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The 1964 Special Political Conference – Convergent Point of Unity and Determination to Defeat the U.S. Aggressors

In face of American plot to escalate Vietnam War, our Party and President Ho Chi Minh decided to summon a special political conference in Hanoi Capital on 27 March 1964 to arouse patriotism, to strengthen the great national unity bloc and to build up determination to vanquish American aggressors for national salvation.

On the basis of scientific judgments, President Ho Chi Minh affirmed that “…if they dare attack the North, they will definitely incur heavy losses.” He also called upon “each of us to redouble our efforts to requite our Southern compatriots.” At the same time, he set forth six immediate tasks for revolutionary movements in the two regions. Firstly, the whole Party, people and army needed to further strenghten the unity bloc Let us promote strong will, revolutionary spirit, regardless of difficulties and hardship, make the most of collective consciousness, be enterprising, fervently struggle for accomplishing assigned tasks, successfully fulfill State Plan for the year and the first Five-Year Plan. Secondly, it was necessary to well perform the “Management Innovation, Technological Innovation, Enhancement of Agricultural Production” campaign; the “Three-Build, Three-Anti” campaign in industry and branches of the national economy; the movement to Encourage Lowlanders to Participate in Economic and Cultural Development in Mountainous Areas; the Patriotic Movement; and Development of Socialist Labour Groups and Progressive Agriculture Cooperatives. The third task was to ceaselessly strengthen people’s power; to strictly exercise People’s democracy and dictatorship over the enemy; to thoroughly observe all the laws and regulations of the State; to carry out the 3rd National Assembly elections successfully; to strengthen national defense, to maintain public order and security, to heighten vigilance and to be prepared to crush any acts of provocation and sabotage of US imperialism and its lackeys. Fourthly, the struggle of Southern compatriots needed to be fully supported. Every one was to be utterly dedicated to their work, making active contributions to the tasks of socialist construction in the North and the struggle for national reunification. Fifthly, it was vital to intensify proletarian internationalism, to maintain and enhance friendship with socialist brother countries; to wholeheartedly support national liberation movements; to show solidarity with the working class and people around the world in the struggle against U.S. –led imperialism for peace, national independence, democracy and socialism. Under the lucid, flexible and creative leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, the Special Political Conference promoted democracy, creating an opportunity for every participant to give their opinions on various fields with a number of models, measures and even concrete ways of implementation, etc., contributing to the success of the Conference.

After two hard-working days, with the spirit of unity and unanimity, the Special Political Conference ended on 28 March 1964, but its vitality pervaded throughout the country, from work sites to farms, factories, enterprises in the North and the Southern theatre, etc. Shortly afterwards, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat issued an instruction on launching an emulation movement, namely “Everyone Redoubles Their Efforts” to ardently construct and safeguard the North, and to actively support the revolution in the South. Vietnam’s National Assembly issued the Resolution on the Outcome of the Special Political Conference on 4 April 1964 and appealed to the entire compatriots to bring into full play our people’s tradition of heroism, to be prepared to sacrifice and strive for the people’s ultimate interests, to defeat all evil schemes of US imperialism and its lackeys, to pursue peaceful reunification of our Fatherland, to build Vietnam into a single peaceful, unified, independent, democratic, and prosperous country, and to make a practical contribution to preserve peace in Southeast Asia and the world over.

The Special Political Conference created the dynamics for the whole Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) to urgently realize the Central Military Commission and the General Headquarters of the Vietnam People’s Army’s Directive on shifting part of the armed forces, including the Air Defense-Air Force, “from a peacetime to a wartime posture”; the General Staff’s plan for establishing a three-tier air defense system and working out preventive measures for protecting people’s property and lives. The air defense posture of regular and local forces and militia was rapidly founded in all areas, from urban area to rural one. Furthermore, the Navy quickly set up land-based anti-ship missile systems in all coastal provinces.

In order to give support to Southern people in their struggle against the U.S. aggressors, apart from promoting production activities to generate wealth, the army and people of Northern Vietnam also implemented slogans, namely “All for Southern People”, “All for completely triumphing over U.S. aggressors”, “Contribute wholeheartedly to the process of national unification.” Thanks to these movements, a considerable amount of goods was transported from the North to the South via two strategic lines of communication through Truong Son mountain range and at sea (4,000 tonnes of goods were conveyed via Truong Son Trail in 1964), meeting the basic needs of the Southern theatre. To fulfill VPA’s missions, in 1964 alone, there were about 190,000 young people in the North joining the army. They were organized into 9 infantry divisions and several units of all arms, given basic training and fully equipped, and ready to set off when required.

In response to President Ho Chi Minh’s appeal at the Special Political Conference, and due to the active and opportune assistance offered by the North, Southern compatriots, especially the South Vietnam Liberation Army, achieved significant developments in terms of weapons, equipment and strength. It was not only the source of material strength, but the combination of personality, spirit and will of Vietnamese people which were nurtured and steeled through thousands of years of history. It was the source of invincible strength for defeating the enemy. Consequently, only four days after the fierce air strikes officially launched by U.S. Air Force over the North, the 5th Military Region’s Liberation Army brought about Ky Sanh victory (on 9 August 1964), which was followed by memorable battles, such as Bau Bang (in November 1964), Brinks Hotel, An Lao, and Binh Gia (in December 1964), etc., putting an end to “Special War”, while creating a firm momentum for the revolution in the South to record new and greater victories in the resistance war against America.

Nguyen Huy Thuc

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