By Bunge F.G.
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Lawton Collins, who helped thwart the plans of anti-Diemist army officers by making clear that US aid, including money for the army payroll, was dependent upon Diem’s continuance in office. These interventions ensured that Washington’s 40 WAR AND REVOLUTION IN VIETNAM, 1930–75 ‘man’ eventually came through, but some US policy-makers feared that the power struggle had served to strengthen Diem’s already marked preference for centralizing power in the hands of himself and a small circle of loyal advisers, an unfortunate development as far as the new Republic’s democratic development was concerned.
Under its terms, Vietnam was granted its independence as an Associated State within the French Union (Laos and Cambodia were later accorded the same status). The French also agreed to a unified Vietnam, ending Cochinchina’s separation from Tonkin and Annam, the whole to fall under Bao Dai’s jurisdiction. Appearances were deceptive, however. In practice, the so-called Bao Dai ‘solution’ proved to be no solution at all, merely a case of the French tinkering with the detail rather than the substance of their rule.
Either way, the consequence was the same —twenty more years of war, not only for Vietnam but for America as well. In North Vietnam, meanwhile, a different kind of ‘nation building’ was taking place. In October 1954, Ho Chi Minh and his comrades had re-entered Hanoi for the first time in nearly eight years. In the newly legitimized Democratic Republic of Vietnam, all political power resided in the Vietnamese Workers’ Party (VWP). The principal decisionmaking body was the Politburo, whose dozen members also occupied the chief governmental positions.