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The Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on 26 October 1955 with Ngô Đình Diệm as its first president.

Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and by some eighty-seven other nations.

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Between Tonkin in the north and Cochinchina in the south was the protectorate of Annam.

A Vietnamese emperor, Bảo Đại, residing in Huế, was the nominal ruler of Annam, which had parallel French and Vietnamese systems of administration.

At the time of the conference, it was expected that the South would continue to be a French dependency.

However, South Vietnamese Premier Ngô Đình Diệm, who preferred American sponsorship to French, rejected the agreement.

He asked voters to approve a republic, thus removing Bảo Đại as head of state.