Notes on
Ho Chi Minh, A Life by William J. Duiker
For The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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Page 3

Source: Ho Chi Minh, A Life by William J. Duiker. Hyperion, New York, ©2000, first edition. Numbers in brackets indicate page numbers for this edition.

Ho Chi Minh delivered U.S. Lieutenant Rudolph Shaw to the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force headquarters in Kunming, China at an opportune time (the young Lieutenant did the final leg by plane; old Ho had to walk). Ho arrived in early 1945 and contacted the U.S. AGAS (Air Ground Aid Services) office. Because AGAS ran intelligence in Indochina, and recently its core spy group (all oil company employees) had been expelled by the Japanese. On March 9, 1945 the Japanese had declared an end to the French colony and set up Bao Dai as head of an (at least nominally) independent Vietnamese government. AGAS was looking to hook up with Vietnamese resistance groups, and Ho ran one. [286-288]

Ho Chi Minh talked extensively, beginning on March 17, to Marine Corps Lieutenant Charles Fenn, who was the OSS/AGAS controller for intelligence in Indochina. Ho denied his group being communist and said only that his group wanted independence for Vietnam. Fenn asked for Ho's help, and Ho said to provide intelligence they would need radio transmitters and operator or training. Ho asked for arms, too, but Fenn was worried about offending the French. Fenn also arranged for Ho to meet U.S. Air Force General Claire Chennault. Ho left the meeting with a signed autograph of Chennault. "At the end of March 1945 Ho Chi Minh flew in a small U.S. plane with his to radio operator to the town of Paise," China. In Paise, Ho attempted to revitalize the Dong Minh Hoi, but Chinese General Xiao Wen blocked the move. [288-292]

Captain Archimedes Patti, newly arrived OSS man in Kunming, became particularly interested in using the Vietminh to America's advantage. After some wrangling, on April 26, 1945 General Albert C. Wedermeyer authorized the introduction of OSS operatives in Indochina. Patti then met with Ho, but made no promises. Within a week Ho was back at Pac Bo inside Vietnam accompanied by U.S. Army radio operator Mac Shinn. In return for intelligence, the OSS air-dropped medicine, another radio, and weapons. In the next few months the Vietminh rescued several U.S. airmen shot down over Indochina. [[292-294]

In mid-1945, with Germany defeated and victory over Japan likely, but the Atomic Bomb still questionable, the Allied plan still involved the invasion of Indochina. In the fall of 1944 the harvest had been bad, but the Japanese continued to ship rice to China, causing a famine. Starving, angry people were organized by the Vietminh to raid Japanese and French food warehouses. Meanwhile, the French fought the Vietminh. [294-295] On the March 9 declaration of independence, Ho said "Thus the French imperialist wolf was finally devoured by the Japanese fascist hyena." Ho wanted the U.S. to invade Indochina, hoping that would preclude a French re-occupation when the Japanese collapsed. [296]

Soon after the Japanese surrender (August 1945) the Vietminh staged an uprising and formed a provisional government. They declared independence on September 2. In a speech in Hanoi, President Ho Chi Minh quoted the U.S. Declaration of Independence and interpreted it to mean "All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live and to be happy and free." [321-323]

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