Well. Um, fascinating at the time in a lot of ways. Ah, while Japan was our target and ah, ah the Chinese were the people we worked with, a bit tiresome because they weren't fighting the Japanese as hard as ah, we wanted them to, but in any case, the Vietnam situation and Ho.
Um, when his, our files reflected that Ho had been at school on the Left Bank in Paris, he probably had gone to Moscow. Ah, we uncovered a little intelligence in China, right there, that he'd been in Canton um, at some time in his earlier career.
And there was um, an old Soviet. You go back in Chinese-Soviet history. There's an old Soviet general who'd been there, oh, in the twenties. The Southern China had been where pr—where ferment and new ideas cropped up, and so ah, this was interesting.
And it ah, for those of the intelligence officers who were aware of the Soviets and how they had come to control, and how indeed the police and the procurator's office were the instruments of maintaining control ah, ah there was a disposition to be ah, oh, maybe I'd say too clever by half. Ho indeed, all this talk of nationalism was cover for a tight Soviet controlled agent, who was responsive to every whim of direction from Moscow.
However, as we gained an association with the man directly ah, and later when we talked with him in Hanoi, and indeed at one time he was a very ill man, and we helped him out, we saw him in his natural habitat. The evidence, as ah, we collected it up in his file ah, was consistently that of a nationalist, a man concerned for his people, a man, a man concerned for the welfare of the peasantry at large, and committed to do something about it. Not that hateful of the French or the French system.
Indeed, so many Vietnamese had great respect for the French educational system, and while they didn't want the, essentially the French colons to return, they were going to send their children to French schools. At least, the better educated, and the merchants, which tended to be the ones I saw.
So ah, at the same time Ho clearly had some ideas about how to run things, that ah, came out of Lenin's book. So um, you found ah, a mixture, a disposition to say, let's not be fooled by ah, an apparent nationalist ah, ah, and we tended at that time to see our problems with, or at least the enlightened intelligence types, ah which I ah, at the time figured amon—myself among, um, Soviet were bad, black, and we were white, and ah, the ultimate, the, the grays and the problems that all have emerged since then ah, we weren't quite so aware of, or didn't understand that they could exist and survive.
But um, I think the, I think I'm confident in saying, oh in the Hanoi station we had four or five who could speak Annamite. And we had the language, young language officers who were ah, with the teams. Ah, and as each of them reported, and we tried to build a picture of Ho and his activities, they tended to be what he said he was: a nationalist, concerned for his people, but with some disposition to use some, some of Lenin's works as a his, in his politics. Ah...