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War in Indo-China

April 3, 1953

Report Outline
Military Salemates: Indo-China and Korea
Nationalism and Communism in Indo-China
Indo-Chinese Independence in French Union

Military Salemates: Indo-China and Korea

The visit of French Premier René Mayer to Washington at the end of March afforded the first opportunity for comprehensive discussions between French political leaders and members of the Eisenhower administration on means of breaking the military stalemate in Indo-China. The talks are expected to bring new efforts by the United States to strengthen French-Vietnamese operations against Communist rebels in that key area on the southern border of Red China. The Indo-China war, now in its seventh year, has been a constant drain on the limited economic and manpower resources of France and has greatly reduced her defense capabilities on the continent of Europe.

President Eisenhower is known to assign the same strategic importance to the struggle in Indo-China as to the war in Korea. American military shipments to that area now have priority second only to arms and ammunition for United Nations forces in Korea. The joint communique on the French-American policy talks stated that “while the full burden of the fighting in Indo-China falls on the forces of the French Union including those of the Associated States, and similarly the United States bears the heaviest burden in Korea, the prosecution of these operations cannot be successfully carried out without full recognition of their interdependence.” An armistice in Korea would be of small benefit to the free world if the Communists took advantage of it to support more aggressive action in Indo-China.

The communique warned Red China that pursuit of aggression “elsewhere in the Far East … would have most serious consequences for the efforts to bring about peace in the world and would conflict directly with the understanding on which any armistice in Korea would rest.”

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