Book on Soviet Union-Vietnam friendship in First Indochina War published

Many once-secret documents and photos relating to the success of the 1954 Geneva Conference and the role of the Soviet Union-Vietnam co-operation were unveiled for the first time in a book released recently in Hanoi.

Book on Soviet Union-Vietnam friendship in First Indochina War published
IMPORTANT DOCUMENT: Andrey Konstantinovich Sorokin, director of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History speaks at the book launch. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Tung

The book, entitled "Liên Xô và Việt Nam trong Những Năm Chiến Tranh Đông Dương lần Thứ Nhất và Hội Nghị Geneva 1954" (The Soviet Union and Việt Nam during the First Indochina War and the 1954 Geneva Conference), was compiled by the Việt Nam’s State Records Management and Archives Department and the Russian Federal Archives (RFA).

The book was first published in Russian by the RFA in 2017 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution. It has now been translated into Vietnamese as part of the programme to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the treaty on basic principles for the bilateral friendship between Vietnam and Russia (June 16, 1994 - 2019).

The 900-page book contains nearly 200 documents, letters, statements made by leaders, minutes of meetings, transcripts of telephone conversations between the two sides during the Geneva Conference, as well as documents on the international workers and communist movements’ support for peace in Vietnam and Indochina from 1950 to 1954. Many of them have been released for the first time thanks to the national archival agencies of the two countries.

The Vietnamese version even comprises some information that hasn’t been presented in the Russian version, according to Dinh Thi My Van, editor of the book.

“It provides valuable and rare information for researchers, students and anyone who is interested in the history of Vietnam and the relationship between Vietnam and Russia,” she said.

Book on Soviet Union-Vietnam friendship in First Indochina War published
INSIGHTFUL: Cover of the book 'Soviet Union and Viet Nam during the First Indochina War and the 1954 Geneva Conference.

One important document included in the book is the letter which President Ho Chi Minh wrote on January 14, 1950. He sent it to all Governments of the world to call for the establishment of diplomatic relations. The support of the international community helped Vietnamese people gain victory in their nine-year-long war of resistance against the French.

“During the last years of its resistance, Vietnam has been enjoying the sympathy and support of the peoples all over the world. [...] In view of mutual interest, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam [DRV] are prepared to establish diplomatic relations with any Government which respects the right to equality, the territorial and national sovereignty of Vietnam, in order to safeguard world peace and to build up world democracy," the letter says.

Two weeks later on January 30, 1950, the Soviet Government informed the DRV Government about its decision to establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors with Vietnam.

Moreover, addressing a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on September 9, 1952, the Soviet head representative "strongly advocated the DRV's application [dated November 22, 1948] to join the UN, because the DRV is the only authentic representative, widely supported by the people in Vietnam".


The book provides valuable information about not only the Geneva Conference on ending war and restoring peace in Indochina, but also the history of international relations and ties between Vietnam and Russia.

Director of the National Archives of Viet Nam Dang Thanh Tung said at the book launch on August 28 that the Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Indochina, signed in Geneva in 1954, was a historic milestone.

In that context, the Soviet Union’s assistance, especially at the Geneva Conference, was a crucial factor helping Việt Nam restore peace on the basis of independence, unity and territorial integrity, he stressed.

“The success of the Geneva Conference was greatly contributed to by Soviet Union-Viet Nam co-operation in the diplomatic struggle,” Tung said.

“The book is the result of the co-operation in many years between the archival agencies of the two countries.”

Speaking at the book launch Andrey Konstantinovich Sorokin, director of the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, said the book helped unveil complicated historical issues of the Indochinese War through archives collected from 1950 to 1956.

“It’s unbelievable and amazing when Vietnamese people overthrew the colonial government in 1945 without support from outsiders,” he said.

“The Declaration of Independence announced on September 2, 1945 was the result of the political struggle and strong will of the Vietnamese people led by President Ho Chi Minh.

“The following historical events led to the resistance of the Vietnamese people against the French enemy. The book also depicts the desire for freedom of the Vietnamese people. Readers can see their strong will as well as the support of the world's peace movement that led to the peaceful solutions signed in the Geneva Accords in 1954.”


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