306. Editorial Note

On February 27, former Chief of the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group in Indochina, retired Lieutenant General John W. O’Daniel, met with Eisenhower and gave an informal report of the situation in Vietnam and in Indochina as a whole. According to a memorandum of conversation by Dulles of a discussion with the President later in the day, Eisenhower told the Secretary that O’Daniel had just given “a very refreshing account of conditions in Indochina, of United States prestige there, and the good progress made by Prime Minister Diem.” Eisenhower suggested to Dulles that O’Daniel brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199)

A brief of his talk with Eisenhower, which O’Daniel later provided the White House, is attached to a memorandum by Goodpaster, March 2. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File) The brief, which was five pages long, provided an historical overview of events in Indochina since 1945. It contained two themes: (1) that the fighting in Vietnam was part of an international Communist conspiracy and (2) that Diem had been making steady progress under difficult conditions.

No account of O’Daniel’s report to the Senate Foreign Relations Far East Subcommittee, February 28, has been found in Department of State files; but notes on his appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Far East and Pacific Subcommittee, February 29, are in a memorandum from Hoey to Kocher, March 2. (Department of State, Central Files, 751G.00/3–256)