Read a Letter From Ho Chi Minh to U.S. President Truman Before the Vietnam War Began
The following is a Jan. 18, 1946, letter written by Ho Chi Minh to U.S. President Harry Truman made available by the U.S. National Archives.
Dear Mr. President,
On the occasion of the first assembly of the United Nations in London, I beg to congratulate you for the continuous and successful efforts your Government has been making to maintain Peace and Security all over the World.
As Peace is indivisible and as the Far East is being taken into especial consideration by your high Representative in China, General MARSHALL, I think it our duty to inform you on what is going on in our country and on what grave consequences for World Security the aggressive war inflicted upon us by the French may bring about.
As early as 1941, Vietnam has risen up against the Japanese fascists, and taken arms by the side of the Allies. After the Japanese surrendered to the Allies, a Provisional Government was set up to restore order and eradicate all fascist intentions in Vietnam. Supported by the whole nation, it carried out a democratic program, and succeeded in restoring order and discipline everywhere. Under very difficult circumstances, general elections for National Congress were organized and took place on January 6th 1946 throughout the land, including 9,000,000 electors of whom more than 90% went to the polls.
The French colonialists, on the contrary, surrendered to the Japanese as early as September 1941. For four years they wholeheartedly cooperated with the Japanese to fight against the Allies and to repress the Vietnamese population. On March 9th, 1945, five months before the Japanese were defeated, the French by a second surrender, lost all right and control over Indochina.
On September 23rd, 1945, while the New Vietnam Democratic Republic was making strenuous efforts to carry out her reconstruction program, the French launched a night attack on the innocent population of Saigon, which was followed up by a systematically destructive and murderous warfare. Facts of looting, assassination of civilians, violence, indiscriminate bombing of non- strategical places by war planes, are reported everyday. Their intention is to invade the whole country and to reestablish their domination.
In the meanwhile, after the offer of interference voiced by Mr. VINCENT CARTER, Chairman of the Far-East Department, our people enthusiastically welcomed President TRUMAN’s address on October 28, 1945, in which he vigorously and concretely set forth the principles of self-determination and equality of status laid down in the Atlantic and San Francisco Charters.
Since that time, the French have tremendously increased their fighting forces. Millions of people will suffer, thousands will be killed and invaluable properties will be destroyed, unless the United States would step out to stop that bloodshed and unlawful aggression.
For this reason, on behalf of my people and Government, I respectfully request you to interfere for an immediate solution of the Vietnamese issue. The people of Vietnam earnestly hopes that the great American Republic would help us to conquer full independence and support us in our reconstruction work.
Thus, with the assistance of China and the United States, both in capital and technique, our Vietnam Republic will be able to bring her share in the building-up of World Peace and World Prosperity.
I am, dear President,
Ho Chi Minh