Franco-Vietnam Agreement of March 6th, 1946

The government of the French Republic, represented by M. Sainteny, a delegate from the High Commissioner of France, properly authorized by Admiral D’Argenlieu, High Commissioner of France, in who resides the sovereign powers of the French Republic, on one part;
And the government of Vietnam, represented by its president, Ho Chi Minh and the special delegate pf the Council of Ministers, M. Vu Hang Khanh, on the other part;

The following has been agreed upon:

  • The French government recognizes the Republic of Vietnam as a free state, having its own government, parliament, army and treasury, belonging to the Indo-Chinese Federation and to the French Union.
    Concerning thr unification of the three ky (Tonkin, Annam And Cochin-China) , the French government binds itself to carry out the decisions taken by the population through a referendum.
  • The government of Vietnam declares itself ready to accept amicably the French army when, in conformance with international agreements, it relieves Chinese forces. An annex agreed upon and attached to the present preliminary convention will establish the terms according to which the relief operations will be effected.
  • The stipulations formulated above will enter into force immediately. Directly after the exchange of signature, each of the high contracting parties will take all necessary measures to stop hostilities immediately, to keep the military forces in their respective positions and to create the favourable climate necessary to the immediate opening off friendly and frank negotiations.
    These negotiations will bear especially on the diplomatic relations of Vietnam with foreign states; the future status of Indo-China; and French economic and cultural interests in Vietnam.
    Hanoi, Saigon or Paris may be chosen as the location of the conference.
Done at Hanoi, March 6, 1946
Signed: Sainteny, Ho Chi Minh, Vu Hung Khanh

Annex to the Franco-Vietnam Agreement of March 6th, 1946

Between the High Contracting Parties designated in the preliminary convention, the following is agreed upon:

Firstly, the relief forces will be composed of

  • 10,000 Vietnamese with their Vietnamese cadres, under military control of Vietnam
  • 15,000 French, including the French forces now located in the territories of Vietnam north of the 16th parallel. These elements must be composed solely of French metropolitan origin, except for soldiers guarding Japanese prisoners
These forces, as a whole, will be placed under supreme French command with the assistance of Vietnamese representatives.
The advance, stationing and employment of these forces will be defined during a general staff conference between the representatives of the French and Vietnamese commands, which will be held upon the landing of the French units.
Mixed commissions will be created at all echelons to ensure liaison in a spirit of friendly cooperation between the French and Vietnamese forces.

Secondly, the French elements of the relief forces will be divided in the three categories:

  • Units charged with guarding of Japanese prisoners of war will be repatriated, as soon as their mission is completed, following the evacuation of Japanese prisoners, in any event with a maximum delay of 10 months.
  • The units charged with ensuring, in cooperation with the Vietnamese Army, the maintenance of public order and security in Vietnamese territory. Each year a fifth of these troops will be relieved by the Vietnamese Army, this relief will thus be effectively completed after five years.
  • The units charged with the defense of air and naval bases. The length of the mission entrusted to these units will be defined in the later conferences.

Thirdly, in the places where French and Vietnamese forces are stationed, precisely demarcated zones will be assigned to them.

Fourthly, the French government binds itself not to use the Japanese for military purposes.

Done at Hanoi, March 6, 1946
Signed: Sainteny, Ho Chi Minh, Vu Hung Khanh

Source: Roger Levy, L’Indochine et Ses Traites, 1946. Paris: Centre D’Etudes de Politiques Etrangere, 1947, pp. 46-48, citing Notes Documentaires et Etudes, No. 548.