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Vietnam War Timeline: 1956-1957

1956
January
19th Secretary of State John Foster Dulles decides against raising the ceiling on the number of MAAG personnel beyond the present limit of 342
23rd Dulles notifies the Saigon embassy of his decision not to authorize the raising of the MAAG ceiling, but suggests studying alternative methods including the possibility of using civilian personnel or military in civilian status
26th China requests a reconvening of the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina
February
3rd Secretary Dulles suggests discussions with U.K. and Canada to enable the U.S. to send personnel to Vietnam to salvage and maintain US supplied Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP) equipment
9th Dulles informs MAAG that the planned additional military logistical group would be limited to a maximum of 350 persons, would remain in Vietnam for a temporary period only and might be known as "Temporary Equipment Recovery Mission" (TERM)
25th State Department informs the ambassadors of the U.K., Canada and France of U.S. plan to dispatch TERM mission to Vietnam
March
4th Elections held for the National Constituent Assembly in South Vietnam
8th Election results announced, with 90 of the 123 seats won by Diem favored candidates:
  • National Revolutionary Movement: 47 seats
  • Independents: 39 seats
  • Citizens Community: 18 seats
  • Movement for Freedom: 11 seats
  • Others: 5 seats
22nd France agrees with Diem to withdraw all French Expeditionary Corps (FEC) personnel
April
12th Following India’s positive response to the planned creation of TERM, Secretary Dulles informs the Saigon Embassy that, pending ICC approval, TERM personnel will begin arriving in Vietnam on May 9th. TERM is to have the double purpose of:
  • Supervising the recovery (identification, inventory, and accounting control) and out shipment of excess MDAP equipment
  • Assisting in the improvement of Vietnamese logistical capabilities
28th The French High Command in Indochina is officially dissolved
29th TRIM personnel are reassigned to MAAG's Combat Arms Training and Organization Division
May
26th International Commission in Viet Nam informs the Vietnamese Government that entry of TERM personnel into Viet-Nam should be delayed, so that the Commission may complete consideration of the matter prior to the arrival of said personnel.
June
1st TERM personnel begin arriving in Saigon without final ICC approval
Retired former MAAG Chief General O'Daniel opens the American Friends of Vietnam Conference
21st Half of the 350 personnel authorized for TERM are in Viet Nam. The remaining two contingents are to be sent in early July and August
October
26th President Diem announces the new constitution of the Republic of Vietnam
November
A popular uprising occurs in Nghe An province of North Vietnam in defiance of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam's policies of land reform and land redistribution
1957
February
22nd An assailant fires a shot at President Diem as he arrives on foot for the inauguration of the Ban Me Thuot Economic Fair. The shot misses Diem but seriously wounds the Secretary of Agrarian Reform.
April
Diem reaches an agreement with the French ambassador for the withdrawal of the French Air Force and Navy training missions upon the completion of their present courses
15th Discussion take place in Washington about the need to increase the number of MAAG personnel as a result of the withdrawal of then French Air Force and Navy training missions
May
4th Diem directs French to conduct a phased withdrawal of their advisors as soon as possible
5th President Diem arrives in Honolulu at the start of a 21-day visit to the United States
9th Presidents Diem and Eisenhower meet in Washington
24th Government of Vietnam requests that MAAG advisors fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of French Air Force and Naval advisors on May 31st. To accommodate the request 44 military personnel engaged in housekeeping functions are shifted to the Embassy’s roll. This makeshift enables the total military personnel to be increased from 692 in MAAG and TERM to a total of 736.
July
26th During TERM’s first nine months of operations it ships out more that $36,000,000 worth of MDAP equipment from Viet Nam. This is over and above the $137,000,000 worth of MDAP equipment that had be shipped out prior to TERM's introduction.
October
22nd U.S. Army officers injured in a dynamite explosion and in a separate incident a number of U.S. enlisted men are injured when their bus is dynamited

1955    1958-1960