President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the likelihood that Ho Chi Minh would win a national election in Vietnam in 1955
Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 1953-56 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Compnay, Inc., 1963), p. 372
I am convinced that the French could not win the war because the internal political situation in Vietnam, weak and confused, badly weakened their military position. I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader rather than Chief of State Bao Dai. Indeed, the lack of leadership and drive on the part of Bao Dai was a factor in the feeling prevalent among Vietnamese that they had nothing to fight for. As one Frenchman said to me, "What Vietnam needs is another Syngman Rhee, regardless of all the difficulties the presence of such a personality would entail."