Editorial Note

At his news conference on April 29, 9:30 a.m., the President received numerous questions on the subject of Indochina. In his replies [Page 605] he stated that the United States would not become involved in the war “except through the constitutional process which, of course, involved a declaration of war by Congress.” He indicated that United States involvement in Indochina had been conducted within the limits of the Mutual Assistance Pact by providing technical assistance, funds, and equipment. The President said in response to whether it would be desirable to have a modus vivendi in Indochina that it “wouldn’t be acceptable, I should think, to see the whole anticommunist defense of that area crumble and disappear.” The President indicated on the other hand that the United States “certainly cannot hope at the present state of our relations in the world for a completely satisfactory answer with the Communists,” and that “the most you can work out is a practical way of getting along.” With reference to reports that the French had asked the United States for air intervention and whether the request had been refused at British urging, the President commented that “no British advice or counsel whatsoever has entered in any conversations between the British and ourselves as to what we should do in any specific instance, of the kind of help we should give to France.” He refused to answer whether or not the French Government had asked the United States Government for air assistance and whether the United States had turned down such a request. The President said he had no objection to answering that question at an appropriate time, but that “right now we have got a conference going on in Geneva” and that the United States was trying to get a solution there. He said “I think it is a good time not to say too much about it.”

For the record of the news conference of April 29, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954, pages 427–438.