Pham Van Dong on Vietnamese independence (1954)

Pham Van Dong, North Vietnam’s chief negotiator at the Geneva conferences, issued the following statement on Vietnamese independence on July 21st 1954:

“The Geneva Conference is concluded with the signing of the agreement which put an end to the hostilities in Indochina. This is a great victory for the people of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the people of other Indochinese countries, for the people of France and all the peoples of Asia, a great victory for all peace-loving people. It is great victory for peace…

The signing of peace in Indochina on the basis of the recognition of the national rights of the Indochinese peoples is a victory for all oppressed people who raise high the banner of struggle for national independence and democratic liberties. On behalf of the people and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the delegation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam expresses its thanks to all the powers participating in this conference, and all the peace-loving peoples and governments far or near who have contributed to the achievement of peace for which our people have struggled with heroism for 8 years.

A big step has been taken. More steps remain to be taken. We have to build up a stable and lasting peace in Indochina by settling the political questions, of which the most important is the achievement of the national unification of our people by means of elections, that is to say, by peaceful and democratic means. At the same time, we have to build up our country, which has been ravaged by prolonged war, continue and intensify the carrying out of democratic liberties, including freedom of opinion and belief, develop the country’s economy and culture in order to raise the standard of the material and spiritual life of our people.

To accomplish these tasks, which already present themselves, we shall need the sympathy, support and assistance of our friends. We shall need the cooperation of peoples of South-east Asia and all the rest of Asia on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, peaceful coexistence, and we shall need good relations with all countries of the world.

With France in particular, a country famous for its glorious tradition of liberty, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ardently desires to form ties of confidence and friendship, which are indispensable to the restoration of peace in Indochina and the settlement of all related questions. We stand for the establishment of economic and cultural relations with France on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We need peace to achieve the unification of our country and to enable us to work for our national reconstruction. We shall faithfully and strictly carry out all the terms of agreements which we have signed. We hope that the other parties concerned will do the same. We all need to maintain and consolidate the peace which has just been achieved.

Our thoughts go out to the people of our country, who have shown such great patriotism and courage during the war and will exhibit the same patriotism and courage in the time of peace that has just begun. The conference has fixed a date for our unification. This unity we shall make and win as we have won peace. No force in the world, internal or external, will turn us aside from our road to unity by peace and democracy. This will be the crowning achievement of our national independence.

People of Vietnam! Compatriots of the South, victory is ours! The independence and unity of our land is in our hands. The people who love peace and justice throughout the world are of the same mind as we. Remember President Chi Minh’s words: The struggle is hard, but we who will win final victory. Long live peace! Long live the unity of our Motherland!”