Truman never replied to letters sent to him by Ho Chi Minh, leader of the communist Vietminh and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam which Ho announced on September 2, 1945.
The United States left to the French the handling of the Vietminh revolt which erupted in late 1946. Nevertheless, the State Department was skeptical of French efforts to suppress nationalism in Indochina. According to McMahon, in 1947, "the Truman administration continued to view French military exertions as a misguided effort to turn back the clock." French cooperation in the recovery of Western Europe was deemed much more important by American policymakers than catering to the wishes of Asian nationalists. As Cold War tensions grew in Europe in 1948-1950, the United States began to render more active assistance to the French effort in Indochina. In February 1950, the United States recognized the puppet Vietnamese regime of the Emperor Bao Dai, to whom the Pentagon Papers historians said "the French yielded control only pro-forma, while . . . Bao Dai adopted a retiring and passive role, and turned his government over to discreditable politicians." In May 1950, the United States agreed to render the first $10 million of military assistance to France for Indochina, for reasons which Secretary of State Dean Acheson explained as follows:
The U.S. came to the aid of the French in Indochina not
because we approved of what they were doing, but because
we needed their support for our policies in regard to
NATO and Germany. The French blackmailed us.
Not all members of the American foreign policy establishment agreed that this policy shift was wise. Diplomat George Kennan told Acheson in August 1950: "In Indo-China we are getting ourselves into the position of guaranteeing the French in an undertaking which neither they nor we, nor both of us together, can win." In the late 1940s and early 1950s the French position in Indochina deteriorated due, said Edm...
Evolution of U.S. Policy Towards Vietnam Under Dwight Eisenhower. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 15:00, September 02, 2015, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303556227.html