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Indochina War Timeline: 1946

January
6th Elections for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) National Assembly held throughout Tonkin and Annam and covertly in Cochin-china
7th Franco-Cambodian Modus Vivendi signed, giving Cambodia autonomy within the French Union
28th British General Douglas Gracey departs from Saigon
February
28th Sino-French agreement signed at Chungking provides for the withdrawal of Chinese troops from northern Indochina
March
2nd The first session of the DRV National Assembly elects Ho Chi Minh as president and asks him to form a government
4th Lord Mountbatten deactivates Indochina as a territory under Allied Southeast Asia Command and transfers all control to the French authorities
6th Ho Chi Minh signs a preliminary agreement with the French in Hanoi, which states that:
  • The French government recognizes DRV as a free state, having its own government, parliament, army and treasury belonging to the Indo-Chinese Federation and to the French Union.
    The French government agrees to carry out a referendum on the question of the reunification of the three "ky" (Tonkin, Annam and Cochin-China)
  • The government of Vietnam declares itself ready to accept amicably the French army when, in conformance with international agreements, it relives the Chinese Forces.
  • Each of the parties will take all necessary measures to stop hostilities immediately, to keep military forces in their respective positions and to create the favourable climate necessary to the immediate opening of friendly and frank negotiations.
Read the complete March 6th agreement
7th Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap defend the March 6th Accord before a crowd of 100,000 in Hanoi
8th French troops land in Haiphong, the chief port in Tonkin
18th French troops enter Hanoi
29th Dr. Phat, member of the Cochin-China Consultative Council, is assassinated by members of the Viet Minh
May
3rd Dr. Thach, member of the Cochin-China Consultative Council, is assassinated
June
1st French announce the formation of an independent Cochin-China within the Indochina Federation and the French Union
10th Chinese troops complete their withdrawal from Hanoi
July
6th Franco-Viet Nam conference opens at Fontainebleau, near Paris. Phan Van Dong protests against the creation of the independent state of Cochin China and accuses the French authorities of having violated the accords of March 6
August
1st Vietnam delegation suspend negotiations at Fontainebleau after discovering that the French are convening a conference at Da Lat in southern Annam
6th With the DRV leadership at Fontainebleau the French High Commissioner organises a conference at Da Lat to study the status of the Indochina Federation within the French Union. Representatives are invited from Cambodia, Laos, Cochin-China and South Annam
14th Da Lat conference closes with the recommendation being to create a federal Assembly of States
27th Franco-Laotian Modus Vivendi signed, giving Laos autonomy within the French Union
September
10th Fontainebleau conference ends after the parties fail to reach an agreement on Cochin-China
14th Prior to leaving Paris, Ho Chi Minh signs a Franco – Vietnam Modus Vivendi:
  • Reciprocal rights for citizens
  • Reciprocal property rights and the restoration of all seized French property in Vietnam
  • Indochina Piastre tied to the Franc
  • Establishment of a customs union and free trade within the Indochina Federation
  • To restore public order in Cochin-China:
    a) All fighting to cease
    b) All political / military prisoners to be released except those accused of common crimes
    c) All unfriendly propaganda to cease
November
French forces take control of the Haiphong customs office enabling them to both collect import taxes and prevent Chinese weapon shipments from reaching the Viet Minh.
8th The National Assembly ratifies the new constitution of the DRV
20th French patrol boat seizes a Chinese junk carrying contraband gasoline destined for the Viet Minh. Viet Minh militia fire on the French craft as it nears the harbor - the resulting fire fight spreads throughout Haiphong before a cease fire is reached. Viet Minh forces also attack a French detachment at Langson
23rd French Colonel Debes issue an ultimatum ordering the Viet Minh to lay down their arms and to evacuate the Chinese quarter of Haiphong. When they refuse, French forces shell the area before committing ground troops. Fierce fighting continues for several days, resulting in 200 to 3,000 Vietnamese deaths.
29th French state they have "positive proof that Ho Chi Minh is in direct contact with Moscow and is receiving advice and instructions from the Soviets"
30th Hanoi embassy reports that the Vietnamese Government has partly evacuated the city
December
19th War breaks out after Viet Minh agents destroy the Hanoi power plant and attack French civilians. French forces respond by driving Viet Minh guerrillas out of Hanoi

1945    1947-1949