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Cablegate: A Bit of Cao Dai History

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2001HOCHI00488 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7831

PAGE 01 HO CHI 00488 260658Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 SMEC-00 COME-00
DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00
VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00
PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00
USIE-00 SNIS-00 NISC-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02
G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W
------------------E412B4 260658Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4967
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMEMBASSY PARIS
USMISSION GENEVA
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMCONSUL HONG KONG
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000488

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/JMARTIN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00488 260658Z
STATE ALSO FOR DRL/IRF
CINCPAC FOR FPA
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN
DEPTTREAS FOR AJEWELL
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: A BIT OF CAO DAI HISTORY

1. POLOFF RECENTLY MET WITH A CAO DAI RELIGIOUS ELDER WHO
RELATED AN ANECDOTE REGARDING THE INDOCHINA TALKS HELD IN
GENEVA IN 1954. THE SOUTHERN DELEGATION (WHICH INCLUDED
ONE CAO DAI REPRESENTATIVE) ATTEMPTED TO MEET PRIVATELY
WITH THE VIET MINH DELEGATION HEADED BY PHAM VAN DONG AND
PHAN ANH. BUT DONG CALLED THE SOUTHERN DELEGATES PUPPETS
OF THE FRENCH, AND THE PROPOSAL NEVER BORE FRUIT. IN AN
ATTEMPT TO RESTART THE INITIATIVE, PHAM CONG TAC, CAO DAI
POPE AT THE TIME, INVITED DONG AND THE THREE OTHER VIET
MINH DELEGATES TO DINNER. THEY REFUSED, BUT OFFERED TO
HOST THEIR OWN DINNER FOR PHAM CONG TAC. THE CAO DAI POPE
ALSO REFUSED THE DINNER INVITATION, BUT THE CAO DAI AND
THE VIET MINH EVENTUALLY DID AGREE AT LEAST TO MEET.

2. THE CAO DAI AND VIET MINH HAD BEEN BITTER ENEMIES.
VIET MINH FORCES ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE KILLED THOUSANDS OF
CAO DAI FOLLOWERS AND DIGNITARIES FROM 1946-48. AT THE
BEGINNING OF THEIR MEETING, PHAM CONG TAC REPORTEDLY TOLD
PHAM VAN DONG THAT VIETNAM SHOULD FIND ITS OWN IDEOLOGY
AND NOT FOLLOW THAT OF CHINA AND THE SOVIET UNION.
INDEPENDENCE FROM COLONIALISM WHILE FOLLOWING COMMUNISM,
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 00488 260658Z
PHAM CONG TAC REPORTEDLY SAID, WOULD BE LIKE A PRISONER
BREAKING HIS HANDCUFFS FROM THE WALL ONLY TO ROAM WITHIN
HIS PRISON CELL.

3. DESPITE THIS ROCKY START, THE ATMOSPHERE DURING THE
MEETING IMPROVED. AFTERWARDS THE CAO DAI AND VIET MINH
SHARED A VEGETARIAN MEAL TOGETHER. PHAM VAN DONG PROMISED
TO MAKE A VISIT TO THE CAO DAI TEMPLE IN TAY NINH.
(REMINDED OF THIS PROMISE IN 1991, DONG REPORTEDLY SAID
THAT FOR POLITICAL REASONS, THE TIME WAS NOT YET RIGHT.
HE NEVER MADE THE TRIP.)

4. AT THE NEXT FORMAL SESSION IN GENEVA, WHEN THE VIET
MINH DELEGATION WALKED INTO THE ROOM, THE CAO DAI
REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE SOUTHERN DELEGATION (WHO HAD BEEN
AT THE PHAM CONG TAC/PHAM VAN DONG MEETING) STOOD UP AND
BOWED TO PHAM VAN DONG. DONG IN TURN BOWED TO THE CAO DAI
REPRESENTATIVE. THE SOUTHERN DELEGATION TOOK THIS AS A
BOW TO THEM ALL COLLECTIVELY, AND THEY IN TURN STOOD UP
AND BOWED TO THE VIET MINH DELEGATION, WHO IN TURN THEN
RETURNED THE COMPLIMENT. ACCORDING TO THE CAO DAI
RELIGIOUS ELDER WHO RELATED THE STORY, THE FRENCH
DELEGATION LOOKED ON IN AMAZEMENT AT THIS BOWING BETWEEN
THE TWO SIDES WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY REFUSED TO TALK TO EACH
OTHER AT THE FORMAL ROUNDS. THE GENEVA TALKS ENDED WITH
"ACCORDS" THAT PARTITIONED THE COUNTRY, AND CALLED FOR A
CEASE-FIRE AND ELECTIONS. THE REST, AS WE KNOW, IS
HISTORY.

RAY

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 00488 260658Z

UNCLASSIFIED

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