Nevertheless, the Viet Minh felt isolated and so were “prepared to negotiate Viet Minh recognition of the whole French economic position in the colony in return for recognition of Viet Nam independence.” (Isaacs 175) The French agreed to Vietnamese independence “as part of the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.” (Isaacs 176)
The fighting ended for a short time with the March 6 Agreement which was “the first substantial achievement of the Annamese nationalist movement in its 80-year struggle.” (Dang-Chan-Lieu. “Annamese Nationalism.” Pacific Affairs. March 1947. 20:1, p. 65)
Lauriston Sharp congratulates the French and the “Annamese” for “overcoming long-standing sentiments of mutual suspicion and hostility.” (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 193)
This will allow the Indochinese “some real degree of control over their own destiny in friendly collaboration with one of the major western democracies.”
Interestingly, considering the history of d’Argenlieu in Indochina and the subsequent French Indochina War Sharp writes, “The protagonists of a liberal and non-vindictive future French colonial policy have clearly won out in the settlements so far achieved in Indochina.” Sharp warns of French reactionary elements who want “a more forceful reestablishment of the power and prestige of France in her most important Far Eastern dependency. . . . . On the Indochinese side, also, policies of concession and moderation have gained the upper hand over extremist and aggressive (if apparently suicidal) policies of uncompromising resistance to the French. It is to be hoped that the moderate elements continue to guide Franco-Indochinese relation in constructive and sincere cooperation.” (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 197)
Nevertheless, Bullitt believes that it is possible to have good relations between the Vietnamese and the French. Ironically, most French officials in Viet Nam believe that the “country cannot be held by force.” He blames the conflict on French stubbornness.
Sheldon writes that the French and Vietnamese continued fighting after the March 6 Agreement and that the British allowed the French to set up their own government in Cochinchina much to the consternation of the Viet Minh government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Sheldon further writes that the modus vivendi of September 14,1946 to the war did not. (George Sheldon. “The Unity of Vietnam.” Far Eastern Survey. June 2, 1948. 17:11, p. 125)
Although the French signed albeit innocuous agreements with the Viet Minh in 1946, they unilaterally dispensed with them as participants in developing Vietnamese independence. (Ellen Hammer. “The Bao Dai Experiment.” Pacific Affairs. 23:1 March 1950)
Hammer writes that the modus vivendi came out of the Fontainebleau conference on September 14. It deals with commerce and currency between the Indochinese states. But the participants, mainly the Vietnamese and the French, interpreted it differently.
“By March  it became clear to the Vietnam leaders that the allies would continue to recognize French sovereignty over all Indochina, and that their govern2ment could not hope for international standing without French approval. The United States gave no support to Viet-nam [sic], although it also refused all aid to France which might help the French reestablish their control by force.” (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 196)
In March 1946 the French and Vietnamese come to what becomes known as the March 6 Agreement. Vietnam will become a republic within the new French Union. (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 197) Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos would be independent of each other. The only “coordination” would be “economic” and, perhaps, deal with customs and currency.
On June 1, 1946 the French ignore the agreement and establish “a puppet government in South Vietnam” as well as quarrel “with the Vietminh over the collection of customs in the North.” (John F. Embree. “UN Commission for Indochina?” Far Eastern Survey 17:11:129 June 2, 1948) The puppet government is the fiction called Cochinchina. No nationalist leader believes that this province or state is separate from Vietnam. (George Sheldon. “The Unity of Vietnam.” Far Eastern Survey. June 2, 1948. 17:11, p. 125-126) (Ellen Hammer, “Blueprinting a New Indochina.” Pacific Affairs 21:3:261 Sept. 1948) The French employ the “divide and rule” policy stating that there are three countries in Vietnam: Tonkin, Annam and Cochinchina. This is alien to the Vietnamese. (George Sheldon. “The Unity of Vietnam.” Far Eastern Survey. June 2, 1948. 17:11, p. 126) Life puts forth the French depiction of Indochina as comprising “five states” but the three, “Tonkin, Annam, and Cochinchina,” comprising Viet Nam, is the area being fought over. (Life March 7, 1949)
In March 1946 the French and Vietnamese come to what becomes known as the March 6 Agreement. Vietnam will become a republic within the new French Union. (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 197) The Vietnamese Republic believes that according to the March 6, 1946 Agreement, Cochinchina belonged to them while the French operating under the same agreement created an independent Cochinchina “within the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.” Sharp foretells the minimum result of this action by writing, “It is clear that this inept move to retain a maximum of French power in Cochinchina will meet with the strongest objections from Viet-nam [sic] delegation in Paris and may well wreck the otherwise promising negotiations.” (Lauriston Sharp. “French Plan for Indochina.” Far Eastern Survey. July 3, 1946, p. 197)
The French and the Vietnamese sign an agreement on March 6, 1946. But the French take over the region and refuse to allow a new nation to establish its own diplomatic relations. The agreement was considered progress. However, the French right and “extreme nationalists in Vietnam” vehemently opposed the agreement. Neither side was willing negotiate to let the other rule. (Ellen Hammer, “Blueprinting a New Indochina.” Pacific Affairs 21:3:255-256 Sept. 1948) The French create the Indochina Federation and, Cochinchina, which independent in name only which divides Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh’s forces were unable to resist French military power. (Ellen Hammer, “Blueprinting a New Indochina.” Pacific Affairs 21:3:255 Sept. 1948)
The French purposely sabotaged peace and this “after signing an agreement with Ho Chi Minh in 1946.” (John F. Embree. “UN Commission for Indochina?” Far Eastern Survey 17:11:129 June 2, 1948)
The 1946 agreement is ignored by the French as they established “a puppet government in South Vietnam and quarreled with the Vietminh over the collection of customs in the North.” (John F. Embree. “UN Commission for Indochina?” Far Eastern Survey 17:11:129 June 2, 1948)
In April 1947 “Ho proposed a cease-fire agreement” but the French negotiator, Paul Mus only had permission from Bollaert “to ask the Vietnamese to lay down their arms, to permit French troops to circulate freely in Vietnamese territory and to surrender to the French all non-Vietnamese personnel in the Vietnamese army. In addition, Vietnamese troops were to be confined to zones designated by the French command, and French hostages were to be surrendered. . . . Ho rejected them.” No political tasks were permitted. (Ellen Hammer. “The Bao Dai Experiment.” Pacific Affairs. 23:1 March 1950 page 48)
Sousetelle summarizes the immediate post World War II conflict mentioning the March 1946 Agreement which recognized an independent Republic of Vietnam within the Indochinese Federation. He blames the December 1946 exchange of fire on the Viet Minh and referred to it as a “coup.” The Viet Minh secretly entered the city of Hanoi and violated the agreement that had with France. Interestingly, Soustelle, although involved with negotiations with the Viet Minh is clueless as to the cause of this battle writing, “This action cannot be explained by any purely local motivation. (Jacques Soustelle. “Indo-China and Korea: One Front.” Foreign Affairs 29:1:63 Oct. 1950) Accounts of this battle differ as to the side taken by the recounter.
“The French have bowed grudgingly to” modern Asia with nationalist claims of “Asia for the Asiatics.” Time describes the end of “the old colonialism” but colonialism in any form is being challenged in Asia and ironically it is Western ideas of freedom that has underlies much of the nationalist Asian arguments. In order to forestall the inevitable the French signed an agreement with Bao Dai on March 8, 1949 in which they “promised freedom for Viet Nam within the French Union.” Viet Nam would control its “internal affairs” and have its own army. However, “Paris keeps direct control of foreign policy, maintains military bases and special courts for Frenchmen, retains a special place for French advisers and the French language.” (The New Frontier.” Time May 29, 1950.) This we will see is unacceptable to the Viet Minh although they were willing to remain within the French Union.