In 1899 Gates sold off all of Rockefeller’s Everett holdings to Great Northern Railway president James J. Hill (1838-1916), save for the mining-related companies. Then the following year he began breaking up the railroad. The section from the smelter in north Everett to the city of Snohomish was sold to Hill’s rival, the Northern Pacific Railway, which also had acquired the former Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern. As a part of this deal he rebuilt the remaining Hartford-to-Monte Cristo section with Japanese contract labor crews and reorganized it under the name of the Monte Cristo Railway Company.
Ho spent the summer in Paris trying to lock in the agreement, but the French government was purposely evasive, as it was conspiring to undermine Vietnamese independence. Ho was nevertheless well received in the French media. A French reporter who met him noted his “engaging manner and extraordinary gift for making contact,” which “at once brought a warm and direct exchange of views and gave a startlingly fresh ring to commonplace words.”  Ho returned to Vietnam in October and appealed to the Vietnamese people for patience. The French, however, showed their hand on November 22, 1946. Using a dispute over control of customs in Haiphong as a pretext, French warships bombarded the unprotected port city, killing at least 6,000 and wounding some 25,000. On December 19, Ho issued a call for “nationwide resistance”: