INDOCHINA AND THE BIG TWO
Vũ Ngự Chiêu Ph.D, JD
INDOCHINA AND THE BIG TWO
Even prior to the termination of the war in Europe in the summer of 1945, the
No matter whether they were destined to be archrivals or not, the
I. THE AMERICANS:
A. INDOCHINA: ROAD TO PEARL HARBOR:
As early as the summer of 1940, President Roosevelt’s administration (1933-1945) had become increasingly alarmed over
[T]he government of the United States did not believe that it could enter into conflict with Japan and that, should the latter attack Indochina, the United States would not oppose such an action.
The conclusion of the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan on September 27, 1940 and the concurrent American embargo on the export of scrap iron and steel to Japan, effective October 16, opened a period of increasing tensions between America and Japan. But it was not until the summer of 1941, after
In the summer of 1941, to ease the tensions between the two nations, the Japanese ambassador to Washington, Admiral Nomura Kichisaburo, and Secretary of State Cordell Hull conducted talks in Washington. Occasionally, “a friend of
. . . means a further step in seizing control of the South Seas area, including trade routes of supreme importance to the United States controlling such products as rubber, tin, and other commodities.
Welles also informed Nomura that talks will be temporarily suspended. Next day, at a private meeting between Roosevelt and Nomura, the former menacingly hinted at the possibility of an oil embargo, but also proposed the neutrality of Indochina. In exchange for the withdrawal of Japanese troops from the French possession, Roosevelt pledged to grant
In order to avoid a breakdown of talks, the Konoye government cabled to Nomura on August 5 its reply to Roosevelt’s proposal of July 24. Although promising to give thoughtful consideration to the Japanese reply, Hull expressed his personal sentiment that “as long as Japan holds to the policy of conquest by force, there is no room left for negotiations; and that so long as the government authorities of Japan call American actions the encirclement of Japan, [we] can expect nothing from Japan.” Hull’s attitude was so unfriendly that Nomura had to report to Tokyo:
Judging from the impression I received today [August 6, 1941], it seems utterly impossible now by any explanation to bring the authorities of the American government to understand the true intention of Japan, and it was clearly perceived that the United States is clearly determined to face any situation that may be brought about.
Two days later,
On August 7, to improve the situation, Premier Konoye instructed Nomura to sound out the possibility of a summit meeting between himself and Roosevelt. Roosevelt, however, had left Washington for a ten-day trip to meet British Premier Winston S. Churchill on board the USS Augusta near
Konoye’s initiative, however, was launched at an inopportune time. The Americans and Japanese had nearly reached extremes of mutual distrust. The Gallup Poll, whether accurate or not, revealed that in June 1941, 51 percent of Americans felt that Japan’s expansion should be checked even at the risk of war, and three months later, on September 8, the figure was up to 70 percent. The high-ranking American diplomats, particularly Hull, one of Roosevelt’s closest associates at that time, were equally unreceptive to Konoye’s peaceful approach. On the other side, anti-American sentiment in Japan steadily increased after Roosevelt’s oil embargo. The pro-German and anti-American extremists took full advantage of this event to challenge Konoye’s move and predicted that the summit meeting would fail. Worse, the leakage of the August 28 message to the press aroused uneasiness in Japan.
On September 3, six days after Nomura’s submission of Konoye’s official proposal for the summit meeting, Roosevelt agreed in principle for a summit meeting, but wanted to assure the success of the proposed talks by the resumption of “preparatory discussions” on essential questions. In fact, Roosevelt and his associates were not as sympathetic to Konoye’s “unprecedented move” as they professed. Meanwhile in
The talks moved very slowly. On October 2, Hull handed Nomura a memorandum in which he simply repeated the “four cardinal points” contained in his June 21 proposal—a full circle of useless and fruitless diplomatic efforts. Konoye’s premiership consequently weakened. In early October, a series of cabinet meetings was held in
Ten days later, on November 20, accompanied by Kurusu, Nomura presented to Hull the second proposal (plan B or modus vivendi) endorsed by the Imperial Conference of November 5. In this final proposal,
On the morning of November 26, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku’s fleet, including six carriers, two battleships and dozens of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, set sail for Pearl Harbor. Then, after a series of secret meetings, on December 1, the Imperial Conference and Cabinet meeting decided to go to war against the United States and reconfirmed December 8 (Tokyo time), or December 7 (Pearl Harbor time) to be “X-Day”
On December 6, Roosevelt sent a letter to Emperor Hirohito, hoping to avert the war. It was too late. At 2:20 PM the next day, when Nomura met with
B. INDOCHINA AND THE AMERICAN WAR EFFORT:
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (local time) and the German declaration of war against the
Allied strategy—as it had been decided on as early as March 1941 by the American and British Chiefs of Staff—centered upon fighting and defeating the Axis powers in and around Europe. In the Far East, despite bitter criticism from General Douglas MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. forces in this region, the Allied effort was limited and defensive. Ground and naval forces were employed solely to protect strategic islands and archipelagoes in the Pacific and the main sea routes. Continued Chinese participation in the Pacific war was encouraged with exhortation, diplomatic concessions and the occasional supply of economic and material support. Meanwhile, in the former European colonies which had swiftly fallen under Japanese occupation after
This ambitious statement of Allied “war aims” rejected territorial aggrandizment and the use of force as an instrument of national policy, affirmed the principles of self-determination and freedom of the seas, advocated equal access “to the trade and to the raw materials of the world,” proclaimed the objectives of freedom from fear and want, and promised efforts to secure “improved labor standards, economic advancement, and social security.” Churchill subsequently went to great lengths to emphasize that the self-determination clause was intended solely for Nazi-occupied Europe but
The American Office of War Information [OWI] and, especially its San Francisco radio station, openly urged the Indochinese peoples to take arms against both the Japanese and their Vichy French collaborators.
Ironically, however, through the first year of the war, the Americans retained diplomatic ties with Vichy and repeatedly assured the imperialist powers that their prewar colonial possessions would be restored after the defeat of the Axis.
[T]he restoration of France to full independence, in all the greatness and vastness which it possessed before the war in Europe as well as overseas, is one of the war aims of the United States.
It is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be reestablished as soon as possible throughout all the territory, metropolitan or colonial, over which flew the French flag in 1939.
Privately, the American authorities, from Roosevelt to second-ranking officials in the State Department, also repeatedly assured the French ambassador to Washington of America’s respect for French colonial claims.
C. ROOSEVELT’S TRUSTEESHIP PLAN FOR INDOCHINA:
Roosevelt’s attitude toward France and Indochina during the period between 1940 and 1942, it should be repeated, was ambiguous. The principal reason was that all American efforts were absorbed, at first, in war preparations and, later, in the stabilization of the European theater. Moreover, although scornful of the Petain regime, the Americans did not consider General Charles de Gaulle’s Fighting French organization in
Roosevelt’s attitude toward Vichy France began to alter after the return to power of Pierre Laval in April 1942.
After the Allied invasion of North Africa, Roosevelt began to make known his postwar policy toward Indochina. At a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1943, Roosevelt mentioned briefly that Robert Murphy, his personal representative attached to Eisenhower’s General Headquarters in North Africa, had assured General Giraud that all French colonies would be returned to
During the years 1943 and 1944, Roosevelt appeared to hold to his position. He commissioned private studies of the population and resources in Indochina.(41) He also repeatedly sought support for his trusteeship plan from the Soviet Union and China: at the Foreign Minister’s Conference in Moscow in October 1943, at the Cairo meeting between Chiang Kai-shek and Roosevelt in the following month, and at the “Big Three” summit meeting at Teheran in November/December 1943.
On November 28, 1943, in discussing the postwar world, Stalin expatiated at length on the French ruling classes and suggested that they were not entitled to share in any benefits of the peace, in view of their past record of collaboration with the Japanese. Roosevelt said that he did not share Churchill’s view that France would be very quickly reconstructed as a strong nation. Stalin agreed and went on to say that he did not propose to have the Allies shed blood to restore Indochina, for example, to the old colonial rule. He repeated that France should not get back Indochina and that the French must pay for their criminal collaboration with Germany. Roosevelt said he was 100 percent in agreement with Stalin and remarked that “after one hundred years of French rule in Indochina, the inhabitants were worse off than they had been before. He said that Chiang Kai-shek had told him that China had no designs on Indochina but the people in Indochina were not yet ready for independence, to which he had replied that when the United States acquired the Philippines, the inhabitants were not ready for independence which would be granted without qualification upon the end of the war against Japan. He added that he had discussed with Chiang Kai-shek the possibility of a system of trusteeship for Indochina which would have the task of preparing the people for independence within a definite period of time, perhaps 20 to 30 years.”
The support of Joseph Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek increased Roosevelt’s confidence in the merits of his postwar plan. While en route returning to
, . . France has the country [Indochina]—thirty million 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 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 that they fear the effect it would have on their own possessions and those of the Dutch. . . . . Each case must, of course, stand on its own feet, but the case of Indochina is perfectly clear. France has milked it for one hundred years. The people of Indochina are entitled to something better than that.
Roosevelt’s trusteeship did not go unchallenged. The strongest opposition to the plan naturally came from
The trusteeship plan was also opposed within Roosevelt’s inner circle. Hull and his assistant, Summer Welles, thought that Indochina should be returned to France after the war. The American military leaders were concerned about the occupation of Pacific islands taken from Japan rather than Indochina and Southeast Asia. In August 1944, shortly after the “liberation” of France, Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt’s closest advisor, told British officials that the trusteeship plan referred only to the raising of living standards of Indochinese people. Early in January 1945, Hopkins told Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Edward R. Stettinius, who had replaced Hull as Secretary of State in the fall of 1944, that “there was need for a complete review not only of the Indochina question but of our entire French approach.”
After the second Quebec conference in November 1944, in which Roosevelt had decided not to use American troops in Southeast Asia, except the Philippines, the trusteeship plan weakened almost daily. In December 1944, when London demanded that Gaullist French saboteurs be sent into Indochina, Roosevelt first refused, but finally agreed to look the other way. A month later, at the Yalta Conference, held in the Crimea from February 4 to 11, 1945, Roosevelt’s concept of post war trusteeship for Indochina was almost dismissed. Stalin privately agreed with Roosevelt’s, but when the issue of trusteeship under the auspices of the United Nations was presented by Secretary of State Stettinius at the meeting of February 9, Churchill promptly and vehemently objected. It was then decided that trusteeship was to be restricted to
Roosevelt did not surrender easily. On his return to Washington, he held a press conference aboard the cruiser Quincy on February 23, and told reporters for the first time the details of his trusteeship plan for Indochina, and he also expressed his disappointment about Churchill’s opposition:
. . . I suggested . . . to Chiang [Kai-shek], that Indochina be set under a trusteeship—have a Frenchman, one or two Indochinese, 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. . . .
Stalin liked the idea, China liked the idea. The British didn’t like it. It might bust up their empire.
It was Japan’s purge of Vichy French rule in Indochina on March 9, 1945 which struck the last blow at the trusteeship plan. While the British actively supported the French units fleeing Tonkin to Laos and, then, the Sino-Indochinese border—touted by French and British propaganda as “Free French resistance”—the American field commanders were not as helpful as the French expected. This lukewarm attitude brought about strong protests from the French. In a conversation with the American ambassador to Paris, Jefferson Caffery, on March 13, 1945 the French Premier de Gaulle bitterly said:
What are you [Americans] driving at? Do you want us to become, for example, one of the federated states under the Russians’ aegis? . . . When Germany falls, they will be on us. . . . We do not want to become Communist; we do not want to fall into the Russian orbit but we hope you do not push us into it.
Finally, Admiral Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff, succeeded in persuading Roosevelt to support French troops retreating from Indochina. On April 3, Roosevelt allowed Stettinius to issue a statement regarding the result of the Yalta Conference, including the United Nations trusteeship provision. Nine days later Roosevelt died. His trusteeship plan for
D. TRUMAN’S HANDS-OFF POLICY:
Stepping out of
Meanwhile, on June 2, the Truman administration endorsed the recognition of French sovereignty over Indochina. On June 10, 1945, at his own request, Ambassador Patrick J. Hurley in
, . . at some appropriate time to ask that the French government to give some positive indication of its intention, in regard to the establishment of basic liberties and an increasing measure of self-government in Indochina, before formulating further declarations of policy in this respect.
Then, at the Potsdam Conference, the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff decided that both Chinese and British troops would occupy Indochina after the defeat of
On October 27, 1945, after Leclerc had advanced his occupying troops to the Mekong delta, Truman delivered a speech in which he dealt with the question of colonial countries. Truman’s speech was so vague and ambiguous that both the Viet Minh and the French could praise it. Subsequent events were to show that Truman’s “hands-off” policy was in favor of the French reconquest of Viet Nam. In the last months of 1945, Truman made several decisions which indirectly strengthened the French position in
II. THE SOVIET UNION:
Historically, as mentioned earlier, the Soviet Union [
In February 1941, after the Japanese thrust into Tonkin, Con returned to northern Viet Nam, establishing a secret base in Cao Bang province, adjacent to the Chinese border. Three months later, he convened the “Eighth” Plenum of the ICP, during which Dang Xuan Khu (better known later as Truong Chinh) became Secretary General, and the League for Independence of Viet-Nam [Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh or Viet Minh] was officially adopted as the ICP’s mass organization inside Indochina.
The historical background of Con and the ICP inevitably suggests that a close relation existed between Moscow and Hanoi. A lack of precise documentation makes such an assumption speculative. Indeed, the
A. SOVIET WARTIME POLICIES:
Prior to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Soviet Far Eastern policies were flexible. Tension between the
During the war, Stalin’s Russia concentrated all its efforts on fighting the Germans, temporarily abjuring exportation of proletarian revolution to the Far East. Both the British and the Americans heartily welcomed Stalin’s
In the following years, Stalin displayed his political as well as military cooperation with his non-Communist allies. The Soviet press concentrated on denouncing Fascism and refrained from commenting on sensitive issues such as colonialism. And, on May 22, 1943, Stalin went so far as to dissolve the Comintern.
Regarding Asia in general, the USSR, at least officially, maintained a non-committal attitude. During the period from 1942 to the fall of 1944, the
As the European war ended, the USSR was more concerned with its internal affairs and Eastern Europe problems than it was with Asia. While emerging as a superpower, the
Given this context of global strategies—i.e., self-preservation and Europe-firstism—Stalin’s approach to the Far Eastern questions was ambiguous. The key targets of Soviet wartime Far Eastern policies were
The removal of [the systems of colonial enslavement of hundreds of millions of people] is an essential condition for the inclusion of vast countries and the peoples inhabiting them, in the general channel of humanity’s economic, political and cultural development.
Whether this was simply lip-service on the Soviet part in response to the Indian nationalist movement or a first step aimed at renewing Russian engagement in the
As for Indochina, Stalin reportedly supported Roosevelt’s postwar “trusteeship” plan at both the “Big Three” conferences at Teheran and
This silence deserves special attention. First, considering the Comintern’s support for Nguyen Sinh Con and the “returnees from
Above all, this silence gave support for the assumption that Stalin’s Russia was not interested in the colonial question during the war. Even in late 1944 and early 1945, Soviet global strategies prevented the Soviet authorities from engaging in such a minor, but complicated, issue as the colonial question. In the case of
In brief, there was a surprising similarity in the wartime policies of the “Big Two” toward
B. POSTWAR SOVIET POLICIES:
On August 8, 1945, Stalin’s Red Army invaded Manchuria and declared war on
The threat to restore colonial rule in its previous forms, which are unacceptable to the peoples of Indonesia and Indochina is meeting with growing assistance. The sympathies or progressive forces all over the world are entirely with the masses who are striving for freedoms and who have a right to be free.
Meanwhile, in December 1945—after the French reconquest of Nam Bo and southern Trung Bo had been carried out with strong support from British troops, using rearmed Japanese prisoners-of-war—the New Times published another article by E. Zhukov, entitled “The Trusteeship Question.” Within the context of the Soviet “peace-loving” principle, the author called for the immediate implementation of the “trusteeship” provision of the United Nations for the “inhabitants of colonial and dependent countries.” This line of thought, it should be noted, had also been brought up by the Soviet representative in Hanoi several months earlier. Nevertheless, in the following year—in spite of the fact that Ho Chi Minh’s government and the French were engaged in a series of crucial negotiations in both Viet-Nam and France—the New Times was nearly mute about Indochina. There was a sole article by A. Guber, his “geographical sketch” of “French Indo-China.” Written about the political development in “Viet-Nam” when Ho was in
The people of Indochina feel that the fate of their country and its independence are inseparably bound up with the consolidation of the democratic forces in France, among whom they seek support for their legitimate demands.
Five months later, another Soviet writer reiterated Guber’s idea. In an article published in December 1946, Vasil’eva—the former mentor of Linov Nguyen Sinh Con in the Eastern Bureau prior to 1943—wrote:
The further development of Vietnam depends to a significant degree on its ties with democratic France, whose progressive forces have always spoken forth in support of colonial liberation.
It is unknown whether these presumably officially-approved assertions were based on the Soviet official line or inspired by French progressive writings at that time. In either case, two aspects of the Soviet official position are clear: The Indochina issue was purely a French matter, and the concept of a French Union consisting of
After the outbreak of a full-scale war in
Representatives of the Soviet Union in
It was not until the eventful summer of 1947—after Truman’s speech of March 12, 1947, the outbreak of the Chinese civil war, the ousting of the Communists from Paul Ramadier’s government in May, and the rise of tensions in Europe—that the USSR began to reassess its global strategies, beginning with the creation of the Cominform and A. Zhadanov’s “two camps” theory. Even so, the issue of Indochina stood somewhere near the bottom of the Soviet list of priorities.
C. THE INTELLIGENCE AND IDEOLOGICAL TRAILS:
Kremlin’s official line, however, did not reflect the true relations between Stalin’s
In July 1946, the Soviet Union moved its SAV to
Interestingly, in September 1946—as the Franco-Vietnamese negotiations were ensuing in France—the Dalburo sent to the Shanghai-based SAV a directive denouncing the reconciliary stance espoused by both Ho and Bao Dai. These instructions specified that
All Communist cells and organizations should immediately begin to act against the sold out politics of the Vietnamese leaders. . . . Concrete accusations must be made . . . against the nationalist leaders who should be dismissed or replaced by Communist representatives or Viet Minh.
. . . . Ho Chi Minh, Bao Dai . . . and the others should be considered as traitors to the Annamese peasants and workers.
III. RELECTIONS ON “BIG TWO” POSTWAR POLICIES TOWARD VIET-NAM:
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, amidst the declining tensions of the Cold War and the rise of anti-Vietnam-war sentiment in the United States, the regrettable retreat from Roosevelt’s trusteeship plan for Indochina was a familiar theme running through many historical works. Garry G. Hess, for example, ended his article on “Franklin Roosevelt and Indochina” in The Journal of American History as follows:
Looking back over the twenty-five years of bloodshed in Indochina since the end of World War II, a scholar can conclude that the trusteeship plan deserved more thoughtful consideration by the Allies and more vigorous advocacy by Roosevelt than it received.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., in his book, The Bitter Heritage, also concluded:
Roosevelt’s proposal [trusteeship] plan had certain eccentricity of detail; but it was founded in realism and wisdom, and if its essence had been carried about, the world might have been spared much bloodshed and agony. Alas, the idea died with him. . . .
The trusteeship plan, however, should not be overemphasized. Until Roosevelt’s death, it remained more of an idea, or in the words of the British ambassador to
The motivation behind Roosevelt’s plan is also debatable. Traditional historians see his plan as being motivated chiefly by America’s “anti-colonialism.” Revisionists assert that this plan was essentially centered upon American self-interest. Meanwhile, Bernard Fall bitterly spells out Roosevelt’s dislike of France and America’s desire to exploit raw materials in the colonial world as the chief factors behind the plan. Gabriel Kolko, labeled by many historians as a neo-Marxian historian, thinks that Roosevelt’s trusteeship plan “was motivated by a desire to penalize French collaboration with German and Japan, or de Gaulle’s annoying independence, rather than a belief in intrinsic value of freedom for the Vietnamese.” Although there is some truth in all these arguments, one has to take into account Roosevelt’s personal dislike of de Gaule, (his “headache”), the man who was “unreliable, uncooperative, and disloyal” to both the American and British governments and who, by challenging the authority of General Henri Giraud, the American protege, injured the British-American war effort. Moreover, like the Atlantic Charter, the highly idealistic trusteeship plan or Indochina might be seen, in part, as war propaganda. Whether the Indochinese would have been happier had Roosevelt lived for several additional years is open to question.
In formulating his plan for the postwar world, Roosevelt had to take into account of any instability that might follow the collapse of European imperialist powers and the resurgence toward nationhood of former colonial and semi-colonial peoples. His attention to the colonial world, especially in
To cope with instability in the postwar world,
The policy of policing the world [is] not insurmountable. . . . The United States and China would police Asia. Africa will be policed by Great Britain and Brazil . . . with other interested nations cooperating. The United States will see to the protection of the Americas, leaving the peace of Europe to Great Britain and Russia.
In “policing the world,”
As the war dragged on,
Entering the White House suddenly in April 1945, Harry S Truman faced mountainous difficulties. “I felt like the moon, the stars and the planets had fallen on me,” the new president told reporters. In the field of foreign affairs the wartime alliance between
Truman and his lieutenants, however, paid very little attention to the colonial world. Faced with these complicated situations, they listed
As for Asia, Truman and his lieutenants apparently followed
This policy, according to Dean Acheson, was aimed at the establishment of stable and friendly governments, and at that time, it appeared that only colonial powers could assure the stability and friendliness that the
The astonishing feature of our foreign policy is the wide discrepancy between our announced policies and our conduct of international relations. For instance, we began the war with the principles of the Atlantic Charter and democracy as our goal. . . . We finished the war in the Far East furnishing lend-leased supplies and using all our reputation to undermine democracy and bolster imperialism.
Traditional historians usually cite the threat of Communism in
A few dissident diplomats, such as Raymond Kennedy, bitterly denounced the “provincialism, . . . ignorance and isolation of the American public and American statesmen” for the “Jim Crow attitude” toward the world. Meanwhile, historians like Harold M. Vinacke assert that the United States was ready to “acquiesce” in the imperialist powers’ return to power as long as they followed a non-restrictive trade policy and guaranteed Washington a satisfactory supply of rubber, tin and other commodities. Kolko alleges that as long as the United States had access to raw materials and markets, Washington was “indifferent to colonialism.” John W. Dower, in his “The Superdomino in Postwar Asia,” and other critical historians like Thomas McCormick, emphasize the American preoccupation with the emergence of Japan as the “Asia’s ‘workshop’,” and the regional integration of the United States, Japan and non-Communist Asia. Still others allude to the American conception of “national security,” which varied from time to time.
The complacency with which the United States accepted colonialism probably reflected racial biases, which were not unfamiliar in the United States and in the Western hemisphere in the 1940’s. It was not a coincidence that the white Allies repeatedly used the term “free peoples” in their pronouncements about self-determination. Arguments that the colonial peoples were not ready for freedom contained a racial bias that nationalist leaders in the colonies could never accept. The “hands-off” policy also clearly expressed the so-called la loi du plus fort, that justice is in the strongest hand. Like justice at the
The threat of Communism in Asia had the most direct impact upon Truman’s attitude toward self-determination in Southeast Asia. The establishment of a Communist regime in a foreign country was assumed to mean that the door to its market would be closed up to the flow of American trade. The economic factors were not lost amidst the concern over Communist ideology, military strategies and political upheavals. In the final months of the war, the forthcoming threat of Communism in Asia was discussed in
Truman, no doubt, foresaw the inflammatory situation in
On the Soviet side, it is undeniable that Marxist-Leninism—characterized by its fundamental antagonism to capitalism and its dogged belief in the inevitability of a world proletarian revolution—formed the general framework of Stalin’s foreign policy. However, realist that he was, Stalin followed a course of action often labeled “national communism.” Within this context of realism, Stalin hoped to prolong the wartime alliance for the sake of Soviet postwar reconstruction. From the Kremlin, he preferred to look toward
As for Southeast Asia, the USSR appeared to pay even less attention to Ho’s “Viet Nham” than to Sukarno’s Indonesia. Following its wartime policy, the Soviet Union, temporarily at least, delegated the issue of
Simply put, during the period between August 1945 to early 1947, both the
VU NGU CHIEU Ph.D, JD
IMTFE, “Summation of the Prosecution” (16:38,990, 38,998 ff).
Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: A Dragon Embattled, 2 vols. (New York: Praeger, 1967), vol. I, pp. 572-574 [henceforth, A Dragon Embattled].
Georges Catroux, "La crise franco-japonaise de juin 1940 (26 novembre 1944);" CAOM (Aix), AP, Carton 366, d. 2906; Georges Catroux, Deux actes du drame indochinois (Paris: Plon, 1959), p. 55; Bernard B. Fall, The Two Viet-Nams: A Political and Military Analysis, rev. edition (New York: Frederick A. Praager, 1965), p. 41. Cited henceforth, Deux actes and Two Viet-Nams, respectively.
For further details, see IMTFE, Exhibit 2879 (11:25,755-6).
For the American version, see IMTFE (16:39,577-618). For the Japanese side of the story, see Ibid., (11:25,647-751).
For the English text of the July 2, 1941 Imperial Conference Decision, see Ibid., Exhibit 588 (3:6,566-9). For Konoye’s diaries, see Ibid., Exhibits 2877 (11:25,726-8) and 2866 (11:25,672-3, 25,694-700, 25,743-9 and 25,766-772)
New York Times, 5 July 1941.
IMTFE, Exhibit 2879 (11:25,732-3).
The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of the United States Decision Making on Vietnam, the Senator Gravel edition, 5 vols. (Boston: Beacon, 1971), vol. I, p. 8; Walter La Feber, "Roosevelt, Churchill, and Indochina: 1942-1945;" American Historical Review, No. 80 (Dec 1985), p. 1278. Cited henceforth, Pentagon Papers (Gravel) and "Roosevelt," respectively
Cordell Hull, The Memoirs of Cordell Hull (New York: Mcmillian, 1948) vol II, pp. 1013-1014. Also see IMTFE, (4:9,295).
Nomura’s report of 24 July 1941; Ibid., Exhibit 2882 (11:25,750-2); Hull, Memoirs, p. 1104; Togo Shigenori, The Cause of Japan (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1956, 1977), p. 85; Fall, Two Viet-Nams, p. 45;
US Department of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1931-1941, Japan (Washington, DC: GPO, 1943), vol. II, pp. 315-317 [henceforth, FRUS, 1931-1941, Japan].
Nomura’s report of 6 August 1941; Ibid., Exhibit 2886 (11:25,765-6).
Joseph C. Grew, Ten Years in Japan: A Contemporary Record Drawn From the Diaries and Private and Official Papers of Joseph C. Grew (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1944), p. 421. Cited henceforth, Ten Years in Japan.
Cable of 7 Aug. 1941, Toyoda to Nomura; Ibid., Exhibit 2887 (11:25,772-5). This message was given to Secretary Hull on August 8; Ibid., Exhibits 2886 (11:25771) & 2887 (11:25472-5).
Ibid., Exhibits 2889 (11:25781-2), 2890 (11:25,782-4); 16:39,633.
Ibid., Exhibits 2891 (11:25,790) & 2892 (11:25,791); Grew, Ten Years in Japan, pp. 416-421.
Ibid., Exhibits 1245-B (5:10,764), 2891 (11:25789) & 16:39627.
IMTFE, Exhibits 1245-C (5:10,722-4) & 2894 (11:25,798-801). Also see FRUS, 1931-1941, vol II, pp. 591-592.
IMTFE, (4:9,305); Exhibits 1107 (5:10,332), 1169 (5:10,333-40), & 3027 (11:27,028).
IMTFE, Exhibit 800 (5: 10,315), 809 (5:10,347-8).
JM 24:4; IMTFE,16:39,642, & Exhibit 809 (5:10,347-50).
IMTFE, 4:9,307; Exhibit 1245-H (5:10,811-4)
For the full text of this "Hull Note," see IMTFE, 4:9,307; Exhibit 1245-L (5: 10,815-23); Shigenori, Cause of Japan, pp. 170-173; United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, p. 13; FRUS, Japan, 1931-1941, II, pp. 768-770;
IMTFE, Exhibit 1245-J (5:10,825-9). FRUS, Japan, 1931-1941, II, pp. 784-786; United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, pp. 14-15;
Louis Morton,"Germany First: The Basic Concept of Allied Strategy in World War II," in Kent R. Greenfield (ed), Command Decision (Washington: Department of the Army, 1960), pp. 11-47; Kent R. Greenfield, American Strategy in World War II: A Reconsideration (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1963), pp. 5, 26-27.
Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War: The World and United Foreign Policy, 1943-1945 (New York: Vintage Books, 1968), pp. 194-195 [henceforth, Politics of War].
This document was originally a press release after the Roosevelt-Churchill meeting.
There were at least four Vietnamese working for the American OWI radio station in San Francisco at that time, including Andre-Marie Tao Kim Hai, a French citizen of Sino-Vietnamese origins, Nguyen Duc Thanh, Ly Duc Lam, Bui Van Thinh, and Nguyen Van Luy. Tao also worked for the French intelligence. See his reports to Jean de la Roche, in CAOM (Aix), INF, Carton 178, d. 1425.
William L. Langer, Our Vichy Gamble (New York: Harper, 1966), p. 33 [Italics mine]. Extract from letter of November 2, 1942, Murphy to Giraud; United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, p. 16; Also see Edward Drachman, United States Policy Toward Vietnam, 1940-1945 (Ruthford: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1970), pp. 34-40 [henceforth, US Policy].
The other American commitments to this issue included: official press release on the Franco-Japanese Treaty of July 29, 1941; Roosevelt's letter to Petain on December 7, 1941; in a conversation between Ray Atherton, Acting Chief of the Division of European Affairs, and the French ambassador to Washington, Gaston Henri-Haye; statement on New Caledonia, an island controlled by the Free French (March 2, 1942); a note to the French ambassador of April 3, 1942; Roosevelt's statements and messages at the time of the North African invasion, the Clark-Darlan agreement of November 22, 1942.
Gary Hess, "Franklin Roosevelt and Indochina;" Journal of American History, No. 59 (Sept 1972), p. 355 [?]. Cited henceforth, “Roosevelt and Indochina.”
Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: The Conferences at Washington, 1941-1942, and Casablanca, 1943 (Washington: 1968), p. 514.
Hull, Memoirs, vol. II, pp. 1234-1236, 1259-1296 [?], 1706; Drachman, US Policy, pp. 44-46; United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, p. 32; Christophe Thorne, "Indochina and Anglo-American Relations, 1942-1945;" Pacific Historical Review, No. 45 (Feb 1976), pp. 73-96 [henceforth, “Indochina”].
Henry Field, "How F.D.R. Did His Homework?;" Saturday Review (July 8, 1961), pp. 8-10; Idem., The Track of Man (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963).
Hull, Memoirs, vol. II, pp. 1305-1306; Edward Stettinius, Jr., Roosevelt and the Russians (New York: Doubleday, 1949), p. 258; Hess, “Roosevelt and Indochina,” pp. 358-359.
United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, pp. 24-25; La Feber, "Roosevelt," pp. 1284-1285.
"Memorandum by President Roosevelt to the Secretary of State," January 24, 1944; in FRUS, Diplomatic Papers 1944: The British Commonwealth and Europe (Washington: GPO, 1965), p. 773; Hull, Memoirs, vol. II, p. 1597; United States-Vietnam Relations, 1947-1967, Bk 7, p. 30.
As early as December 1943, Henri Hoppenot, the Free French representative in Washington, had requested French participation in Pacific operation, particularly in Indochina. In July 1944, in a visit to Washington, Charles de Gaulle received in "pensive silence" Roosevelt's suggestion of offering to France Fillipino experts and advisors to help France establish a more progressive policy in Indochina; James Eyre, The Roosevelt-MacArthur Conflict (Chambersburg, Penn.: Craft Press, 1950), p. 156. Also see George Herring, "The Truman Administration and the Restoration of French Sovereignty in Indochina," Diplomatic History (Spring 1977), vol. I, no. 2, pp. 98-99. Cited henceforth, “Truman Administration.”
See Chapter XI infra.
Hull, Memoirs, vol. II, pp. 1595-1598; Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1944), pp. 297-303.
Herring, “Truman Administration”, pp. 98-99.
La Feber, "Roosevelt," p. 1289.
The Pentagon Papers (Gravel), vol I., p. 11; La Feber, "Roosevelt," p. 1291.
Minutes of Roosevelt-Stalin Meeting, February 8, 1945; FRUS, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta (Washington: GPO, 1955), p. 770.
Stettinius, Roosevelt, pp. 236-238; Hess, “Roosevelt and Indochina,” p. 363.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Bitter Heritage: Vietnam and American Diplomacy, 1941-1968, revised ed. (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, 1968), p. 23.
Ronald H. Spector, Advice and Support: The Early Years, 1941-1960 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1983), pp. 31-35. Cited henceforth, Advice and Support.
FRUS, 1945: British Commonwealth and Far East, vol. VI, p. 300. This warning was repeated on May 5, 1945 by de Gaulle; Ibid., 1945, vol. IV, pp. 686-687.
Hess, “Roosevelt and Indochina,” p. 64; La Feber, "Roosevelt," p. 1293.
The Pentagon Papers (Gravel), vol. I, pp. 14-15.
Drachman, US Policy, pp. 114-116.
Tel. of 9 May 1945, Grew to Caffery, FRUS, 1945, vol. VI, p. 307; US Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, Bk 8, p. 27.
“Politico-Military Problems in the Far East and Initial Post-Defeat Policy Relating co Japan;” FRUS, 1945, vol. VI, pp. 557-568.
The Pentagon Papers (Gravel), vol. I, p. 15; Hammer, Struggle, p.44n12. Spector gives the date of June 7, 1945; Spector, Advice and Support, p. 47.
Charles de Gaulle, The War Memoirs: Salvation, 1944-1946, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1960), p. 242; Idem., Memoires de guerre, vol. III: Le Salut, 1944-1946 (Paris: Plon, 1959), pp. 550-553.
US Senate, Hearings (1972), pp. ? ;Drachman, US Policy, pp. 131-140, 157.
Drachman, US Policy, p. 118.
The Pentagon Papers (Gravel), vol. I, p. 18; New York Times, 25 Oct 1945.
United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967, Bk I, C-63 and passim; The Pentagon Papers (Gravel), vol. I, p. 51.
70. E. Zhukov, “The Trusteeship Question;” The War and the Working Class
71. “UJ” or “Uncle Joe” was Stalin’s nickname used by Churchill in his secret correspondence with Roosevelt during the war. See Francis L. Lowenheim, Harold D. Langley and Manfred Jonas (eds), Roosevelt and Churchill: Their Secret Wartime Correspondence (London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1975), p. . Cited henceforth, Secret Wartime Correspondence.
See, for instance, Nhan Dan [People] (Hanoi), 30 June 1983.
A. Guber, “What’s Happening in Indonesia and Indochina;” New Times (Moscow), No. 11 (1 November 1945). Also see various entries regarding “Ho She-ming’s Viet Nham” in New Times in January 1947 (International Life).
Patti, Why Viet-Nam, p. 178.
Gregori Evgenyev, “Japanese Imperialism and the People of Asia;” New Times (Moscow), No. 10 (15 Oct 1945), pp. 16-21.
A. Guber, “What’s Happening in Indonesia and Indochina;” New Times (Moscow), No. 11 (1 November 1945), p. 13.
JM 25, pp. 35-36.
E. Zhukov, “The Trusteeship Question;” New Times (Moscow), No. 14 (15 December 1945), pp. 3-6.
Patti, Why Viet-Nam, p. 179.
A. Guber, “French Indochina: Geographical Sketch,” New Times (Moscow), No. 14 (15 July 1946).
Cited in Charles B. McLane, Soviet Strategies in Southeast Asia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1966), p. 270 [henceforth, Soviet Strategies].
DECS, Indochine, “Influences moscovistes et trotskystes sur le Viet Minh (15 Fevrier 1947), p. 514;” CAOM (Aix), INF, Carton 138-139, d. 1245.
Archimede Patti, Why Viet-Nam?, pp. 178-181; Anatoli A. Sokolov, “Doan quan su So-viet trong nhung nam 1946-1947” [The Soviet Military Team in 1946-1947]” (manuscript in Vietnamese).
Note of 15 Feb 1947; CAOM (Aix), INF, Carton 138-139, d. 1245.
A Vietnamese source, based on an AFP news, indicates that Ho reportedly went to Beijing in February 1950 and then Moscow in March 1950; Tieng Doi [Echo] (Saigon), 17 March 1950. A Chinese source states that Mao Zhedong arrived in Moscow in January 1950; Chen Jian, “China and the First Indochina War, 1950-1954;” China Quarterly (March 1950), pp. 89-90. Soviet and Vietnamese sources wrongly state that Ho visited China in late 1949 and then both Ho and Mao flew to Moscow together in late 1949; An Ninh (Hanoi), Spring of At Ty (2001), pp. 1, 3.
To Huu, the party poet, for instance, wrote: “Love for father, love for mother, love for husband, [or] love for oneself is only one-tenth of love for Grand Papa [Stalin];” or, “Stalin is the first word that a child starts his/her language acquisition.”
Hess, “Franklin Roosevelt,” pp. 367-368.
Schlesinger, The Bitter Heritage, p. 23.
Ambassador Wood’s feeling about Roosevelt verbal statements was that “the President was one of the people who used conversations as others of us use a first draft on the paper. . . . If it does not go well, you can modify it or drop it as you will.” Lord Halifax, Fullness of Day (London: Collins, 1957), p. 263.
See, for instance, Gar Alpevoritz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Postdam; The Use of Atomic Bomb and the American Confrontation with Soviet Power (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965) and Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War. Alpevoritz, together with Drachman and Hess, emphasize a decisive break, while Kolko and La Feber stress a continuity.
William Range, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s World Order (Athens, GA: Univ of Georgia Press, 1952), pp. 102-19; Drachman, Vietnam, chapt. II. Also see Elliot Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York: Duell, Sloane and Peace, 1945).
LaFeber, for example, argues that FDR “envisioned using his trusteeship approach to undermine the British as well as the French Empire;” Idem., “Indochina,” p. 1277. Roosevelt’s plan, according to La Feber, “is a case study of how idealism, in this instance anti-colonialism, can blend perfectly with American self-interest;” Ibid., p. 1294. For a brief survey of the revisionists, see David Donald, “Radical Historians on the Move;” New York Times, 17 July 1970.
Fall, Two Viet-Nams, pp. 49-54. Fall quotes George Taboulet’s “interesting theory” that Roosevelt’s particular hatred for the French in Indochina stemmed from his maternal grandfather, Warren Delano [Delaneau], who had lost a great deal of money in 1867 in prematurely selling two parcels of real estate at the entrance of the Chinese Arroyo into the Saigon river;” Ibid., p. 453,n18. Taboulet, it should be added, was the former Director of Public Instruction in Cochinchina and then Director per interim of Indochinese Public Instruction in 1944. His personal papers are preserved at the Service Historique de la Marine, at Chateaux de Vincennes, an outskirt of Paris.
Gabriel Kolko, The Roots of American Foreign Policy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), p. 91.
Cable from Roosevelt to Churchill, via Eisenhower; and, Letter No. 228, 17 June 1943, Roosevelt to Churchill, cited in Lowenheim, Langley and Jonas (eds), Secret Wartime Correspondence, pp. , n1, & .
FRUS, 1945, vol. I, p. 124.
William D. Hassett, Off the Record with FDR (New Brunswick, NJ: Ruthers Univ. Press, 1958), p. 166.
FRUS, 1945, vol. I, p. 124.
La Feber, American, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-1975, 3rd ed. (New York:John Wiley and Sons, 1976), p. 17. Cited henceforth, Cold War
Harriman became one of Truman’s close advisors at that time. See George Herring, Aid to Russia, 1941-1946: Strategy, Diplomacy, the Origins of the Cold War (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1973), pp. 194-196; La Feber, Cold War, pp. 17-18.
La Feber, Cold War, p. 19.
Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation (New York: New American Library, 1969), p. 341.
“The Ambassador to China (Hurley) to President Truman,” Enclosure No. 50, in Department of State, United States Relations with China (Washington: GPO, 1949), pp. 581-584.
Laurence E. Salisbury, “Personal and Far Eastern Policy;” Far Eastern Survey, XIV (Dec 19, 1945), pp. 361-364.
New York Times, 5 May 1946.
Harold M. Vinacke, The United States and the Far East, 1945-1951 (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press, 1954), pp. 4-5.
Kolko, Politics of War, p. 607; and Idem., Roots, pp. 49-87.
John W. Dower, “The Superdomino in Postwar Asia: Japan In and Out of the Pentagon Papers;” in The Pentagon Papers, the Senator Gravel edition, 5 vols. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), vol. V, p. 101; and Empire and Aftermath (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1979). I am also indebted to Professor Thomas McCormick for his scholarly kindness in providing me with a copy of his forthcoming work dealing with the American-Vietnamese relations.
See John L. Gaddis, “The Emerging Post-revisionist Synthesis on the Origins of the Cold War;” Diplomatic History, vol. VII, No. 3 (Summer 1983), pp. 171-190.
OSS, “Problems and Objectives of United States Policy” (April 2, 1945); cited in Herring, “Truman Administration,” p. 101.
Ibid., p. 114.
See, for instance, Memorandum of 30 January 1946, by Richard L. Sharp; US-Vietnam Relations, Bk 8, VB 2, p. 57.
Memorandum of conversation by Dunn, August 29, 1945; FRUS, 1945, vol. I, pp. 121-124. According to de Gaulle, Truman assured him that the United States only wanted to see “the under-developed peoples . . . receive the means of raising their standard of living;” Complete War Memoirs, p. 907. It was his own idea that “the new era would mark their accession to independence though the means would inevitably be varied and gradual;” Ibid., p. 910.
See note 60 supra.
US-Vietnam Relations, Bk I, C-69-104
”Events in Viet Nham;” New Times (Moscow), No. 3 (16 Jan 1947), pp. 15-16.
”The Situation in Indochina;” Ibid., No. 15 (11 April 1947), pp. 18-19.
McLane, Soviet Strategies, p. 274.
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