Ho Chi Minh seeks Vietnamese independence (1919)

In June 1919 Ho Chi Minh petitioned the Paris peace conference, seeking self determination and independence for the Vietnamese people:

Demands of the Annamite [Vietnamese] People

Since the victory of the Allies, all the subjects are frantic with hope at prospect of an era of right and justice, which should begin for them by virtue of the formal and solemn engagements made before the whole world by the various powers of the entente in the struggle of civilisation against barbarism.

While waiting for the principle of national self determination to pass from ideal to reality through the effective recognition of the sacred right of all peoples to decide their own destiny, the inhabitants of the ancient empire of Annam, at the present time French Indochina, present to the noble governments of the entente in general and in particular to the honourable French government the following humble claims:

1. General amnesty for all the native people who have been condemned for political activity.

2. Reform of Indochinese justice by granting to the native population the same judicial guarantees as the Europeans have, and the total suppression of the special courts which are the instruments of terrorisation and oppression against the most responsible elements of the Annamite people.

3. Freedom of press and speech.

4. Freedom of association and assembly.

5. Freedom to emigrate and to travel abroad.

6. Freedom of education, and creation in every province of technical and professional schools for the native population.

7. Replacement of the regime of arbitrary decrees by a regime of law.

8. A permanent delegation of native people elected to attend the French parliament in order to keep the latter informed of their needs.

The Annamite people, in presenting these claims, count on the worldwide justice of all the Powers, and rely in particular on the goodwill of the noble French people who hold our destiny in their hands and who, as France is a republic, have taken us under their protection.

In requesting the protection of the French people the people of Annam, far from feeling humiliated, on the contrary consider themselves honoured, because they know that the French people stand for liberty and justice and will never renounce their sublime ideal of universal brotherhood. Consequently, in giving heed to the voice of the oppressed, the French people will be doing their duty to France and to humanity.”

In the name of the group of Annamite patriots…
Nguyen Ai Quoc [Ho Chi Minh]