How far did the agreements made at Geneva mark a success for American foreign policy?
After the French defeat in Dien Bein Phu an international conference was called at Geneva in 1954 in order to devise a settlement, which would end the war, enable the French to leave Indochina whilst at the same time giving them the chance to maintain some influence in Indochina. The Americans aimed on the other hand to contain communism in Southeast Asia. They were keen that for Vietnam to avoid elections as they feared it was inevitable Ho Chi Minh would win single-handedly. The outcome of the Geneva conference was that Laos and Cambodia were to become independent states and under the agreements a ceasefire was affirmed. The agreements ensured Vietnam was temporarily divided at the 17th parallel where there would be communist rule in the North and a government led by Diem in the South, (an area which Ho Chi Minh gave up willingly).
Democratic elections were to be held in Vietnam after two years which would then unify Vietnam. However the US was extremely unhappy with these agreements. They were apprehensive because they feared the Vietminh would gain control of the whole country with lections being held. Therefore they disproved the Geneva agreements but made no move to intervene. The US National Security Council stated the settlement 'completed a major forward stride of communism which might lead to the loss if Southeast Asia'. Thus the agreements at Geneva did not mark a success for the US in this sense nor as we will see later in their foreign policy.
The agreements at Geneva were not followed unquestioningly. National elections to unite the country were not held, due to the interventions of outside powers such as the USA. In fact the US began the...