The Northvietnam-Vichi war(Vietminh) 1945-1955



@copyright Dr Iwan S (iwansuwandy) 2010.



                                     Ho and friend stamps after victory 1954

I.  Historical Background

1.Above and Beyond.vol.4,New Horizon Publisher.Inc.Chicago,196 

(1) The vital role of air power in Vietnam during French vietminh war in the early 1950 were not exist.

(2)The French Army had the same mobility and firepower as the guerilla.

It was tied to the road for rapid movement of large units and its heavy fire-power was provided by attellery which could not be moved anymore quickly than its infantry.

(3)Under these circumstances the initiative was firmly in the hand of the Viet Minh who did not attack until the situation was strongly in their favor, and they could keep their forces secure indefinetely in jungle strong-hold.

(4)The most common Vietminh tactic was to attack one of the scattered French garrison with strong forces, and then to ambush relief columns sent to its aid by road.

(5)Many large French units were wiped out and it was impossible to force the Viet Minh to fight a conventional battle of importance.

(6)Finally, the Viet Minh did accept the challange of a conventional battle, but it was near the town of Dien Bien Phu in a rimote district of nortwestern Vietnam.

French commanders believed they could win even  though they had been forced into defensive positions and were cut off from inforcement and resupply by road.

Their estimate proved incorrect and before  their final defeat , the government in Paris sought US aid in the form of airpower to bombard the Viet Minh assembeld around Dien Bien Phu  , to resupply the French troops and if necessary to evacuate them.

It wasnot possible to arrange this aid and the ill-equipped French air  unit were  not able to stop the Viet Minh victory which lead to a complete French withdrawal from South East Asia.


2.Montgomery. A History of Warfare, Collins,St James’s Place London, 19

(1)In Vietnam , vietminh guerrilas took to jungle to fight against reesta-blishment of Franch control.

 (2)The war began in 1946 with the French attempt to reconquer Indo-China, which had been part of their empire since the early 1880’s.

(3)It ended with the armistice Agree-ment signed in Geneva in 1954, which left Vietnam divided between North and South along the 17th parallel  (line-auth).

(4)In this war the French losses were 35.000 killed and 48.000 wounded. The campaign repays study.

(5)What stand out are the hesitation, vacillation , lack of clear political purpose, and the constant political and military interference on the part of the home government in Paris.

(6)It also highlights the utter incompetence and arrogant blidness of the French military command set-up in IndoChina, which conducted the war with a complete disregard for local condition.

(7)The final disaster was the surrender of the French garrison of Dien Bien Phu on fifth May 1954,which was the death blow to the French empire, and threw that area open to the cold war.

(8)The lesson for the present is do not hold an Asian enemy in contempt.

This is an interesting book on the subject by a French author,Jules Roy, The Battle of Dien Bien Phu(I have the PHOTO OF THIS BOOK-AUTH). When Roy returned to Hanoi in 1963, the Vietminh commander General Giap

, said to him :” You were defeated by yourself” that is very true.The French realized in 1954 that they had lost their Indo-China war”

(I have the original photo of Giap,Ho , Pham van Dong and other Vietminh war hero , found in Indonesia during Afro-Asia conference 1955 at bandung-Indonesia-auth)

 3.French and the Vietminh (Kahin,America in Vietnam War,1976

 1)On the eve of Japan’s defeated in World war II.

     (a)The Vietminh confidently looked foward to Allied support in any future struggle against colonialism, because of the assistance they had given to his resistance movement against the Japanenese.

     Ho Chi Minh apparently anti-cipated ultimate Allied recog-nation to his newly-established goverment, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

     This expectation was clearly reflected in his government’s declaration of Independence of September 2,1945 which stated :

“We are convinced that the allied nations….will not refuse to acknow-ledge the independence of Viet Nam”

     (b) But France’s postpower government was determined to reassert French control in Indochina; and Russia included-mwere more concerned with maintaining good relation with France than with any effective support of the priciple of Self-determination in Vietnam.

(c)The first hind of Allied plans for postwar Vietnam came at Posdam. The Agreement reached there in July 1945 stipulated that, following the defeat of Japan.

     British forces were to occupy the southern half of Vietnam up to the 16th paralel, and China nationalist (Kuomintang) Chiang Kai-shek forces were take over the country North of the parallel.

     Under this agreement the mandate of both the British and Chinese Nationalist forces was restricted to “the round-up and disarming of the Japanese and the Recovery of Allied Prisoners of War and Internees”( In Indonesia the same, called RAPWI-auth)


     The conduct of the Allied occu-pation in fact went far beyond this limited assigment.

 The Commander of The British occupations forces, Major-General Douglas Gracey, exceeded both the Postdam Mandate and the orders of his superior Admiral Louis Mountbatten , who had admonished him to “confine operations of British/Indian troops to this limited tasks which he had been set.”

(d)Short of troops of his own, Gracey relied heavily upon japanese forces to keep Saigon and the surrounding areas under his control and out of the hands of the Vietminh.

He rearmed the bulk of the 5000 French troops interned in the Saigon area . ( the complete information read chronologist, “Bodai regime”-auth)

     (e)The Kuomintang Chinese army, in the northen half of Vietnam , devi-ated from the Postdam mandate in an other different way. Their force of 180.000 men, which was far larger than required, displayed more interest in systematically looting the country than in repartriating of The Japanese.

     In parts of Northen Tonkin , the Chinese replaced the Vietminh with their own proteges. However, despite attempts to influence the Vietminh’s activities, the Chinese commanders recognized Ho Chi Minh’s regime in Hanoi as the de facto government and allowed it to function with con-siderable freedom ( the complete informations read the nex subcapterd below-chronology-auth)

3).Vietnam (Constantino,Renato “The Making of Filipino” A Story of Phillipine Colonial politics” page 205& 231, first printing 1969,… panay avenue,Quezon City,Phillipine)

(a) The United States has asked her Allies to join her in warning communists “Against further aggresion in ear-torn Indochina”

(b) The next subject on which Senator Recto opposed the US position,and President Magsasay’s as well, was vietnam.

(c)Describing Vice-prosident Carcia’s prompt expression of support for United States intervention as ill-advised, he cautioned the Foreign Affairs Department against making ,without prior consultation with Congress, statements which might involve the country in war.

He pinted out that the Phillipines is in No Position to issued such “threats” because it is just a “small power” He expressed the fera that “ we may just be like hunring dogs sent out to bark at wild boars. Not physically able to fight the boar, we back out at first sign of conflict”

     Besides, he reminded the govern-ment that sould ourt threatening words involved us in war , our mu-tual defense agreement did not con-tain the categorial assurance that united States would come to our defense.

(d)President Magsasay said “ the last vestiges ( of the old-style colonialism) are now disappearing from Asia”, but the oppositioned Senator Recto said : (1)“ Westren colonialism is far from dead, and it is not correct to say that it has reached the last vestigial stage.Of course  it is doubtful if it can conquer again or re-establish itself upon the vast areas of the globe that it controlled in the 18th and 19th centuries, but this certainly is not due to lack of willingness or ebthuasiasm to do so, but rather to impressive evolution of the nationalism of many subject peoples since the closing years of the last century, starting in Asia with our own successful revolution against the Spanish colonial government.”   

 (2)“ Freedom-loving Asians correctly believe that it is not for any Westren people now to decide for any Asian nation what principles of foreign policy it may adopt or  repudiate”

(3)I am definitely against the commitment of Filipino troops in the war in Indochina. There is no cause, no reason for sending our fighting men to assist a colonial power to  perpetuate itsef against the Liberation ambition of the native population”

(4)Recto advised the United states to drop her”supercillious and patronizing attitude toward “Asia for the Asians”if she wants Asian cooperation”

(e) Magsaysay Reacts.

This veiled criticism of magsaysay and the more open attack  on Americans and pro-Americans like Romulo had an immediate repcussion.

(f) The Brownell doctrine, foreign policy, Indochina, and Japanese reparations each provided a new battle ground in the worsening relation between Recto and Magsaysay.

     The United states through her defense secretary that Filipino soldiers would not be sent to fight abroad, Recto felt that the Filipino people should be made to understand that “unless full gaurantees are secured from America” .

(g) The clash between Recto and the President Magsaysay was the paramount feature of party politics at that time. Everyone’s attention was focused on this duel between formidalbe adversaries.

  (h)Liberal Representative Diosdado Macapagal, implementing his party’s pledge of support to Magsaysay and perhaps trying to drive a deeper wedge between Magsaysay and Nacionalista Party leaders, enumerated in radio address the following ten “fundamental” conflicts between Magsaysay and Recto ( the complete history will list in UC’s nex book “Phillipnes Unique collections” –auth)(i)The fundamental’s conflict about Indochina-war :

(1) While the president Magsaysay is for joining the U.S. in warning Red China from intervening in Indochina, Senator Recto has opposed such step as like a dog rousing the wild boars from its lair only to run away.

(2) While the  president Magsaysay has dropped Asia for the Asians as a policy, Senator Recto has vowed  to make it a basis of our foreign palicy.

 (the historic informations  about the Phillipines and Vietnam Independen-ce war will put at the chronologic collections information. I hope after read the historicbacground we know that in phillipine, were senator recto opposides the President Magsaysay policy about Filipinos joined the Indochina war, detailed read the Renato Constantino books-auth)

d.ibid Stanley Karnow,1994

(1)After the defeat of the French by Ho Chi Minh and General Giap in summer of 1954 , there appeared the chance of negotiated solution .

(2)The Geneva conference of that year had resulted is a number of agree-ments and compromise.

 (3)The lighting was ended, and Vietnam was divided slose in the 17th paralel, with the North Vietnamese controlling what became the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, recognised by the communist state; in the South arose the anti communist Republic of Vietnam.

(4)Vietnam , it was proposed, would be unified again following elections in July 1956.

 (5)Two crusial features of the Geneva Accords were thus Vietnam were remain unitary states whose future would decided by elections, and that no foreign troops were permitted to assist North or South Vietnam. But from the start prohibition against the inroduction of foreign’s arm and amunition’s was a dead letter.

 (6)Eisenhower and Dulles  regarded the Geneva Accords as appesement of communism and a defeat for the free world.

They dissociated themselves from the agreements but promised not to overturn them by force provided there was no aggreasion from the North. They also expressed doubts about the all-Vietnamese elections and inssted that they be held under the auspices of the United Nation.






a) 1945

1) August 1945(1) August.19th.1945

(a)Vietminh August revolution begun. (Where their headquaters,Hanoi? Or in the jungle? Please comment, because very important to know their areal authority connected with their postal area and will used to know the pstal history collection orisinil or fake -auth) (D)

(b) During this period , the banknotes issued by the French have been circulating all over the three parts og Vietnam, cambodia and Laos. For some time when petty notes became rare, the people had even to tear the notes into halves to be used as change among them.

2) September 1945


(1) September.2nd. 1945


(a)The Democratic Republic of Vietnam proclaimed the Indepen-dence. (Where ? in Hanoi?-please comment-auth)

(b) The dubious Imnaha postal history’s report, Special cacheted cover address to Nam Dinh province from Hanoi CDS Hanoi-Tonkin 2.9.45 the Vietnam Independence day, with 6 Indochina stamps overprint “Chi Dung Trung Ngay La’  and also shoetype cancel Nam-dinh Tonkin 6-9-45 cancel.( I think thi spostal history fake, because in liberation war independent in Vientnam like Indonesia the Indepence proclaimed without the permission of the Japanese soldiers because the allied armed forces asked them to status Quo , that is why no special Indepence postmark , in that day still used the Japanese occupation stamped or Indochina stamped in vietnam without overprint because Japnese occupations stamped never issued in Vietnam because too short time occupied, please comment –auth)

(3)In parts of Nothern Tonkin , the Kuomintang Chinese Army , depen-ded on Postdam agreement’s man-date replaced the Vietminh with their own pote’ge’s.

However, despite attempts to influ-ence the Vietminh’s activities, the Chinese commanders recognized Ho Chi Minh’s regime as de Facto goverment and allowed it to function with considerable freedom

(the situation near same with Indonesia Indpendent war at the same time but more late in Sepetember 1945 by the British allied forces, read “Indonesian Independent war-auth)

Neverless, the weight of the Chinese occupation, politically as well as economically, was sufficiently onerous to dispose the Vietminh to meet some of France’s demands in order to secure the evacuation of Chiang’s troops from the area.(ibid Kahin)

(4)The young Republic could not immedietly issued its own stamps,  some of the Indochinese stamps were temporaly used with new incriptions “DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM”,”INDEPENDENCE  ,FREEDOM ,HAPPINESS”,”POSTS”.\,”FAMINE RELIEF ” AND “PEOPLE’S LIVEHOOD” over-printed.

Alltogether 13 different inscription were over-printed on 53 different Indochinese stamps converting into 57 Vietnamese stamps.(D)

(be careful many bogus fake overprint were issued,IMNAHA postal history just put in his blog, the Democratic republic of Vietnam overprint stamps postally used on cover and off piece revenue overprint Vietnam Dan Cu Cong Hoa,  North Vienam area


                                                                   Haiphong Church

The Saigon & southern area(ex Cochin-China) Never found  stamps and revenue from the nothern area until the fall of Saigon in 1975 , but some document were found belong to the chinese overseas who refugee from Haiphong to Cholon-Saigon, the discussion will at the collections,

Please all the Indochina revenue and postal history expert all over the world to give their comment-auth )

(4) A vietminh committee set up to govern was wrangling with Jean Cedile, whom de Gaulle had sent to Indochina as France’s representative. French residents, afraid to lose their colonial privileges, were barcing for a fight.(D)

3) October 1945

     When the French colonialist returned, French currency continued to be spent again in the French-occupied regions. Together with their own conspiracy to re-occupy Indochina.

4)November 1945

Not yet info

5) December 1945

 (1)December.14th 1945

Two postally covers with Rhodes block 4 , 1st 4x 5 $ and 2nd 4 x 3 $, with same cds 14.12-45 to the same monseue guyermeir hanoi

(This is phillatelic cover or CTO because the rate too high and send to the same persons –auth)

 (2) December.17 th 1945

The IMNAHA report of Yersin pair overprint stamps on postally used cover, cancelled Hanoi Chanh Than Cuo 17.12-45 Ngan Phep, back stamped” Hanoi Chanh Than Cuo 18.12.45 Buu Tin” sent to Monseur Guyenare. 11 pho juu dng das Hanoi without tonkin,rate 2 Dong.

(The  rate and postal cancel fine postal history, and this time vietminh in Hanoi, but why didn’t sencored? And to the same person monseur Guyenare—this was phillatelic creations, the hand written style near same with another postal history-Auth)

 b) French-Vietminh conflict in 1946

1)January 1946

 (1)January.31th. 1946

The President Ho Chi Minh on this day has issued a decree regarding the issue of Vietnamese currency.(D)

2)February 1946

 (1)February,26th 1946

Very rare and dubious Imnaha’s  postal History report, Locally used comercial cover send in the Hanoi city , stamps scott 47-48 with soecial Vietnamese Postmarked  “Hanoi Chanh-Thau Cuc Buu Tin 26.2.46”  and in the back of cover, destination CDS Hanoi 27.2.46.

(I thing this postal history fake, because in this time Hanoi under Chinese Nationalis Allied Forces authority and no Vietnamese Postal office this day, please comment this Imnaha report postal history-auth)

(2)February.28th 1946

     In the return for substantial French concession, Chiang Kai-shek agreed to withdraw his forces within three months from the nothern half of the country. (ibid Kahin) 

3)March 1946

(1)March,3rd 1946

     In this day, Imnaha report two different dubious  postally used cover:

(a) Asia Life Insurance postally used cover, cancel Hanoi RP/11-3-46/Tonkin, sent to Eng Nguyen duong Hop 15 pho Domine ,  double pen line strip on the addres and stamped “gia lai nguan guil anf khong den tiah and hand written khong dten tanh tra par ng gia(Perfect post mark but the written style not like the vietnamese style and post cancel indochina type , why vietminh stamps cancelled by french Indochina hanoi postal cancel ? , may be this cover made by the franchman ? phillatelic creations,-auth)

     (b) Postally used cover used pair stamps scott no 3, with special date postmaked  “Que Hoi Dinh Bang 1945 VNDCCH Buu Dien 3.3.” , also had rectangular handstamped “ Ding Bang Toan Quoc Dai Bieu Ai Hoi Lan Thu Nhab Cua Nuoc Vietnam Dan Chu Cong Hua”, label affixed “Envelope Commemorative Du 1er Assemblenation Du Viet Nam le 3 Mars 1946” ( To much vietnamese stamped during the worst situation, please comment original or not –auth)

(2)March,6th 1946

(a)The French accepted the Inde-pendence of Republic Democratic Vietnam under President Ho Chi Minh who fight almost more that eleventh years, now he was 35 years old.

(b)Ho Chi Minh felt compelled to reach a compromise settlement. Under this agreement he made the maximum concession possible without risking forfeiture of his dominat position in the nationalist movement. Even so, strong dissatisfaction with the settle-ment was express by various political group, and Ho had to exert all his in-fluence to secure their final acqueis-cense .

(c)Within the country the depre-dations of the Chinese occupation forces had further weakened an al-ready war-ravaged economy.

In addition, wartime neglect and Allied air bombardment of the North’s river-control systems had led the flooding of some eight provincee, causing many deaths and widespread starvation . These near catastrophic economic condition strenghted Franced’s bargainin position.

(d)Under the March 1946 agrea-ment , France could introduce 15.000 troops into the nothern part of Vietnam to relieve the Chinese occupation forces. This was on the understanding that each year thereafter 3000 of these French troops would be withdrawn , until the end of 1951 none would remain (ibid Kahin)

(e) There  were three parties in this republic, but the Vietminh was te biggest.


(f) The Chinese Nationalist ‘s Republic in Nanking more respect only to one Independent republic in their border but British and United Sta-tes didn’t like the Vietminh because their communist idealisme and fight to the Pacific area of Vietnam.


(g) The Republic Democratic Vietnam still under the Union under Frenc,  and econoly-politically United too with other Indochina area in the South.

(h)The Republic Democratic  Vietnam willn’t be developed if not United with other area because in the Northern more Industrial and in the South very rich agriculture especially rice.

     Nowadays Indochina export 1,5 millions Ton Rice, but now because of the battle or guerilla, export was down only 100.000 ton.

(i) In This situation the Independent of Republic Democratic Vietnam not full in politically and economically.


 4) April 1946


(1) In return for the Vietminh’s consent to the reentry of French forces into the North, Paris recognized Ho’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam as “ A free state, having its own govern-ment, parliament, army and tresuty, forming part of the Indochinese Federation and The french Union

(the same situation in Indonesia after the Lingajat i agree-ment , read Indonesian Independent war-auth)


(2) April,12th 1946

     Another dubious IMNAHA  postal history report, the postal used cover with 8 stamps including Michchel 1,3,6-10 and 12, postmark “Hanoi Chanh Thau Cuc Buu Tin “ and at the Back of cover CDS Hanoi 13.4.46.

(I think this postal history was the phillatelic creation or fake because  too many stamps not well rates and vietnamese Buu  Tin (Postal) not exist this day, please comment some one have the original Hanoi Buu Tin stamp-ed, and officially never report   –auth)

6) May 1946


(1)     May,9th 1946

Another dubious Imnaha postal history ‘s report :

Postally used commercial cover with block of four scott 19, locally used cover with Postmarked Hanoi Thanh Tau Cuc Buu Tin 9-5-46 with backstamped , from Hotel Splendide Hanoi ( The same hanoi Buu Tin Stamped  from February to May 1946 , I think fake postal history created by the sam person, please comment-auth)



Chiang Kai-shek withdraw his Chinese Allied forces from the nothern half of the country. The departure of the British and Chinese forces brought the Vietminh government under direct pressure from France.

By this time it was evident to Ho that no support would be forthcoming from either the United zstates or Soviet Russia; form his perpective, the Vietminh had been deserted by the international community  and left alone to deal with French.


(3)May.31th 1946

     Ho departured for Paris- the city of his youth.


7) June 1946


(1) June ,1st.1946

Admiral G.Thierry D’Argenlieu, the new French Viceroy in Indochina, set up a separate puppet government in Cochinchina and  recognizing a “Free Republic”.

Spite of some local hostility towards the Tongkinese the population, who were concious of their ethnic identity with the inhibitans of North and Central Vietnam, for the most part refused to support a movement considered to represent a Franch manouvre designed to split the nation in its straggle for independence.

Moreover , in recognizing the Vietminh’s territories of Annam and Tonkin as “a free state” within the French union, it was evident that the French had in mind something short of Independent. 


(2)Summer 1946

      Further attempts at negotiations between French and the Vietminh proved fruitless. Relations resulted in increasing twosides worsened rapidly, while actions by both resulted in increasing friction and numerous small-scale inincident.



July 1946

Not yet info

9)August 1946


(1) August.19th 1946

The five type Ho  Chi Minh stamps 1,3,9,4+6,6+9 hao, were issued to comemmorative First Anniversary of August Revolution (19/8/1945) and National Day of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam(02/9/1945)

 (Very difficult to find this stamps postally used on covers and many fake stamps-auth)

10) September 1946

(1) September 2nd 1946

(a)Marking the first National Day of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Postal Administration of Vietnam issued the stamp-set featuring the president Ho Chi Minh’s potrait upon decree no.172/SL signed on August 27 by the Government President, consisting of 5 valued od the same design with different colours and face values designed by painter Nguyen Sang. Among this denominations, there were two with extra-tax for narional salvation. The issuance of this  stamp-set was an important stage in the development of Vietnam Postage stamps.(D).

(2)September ,8th.1946

   The information about Indochina hadn’t heard in foreign country, and in Indonesia we didn’t heard nothing.

Censor and Isolation had made by the French, then the world didn’t paid attention anymore to this small and not important country different with the other country.

But for Indonesian the Political’s rolled in Indochina more important and interesting  because the situation of socila politic in that country near same with Indonesia.

(a)The populatrion of Indo-china about half of Java, and the power of french military more than  the Duch . The Total French army more than 80.000 and new military forces alway added.

(b)The Vietnam nationalist army (Viet-minh) didn,t have much gunpower than in Indonesia because the Dai Nippon Occupation army gave their gun to the Indonesia Republicans(TRI or Republic Indonesia Army).

(c)Republic Vietnam consist two area Tonkin and Annam , situated in the North  of Indochina.(D)

(3)September,10th 1946

     Before the modus vivendi was signed, General Morliere, the French commissioner in Tonkin, had set up a unilateral French control over imports and exports at the important Tonkinese port of Haiphong. The Vietnamese had looked foward to collecting much-need customs revenue at Haiphong after signing the agreement, but the French refused toalert their control.

(4)September,19th 1946

At midnight on September 19, dressed in athin tunic, ho slipped out of his hotel accompanied by a french bodyguard and drove to a building not far away. He took the cage elevator up to the Apartement of Marius Moutet, minister of Overseas France, another new name for postwar French empire. In Moutet’s study, he iniatialed a partial agfreement, which they entitle “a modus vivendi” , an interim understaning. As he left, Ho murmured to his bodyguard :” I have just signed my dead warrant”.

     Ho’s decision to defer t the French on the Cochinchina issue was to obsess him for the rest of his life and made his ambition to reunify Vietnam almost compulsive during his last year.(ibid.Stanley Karnow)

10) October 1946

(1)When Ho returned to Hanoi , his concessions upset the Vietminh’s hard-core militants, some of whom accused him of selling out to the enemy,  but the population acclaimed him. Despite his calls for moderation, howeever, he must have known that peace wuld not last.

     General Etiene Valluy, the French commander who replaced Leclerc, circulated a secret memorandum to his officers proposing a coup d’etat against Ho , and Giap was girding his forces.(D)


11) November 1946

(1)November.8th 1946

The IMNAHA’s report of postally used cover with the complete petain overprint vietnam Dan Chu Cong Hoa, cancel “Ha-Noi  Trung Uong Bac-Bo 8-11-46, sent to monsieur Felix Lang Poste restante Hanoi , without the sender name and Hanoi-Tonkin cancelled ( This cover was the phillatelic creation because poste restante only for foreigner and the rate to high, and without arrival cancelled, that time Hanoi in the French’s authority and Ho Chi Minh was slipped away from Hanoi -auth)

(2)November 16th 1946

     Ho Chi Minh protested to French Premier  Georges Bidault against the failure of the Franco-Vietnamese Customs Commission to meet, as prescribed in the modus viverdi. He objected also to the High Commissioner’s action in levying taxeson French nationals in Vietnam.(notably on the cotton mills at Nam Dinh) as a violation of the September agreement, which stipulated that they would be under Viet Nam fiscal control.

     The atmosphere in Viet Nam was tense in November 1946.

(3)November.20th 1946

(a) a French War Crimes Commission came toLang Son to investigate a mass grave where a number of Fench soldiers, killedby the Japanese in 1945, had been buried. French troops escorting the com-mission clashed with armed Vietnam-ese and each side accused the other of provocation.

(b)The incident at Lang Son, where the number ofFrench dead was less than ten, was rapidly overshadowed by another incident of considerably more alarming propotions which began the same day. A French patrol ship seized a Chinese junk attempting to run contrabandinto Haiphong, where the French had established a virtual blockade.

(c) Vietnamese soldier fired on the French ship from the shore, and shooting broke out within the city itself. General Morlie’re and Hoang Huu Nam, VietnameseUndersecretary of State,  intervened immediately; The French agreed to respect Vietnamese sovereigny in Haiphong and both sides promised to keep their troops far enough apart in  the city to avoid friction.

(d)When a French patrol boat seized some Chinese smuggler on the morning of November 20, Vietminh militia intercept the Franch craft and arrested its three crew members. At that, the volatile French commander, a Colonel Debes, assaulted the Vietminh.

By Afternoon , fighting lashed the town as Franch tanks rolled over street barricades and the Vietminh replied with mortars. At the opera house , facing the main street square, a troupe of Vietnamese actors held off the Franch with antique muskets. 

(4) November.21th 1946

(a)A commission of French and Vietnamese officers, assigned to monitor truce violations, manage to imposed s cease-fire this day. That might have ended the flare-up, except for a decision made in Paris by Prime Minister Bidault.

     (b) D’Argenlieu flashed Bidault ‘s respnse to Saigon , where General Valluy in turn ordered General Morlier, his representative in Hanoi, to insist  that Ho put all the Vietminh forces out of Haiphong and accede to French control of the city.(I have a chinese overseas parport issued by Chinese consult at Haiphong in 1947-auth)

     (c)Morliere , anxious to avert an explosion , reassured Valluy that the ultimatum was unnecessary . since hostilities had stopped.But valluy, eager to strike, also telegraphed the hawkish Colonel Debes :” It appears that we are confronted by premedutated aggression… The momment has come for you to teach a severe lesson to those who have treacherously attacked you. Employ all means at your disposal to master Haiphong completely, and thereby bring Vietnam military leaders to a better understanding of the situation.”


(5)November,23th 1946

(a)On this morning, Debes demanded that the Vietminh authrities evacuate their troops from Haiphong within two hours.


(b)The Vietnamese, protesting that they were observing the cease-fire, telephoned Hanoi for instructions. Debes gave them an additinal forty-five minutes, then issued the order.

(c)The culminated tension on this day with the French Naval Bombardment of Haiphong, where at least 6000 Vietnamese civilian were killed.

(d)French infantry and armored units raced through Haiphong, fighting house to house against Vietminh squad. French aircraft zoomed in the bomb and strafe while the cruiser Suffren, in the harbour, lobbed shells into the city, demolishing whole neighbourhoods of flimsy structure.

     (e)The Vietminh reliated by lounching coordinated attacks against French in Hanoi,which touched off major hostilities. This event marked the beginning of a war that soon to spread throughout most of Vietnam (ibid Kahin)


(f)Refugees streamed into nearby provinces with their belongings in baskets and on bicycles, and the Naval guns shelled them as well .

(g)Days passed before the French finally routed the last vietminh snipers.

The Vietnamese claimed twenty thousand death s, but French admiral later estimated”No More’ than six thousand.


(h)Vu Quoc Uy, then chairman of the Haiphong municipal committee, told that during interview in 1981, that the Vietnamese toll had been between five hundred and a thousand.    D’Argenlieu, still in Paris, cabled congratulation to Valluy, assuring him :”We will never retreat or surrender”


(i)Ho sent Blum a set of concrete recommendations for restoring calm. The telegram, transmitted through Saigon, was delayed by French officials theree for nine days-during which time the conflict again escalated  (ibid Stanley Karnow)


(6)November 23th 1946


(a)In the afternoon  French and Vietnamese troops  succeeded in bringing the fighting to a halt

     This , hovever, was only the first installment of the incident at Haiphong.

(b) Admiral d’Argenliu who was in Paris at the timemaking a report to the French Government, proposed using the Haiphongclash to give the Vietnamese a lesson; and his suggestion was approved,

 “Even going so far as the use of cannons?” he asked.”Even That”, Premier Bidault replied, probably not realizing there was any questiion of immediate action.

(c)D’Argenlieyu cabled General Valluy, his deputy in Saigon, who ordered Morliere to use force against the Vietnamese. But peace had already been achieved in Haiphong.

     Morliere pointed out, the Vietnamese situation was grave and requared not the explototation of incidents but their settlement; any imprudent act might lead to widespread hostilities.

(d)Unsatisfied by this reply, General Valluy telegraphed directly to Colonel Debes , commander od the French troops at Haiphong :

     “It appears that we are up against premeditated aggressions carefully staged by the Vietnamese regular army, whichno longer seems to obey its government’s order. Under these circumstances, your commendable attempts at conciliation and division of quarters, as well as the inquiry that I asked you to make, are out of season.

     The moment has come to give a severe lessn to those who have treacherously attacked you. Use all the means at your disposal to make youself complete master of Haiphong and so bring the Vietnamese army around .



(7) November ,30th 1946

     The first Vietnamese notes were issued in this day after nearly one hundred years of French protection.

     On the Frontside : The National name of Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the picture of the President Ho Chi Minh.

     On the backside : the peicture of worker, peasant and soldier, with or without a line of words of “Vietnamese note”. The note value is represented in full Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian letters. The number are in arab transcription.

     The signature put on these notes were those of Minister of Finance ( Pham van Dong, Le Van hien) and Director of the Central treasurury.

     This kinds of notes were called asa Financial notes”, and they were also called populary as “The old Ho’s Notes”

( We must be very carefully to collect this kind of notes, because too many variations and also many fakes, if someone want to study about this note, please read the official book ‘

“ One Hundred Years of Vietnamese Paper Currency 1875-1975” craeted by The Ho chi Minh city Philatelic Association , Nha Xhat Ban tre Hoi Tem Than Pho Ho Chi Minh) 1994. This book very difficult to find in Ho Chi Minh city, I found at Russian Market Phom Phen Cambodia and the price very high, if some one want to know information about Indochina and Vietnam banknote collection, please contact in the comment and the editor will help you for more detailed inforemations.-auth)





12) December 1946


(1)December,17th 1946

     “If those gooks want afight, they’ll get it,” said Valluy as he landed in Haiphong this day, his temper boiling over the slaughter of three French soldiers by Vietminh militia in Hani that day.

     Incidents were now multiplying in Hanoi and, as they had in Haiphong.

     Ho begged the Franch to recind the order , Giap deployed some thrity thousand men at three locations in the suburbs, planning to invade Hanoi if trauble started (D)









Another IMNAHA report Of Postally used Chamer overprint stamped with cancel Hanoi Chanh Thau Cuc 18.12.46 Bac Bo, with tree kind black stamped khoe Chong Xam Lang squered, Nguoi Viet-Nam )hu Ong-Thay Viet-Nam and doublecircle Nguyen Tri phuong Doan T.N.T.P Buu , sent to monsieur Ly-OG-Lin Poste Restate Hanoi (Tonkin) ( This cover have the same addres and poste restante during tis time no Vietminh in Hanoi they have evacuated out of the city because the French attacked them after the ultimatum at Haiphong Battle- this cover phillatelic creation or bogus stamped because the battle situation one day before the French armed forces in Tonkin and the vietminh headquaters always used red ink stamped not the black ink

This cover was the same with  Indonesian Independent war postal history created by Mr Phoa Lim Koey meridori street Surabaya sent by his friend from Padang Mr GKL, Medan Mr SSt. With many high nminal stamps ,the rate not right and the postal uesd cancelle d too fine without sencored label , to see the original war’s postal history look at my blog “ Indonesian Indepent war document and postal History-auth)

(3) December.19th. 1946

   (a)The Franch Vietnam armed Forces were in Tonkin.

     (b) The origin of the events is still murky, but the vietminh militia proba-bly struck first on the evening of this day, sabotaging the municipal power plant, then breaking into French homes to murder or abduct their occupants.

(c) Alert in advance by spies, the French counter attacked, and Hanoi became a battle ground, its building aflame and its three-lined avenues littered with corpses.

     (d)Ho in bed with fever at his modest bungalow behind the French governor’s mansion, fled before the French could capture him.


(e)At nine in the evening, Giap issued a virtual decleration of war “ I order all soldiers and militia in the center, south,and north t stand together, go into battle, destroy the invaders, and save the nation. The resistance will be long and ardous, but out cause it just and we will surely triumph”



(f) Except for a Christmas truce, the Battle of Hanoi raged through Decem-ber.

( Very difficult to find the document ,revenue and postal history collection 1946 and 1947 because many battles around north Vietnam especially Haiphong and Hanoi, I only have one document from Haiphong in 1947, please comment-auth)


(g)Giap’s troops rushed into the city to join the Vietminh, their arms a hodgepodge of Ancient French muskets, old American rifles, British bren autmatics, Japanese Carbines, spears, swords and machetes as well as homemade contrivances called Phan Dinh Phung grenades, after Vietnam’s nineteenth-century nationalist hero. They fought from street to street against French tanks, artillery and machine guns.

(30 years later, Dr Tran duy Hung, then the Vietminh mayor, described the event : “We were in Kham Thien street, a French unit facinf us from across the railways tracks. We built a barricade with railroad ties, piling it high with beds, dresser, chair, tables, whatever. Not even a tank could get thrugh it. Some of our boys-we called them”gentlemen militia”-wre red and yellw shoulders braids captured frm the French. People sang revolutionary songs when they charged. We were very optimistic, very romantic. We were ordered to divert the French until our forces could withdraw from the city. We could only get out by crawling under the Long Bien Bridge (I have the photo of that bridge-auth) , which the French controlled . We exploded all the firecrackers we coulkd find. When the noice stopped, the French moved in on us, but we had escaped into the countryside to begin the long war.

(h)Ho had fled to Hadong, a town six miles south of Hanoi, where he echoud Giap’s call to arms-and also appealed to Westren Allies to restrain the French. -ibid stanley Karnow)


(i) In the Provinces of Quang nam ,Quang Ngai, Phu Yen, a lot of credit cards(Tin Phieu) came into existance ( one piaster, 5p.20p,100p,500p,1000p) being signed by The Delegate from the Central Government and the Repre-sentative for the Centarl Part’s Admi-nistrative Commitee,

(j) In Paris, however,Blum had altered his atance . Stressing his commitment to vietnam’s Independence within French Union , he now emphasized that “ Oredr must be restored” as a precondition to fresh discussion.

     He sent Marius Moutet to Vietnam to survey the situation, and Ho promptly offered to talk with the minister in whose apartment he had singed the modus vivendi four month earlier. But Moutier rejected the overture as “ propaganda” adding ambigiuously the France would only deal with “authentic spokesmen for Vietnam people”(D)

(4) At The end of 1946

     After the Vietminh failed to seize Hanoi, the French expanded along the Red River valley, the regin’s principal rice-growing area. Cnstructing towers and blockhouses, the skirmished constanly with Vietminh partisant, who emerged at night to assault their posts, then disappeared into hamlets or fled into the hills overlooking the broad plain of fertile paddy fields. Duong Van Khang had helped to form a small Vietminh unit in his village, Phung Thuong, twenty miles east of Hanoi . (D)


(b)Vietminh War 1947



1) January 1947


(1)The revolving doors of the Fourth Republic spun again in this month, and Paul Ramadier, also a scialist, supplanted Blum in a caolition government composed of Socialist,Christian Democrats and communists.


(2)Voicing hope of peace, Ramadier dismissed d’Argenlieu and replaced him as high commisioner in Saigon with Emile Bollaert, a respected civil servant who appointed as his personal  adviser Paul Mus, a scholar of Asian affairs who was sympathetic to Vietnamese.


(3)Ho sensed that reconciliation was possible and proposed imme-diate cease-fire to avert a war, he warned, would “only end in hatted and bitterness between our two peoples” but Ramadier government was falling apart.(ibis Stanley Karnow)


(4) After 1946

The Vietminh weapons were supplemented by United States equipment captured from the French forces. Any disparity in military equipment, however , was more than compesan sated by the Vietminh’s popular backing (“People Power” -auth)

2) Febryary 1947 no info





3) March 1947


(1) The communists dropped their support over internal economic matter-though they voted the apprpriatins to fund the French army on Vietnam.

     So , while Ramadier tried to steer a moderate course, Christian Demo-crates in his cabinet, like Bidault and Paul Coste-Flores, the defense minister, were maneuvering to prevent negotiations. Other officials with different wiew also subverting them.(D)

4) April 1947 no info

5) May 1947

(1) The communist dropped their support over an internal economic matter.

     Instructed to present Ho with a set of suggestions. Paul Mus trevelled some sixty miles from Hanoi the Vietminh ‘s jungle headquaters.

     He informed Ho that France would agree to a cease-fire on condition that the vietminh lay down a part of its arms, permit Franch troops to circulate freely inside its zone and turn over several German and Austrian deserters from the Foreign Legion.

Would you accept if you were in my place ? Ho asked Mus :”No “ replied Mus. Ho thereupon rejected the offer-which was, in any case, a demand for surrender.(D)


(2) In 1947.Truman administration official conceded that Ho’s Communist “connection” might serve the Kremlin’s purposes.


(3) The Vietminh force had establishe a base in the Vietbac.

     The base eighty miles to north, in a landscape of jungle-clad mountains hneycombed with caves,

     Heavy monsoon rains drenched the region for half year, covering it with a protective mist againbst air raids.

(4)The French encircled the area in 1947 , by securing its only two roads and dropping in paratroopers, (that is way imposible the Vietminh overprint propaganda used on postally covers in Hanoi ,French area, in 1947-1948, be carefull many propaganda overprint stamps on cavers put in phillatelic auctions with high price-please comment-auth)

(5)They almost capture Ho Chi Minh, who slipped into camouflaged hole at the last minute.


(6) The French commander, General Etine Valluy, whose expe-rience until then had been in Europe , quickly sized up his effort as imposible. With a total of some fifteenth thou-sand men, he was trying to defeat sixty thousand enemy troops over nearly eighty thousand square miles of almost inpenetrable forest.

     Unlike his nineteenth-century predecessors, he was up against not small insurgent bands but a disciplined army. He could only withdraw to a thin string of forts along Route 4, a twisting road running through ravines and over high passes between the towers of Langson and Caobang . Chronically expossed to Vietminh ambushes, French soldiers dubbed it the rue san Joie, or street without Joy. (ibid Stenley Karnow,p-199).


6)-11) no info

12) December 1947

(1) The End of 1947

By the end of this year the increase in the popularity of Ho chi Minh and his Vietminh throughout most of Vietnam had convinced the French that Victory could not be achieved through purely Military mean.

Therefore, Paris complemented its persistent military campaign with an attempt to establish an amenable indigenious Vietnamese regime as a power strings, but she hoped that by endowing the regime she sponsored with asemblance of autonomy it would attract substantial nationalist support away from the Vietminh.

(ibid Kahin) 


(c) Vietminh War 1948



(1)The Map of Vietnam under Indochina in 1948(D)

(2) The Postal Administration of Vietnam also issued postage stamps in order to  meet the need for pre-paid postage on ppostal network  and at the same time to popularize the Party and state ‘s policies  and victories of the Vietnamese people and army (Propaganda-auth)  such as the stamp-set “Production and thrift” ,”Dien Bien Phu victory” “Liberation of the Capital” etc.

Stamps were printed by the extemely rudimentery means, using all the local materials available , even perforated by Sewing machine or other rudimen-tary tools.

(Some postal History of this stamps used on cover send from Hotel and another famous building, but we must be careful because during the war all the cover must sencored, the only guinined may be postcard but Vietminh never issued prepaid postal stationer that time , and also some Francaised Indochine timbre fiscal revenue also over print by the vietminh but only off document, revenue on the complete document never seen, please comment-auth)


(3)June 1948

(a)CIA officials had rejected a proposal to contact Ho covertly because “ a White man would be very conspicuous. In order to have an effective intelligence officer, he would have to have a little brown blood. Then, we wouldn’t be able to trust him”


(b) After alengthy process of Bargaining, The men chosen to head the new regime (Bo Dai, the former Emperor of Annam whom the Japanese had also endeovored to exploit in their eleventh hour) was in duced to cooperate on condition that, under his leadership, the state of Vietnam (Etat du Vietnam-auth) woul be “Indepndent within the French Union “.(Ibid Kahin)


(4) late 1948

In late 1948, a new French high commisioner for Indochina took over. 

Leon Pignon, fomerly political aide to Admiral d’Argenlieu favored firmness .but he foresaw that Communist , advancing across China, would soon arrive at the Vietnamese frontier to bulkwark the Vietminh.

He also reckoned that the US would

Help France more readily if a see-mingly liberal Franch policy were adopted.(D)



(d) Vietminh War 1949


1) January 1949 in

(1) US help to the French in Indochina had limited. American troops were not engaged in fighting anywhere, and it was to be hope that the withdrawal of the Russian and American had reduced East-West tension on the Asiaa mainland,(D)

(2) The Republic of Vietnam at the south  in 1949, have 21  provinces with the bigger city, Saigon,Cholon, Cantho,Baclieu and Rachgia. (D)

2) February 1949

Not yet info

3)March 1949

(1) After an additional year of negotiations over the meaning of this terminalogy concluded with Elysee’ Agreement of March 1949, but not retified by the French Chamber of Deputies on this month. (Ibid Kahin) 

4) April 1949

Not yet info

5)May 1949

(1)May.19th 1949

The second type Ho Chi-Minh stamps ,two stamps 2d and 5d, comme-morate 59th Birth anniversary of President Ho Chi-minh

 ( never seen postally used on cover-except fake or Phyllatelic collector creation or CTO -auth)

6) June 1949

(1)18th June,18th 1949


Phuc vu chien dieh Bien Gioi(1950). Trong nhung nam (1951-1953), Trong cuoc Tien cong chirn lu’o’c Dong Xuan (1953-1954) va chien dich Dien Bien Phu(D)

(.2)The situation changed drastically in 1949, when the Chinese Communist reached the Vietnamese border.

     China could now provide the Vietminh with automatic weapns, mortars ,howitzers, even trucks, most of it captured American materiel, some of it Soviet equipment earmarked for the Korean war.

     Chinese advisers joined Vietminh detachment , and Vietminh units crossed into China to train at camps near nanning and Ching Hsi.(In 2007, I have made a trip from Hanoi by night train to Nanning,read  and back bus bus from nanning passed the langson border back to Hanoi as the remambrance of that situation, read in this blog “ Trevelling’s unique collections-4” auth )

(2)Giap swiftly expanded his battalions into regiments, and soon he had mobilized six division, each numbering ten thousend men, among them a “heavy division’ composed of attillery and engineering regiments.

     The image of ragtap Vietminh guerillas persisted, but it war pure romanticism. Giap now commanded a real army, backed up by China’s enormous weight.As a veteran Vietminh officer, recllecting the period after 1949, he told the writers “ it was a significant moment. We were no longer isolated from the communist camp”

( look at the originil vintage General Giap photo , that I  found in Indonesia from the Vietnam photo collections given to Indonesian official during Afro-Asian conference at bandung indonesia in 1955, not many foreign country know him, because the popularity of Ho Chi Minh , he almost same with Indonesia Hero General Sudriman but more popular because Bung Karno , the Ho friend , didn’t joined the Indnesian Independent war in the battle’s field, he only struggle as the polititions and didn’t joined the Guerilla war in 1949 , read “Indonesia Independent war” –auth)

2)-5) no info

6) June 1949

(1) Mid 1949


(a)Major support for French was not given until mid 1949, when communist rule was established in China, when Peking sent its armiest into the Korean war, this disposition to aid the Fench effort was firther reinforced.


(b)A policy leading to the contain-ment of China increasingly preoccu-pied the Truman Administration and during the Korean war, Paris endeavor with consideable success to convince Washington that the French camp-aign in Vietnam  basically sustained that policy.

     Thus President Truman linked his decision to Send American Forces to Korea with the announcement of Incraesed arms shipments to the French in Indochina and the interposition of American power between communist and nationalist China in Formosa Straits. (ibis Kahin)


(c)Between 1949-1950

   Giap had bought time to enlarge his forces. He promoted local gueri-llas to regional units and assigned regional officers and noncoms to bigger detachments.

   Between 1949 and 1950, he quadruple (four times-auth) the number of regular Vietminh battalions to one hundred and seventeen. But his army never exceeded three hundred thousand men- fewer than that of French, Foreign Legion and African colonial troops in addition to three hundred thousand Vietnamese.

   Giap ‘s ability to recruit more soldiers was limited by French control of most of Vietnam’s populated areas. (D)


8)-11)not yet info








12) The end of 1949


(1)Until the end of 1949,

(a)approximately $1.5 billion had been poured into the  war. Well before this time the french forces were being pushed back and the military initiative had passed to the Vietminh.

(b) The success of Ho’s battalions, moreover , had been achieved with the arms far interior in both quantity and quality to the rela-tively modern American equipment employed by the French,

Any dispensary in Military equipt-ment , however, was more than compenated for by the Vietminh’s popular backing, the essential attri-bute of power that the French were never able to develope( Ibid Kahin)


        (c) Until the end of 1949, the United States displayed little, if any, real interest in Indochina.(ibid Kahin)


(e).Vietminh War in1950


(e1)January 1950


(1)January,14th th 1950

Ho Chi Minh declared on Jan 14 that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is the only legal Government , it is recognized by the Soviet Union and China, but also establized diplomatic relation s with Marshal Tito’s Yugoslavia, prompting some American officials to suggest that  Ho isn’t a Soviet”puppet”.

     Chinese Communist , now at the Vietnamese border, begin to provide modern weapons to the Vietminh.  

(2)When in free zones the Vietnamese notes and various credit cards, supply tickets, exchange tickets of the concerned areas will still circulating,

(3)January 25th 1950

     Ho Chi Minh first stamp postally used cover, cancel Thai-Nguyen 25-1-1950 Buu Dien Cuc, one ho chi minh first green stamp, rate ? ,sent from ng gui Ba Hoi,Thai Nguyen with red double circle stamped “vy-Ban Khang chan hanh cho/ lien-khu viet Bien/ Truong Hang Chien Hanh Chinh to Lien-Xa Van H.  lien-xa Ninh Gia  Ha Noi (The written style by Vietnamese, the color choped red, ok, But the official cover why not free stamp like I have found the same type send at Saigon? , This cover very best phillatelic creations because in 1950 all Vietminh were in the jungle and Hanoi under French power. Beware to collect a cover without original letter inside, many fake or bogus phillatelic creations, this time many seen, I hope some one will show us the original cover with original letter inside during vietminh war like you will see in my collection during Vietnam –vietcong liberation war 1968-1975-auth)


     The Elyse’e Agreement of March 1949, at least in this day retified by the French Chamber of deputies.(ibid Kahin).

(4)January 18 & 31 th 1950

     They (Peking & Moscow-auth) responded promptly, establishing formal relation on January 18 and 31, respectively. The Cold War had decisively entered the Vietminh-French dispute.

Within this context, the policies of France in Indochina took on a greater legitimacy in th eeys of Washington and gave her the right to sustantial U.S. aid. (ibid Kahin)

(5)Early 1950

     (a)American experts suddenly wondered whether Ho Chi Minh might not after all be a Soviet surrogate, since he requested and obtain recognition of his regime from Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, one of Moscow’s principal enemies. But they never explorered the mystery further- as they never had in the past nor would in the future(D)

(b)any misunderstanding could be  avoided that could turn    the cold war  into a “Hot war”.

(the Truman administration)

(c) The 1950 ‘s  were the dangerous decade.(ibid Kahin)

2) February 1950


(1)     February,7th 1950

(a)A week after the ratification of Elysee Agreement, The U.S. extended diplomatic recognation to his government. Thirty other states soon followed suit.(ibid Kahin)

(b) After the French Parliament finally clear its intention to ratify the Elyse’e Agreements and when inter-national backing of Bo Dai seemed imminent did Ho Chi Minh request diplomatic recognation from Peking and Moscow.(ibis Kahin)

3)-4)  not yet info

5) June 1950


(1)Mid 1950

Washington ‘s recognition of Bao dai sparked economic  and military-assistance programs, which began in id-1950


6)July 1950

(1) July.25th 1950

     The Russian –trained North Korea army crossed the 30th paralel and invaded South Korea. The Korean War begun, (the complete collections read the next book “ The unique Korean war document and postal History”-auth)

(2) July.26th. 1950

     Presiden Truman signs legislation granting USD 15 million in military and to the French  for war in Indochina

7)-11) Not yet info

12) December 1950

(1) December.6th. 1950

     French defeated at Caobang, a key post on the Chinese border , General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny named Franch military commander and high commisioner for Indochina.

(2) For all Eisenhower’s and Dulles’s ideological simplifications about “the international communist world”. Their narrowly concieved intervantion in the third worls like in Vietnam.(D)

(3) Late 1950

     The spark of hope was lagerly rekindled by Giap’s blunders, however.

      Giap perceived that his gains in the sparsely inhabited zone adjacent to China left him with two principal problem to assert the Vietminh’s political authority, he had to conquer the main population cen-ters around Hanoi and saigon, and to get the food his men desperately needed, he had to take over the rich fields of the Red River valley in the North and the Mekong delta in the south. (this is the reasons why, the Vietnam must unitied from North to South , and in 1975 they succeeded, please comment-auth)







(f) Vietminh war  1951


1)January 1951

     (1)Anticipating the attacks, de Lattre had strengthened the Red River valley with hundreds of cement blocked-houses and new airfield.

     He was prepared in january 1951 when two Vietminh divisions, comprising twenty thousand men, swept down from the tam Dao mountain and stormed Vinhyen

(in 1951 the vietminh still in the jungle, that is why all the covers sent to Hanoi with Vietminh stamps before Ho Came back to Hanoi in 1954 were the bogus phillatelic creations and before became postal History collectors better the study the chronologis of the history that will help the collector to know the original or fake postal history collections ,also many of the so called south central vietnam –vietminh issue and may fakes and fantasies, this issues are being studies by the phillatelist , trantrong kai  have believe some of the guinine that illustrated at IMNAHA web site, very pity all the iten not on covers or piece, very difficult to indicated the original or fake, I have discuss the original on piece and cover complete with informations at South Vietnam etat du Vietnam, Etat du Vietnam Quoic Gia, Thue coniem and Vietnam Cong Hoa Coniem, Cholon Saigon Regional timbre fiscal, Nathrang, Danang, and the overprint Viet cong on Vietnam Cong Hoa coniem revenue in 1975 and 1976-  please comment-auth)




(2)A town situated amid flooded rice fields thirty miles northwest of Hanoi.

     Outnumber, the French defneders innitially fell beck. But de lattre, personally taking charge, flew in reinforcements and mustered every available aircraft to bomb the massive vietminh formation.

(3)Giap retreated after three days of fierce combat, leaving sic thousand Vietminh dead and carrying off another eight thousand wounded. He was determined to try again.(D)


2) February 1951

(1)February 1951

     Ho Chi Minh creates the lao Dong or Worker party as a substitute for the Comunist Party, ostensibly dissolved in 1945.

3) March 1951

(1)Late March 1951

     Giap focused on the port of Haiphong.through which the French brought in supplies, and his miscalculated, underestimating the ability of the french to deploy naval guns and move troops aboard assault boats through the region’s estuaries and move troops aboard assault boats through the region’s estuaries and canals.  

     When he launched an initial attacks against Maokhe, northwest of Haiphong , the French again fought him off (D)


4) no info

5)May 1951


The third type  Ho Chi Minh stamps (100d green,100d violet and 200 d red) were issued for 61th Birth Anniv.of President Ho Chi Minh

(Many fake stamps, rare postally used on cover-and the overprint propaganda stamps didn’t used anymore,-auth)

(2)Late May 1951

In yet another attempt, Giap at-tacked with three division along the Day river, southeat of Hanoi, aiming to dramatize  and hecontemplated di-fferent region in which to launch a major offensive.

     Giap reckoned that the French would fight to protect Laos, whose king sided with them, largely out of an atavistic hatted for Vietnam.

     The French garrison in Laos, outside of the main towns, like vietiane and Luang Prabang, were also dispersed and vulnerable.

     Giap concluded, howeever, that Laos in the area along laotian border were strectched thin. (I found Laotian medal in Ho Chi Minh city, may be belong by the soldier who joined the battle at the laos area-auth)

6) June 1951

(1)June.5th. 1951

, President Ho Chi Minh, right after the victorious frontier campaign have signed a decree date june 5 ‘ 1951 regarding the establisment of The State bank Of Vietnam and issue the notes were exchanged in place of he “Finacial Bnotes” These notes have shown following characteristic :

     Front side : The National name of Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam Dan Chu Cong Hoa) .

     Backside   : The State bank of Vietnam.

     There were only on the notes two kind of letter are Vietnamese and Chinese.(Mot Tram Hong, Nam Muoi Dong, Ngan Hang Duoc Gia Viet-Nam) There were not any signatures of the authoriries concerned, except two round seals of Director and deputy Director of the State Bank of Vietnam found on the front side of the note

The nominal of notes : 50.,100,200,500,1000 and 5000 Dong (D)


(g)Vietminh war 1952


1) January 1952

(1)January .11th.1952

     General Giap’s offensive in the Red River valley blunted by de Lattre, and he dies in Paris.

2)-9) no info

10) October 1952

(1) October 1952

     Giap began to deploy three divisions in the vicinity of a wretched frontier village that had been evacuated by a laotians battalion employed by the French for garrison duties. The village located in a valley eleven miles long and five miles wide, belonged to the Thai, an ethnic minority that grew rice and marketed opium brought down from the surrounding mountains by Hmong tribes. The Thai called the place Muong Thanh.

     To the Vietnamese, whose trader bought opium there, it was known as Dienbienphu.(D)


(h) Vietminh war in 1953


1)-3) no info

4) April 1953


(1)After a series of clashes in the sector, Giap probed into Laos in April 1953.

     He skirted the French posts on the Plain of Jars, a plateau strewn with prehistoric urns, and reaches the outskirts of Luangprabang, the quaint royal capital , most of whose inhabitants had fled, having been alerted in advance by a blind soothsayre. Then just as he was poised to capture the town, Giap pulled his troops out of laos as well as from the area near Dien Bien Phu .

The explanation of Giap tactic in 1990 “ I never intended to remain in Laos. It was a feint designed to distract theFrench , and it worked”

     Giap had shown that he could march into laos with relative impunity, and might attack again at the end of the rainy seasons. Henceforth the French were to fasten on Dienbienphu as the crucial barrier where they would bar the Vietminh’s future access to Laos (ibid Stenley karnow,p-204)







4)-5) no info


6) June 1953


(1)Mid 1953

     Despite the substantial aids her was getting from the United States, Franch had lost to the Vietminh her authority over all but a minor portion of the Vietnam country.

     In the North by far the major part of Tonkin was in Vietminh hands.(ibid Kahin)

7) July 1953


The series of stamps “ Production and thrift” issued with face value  in kilograms of rice 0K600,1K00,2K00 and 5K00,(D)

(naver seen postally used on covers-auth)

(2) July.13th 1953

     George Bidault , once intrasigent, said this day , two weeks before signing of the Korean cease-fire, that Franch would be in an “ untenable position” if “peace were reestablished in Korea while the war continued in Indochina”.(D)


August 1953

(1)August .4th.1953

     The Soviet Union was on a similar tract. Stalin’s successor had issued a statement this day, eight days after the Korean agreement was signed, proposing discussions to resolve conflict in Asia. (D)

9) no info

10) October 1953

(1)  October 1953

`    France grant Laos full independence as a mamber of the French Union

France implied in a treaty with King of Laos that it would protect his land, a member of the French Union, as the French colonial empire had been renamed following WW II.(D)

(2)Early October 1953

(a)Giap said to the writers that : “At That point, I had no idea where or even wheter a major battle might take palce”

He rode by horseback to Ho chi Minh’s headquaters, a bambooshack located in a hiltop in nothern Vietnam.

Ho chainsmoked and interrupted with questions as Giap, referring to a map briefed him on the situation. Dienbienphu never came up in the discussion. “the art of war is flexibility” Ho said . They would watch the French maneuvers and wait before making a decission.


(b)As Navarre poured troops into Dienbienphu, however, Giap increasingly felt that this was the place to stand. The French , he observed, were “ completely isolated” in the valley and dependent on airlifted supplies, which meant that they could strangled. By constrast , their domination ofthe surrounding mountains gave the Vietminh forces both the adventage of height for their cannon and a way to bring food and equipment in from the rear.


(c)Giap had not yet formulated a plan, nor did he have Ho’s approval of Dienbienphu as the battle ground. (D)


11) November 1953

(1) November.9th. 1953

(a)Majority of the French National Assembly expresses hope for a negotiated sttlement to Indochina war.(D)

(b)Prime minister Laniel made what amounted to offer :” If an honorable settlement were in sight, on either the local or the international level , France would be happy to accept a diplomatic solution to the conflict” (D)

(c)Navarre ordered preparations for operation Castor, under which five French battalions would retake Dienbienphu.

(c) Giap had deliberately created that impression by staging diversionary actions around the country. His scattered assault prevented the French from reinforcing one spot without leaving another open to attack. Squad of Vietminh guerrillas ambushed French convoys carrying materiel inland from the port of Haiphong, and terrorist intensified their assasinations of pri-French official.

Vietminh regulars stepped up the raids along the coast of central vietnam, crossed the border to besiege towns in the southern Laotian and seized areas of Cambodia (D)

(d)Prince Norodom Sihanouk takes command of the Cambodian army , declares Cambodian’s independence from France.(D)

(e)  Vietminh forces a push into Laos.(D)

(f)Ho Chi Minh tells a Swedish newspaperman that he is ready to discuss French peace proposal.(D)

(g)The Franch Government was forced to sign the Geneva Agreement and the peace restored in North Vietnam . Since then , a new stage of development has been opened to Vietnam postage stamps.(D)

(2)Giap began to move thirty three infantry battalions, six attelary regiments and a regiment of engineers into the region, some over long distances.

     Reflecting afterward on the massive deployment, military his prians judged that, in outweight the mobility of armies. That principle guided Giap in his struggles agains France and later America. As he told in 1990, his voice bursting with conviction :” In war there are two factors –human beings and Weapons. Ultimately ,though, human beings are the decisive factor. Human being! Human Being!”

     Thus the ground was laid for Dienbienphu, which would equal Waterloo,Gettyburg and Stalingrad as one of the decisive battles of history. It was also Giap’s epiphany.(D)




12) December 1953

(1)Late December 1953

Cao Xuan Nghia had told that he trekked with his infantry company for forty-five days from their camp in Thai Nguyen , nort Hanoi, reaching the highlands above Dienbienphu.

They had to cross mountain and jungles , marching at night and sleeping by day to avoid enemy bombing. They slept in foxholes, or simply alongside the trail. The Vietminh infantry each carried a rifle, ammunition and hand granades, and their packs contained a blanket, a mosquito net and a change of clothes. The army each had a week’s supply rice, which they refilled at deposits along the way. They ate greens and bamboo shoots, picked in the jungle, and occasinally villagers would give them a bit of meat. By then he (Cao) had been in the Vietminh for nine years, and he was accustomed to it .(D)


(2) The end of December 1953

Meanwhile, Giap had been carefully studying the terrain at Dienbienphu and concluded that it would require at least fifty thousand troops to annihilate the French garrison. He conferred again with Ho      at the end of December, recommended launching the offensive on January .25, 1954 and predict victory in about six weeks.

After posing a few questions, Ho agreed and granted him “full power” as field commander ,”This engagement must be won” he exhorted Giap, adding “ But don’t begin it unless you are sure of winning”(D)


(i) Vietminh war in 1954


1)January 1954


(1) January.25th. 1954

     Foreign ministers of United States,Britain,France and Soviet Union meet in Berlin, agree that a confe-rence on Indochina shlould be held in April.(D)

(2)Jan.18th-Feb.18th 1954

Three types stamps issued for commemorate “Month of Friendship”. Design Ho with Vorosilov and Mao, thema Vietnam-China-USSR solidarity, offset mono (100d) and becolour 50d&100d)

(I found one mint block four -100 D stamps at Ho Chi Minh city and one at Hanoi in used conditions -50 D stamps, never seen postally used covers-auth)

(3)January, 1954

     Colonel Charles Piroth, a one-armed officer in charge of the big French guns, had pledged to Navarre :”Mon general, no Vietminh cannon will be able to fire three rounds before being destroyed by my artillery”( the wrong prediction-auth)

2)-4) not yet infor











(a)Battle of Dienbienphu begins.(D)

(b)Navarre declining to credit Giap with plans for amajor test at dien-bienphu , had committed large units to central Vietnam and even refused to shift them once the bigger encoun-ter began.

     He misread Giap’s ability to move a huge force rapidly, so that his own troops were outnumbered by aratio than five to one during the trial by fire.

     He rejected the notion that the Vietminh could devastate his men with attilery deployed on the hill above Dienbienphu, nor did he foresee that the enemy emplacements would be protected by camouflage and antiaircraft guns against bombing from the air.

     He failed to anticipate that giap’s howitzers, posied within easy range of his airstrip, would cut off flights in and out of the valley, making it difficult for his besieged soldiers to recieve supplies or evacuate wounded-much less withdraw themselves. He also chose a terrain presumed suitable for tanks only to discover that, unlike its description on his map, its cover of thick bush entangled armored vehicles and its monsoon rains flooded the plain in the spring.(D)


 (c) American equipment captured by the Chinese Communist from the  nationalist during civil war and later given to the Vietminh. Riding in acaptured jeep, Giap accompanied the groups of bicycles and columns of men that resembles lines of ants as they trudges through the mountain jungles, laden with everything from catridges to vast quantities of rice, which had to be carried for cover the impoverished region. From time to time they sranbled for cover as French aircraft strafed and bomb them. “It was very difficult, n’est-ce pas, very difficult” Giap recalled :”Only motivated soldiers could have performed such a feat”


(d) An even more agonizing ordeal for Giap troops was to position the howitzer and antiaircraft in the hills above Dienbienphu. Again, with sheer muscle, cadres and coolie alige dragged the heavy weapons up the slopes with range of the Franch garrison.(D)

(e) Preparing for the new assault took nearly two month. Finally, on the afternoon of March 13, Giap gave the signal to advance.

     His first objective , Beatrice, fell imediately, and Gabrielle follow the next day as the Vietmint howitzers raked the airship and pinpointed orther French targets.

(Many pin commemorated this victory battles, I have a vintage and modern pins-auth)

(5)March. 15th 1954


(a)At dawn on this day, Piroth lay down in bed, pulled the safety pin out of a grenade with his teeth and blew himself to bits. He had said the night before, after Gabrielle’s collapse: “I am completely dishonored”.

(b)The French figured that the oncoming rains would mire him in mud, but just the opposite occured. The lowerings cloud hindered thei aircraft from bombing and strafing his men and made the parachuting suppliesbto their beleagured garrison nearly imposible.

(c) The French now knew that, on the eve of negotiations, they were doomed on the battlefield and also at the conference table- unless they recieved a formidable dose of outside help. Only the Unites States could furnish that aid fast and effectively. But another engagement would have to be fought in Washington(D)


(6) March.20th. 1954


(a) No sooner had Giap fired his first salvos than the French calimed that they urgently needed American Military assistance at Dienbienphu to holster their diplomacy at Geneva.


(b) GeneralPaul Ely, the French chief of staff, delivered the massage to Whasington on this day, winning over Admiral Arthur Radford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Radford proposed that sixty B-29 bomber based in the phillippines , escorted by fighter planes of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, conduct night raids against the Vietminh perimeter around Dienbienphu. Ely returned to Paris with the plan, labeled Operation Vulture, and his government welcome it.

Another member of the joint chiefs, General Nathan Twining of the air force, endorsed the idea. But General Matthew Ridgway, army chief of staff, had little faith in air strikes- and no taste for a fight on the mainland of Asia. An old-fashioned ingantryman who had comanded the US Force in Korea, he argued that even Atomic Weapons would not reduce the need for seven American combat divisions to assure French success  in Indochina- tweleve divisions of the Chinese intervened. The other members of the joint chiefs agreed with him that  The Indochina conflict was the wrong war in the wrong place. As they stated shortly afterward: ”Indochina is devoid of decisive military objectives” and involvement  there “ would be a serious diversion of limited U.S. capabilities.(D)


4) April 1954

(1) April 1954

EISENHOWER –USA, decides against American intervention to help France in Indochina after Britain reject his proposal for concerted action.

Contrary to portrayals that depict him as an unalloyed “dove”. Eisenhower did not completely oppose U.S. intervention. But recalling his command of the Allies during World War II, he refused to commit America alone, “ Without allies and associates,” he told his staff at one meeting :” the leader is just an adventurer, like Genghis Khan” Besides, he had been elected on a pledge to end the war in Korea, which might  have spiraled into a bigger confrontation with China- and as his closer aside, Sherman Adams, observed : “ Having avoided one total war with Red China the year beforee in Korea, when he had United State support, he was in no mood to provoke another one in Indochina….without the British and other Westren allies.”

Eisenhower appealed to Prime Minister Churchill to participate, reminding him of the failure to stop Hitler :” by not acting in unit and in time “. He sent Dulles to London to plead his case, but the British spuned him.


(2)Churchill told the House of Commons that Britain “was not prepared to give any undertaking….in Indochina in advance of the results of Geneva,” and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, who was to cochair the conference with Vyascheslav Mlotov, Soviet foreign minister,  Simply refused to be “ hustled into injudicious military decision”. The best that Dulles could achieve was a British promise to conttemplate  a future regional security arrangement, which eventually became SEATO(D)

 (3)Postage Due issued and used for fines (three the third type Ho Chi Minh stamps and one 100 d production and thrift first series with overprint TT (within one or double frame) in red,dark violet ,brown or black) , denoted the amount to be collected (by post-master or letter carrier) from address, because of insufficient prepayment of postage. The insufficient amount was shown on the stamp.

 (many bogus or fake covers ever sold at auctions, the guenine postally covers with this type stamps never report,please comment-auth)

(2)April 1954

     It was clear by late april, as the battle rahged at Dienbienphu, that neither the American nor anyone else would come to rescue of the French.

     Giap told later that “ No doubt we would have had problems”he replied “ but the outcome would have been the same. Only a lunatic would have resorted to atomic weapons, which in any case would have devastated the French troops. At the time, I feared poison gas.Fortunetaly, it was never used,”(D)


(3)April,29th 1954

      Eisenhower speaking at a press conference on this day, he said :”You certainly cannot hope at the present state of our relatins in the world for a completely satisfactory answer with the Communists. The most you can work out is a practical way of gatting along”(D)





4) May 1954


(1)May ,6th 1954

The surrender of the french garrison of Dien Bien Phu


(2) May,7th 1954

     On the afternoon of this day, the red Vietminh flag went up over the French command bunker at Dienbienphu and French defeated.(D)

(3) May.8th. 1954


(a)Indochina phase of the Geneva conference with Britain and Sovier Union as cochairman.


(b) In Geneva, nine delegations assembled around a horseshoe-shaped table at the old League of Nations building to open dicussion aimed at ending the war in Indochina.


(c) In the end, the Geneva conference produced no durable solution to the Indochina conflict, only a military truce that awaited a political settlement, which never really happened. So the conference was merely an interlude between two wars – or , rather, a lull in the same war.(D)


6) June 1954 no info

7) July 1854

(1)July 1954

     Agreement reached at Geneva call for cessation of hostilities in Vietnam,cambodge and laos. Provisional line at secenteenth parallel divides Vietnam pending political sttlement to be achieved through nationwide elections.

 Final declaration accepted orally by all participant at the conference except United States, which states it will not disturb the agreement but would view renewed aggresion with concern.(D)

8)-9) no info

10)October 1954

(1) October.9th. 1954


(a)France forces leave Hanoi.(D)


(b) Four type stamps (10d,50d,150d ,&150d) were issued for comme-morated Victory at dien Bien Phu



(c) Due to National Bank of Vientnam was founded in 1951 and issued new currency to gradually replace the currency of Ministry of Finance, which had been circulated since 01/12/1945 . 1 d issued was equal to  10d before, and the old Ho stampes type 3 were overprinted with new value (many fake overprint, very rare postally used on cover-auth)

11) October 1954

(11)Commemorative stamps 10d-50d-150d-600 kilo of Victory at Dien Bien Phu( Chien thang Dien Bien Phu), kilo nominal was value expressed in weight of rice.

     The design of this stamps , an Vietminh soldier on top of De Castry’s bunker with vietminh one bigger star flag.

(I never seen this stamps on postally used covers, please comment-auth)


(j) The end of Vietminh war  in 1955


1)January 1955


(1)Three type stamps(10d,50&150d) design soldier hold children and the vietnam flag on the castle, were issued for commemorated Liberation of Hanoi capital (never seen this stamps-auth)


(2) January 1st 1955

Return of gouvernment to Hanoi stamps (1000d,1500d,2000d &3000d) were issued ,offset monocolour .

2)February 1955

(1)Land reform stamps, first issued 20d&50d.

3) -4) no info

5)May 1955


(1)Land reform stamps ,second issued, 5d & 10d.

6) June 1955 no info

7)July 1955


(1)Ho Chi Minh , in Moscow , accepts Soviet aids (I have the vintage photo of this monent-auth) , having early negotiated in Beijing for Chinese assistance.(D)

(a)USSR Moscow issued special red souvenir’s sheet stamps(PH-stamp auction internet-auth).

(b) original vintage photo Ho and Vorsilov inspected the army guard (P-fund in Indnesia-auth)

8)-11) no info

12)December 1955

(a)Land reform in North Vietnam reached its most radical phase as landlords before “People’s tribunals”(D)









K)The First years after vietminh ‘s war in 1956


(1)The third series Land refrom stamps were issued,40d & 80d (I found this stamps used off cover at Hanoi-auth)

(2) The stamps for commemorated opening of the Hanoi-Muc Nam Quan railway 4 type100d,200d,300d&500d offset monocolured.


(3) Official stamps 20d,80d,100d ,500d ,1000d ,2000d &3000d Army hero Anh Hung Cu Chinh Lan were issued.(I found 2000d & 3000d off covers stamps at Hanoi, never seen postally used on covers,please comment-auth)

(4)Tran Da Ninh stamps (5d,10d,20d ,100d) were issued (I found Off Cover stamps at hanoi-auth)

(5)The very rare stamps Army’s Hero (Mac Thi Buoi) , picture of Guerilla Heroine (Chan dung Mac Ti Buoi) 1000d,2000d,4000d & 5000d

(I have seen used 1000d off cover blue stamps at auction in internet, and never seen postally used on cover,please comment . Conclussion Vietminh stamps circulated after the victory at Dienbienphu and French October 1954. be careful the fake postal history with CDS Haiphong or Hanoi before this date between 1950 to September 1954 except sent in the village through curier but never report, may be the revenue with Vietminh overprint will be guinine if still on North Vietnam village’s document –auth)   







3.2.1 HISTORICAL Background


a.Vietnam A History (Ibid, Stanley Karnow,1983)



(1)Since the Vietminh had prevailed at Diienbienphu and still menaced the French elsewhere in Indochina, Pham Van Dong predictably came on strong. He insisted on a political settlement first, under which the French would withdraw and leave the Vietnamese to resolve their own differences- a formula calculated to panic Bao dai Regime and virtually guarantee a Communist triumph. He also arguedd for  recognation ofthe Pathet Lao and the Free Khmer, the Vietminh-supported Communist movements in Laos and Cambodia, contending that they deserved legal status and control of territory in their countries.(I have the original photo of Pham van Dong from the  photo collections given the Indonesian official during Afro asia Bandung conference 1955-auth)

 The French rejected these demands , Pham van Dong refused to yield- and the conference slid to a stand still.

(2)     Zhou Enlai showed at geneva for the first time,

he’s primary  ain was to carve an agreement that would deny the United States a pretext to intervene in Indochina and again threaten China. Thus he sought a settlement that would give the French at least a foothold in their former possesion, to the exclusion the Americans.

Such an accomodation inevitably required a sacrifice of the Vietminh’s objectives. But Zhou put China’s priorities first. Besides, Chinese foreign policy throughout the centuries had been to fragment South East Asia in order to influence its states, and Zhou subscribed to that tradition. A divided Vietnam suited the Chinese better thatn a unified neighbor- particulary one that had quarreled with China for two thousand years. Similarly, China’s security would be served by restraining Vietnamese ambition in Laos and Cambodia. By curbing the Vietminh, moreover, Zhou hoped to display his noderation to India, Indonesia and the other nonaligned countries of Asia. Indeed, his appearance at Geneva was a prelude to his performance soon afterward at the Bandung Conference, where he and the Indian Prime Minister Jawalharlal Nehru embranced as they launched their campaignnto preach the “Pancasila” , the “principles of peaceful coexistence”( I have the original photo of Nehru, Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Minh during Nonaligned Country Afro Asia Conference Bandung 1955, auth)

(3) The Vietminh showed no signs of elasticity, and Bao dai had just appointed the intractable Ngo Dinh Diem to his prime minister. But Zhou Enlai intervened. He arranged to meet Mendes-France covertly on June 23 1954, at the French embassy in Bern, the Swiss Capital.

Zhou had discarded his usual severe tunic for a gray Westren business unit, and he meant business. He told Mendes-France that, in contrast to the demands of the Vietminh, he favored a cease-fire first and a political accord afterward. He would urge the Vietminh to stop meddling in Laos and Camboda, and to respect the sovereignity of these “two Vietnams”- a direct blow to the Vietminh’s dream of unifications. The possibility of American military bases in Indochina worried him. Beyond that, he said, China’s only aim was peace in the region, adding that his government had “no other ambitions(and) poses no conditions”.

Worse awaited the Vietminh leader two evening later, at a farewell dinner organizes by Zhou. The guests included a member of Bao dai’sdelegation, Ngo Dinh Luyen, theyounger brother of Ngo dinh Diem. Pham Van Dong was astonished and dismayed that Zhou, a Communist comerade, should have invited a “puppet” of the French. But Zhou went even further, obliquely indicatingvin his silky manner that China favored a permanent partition of Vietnam. Turning to ernment to be established in Saigon open a diplomatic mission in Beijing:” Of course, Pham Van Dong is closer to us ideologically, but  doesn’t rule out representation from South. After all, aren’t you both Vietnamese,and sren’t we all Asians?”

(4) The conclussion at Geneva was to be misinterpreted, if not misunderstood, for years to come. The only documents signed were cease-fire accords ending the hostilities in Vietnam, Cambodia and laos.

The Agreement between France and The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, as the Vietminh officially called itself, wasnot a political settle-ment .It provided for temporary division of Vietnam pending a nationwide election to be held in the summer of 1956. The French forces would meanwhile withdraw from the north, and the vietminh from south. Except for the United States and the Saigon regime, the other participants merely gave their oral endorsement to afinal declaration noting the understandings.

(5) The Eisenhower administration , crusading against its foggy notion of an international Communist conspiracy, reluctantly pledged to abide by the Geneva agreement. In a separate statement, however, Bedell Smith warned that the United States would view “with grave concern…any renewal of aggression”- a caveat President Kennedy used seven years later to justify his comminment to the Ngo Dinh Diem government. Diem also rejected the Geneva accords, which put half Vietnam under Communist control, and he predicted that “another more deadly war” lay ahead for Vietnam. His forecast was prescient, after eight years of conflict and four hundred thousand soldiers and cibilians dead, the agony was far from finished(D)



   The South Vietnamese government, headed by the Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem , refused to sign any of the treaties but carried out the military truce conditions.

   Eisenhower’s conduct in 1954 marked another turning point in the tragic history of Vietnam and of the United States’s involvement in that tragedy, which lwd to extensive sacrifices in men, material and, a decade later social cohesion.

   What Eisenhower and dulles refused to accept was that no firm line had been drawn against further communist expansion, further erosion of the westren position in South east asia, though they had no wish for the US to replace colonial France or to exploit South Vietnam.

 the end @ copyright Dr Iwan Suwandy 2011

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