Phạm Văn Đồng

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For the South Vietnamese general, see Pham Van Dong (ARVN general).
In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Pham. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Dong.
Phạm Văn Đồng
PhamVanDong1954.jpg
Pham Van Dong in 1954
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
2 July 1976 – 18 June 1987
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Phạm Hùng
Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
In office
20 September 1955 – 2 July 1976
Preceded by Hồ Chí Minh
Succeeded by Post abolished
Member of the Politburo
In office
1951–1987
Personal details
Born (1906-03-01)1 March 1906
Đức Tân village, Mộ Đức district, in Quang Ngai province, Indochina
Died 29 April 2000(2000-04-29) (aged 94)
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Nationality Vietnamese
Political party Communist Party of Vietnam
Military service
Awards Gold Star Order (Vietnam)

Phạm Văn Đồng (About this sound listen; 1 March 1906 – 29 April 2000) was a Vietnamese politician who served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1955 to 1976 and, following unification, as Prime Minister of Vietnam from 1976 until he retired in 1987 under the rule of Lê Duẩn and Nguyễn Văn Linh.[1] He was considered one of Hồ Chí Minh's closest lieutenants.[2]

Early life[edit]

According to an official report, Dong was born into a family of ethnic Chinese (Hoa) civil servants in Đức Tân village, Mộ Đức district, in Quang Ngai province on the central coast on 1 March 1906.

In 1925 at the age of 18, he joined fellow students to stage a school sit-in to mourn the death of the famous patriotic scholar Phan Chu Trinh. About this time he developed an interest in the Communist party and in the unification of Vietnam. In 1926, he traveled to Guangzhou in southern China to attend a training course run by Nguyen Ai Quoc (later to be known as Ho Chi Minh), before being admitted as a member of the Vietnam Revolutionary Youth Association, the predecessor of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

In 1929, he worked for the revolutionary association in Saigon. In the same year, he was arrested, tried by the French colonial authorities and sentenced to ten years in prison. He served the term in Poulo Condor Island Prison until 1936 when he was released under the general amnesty granted by the government of the Popular Front in France after its recent electoral successes.

The First Indochina War[edit]

He joined the Indochinese Communist Party in 1940 and then continued to take part in activities led by Ho Chi Minh. After Ho Chi Minh rose to power during the August Revolution in 1945, Pham Van Dong was appointed minister of finance of the newly established government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), a position he occupied until 1954. Before he assumed the position of Minister of Finance, he was well known as head of the Vietnamese delegation to the Vietnam-France post-war negotiations at Fontainebleau (France) in May 1946.

Following the defeat of Japan, nationalist forces fought French colonial forces in the First Indochina War that lasted from 1945 to 1954. The French suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and peace was sought. In May 1954, he led the delegation of the Ho Chi Minh government to the Geneva Conference. After intense negotiations a peace treaty was signed and the French forces withdrew from direct conflict with the newly independent North Vietnam. He signed the peace accords with French Premier Pierre Mendès France.

1954 to 1987[edit]

During 1954 he served as Vice-Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the 5th session of the DRV First National Assembly convocation (1955), Dong was appointed as Prime Minister. He is well known for being one of the leaders of Vietnam during the war with the United States. He was known to have close links with the Chinese government, which helped fund the conflict with South Vietnam. He was also one of the figures involved in peace talks to end the conflict under the administrations of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.

In general, Pham Van Dong was considered a staunch communist and a great nationalist leader, one of the most faithful disciples of Ho Chi Minh and a major figure in Vietnam's fight for independence and unity. He was known as a politician who tried to maintain a neutral position in the various conflicts within the party, particularly after the unification of Vietnam in 1975.

Retirement[edit]

Although retired from public office, he served as an Adviser to the Party Central Committee from December 1986 to 1997. He often urged the party to make greater efforts to stop corruption, which is still a widespread problem in Vietnam today. He gave advice on similar issues, even after his term as an adviser to the Central Committee had ended. As he became older, his vision deteriorated and he was left blind for the last 10 years of his life.

After several months of illness, Phạm Văn Đồng died in Hanoi on 29 April 2000, at the age of 94. His death was announced by the Vietnamese Communist Party and the Vietnamese government a week later on 2 May. Commemoration and funeral services were held on 6 May 2000 in Hanoi.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ronald B. Frankum Jr. Historical Dictionary of the War in Vietnam, 2011 p.141. "Phạm Văn Đồng"
  2. ^ David G. Marr Vietnam: State, War, and Revolution (1945–1946) University of California Press 0520954971 2013 p166 "Replacing him with Phạm Văn Đồng, probably Hồ Chí Minh's closest lieutenant, would help to ensure that the ongoing struggle in south-central Vietnam served national strategic interests."
Preceded by
New office
Prime Minister of North Vietnam
1955–1976
Succeeded by
Himself as prime minister of Vietnam
Preceded by
Vũ Văn Mẫu – Prime Minister of South Vietnam and Nguyễn Hữu Thọ – Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam
Prime Minister of Vietnam

Vietnam
1976–87

Succeeded by
Phạm Hùng