Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Exchange of Messages Between the President and the President of France on the Fall of Dien Bien Phu

May 07, 1954

My dear President Coty:

The entire free world has been inspired by the heroism and stamina displayed by the gallant garrison at Dien Bien Phu. Their devotion and the quality of their resistance have been so great that that battle will forever stand as a symbol of the free world's determination to resist dictatorial aggression and to sustain its right of self-determination and its dedication to the dignity of the human being. France has in the past suffered temporary defeats, but always she has triumphed in the end to continue as one of the world's leaders in all things that tend to bring greater richness to the lives of men. Those who fought and died and suffered at Dien Bien Phu should know that no sacrifice of theirs has been in vain; that the free world will remain faithful to the causes for which they have so nobly fought.

With expressions of my personal regard,


Note: President Coty's reply (released May 13) follows:

To the President of the United States:

The tribute of the President of the United States to the defenders of Dien Bien Phu goes straight to the heart of the French people. Our profound gratitude, Mr. President!

The soldiers and veterans of France and the French Union will be proud that the Chief who led the Armies of Liberty to victory salutes in this magnificent resistance the symbol of the inflexible resolution of all men who, throughout the world, are and wish to remain free. It is a well-deserved honor for the soldiers of de Gastries.

France, who, as you note, Mr. President, has always risen above her reverses, can now once again surmount a trial so painful and so glorious with all her energy and all her courage in close solidarity with the peoples whose destiny is joined with her destiny.

Our heroes' sacrifice will make dearer and more sacred to all the cause for which many have fallen and all have fought beyond human strength.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Exchange of Messages Between the President and the President of France 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/231956

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