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Indochina War Timeline: 1953

April
12th Viet Minh forces invade Laos. Laotian Government requests formal condemnation of Viet Minh aggression
May
5th President Eisenhower tell the U.S. Congress:
"We are proposing to make substantial additional resources available to assist the French and the Associated States in their military efforts to defeat the Communist Viet Minh aggression."
9th French Government announces the appointment of General Henri-Eugene Navarre as Commander in Chief of the French Union Forces (FUF) in Indochina. Navarre had previously served as Chief of Staff to Marshal Alphonse Juin, Commander of Allied Land Forces in Central Europe.
10th France announce the devaluation of the Indochinese Piastre from 17 francs to 10 francs
19th General Navarre arrives in Saigon
June
20th Military survey mission, headed by U.S. Army Pacific Commander Lt. General John W. O'Daniel, arrives in Saigon to pursue discussions with Gen. Navarre on the manner in which U.S. aid to the French and Associated States armed forces in Indochina may best contribute to the defeat of Communist forces
28th Joseph Laniel becomes Prime Minister of France
30th Lt. General John W. O’Daniel sends details of the Navarre plan ("Principles of the Conduct of the War in Indochina") to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC)
Read the Navarre Plan
July
3rd French government issues a declaration of its intention to complete the independence and sovereignty of the three Associated States (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam)
17th French Union forces launch a heavily supported airborne assault against Viet Minh depots at Lang Son northeast of Hanoi, seizing 1,000 Skoda automatic rifles
27th The Commanders-in-Chief of the United Nations Command and the Korean Peoples Army sign an armistice agreement that ends the Korean War
28th French forces launch operation Camargue; a coordinated air, land and sea assault on the coastal villages used by Viet Minh Regiment 95 to mount attacks on Road 1
October
22nd Franco-Laotian Treaty of Friendship signed completing the independence of Laos
28th Laos signs a mutual defense treaty with France
November
9th France grants independence to Cambodia
20th Three French battalions parachute into Dien Bien Phu to defend Lai Chau against Viet Minh forces and to establish a base in the T’ai country:
  • To act as a northern defensive anchor for Laos (the southern anchor being Plain des Jarres)
  • To send out parties in all directions to seek out and engage the enemy
  • To foster development of T’ai guerrilla and partisan forces in order to supplement those already formed and based at Lai Chau
21st Two more French battalions parachute into Dien Bien Phu
29th Swedish newspaper Expressen publishes a Q&A with Ho Chi Minh in which he indicates willingness to negotiate an armistice with the French
December
7th The evacuation of civilians from Lai Chau is completed
10th Maurice DeJean, French Commissioner General in Indochina, states that the French High Command is hopeful that a major engagement can be forced in the vicinity of Dien Bien Phu in the near future
17th Nguyen Van Tam resigns as Prime Minister of Viet Nam

1951-1952    1954