May 18

1946

Cuu Quoc (National Salvation) newspaper published an article “President Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese nation” in which it announced for the first time the birthday of the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

President Ho Chi Minh said in 1948: “We are fighting the French colonialists but we are always treating the French people as our friends…”

It said: “On the 19th day of May 56 years ago (1890) a man came into the world: Ho Chi Minh. It was he, with his clever and decisive leadership, who gave birth to and fostered many revolutionary organizations in Vietnam. The spirit of most Vietnamese revolutionary soldiers has been fostered by his talented hands…”

The president met visiting Admiral D’Argenlieu, a French hawk, in Hanoi. As the meeting took place just a day before the President’s birthday, the French guest could not but say: “Tomorrow is Your Excellency’s birthday, I would like to wish you longevity…”

In reply, the President said, “The capital of the newly-born Democratic Republic of Vietnam is very glad to welcome a representative of France …”

May 19 has since then been officially confirmed as the birthday of the President.  

1948

During an interview with International News Service (the US), President Ho Chi Minh said: “The war will come to an end as soon as Vietnam gains actual independence and unification. We are fighting the French colonialists but we are always treating the French people as our friends…

"We are always confident of ourselves and the hand extended to us by the democratic people of the world, firstly by democratic French.”

1953

In a congratulatory message to the chairman of the Central National Liberation Front of Cambodia on its anniversary of announcement of independence for a free Cambodia, President Ho Chi Minh said: “The victory of the Cambodian people is also that of the Vietnamese people and of the block of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that are joined together in the fight against their common enemy, the French colonialists and interfering Americans…”

1963

Addressing the first National Congress of the Vietnamese Association of Science and Technique, President Ho Chi Minh said, “As we all know, our country’s scientific and technical level remains poor. Our style of production has yet to improve much. Our manner of production is cumbersome. There remain many backward practices in our life.

"The duty of science is to try to change all of these things for the better. Science must come into being from business and it must serve production and the public, contributing to boosting productivity and continuously improving the life of the people.”

1965

During his stay in China, the President refused a ceremony planned by the Chinese Government to congratulate him on his longevity. He said to Chinese Marshal Ye Jianying: “I come here these days to avoid such a ceremony in my country. So I kindly request you not to organize it…”

1968

The president spent one hour (from 9-10am) in revising his will and he did the same in 1969, the last year of his life.

By Duong Trung Quoc* and co-writers
*The author is a historian and member of the National Assembly

Translated by Mai Thao

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