The United States established a consular presence in Hà Nội before World War II. Washington sought to maintain it after the creation of the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV, or North Vietnam) in 1954, and managed to do so—in spite of opposition from the North Vietnamese—until December 1955. This article presents the little-known history of America’s diplomatic presence in North Vietnam, while also examining CIA efforts outside the consulate in North Vietnam and the role of Western allies. It provides a more nuanced view than previously available of American-DRV relations in their earliest stages.

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