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A Meeting in Tokyo:Komatsu Kiyoshi, Wesley Fishel, and America’s Intervention in Vietnam *

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

In the summer of 1950, American political scientist Wesley Fishel met the Japanese writer and political activist Komatsu Kiyoshi who introduced the professor to the Vietnamese nationalist leaders Cuong De and Ngo Dinh Diem. This encounter had great importance for Fishel’s career as he became one of the early U.S. specialists on Vietnam as well as an academic who actively sought to influence U.S. policy in Vietnam. The talks also presented Diem with the opportunity to widen his contacts with Americans who could help him in his effort to become the leader of an independent Vietnam. This article describes Fishel’s meetings with the Vietnamese as well as Komatsu’s attempts to promote their political fortunes. It also discusses the consequences that these discussions had for the individuals involved, especially Diem and Fishel, as well as the shared conviction of Komatsu and Fishel that foreign powers could play a constructive role in guiding Vietnam toward independence.

Affiliations: 1: Iona College, Email:


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