Lead: The French needed a big victory to pave the way for an honorable withdrawal from Vietnam.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1953 even the most enthusiastic colonialist in the French government knew France would have to pull out of Vietnam. A Summit conference was set for late April 1954 in Geneva and the French needed to beat the communists decisively on the battlefield to set the stage for a favorable result. The commander in Vietnam, General Navarre, decided to place troops, high in the mountains in a valley near the village of Dien Bien Phu. He reasoned that when the Communists came out of the jungle, he would catch them in a pitched battle and defeat them.