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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Indochinese War

The First Indochina War began as a rebellion by Vit Minh forces against the French colonial government. This collection mainly focuses on the end of the conflict in 1954. See also the Geneva Conference of 1954 and the Vietnam War. (Image, French Marine commandos off the Annam coast, 1950)

  • December 15, 1947

    Explanation of the Dissolution of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1945

    List of reasons for the dissolution of the Indochinese Communist Party by the Viet Minh in 1945. The list was provided by Pham Ngoc Thach while meeting with the Soviet Envoy in Switzerland A. G. Kulazhenkov in September 1947.

  • January 17, 1950

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Liu Shaoqi

    Mao Zedong announces that the People's Republic of China will recognize Ho Chi Minh's government in northern Vietnam.

  • February 01, 1950

    Telegram, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai to Liu Shaoqi

    Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai offer their greetings to Ho Chi Minh and wish the Viet Minh success in their confrontation with France.

  • February 26, 1954

    Cable from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee to CCP Central Committee, via Comrade Yudin

    Comrade Pavel Yudin asks the CCP to inform Comrade Ho Chi Minh that the discussion at the upcoming conference in Geneva will include the Korea question and restoring peace in Indochina.

  • March 02, 1954

    'Preliminary Opinions on the Assessment of and Preparation for the Geneva Conference,' Prepared by the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (drafted by PRC Premier and Foreign Minister Zhou Enlai) [Excerpt]

    Zhou discusses the need to make agreements at the Geneva conference in order to open a path for discussion and negotiation with the west. Zhou notes that because the US, France and Britain are not united in their opinions, the CCP must hold fast to their positions on the peaceful unification of Korea, and of peace in Indochina. Finally, Zhou suggests that the CCP prepare to discuss issues of trade, relaxing international tensions, and breaking the US embargo, although these issues are not on the agenda.

  • March 06, 1954

    Cable from Zhang Wentian, 'Reporting the Preliminary Opinions of Our Side on the Geneva Conference to the Soviet Side'

    Zhang Wentian discusses his visit with Molotov. During this meeting, Molotov says delegations from China, Korea, and Vietnam are welcome to Moscow before the Geneva conference to discuss its proceedings. Molotov also mentions several issues that still need to be discussed, such as relaxing tensions in Asia, Korean unification, ministers in attendance at the conference, and India's participation in the Indochina discussion.

  • April 04, 1954

    Draft Memorandum, 'A Comprehensive Solution for Restoring Peace in Indochina,' Prepared by the Vietnam Group of the Chinese Delegation Attending the Geneva Conference

    The Vietnam group of the Chinese delegation offers a solution involving peaceful unification within Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, so that these nations can govern themselves as independent, sovereign states.

  • April 17, 1954

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Huang Kecheng and Su Yu

    Telegram in which Mao Zedong instructs Huang Kecheng and Su Yu on how to proceed if an armistice is reached in Vietnam.

  • April 23, 1954

    Cable from Zhou Enlai, 'Concerning Soviet Premier Georgy M. Malenkov’s conversation with Zhou Enlai about the Vietnam Issue'

    Zhou Enlai describes his meeting with Khrushchev, Malenkov, and other Soviet officials. The Soviets agree with the CCP position on Indochina, and will give their opinion of China’s draft constitution in four months.

  • April 28, 1954

    Telegram, Mao Zedong to Peng Dehuai and Huang Kecheng

    Mao Zedong writes to comrades Peng Dehuai and Huan Kecheng informing them of the dangers that face the communists in Vietnam. There is a risk of enemy movement near the transportation line in the rear area which could force troops out of Dien Bien Phu.

  • May 12, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Second Plenary Session (Excerpt)

    Zhou Enlai reports mainly on the second session of the Indochina issue. Participants are divided on the issue of a ceasefire. The Republic of Vietnam's Pham Van Dong agrees that the releasing of sick and wounded POWs will include both French and Vietnamese troops.

  • May 14, 1954

    Minutes of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Anthony Eden

    Zhou Enlai and Anthony Eden discuss Geneva Conference proceedings related to the Korea and Indochina issues. Zhou expresses concerns for the French proposal on Indochina and states that China supports the North Vietnamese proposal. Zhou and Eden agree that a military armistice should be decided on, although they disagree on specific issues surrounding an armistice.

  • May 15, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Requesting Instructions on the Korean Issue and Regarding the Situation at the Fourth Plenary Session on the Indochina Issue

    Zhou Enlai reports to the CCP on his meeting with Anthony Eden, the fourth plenary session on Indochina, and his meeting with the Soviet and Korean representatives. During the fourth session, representatives from Russia and France spoke on their positions on the armistice in Indochina.

  • May 19, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Second Restricted Session

    Zhou Enlai reports to the CCP on the second restricted session on Indochina and propaganda efforts of the Chinese and Russians. During the Indochina session, the US, France, and Britain disagreed with China, Russia, and the DRV on whether or not the Laos and Cambodia issues should be discussed separately from the Vietnam issues.

  • May 20, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Third Restricted Session

    Zhou Enlai reports on the continued session on Indochina. Again, the participants are divided in their opinions and nothing is achieved. All agree to continue the discussion another day. Also, Zhou prepares to take the lead in the session on Korea.

  • May 22, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Fourth Restricted Session

    Zhou Enlai reports on the Indochina session and the upcoming Korea session. All sides agree on the order of discussion of a ceasefire in Indochina and that they are open to including more in the discussion.

  • May 30, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Eighth Restricted Session

    Zhou reports on the restrictive session on Indochina. Participating countries agreed to a three-point proposal regarding peace in Indochina.

  • May 30, 1954

    Minutes, Director of the Staff Office of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Wang Bingnan’s Meeting with President of the International Federation on Human Rights Joseph Paul-Boncour

    Wang reports on his discussion with Paul-Boncour and Chauvel. Paul-Boncour makes suggestions on the upcoming secret meeting between Bidault and Zhou. Also, Wang and Chauvel discuss issues at the conference such as the cease-fire and supervisory committee in Indochina.

  • June 01, 1954

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong and Others, Regarding the Situation at the Ninth Restricted Session

    Zhou reports on his conversation with Molotov and on the ninth restricted session on Indochina. Molotov describes his earlier meeting with Eden. Later, at the ninth session, Zhou insists to his opponents that the NNSC on Korea should serve as a model for NNSC on Indochina.

  • June 01, 1954

    Record of Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Georges Bidault

    Bidault and Zhou discuss the need to come to an agreement on troop regrouping and the composition and role of the supervisory committee for Indochina.