The North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950 frightened American policy makers and this affected their thinking regarding the Franco-Viet Minh War.
Following the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950 Time magazine, assured of US victory in Korea, pondered if there would be more situations similar to Korea. US policy in Southeast Asia was influenced by imperialism and close relations with the French and anticommunism but also actions of the communists in Europe and in Asia. Decisions and analysis would be made within these parameters. (“After Korea?” Time October 9, 1950 56:15) The question, is the Korean War just the beginning of more wars against communism in Asia? The “Most immediately threatened rimland country is Indo-China, where a French army (150,000 men) has been unable to put down Communist Ho Chi Minh’s rebels. The Indo-Chinese Reds probably cannot win without direct intervention by Rd China.” (“After Korea?” Time October 9, 1950 56:15) Although Time identifies the communists as indigenous to their countries (Indochina, Malaya and Burma) the fight itself is depicted as beginning with a foreign invasion. The US must lead, train and arm the Asians. (“After Korea?” Time October 9, 1950 56:15) Jacques Soustelle considered the Franco-Vietnam War and the Korean War battles in the same war. He titled his article in the influential periodical Foreign Affairs, “Indo-China and Korea: One Front.” Published in October 1950, (Jacques Soustelle. “Indo-China and Korea: One Front.” Foreign Affairs 29:1:56-66 Oct. 1950) The Korean War is actually a battle in the war for Asia. The Korean War and the French-Indochina War are theaters of the same war. These and other confrontations in Asia come from “the expansion of power toward the sea, pushing its satellites ahead, and exploiting against the West the nationalism, even xenophobia, of the Asiatic masses. . . . The Government of President Syngman Rhee can no more withstand the assault without external aid than can the Government of Emperor Bao Dai.” (Jacques Soustelle. “Indo-China and Korea: One Front.” Foreign Affairs 29:1:56 Oct. 1950) The Korean War means that there is a “hot war” in Asia and “the communists intend to try to push on south and swallow up that rich area of the world as they already have populous China [so that was not the Chinese rebelling against oppression?] and northern Korea. The conflicts in Korea and Indochina are battles in the same war. Time, October 1950 assumes that the US will be victorious in Korea.
By the end of 1950 the French expressed the belief that the Korean War defined international relations and signified the threat to Indochina from China and communism. The bastion of anti-communism,Time doesn’t care. “Plainly, the Chinese Reds could take Indochina, the gateway to Southeast Asia, any time they chose. (Time Dec. 11, 1950, 56:24)
The Korean War illustrates this. Ironically, because of his later concerns for Asian needs Finkelstein decides that Western European needs have priority as the Europeans need Southeast Asian resources to rebuild following the devastation of World War II. Finkelstein struggles with “Communist expansion in Asia” and “the demand for freedom from colonial domination.” (Lawrence S. Finkelstein. “US Impasse in Southeast Asia: How can American policy regain the initiative in southeast Asia? Its problem is to contain Communism without rejecting the Asian revolution.” Far Eastern Survey September 27, 1950 19:16:165)
On June 27, in a statement revealing that US military forces would be employed in Korea, President Truman announced that US forces in the Philippines would be strengthened and military aid accelerated. In addition, to French and Vietnamese forces would be accelerated a military mission would be dispatched “to provide close working relations with these forces.” This illustrates that the US was familiar with the situation before the Kennedy administration. (Lawrence S. Finkelstein. “US Impasse in Southeast Asia: How can American policy regain the initiative in southeast Asia? Its problem is to contain Communism without rejecting the Asian revolution.” Far Eastern Survey September 27, 1950 19:16:170-171)