Volume #18 - 1008.|
RECONNAISSANCE DU VIETNAM, DU LAOS ET DU CAMBODGE
Note du secrétaire d'État par intérim aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le Cabinet
le 1er novembre 1952|
RECOGNITION OF VIETNAM, LAOS AND CAMBODIA|
When it previously considered this question on February 23, 1950, the Cabinet agreed with the recommendation that "recognition be not extended at this time to the Indochinese states," although some encouragement to the French and to the new states was given in a sympathetic reference to their establishment in a statement to the House. Since then, the French have continued to urge Canada to extend recognition to the three states and the question has been frequently under review in the Department. Indochina continues to be one of the most critical soft spots in Asia which the Communists are probing. The struggle being waged by the French and Indochinese to hold them in check is relentless and costly. In the context of the cold war, particularly of its intensification in Asia, there is now some political urgency for Canada to reconsider its stand on Indochina.
2. The remarks in this memorandum, while primarily applicable to Vietnam, would have similar application to Laos and Cambodia. The territory of Vietnam, except the delta of the Mekong and Red Rivers and a few garrison posts along the lines of communication, is largely under the control of the Vietminh which has the support of a strong anticolonial nationalist movement. Many of the moderate nationalists are still adopting a "wait and see" attitude toward the struggle for control of the country. There is no apparent alternative to the Bao Dai regime at the present time except that of Communist Ho Chi Minh. Moreover, although the French have not given Bao Dai enough power to satisfy the nationalist aspirations of even some of his supporters, they have given him as much as, or perhaps more than, his weak administration can manage.
3. The United Kingdom, in extending recognition early in 1950, employed the following formula:
"His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom recognizes the status of Vietnam as an Associate State within the French Union in accordance with the terms of the Agreement dated March 8, 1949, between President Auriol and His Majesty Bao Dai and recognizes the Government of His Majesty Bao Dai as the Government of that state."
This formula was adopted by a number of other states including Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa, and falls considerably short of full recognition of a sovereign state and government. The United States extended "diplomatic recognition" without qualification or explanation.
4. Factors for recognition
The military forecast for 1953 points to a continued stalemate in Indochina. There is reliable evidence that France is facing grave difficulties in supporting major military efforts in both Europe and Indochina and in maintaining its position in North Africa. If present trends continue, they may in the long run weaken the French Union's ability and determination to continue resistance in Indochina. Accordingly, any encouragement which can be given to the Franco Vietnamese forces to hold on would be desirable.
5. The opinion is widely held in France that it is getting the short end of the stick in its NATO association; while the French alone must bear the responsibility of safeguarding western strategic interests in Indochina, they are being asked to make increased efforts to meet NATO commitments, to approve German rearmament and to work harder toward European unity - under the shadow of severe criticism of their colonial policy on Tunisia and Morocco. Anything Canada could do at this time to improve French morale would no doubt be of assistance in helping them to bear these burdens.
6. Thirty-three governments have thus far recognized the Government of Bao Dai. The list includes the majority of Canada's-NATO-colleagues, who, would no doubt welcome Canadian recognition as moral support for France, and ultimately for NATO. Such a move would contribute towards a manifestation of the political solidarity of the democracies on cold war problems in Asia.
7. In the Council for Technical, Co-operation of the Colombo Plan, Canada has in effect had direct dealings with representatives of Vietnam, Laos' and Cambodia, now full members of the Council. Canada has also voted in favour of the admission of these three, states to a number of the United Nations Specialized Agencies. Whereas neither of these actions necessarily constitutes recognition by Canada, they have likely been interpreted by the states concerned as indicating a possible trend in that direction. Moreover, at the present session of the General Assembly, Canada will, if the issue is raised, support the admission to the United Nations of these three-states. This might be interpreted as constituting implied recognition by Canada.
8. Factors against recognition
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia do not fulfil the customary legal requirements for the recognition of states. Nor do their governments fulfil the customary legal requirements for the recognition of governments. Since the signing of the 1949 agreements, whereby France granted considerable independence in domestic matters but retained a large measure of control over foreign affairs, defence and finance, there has been little change in the basis of this relationship; and in practice the three states cannot be considered as independent. The present indications are that this situation is likely to continue for some time to come.
9. The strongest argument against recognition is the negative attitude of the other non-Communist states of Asia (excluding South Korea and Thailand) and of the Middle East (excluding Jordan). Their refusal to recognize the Indochinese states seems to be based primarily on distrust of French intentions. Canadian action at this time to recognize the states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and their governments might attract unfavourable attention in a number of other Asian and Middle East States, particularly in India and Pakistan, and might weaken our advantageous position as a "neutral" on colonial questions. The undesirable "white versus Asian" alignment, already too prevalent in the Commonwealth, might recur on this issue.
10. Recognition would probably mean little to the governments concerned, unless it were accompanied with more concrete assistance.
In essence the question of recognizing the states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and their governments is one in which our reluctance to recognize governments, which do not fulfil the customary legal requirements and which are frowned upon by most of the neighbouring countries in Asia, must be weighed against our desire to assist a NATO colleague, sorely tried by foreign and domestic problems, and to bolster such limited independence as the governments themselves now possess. My opinion is that the political factors, in particular the NATO considerations, override the legal and other objections. I am therefore recommending that Canada extend recognition to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
12. My recommendation is qualified by the suggestion that we grant recognition in accordance with the formula adopted by the United Kingdom and other states, that is, that Canada recognize each of the Indochinese states as "an Associate State within the French Union in accordance with the terms of the Agreement dated March 8, 1949, between President Auriol and His Majesty Bao Dai and recognizes the Government of His Majesty Bao Dai as the government of that state." Recognition would then not constitute recognition, in the usual sense of the word, of three new, fully sovereign states in the international community and of fully independent governments, but would only constitute a recognition of treaty arrangements.
13. Moreover, careful consideration should be given to the timing of a notification of Canadian recognition. In order to minimize the undesirable effect of such recognition in friendly Asian countries, the announcement might be timed so as not to coincide with the results of voting in the General Assembly on issues, on which Canada might be obliged to take a stand opposite to that of friendly Asian countries, especially India and Pakistan.