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Indochina War Timeline: 1947 - 1949

1947
January
8th The State Department declares that it will approve arm sales to France, except for use in Indochina
February
20th Ho Chi Minh sends a letter – via the British Consul - to the French President appealing for peace. He writes "...we want our unity and our independence within the French Union; we want, a just peace which will do honor both to France and to Vietnam"
March
5th Mr. Emile Bollaert is named as the replacement for Admiral Thierry d’Argenlieu as French High Commissioner for Indochina
27th French handwriting experts report that Ho Chi Minh’s signature on the February 20th peace proposal is a forgery!
April
1st Bollaert arrives in Saigon
May
7th Paul Mus, advisor to Bollaert, meets Hoang Minh Giam, DRV Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss possible cessation of hostilities
20th Ho Chi Minh and Hoang Minh Giam reject France’s stringent cease-fire conditions
July
28th Ho Chi Minh reorganizes the DRV government, appointing Catholics and a member from Cochin-China
September
10th Bollaert makes a speech in Hadong conceding that the question of the union of the three Kys was for the people to decide themselves, but that diplomatic representation and defense are matters for the French Union and not for individual states
22nd Chief of Surete admits to the Saigon Consul that former Emperor Bao Dai agreed to return from Hong Kong and negotiate with the French some time ago. However, Bao Dai did not return immediately so as to avoid the appearance that his agreement was a put-up job
December
7th Bao Dai signs the Ha Long Bay Agreement, which weakly commits the French to national independence for Vietnam. Prominent nationalists, including Ngo Dinh Diem, condemn the agreement as falling far short of real independence.
1948
June
5th Bao Dai and Bollaert sign a second Long Bay Agreement in which France solemnly recognizes the independence of Vietnam. However, the French government retains control over foreign relations and the Army and defers transference of other government function to future negotiations
October
Leon Pignon replaces Bollaert as French High Commissioner in Indochina
1949
March
8th Bao Dai and President Auriol of France sign the Elysee Agreement:
  • France reconfirms Vietnam’s status as an independent Associated State within the French Union
  • France agrees to unify Vietnam and place it under Vietnamese administration – the terms to be negotiated subsequently
  • France retains control of Vietnamese Armed Forces and foreign relations
14th French National Assembly passes a bill forming a territorial assembly for Cochin-China
April
23rd Cochin-China assembly votes for unification with Annam and Tonkin as part of the State of Vietnam within the French Union
June
4th French Assembly passes the Cochin-China bill unifying Vietnam
13th Bao Dai arrives in Saigon
14th The Associated State of Vietnam is established with Bao Dai as Head of State
October
1st Having defeated Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists (Kuomintang), Mao Tse-Tung proclaims the Peoples Republic of China
6th U.S. Congress passes the Mutual Defense Assistance Act through which arms, military equipment and training assistance might be provided worldwide for collective defense

1946    1950