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may/june 2008

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BY RONALD SPECTOR
Adapted from In The Ruins of Empire By Ronald Spector Copyright ©2007 by Ronald Spector
Published by arrangement with Random House,
An imprint of Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

On September 2, 1945, ten days after Gen. MacArthur received the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, thereby ending World War II, a squadron of Royal Air Force transport planes landed at Tan Son Nhut airport outside Saigon carrying the first of the British occupation forces: a battalion of the 20th Indian Division under Maj. Gen. Douglas Gracey. Crowds of French and Vietnamese cheered the arrival of each plane. Still others lined the road waving Union Jacks as the troops were driven into the city in Japanese trucks.

Meanwhile, another occupation army moved into Hanoi: Chinese troops from Yunnan under the command of Lt. Gen. Lu Han. “All day and all night the troops kept pouring into the city,” one Vietnamese recalled. “They shocked everyone, including the local Chinese community which had organized a formal welcoming ceremony.... The troops wore shoes of woven straw, cloth, or rubber cut out from tires or even went barefoot. They had tattered uniforms and looked tired and thin. Each unit was accompanied by cooks laden with pots and pans, making a racket.”

Striking as they were, the differences between the two armies paled beside the far-reaching results of their very different occupations.

In the first months of the Pacific War, the Japanese armies had rolled easily over the British and Dutch colonies. The Europeans had suffered humiliating defeats, and many of their subjects had welcomed the Japanese. As for the French colonies in Indochina, the Japanese took them without a fight. Militarily vulnerable and encouraged by the weak French government at Vichy to co-operate, the French colonial leaders in Indochina had made progressively greater concessions to the Japanese, allowing them to station troops in Vietnam and to use the ports, airfields, and railroads.

In return, the government headed by Adm. Jean Decoux was permitted to continue to carry out most of its governmental functions. The French flag still flew over Hanoi, Hue, and Saigon, and French colonials could pursue their usual business. But 50,000 Japanese troops garrisoned the country.

Americans had always disliked colonies. President Franklin Roosevelt was an especially vocal critic of imperialism. He sometimes talked about ending French rule in Indochina and replacing it with an international trusteeship. But with Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, Washington ceased its opposition to the return of the French. American soldiers and diplomats in East Asia, however, were never clearly told that these goals had been abandoned.

During the war against Japan, the United States had agreed to the establishment of a new Allied Southeast Asia Command (SEAC) in 1943 under British Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten to direct operations in Burma, Sumatra, and Malaya. After 1943, there were thus two Allied commands fighting the Japanese in Southeast Asia: SEAC and the China Theater under the direction of Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, who was supported by American military aid and advisers.

At the Potsdam Conference held a few weeks after the defeat of Germany in 1945, the Allies agreed that after Japan’s surrender SEAC should be responsible for occupying the southern half of Indochina and the Chinese the north. The United States would not be directly involved.

Although a military backwater, Indochina intrigued both SEAC and China Theater. Both required reliable intelligence on weather, air defenses, targets, and Japanese troop movements there.

Information on troop movements was of special importance because the transfer of Japanese forces in or out of northern Indochina could affect military operations in south China. SEAC and China Theater had conducted clandestine intelligence operations in Indochina with the help of friendly officers and officials in the French colonial regime.

The Japanese in Indochina, expecting an Allied invasion assisted by the local French, simply took over direct control of the colony. On March 9, 1945, Japanese forces quickly moved against French garrisons and forts all over Indochina. Most were quickly disarmed, and many French soldiers, colonial officials, and functionaries were locked in their own jails. The Japanese summoned the hereditary Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, and told him the country was now independent. “Thus the French imperialist wolf was finally devoured by the Japanese fascist hyena.” observed Ho Chi Minh.

With the wolf in jail, someone needed to keep an eye on the hyena. The Office of Strategic Services, the American intelligence and special operations organization operating from southern China, soon formed a working relationship with the Viet Minh, a coalition of nationalist and anti-French groups dominated by the Indochinese Communist Party. Its leader, Ho Chi Minh, was a veteran revolutionary who had trained in Moscow and been a founding member of the French Communist Party. Ho combined tenacity of purpose with flexibility in action. A man of great personal charm and magnetism, he left a positive impression with almost everyone he encountered—including those who strongly opposed his politics and purposes.

With the Japanese takeover, the Viet Minh saw their opportunity. Viet Minh propaganda teams, proclamations, and underground newspapers told the people that the Japanese were now the major enemy and would soon be vanquished like the French.

Vietnamese troops of the former French colonial army and militia were encouraged to desert to the Viet Minh or sell their arms to them. Government officials, functionaries, educators, and professionals in the north secretly began to align with the Viet Minh. Many others joined newly established front groups.

Yet it was neither political organizing nor the Japanese coup that preoccupied most people in northern Vietnam during the spring and summer of 1945, but a devastating famine that wiped out families and depopulated villages. By February 1945, thousands were dying of starvation. More than one and a half million people probably died in the famine, although accurate figures are impossible to come by.

Viet Minh leaders saw the famine as an opportunity to organize the peasants to seize the rice granaries of the colonial regime and to direct popular resentment against the French and Japanese. It was not a tough sell. Everyone knew that the forced requisition of land, compulsory rice sales to the government, and unreasonable taxes had contributed to the dire state of the food supply. Even more than the downfall of the French, and more than the impending defeat of the Japanese, it was the famine that enabled the Viet Minh to transform their fugitive guerrilla organization into a mass movement.

At the time of the Japanese takeover, the OSS was completing an elaborate plan for expanding operations into Indochina. The Viet Minh already had been involved in the rescue and recovery of Allied aviators whose planes had been brought down over Indochina. And they had co-operated with the American Air Ground Aid Service, the organization responsible for the recovery of lost air crews. The OSS Chief of Intelligence for Indochina, Capt. Archimedes L. Patti, had met with Ho Chi Minh near the China border and received assurances that the Viet Minh were ready to cooperate with the Americans in fighting the Japanese.

In mid-July, an OSS team under Maj. Allison K. Thomas parachuted into Viet Minh-held territory near the city of Thai Nguyen about fifty kilometers from Hanoi. Thomas remained with the Viet Minh over two months, arming and training select forces for operations against Japanese lines of communication. The war ended before the Viet Minh had fought more than a few skirmishes with the Japanese, but their connection with the OSS bolstered Ho’s prestige and helped to identify his movement with the victorious Allies. That connection infuriated the French and deepened their suspicion of American intentions.

From the Americans at his jungle headquarters, Ho learned on August 12 that the Japanese government had accepted the Potsdam Declaration and that the end of the war was imminent. In two high-level meetings in mid-August, Viet Minh leaders accepted Ho’s call for a rapid seizure of power in order to confront the Allied occupation forces with a fait accompli.

Throughout northern Vietnam, months of Viet Minh organizing and propaganda and dissatisfaction with the ineffectual Bao Dai government had laid the groundwork for a swift takeover. Within a few days, most of Tonkin, northern Vietnam, and a good portion of Annam, in the center, were in the hands of the Viet Minh. The Japanese discreetly remained in the background and, by the end of August, had handed over responsibility for police and control of transportation and public utilities to the Viet Minh.

On August 25, Ho Chi Minh arrived in Hanoi from Thai Nguyen. A few days later, Emperor Bao Dai formally abdicated and turned over the imperial seal to representatives of the Viet Minh government.

On Sunday, September 2, a crowd of three or four hundred thousand gathered in Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi. In the center of the square, a tall platform was decked with the new red and gold flags. Viet Minh soldiers with drawn pistols encircled the platform. As an assistant held a parasol over his head—the traditional symbol of royalty—Ho read the brief declaration announcing Vietnam’s independence. At one point in the address, he paused and asked his listeners, “Countrymen, can you hear me?” The crowd answered with a roar, “We hear you!”

It was a moment that none present ever forgot. An OSS officer who witnessed the ceremony reported by radio to Kunming, “From what I have seen, these people mean business, and I am afraid the French will have to deal with them. For that matter, we will all have to deal with them.”

The Viet Minh knew their new regime was in a race against time. Chinese occupation troops would arrive in a few days. The French were unwilling to relinquish their colony. The attitude of the Allies was uncertain. Widespread starvation still remained an immediate threat. Rival nationalist groups had been thrown into momentary disarray by the Viet Minh’s superior boldness and organization, but they were far from cowed and some had the support of the Chinese. These groups had large followings, and they retained their own newspapers, radio stations, and armed militias.

While they waited anxiously for the Chinese, the Viet Minh attempted to learn what they could about the attitudes of the Americans and the French from the handful of Americans who had arrived in Hanoi on August 22 as part of the OSS Air-Ground Aid Service Mercy Mission operations. The chief of the OSS mission was Capt. Patti. With Patti’s team came five French officers led by the head of French intelligence in Kunming, Maj. Jean Sainteny.

As he often emphasized during the next few weeks, Patti’s mission mainly concerned post-war house-keeping: finding and aiding Allied POWs and internees, searching for war criminals, and arranging the preliminary steps for the surrender of Japanese forces. But Patti was aware that he was involved in events of great moment and sometimes found it hard to resist becoming involved. Like most Americans in China Theater, Patti was unaware that Washington had, in effect, abandoned Roosevelt’s Indochina policy.

Patti and his team landed at Gia Lam airport on August 22 and were driven by the Japanese through streets festooned with the red and gold flags of the Viet Minh. Banners stretched above the streets proclaimed in English, French, and Vietnamese: “Welcome to the Allies,” “Long Live Vietnam’s Independence,” and “Death to the French.”

Sainteny and his men observed these scenes with dissatisfaction and annoyance. The French wanted to be treated as one of the victorious Allies in Asia just as they had been in Europe. Never mind that the French colonial regime had collaborated with the Japanese for almost five years. The DeGaulle government insisted that the brief, desperate, and disorganized French response to the Japanese coup of March 1945 constituted “resistance.” France had a right to expect its allies to help her regain what was rightfully hers.

Patti and Sainteny were taken to the Metropole, a large colonial-style hotel. Patti’s men were billeted at the hotel, but the Japanese insisted that they could not be responsible for the safety of Sainteny’s party and suggested that they move to the palace of the Governor-General. Sainteny readily agreed, relishing the symbolic value of the French once again occupying the palace.

Once ensconced there, however, with the grounds patrolled by Japanese sentries, Sainteny and his team found themselves unable to leave or to communicate with the outside world except through Patti and the Americans. They could do little to influence events or to aid their countrymen in Hanoi.

With Sainteny isolated, Patti’s team had become the center of the attention, hopes, and apprehensions of the French, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Although Patti continued to insist that his work was circumscribed, he was seen as the official representative of the victorious Allies. During his first week in Hanoi, Patti met with the Japanese commanding general, leaders of the Chinese community, prominent French businessmen, consuls of various European nations, ministers of the Viet Minh government, and he dined with Ho Chi Minh. On August 25, he even held a press conference with representatives of the Hanoi press.

Sainteny became increasingly frustrated with his inability to influence the situation, and he found it easy to blame his problems on Patti and the OSS. On August 28, he warned French Headquarters in Calcutta of “a concerted Allied maneuver aimed at eliminating the French from Indochina.” The next day he talked of a “total loss of face for France in Indochina.”

Such messages soon drew protests from the French; Patti’s OSS boss, Col. Richard P. Heppner, shot off a blistering message to Patti: “You will not, repeat, not act as mediator or go-between or arrange meetings between French, Annamites or Chinese. Confine yourself to POW work and such other special tasks as directed by Chinese Combat Command or this headquarters.”

Patti flew to Kunming and Chungking to defend his actions and try to receive clarification about current American policy. Not surprisingly, he received little guidance. As Patti’s plane returned to Hanoi, he could see a long line of vehicles wending its way across the flooded plains of the Red River Delta. It was Lt. Gen. Lu Han’s Chinese occupation Army.

Lu Han, “the Dragon Cloud,” had been a corps commander at the great Chinese victory at Taierzhuang in 1938. Under Lu’s nominal command were three Chinese armies, two of which were scheduled for redeployment by sea to north China where Chiang Kai Shek was impatient to re-establish control.

Accompanying Lu Han were American liaison teams of the Chinese Combat Command, an American military advisory organization that had been training Chinese units in south China. All of the teams were under the command of Brig. Gen. Philip E. Gallagher, Lu Han’s adviser.

Like Patti, Gen. Gallagher was seen by many French and Vietnamese as some sort of American pro-consul with vast powers to resolve all problems. In fact, China Theater’s directive to U.S. units with Chinese occupation forces limited their mission to “advising and assisting the Central Government military forces during their movement to their areas of occupation” and “acting in an advisory capacity... in the provision of necessary supplies and the administration of civil affairs.”

On September 14, Lu Han arrived in Hanoi, unceremoniously evicted Sainteny’s mission from the Governor-General’s palace, and took up residence there himself. His troops were quartered in public buildings, schools hospitals, and private homes.

Ignoring French demands and protests, Lu Han quickly came to a working agreement with Ho. The Viet Minh government was permitted to remain in place. French soldiers remained locked in the Citadel. Viet Minh forces were not disarmed. Ho was pressured but not compelled to include members of Chinese-supported nationalist parties in his government.

The price paid by the Viet Minh for this arrangement was high. The entire cost of feeding and maintaining the “Allied” occupation forces in the north was to be borne by the Vietnamese, to be compensated later at a “fair” rate of exchange. Despite the famine conditions, OSS reported that the Chinese were actually shipping rice out of the country or selling it on the black market for ten times the Saigon price. According to rumor, Ho Chi Minh also kept the Chinese well-supplied with opium and at one point presented Lu Han with a gold opium pipe.

The exchange rate between the almost worthless Chinese dollar and the Indochinese piaster was arbitrarily set by the Chinese generals at 14 to 1, thus making the dollar worth more than three times as much as in south China. Chinese officers in Viet Nam bought out every profitable enterprise they could. With their bargain shopping and other financial activities, the Chinese, according to one estimate, managed to extract some 400 million piasters from the poorer half of a country whose total gross national product in 1939 had been around 1.1 billion piasters. In return for these concessions, the Chinese dealt with the Viet Minh as the de facto government.

Having been briefed by Patti, Gallagher began a series of informal meetings with Ho. While recognizing that Ho was “an old revolutionist” and “a product of Moscow,” Gallagher—like Patti—concluded that Ho “and his party represent the real aspirations of the Vietnamese people for independence.... He looks upon the United States as the savior of all small nations and is basing all his actions on the statement in the Atlantic Charter that the independence of the smaller nations would be assured by the major powers.... I pointed out frankly that my job was not as a representative of the State Department nor was I interested in the political situation.... that I was merely working with Lu Han.”

As for Sainteny, Lu Han had some old grudges against the French and was in no hurry to meet his demands. The Chinese generals also were genuinely concerned about the safety of the large Chinese segment of Hanoi’s population should serious fighting break out there.

For the time being, an uneasy calm settled over Hanoi though it seemed to one American observer that “the streets of Hanoi throbbed with tension.” Contributing to the edginess in the North was the continuing flow of news and rumors about developments south of the 16th parallel.

In southern Vietnam—as in the north—the Japanese surrender had galvanized nationalists into action. The communists’ position in the south, however, was far shakier than it was in the north, and the Viet Minh were obliged to compete for leadership of the independence movement with the Trotskyite Dai Viet Party, the pro-Japanese Phuoc Quoc, and two indigenous religious sects, the Cao Dai and the Hoa Hao, which effectively controlled some Mekong Delta provinces. Indeed, the main reason that the communists had been included at all in the nationalist coalition that easily took control of Saigon and most of Cochin China on August 25 was the widespread belief that the Allies supported the Viet Minh.

In Saigon, Gracey was preoccupied with his mission of controlling and disarming the 40,000 Japanese troops in Southern Indochina, who vastly outnumbered his own forces. Gracey’s other tasks were to release and repatriate Allied prisoners of war and internees, to maintain law and order, and to “liberate Allied territory in so far as your resources permit.” In this case, “Allied territory” meant French territory to the British government. Unlike the Americans and Chinese, the British had never challenged the right of the French to reassert their rule in Indochina.

Gracey was unimpressed with the nationalist government delegation that welcomed him at the airport and claimed to be in charge in Saigon. His chief of staff, after a quick tour of the city, concluded that the Vietnamese claim that they controlled civil affairs “was a laugh.” Gracey soon decided that the “Annamite government constituted a direct threat to law and order through its police and armed guards.”

There had been few serious incidents but there were constant threats to French lives and property, and Vietnamese radio stations and newspapers carried on an incessant campaign of anti-French propaganda. Gracey was not a fool or a racist, but he was completely out of his depth. He knew nothing about Indochina, lacked a political officer, and believed French assurances that the nationalists were a minority of troublemakers and former collaborators.

Gracey might have learned more about the real situation in Indochina from the OSS. A small OSS detachment with duties similar to Patti’s team in the north had been in Indochina since September 1. Besides locating and aiding prisoners of war, particularly Americans, the OSS team, code name “Embankment,” was to identify and apprehend war criminals and microfilm Japanese documents and code books. Given the absence of any other American presence in Saigon, the team was also to report on political developments and watch for the emergence of any anti-Allied groups or activities by the Japanese to subvert the surrender.

The Embankment team was under the command of Col. A. Peter Dewey, son of a congressman and a relative of Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican Presidential candidate in 1944. Dewey had no special knowledge of Indochina, and only one member of his team spoke Vietnamese—a few did not even speak French.

Nevertheless, Dewey was determined to carry out the intelligence aspects of his mission and soon established contacts with Vietnamese political leaders. Dewey was particularly impressed with Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach, the sponser of the Viet Minh front organization, Vanguard Youth.

Gracey could not have been pleased with this brash young American and probably regarded the OSS as an annoying nuisance. As for Dewey, he was unlikely to find common ground with a general whom one of his officers called “an old-fashioned product of the British Empire.”

On September 19, Gracey notified the Viet Minh government that he intended to issue a proclamation banning all processions and demonstrations, imposing a nightly curfew, and prohibiting the carrying of arms by any forces not authorized by him. All newspapers were to be closed and the provisional government was to supply a list of the arms and location of all Vietnamese police and military units. Beginning on September 21, Gracey’s troops began evicting the Viet Minh government from public buildings and police stations and disarming Viet Minh police and paramilitary forces.

By this time, French officials had convinced Gracey that former French POWs in the Saigon area could be rearmed and easily take control of the city government and services, and the Vietnamese would be overawed and offer no resistance. During the night of September 22, the British quietly turned over installations and police posts to the French. The Treasury, the main Post Office, City Hall, and other public buildings were taken from the surprised Vietnamese by the French troops with little loss of life but considerable brutality.

On the morning of the 23rd, the French of Saigon celebrated their victory by going on a rampage. Soldiers and armed civilians fired into empty buildings. French gangs roamed the city randomly assaulting Vietnamese, including women and children. Any Vietnamese found on the streets was likely to be kicked, beaten, and then trussed up and hauled off to a police station.

Gracey was privately furious and ordered the French “soldiers” to return to their barracks. Yet the damage was done. British and foreign press representatives reported fully on the antics of the French “assumption of control.” At a press conference shortly after the French takeover, Gracey was “given hell” by American and Australian reporters.

This was far more than a public relations disaster, however. The clumsy French coup had led to the very situation Gracey had intended to prevent. Vietnamese of all political persuasions united in a general rising directed at the British and French. The food markets were burnt amid kidnappings, murder, and arson. The bloodiest incident occurred on September 24 when members of the Binh Xuyen, a large Vietnamese criminal syndicate, raided the Cité Herault, a residential suburb populated by well-to-do French and Eurasians, and massacred over 150 people, mostly women and children.

From that point, civil war raged in the Saigon area. “For a time Saigon was a city under siege,” recalled George Wickes, communications man for the small OSS detachment in Saigon.

“Mostly we heard, rather than saw, the action. Things were generally calm during the day, but after nightfall we began to hear the sound of gunfire, beginning with the occasional stray shot by a jittery French soldier.... Every night we could hear Vietnamese drums signaling across the river and almost on the stroke of 12, there would be an outburst of gunfire and new fires breaking out among the stocks of tea, rubber, and tobacco in the dockyards.”

With limited numbers of British troops and French forces few and unreliable, Gracey called on the Japanese to help patrol the city and clear Vietnamese road blocks. Rather than being concentrated and disarmed, the Japanese were now warned that they would be responsible for certain areas and for the security of any Europeans needing their aid. How large a role the Japanese played in repelling the Vietnamese attacks on Saigon and breaking the blockade of the city has always been obscure. The British and French had no interest in highlighting their role.

While the British and French were turning to the Japanese, so were the Viet Minh. Somewhere between 1,000 to 3,000 Japanese soldiers deserted their units and joined the nationalists during August and September 1945. A few joined out of conviction, men who wished to continue the fight for Greater East Asia; others suspected that they would be prime candidates for war crimes trials; many saw no future in Japan or had married Vietnamese women. Yet other soldiers joined the Vietminh through force or blackmail or the promise of relatively high pay.

Soldiers of the Viet Minh Army in the south were short of weapons and largely untrained; many were armed only with axes or bamboo staves. The addition of experienced Japanese soldiers to their ranks provided an enormous boost in military effectiveness.
Japanese officers and NCOs trained Vietnamese in the use and maintenance of weapons, small unit tactics, and communications.

Specialists provided training in field medicine, staff work, and administration. Junior officers were trained in company and battalion exercises. Japanese instructors introduced Vietnamese soldiers to the guerrilla tactics they had intended to use against the superior Allied invaders in the last months of the war.

The French coup and its aftermath completely soured relations between the OSS and the British in Saigon. Dewey went to Gracey’s office to protest French behavior, but the general refused to see him. The next day Dewey reported: “Cochinchina is burning. The French and British are finished here and we ought to clear out of Southeast Asia.” Two days later Dewey was shot and killed at a Viet Minh roadblock by men who probably took him for a Frenchman. Ironically, it was the day he was scheduled to leave the country.

Dewey’s murder caused a minor sensation. Members of his team unanimously blamed Gracey for refusing to let Dewey fly an American flag from his jeep (although there was nothing to prevent him painting it on). The British observed privately that Dewey had been a reckless troublemaker. The inability to recover his body added to the unease and embarrassment. Eventually, Dewey came to be seen by some as the first American casualty of the Vietnam Wars.

Informed of Dewey’s death by Patti, Ho Chi Minh rushed to Gen. Gallagher’s headquarters to express his regrets and to assure him that such an incident would occur in the north only “over my dead body.” Although Gallagher may have been concerned at news of Dewey’s death, he had other things to worry about. The Chinese had refused to allow the French to take part in the Japanese surrender ceremony at the end of September and Lu Han’s generals were presently holding hostage two high-ranking officials of the Bank of Indochina after the French had refused to honor large banknotes acquired by the Chinese. Gallagher could do little about the surrender ceremony but was more successful in encouraging the Chinese and French to settle their financial disputes before he departed Hanoi with the remaining elements of the Chinese Combat Command in December 1945.

Despite his success in fending off the Chinese and temporarily neutralizing the opposition, Ho understood that his situation remained precarious. It was clear that the Americans would be of no real help, although Ho continued to address plaintive letters to Truman and Secretary of State James Byrnes through Patti and Gallagher. The Chinese had given the back of their hand to the French in Hanoi but Ho knew that in Chungking and Paris negotiations were on-going about trading an early end to the occupation for French concessions to China. As for the French, their actions in the south left little doubt about their ultimate intentions.

Aware that they were working against time, Ho and Sainteny began secret negotiations about the return of French troops to northern Vietnam. Sainteny wanted to ensure that the return would be peaceful with no resistance by the Viet Minh. Ho held out for a guarantee of complete independence for Vietnam in return.
The talks dragged on for weeks. Finally as French ships were only a few miles from Haiphong, the two completed an agreement.

France would recognize Ho’s Republic of Vietnam as “a free state within the French Union” with final political status to be determined in later negotiations, and Ho agreed that the government of Vietnam would “amicably welcome” the French troops when they arrived to “relieve the Chinese.” That agreement preserved an uneasy peace for nine months.

While Ho and Sainteny held their talks in the North, the first French reinforcements arrived in the South. They were followed by many more during the remainder of October and November, along with tanks and aircraft. The Vietnamese could not help but notice that some of the cargo ships bringing French troops and supplies flew the American flag and that much of the equipment and weaponry used by the French still bore U.S. markings.

By the middle of November, the OSS was reporting that “both British and French are of the opinion that organized Resistance of the Viet Minh Revolution has been almost completely dispersed.” French troops had taken control of Tay Ninh to the north of Saigon and had moved into the Central Highlands by occupying Ban Me Thuot. The war in the south, touched off by Gracey’s anxiety to “restore law and order,” continued until 1954.


Ronald Spector has been professor of history and international relations at George Washington University since 1990. He is the author of three other books, including After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam. His book, At War at Sea: Sailors and Naval Combat in the Twentieth Century, received the 2002 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History. Spector entered the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted man in 1967 and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He served in Vietnam during 1968-69 and in active-duty assignments during the Grenada/Lebanon incidents in 1983-84.

 

 

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