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Triangular Francs: The Eisenhower Administration’s Complicated Franco-American-South Vietnamese System of Foreign Aid to Saigon

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Author: Lori Maguire1
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  • 1 Professor of American Studies, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, University of Reims, Reims, , France, lori.maguire@gmail.com
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Abstract

This article examines the little-known system of foreign aid that the Eisenhower administration called “triangular trade.” Created to increase development aid without specific Congressional authorization, U.S. officials managed it chaotically and often secretly. This article analyzes U.S. application of this policy in relations with France, focusing on an examination of “triangular francs” whose most important manifestation occurred in South Vietnam. It tries to understand the complicated and often contentious relationships between the three nations with respect to “triangular francs,” illustrating its often neo-colonial aspects. After first presenting the system, the article proceeds to examine each of the three participants’ role in it and reservations about it. In particular, it seeks to show how Saigon’s leaders sought to influence the system to make it more advantageous to them and the impact this had on both Paris and Washington.

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