Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Exchange of Messages Between the President and the Chief of State of Viet-Nam on the Fall of Dien Bien Phu.

May 07, 1954

Your Majesty:

On behalf of the American people I should like to express to you and the people of Viet-Nam our admiration for the gallant men of the Vietnamese forces who, together with their comrades of the French Union, for two months so heroically defended Dien Bien Phu against insuperable odds. It is sad indeed that the fortress and its brave defenders have fallen to the enemy, but we can be heartened in the knowledge that their sacrifice has not been in vain. Not only have they taken a terrible toll of the enemy, but, I think more important, their heroic resistance to the evil forces of Communist aggression has given inspiration to all who support the cause of human freedom. Those brave men made their sacrifice in order that individual freedom and national independence for the people of Viet-Nam should not be lost to Communist enslavement. We of the free world are determined to remain faithful to the causes for which they have so nobly fought.

With expressions of my personal regard,


Note: His Majesty Bao Dai's reply (released May 13 ) follows:

To the President of the United States:

I have received with deep emotion the noble message of May 8 in which you have wished express, in name people United States and in your name, admiration for valiant soldiers of Vietnamese forces who have defended heroically Dien Bien Phu, with their French Union comrades, for two months.

The Vietnamese people and I are profoundly touched by these expressions. We express to you our heartfelt gratitude and we ask you to convey it to the great American people who have already given us so many proofs of friendship.

The fall of Dien Bien Phu is in effect a painful occurrence which affects us very much and affects the peoples of the French Union and the free world.

In spite of their heroism inscribed henceforth in history, the defenders of the fortress were swamped by the forces of those who, having subjugated to their designs and fanaticized by their untrue propaganda a certain number of my fellow countrymen, aspire to extend Communist dominion over my country as over all the free nations.

I think as you that their sacrifices have not been in vain. For our struggle, which will be able to surmount this reverse, we can draw a great comfort in the determination of the American people and in your personal will of siding the free forces who resist Communist imperialism.

Please accept, Mr. President, the expression of my personal feeling of sincere affection.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Exchange of Messages Between the President and the Chief of State of Viet-Nam on the Fall of Dien Bien Phu. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231961

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives