Wednesday, 31/08/2022 12:15

National Archives receive rare historical documents


KIND DONATION: Hà Thị Ngọc Hà, daughter of former Vietnamese military commander and diplomat Hà Văn Lâu, donates the historical documents to the Việt Nam National Archives Centre III. VNA/VNS Photo Chu Thanh Vân

HÀ NỘI — Many valuable historical documents have been presented to the Việt Nam National Archives Centre III by the family of former Vietnamese diplomat Hà Văn Lâu.

There are 107 paper documents, 336 photos and 815 publications that showcased not only Lâu’s life and career as a Vietnamese military commander and diplomat but also many significant historical milestones for the country.

Among them are particularly valuable documents summarising negotiations between the Governments of Việt Nam and the US in Paris from 1968 to 1973, Lâu’s articles about typical historical events and figures of the country such as the Bình Trị Thiên Battlefield, General Võ Nguyên Giáp and Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng.

The highlighted photos capture the historical moments of the negotiation and signing of the Geneva Agreements in 1954 and the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, the working sessions between the former Vietnamese military commander with other historical figures of both Việt Nam and the world like General Võ Nguyên Giáp, Mexican President Luis Echeverria and Cuban President Fidel Castro.

A portrait of President Hồ Chí Minh gifted to Lâu personally on the occasion of Uncle Hồ’s 60th birthday at Việt Bắc War Zone on May 19, 1950 is also included in the donated photos.

The event aims to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Việt Nam (1973-2023).

According to Trần Việt Hoa, the director of the Việt Nam National Archives Centre III, the documents are valuable sources of information about his life, career and research on the diplomatic history of Việt Nam. Among these, are top secret documents related to the Paris Peace Accords that have never been published before.

In the future, the centre will declassify documents to effectively promote their values for future research, Hoa added.

HISTORIC: Some photos and memorabilia of Vietnamese former diplomat Hà Văn Lâu were donated to Việt Nam National Archives Centre III. Photo

Thanking the goodwill and affection of the family of the late commander, Deputy Director of the Department of State Records and Archives Nguyễn Thị Nga said they are honoured and fortunate in receiving a large volume of historical documents with valuable content.

“Colonel Hà Văn Lâu is a talented military commander and diplomat of the country with many significant contributions to the Vietnamese revolution," she said.

"Leading a modest life, he left to the next generation not only the respect and admiration for his talent and moral dignity, but also the intelligence and strategy of a Huế native. He belongs to the generation of President Hồ Chí Minh’s outstanding students.

“The documents preserved by the Colonel will contribute to the future studies of national diplomatic and defence.”

The Deputy Director suggested the Việt Nam National Archives Centre III urgently classify and promote the values of the documents. She also expressed her wish that the event would attract more donations of archival materials to the centre from other ambassadors.

Explaining why the documents are so well preserved, Hà Thị Ngọc Hà, Lâu’s daughter, said that her father treasured them “more than his life”.

She said, “During the historic flood in 1999, he constantly moved the documents to the driest place when the water kept rising.

"It was until the water rose to half of his body and the documents were in the safe place did he agree to get on the life raft to get out of the house. That’s why these documents have not been damaged.” 

Concerned that the historical documents of the nation would be lost, Hà decided to donate them to Việt Nam National Archives Centre III via the introduction of Vũ Thị Minh Hương, Vice President of the UNESCO Memory of the World Committee of Asia and the Pacific (MOWCAP) and also former director of the centre.

“Only by being preserved at the Archives Centre could these documents be alive, properly preserved and exploited for future generations to learn about the national history,” she said.

Hà, who herself is a former Vietnamese diplomat in Chile, also expressed her regret that a 500-page handwritten memoir about her father's diplomatic activities with top secret contents had been lost and is being searched by the family.

Colonel, Diplomat Hà Văn Lâu was born in Lại Ân Village, Phú Mậu Commune in the central province of Thừa Thiên – Huế in 1918. He used to work as a civil servant of the French Colonial embassy but was soon enlightened to the national revolution. As a member of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, he actively participated in the fights on the front of Ninh Hòa - Khánh Hòa before returning to the battlefield in his hometown and then moving to Việt Bắc War Zone where he met Uncle Hồ.

With the high trust of the Party and State, he assumed a number of important positions in the Government of the Democratic Republic of Việt Nam such as the chief of the Combat Department - the General Command of the Vietnam People's Army; military specialist at the Geneva Conference; Deputy Foreign Minister cum Head of the Central Committee for Overseas Vietnamese and Vietnamese Diplomat to Cuba, France and to the United Nations. He passed away in HCM City on December 18, 2016.

With great contributions to the revolutionary cause, Hà Văn Lâu has been awarded many noble medals and titles by the Party and State. In 2014, the colonel was awarded the title Hero of the People's Armed Forces on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Agreements. — VNS



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