By Ronald H. Spector
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Extra info for Advice and Support - The Early Years [US Army in Vietnam]
Wedemeyer was noncommittal, merely indicating that the matter was one for decision at a highe r level. Aware that the ques ti on of American coopera tion w ith the French in Indochi na was delicate and that the president himself held strong views on the subj ect, Wedemeyer cabled Washington for guidance. The State and War Departments responded that they could only reiterate the president's policy of noninvolve ment in Ind ochi na matters. Roosevelt's position, however, already had begun to change.
Washington viewed this development with alarm. As a strong supporter of China and the on ly remaining power strong enough to challe nge Japan in the Pacific, the United States felt obliged to try to prevent what appeared to be but a first step in new Japanese aggressive moves against Southeast Asia. 53 America, however, had few options. It urged the French to resist the Japanese demands but had to adm it that it could not offer military or naval aid for the defense of Indoc hina ' 4 By September 1940 the French had been intimidated into allowing the Japanese transit rights and airfields in northern Indochina and the right to station troops at the port of Haiphong.
Hess, "Fra nklin D . Roosevelt and Indoch ina," /ollmnl of AmericfIIl H is/o ry 59 (Septe mbe r 1972): 353 - 68. sMemo, Presid e nt Rooseve lt fo r Secy of State, 24 Jan 44, Depa rtment of State, Foreigll Reln/iolls of III" United Sta les: The COllferellces al Cairo alld Tehrall, 1943 (Washi ngton, 1961), pp. 872 - 73 . ('Marv in R. Za hniser, Ullcertaill Frjelldshif): Alllericall-Frellc/l Reln/jOlls Through Ihe Cold War (New York: Jo hn Wiley Sons, 1975), p . 244 . 7Hess, "Franklin D. Rooseve lt and Indochi na," p.