After the defeat of Japan in 1945, French administrators and military forces returned to Indochina (present-day Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) to re-establish France's colonial government in the region. During the war, the Vietnamese communist leader, Ho Chi Minh, led the resistance against Japanese occupation forces in Indochina.
With the return of French forces in 1946, war broke out between the French and the Viet Minh, communist forces who wanted independence for Indochina. After years of bitter fighting, the French agreed to withdraw from Indochina in 1954. An international conference convened in Geneva to deal with the French withdrawal, the supervision of elections, and the establishment of independent governments for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The Viet Minh agreed to withdraw to North Vietnam, and a provisional boundary was established along the 17th Parallel between North and South Vietnam.
At the suggestion of the government of Communist China, the Geneva conference requested Canada's participation in an international commission to supervise the ceasefire and withdrawal of French and Viet Minh forces. The other members of the commission were India and Poland. The first Canadian contingent of the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC) arrived in Indochina on 11 August 1954. Some 133 Canadian troops served with the commission. The ICSC was stationed in Cambodia until 1969 and officially withdrew from Viet Nam and Laos in 1974.