Lê Đức Thọ

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Lê Đức Thọ
Head of the Central Organizing Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam
In office
Preceded byLê Văn Lương
Succeeded byNguyễn Đức Tâm
In office
Preceded byLê Văn Lương
Succeeded byLê Văn Lương
Member of the Secretariat
In office
1960 – 10 December 1986
Member of the Politburo
In office
1955 – 18 December 1986
Personal details
Phan Đình Khải

(1911-10-14)14 October 1911
Nam Định Province, French Indochina
Died13 October 1990(1990-10-13) (aged 79)
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Political partyCommunist Party of Vietnam

Lê Đức Thọ (Vietnamese: [lē ɗɨ̌k tʰɔ̂ˀ] (About this soundlisten); 10 October 1911 – 13 October 1990), born Phan Đình Khải in Nam Dinh Province, was a Vietnamese revolutionary, general, diplomat, and politician.[1] He was the first Vietnamese to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (jointly with United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in 1973), but refused the award.

In 1930, Lê Đức Thọ helped found the Indochinese Communist Party. French colonial authorities imprisoned him from 1930 to 1936 and again from 1939 to 1944. After his release in 1945, he helped lead the Viet Minh, the Vietnamese independence movement, against the French, until the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954. In 1948, he was in South Vietnam as Deputy Secretary, Head of the Organization Department of Cochinchina Committee Party. He then joined the Lao Dong Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party in 1955, now the Communist Party of Vietnam. Thọ oversaw the Communist insurgency that began in 1956 against the South Vietnamese government. In 1963 Thọ supported the purges of the Party surrounding Resolution 9.[2]

From 1978 to 1982 Lê Đức Thọ was named by Hanoi to act as chief advisor to the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK) and later to the nascent People's Republic of Kampuchea. Lê Đức Thọ's mission was to ensure that Khmer nationalism would not override Vietnam's interests in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge was overthrown.[3]

Lê Đức Thọ was the Standing Member of the Central Committee's Secretariat of the Party from 1982 to 1986 and later became the Advisor of Party's Central Committee.

Paris Peace Accords[edit]

The United States actively joined the Vietnam War during the early 1960s. Several rounds of Paris Peace Talks (some public, some secret) were held between 1969 and 1973. While Xuân Thuỷ led the official negotiating team representing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at the talks in Paris, Thọ and U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger since February 1970 engaged in secret talks that eventually led to a cease-fire in the Paris Peace Accords of 23 January 1973. The basic history of the Accords included: release of POWs within 80 days; ceasefire to be monitored by the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICC); free and democratic elections to be held in South Vietnam; U.S. aid to South Vietnam would continue; and North Vietnamese troops could remain in South Vietnam.

Le Duc Tho representing North Vietnam, alongside Văn Tiến Dũng representing the People's Army of Vietnamand Phạm Hùng representing the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam discuss war plans for the Ho Chi Minh campaign.

While 23 January is generally recognized as the enactment date of the Peace Accords, the talks continued out of necessity. Sporadic fighting continued in some regions. While U.S. ground forces were removed by 29 March, bombing continued in North Vietnam. Due to continued allegations of ceasefire violations by all sides, Kissinger and Thọ met in Paris in May and June 1973 for the purpose of getting the implementation of the peace agreement back on track. On 13 June 1973, the United States and North Vietnam signed a joint communique pledging mutual support for full implementation of the Paris Accords.

Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

Thọ and Henry Kissinger were jointly awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in negotiating the Paris Peace Accords.[4] However, Thọ declined to accept the award, claiming that peace had not yet been established, and that the United States and the South Vietnamese governments were in violation of the Paris Peace Accords:

However, since the signing of the Paris agreement, the United States and the Saigon administration continue in grave violation of a number of key clauses of this agreement. The Saigon administration, aided and encouraged by the United States, continues its acts of war. Peace has not yet really been established in South Vietnam. In these circumstances it is impossible for me to accept the 1973 Nobel Prize for Peace which the committee has bestowed on me. Once the Paris accord on Vietnam is respected, the arms are silenced and a real peace is established in South Vietnam, I will be able to consider accepting this prize. With my thanks to the Nobel Prize Committee please accept, madame, my sincere respects.[5]

The ceasefire would not last, with the war ending when Saigon fell in 1975 and North Vietnam captured South Vietnam.


Lê Đức Thọ died on the evening before his 80th birthday, on 13 October 1990, having reportedly suffered from cancer, in Hanoi.[6]


  1. ^ Bruce M. Lockhart, William J. Duiker Historical Dictionary of Vietnam 2006 entry p.202 Lê Đức Thọ
  2. ^ Thu-Hương Nguyễn-Võ The Ironies of Freedom: Sex, Culture, and Neoliberal Governance in Vietnam Seattle : University of Washington Press, c2008. ISBN 0295988509 (pbk. : alk. paper). ISBN 978-0-295-98865-8. 2008– Page 73 "This resolution unleashed a terror campaign against the "revisionist antiparty clique." Lê Đức Thọ, head of the Party Central Organization Committee, announced to party cadres: "The theoretical front to counter contemporary revisionism we ..."
  3. ^ Margaret Slocomb, The People's Republic of Kampuchea, 1979–1989: The revolution after Pol Pot ISBN 978-974-9575-34-5
  4. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 1973". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 31 December 2006.
  5. ^ Lewis, Flora (24 October 1973). "Tho Rejects Nobel Prize, Citing Vietnam Situation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  6. ^ Lê Đức Thọ at www.biography.com Retrieved July 5, 2017.

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