Volume #16 - 1048.|
INDOCHINE : RECONNAISSANCE
Note du sous secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 21 février 1950|
I attach, as you requested, a draft memorandum to Cabinet on the question of recognition of the Indo Chinese states of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. The memorandum recommends that.no action be taken at this time to recognize the IndoChinese states.' A further recommendation is made that, in order to avoid misinterpretation of this by the French, you might, under appropriate circumstances in the House of Commons, make a sympathetic reference to the establishment of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos as associate states in the French Union.
2. With regard to the second part of the recommendation in the Cabinet memorandum, I enclose for your consideration the following:
(1) A very brief statement on Indo China† which might be made in reply to an inspired question in the House of Commons.
(2) A lengthier statement,† which you might wish to incorporate in your speech on foreign policy-4
E. R[EID] for A.D.P. H[eeney]
Projet d'une Note pour le Cabinet
RECOGNITION OF THE INDO CHINESE STATES OF VIET NAM,
On February 3 we received notes from the French Ambassador in Ottawa, informing us that the French Government had ratified the treaties constituting Viet Nam (under Bao Dai), Cambodia and Laos as associate states within the French Union and requesting that we recognize these states.
Recognition has been extended to the three states by the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium. The Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Government have recognized the rebel "Democratic Republic of Viet Nam", led by the Communist Ho Chi Minh.
Arguments for Recognition
(1) The main argument is political. Indo China is a region of strategic importance in South East Asia. Bao Dai and Ho Chi Minh are both striving for the support of Indo Chinese nationalists. The Soviet and Peiping governments have moved to a strengthen the hand of Ho Chi Minh by according him recognition.
(ii) The French might interpret reluctance on our part to recognize Bao Dai as evincing lack of confidence in French policy in Indo China.
(iii) The Communist party in France is waging an active propaganda campaign against the Bao Dai regime in Indo China. They are concentrating on this issue in the hope of dividing the Socialists from the other moderate parties in France. This situation is a cause of grave embarrassment to the French government. Recognition of Viet Nam might be some contribution to internal stability in France, in the face of this Communist threat.
Arguments against Recognition
(1) Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos do not fulfil the customary legal requirements for recognition of states. These governments have not themselves yet ratified the agreements concluded with the French. Even under the terms of the agreements, the French retain a large measure of control over foreign affairs, defence and finance. Furthermore, Bao Dais government is in effective control over only a limited part of the territory of Viet Nam. Ho Chi Minh, on the other hand, controls a large area and for the present appears to have the acquiescence of a considerable portion of the inhabitants of this area.
(ii) Asian states, led by India, have been unsympathetic to the Bao Dai government. Mr. Nehru stated at Colombo that he lacked confidence in French intentions to effect a real transfer of power and he regarded Bao Dai as a puppet of the French, who would be unable to gain nationalist support. Canadian recognition would result in an undesirable "white versus Asiatic" alignment within the Commonwealth on this issue.
(iii) Canada has no direct interest in Indo China, nor would Canadian recognition of the Bao Dai government greatly influence the situation. There is not the political necessity therefore, at the moment, for Canada to disregard the arguments in (i) and (ii) above.
(iv) By withholding recognition, Canada might be in a position to influence the French government to make an effective transfer of power to Bao Dai.
It is recommended that (i) no action be taken at this time to recognize the states of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos; (ii) in order to avoid misinterpretation of this by the French, the Secretary of State for External Affairs might, under appropriate circumstances in the House of Commons, make a brief and sympathetic reference to the establishment of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos as associate states within the French Union; (iii) the French Ambassador be informed that the question of recognition of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos is being given further consideration.
'" Note marginale:/Marginal note: