By T.O. Smith
Put within the wider context of British imperial and diplomatic goals in 1941-1945, the publication clarifies the significance of Vietnam to Britain's nearby targets in Southeast Asia; concluding that Churchill used to be prepared to sacrifice French colonial pursuits in Vietnam for his all-important 'special dating' with the United States.
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Extra resources for Churchill, America and Vietnam, 1941–45
29 The British Embassy in Washington found it hard to decipher the fundamental principles behind American 30 Churchill, America and Vietnam, 1941–45 foreign policy towards France. 30 Eden outlined his talks with Roosevelt to the Cabinet and referred to the conversation with Welles and the President about internationalising Indo-China. Eden believed that Welles’ reaction concerning guarantees to the French empire meant that this would not be pursued any further. 31 The Foreign Office feared Chinese opportunism at Britain’s weakness to extend into South and Southeast Asia – regions which had large indigenous Chinese populations.
France would assist in the policing of Europe. The world security organisation that Churchill pictured did not exclude an Anglo-American special relationship. Churchill would have been pleased with the reception that his ideas received. Welles and Connally were in complete agreement. S. and England could run the world by themselves’. Churchill knew how to work his audience. He was in his element acting as the charming host, pontificating on great Anglo-American issues. Even Wallace found the proposals alluring: ‘It was better bait than I anticipated’.
The only problem with all of this was the urgency with which the Foreign Office treated such issues. Churchill was not convinced that they merited his immediate attention. Yet he did grasp the nature of the potential danger from across the Atlantic. 75 A subsequent speech by Sumner Welles allayed some of Churchill’s fears about the Four-Power Plan. Thus, the Prime Minister agreed to the plan being brought before the Cabinet. 76 The War Cabinet accepted the principles contained within the Four-Power Plan on 27 November 1942 – including China as one of the four Great Powers.
Churchill, America and Vietnam, 1941–45 by T.O. Smith