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The Indochina phase of the Geneva Conference of 1954 played a critical role in the ending of the First Indochina War and prepared the way for the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam conflict. Little is understood of the conference because of a paucity of information available. Recently, this deficiency has been corrected somewhat as various departments and agencies have begun to declassify documents. An analysis of these new materials reveals that the United States did not have a well-defined policy in mid-1954 and that Eisenhower responded in an ad hoc fashion to conditions on the battlefield in Indochina, the vacillations of major American allies, and the conflicting advice of his principal advisors. Research has revealed that President Eisenhower relied more on his own counsel and that of his friend and former Chief of Staff, Walter Bedell Smith than has heretofore been known. The role Secretary of State John Foster Dulles played in Indochina policy formation was minor. Eisenhower sought to end the First Indochina War without involving the United States in the conflict. The agreement reached at Geneva represents a victory for the President's policy of ending the war without recognizing the defeat imposed on France by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and as a result of the negotiations, the United States took the first tentative step towards reaching an understanding with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, and America's allies, the United Kingdom and France.