In a Government Council meeting, President Ho Chi Minh delivered reports on the establishment of the relationship between the Government and the National Assembly Standing Committee, preparations for patriot Phan Chu Trinh’s death anniversary, March 24. President Ho Chi Minh also listened to a report on a Vietnam-France joint troop parade, locations where the French troops would station, and financial reports.
In the evening, Uncle Ho, General Leclerc, chief of the French armed forces in Indochina, and representatives of the UK and the US attended a farewell party of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang or KMT), held before the force draw back to China.
From the Viet Bac base, Uncle Ho wrote a French article titled “Vietnam struggles for its independence” to send to Communist International’s mouthpiece magazine. The article included a summary of Vietnam’s revolutionary history and affirmed that “In order to regain independence and unification for their country, the Vietnamese people are ready to struggle in 10 years, 15 years, 30 years, or more if necessary.”
In the middle of March, 1954, when the Dien Bien Phu Operation started, Australian correspondent Wilfred Burchett arrived in the Viet Bac base and was received by President Ho Chi Minh. In his memoirs, the Australian journalist wrote what President Ho Chi Minh spoke. “This is the situation. These are mountains our force is holding. Down there is the Dien Bien Phu Valley. It is where the French troops were stationed with their most skilled units in Indochina. And they will never be able to draw out.”
Later on, Burchett came to Vietnam many times to do reporting on the Vietnamese people’s struggle. His first impression of Ho Chi Minh did not change. He wrote: “My first feeling is amicableness, warm and simplicity. President was able to make others feel at ease right in the beginning and present the most complex issues in just a few words. During the following meetings with the great man, warm, simplicity, comprehensive presentation from a brilliant mind and a comprehension of the topic create very deep impressions on others.”
By Duong Trung Quoc* and co-writers
*The author is a historian and member of the National Assembly