From Ho Chi Minh’s fictional Diary:

15 June 1940
Kunming, southern China near the border with Vietnam

Finally, I met Vo Nguyen Giap. We felt it was safer to meet here than in Vietnam, which has now been occupied by the Japanese. They profess to be sympathetic to the Vietnamese, but that means only that they want us to be anti-French but not, of course, independent. Ironically, now that France has been defeated by the Germans, and all Indochina occupied by the Japanese, some of the French colonials are trying to win our support. Giap, who has suffered so badly in their hands, quite understandably rejects the whole lot, but I’m inclined to be more opportunistic. There are many Frenchmen who are genuinely sympathetic to our freedom, and we should certainly make friends with them.

In addition to Giap, Ho also saw Pham Van Dong in southern China. Dong had long been a trusted friend, but this was Ho’s first meeting with Giap, the enthusiast who only fourteen years later was to outmaneuver and defeat the French Army and later to help defeat the United States.

At age 85, Giap recalled to Charles Fenn this first encounter with Ho: “Having previously only seen a photograph, which revealed his bright eyes but nothing of his personality, I was struck by his lively, alert manner. Then as our talk proceeded, I was struck by his simplicity, his clarity of speech, his straightforward response, from the heart as well as the brain. And in all our years together Ho always made that impression of response and sincerity.”
Back to Home Page