Final Hist


The Vietnam --

Nunn McGinty Reader Series


PART I: 1943-1952

Roosevelt and Stalin Discuss the Furure of French Rule in Indochina, Teheran Conference

Franklin Roosevelt Memorandum ·ro Cordell Hull

Franklin Roosevelt on French Rule in Indochina, Press Conference

Abdication of Bao Dai, Emperor of Annam

Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vier-Nam

Report by rhe National Security Council on ,he Position of the United States with Respect to Indochina

Memorandum from General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense on rhe Strategic Assessment of Southt>ast Asia

US, Depanmem of State, Press Release on an Economic Aid Mission to Indochina

George Kennan, Memoirs

Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary of State Acheson and British Ambassador Oliver Franks

Statement of Policy by the National Security Council on United States Objectives and Courses of Action with Respect to Asia, NSC 124/2

Eisenhower on che Scraregic Unk berween French Forces in Europe and Viemam

President Eisenhower's Remarks on rhe Importance of lndochina at the Governors' Conference

















NSC Staff Smdy on United States Ol>jeccives and Courses of Action w irh Re-speer co Communist Aggression in Southeast Asia

PART IT: 1953-1954

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Scaff on the Navarre Concept for Operations in lndochina

Joint Franco·American Communique., AdditionaJ United Scates Aid for France and Indochina

US, National Security Council, NSC 5405, "United Scates Objectives and Courses of Action with Respecr ro Sourheasr Asia ..

Telegram from Secretary of Srate Dulles to Dillon and Aldrich on Conversations with the French

President Eisenhower's News Conference, February 10, 1954

President Eisenhower's News Conference, April 7, 1954

President Eisenhower's News Conference, May 12, 1954

US, National Security Council, Action No. 1074-a, on Possible US lmervenrion in Indochina

US, Army Position on NSC Action No. 1074-a

Report by Secretary of State Dulles on Geneva and Indochina, NSC 195th Meecin_g

Memorandum from Secretary of rhe Army, Robert T. Stevens, on Indochina

Nacional Intelligence Estimate-91, " Probable Developments ia Indochina Through 1954"

Telegram from Secretary of State Dulles to rhe Paris Delegacion

US, Central Intelligence Agency, SNIJE 10--4-54, "'Communisr Reaccions ro Certain Courses of Action with Respect to Indochina,"

Telegram from Smirh in Moscow ro Secretary of State Dulles on Molotov's Views

















Minutes, Zhou Enlai's Meeting with [Pierre] Mendes-France, 23 June, 1954

The Geneva Conference

Telegram from Secretary of Stare Dulles on the Need to Inform Diem About Negotiations

Telegram from Secrerary of State Dulles with Text of a Letter to Mendes-France

Minutes of Zhou Enlai's Meeting wirh [Pierre] Mendes-France, 17 July, 1954

U.S. lnvolvemenr in ,he Franco-Viet Minh War

PART ID: 1954-1960

Memorandum for the President's Special Commirree, "Mi~tary Implications of the US Position on Indochina in Geneva ..

Indochina: Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference on the Problem of Resroring Peace in lndo-China

Indochina: Statemenc by rite Under Secretary of State at rhe Concluding Plenary Session of the Geneva Conference

Indochina: Unificarion of Vier-Nam Through Free Elections: Starement by the Secretary of Stare a.t a News Conference

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at the Conference on Vietnam Luncheon in the Hotel Willard, Washington, D.C.

Eisenhower's Views on the Popularicy of Ho Chi Minh

President Dwight D. Eisenhower on che Likelihood that Ho Chi Minh would Win a National Election in Viemam in 1955

Memorandum for the Record

Memorandum of Discussion a, the 246th Meeting of the National Securiry Council, Washingron

Le Duan, "Duong Loi Cach Mang Ml.ien Nam," [The Parh of Revolution in rhe Souch]

Manifesto of the Eighteen, Saigon

Co n1e 11ts v




















Letter from the Secretary o f Defense's Deputy Assistant for Special Operations (Lansdale) ro President Diem

The Strategic Hamlet Program

Kennedy and McNamara Prepare for War

Talking Paper for the Chairman, JCS, for Meeting with the President of the United States on Current US Military Actions in South Viemarn

JCS Memorandum on the "Srrategic llmporrance of the Southeast Mainland"

Response to a Question on American Involvement in Sourh Vietnam, President Kennedy's News Conference

Memorandum to Presidenr Kennedy from Ambassador John Kenneth Galbraith on Viemam

Memorandum to Secretary of Defense McNamara from L.l.. Lemnitzer, Chairman, Joint Cbiefs of Staff, on Ambassador Galbraith's Memo.randum

President Kennedy's News Conference, Response ro a Question About Criticisms by 5"nator Mansfield on US Southeast Asian Policy

Michael V. Forrestal, .Memorandum for the President, "'A Report on South Viemam.,

US, Central Intelligence Agency, National lnrelligence Estimate 53~3, "Prospects in South Viemam"

The Overrhrow of Ngo Dinh Diem

Cable from US Department of State 10 Ambassador Lodge Supporring a Coup in South Viemam

Lodge Cable to 5"crerary Rusk on U.S. Policy Toward a Coup

Memorandum of Conversation

lnsrructions for Ambassador Lodge on Dealing with Diem Regime Repression

Secretar)' of Defense, Robert McNamara, Memorandum for the President, "'Viemam Situation"

Was Kennedy Planning to Pull Our of Viemam'

279 281


















Telephone Conversation Berween President Johns.on and Senator Ric ha rd Russell

Telephone Conversacion Becween President Johnson and rhe President•s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Presidenr•s Message ro Congress

Text of Joinr Resolution (The Tonkin Gulf Resolution), August 7, Department of Stare Bulletin

W.P. Bundy, Second Draft of "Next Courses of Action in Southeast Asia ..

$NIE 53-2-64, The Situation in South Vietnam

Cable (Saigon 1129) from the Saigon Embassy to the Deparrmenr of State on rhe Dere.riorating Situation in South Vietnam

Personal Note from W.W. Rosrow to Roberr McNamara on ":Vlilirary Dispositions and Poliitical Signals"

Briefing by Ambassador Taylor on the Currenr Situation in South Vietnam

McNaughton•s Observations abour South Viemam

Haas Morgenrhau, a.\Y/e Aie Deludin_g Oursehres in Viemam"

Clare M. Clifford Lener to the President May 17, 1965

Memorandum for rhe Presidem from George Ball, "A Compromise Solution in South Vietnam.,.

Nation: The Debate

Report by McNamara After Visit to Viemam

Notes for Memorandum from McNamara to Lyndon Johnson, "Recommendations of Additional Deployments ro Vietnam"

The Advisory Build-Up

Telegram from the Commander in Chief, Paci£c (Sharp) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Selected Press Reactions to the Honolulu Conference

Co ntents v i i

375 377





















Statement by Secretary R,uk Before the Senate 501 Committee on foreign Relations on 1'-fay 9, 1966, "Background of U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia"

Moscow and the Vietnam Peace Talks 505

Ao Analysis of the Viernamese Communists' Strengths, Capabilities, 509 and \Vilt to Persist in Their Present Strategy in Vietnam

Memorandum for rhe Director, The Outlook ln Vietnam 513

Intelligence Memorandum Pacification in the Wake 519 of the T et Offensive in Sourh Viemam

Memorandum of Conversation, !v1eeuing 525 of President-Elect Nixon with Henry Cabot lodge, Stader Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC

Conversations between rhe Soviets and the Viemamese, 1969 527

~1eeting Bet\\1een Presidential Assistant Kis.~inger 533 and Ambassador Dobrynin

Memorandum of Conversation (USSR) 545

Ron Ridenhour Lener 553

Peers Reporr Directive for Investigation from C.,neral Wesonoreland 559

Peers Report Summary 561

Address to the Nation on the Situation in Southeast Asia 575 President Richard M. Nixon

PART VO: I9T2-I975 583

~1eeting Bet\\1een Presidential Assistant Kis.~inger 585 and Ambassador Dobrynin

Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker's Cable Concerning 593 Corruption in South Viemam

Excerpts from the Paris Accord.s 595

Ominous Developments in Viernam 601

Assessment of C.,neral Fred C. Weyand's Report on Viernam 605

President Ford's Speech on the Fall of Vietnam 611

President Minh's Inaugural Address in Saigon Palace 613

"lessons of Viernam" by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger 617




Co,"bu bmAIWIM ... ..•.•.• 303···~····us,ooo

t) 40 80 tlO l t.0




Indocbina,.July 1954






November 28, 1943

The President [FDRJ said that Mr. Churchill was of the opinion that France would be very quickly reconstructed as a strong nation, but he did not personally share this view since he felt that many years of hon- est labor would be necessary before France would be re-established. He said the first necessity for the French, not only for the Government but the people as well, was to become honest citizens.

Marshal LJosef] Stalin agreed and went on to say that he did not pro- pose to have the Allies shed blood to restore Indochina, for example, to the old French colonial rule. He said that the recent events in the Lebanon [where the French ended their mandate] made pubLlc service the first step toward the independence of people who had formerly been colonial sub- jects. He said that in the war against Japan, in his opinion, that in addi- tion to military missions, it was necessary to fight the Japanese in the politic,il sphere as well, particularly in view of the fact that the Japanese had granted the least nominal independence to certain colonial areas. He repeated that France should not get back Indochina and that the French must pay for their criminal collaboration with Germany.

The President said he was 100% in agreement with Marshal Stalin and remarked that after 100 years of French rule in Indochina, the inhab- itants were worse off than they had been before.


The President continued on the subject or colonial possessions, but he felt it would be better not to discuss the question or Ind ia with Mr. Churchill , since the latter had no solution of that question, and merely proposed to defer the entire question to the end of the war.

Marshal Stalin agreed that this was a sore spot with the British.


CORDELL HULL January 24, 1944

Isaw Ha lifax [lord Halifax, British ambassador to the United States! last week and told him quite frankly that it was perfectly true that I had, for over a year, expressed the opinion that Inda-China should not go back to France but that it should be administered by an intemational trusteeship. France has had the country-thirty miUion inhabitants for nearly one hundred years, and the people are worse off than they were at the beginning.

As a matter of interest, I am wholeheartedly supported in this view by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek [of Chimaj and by Marshal Stalin . I see no reason to play in with the British Foreign Office in this matter. The only reason they seem to oppose it is tlhat they fear the effect it would have on their own possessions and those of the Durch. They have ne,•cr liked the idea of trusteeship because it is, in some instances, aimed at future independence. This is true in the case of lndoChina.

Each case must, of course, stand on its own feet, but the case of lndo- China is perfectly dear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of JndoChina are entitled to something better than that.



PRESS CONFERENCE February 23, 1945

With the lndo-Chinese, there is a feeling they ought to be indepen-dent but are not ready for it. I suggested at the time [19431, to Chiang, that Jndo-China be set up under a trusteeship-have a Frenchman, one or rwo lndo-Chinese, and a Chinese and a Russian because they are on the coast, and maybe a Filipino and an American- to educate them for self-government. It took fifty years for us to do it in the Philippines.

Stalin liked the idea. China liked the idea. The British don't like it. It might bust up their empire, because if the lndo-Chjoese were to work together and eventually get their independence, the Burmese might do the same thing to England. The Frencb hav-e talked about how they expect to recapture Inda-China, but they haven't got any shipping 10 do it with. It would only get the British mad. Chiang would go along. Stalin would go along. As for the British, it would only make the British mad. Better to keep qujet just now.



August, 1945

T he happiness of the people of Vietnam!

The Independence of Vietnam! To achieve these ends, we have declared ourself ready for any sacrifice

and we desire that o ur sacrifice be useful to the people. Considering that the unity of a ll our compatriots is at this time our

country's need, we recalled tO our people on August 22: " ln this decisive hour of our nationa l history, union means life and division means death."

In view of the powerful democratic spirit growing in the north of our kingdom, we feared that conllict between north and south could be inevitable if we were to wait for a National Congress to decide us, and we know that this conflict, if it occurred, would plunge o ur people into suffering and would play the game of the invaders.

We cannot but have a certa in feeling of melancholy upon thinking of o ur glo rious ancestors who fought without respite for 400 years to aggrandise o ur country from Thuan Hoa ro Hatien.

Despite this, and strong in o ur convictions, we have decided to abdi- cate and we transfer power to the democratic Republican Government.

Upon leaving our throne, we have o nly three wishes to express:

I. We request that the new Government rake care of the dynastic temples and royal tombs.

Source: La Republiquc JHanoiJ, Issue no.1 {Octobo- I. l 945), rr.1nsb.ted in Hamid R. l-.aacs (ed.}, New Cycle in Asia ( 1947), pp. 161-162.


10 PART I: r.943 - 1.952

2. We request the new Government to deal fraternally with all the parties and groups which have fought for the independence of our country even though they have nor closely followed the popular movement; to do this in order to give them the opportunity to participate in the recornstrucrion of the country and to demon- strate that the new regime is built upon the absolute unjon of the entire population.

3. We invite all parties and groups, a ll classes of society, as well as the royal family, ro solidarize in unreserved support of the demo- cratic Government with a view to consolidating the national inde- pendence.

As for us, during twenry years' reign, we have known much bitterness. Henceforth, we shall be happy ro be a free citizen in an independent country. We shall a llow no one to abuse our name or the name of the royal family in order to sow dissent among our compatriots.

Long live the independence of Vietnam! Long live our Democratic Republic!


OF VIET-NAM September 2, 1945

A ll men are created equa l; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of lndependence of the United States of America in 1776. ln a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must a lways remain free and have equal rights. "

Those are undeniable truths. Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperia lists,

abusing the standard of Liberty, Equa liry, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow citizens. They have acted con- trary to the ideals of humanity and justice.

In the field of politic.s, they have deprived our people of every demo- cratic liberty.

They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct poLlt- ical regimes in the North, the Center, and the South of Vier-Nam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.


12 PART I: r.943 - 1.952

They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly sla in our patriors; they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood.

They have fettered public opinion; rhey have practiced obscurantism against our people.

To weaken our race they have forced us to use opium and alcohol. In the field of economjcs, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impov-

erished our people and devastated our land. They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines, our forests, and our

raw materials. They have monopolized the issuing of bank notes and the export trade.

They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especia lly our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty.

They have hampered the prospering of our national bourgeoisie; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.

In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese fascisrs vio lated Indochina's territory to establish new bases: in their fight against the Allies, the French imperia lisrs went down on their bended knees and handed over our country to them.

Thus, from that dare, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that, from the end of lasr year to the beginning of th is year, from Quang Tri Province to the North of Viet-Nam, more than rwo mil- lion of our feUow citizens rued from starvation. On March 9 [1945], the French troops were disarmed by the Japanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing char nor only were they incapable of "prorecring" us, but char, in the span of five years, they had twice sold our country to rhe Japanese.

On several occasions before March 9, the Vier Minh League urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese. Instead of agreeing ro this proposal, the French colonialists so intensified their terrorist activities against the Viet Minlh members that before fleeing they massa- cred a great number of our political prisoners deta ined at Yen Bay and Cao Bang.

Notwithstanding all this, o·ur fellow citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese Pursch of March, 1945, the Viet Minh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and properry.

Declaratio11 of lndepe11dence. Viet-Nam 13

From the autumn of 1940, o ur country had in fact ceased ro be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession. After the Japanese had surrendered ro the Allies, o ur whole people rose ro regain our national sovereignty and ro found the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French. The French have fled, the Japanese have capit- ulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them a.nd have won inde- pendence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have over- thrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozen.s of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, rep- resenting the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; we repeal all the internationa l obligation that France has so far subscribed ro on behalf of Viet-Nam, and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in o ur Fatherland.

The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight ro the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists ro reconquer their country. We are convinced that the Allied nations, which at Teheran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse ro acknowledge the independence of Viet-Nam.

A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.

For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, solemnly declare ro the world that Vier-Nam has the right to be a free and imdependent country- and in fact it is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their li ves and prop- erty in o rder to safeguard their independence and liberty.



TO INDOCHINA 27 February 1950


1. To undertake a determination of a ll practicable United States mea- sures tO protect its security in Indochina and to prevent the expan- sion of communist aggression in chat area.


2. It is recognized that the threat of communist aggression against Indochina is only one phase of anticipated communist plans to seize all of Southeast Asia. It is understood that Burma is weak internally and could be invaded without strong opposition or even that the Government of Burma could be subverted. However, lndochina is the area most immediately threatened. It is a lso the only area adjacent t0 communist China whjch contains a large European army, which along with native troops is now in armed conJlict with the forces of communist aggression. A decision to contain communist expansion at the border of Indochi na must be


16 PART I: r.943 - 1.952

considered as a parr of a wider srudy to prevent communist aggression into other parts of Sourheasr Asia.

3. A large segment of the lndochinese narionalist movemenr was seized in 1945 by Ho Chi Minh, a Vietnamese who under various aliases has served as a communist agenr for thirry years. He has attracted non-communist as well as communist elemenrs to his support. In 1946, he att,empted, bur failed to secure French agree- ment to his recognition as the head of a government of Vietnam. Since then he bas directed a guerrilla army in raids against French installations and lines of communication. French forces which have been attempting ro restore law and order found themselves pitted agrunsr a detennined adversary who manufactures effective arms locally, who recei\led supplies of arms from outside sources, who maintained no capital or permanent headquarters and who was, and is able, to disrupt and harass almosr any area within Viernam (Tonkin, Anna.m and Cochinchina) at will.

4. The Unired States has, sunce the Japanese surrender, pointed out to the French Government thar the legitimate nationalist aspirations of the people of Indochina must be satisfied, and that a return to the prewar colonial rule is not possible. The Department of State has pointed our to the French Government rhat it was and is nec- essary ro establish and support go,•ernments in lndochina particu- larly in Viernam, under leaders who are capable of atttacting to their causes the non-communist nationalist followers who had drifted to the Ho Chi Minh communist movement in the absence of any non-communist nationalist movement around which to plan their aspirarions.

5. ln an effort to establjsh stability by political means, military measures had been unsuccessful, i.e., by attracting non-communist nationalists, now followers of Ho Chi Minh, ro the support of anti-communist narionalist leaders, rhe French Government entered inro agreements with the governments of the Kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia to elevate their starus from protectorares ro that of independent stares wirrun the French Union. The Scare of Vietnam was fanned, w;th similar starus, out of the former French prorecrorares of Tonkin, Annam and the former French Colony of Cochinchina. Each srare received an increased degree of autonomy

Report by NSC 011 tl,e Positio,r of US with Respect to l11docbi11a 17

and sovereignry. Further steps cowards independence were indi- cated by rhe French. The agreements were ratified by the French Government on 2 February 1950.

6. The Governments of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were officia lly recognized by the United States and the United Kingdom on February 7, 1950. Other Western powers have, or are committed to do likewise. The United Stares has consistently brought to the attention of non-communist Asian countries the danger of com- munist aggression which threatens them if communist expansion in lndochina is unchecked. As th;s danger becomes more evident it is expected to overcome the reluctance that they have had to recognize and support the three new states. We are therefore con- tinuing to press those countries ro recognize the new states. On January 18, I 950, the Chinese Communist Government announced its recognition of the Ho Chi M;nh movement as the legal Government of Vietnam, while on January 30, 1950, the Soviet Government, while maintaining diplomatic relations with France, similarly announced its recognition.

7, The newly formed Stares of Viernam, Laos and Cambodia do nor as yet have sufficient poLltical stability nor military power to pre- vent the infiltration into their areas of Ho Chi Minh's forces. The French Armed Forces, while apparently effectively utilized at the present time, can do little more than ro maintain the status quo. Their Strength of some 140,000 does, however, represent an army in being and the only military bulwark in that area against the further expansion of communist aggression from either internal or external forces.

8. The presence of Chinese CommuniSt troops along the border of lndochina makes ir possible for arms, material and troops to move freely from Communist China to the northern Tonkin area now controUed by Ho Chi Minh. There is already evidence of move- ment of arms.

9. In the present stare of affairs, it is doubtful that the combined native lndochinese and French troops can successfully contain Ho's forces should they be strengthened by either Chinese Communist troops crossing the border, or Communist-supplied arms and mate- rial in quantity from outside lndochina strengthening Ho's forces.

18 PART I: r.943 -1.95 2


10. It is important to United Scates security interests that all practi- cable measures be taker, to prevent further communjst expansion in Southeast Asia. Indochina is a key area of Southeast Asia and is under immediate threat_

11. The neighboring countries of Thailand and Burma could be expected to fall under Commurust domination if Indochina were controlled by a Commi,nist-dominated government. The balance of Southea~t A.~ia would then be in grave hazard.

12. Accordingly, the Departments of State and Defense should prepare as a matter of priority a program of all practicable measures designed to protect United Scates security interests in lndocruna.





SUBJECT: Strategic Assessment of Southeast Asia

The Jo int Chiefs of Staff have studied your memorandum, dared 10 March 1950, with its enclosures, in which you requested their views regarding:

a. The strategic importance, from the military point of view, of Southeast Asia;

b. NSC 64, a report by the Depanrment of Stare on the position of the United Stares with respect to Indochina, which is now before the National Security Council for consideration;

c. The measures that, &om the military point of view, might be taken to prevent Commurust expansion into Southeast Asia;


20 PART l: r.943 -1.95 2

d. The. order of magnirude and means of implemenration of such measures; and

e. A French aide-memoire on the subject of aid for Indochina, dated 16 February 1950.

1. In light of U.S. strategic concepts, the integrity of the offshore island cha in from Japan to lndochina is of critical strategic impor- tance to the United Stares.

2. The …