Letter from President Eisenhower to Ngo Dinh Diem, President of the Council of
Ministers of Vietnam, October 23, 1954
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have been following with great interest the course of
developments in Viet-Nam, particularly since the conclusion of the conference at Geneva.
The implications of the agreement concerning Viet-Nam have caused grave concern regarding
the future of a country temporarily divided by an artificial military grouping, weakened
by a long and exhausting war and faced with enemies without and by their subversive
Your recent requests for aid to assist in the formidable project of the movement of
several hundred thousand loyal Vietnamese citizens away from areas which are passing under
a de facto rule and political ideology which they abhor, are being fulfilled. I am
glad that the United States is able to assist in this humanitarian effort.
We have been exploring ways and means to permit our aid to Viet-Nam to be more
effective and to make a greater contribution to the welfare and stability of the
Government of Viet-Nam. I am, accordingly, instructing the American Ambassador to Viet-Nam
to examine with you in your capacity as Chief of Government, bow an intelligent program of
American aid given directly to your Government can serve to assist Viet-Nam in its present
hour of trial, provided that your Government is prepared to give assurances as to the
standards of performance it would be able to maintain in the event such aid were supplied.
The purpose of this offer is to assist the Government of Viet-Nam in developing and
maintaining a strong, viable state, capable of resisting attempted subversion or
aggression through military means. The Government of the United States expects that this
aid will be met by performance on the part of the Government of Viet-Nam in undertaking
needed reforms. It hopes that such aid, combined with your own continuing efforts, will
contribute effectively toward an independent Viet-Nam endowed with a strong government.
Such a government would, I hope, be so responsive to the nationalist aspirations of its
people, so enlightened in purpose and effective in performance, that it will be respected
both at home and abroad and discourage any who might wish to impose a foreign ideology on
your free people.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
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