As a result of informal and confidential conversations with a number of French Foreign Ministry officials, I submit the following as a general outline of the French Foreign Ministry views on certain topics which the French may bring up during de Gaulle’s visit…
2. Indochina: In addition to certain specific economic ideas for Indochina contained in my 4919, Aug. 14 the French are much concerned about Indochina particularly over possible Chinese designs. They say frankly that with the defeat of Japan special privileges in China including the French Concession in Shanghai are a thing of the past and that to maintain the French position in the Far East they must modify their former policy in Indochina. Generally speaking Chauvel and certain other officials believe that the best means of maintaining the French position in Indochina is to adopt a policy with respect to Indochina “which will have certain advantages for the US and Britain and which therefore will insure American and British interest in the future of Indochina.” As Chauvel put it “we should like eventually to operate Indochina in a general way as we operated the French Concession in Shanghai which was not only a lucrative business for us but which also was advantageous to the other occidental powers. Furthermore in the coming difficult period in the Far East Indochina will be the only real foothold on the Asiatic mainland for the occidental democracies (France, Great Britain and the US).” While the foregoing views appear still somewhat nebulous Chauvel said that Plevan shares them and is advocating such a policy to de Gaulle.