Archimedes Leonidas Attilio Patti (July 21, 1913 – April 23, 1998) was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army
and former Office of Strategic Services
officer who headed operations in Kunming
in 1945. Patti is known for having worked closely with the Việt Minh
and Hồ Chí Minh
, leader of the Vietnamese independence movement and future president of North Vietnam
Patti was born in the Bronx
, New York City
on July 21, 1913, to Sicilian
immigrants. His father worked as a tailor and his mother was a dress maker.
He was married to Margaret Telford. They had two daughters.
The 1940 U.S. census lists Archimedes' profession as "Special Agent, U.S. War Department" and in 1941 he joined the U.S. Army
and served in Europe.In Europe he was in contact with various anti-Axis resistance organizations including groups in North Africa, Italy, and Yugoslavia.
He was later transferred to the Office of Strategic Services
in China,after unknowingly volunteering for the mission in January 1944 while on assignment at Anzio
with William J. Donovan
, the Director of the OSS.
Indochina and Vietnam
During his career in China and Southeast Asia, Patti met Hồ Chí Minh
, the leader of the Việt Minh
and future leader and national hero of North Vietnam
. In later interviews Patti explained that his mission in Vietnam was to establish an intelligence network but not to assist the French in any way as they attempted to re-gain control over their former colony, a policy choice he believed to be linked to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt
's belief in the self-determination of all peoples.
Archimedes, did, from a distance, help organize, train and equip the fledgling Vietnamese forces Ho Chi Minh was uniting and marshaling against the Japanese, which in the future would be known as the People's Army of Vietnam
, and worked closely with Ho Chi Minh and, indeed, commented on his early drafts of a Vietnamese constitution.
Patti stated that when he arrived in Kunming
in March 1945, the French colonials were either unwilling or unable to assist him in establishing an American intelligence network in Indochina
and he therefore turned to "the only source vailable
, the Việt Minh.
Patti was introduced to Ho Chi Minh by Colonel Austin Glass, the OSS expert in Indochina. Patti met Ho Chi Minh on the Indochina-China border at the end of April 1945, and he agreed to provide intelligence to the allies provided that he could have "a line of communication with the allies."
Patti later helped coordinate some small attacks against the Japanese Imperial Army
using a small group of operatives known as the OSS Deer Team
under the command of Major Allison K. Thomas, who worked directly with Ho Chi Minh during the August, 1945.
On August 22, 1945, Patti arrived in Hanoi on a mercy mission with OSS agent Carleton B. Swift
, and a French government official, Jean Sainteny
His mission primarily was to assist in the repatriation of allied prisoners of war as the U.S. government feared reprisals against them by the Japanese following the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and, secondly, to gather intelligence.
Patti met with Ho Chi Minh on August 26, 1945, over lunch at his residence in Hanoi and several days later Ho Chi Minh read a draft of the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence
to him and Patti offered several corrections on what he perceived to be a near exact copy of the American Declaration of Independence
Indeed, Ho Chi Minh had requested an actual copy of the American Declaration of Independence from Col Austin Glass. Soon afterwards, on September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared independence and some hours later Patti had dinner with him. In the fall of 1945 French Colonial forces had returned to Indochina on U.S. manned Liberty ship
Patti left Hanoi at the end of September 1945, following French allegations that the Americans had been fomenting a revolution there.
Later life and death
Patti retired from the military in 1957. For 13 years, he was a crisis management specialist in the Office of Emergency Planning in Washington, D.C.
In 1981, Patti stated that Julia Child
, who had worked at the OSS during 1945, had allegedly submitted his position papers on Vietnam to appropriate authorities, but that the way in which he had found them upon retirement was exactly as she had sent them and that they had never been opened or read.
In retirement, he wrote a book and several articles on Vietnam. In 1980, he wrote "Why Vietnam?: Prelude to America's Albatross," which describes his relationship with Communist guerrilla leader Ho Chi Minh during the mid-1940s.
He died on April 23, 1998, at the age of 84. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery
* ''Why Vietnam?: Prelude to America's Albatross'' (University of California Press, 1982)
* First Indochina War
* Vietnam during World War II
Category:People of the Office of Strategic Services
Category:American people of the Vietnam War
Category:United States Army personnel of World War II
Category:United States Army colonels
Category:American people of Italian descent