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On March 8, 1949, after the Élysée Accords, the State of Vietnam was recognized by France as an independent country ruled by Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại. The Vietnamese National Army or Vietnam National Army (Vietnamese: Quân đội Quốc gia Việt Nam, "National Army of Vietnam", French: Armée Nationale Vietnamienne, "Vietnamese National Army") was the State of Vietnam's military force created shortly after that. It was commanded by Vietnamese General Hinh and was loyal to Bảo Đại. The VNA fought in joint operations with the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps (CEFEO) against the communist Việt Minh forces led by Ho Chi Minh. Different units within the VNA fought in a wide range of campaigns including the Battle of Nà Sản (1952), Operation Hautes Alpes (1953), Operation Atlas (1953) and the Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954).

With the departure of the French Far East Expeditionary Corps from Indochina in 1956, the VNA was reorganized under American tutelage as the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

Planned participation in Europe

With the 1954 cease-fire, pro-French and optimistic General Nguyễn Văn Hinh stated that as early as 1955 "a Vietnamese division will be sent to France as compensation for sacrifices in Indochina by the latter. This great unit will participate in the defense of Europe as part of the opposition between the western and eastern blocs."&

With the 1954 cease-fire, pro-French and optimistic General Nguyễn Văn Hinh stated that as early as 1955 "a Vietnamese division will be sent to France as compensation for sacrifices in Indochina by the latter. This great unit will participate in the defense of Europe as part of the opposition between the western and eastern blocs."[19]

However the European Defence Community project was rejected by France and Nguyễn Văn Hinh's French counter-intelligence SDECE/G

However the European Defence Community project was rejected by France and Nguyễn Văn Hinh's French counter-intelligence SDECE/GCMA-backed planned coup (scheduled for end October 1954) against pro-USA and CIA-backed (Edward Lansdale) Ngô Đình Diệm failed. The Vietnamese general was eventually dismissed, leaving South Vietnam in November 1954, following French general Raoul Salan's departure and return to France in October.[20][21] The French-American secret war and influence struggle in Vietnam engaging the SDECE against the CIA continued until 1956[22] when the CEFEO Expeditionary Corps was dissolved and returned to France.

On December 13, 1954, the 1954–55 French High Commissioner in Indochina (CEFEO Expeditionary Corps Commander), General Paul Ély, and the newly appointed ambassador, U.S. Special Representative in Vietnam General J. Lawton Collins, sign the following agreements: