Study Guide

The Quiet American Part 1, Chapter 5: Section 1

By Graham Greene

Part 1, Chapter 5: Section 1

  • Fowler returns to Saigon from Phat Diem after three weeks. He intended to be away for only one week, but getting out proved more troublesome than getting in.
  • Pyle had left the morning he arrived, having completed his mission. He was not delayed, but in a letter he leaves for Fowler, he assures him that he won't see Phuong until Fowler gets back. Pyle doesn't want to be unfair or mean.
  • Having nothing better to do, Fowler goes to the press conference.
  • There, a colonel speaking French reports that the enemy has suffered a defeat and losses.
  • An American correspondent asks about French losses, a question the colonel evades with an ambiguous answer.
  • Granger, who is there, asks how it could be that the French know the number of the enemy dead but not the number of their own.
  • More evasion from the colonel. The French correspondents don't join in the baiting.
  • Granger keeps pressing.
  • The colonel's temper begins to fray.
  • Granger next asks what the French plan to do next.
  • The colonel, surprisingly switching to good English, says they'd have more drop if the supplies the Americans had promised had arrived.
  • Granger begins to write this news.
  • The colonel tells him it is for background, not for reporting. He worries about diplomatic problems and not causing trouble between the two countries.
  • He gives Granger some basic facts about their shortage in supplies then storms off.
  • Granger goes to write his telegram.
  • Fowler's is short. He can't report what he witnessed in Phat Diem. The censors wouldn't allow it and he'd be expelled from the country, ensuring Pyle's victory.
  • Returning to his hotel room in Hanoi, he sees he received a telegram of promotion. He's to be an opinion editor in England.
  • So much for fearing expulsion!