttSflt 
not quite clear to the effect ttet such a step would be very cUffxcult 
atthis tine on accost of the face-saving element involved on the 
Jart of Japan and that only a very groat statesman would reverse a 
policy at this time 

The Embassador said that he would immediately report his 

conversation to his Government in Tokyo. He seemed to be very much 
imprest with what the President had said but I did not gather from 
■ h5 reactions that he was in any optimistic as to the result, 

S/umner7 b/elles/ 

h formal document setting forth the President's proposal was 
presented to-tha- Japanese Ambassador on August 8. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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191a 1 

The Acting Secretary of St^te, Mr. Sumner Welles, issued the 
following statement on August 2 in reply to inquiries from the 
press concerning the agreement entered into between the French and 
Japanese Governments regarding French Indochina: 

"The French Government at Vichy has given repeated 
assurances to the Government of the United States th?t it 
would not cooperate with the Axis powers beyond the 
obligations imposed on it by the armistice, and that it 
would defend the territory under its control against any 
aggressive action on the part of third powers. 

"This Government has now received information of the 
terms of the agreement between the French and Japanese Governments 
covering the so-called 'common defense' of French Indochina, 
In effect, this agreement virtually turns over to Japan an 
important part of the French Empire. 

"Effort has been made to justify this agreement on the 
ground that Japanese 'assistance' is needed because of some 
menace to the territorial integrity of French Indochina by other 
powers. The Government of the United States is unable to 
accept this explanation. As I stated on July 2li, there is no ques- 
tion of any threat to French Indochina, unless it lies in 
the expansionist aims of the Japanese Government, 

"The turning over of bases for military operations and 
of territorial rights under pretext of 'common defense' to 
a power whose territorial aspirations are apparent, here 
presents a situation which has a direct bearing upon the 
vital problem of American security. For reasons which are 
beyond the scope of any known agreement, France has now 
decided to permit foreign troops to enter an integral part 
of its Empire, to occupy bases therein, and to prepare opera- 
tions within French territory which may be directed against 
other peoples friendly to the people of France, 


The. French 

As printeddin Foreign Relations of the United States: Jagan 
1931-19A1, vol. II, pp. 350-321. For earlier statements on this 
subject, see Department,' s Press Releases of Sept.' k and '23, 19^.0, and 
tel. UIjO to Vichy of Sept 9, lJ'^O. (n t included here). 

11 " 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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'- The French Government at Vichy has repeatedly declared 
its determination to resist all encroachments upon the 
sovereignty of its territories . However, . the German and 
Italian forces availed themselves of certain facilities in 
Syria to carry on operations directed against the British, 
the French Government, although this was a plain encroach- 
ment on territory under French control, did not resist. 
But when the British undertook defense operations in the 
territory of Syria, the French Government did resist, 

"Under these circumstances, this Government is impelled 
to question whether the French Government at Vichy in fact 
proposes to maintain its declared policy to preserve for 
the French people the territories both at home and abroad 
which have long been under French sovereignty. 

"This Government, mindful of its traditional friend- 
ship for France, has deeply sympathized with the desire of 
the French people to maintain their territories and to 
preserve them intact. In its relations with the French 
Government at Vichy and with the local French authorities 
in French territories, the United States will be governed 
by the manifest effectiveness with which -chose authorities 
endeavor to protect these territories from domination and 
control by those powers which are seeking to extend their 
rule by force and conquest, or by the threat thereof." 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Strictly Confidential, 
Tentative and Without 

WLSBXHOTOR, November 26, 19hl c 

Outline of Proposed Basis For Agreement Between The United States 

And Japan 



The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan 
propose to take steps as follows: 

1, The Government of the United States and the Government of 
Japan will endeavor to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact 
among the British Empire, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the Soviet 
Union, Thailand and the United States,, 

2, Both Governments will endeavor to conclude among the Aire rican, 
British, Chinese, Japanese, the Netherland and Thai Governments an 
agreement whereunder each of the Governments would pledge itself 

to respect the territorial integrity of French Indochina and, in the 
event that there should develop a threat to the territorial integrity 
of Indochina, to enter into immediate consultation with a view to 
taking such measures as may be deemed necessary and advisable to meet 
the threat in question. Such agreement would provide- also that each 
of the Governments party to the agreement would not seek or accept 
preferential treatment in its trade or economic relations with 
Indochina and would use its influence to obtain for each of the 
signatories equality of treatment in trade and commerce with French 

3, The Government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air 
and police forces from China and from Indochina, 

As printed in Forc-i gr . Relations of the United States 
Japan, 193l-19hl, vol. II~~p?. TS5-TfO~ : 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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7^0.0011 Pacific War/856 


/WASHINGTON/ December 6, 19^1, 

More than a year ago Your Majesty's Government concluded an 
agreement with the Vichy Government by which five or six thousand 
Japanese troops were permitted to enter into Northern French Indo- 
china for the protection of Japanese troops which were operating 
against China further north. And this Spring and Summer the Vichy 
Government permitted further Japanese military forces to enter into 
Southern French Indo-China for the common defense of French Indo- 
China. I think I am correct in saying that no attack has been made 
upon Indo-China, nor that any has been contemplated. 

During the past few weeks it has become clear to the world that 
Japanese military, naval and air forces have been sent to Southern 
Indo-China in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt on 
the part of other nations that this continuing concertration in 
Indo-China is not defensive in its character. 

Because these continuing concentrations in Indo-China have 
reached such large proportions and because they extend now to the 
southeast and the southwest corners of that Peninsula, it is only 
reasonable that the- people of the Philippines, of the hundreds of 
Islands of the East Indies, of Malaya and of Thailand itself are 
asking themselves whether these forces of Japan are preparing or 
intending to make attack in one or more of these many directions. 

I am sure that Your Majesty will understand that the fear of 
all these peoples is a legitimate fear in as much as it involves their 
peace and their national existence. I am sure that Your Majesty will 
understand why the people of the United States in such large 
numbers look askance at the establishment of military, naval and air 
bases manned and equipped so greatly as to constitute, armed forces 
capable of measures of offense. 

' hs printed in Foreign Relations of the United States: 
Japan-,- 19*31-19^1, vol. II. pp. 73^-736. 

• lU 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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It is clear that a continuance of such a situation is un- 
thinkable . 

None of the copies vhom I have spoken of above can sit either 
indefinitely or permanently on a keg of dyncmite. 

There is absolutely no thought on the part of the United States 
of invaSng Indo-China if every Japanese soldier or sailor .ere bo he 
vithdravn therefrorA. 

I think that we can obtain the sane assurance from the 
OoverLnts of the East Indies, the Governs nt s of a ^ .and ^e 
n ^™n+ n-- Thailand, t vould even undertake to ask fo. the seu.e 
Government ol and ^ pf ^In*. Thus a vithfiraval 

rr^rfo^fron Indo-China ,ould result in the assurance 
of peace throughout the whole of the South Pacific .area. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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7^0.0011 European War 1939/29 2 - L 6l 

Confidential File 

Extra ct from Letter of Robert D. Murphy 

to General Henri G iraud 

November 2, 19^2 

The General: 

Referring to the declaration made on several 
occasions by President Roosevelt, and the obliga- 
tions already undertaken by the American Govern- 
ment as well as by the British Government, I am 
able to assure you that the restoration of France 
to full independence, in all the greatness and' 
vastness which it possessed before the war in 
Europe as well as overseas, is one of the war aims 
of the United Nations. 

It is thoroughly understood that French 
sovereignty will be re-established as soon as pos- 
sible throughout all the territory, metropolitan 
and colonial, over which flew the French flag in 1939 • 

The Government of the United States considers ' 
the French nation as an ally and will treat it as such. 

May I add further th&t in case of military 
operations in French territory (whether in Metropolitan 
France or in the Colonies) in all instances where 
French collaboration may be found, the American 
authorities will not intervene in any way in those 
affairs which are solely within fche province of tie 
national administration or which have to do with the . 
exercise of French sovereignty. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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7-10.0011 Pacific War/3331 

The "Washington Delegation of the French Committee of National 
Liberation to the Department of State ■ 


Washington-, October 20, 1943. 

According to certain information which has come to the knowledge 
of the- Committee of National Liberation, Allied plans of operation 
in the Far East would, in the near future, include the start of opera- 
tions against the frontiers of Indo-China, operations entrusted to 
Chinese troops. 

The Washington Delegation of the Committee has already had 
occasion to call the Department of State's attention to the absolute 
importance to the Allied cause of associating the competent French 
authorities with the detailing of Allied war plans in the Far East, 
especially when their execution involves French Indo-China. The 
aforementioned authorities possess, in this field, documentation and 
experience which can be of the greatest use to the Allied High Com- 
mand. The role which France has traditionally played in the Far 
East, the important interests which she has there, the dispositions 
already taken by the Algiers Committee to participate when the time 
comes in the struggle for the liberation of Indo-China, are all, as many 
more, reasons for an effective French participation in Inter-Allied 
Councils where the general strategy of the United Nations in the Far 
East is determined. 

As concerns the project of a Chinese offensive against Indo-China, 
the Algiers Committee — if the information which has reached it on 
this subject is correct — must very seriously draw the attention of the 
American Government to the great danger which its realization would 

1 Continued from Foreign Relations. 1942, China, pp. 749-760. 
'Handed on October 21 to the Assistant Secretary of State (Eerie) by Henri 
Hoppenot, Delegate of the French Committee of National Liberation. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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A Chinese attack against Tonkin would have the immediate effect 
of causing the whole Indo-Chinese population tc rise against the 

For the Annamites, the Chinese, who have so frequently in the past 
invaded and ravaged their frontier regions, represent the hereditary 
enemy. Far from greeting them as liberators, the local population 
would impede their advance by every means in their power. More- 
over, the population and the French troops, who would take the side 
of the Allies if it were French, American and British forces which 
were coming to their help, might very well react against an attack 
by the Chinese, whose true intentions could easily bo confused by 
enemy propaganda. The position which a Chinese attack apparently 
will cause civilian and military French Indo-Chinese to take will in 
the future be difficult to modify and the consequences of such a mistake 
run the risk of weighing heavily upon the development of the 

The French Committee of National Liberation believes, therefore, 
that it is of the highest importance to set aside a project which, far 
from serving Allied interests, runs the risk of causing the greatest 
harm. The Committee, likewise, equally believes that, as concerns 
military operations whose theatre would bo French territory, it is 
imperative to ask the Allies that no decision should be taken without 
cur previous agreement. 

740.0011 Pacific War/3531 

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State 


[Washington,] October 21, 1943. 

M. Hoppenot came in to see me at his request. He handed mo the 
attached memorandum, 3 which states that the French National Com- 
mittee understands that Chinese operations will presently open against 
the Japanese within the frontiers of Indochina. This gave great con- 
cern to the Committee of National Liberation. If Chinese, troops 
attacked there, plainly there would not bo any support from the 
French, since the Chinese had always claimed interest there, and it 
was not unlikely that the French troops would defend against a 
Chinese attack. 

I asked whether this matter had already been brought to the atten- 
tion of the Chiefs of Staff. M. Hoppenot said it had, through General 

■ Supra. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 


Bethouart. I thanked him for the information and said that the 
matter presented was primarily for military consideration. 

A[dolf] A. B[ekle], Jit. 

Note : But it is not only for military consideration. This brings us 
squarely up to the problem of whether, in the Far East, wo arc re- 
establishing the western colonial empires or whether we are letting 
the East liberate itself if it can do so. I feel that the matter should 
be discussed on a high level with the President for his decision. I 
do not know that we need to settle matters with the French Commit- 
tee in Algiers. If the Chinese can do anything against the Japanese 
in French Indochina to the general advantage of the war, I have 
difficulty in seeing why we should stop them. 

A[»oi.r] A. B[f.rt.e], Jr. 

740.0011 PaclGc War/3331 

Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) to the 
Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) 

[Washington,] October 22, 1943. 

Mr. Stettixius : In connection with the application of the French 
Committee of National Liberation for membership on the Pacific War 
Council, it is of interest that the representative of the Committee 
yesterday presented us with a request that we do not permit the 
Chinese to take part in operations against the Japanese troops which 
are presently occupying Indo-China. The Committee observed that 
if British and American troops accomplished the reconquest this 
would be quite all right; but the French, and particularly those in 
Indo-China, considered the Chinese as their hereditary enemies 
(erbfeinde) ; if they took part in the liberation of Indo-China, prob- 
ably they would claim new territory. 

The French would push this view in the Pacific War Council. This 
would probably be supported by the British and the Dutch. This 
would present us, for all practical purposes, with the task of recon- 
quering Indo-China almost single-handed (since the British interest 
stops with Burma) for the sole purpose cf returning Indo-China to 
France. France is unlikely to be able to maintain herself in control 
of, or protect, that province for a good while; so that we should have 
the added job of policing and protecting it against the Chinese as well 
as the Japanese in the interest of the French Colonial Empire. 

It strikes me that this fact should be called to the attention of the 
President and also of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 4 I think we should 

•On October 20 Mr. Stettinius replied to Mr. P.ctle: "I agree with you that the 
matter of French representation 05 the Pacific War Council and also their 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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answer the French Committee that their representation will receive 
consideratior, but that military factors must predominate in the 

Frankly, I doubt, if we could defend before, the Congress a very 
considerable expenditure of American lives for the sole purpose of 
keeping Indo-China in French, as against Chinese or Indo-Chinese, 
hands. ... 

A[dolf] A. B[erle], Jr.. 


740.0011 Pacific Wax/8581 

Memorandum ly the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern 
Affairs {Vincent) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle) b 

[Washington,] November 2, 10-13. 

Mk. Bkele : "We have read with keen interest your memorandum of 
conversation witli Mr, Hoppenot and his aide-memoire, and concur in 
the opinion expressed in your note. 

There is at the bottom of page 1 of the aide-memoire the following- 
statement which we feel should not pass without comment: "Pour 
l'Anuamfte, les Clu'nois, qui out si frequemment dans lepasse envahi 
et ravage leurs regions f rontieres, reprcsentent l'ennemi hereditaire." 
This statement is grossly misleading, if not actually false. In 1S79 
the Annamites sought military aid from China to drive out the French. 
It was China's weakness, not Annamile dislike or fear of China, that 
permitted the French to remain. Recurrent waves of Annamite na- 
tionalism have looked to Chinese nationalism for inspiration and guid- 
ance, particularly since 1920. Today there is understood to bo in 
southern China a group of Annamites which advocates independence 
for Indochina and seeks Chinese support. It is our belief that the 
Annamites, by and large, have for the Chinese a feeling of friendliness 
and cultural affinity. 

The Chinese Government's attitude regarding the post-war status 
of Indochina has been cautious. Officials of the Government have 
disclaimed territorial ambitions but they have at times intimated that 
China would desire an arrangement which assured access to the sea 
from Yunnan Province through Tonkin to Haiphong. Independence 
for Indochina is included in the Chinese Government's general ad- 
vocacy of self-government for eastern peoples. 

request that tie Chinese be asked not to conduct mllltarj operations within 
Indo-China should be referred both to the President and to the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff." 
•initialed by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Ballantine). 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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The post-war status of French Indochina is a matter of speculation : 
return to Prance; international control; and even British control It 
to our belief that the Annamites are fundamentally capable of self- 
government and that it should be the objective of any post-war ad- 
ministration to train Annamites to resume the responsibility of self- 
government. This objective might be achieved by a continuation of 
French administration for a definitely limited period or by interna- 
tional administration. There would seem to be no reasonable basis fo 
British administration. In any event, the Chinese G ovcrnment should 
be consulted and its views given full consideration in regard to plans 
for the future of Indochina. 

740.0011 Pacific War/8531 

Memorandum ly the Acting Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 

Washington, November 8, 19-13. 
M Henri Hoppenot, the Delegate of the French Committee of 
National Liberation, has left with the State Department a communi- 
cation, a copy of which in translation is attached hereto,' giving the 
reasons why, in the opinion of the Committee, it would be a mistake to 
entrust to Chinese troops the launching of military operations against 
Indo-China. The main reason advanced is that the Chinese are he 
hereditary enemies of the Annamites and that an attack by the 
Chinese would therefore be resisted by the local population as well a, 
by French troops. It is our belief that this presentation of the case 
involves allegations not in accord with the facts, and that the Annam- 
ites, by and large, have for the Chinese a feeling of friendliness and 

cultural affinity. . . ., 

The problem to which these representations relates seems primarily 
to be a military problem for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We under- 
stand that it has already been brought to the attention of that body 
bv General Bethouart, Chief of the French Military Mission. 
y . Edward E. Stettinics, Jr. 

740.0011 Pacific War/3367 

740.0011 Pacific 

Memorandum ly President Roosevelt to the Acting Secretary of State 

Washington, November 9, 1043. 

In regard to the use of Chinese troops against Annam I agree with 
the State Department that the French presentation of the case is not 
sufficiently valid to take any action. 

'Ante, p. 8S2. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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The whole matter should bo loft to the discretion of the Joint Chiefs 
oflaSt^CoimaBdingOScersmthe^ea. This* essentia^ 

amilitavyproblem. F^uwhh] B. BIoosevbw] 

T40.0011 TactQo War/3630 

27* Z>^«to o/ the French Committee of *«^ ™J°* wn 

(Hcppenot) to the Assistant Secretary of State {BerU) 

759 Washington, December 13, 1943. 

° D Jk Mr. Be*i*: I have already had ^VrT^SioB 
tlie interest which the French Committee of National Lbsiation 
tuld aTtll t big associated in the inter-Allied clchb-ttons con- 
cerning the conduct of the war in the Far East particular! y jvhen t 
is a matter of operations which may involve ^.^^S 
ticularly to the aide-memoire which T transmitted to j ou on th, s s ub 
ject October 21, and which contemplated on the one hand the > entx ance 
of a representative of the Committee into the ^^T^^ 
the other hand the apprehensions caused at Algiers bj a piopo-cd 
Chinese offensive against the frontier of Indochina. 
M. Massigli has just requested me to recall tins question again to 

^ctp^S of the French staff with the Allied staffs ; ni the 
Far East has as a matter of fact entered into a now phase foil™ ng 
the sendin- to Delhi, with the accord of the British Y> ar Office, of 
aF^ military mikon commanded general BlatzotThtsn.v 
fact seems to make it more desirable that a parallel edbtaftra 
sho uld be established at Washington, by the association o a F i ch 
representative in the deliberations of the Pacific Council of which 
Sites of all the Powers participating in the war effort against 

X^eTS moreover, that the proposed Chinese operations 
on the frontier of Indochina have not been abandoned and tho irreg- 
ular Chinese troops, staffed by American officers, are said to be trained 
at the present time for this purpose near the said frontier. The Chi- 
nese elements in question are precisely the ones whose incursions and 
pillaging have frequently created, in the course of recent decade.,, a 
stated Insecurity and trouble in that region, and their reappearance 
on Indochines, territory, even with the corrective of , staff of Ameri- 
can officers, would aggravate further the repercussions oi ^Chinese 
action on those frontiers. Knowing personally the menta ty both 
of the French of Indochina and of the native populations of the "Union, 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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I am convinced that nothing could more seriously hinder their coop- 
eration wiih the Allies than for the liberation of Indochina to appear 
to be entrusted, even provisionally, to Chinese formations -which, in 
the present case, would appear to them not only as the advance guard 
of the hereditary enemy of Annam and Tonkin, but as the direct 
descendants of the bands of pirates and Jolly Rogers who have so 
long caused the threat of their exactions to weigh upon those regions. 
Just as American or English troops would be welcomed as allies and 
liberators, so wo run the risk of seeing French and natives react 
strongly against the use of these Chinese elements. I do not believe 
that a more serious political and psychological fault could be com- 
mitted and I take the liberty to beg you to call this point again to the 
\cry serious attention of the competent authorities. 5 
Please accept [etc.] Henkt Hoppenot 

•On January 5, 194-1, Mr. Berle wrote M. Hoppenot that the contents of his 
letter had been transmitted to appropriate authorities of the Government. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Extract from Memorandum of Conversation 
between President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin, 
November 28, 19^5, 3 p.m.l 

MARSHAL STALIN expatiated at length on the French 
ruling classes and he said, in his opinion, they 
should not be entitled to share in any of the benefits 
of the peace, in view of their past record of col- 
laboration with Germany. 

THE PRESIDENT that Mr. Churchill was of 
the opinion that France would be very quickly recon- 
structed as a strong nation, but he did not person- 
ally share this view since he felt that many years 
of honest labor would be necessary before France 
would be re-established. He said the first necessity 
for the French, not only for the Government but the 
people as well, cas to become honest citizens. 

MARSHAL STALIN agreed and went on to say that 
he did not propose to have the Allies shed blood 
to restore Indo-China, for example, to the old 
French colonial rule. He said that the recent 
events in the Lebanon made public service the first 
step toward the independence of people who had 
formerly been colonial subjects. He said that in 
the war against Japan, in his opinion, that in 
addition to military missions, It was necessary to 
fight the Japanese in the political sphere as well, 
particularly in view of the fact that the Japanese 
had granted the least nominal independence to cer- 
tain colonial areas. He repeated that France should 
not get back Indo-China and that the French must 
pay for their criminal collaboration with Germany. 

Handbook of Far Eastern Conference Discussions (Historical Division 
Research Project No. 62, November 19^9) , PP- D16-D17, Top Secret. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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THE PRESIDENT said he was 100$ in agreement 
with Marshal Stalin and remarked that after 100 years 
of French rule in Indo-China, the inhabitants were 
worse off than they had been before. He said tnat 
Chiang Kai Shek had told him China had no designs 
on Indo-China but the people of Indo-China were not 
vet ready for independence, to which he had replied 
that when the United States acquired the Philippines, 
the inhabitants were not ready for independence 
which would be granted without *«*l^ lo *^ n .;jj; n 
the end of the war against Japan. He aoced that 
he had discussed with Chiang Kai Shek the possi- 
bility of a system of trusteeship for Inco-Cmna 
which would have the task of preparing the people 
for independence within a definite period of time, 
perhaps 20 to JO years. 

MARSHAL STALIN completely agreed with this 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Memorandum oy the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 20 

Washington, January 14, 1944. 
Last week in a conversation 21 which I had with the British Am- 
bassador he stated that, according to information from his Foreign 
Office, you had spoken rather definitely during your recent trip of 
your views concerning the future of French Indo-China. According 
to Lord Halifax' information you had expressed the opinion that 
Indo-China should be taken away froia the French and administered 
by an international trusteeship. 23 He wondered whether this repre- 
sented your final conclusions rfind attached importance to the matter 
in view of the fact that reports of your alleged conversations would 
undoubtedly get back to the French. I informed the Ambassador that 
I did not know whether you had come to any final conclusions on the 
subject and added that, in my judgment, you and Mr. Churchill would 
find it desirable to talk this matter over fully, deliberately, and per- 
haps finally at some future stage. 

* Copy of memorandum obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde 

Park. NX ,»'"-, o ,n<4 

"For extract of memorandum of this conversation, dated January 6, ii«4, 

see Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943, p. SG4. 
= A memorandum of Julv 21, 1943, obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Library at Hyde Park, NX, records a statement by President Roosevelt in the 

thirty-third meeting of the Pacific War Council that Indochina should be placed 

under a trusteeship until it was ready for independence. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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As of possible interest to you I am enclosing two brief memoranda 
citing the more important public statements or commitments by our- 
selves and the British with regard to the future of French territory 

after the war. 

C[ordell] H[uix] 

[Enclosure 1] 

Jajttjary 7, 1944. 

United States Position "With Respect to French Territory After 
. . the War 

During the past three years there have been a number of public 
pronouncements, as well as unpublished statements, by the President, 
the Secretary of State, and other high ranking officials of this Govern- 
ment regarding the future of French territory after the war. The 
most important of these pronouncements and statements are set forth 

1. In a statement issued on August 2, 1941, concerning the agree- 
ment entered into between the French and Japanese Governments re- 
garding French Indochina, the Secretary of State said: 23 

"This Government, mindful of its traditional friendship for France, 
has deeply sympathized with the desire of the French people to main- 
tain their territories and to preserve them intact. In its relations 
with the French Government at Vichy and with the local French au- 
thorities in French territories, the United States will be governed by 
the manifest effectiveness with which those authorities endeavor to 
protect these territories from domination and control by those powers 
which are seeking to extend their rule by force and conquest, or by 
the threat thereof." (Department of State Press Release No. 374) 

2. In a letter to Marshal Petain in December, 1941,** President 
Roosevelt stated that so long as "French sovereign control remains in 
reality purely Freuch" the American Government has no desire to see 
existing French sovereignty over French North Africa or any of the 
French colonies "pass to the control of any other nation". 

3. A State Department pi-ess release of March 2, 1942 " (No. S5) 
relative to the situation in New Caledonia, included the following 
words : 

"The policy of the Government of the United States as regards 
France and French territory has been based upon the maintenance of 

• "For complete test of statement, see Department of State Bulletin, August 2, 
" For test of letter of December 27, 19-11, see Foreio-i Relations, 1941, vol. n, 
"Department of State Bulletin, March 7, 1942, p. 20S. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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__: . ; — . 



the integrity of France and of the French empire and of the eventual 
restoration of the complete independence of all French territories." 

The above statement was qualified by the following words : 

"In its relations with the local French authorities in French terri- 
tories the United States has been and will continue to be governed by 
the manifest effectiveness with which those authorities endeavor to 
protect their territories from domination and control by the common 

4. In a note of April 13, 1942,= 6 to the French Ambassador at Wash- 
ington, relative to the establishing of an American consular estab- 
lishment at Brazzaville, the Acting Secretary of State said : 

"The Government of the United States recognizes the sovereign 
jurisdiction of the people of France over the territory of France and 
over French possessions overseas. The Government of the United 
States fervently hopes that it may see the reestablishment of the inde- 
pendence of France and of the integrity of French territory." 

5. At his press conference on May 21, 1942, in reply to an inquiry 
as to whether the United States considered itself bound to the res- 
toration of the whole French Empire after the war, the Secretary of 
State said that this question had not arisen. 

6. In an unpublished letter of November 2, 1942, to General Giraud, 
the President's Personal Representative, Mr. Murphy, wrote : 

"It is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be re- 
established as soon as possible throughout all the territory, metropoli- 
tan and colonial, over which flew the French flag in 1939." 

7. The landing of American forces in iS'orth Africa on Xovember 8, 
1942," was the occasion for a number of assurances to the French 
people regarding American motives*- Among them were the 
following - : 

In his message to Marshal Petain 28 the President said: 

"I need not tell you that the ultimate and greater aim is the libera- 
tion of France and its empire from the Axis yoke." 

The President's message M to Admiral Esteva, Resident General at 
Tunis, concluded with these words: 

"I know that I may count on your understanding of American 
friendship for France and American determination to liberate the 
French empire from the domination of its oppressors." 

" Foreign Relation.'. 1942, vol. n, p. 561. 

r For correspondence concerning the landings of November S, 1942, see ibid., 
pp. 429-132. 
"Department of State Bulletin, November 14, 1942, pp. 904, 903. 
"Ibid., p. 90S. . . . 




Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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In his broadcast to the French people on November 8 30 the Presi- 
dent said : 

"We assure you that once- the menace of Germany and Italy is 
removed from you, we shall quit your territory at once." 

8. The preamble of the unpublished Clark-Darlan Agreement of 
November 22, 1942, 31 contains the following words: 

"It has been agreed by all French elements concerned and United 
States military authorities that French forces will aid and support 
the forces of the United States and their allies to expel from the soil 
of Africa the common enemy, to liberate France and restore integrally 
the French Empire." 

[Enclosure 2] 

January 7, 1944. 

British Position With Eesfzct to French Territory After 

the War 

Prime Minister Churchill has more than once expressed the desire 
to see France, including Alsace-Lorraine, restored, and both Mr. 
Churchill and Mr. Eden 3; have repeatedly denied any territorial am- 
bitions on the part of Great Britain with respect to the French 

1. On June 10, 1941, the Prime Minister assured the House of 
Commons 33 that 

"We have no territorial designs in Syria or anywhere else in French 

and subsequently, on November 10, 1942, he said : 31 

"For ourselves we have no wish but to see France free and strong, 
■with her empire gathered round her and with Alsace-Lorraine re- 
stored. We covet no French territory. We have no acquisitive de- 
signs or ambitions in North Africa or any other part of the world." 

These commitments, "however, are not interpreted by the British 
Government as including any guarantee of particular frontiers or of 
the integrity of the French Empire. The British Foreign Secre- 
tary, in a letter to the American Ambassador on November 16, 1942 , 35 
stated : 

"You will see that we have taken care to avoid guaranteeing the 
integrity of the French Empire and have concentrated upon assert- 
ing our intention to restore 'the independence and greatness of France' 
and denying any desire to annex French territory' . 

■ Department of State Bulletin, November 14, 1942, p. S9J. 

* Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. n, p. 433. 

"Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. 

"Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons. 5th series, vol. 372, col. 157. 

"For entire test of speech, see the London Times, November 11, 1942, p. S. 

"Not printed. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Much earlier, in connection with his note of August 7, .1040, to 
General de Gaulle, Mr. Churchill, in an unpublished letter of the 
same date, had said : 

"I think it necessary to put on record that the expression 'full res- 
toration of the independence and greatness of France' has no precise 
relation to territorial frontiers. "We have not been able to guarantee 
such frontiers in respect of any nation now acting with us, but, of 
course, we shall do our best." 

2. Like the United States, the British Government has made a 
number of commitments relative to the maintenance of French 
sovereignty in North Africa, and on March 17, 1943, the Lord Privy 
Seal stated in the House of Lords 3e that 

"North Africa is French territory"; 


"Tho relationship of the British and United States Commanders 
is not that of an occupying power toward the local authority of an 
occupied region". 

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State " 

["Washington,] January 24, 1944. 

I saw Halifax last week and told him quite frankly that it was 
perfectly true that I had, for over a year, expressed the opinion that 
Indo-China should not go back to France but that it should be ad- 
ministered by an international trusteeship. France has had the coun- 
try — thirty million inhabitants for nearly one hundred years, and the 
people are worse off than they were at the beginning. 

As a matter of interest, I am wholeheartedly supported in this view 
by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek 3S and by Marshal Stalin. 39 I see 
no reason to play in with the British Foreign Office hi this matter. 
The only reason they seem to oppose it is that they fear the effect it 
would have on their own possessions and those of the Dutch. They 
have never liked tho idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, 
aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of Indo-China. 

Each case must, of course, stand on its own feet, but the case of Indo- 
China is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. 
The people of Indo-China are entitled to something better than that. 

F[ranklix] D. .R,[oosevelt] 

"See Parliimentary Debates, House of Lordi, 5th series, vol. 12G, col. 737. 
"Copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N.T. 
"President of the National Government of China and Supreme Allied Com- 
mander of the China Theater. . 
"Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Stettiniu-s) to 
President Roosevelt 

[Washington,] February IT, 194-i. 

The Civil Affairs Division of the War Department has indicated 
its desire to proceed at once with civil affairs planning for Indo- 
China and before doing so has requested political guidance from the 
State Department. 

A number of important decisions depend upon whether French 
troops are to be used in the military operations to regain control of 
Indo-China, and whether French nationals are to be used in civil 
administration and planning. There is ample evidence that the 
French hope to be considted and to play a part in driving the Japa- 
nese from that area. 

Subject to your approval, the State Department will proceed on 
the assumption that French armed forces will be employed to at 
least some extent in the military operations, and that in the adminis- 
tration of Indo-China it will be desirable to employ French nationals 
who have an intimate knowledge of the country and its problems. We 
would assume further that the use of French forces or civilians would 
be without prejudice to the question of the ultimate status of French 
Indo-China and would be related solely to problems directly con- 
nected with and flowing from possible military operations. 

Edward E. Stettintcs. Jr. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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S B C B Z T 



July 10, I9hk 


i-'r. Grew 

Subject: Views of the President with 
hesoect to Indochina 

On Uarcb 27, I9I4.3 President noosevelt, Secretary of 
State hull, the hi^ht Honorable Anthony Aden, British 
ambassador Lord Halifax, Mr. S trans of the British 
Foreign Office, Ambassador Sinant, Under Secretary -elles, 
and i.:r. Harry Hopkins held a jenersl conference at the 
fthite Louse. In the course of the discussion the 
Pre-idert sujested that trusteeship be set up for Indo- 
china, lir. Aden indicated that he was favorably impressed 
with this proposal. 

On January 3, l$kk Secretary of State Hull and the 
British Ambassador Lord Halifax held a conversation at 
the Leportment in vhich the British Ambassador remarked 
thst information had come to him from his Foreign Of rice 
that in a conversation with the Turks, Egyptians and per- 
haps others during his recent trip to the Kesr -ast, the 
President spoke rather definitely about what purported 
to be his views to the effect that Indochina should be 
• taken awey fro.:! the French and put under an international 
trusteeship, etc. The Ambassador said that of course he 
had heard the f resident make remarks like this during 
the past year or more but that the question of whether 
the President's utterances represent final conclusions 


S B C R Z T 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

Cj jj 

u E T 

- «<.--* <„ vipv of the fact that it would soon 
becomes important in vie* oi cne _ ^^ 

ad n1 fSd It testable to' t*S this .natter over fully „ 
SlberaU^onTperhapo finally at some future st So e. 

In a memorandum for the **«^* °**«j£{g,£ 

Kr. hull sported hie oonverso ion ,th ; J ^ e . 

Ambassador and asfcea If the -leal a~^ fe t8 ton a«j 

r^Mnohlnd S in e ed * an Internet ion. 

Op *ebru*rv 17, 19Wfc in a a** ****»? for J h ®. A '^ si ~ 

r#|H?S saSaS. 

thaf'Subject oo you*' W* ;?£* p renc b armed foroea v/ill 
proceed on the J"«jJJ« ^^rtSt In the military opsr- 
be employed to at least j>u- f Indochina it 

""S 8 -' ^^L^t^lov^rench nationals ^o have 


-ill ha desirable to employ French national «i« *« 

B «^?:ofS? ?LtoSnry1r^!dSn?ff Kaffir 

Pn Fpbnrr .r 25, 191^-, in a memorandum to Kr. Dunn, 
On «? r ^;i fl ;2-»_ .gCfclon ed the president's reception 
the under Deere " sp ^ u *r^ u i°^ 17 "above referred to and 
6f thS ?£¥ S U «r?esidenr^prlssed the vie, that no . 

/Drafted by K. *. Landon; 
initialed. by J. W. B^/ 

S'iC it 3 T 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 

[Washixgtox,] August 2G, 1914. 
There is attached herewith a copy of an aide-memoire 40 left with 
the Department of State this morning by Lord Halifax in -which the 
latter raises certain questions with regard to the French role in mili- 
tary operations in the Far East, with particular reference to French 

- The Ambassador stated that the question is of considerable urgency 
owing to Mr. Eden's desire to give an answer on two definite points 
before the latter leaves London on Tuesday, August 29. The two 
specific questions on which Mr. Eden desires to give an affirmative 
answer are : 

(1) The attachment to the South East Asia Command Headquar- 
ters of a French Military Mission under General Blaizot, and 

"Not printed, but for substance, see Secretary Hull's memorandum of 
October 10, p. 775. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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(2) The establishment in India of a "Corps LeW d'Intervention" 
which apparently has already been established at Afgiers 

Although these suggestions are ostensibly militaiy in character, 
they have wide political implications and for this reason they are 
being referred to you for decision. If more time is needed for de- 
cision -we can so inform Lord Halifax. 

__^^^^^ C[ordell] H[ull] 


Memorandum, by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State 

Washington, August 2S, 1944 
In regard to your memorandum of August 26th on the subject of 
questions raised by Lord Halifax in reference to French Indo-China 
I suggest tins matter be deferred until after my meeting with the 
Prime Minister m Quebec. 41 

The same thing applies to the Aide-Memoire covering the French 
°°™ tees proposals." It should be remembered that in relation 
to (IV) participation in the planning of political warfare in the Far 
East involves one of the principal partners i.e. China. 

F[ranklin] D. E[oosevelt] 


Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 

[Washington,] October 10, 1944. 
French Participation in Liberation op Indochina 
On August 26, 1944 I sent you a memorandum with a copy of a 
lintish aide-memoire dated August 25 stating that the French had 
requested British approval of: • 

be ( 4&^ 

Indochhi e a ndmg C ° Indla * light int ^ eniion force for later use in 
in & €S& 1; o1 iSoclW * e ^ diti0 ^ force to participate 
Jamn; PartlCiPati0n ^ ** ^^ * P lannin S &* ™ against 
Jt^E^L^ 011 h7 the Frendl b plannin S Political warfare in 

, "5^ u ^ e , D f. ation ° n the Sec0Q d Quebec Conference, September 11-16 1014 
is scheduled tor publication in a subsequent volume o(PwS»«3 19M ' 

OctoSr SfSg? ° f FreDCh **"•* See S ""*«* aSff2SS5„ of 

"South East Asia Command. 




Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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The British requested American concurrence on the first two points 
by August. 29. You informed me orally that you planned to discuss 
the French proposals with the British Prime Minister at Quebec; 
accordingly no reply has been made to the British aide-memoire. 

The Consul at Cofombo has reported that on October 4 it was learned 
from an unimpeachable source that tho British plan to bring a French 
Mission under General Blaizot to SEAC headquarters in the immedi- 
ate future; that full collaboration is to bo given the French Mission 
which will participate officially in activities of the SEAC; that as 
American agreement has not been obtained, the Mission will be ostensi- 
bly unofficial and will be housed at first in a hotel; that as soon as the 
concurrence of the Allies is forthcoming it is planned to move the 
Mission into permanent quarters; and that French parachutists are 
continuing to be trained by the British in groups of four or five for 
clandestine activities in Indochina. 

As you will recall, the British proposed in their aide-memoire that 
all details of French political warfare relating to Indochina should 
be a matter for arrangement between SEAC and the French Military 
Mission, although, according to the latest information in the Depart- 
ment, Indochina is in the China theater and not in tho SEAC theater. 

Will you inform mo whether the reported sending of this Mission 
is in accordance with any understanding which may have been reached 
with Mr. Churchill on the French requests together with an indica- 
tion of whether you desire the Department to take any action? 

C[ordeli,] H[ull} 

' 851G.4S/1O-1044 

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 


[Washington,] October 13, 194-1. 

A letter has been .received from General Donovan, Director of the 
Office of Strategic Services, asking the views of the State Department 
on the following contemplated operations : 

"The staff of the Theater Commander for the CBI " theater has 
under consideration operational plans involving the furnishing of 
supplies and equipment to resistance groups. It is contemplated that 
these operations will be under American command although there will 
be collaboration with the French." 

In amplification of tho foregoing, it was explained orally that the 
proposed assistance would be to resistance groups within Indochina ; 
that the proposed collaboration would be with the French Military 
Mission at Chungking; that such collaboration would not prevent 

"China. Burma, India. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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assistance to all resistance groups whether French or native, but that 
without such collaboration, it would not be possible effectively to 
assist resistance groups among the French military forces in Indo- 
china, and that this would result in retarding resistance efforts. 

Subject to your approval, the Department will reply to General 
Donovan that it has no objection to furnishing supplies and equip- 
ment to resistance groups, both French and native, actually within 
Indochina, nor to American collaboration with the French Military 
Mission at Chungking or other French officers or officials in further- 
ance of the contemplated operations or any other military operations 
in Indochina for the defeat of Japan. 

C[okdejx] II[ui.l] 


Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State 

Washingtox, October 16, 1944.. 

In regard to this Indochina matter, it is my judgment on this date 

that we should do nothing in regard to resistance groups or in any 

other way in relation to Indochina. You might bring it up to me 

a little later when things are a little clearer. 

F[rankxin] D. E[oosevelt] 


Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of European 

Affairs (Matthews)" 

[Washixgton,] Xovember 2, 1944. 
According to Ambassador TVinant's ,6 recollection, Indochina was 
dealt with only briefly at the White House conversation on March 27, 
1943 and in other conversations with Mr. Eden." In the March 27 
conversation the question of trusteeship was discussed at some length, 
Mr. Eden advocating the advantages of national rather than inter- 
national administration. There was considerable inconclusive dis- 
cussion as to the degree to which governments other than the one 
having sovereignty or administrative responsibility for a particular 
area might properly intervene in matters involving the administration 
of the area or its relations with other areas. Mr. Eden emphasized 

"Addressed to the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs 
(Ballantine) and to the Chief of the Division of Southwest Pacific Affairs 

"American Ambassador in the United Kingdom. 

* For correspondence regarding the visit of Mr. Eden to 'Washington, March 12— 
30, 10-13. see Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. nr, pp. 1 ff. 

354-1S3— 63 30 






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the belief that the goal for small colonial areas should be economic, 
social, and political advancement and an autonomous status rather 
than independence, which would subject them to both economic and 
military dangers. 

The Ambassador does not recall that the question of restoring Indo- 
china in full sovereignty in France was discussed at the time but 
expressed the opinion that the French will be highly sensitive about the 
restoration of all parts of their colonial empire to the status quo ante 
and that the British Government will firmly support the French po- 
sition in view of its desire for the closest possible relations with France. 

H. Freeman- Matthews 

740.0011 P.W./11-244 

Memorandum by the Under Secreta?y of State {Stetthuus) to 
President Roosevelt 

[Washington,] November 2, 194-1. 


In order that you may be kept fully informed on developments in , 

relation to Indochina, there has been prepared the memorandum at- 
tached hereto. 

Edward R. Stettinitjs, Jr. 


[Washington,] November 2, 1914. 
Recent Developments in Relation to Indochina 

The following are recent developments in relation to Indochina: 
-Colombo 43 has reported that : 

The British staff at headquarters of SEAC has protested to the 
British Chiefs of Staff in London against the inclusion of Indochina 
in the theatre under the new United States Army Commanding Gen- 
eral in China, urging that Indochina be included in the SEAC theatre. 

The French Military Mission, which is large, has arrived in Ceylon 
and has received American approval and is now recognized openly and 
officially. . Apparently, General Blaizot has not yet arrived. Baron 
de Langlade who parachuted into Indochina some weeks ago with 
a letter of introduction from de Gaulle is also in Ceylon. He spent 
twenty-four hours with French Army officers in Indochina, and stated, 
.upon his return that a basis for a French resistance movement exists 

' Seat of the American Consulate in Ceylon. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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— fT:iit :-£ 

_ i&U - 


there, but reportedly declined to say more until Blaizotfs arrival. 
Blaizot, a Lieutenant General, was formerly Chief of Staff in Indo- 
china. He is a "colonial" general. 

Although SEAC was advised specifically that only military, and 
not political, questions might be discussed with the French Mission, 
political questions are in fact under discussion. 

The British SOE 40 which is actively engaged in undercover op- 
erations in Indochina has recently received orders from the Foreign 
Office that they should have nothing to do with any Annamite or other 
native organizations in Indochina, but are to devote their efforts to 
the French. 

The OWI i0 representative at New Delhi has received indication that 
the British wish OWI activities directed at the native populations in 
Thailand and Indocliina be eliminated so as not to stir up native re- 
sistance to the Japanese and so incite the Japanese to send more troops 
into those areas. Colombo states that it is apparent SOE desires 
severely to restrict OSS 31 operations in the SEAC theatre and to give 
SOE preeminence or, failing that, to establish combined SOE-OS3 

British propaganda agencies are emphasizing the recent appeal by 
the French War Ministry for recruits to participate in the campaign 
for liberation of Indochina on the ground that news of any French 
military- efforts to recover Indochina would encourage the French 
in Indochina. OWI has so far refrained from mentioning the French 
appeal or other phases of French preparations for military participa- 
tion fearing the adverse effect on the native populations in Indo- 
china and elsewhere in the Far East on the restoration of the status 
# quo ante which such preparations would appear to imply. OWI has 
specifically requested State Department guidance on United States 
policy in this regard, and have been advised to be silent on the subject 
despite the anticipated British" broadcasts. 

General Donovan has submitted to the Secretaiy of State a report 
from the OSS representative in SEAC reading in part : 

"There can be little doubt that the British and Dutch have arrived 
at an agreement with regard to the future of Southeast Asia, and now 
it would appear that the French are being brought into the pic- 

iv ' . • WOllld appear that tho strate Sy of the British, Dutch 
and a rench is to win back and control Southeast Asia, making the 
tallest use possible of American resources, but foreclosing the Ameri- 
cans from any voice in policy matters." 

" Secret Operations Executive. 
Office of War Information. 
Office of Strategic Services. 
Omission indicated in the original memorandum. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

740.0011 P.W./11-314 

Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Under Secretary of State 

' (SteUinius) 

"Washington, November 3, 1914. 
I have yours of November second, enclosing memorandum on re- 
cent developments in relation to Indo-China. I wish you would make 
it clear that : 

1. We must not give American approval to any French military 
mission, as it appears vre have done in tho first sentence of the first 

2. Referring to the third paragraph, it must be made clear to all 
our people in the Far East that they can make no decisions on political 
questions with the French mission or anyone else. 

3. We have made no final decisions on the future of Indo-China. 
This should be made clear. 

4. In the final paragraph it is stated the British and Dutch have 
arrived at an agreement in regard to the future of Southeast Asia 
and are about to bring the French into the picture. It should bo made 
clear to all our people that tho United States expects to be consulted 
with regard to any future of Southeast Asia. I have no objection to 
this being made clear to the British, the Dutch or the French. 

F[kanklix] D. R[oosevelt] 

851G.01/11-444 : Telegram 

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State 

Paris, November 4, 1944 — 1 p. m. 
* [Received 2 :37 p. m.} 

316. ReEmbs 279, November 1, 4 [8] p. m." Chauvel Si remarked 
yesterday that Francois most desirous of participating to the greatest 
possible extent its capacity permits in the recovery of Indochina (he 
recalled that little less than a division has been training at two points 
in North Africa for service in the Pacific). He added that there 
is a token detachment of a couple of thousand men already in India. 
Moreover, he said recruiting has been active and training has already 
commenced in metropolitan France for a French expeditionary force 
to the Pacific. It is hoped that these forces may eventually amount 
to two normal divisions. Personnel is to be drawn from -the regular 
army and the FF1; " the whole force is to be under the command of 
General Blaizot (Corps d'Armee) who recently arrived in India. 

B Not printed. 

** Jean Cbauvel, of the French Foreign Office. 

"Forces Franchises de l'lnterieur. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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i ... — i — j.—_ — _ 

.... . .._ :. 

_^_ Lii __ , — 




General Blaizot lias been instructed to report to Lord Louis 
Mountbattcn. 53 

Adverting to France's primary interest in Indochina, Chauvel 
made the point that the French Government is interested not only in 
a French force in India but also would be interested in French units 
to be included in forces widen might strike from the Philippines to- 
ward Indochina if such plans were on foot. 


740.0011 P.W./11-23-M 

The British Ambassador {Halifax) to the Under Secretary of State 


Wasiiixgton, November 23, 1944. 

My Dear Ed :. I send you herewith an Aidc-Memoire concerning 
proposals for the use of the French in pre-operational activities in 

This is a matter which Mountbatten and all of us have very much 
at heart. Until we have the all-clear from your side he cannot effec- 
tively carry out sabotage etc. activities which he is satisfied should 
contribute very considerably to his task. 

You will see that the matter is urgent and I would be grateful if 
you could let us have a very early reply. 

V. sin[cerely,] Halifax 


The British Embassy to the Department of State 


1. In August last His Majesty's Government invited the concur- 
rence of the United States Government in the following proposals: 

(1) The establishment of a French military mission with the South 
East Asia Command. This would facilitate the work of the Secret 
Operations Executive and of the Office of Strategic Services and 
would serve as the nucleus of the operational headquarters which may 
be required later. The function of the mission would be primarily 
to deal with matters concerning French Indo China and it would not 
participate in questions of general strategy. It would, therefore, 
be much on the same basis as the Dutch and Chinese missions attached 
to the South East Asia Command. 

(2) The establishment in India of a "Corps Leger d'Intervention" 
composed at the start of 500 men and designed to operate exclusively 
in Indo China on Japanese lines of communication. The activities of 

"Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Commaud. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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this body would correspond to those of the American and British 
Secret Operational organizations and its establishment could be -with- 
out prejudice to the wider question of from what sources French forces 
participating in the Far East should be equipped. 

(3) French participation in the planning of political warfare in 
the Far East. This would be a matter for arrangement between the 
South East Asia* Command and the French Military Mission. 

2. The United States Chiefs of Staff, from a military point of view 
concurred with these proposals except that they believe that French 
participation in the planning of political warfare should be restricted 
to the area of the South East Asia Command. No further action 
could be taken by them in this matter as it was understood that the 
President had expressed the desire first to discuss the question of 
French Indo China orally with the Prime Minister. 

3. The United States Chiefs of Staff took occasion to point out 
that in their view, French Indo China was part, not of South East 
Asia Command, but of the China Theatre and was an American 
sphere of strategic responsibility. They i - ecogtiised that an oral un- 
derstanding had been come to between Admiral Mountbatten and the 
Generalissimo by which both Commanders would be free to attack 
Thailand and French Indo China, and boundaries between the two 
Theatres would be decided at an appropriate time in the light of 
progress made by the two forces. 

4. This agreement was recognised by the Generalissimo after 
Sextant " as applying to preoperational activities. It has however 
never been formally confirmed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

5. No further steps could be taken in obtaining the necessary ap- 
proval by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the proposals outlined in 
paragraph 1 of this aide-memoire until the President and the Prime 
Minister had had an opportunity to discuss them. It was anticipated 
that this discussion would take place at the Quebec Conference, but 
in fact the subject was never raised. Consequently no further prog- 
ress has been made in this matter which is becominc; increasinilv 

6. Admiral Mountbatten is strongly of the opinion that useful and 
important work on irregular lines could immediately be done in 
French Indo China. The French Army and Civil Service are un- 
questionably anxious to take part in the liberation of the country 
from the Japanese and constitute virtually a well-organised and 
ready-made Maquis. 53 The secret organisations operating from 
South East Asia Command have made contact with these elements 

•"Code wcrd lor the Cairo Conference of December, 1C43; for correspondence 
on this Conference, see Foreign, Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran. 

"French underground force. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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__ £__ i 



and are now in regular communication with them. All that is neces- 
sary to exploit the situation is the presence in South East Asia Com- 
mand of the necessary French personnel from whom alone the French 
in French Indo China will take the direction necessary to produce 
the action required. 

7. Admiral Mountbatten has pointed out that French Indo China 
constitutes an area of vital importance to the operation of his Com- 
mand since it lies on the Japanese land and air reinforcement route to 
Burma and Malaya. Irregular activities therefore on the lines en- 
visaged in the proposals which are the subject of this aide-memoire 
are for him a matter of urgency. ' . . 

8. His Majesty's Government, therefore, earnestly hope that the 
United States Government will concur as to the desirability and 
urgency of pushing on with the irregular operations outlined above 
and will take such action as will make possible the issue of a directive 
by the Combined Chiefs of Staff (a) confirming the oral understand- 
ing already existing between the Generalissimo and Admiral Mount- 
batten, and (5) approving the program set out in the opening para- 
graph of this aide-memoire. Such action would in no way prejudice 
the question of the ultimate settlement of the boundary between the 
China Theatre and the South East Asia Command, which, by the 
agreement between Admiral Mountbatten and the Generalissimo, is 
at present left open, nor the wider question of the participation of 
regular French armed forces in the Far Eastern War. 

"Washington, 22 November, 1944. 



Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Roosevelt 

[Washington,] December 27, 1944. 

With reference to the British aide-memoire of November 22, re- 
questing approval of the French Military Mission to the Southeast 
Asia Command and French military participation in the liberation 
of Indochina, a proposed reply to which was sent to you with a memo- 
randum on December ll, 59 the British are obviously perturbed about 
the situation. 

On December 8 Lord Halifax called at his request and stressed to 
me the importance of a prompt reply. 60 

Ambassador Winant has now reported that Mr. Bennett, head of 
the Far Eastern Department in the British Foreign Office, has ex- 
pressed his concern that the United States apparently has not yet de- 

" Memorandum not printed; proposed reply not found in Department files. 
"Memorandum by. the Secretary of State of this conversation not printed. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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termincd upon its policy towards Indochina. Mr. Bennett stated that 
it would be difficult to deny French participation in the liberation of 
Indochina in-light of the- increasing strength of the French Govern- 
ment in world affairs, and that unless a policy to be followed toward 
Indochina is mutually agreed between our two Governments, circum- 
stances may arise at any moment which will place our two Govern- 
ments in a very awkward situation. Although Mr. Bennett was 
expressing his personal views only, Mr. Winant stated his belief that 
the Foreign Office generally shares these views. 

In a conversation yesterday Lord Halifax again referred to the 
importance which his Government attaches to a prompt decision on 

the questions raised in his aide-memoire. 

Edward It. Stettixius, Jr. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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ftogardine the Fronch saboteurs for Indo-China, to servo under 
Mo^battcn ? the president replied to Secretory Stottinius on 

January 1 (1$^5) • ' 

Copy in KD. 

I still do not want to get nixed uo in any 
Indo-China decision. It is a natter for 
post-./ar.— ... I do not want to get nixed 
up in any nilitary effort toward the libera- 
tion of Indo-China froh the Japanese.— You ' 
can toll Halifax that I nado this very clear 
to Mr. Churchill. Fron both the military and 
civil point of vicv, action at this tir.o is 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Alemcrcnckra of Cbnrersaffoa . 




M « * £ 345 

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PARTICIPANTS: Jijg Bocretsrj 1 

t-crc. Hsliffcx 

^RECTOS ' .'••. 

JAN a 1245 


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Lord Sslifoc celled upon :•.: today at his request, \\z i:v..v.A-.-. J 
i£ : hf-c r-; -tfcir.* to tell hie relctiva to the regt^st Tor Freiich- 
agents tc be sent to Indc-Cb±ns., which Lord acuafb&tten had requested. 
I rspliec that, I fcj\c] iust >:;!•■;.' a ao :e ffcoa the Presides I ssyingJ-2 

-'::-\ he Cottle Eot :\- to this stej at tha present tiae. The 

Anbr.ssr.ccr expressed hit disnpreintnent and said he roulfi reocrt t~2 


this decision tc London inc-edijitel: . *■ td 


•; o-at 










Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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i. r W- -^ 






' ' 

o~ -- 

= - STS= > 



r = - 




WASHINGTON, D.C.: r. - • ' 

■ - 






The Honorable, 

?> I 

The Secretary of State 
Dear Lfr. Secretary: 

. - 

■ ;: 

i - - t 

-- ... . . 

" " " • ■/' 

Reference is nade to your letter of December 22, 
1944, in which you suggest that I nay wish to consider 
whether American participation in certain actions regarding L 
a French Expeditionary Force to participate in the libera- - — ■ 
*tion of Indochina and a light intervention force for clandes- 
tine operations in Indochina is consistent with the instructions 
froa the President. 

The French have conannicated their plans to fora tiro 
divisions for Far Eastern service to the Goabined Chiefs of 
Staff who are now considering the matter. The U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff are aware of the President's instructions. 

lSLth regard to the report that weekly conversations 
are being held between representatives of SB&EF*s Intelligence 
Section and representatives of the French General Staff, British 
SC3 and CS3, to discuss Far Eastern affairs, General Eisenhower 
has been furnished the President's instructions for his guidance 
in the natter of American participation. 









da buy 

W,-1 1-.1T.O 
<{4 { STATE* 

i ..r WAR 

//''•> BONOS 
.if*" ^STAMPS 

I .•" . - -J 


Cat. . 





Sincerely yours, 


Secretary of war. 


55 w 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

- - 

! '• 






/ INC 

'division of 


This telPSraa J.IU 

,,!^^' of ariy !:i nd on so^VUt /.si* * S- ^: ^ »»/ 

^. .pielfieallj t of An , n a 

. ,„ : nT tfi ignored *itb «* <* vlou3 

treated -J*** 3 . _ fl 

: - - ■ ■, intention of avoiding anv -^ ** ■ T 

Lf^f ." ful ,^ and has ncre open- expressed <^ 

«** JafcmesE Pacific ambitions. Ihis 
• aisalEasurE with JapanE&fc 

.^v* talcing the ford of censure g . 
««« t ^ increasingly ^' ai, o 5° 

. expression x, x.c con7 iction tos* i 

t nnese -session and expression oi ^e con, 
•Japanese asb iB - ,^^-^q, -oqq - -« - 

- • n r-;-tely d.oned to failure, J&fr*** ** g>, 

??? 4, 5 p.n.) . - -^ __„^J^ 

• • - ' x^. reared since". 1934 coaeerniJl 

^uch material as has app ,. .__ ,.__. 

Si " • ; 

: ,v : - •' 

■Wrf) .: i 


• i 

w, ■ voo r»ithEr consistently;..- . 
southeast ,sia and Indo-Chxna ha, r.^ g > 

•>!-*.£ to colonial exploitation and 
reflected hostxlx.y ^o eoia 


-: .u 

; : Pi 

Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 


' #118, January 13, * P.a»j frou Moscow via. i--rciy 

The general line has been that thE future of colonial 
peoples IIes in throwing off the yoke of foreign 
domination and achieving indEpendEncE within thE 
general franEWork of Soviet ideas en problems of 

backward pEopies B 

Kn article published in 1956 in a .publication 
callEd "natErial on the national colonial problEn" 
states that economic recuperation in Indo -China in the 
period from 1933 to 1936 was largely illusory and that 
FrEiich imperialism regained v;eak. 

Of more significance was the article written in 
1937 in the "largE Soviet Encyclopedia 11 which accusEd 
French imperialists of seising communal lands in areas 
wherE there had been rebellion and of buying up other 
land from the peasants for nominal suns thus acquiring 
ownership of about one quartEr of the arablE land. 
The same article characterised the situation of wdrkErs 
as severe and the economic life cf the country as being 


completely under the control of a group of oligarchs 
tied in' with thE Indo-China i3ahkV. i-'rEnch imperialism 
was labEllEd as bEing concerned solEly with deriving 
- maximum profits and of bEing active in opposition to 
the local Communist Party which was responsible for 
the organisation and direction of the anti-Imperialist 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 


-'-■» #118, January 13,- £ ,p*n.V fror.i -oscct via Amy 


In 1937 an articlE in "Pacific Ocean/' strongly 
protested agaiast the pro-Fascist administration of 
Indo-China for its anti-Coixmnist activities and 
allEgEd that this activity was designed to assist in 
the -destruction of the Popular Front in' trance* x n 
1938 an article in the Communist International entitled 
•'the battlE of the Indo-Chinese people for unity and 
Trotskyist provocation" again alleged that the Popular 
Front in France was serving the' interest's of the Indo- 
Chinese workers as well as the workers of rrahce, 3?he 
articlE admitted that the workers of Indo-China were 
not Exactly frEE but s tat Ed that an improvement had 
taken place under the Popular Front «'' 

In 1030 the Emphasis was changed sor.Ev.'hat,- ArticlE 
of FEbruary 22 in the LEnin-rad PRAVDA and cnE of April 
.6^ 1939 in PRAVDA called attention to the dangErs of 
. JapanESE aggression* A book callsd "The Pacific Ccean 
Nerve Center, of the SEcoi.d Imperialist war" by' V»* 'Hotyle-.* 
published in 1940 devoted "a chaptEr to southeast Asia,- 
The material was* .largely factual but accused' the PrYnch 
of appeasement' in the facE of grov;ir.g Japanese cmbition 
and asserted that this policy could End only in dEfEat 

50 ; 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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** &18, January 13, 4 p*nu„ from Moscow via «rmy 

for the French. TIUD on ,-arch .16, 1940 published a 
strong attack on French imperialism picturing the French 
Empire as an undeveloped area in which all the profits 
were taken by speculators and administrators and where 
the native populations were seething with resentment 
and- rebellion. Because of these conditions the native 
troups could hardly be of any real value to France and 
hope placed in colored armies was just one more self 
illusion in the plan of the French bourgeoisie «n 
article in PFUVDA September 24, 1940 interpreted the 
Japanese invasion of Indo-China as another step in the 
Japanese offensive which could only lead to armed 
conflict with the United States and Great Britain. 
Two or three other articles in i-ioscow papers at the 
sane tine followed a similar argument and warned the 
British, Americans and Dutch that Indo-China- would be 
used by the Japanese as a springboard for futher 

A half dozen other articles during the course of 
1940 were extremely critical of French colonial policy 
pointing put that this policy made "ths dependent areas 

bear a disproportionately large share of the cost of 

- •. • ' • . - 

- the war and that general' policy had so completely 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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■ , - . . 

#118/ January 13, -1- p.n,, from uoscow via i*rray 

aliEiicted syinpathiES of thE native populations- that the 
only outcome' could be a growth of revolutionary sentiment 
and a willingness to be at least passive in the face of 
Japanese aggression. 

A monograph by A. A. Guber called "Indonesia, 
Chinc" published in 19-1-2 gave thE same Economic intErpre- 
tation of southEast Asia as had been followed in Earlier ■ 
material. It was stated that the betrayal. of the intErest 
of the French people In the war against- Fascism frgEs- to 
some Extent due to thE psrsonal interest of such 
individuals as Laval, these same people being responsible 
for the quick 'agreement with Japan when Japanese demands 
were presented". In contrast to the Vichy attitude the 
underground Communist Party had dene its best to arouse 
the resistance of thE massEs and .explain to them thE 
consEquencEs vihich wguld follow from JapanESE occupation, - 
OnE intErEsting section of this monograph contrastEd- 
FrEnch rulE in Indo-Ghina with that of thE United StatES 
in thE Philippine Islands. It was statEd.that the 
EnlightEnEd and libEral policy of the .Unit Ed StatES had 
resultEd in a vast improvement in the Economic, social 
and cultural conditions of the Filipinos to a point 
where their standard of living was higher than that of 
any other part of thE entire area . Filipinos with 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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-6- ,, ; 11S, January 13, 4 pin;, from .iosccw via Amy 
reason, hod faith in AmErican pr'omiSES fox- their _ 
Eventual independence; That this policy scs the correct 
one was demonstrated by the to resistance of Filipinos 
to thE JapanESE aggression. -. 

Since that time thE only referEncs to southeast 
Asia noted has been in an article in thE publication 
World Economy and *orld Politics written in the fall 
on 19-14 by cidus, a SoviEt publicist who -frequently 
writes and lEcturEs on Japan, He states that Japanese 
success in the arEa has bEEn at least partially due 
to dissatisfaction of the native peoples with the colonial 
system. He adds, howevEr, that thE natiVES are now 
bEcoming aware that JapahesE Exploitation has bEEn shown 
to be thE worst of all. \ 

fcbout a yEar and a half ago the Ftee French represen- 
tation in Jcscow, on its wEEkly radio broadcast from 
• loscow was permitted to report a press relEasE from 
Algiers concErning the future of FrancE in Indo^China . 
This broadcast statEd categorically that Indo- China . 
• would be reintegrated into thE French Empire and that 
thE French Commi'ttEE of National Liberation realizing 
the Earlier mistakes of French colonial policy was 
working on plans for thE .re juvEnation and liberalisation 
. of thE native Economy and future political education 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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■ -irllO, January 15, 4 pVm., from Ac-scow via Amy 

cf the -Indo-Chinese so that they c^uld Eventually play 
an autonomous role within a broader and more general 
French imperial framework to arise out of 'the war. 

The above Exhausts the direct indications of SoviEt 
thinking on this topic available to the Embassy and it 
is obvious that they are decidedly scanty. Further 
deductions can be drawn only 'from our general knowledge 
of Soviet policies and methods in the field of foreign 
affairs.' Combining these deductions with thE indications 
contained in the material above I consider that thE 
following general conclusions may be put forward with 
a rEascnable measure of assurance: ■ • 

(A) It has been made evident in rEcent Expressions 

of Soviet opinion on questions of international security 

that the Soviet Government considers itself, in its 

capacity as cn.E of the grEat powErs cf the Asiatic 

Continent interested from the standpoint of security 

in every country on the Asiatic mainland .. .This interest natural 

varies in intensity according to tliE proximity of the 

country concErned to Russia and it is clEar that for 

thE war pEriod at least the Russians are willing to . 

restrict their interest in India and southeastern Asia 

to a minimum. : * 

> ■ 

- t ■ 

(3) In. line with the above it will be. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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.:»:. £110, January 13, 4 fin?} frou -oscov; . via ^ 

SoyiE-t long tEB* policy to Endeavor, to exert the 
maximum degree of influence with the minimum degree 
cf responsibility in every area of the Asiatic Continent. 
This indicates extensive use cf the technique of 
■penetration in all its shades and variations but the 
farther the respective area lies from Russian borders 
the less will the Soviet Government be inclined to 
sacrifice for these purposes.- This policy should net 
be confused with the conception of u communis ing n or 
forcing Soviet forms on persons in that area. There 
is no indication that the Soviets would have any 
particular interest in anything of that sort at the 
present juncture. 

(C) For the duration of the war -la the Pacific " nd 
unless other foreign influences intervene Soviet influence 
in Indo-China will probably be directed toward the 
undermining and elimination of Japanese power ; : • The 
question of French imperialism will probably be soft- 
pedalled since an overemphasis along that line might 
tend to confuse and obstruct the immediate objective 
which is the disruption of Japanese power.* 

■.(D) The character of Soviet policy toward French 
indo-China will' probably always be strongly affected 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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... #118, January 13,. -^ p.m,-, from Moscow "via ;*riny 
by the strength of thE Russian position in China, To 
thE Extent that Russia is successful in bringing about 
thE Establishment ??? southern China, of political 
authority subservient to Soviet influence she will be 
activE and insistent in her Efforts to discredit and 
eliminate any internal elEnents In French Indo-China 
not amenable to Russian influence and any unwelcome 
.foreign penetration in that area. If she encounters 
hEavy sledding in China a different policy may bE 
indicated. The Kremlin always charges what the traffic 
will bear. 

(E) The Soviet attitude toward the maintenance 

of thE French position in Indo-China aftEr the war 
may bE influenced by a General Soviet tendency to 
discourage further Expansion of western military, naval 
and air power on the Asiatic mainland. If it- appears 
that the disruption of French power would create a 
vacuum which could bE filled by a westErn power stronger 
than France thE SoviEts might bE inclinEd to support 
thE maintenance of French administration, provisionally 
and temporarily - s the less dangerous alternative-. In . 
any case, Russia should not be expected to consent 
cheerfully and without compensation to any further 


establishment of western military and naval power in 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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_-f» ,,-118, January 13, 4 ?.;::«, fron Moscow via Army 
tbat arEa, If Russia accepts such a d^yslopnEnt she 
will do so only grud^in^ly^ in return fo;-> & handsor.k 
quid pro .quE,, or in defErsnco to unanswsrablE f crcE , 



Garbled portions SErvicEcli 

- 3 

57 . 



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740.0011 P.W./2-C I-" : T.-Wmm V^'aJ'J..-. -Wi-'i'i i ~.i -liJ 

2%6 Ambassador in China (Hurley) to the Secretary of State 

Ckcxgicixg, February c>, 1043 — 2 p. m. 
[Received 2: 25 p. m.J 

177. ReEmbs 116, January 26, 3 p. m.* (1) Following is substance of 

*X«r i>i-iiiicii. 
i pr-wvi'p w of February 2 between French Military Attache and .Gen- 
eral Wpdpmgyer. " whjrii latter lias authorized me. unreport, to. State., 

"T.r. Gen. AUiert C. Weflem eyef. Commanding General of United States Forces, 
China Theater. 

Department: Japanese are now assuming a more exacting and arro- 
gant role in Indochina where they are concentrating. stronger forces. 
Should they demand that French troops disarm and disband, those 
who can will disperse into hills where they will continue to conduct 
underground and guerilla act ivities, bnl some units may be compelled 
■to retire to Yunnan. In such event, they would urgently require 
medical and communications equipment. Tie expressed special con- 
cern over i lie attitude of the Chinese toward (hose troops who might he 
forced over the .frontier into China and suggested thai a competent 
member of the French mission now with General Flat rat ton be des- 
patched to Chungking as liaison officer at American headquarters here. 
(2) Consonant with standing instnjetions from War and State 
Departments^ Genera! TTede-mey er re portshe has maintained non- 
committal policy vis-a-vis Indochina. In this particular instance lie 
stiite's" he in formed Fren ch _Mi titan- Aftflchj* that situation latter 
described was probably well known to leaders of French and Ameri- 
can Governments and that it would have to be dealt with by competent 
higher authorities. This Embassy has consistently advised the 
French here that policy on Indochina must originate in "Washington 
and Paris, not in Chungking. Wcdem eyer states that JFrench .. are 
viilimiarily^i'ui-nishing valuable mi'unnaiiuii to his headquarters and' 
1-ith Air Force and would like this to be eontinuedj . 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Extract from Memorandum of Conversation 
between President Roosevelt and 
Marshal Stalin, Livadia Palace, 
February 8, 19^5, 5^5 p.a. 1 

THE PRESIDENT then said he also had in mind a 
trusteeship for Indochina. He added that the 
British did not approve of this idea as they wisned 
to Kive it back to the French since they feared 
the implications of a trusteeship as it might 
affect Burma . 

MARSHAL STALIN remarked that the British had 
lost Burma once through reliance on Indochina, 
md it was not his opinion that Britain was a 
sure country to protect this area. He adaed 
that he thought Indochina was a very important area. 

THE PRESIDENT said that the Indo Chinese 
were people of small stature, like the Javanese 
and Burmese, and were not warlike. He added that 
France had done nothing to improve the natives 
since she had the colony. He said that General 
<3e Gaulle had asked for ships to transport Frencn 
forces to Indochina. 

MARSHAL STALIN inquired. where de Gaulle was 
going to get the troops. 

THE PRESIDENT replied that de Gaulle said he 
was going to find the troops when the President 
could find the ships, but the president aaded tha, up 
to the present he had been unable to find tne snips. 

"^"Handbook of Far Eastern Conference Discus- 
sions" (Historical Division Research Project No. o2, 
•November 19^9), PP- E24-E25, top secret. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 




Department of State 

' o 





February 14, 1945 

: :-■' i a -J- ~ i 



With reference to the attached 
despatch from Chungking, I fear that there 
is a lump in the General's mashed potatoes 
I gather that he speaks his mind to the 
representatives of the "imperialistic 
powers" and then announces that he is not 
responsible for our policy. All in all 
it strikes me as a rather extraordinary 
performance . 

The attached note from the French is 
also an extraordinary document for one 
Embassy to deliver to another. 




. . - • 
. ■ - ■ 
, ■ 

ft i^y 

WE: JCKBonbright : BS 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 




Chungking, China 
January 51, 1945 

No. Ill 

Subject: Position of French Provisional Government 
r- i^-regard,,to_Indochina. 

K ' J 

' -■:■ 




Qu. The .Honorable 

£^ The Secretary ^oT~Sta^fce7 

^o? - V ■' Washington, D. C. 

i^ : . T - . 

a £Sirr: £ ' 

-■-. / ' ■■■-'■'':' - 








,i*.' Achilles Clarac, Counselor of the French Embassv 
called on Counselor Atcheson on January 26, 1945 and handed 
him toe enclosed "note" in French with English translation 
which he requested be forwarded to the American GoSerraent." 
The note appears to be self-explanatory. Mr. Atoheson^Se 
no comment to Mr. Clarac in regard to its contents. 

j • 
I am forwarding the note without taking any other action 
bending instructions from the Department in regard to policy 4 

J f r?r n J n %* S ?. rar as J ** Personally concerned? I 7 c 

have let the diplomatic representatives of the so-called s 
imperialistic governments with interests in southeast Asia 
know that I am personally opposed to imperialism but that ' 
I am not making the policy of the United States on that 
subject. I have remarked to them that the United States is ' 
committed to the proposition that governments should derive , -• 
their just powers from the consent of the governed. I have' 
said tnat I personally adhere to the principles of the Atlantic 
Charter wnich provides that we shall "respect the riant of all 
peoples to choose the form of government under which they wil3 
live .1 have -commented that French imperialism and French 
monopolies in Indochina seem to me to be in conflict with those 
principles. However, I have emphasized, as indicated above,!? , 
-that I am personally not making the policy of my Government!.": 5 
I have accordingly suggested to the French that they should £ R 
look to Washington and Paris and not to us here for clarification 
of America's policy in regard to Indochina. *££^ 

• In connection with my opinion on this subject I refer ^ 
also to the speeches made early in the war by Prims Minis terV^l 

Churchill, Secretary Hull and President Roosevelt which indi- 
cate clearly the principles of liberty for which we are M 

K^Ji? 8 ***- 3 ^ 6 P rlnci P les are also set out definitely in Kft 
the Atlantic Charter. . j * Kg 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

Air Mail 



One aspect of the maneuvers in China of the imperialistic 
powers which has struck me since the beginning of my solourn 
here is the assistance rendered to them (especially to the 
British) by American lend lease. The British intelligence 
arid other agencies in China are supplied by air in lend lease 
P i\" eS Vv. Gen , e ^ A. Carton do Y/iart, Personal Representative 
of Mr. Churchill and head of most of the widespread British 
intelligence system in China, has a personal American lend 
lease plane. It has been my observation that 3ritish agents 
here are opposed— some of them frankly so—to our policy of 
working for a strong, united and democratic China. China is 
not, of course, the only part of the world in which American 
lend lease has been used, is being used and will bo used for 
the purpose of defeating the principles for which we profess 
to be fighting this war. I do not blame the British or other 
lend lease beneficiary governments for employing lend lr-ase 
I or other aid to attain their ends. I feel that it is at 
• least in part our fault that they are able so to do. ^rom 
my observations in China I am of the opinion that responsibility 
for this situation rests in considerable measure upon ourselves 
for failure to implement concretely the policy to which we are 
committed. The apparent continuing lack of affirmative 
American policy on the question of the future status of 
Indochina will eventually result in a vitiation of what I 
understand to be among the fundamentals of our war aims 
insofar as that country is concerned. 

. * . 

Respectfully yours, 

U Enclosure: 


As stated. 

' ,1 


• - 

Ozalid original to the Department 

PJHtrcb ' 
800 - I 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 633 16. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

( Enclosure to Despatch No. Ill," dated January 31, 19L5 V 
from the American 2nbassy, Chungking, China.) 



No • ....«••••• 


Tchongking, le 20th January 1945 


The political position taken, by the Provisional 
Government of the French Republic regarding Indochina is 
plain. A few sentences will be sufficient to make it clear. 

' ■ ■ • . . - . ■• 

First, France cannot admit any discussion about the 
principle of her establishment in Indochina. Her presence 
founded on agreements consistent with international lav/ and 
established on the immense task carried out by her for the 
sake of the Indochinese population has never been disputed 
by any Power. The occupation of Indochina by the Japanese 
has not changed anything in that state of things. This 
occupation is nothing but a war incident similar to the 
invasion by the Japanese forces of Ilalaya, of the Netherlands 
East Indies and Burma. The activity of the underground 
movement, the formation of the expeditionary forces that we 
are ready to send to the Far East, are a clear proof of 
the energy with which France intends to take part in the 
liberation of those of her territories that have been 
momentarily torn away from her by the enemy. 

This being clear, the French Government are prepared 
to consider with its allies all the measures that may be 
taken to insure security and peace for the future in the 
Pacific area; _it expects that its participation in those 
measures will be the one it is entitled to get owing to 
the importance of French interests in the Far Fast. 

Furthermore, the French Government has already fixed 
at the Brazzaville conference the principles of the policy 
it means to 'follow in its overseas possessions. Accordingly 
it will set up together with the populations concerned 
the statue of Indochina on a basis that will secure for 
the Union a satisfactory autonomy within the frame of the 
French Empire. Besides, Indochina will be granted an 
economic regime that will enable her to profit widely by 
the advantages of international competition. Such decisions, 
having no international character, come within the competence 
of the French Government only. Thoroughly aware of the 
importance of the principles 'at stake in the present war, 
France will not shrink from her responsibilities. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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For the time being, however, France's concern in 
the Far 3ast is mainly military. As early as Juno 1943. 
the French Committee of National Liberation made it known 
to its allies that it considered that zone as one where it 
would be extremely desirable for all the interested parties 
to set utd a thorough military collaboration. On the 4th 
of October 1943, it decided to form an Expsditionary Force 
that would take part in western Pacific operations and in 
the liberation of Indochina. In the meanwhile the French 
Government has established in Indochina itself a network of 
■ connections with the French and Indochlnese underground. 
By this action, the efficacity of which has been proved by 
the French Forces of the Interior in France, it will 
suDuort the assault of the forces attacking from without 
and" help them in their task in a way that can be decisive. 

' The French Government has informed Washington and 
\ London of all the measures it has taken in that respect. 
It "asked several timers that the Expeditionary Forces should 
be sent on the spot and used to the best; but the answer 
was that the decision belonged to President Roosevelt and 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff. This agreement has not yet 
been given. Yet, the French Government is prepared to have 
its expeditionary forces used on the American as well as 
on the* British theatre of operations. Considering there- 
fore the part France is entitled to ask and ready to take 
in the military operations in the Pacific, it would be 
advisable that' she should be admitted to the Pacific War 
Council and particularly to the Sub-Committee responsible 
for" the operations involving French Indochina./. 

. - 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

740.0011 I'\V/:!-l".-J.". : 3fel»KM1il 

The Anibcmador in France (Caficry) to the. Secretary of State 

Paris, March 18, 1045—7 p. in. 
[Received March 1-1—1 :23 p. in.] 

linn. General de Gaulle" asked me to conic to see htm at G. lie 

"Con. Charles to Gaulle, Heart r>f Hie I'rovisfimnl French Government. 

spoke in very quiet, affable, friendly fashion, but this is what be said: 
""We have received word that om- troops still fighting in Indochina' 
have a ;viiealedJc>:-.uid to your- military authorities-ill China and the 
British military authorities in Burma. We_have received, word that 
they replied that under instructions no aid could be sent.["] They 
were given to understand that the British simply followed our lead. 
He said also that several expeditionary forces for Indochina had 
been prepared: Some troops were in North Africa, some in southern 
France and some in Madagascar, and the British had promised to 
transport them but at the last minute they were, given to understand 
that owing to American insistence fchey could not transport them. He 
obie-rved: "This worries me a great deal for obvious reasons and it 
comes at a particularly inopportune rime. As I told Mr. Hopkins 1 " 

"Harry tu Hopkins, Special Assistant ;>■ I'ws'iclenl Roosevelt 

when lie was here, we do not understand your policy. What fire you 
driving at? Do you want us to become, for example, one of the fed- 
erated states under the Russian aegis? The Russians are advancing 
apace, as yon well know. When Germany falls they will be upon us. 
If the public here comes to realize that you are against its in Indochina 
there will be terrific disappointment and nobody knows to what that 
will lead. We do not want to become Communist : we do not want to 
fall into the Russian orbit, but I hope thai you do not push us into it." 

He then went on to say that difficulties were being created too in re- 
gard to the promised armament— difficulties he could nor understand 
unless that were part of our policy too. I told him I had been given 
to understand that the armament was arriving here as promised. 

In any event. I said., 1 would telegraph at once to Washington all_ 
"that lie had said. 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 



March l6, 19145 


Sub j e c t ; In do-China . 

Communications have been received from the Provisional 
Government of the French Republic asking for: 

(1) Assistance for the resistance groups now 
fitting the Japanese in Indo-China. 

(2) Conclusion of a civil affairs agreement 
covering possible future operations in Indo-China. 

These memoranda have been referred to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff in order to obtain their views concerning 
the military aspects of the problems, and I shall communi- 
cate with you further on the subject upon receipt of the 
Joint Chiefs' reply. 

Attached herewith is the text of a recent telegram 
from embassador Caffery describing his conversation with 
General de Gaulle on the subject of Indo-China. Prom 
this telegram and de Gaulle *s speech of March ll\., it 
appears that this Government may be made to appear respon- 
sible for the weakness of the resistance to Japan in 
Indo-China. The British may likewise be expected to 
encourage this view. It seems to me that without prej- 
udicing in any way our position regarding the future of 
Indo-China we can combat this trend by making public our 
desire to render such assistance as may be warranted by 
the circumstances and by the plans to vhich we are already 
committed in the Pacific area. To this end I attach a 
draft of a su^ested statement for publication, subject 
to your approval, by the State Department. 

/s/ 5. it. Stettinius, Jr. 


1. Proposed Statement. 

2. Copy of telegram 

from Ambassador Caffery } [hot included here] . 

S ".., C r( 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 


The action of -the Japanese Government in tearing 
,. raY t v e V ei] with which it for so Ion,, attempted to 
filoak its domination of Indo-China is a direct conse- 
quence of the ever-mounting pressure which our arms 
are applying to the Japansse Snplre. It is a link in 
the ciiain of events which be^an so disastrously in the 
summer of 19kl with the Franco- Japanese egreement for 
the "cordon defense" of Indo-Chins. It is clear that 

this latest step in the Japanese progrcm will in 
Ion' run prove to he of no avail. 


The Provisional Government of the French republic 
has requested armed assistance for- those who are resist- 
In? the Japanese forces in Indo-China. In accordance 
Sth its constant desire to aid all those '^f re willing 
to take up ems against our common enemies, this Govern- 
rnent vill do all it can to be of assistance in the present 
5tuaS«, consistent with plans to whioh it is already 
coStted'and with the operations no. takx ng pi ace in ne 
PaMftc. It £4oes without saying that ell cms country s 
Mailable resources are being devoted to the defeat of 
our" enemies and they .will continue to be employed in tne 
manner best calculated to hasten their downfall. 


Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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851G-. 00/3-17^-5 

S h C n. L T 

fflS" 'vEI'IC BOUSE 


March 17, 19!^ 


The Secretary of State 

By direction of the President, there is 
returned herewith Secretary of State Memorandum of 



.6 March, subject Indo-China, v.hich includes a pro- 
>osed statement on the Japanese action in Indo-China. 

The President is of the opinion thc.t it is 
inadvisable . at the present time to issue the proposed 

/s/ William D. Leahy 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

740.0011 P. W. /.",-! 04." 

Memorandum of Conversation, by t&el&MS&tnl Secretary of State 


[■Washington-.] March 19, 1945. 
Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) about six o'clock the French Am- 
bassador called me by telephone and asked whether he could come 
to see me. I immediately offered to go to the Embassy, which he 
accepted. When I arrived there he informed me that under instruc- 
tions from his Government, Admiral Fenard \va s_laTdng-Mp-3vith 
A dmiral Leahy " i th e/foil ow big matt er. 

"Adm. William IX Leahy, Chief of Staff to rhe Commander In Chief of ihe 
Army and Xavy. 

He said the Fotuteenth ^yr-Foxce-oi the United .St .a tfiS forces, in 
China bad plan es loaded .and all ready to transport supplies and nuini-. 
tioiis to units of the French force.-, in Tndo-China which were resist- 
ing the imposition of total control over Tndo-China by the Japanese, 
this imposition having been recently inaugurated by the Japanese 
forces in Indo-China. He said the French Government had direct 
reports from the resistance forces in Indo-China to the effect that 
if they were granted assistance they would be able to make a very 
good showing against- the Japanese effort to take over the whole coun- 
try. He said that his Government requested that authorizat i on be 
given by the United States Chiefs of Staf f to send these supplies for- 
ward tot)Te*French,; that Admiral Fenard was making this request of 
Admiral' Le ahv-aud he asked the State Department to make a similar 
request of the President for authorization for United States assist- 
ance to these, resistance forces. 

M r. McCloy.Assisiaiii S^rr;ary..oLWar,..telephoned me this morn- 
ing \to~say that Admiral Fenard had made the above request to Ad- 
miral Leahy and that Admiral. .Leahy had authorized .the. ..War 
Department to *".u\ a message to General. Wedemeyer giving him 
authority to send whatever assistance could be spared without 
interfering with the war effort of the American and Chinese forces. 
Mr. AlcCloy said he would send me a copy of the authorization which 
was being sent to Gener al. Wjgdenieyer, for our information. I am 
asking: Mr. Bolilen ,T to discuss this matter a little further with .Ad- 

' : Charles K. Kohlen. Assistant t<. the Secretary erf State. 

niiral_Leahy_as it has occurred to me that it might be well for this 
Department to be in a position to inform the French Ambassador 
here of the action which has been taken in response to his request and 
also to inform Ambassador Calf ery in Paris in order that he may know 
the latest developments in this situation. 

James Clement Dcxx 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
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Karch 20, 19l£ J ..^~ . 

/9r -••!■ *)< 



Er. ixyin, 

I war 20 r: 

V"-te»l MR. DUNN „<-■ 

The attached nonorandua and enclosure, 
dated March 19* regarding Indo-Cbina is 

transmitted for your Jnfomation. 


o • 







— V 







! O 

« o 









j Rev ' 


1 ' __. 

cc: Up. Door,an 

Up. Eoribright 



to t" 1 

S3 -O 








Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

9 i 




Ey /uthcrity of A«,C. of S«. C?D 
3/19/16 (RRS) 

(19 %wh lpl£) 

Fourteenth Air Force is reported by Achiral Fensrd 
to be ready to aid French resistance, bat ru3t fir 
receive pernission froa Washington* The U. S» Govern- 
nent's present attitude, accordir.2 to informal state- 
ment, is to aid French, providing each ':ance does 
not interfere with operations noil planned. Farther 
details will follow, but for the present, T.lthin Vb :■■ 
■ "limitations imposed by above policy, operations against 
the Japanese in Indo-China to aid the French nay be 
undertaken by the Fourteenth Air Force,, 



Cleared by Col. KcComack 0-HS) 



Declassified per Executive Order 13526, Section 3.3 
NND Project Number: NND 63316. By: NWD Date: 201 1 

740.00*.! PW/3-1245 

The Secretary of StatfitTtM'FMi^i^^B^^k&iHSorvnet) 

The Secretary of State presents his cornplhnents to His Excellency 
the Ambassador of rhc French Republic and acknowledges the receipt 
of the Embassy's note Xo. 303 of March 12, 104"> on the matter of the 
Japanese occupation of French Indo-China. 

The Government of the United States has given most careful and- 
sympathetic consideration to the, subject matter of the communication 
of the Provisional Government of the French Republic It has also 
given consideration to all available information in regard to recent- 
events in Indo-China. The deep concern of the Provisional Govern- 
ment in regard to the situation is fully appreciated. 

"With regard to the request that the. Government of the United States 
intervene with the Combined Chie fs of Staff to the end that Allied 
Forces ' the Par Bast vvill fyrj ijjj Lmiediate assistance to the French 
resistance in Hido-China, it is noted that this subject is already befor e 
the Conjbined Chiefs of Stall" in the form of a letter from General de 
St. Dldier mid there accordingly jtppear s to he no. reason for. further 
presentation, of the matter to the -Combined. Chiefs-oLSlafi' by the 
Government of the "United Suites at ihistime. 

"With regard to the suggestion that Use American Air For ce s and 
troops based in China intervene in favor of the French Forces in Indo- 
China, the Secretary of State is glad to confirm the information given 
the. Ambassador orally some days ago thai t he America n _A.ii: .Forces 
in China have already assisted the French Forces in Indo-China and 
have been authorized for the present, in aid of the French, to tinder- 
take operations against, the Japanese in Indo-China, provided such 
action does not -interfere with operations planned elsewhere. The 
resources of the Allied .Forces in the Far Fast in men, munitions, and 
transportation must be concentrated on and employed in attaining 
our main objectives, and the. Ambassador will therefore readily ap- 
preciate that no commitment can lie given with regard to the amount- 
or character of any assistance which may be provided. However, in 
appreciation of the importance and urgency which the French Pro- 
visional Government attaches to this question, immediate steps are 
beino- taken to ascertain whether any further assistance can be given 
from the China Theater to the resistance groups in Indo-China without 
jeopardizing the over-all war effort in other areas. The Secretary of 
State will be happy to keep the Ambassador informed of any further 
development? jn that regard. 

"Wasiiixot< x, April 4, 1945.