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Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 09:24 (GMT+7)
August Revolution and Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture

These days, 75 years ago, our Party and Leader Ho Chi Minh led our people to successfully carry out the glorious August Revolution, marking a brilliant milestone, opening the era of independence and freedom for the nation. In that autumn, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born with the Declaration of Independence solemnly proclaimed by President Ho Chi Minh. However, from those early days, the fledgling government of Vietnam had to face numerous threats from both internal and external enemies. Thanks to his ingenious diplomatic skill, President Ho Chi Minh successfully resolved the "hung by a thread" situation, our country avoided war and bloodshed with many enemies, and took advantage of time to consolidate the revolutionary forces and prepare for the later 9-year-national resistance. The diplomatic values of President Ho Chi Minh expressed during this difficult period were inherited and developed from the national tradition, the quintessence of human culture, step by step building Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture - the basis and foundation for the country's diplomacy and left us many valuable lessons.

During the August Revolution, Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture was clearly demonstrated in the noble goal of national liberation, human liberation and the struggle for the good values of humanity; in the art of taking advantage of opportunities; in the continuation of the tradition of peace and humanity; in the diplomatic motto of "being firm in objectives, flexible in strategies and tactics” and in the diplomatic style of sophistication, simplicity, sincerity, and humanity.

The ultimate goal of President Ho Chi Minh in his revolutionary activities was that the people could live full and happy lives. This burning goal was clearly expressed in his immortal statement: “I have only one desire, the earnest desire, i.e. to make our country completely independent, our people completely free. Everyone has food to eat, dress to wear, and school to attend”. The acquisition of the government and independence for the country are the first bricks to build our country "more modern and beautiful". Indeed, he asserted: "If the country is independent, but the people can’t enjoy happiness and freedom, then independence means nothing". Thus, in the end, national independence is a political goal, but also a cultural goal, because the highest value of culture is that people can live in independence, freedom and happiness. The victory of the August Revolution liberated our country from the nearly-a-century oppression, and turned Vietnamese people from slaves into masters of the country. The country has become independent, the people were able to decide their own destiny, and enjoy the basic human rights, namely "the right to life, the right to freedom and the right to pursue happiness".

Externally, the glorious success of the August Revolution inspired world people, strongly encouraged the movement for national independence of the colonial and semi-colonial countries. For countries still subject to oppression and exploitation by the colonialists, President Ho Chi Minh and the August Revolution in Vietnam were examples of the bravery to break the chains of colonialism, win and safeguard the national independence. Conducted with the humanitarian goal initiated by President Ho Chi Minh, the August Revolution was not only Vietnam’s national liberation revolution, but also the struggle for human liberation and protection of the most basic human rights in the world.

President Ho Chi Minh and French Minister of the Colonies Marius Moulet in 1946 (A file photo)

Among the reasons for the success of the August Revolution was the art of taking advantage of the opportunity, an important element in Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture. Historical context in 1945 presented the Vietnamese people with "once in a thousand years" strategic opportunities to gain the power. With his sharp political vision, his agility and decisiveness, he quickly took advantage of the opportunity to lead our entire people to stand up and conduct successfully the General Uprising for national liberation. He said: "Now the time is ripe, no matter how sacrifice we have to devote, even if we have to burn the whole Truong Son mountain range, we must be determined to gain independence".

Deep in Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture during the August Revolution was also the tradition of peace, piety, and humanity. In the face of aggressive enemies, President Ho Chi Minh remained steadfast on the path of peace, because he understood the suffering caused by war. After France returned to invade our country for the second time, under his leadership, the young Vietnamese government actively negotiated with France to avoid war by signing with France the Preliminary Agreement on March 6, 1946 and then the Provisions on September 14, 1946. President Ho Chi Minh also sent his letters to the heads of Britain, the US, the Soviet Union and members of the United Nations, affirming the will of peace, hoping that those countries would support the legitimate needs of the Vietnamese people. At the same time, he sent a letter to the Government, the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister of France and sent an envoy to meet the head of the French government's representative in Indochina to save peace, avoid war and bloodshed.

The colonial rulers refused the goodwill and efforts of the Vietnamese government. Our people bravely stood up against the French colonialism after they destroyed the Provisions signed on September 14, 1946, clearly revealing their intent to invade our country again. Even during the war, President Ho Chi Minh still sought for peace. In his letter to the French Government, National Assembly and the people of France dated January 7, 1947, he wrote: “The French government and people just have a gesture of recognizing the independence and unification of Vietnam, these catastrophes will end; peace and order will be restored at once. We want peace now to stop the flow of the blood of the French and Vietnamese people which we treasure equally”.

Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture in the August Revolution was also characterized by the diplomatic motto "being firm in objectives, flexible in strategies and tactics", i.e. pitting the immutable against the mutable. "The immutable" means the core interest of the nation, namely: independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. And "the mutable" is the strategies and tactics. After the August Revolution, the fledgling Vietnamese State had to deal with the Chiang Kai-shek’s Army at the same time with the French Army which were about to invade the country. President Ho Chi Minh wisely proposed a policy of peace with the two enemies, at the same time clearly defined the "red line" in relations with these two powers, namely independence and national sovereignty.

The August Revolution also left many memorable stories and lessons about Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture, especially his subtle, humanitarian diplomatic style, contributing to consolidating the young government and protecting the newly-gained achievements of the revolution. In 1946, on the way back from France, when his ship passed through the area under British control, realizing that this was an opportunity to promote the status of a new Vietnam, he asked the French captain to raise the Vietnamese flag, but was refused. He answered softly but firmly: “Sir, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is now a free country, a member of the Indochinese federation. More than anyone else, you must understand that our flag must be raised so that the British and other colonists in Asia know the presence of Vietnam”. Before that extremely reasonable argument, though annoying, the French captain had to accept the request.

As a benevolent politician, Ho Chi Minh's diplomacy style was always imbued with tolerance and humanity. Not only did he have a deep love for his fellow citizens and his comrades, he was also generous and tolerant towards prisoners of war. He showed his sympathy with the soldiers who died unjustly in the colonialist invasions, and the French women who lost their husbands in bombs. His sorrow can be felt deeply through his writing: “I pay respect to the souls of Vietnamese soldiers and people who sacrificed their lives for the country. I also respect and feel sorry for the French who have died. Alas, French or Vietnamese blood is all human blood, French or Vietnamese are all humans”.

Immediately after the nation's heroic revolution in August 1945, the Foreign Affairs branch was honored and proud to be directly assumed by President Ho Chi Minh as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs. Vietnamese diplomacy, with 75 years of growth and development, has been imbued with the diplomatic culture of Ho Chi Minh. Thanks to the application of cultural values of Ho Chi Minh's diplomacy, Vietnamese diplomacy has achieved many important achievements, contributing to maintaining a peaceful environment, attracting resources for development, and safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Fatherland and enhancing the international status of our country.

To date, Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with 189/193 United Nations member states, and has strategic and comprehensive partnership relations with 30 countries around the world. Vietnam is an important "link" in the international economic network with 17 negotiated and signed Free Trade Agreements. It is deepening and widening its integration in politics, security, defense and other fields.

Not only caring for its national interests, with its new potentials and status, Vietnam has been striving for human problems, positively contributing to peace, cooperation and development in the region and in the world. At the same time, it is actively participating in and making significant contribution to almost all important international institutions and forums, successfully fulfilling many responsibilities and currently effectively promoting its role as Chairmanship of ASEAN 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2020-2021 term. Globally, Vietnam is making active contributions to a number of international and regional issues, such as ensuring food security, sustainable development, promoting peace and reconciliation on the Korea peninsula, participating in the United Nations peacekeeping operations, etc. In particular, the "Covid diplomacy" activities, such as: sharing medical supplies, epidemic control experiences with many countries around the world, have deeply demonstrated the human values of Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture in foreign affairs which were highly appreciated by the international community. Thanks to its subtle and sincere behaviour, Vietnam’s diplomacy has been successful in the negotiation with its partners, strengthening mutual trust and narrowing the differences, thereby increasingly enhancing the country’s status.

Faced with the emerging complications, including the South China Sea issue and the acts of taking advantage of democracy and human rights to sabotage the country, we have correctly assessed the situation, struggled, handled promptly, soberly, and wisely to resolutely and persistently to defend firmly the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, legitimate rights and interests, and political regime.

In the period of deep and wide international integration, Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic culture remains intact and has great practical significance. Responding to a rapidly changing, unpredictable world with unprecedented challenges and opportunities, Ho Chi Minh's culture of diplomacy will be the foundation and luggage for the Foreign Affairs sector to promote its role as a pioneering "front", making an important contribution to firmly consolidating a peaceful and stable environment to attract resources for the country’s development, and at the same time to protect the Fatherland soon and from afar, even when it is not in danger.


Member of the Politburo, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs

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Editorial: A great event in the nation’s history
The success of the August Revolution in 1945 was the first great victory of our people since the Party was established, marking a great turning point in the history of the nation. Government brought to the hands of the people, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born - the first peasant state in Southeast Asia, ending the feudal monarchy in Vietnam and more than 80 years of colonialism and fascism.