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Acheson thus offered support for the re-imposition of French control over Vietnam but cautioned that the French should strive to gain the support of the people. It was a contradictory formula, as the vast majority of Vietnamese had no desire to live under French rule. Yet it allowed the Truman administration to rationalize its support for French imperialism as something other than imperialism. In deference to American sensibilities, the French made a symbolic gesture to “Vietnamese independence” by appointing former emperor Bao Dai as “head of state” in March 1949.
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