Huynh Van Tieng:
Our relationship with people in the West, especially the French, the British and the Americans, was somewhat special. At that time the Japanese held a lot of French, British and American POWs. And the closer they got to the day of their surrender, the more brutal was their treatment of the POWs. Hence we tried our best to help.
How was this done? Before and after our taking over administrative power on August 25th, 1945, we opened up the clubhouses and brought the American prisoners there, giving them meals and drinks, letting them listen to music, talking with them and consoling them, giving them information on the military situation around the world, and telling them that the Japanese and the Germans would certainly lose and that they, the POWs, would certainly be able to go home soon to be with their families. This was our attitude towards the American and British POWs.
But the French were treacherous to the point that, on the occasion of September 2nd, which I mentioned earlier, they invited some young American and British soldiers out and gave them drinks and French women and guns to shoot at us. We dismissed the whole thing as a thoughtless act under the influence of alcohol and we brought these men back to the clubhouses to let them rest and to come to their senses after that.
As for the French, I must say that there were many extremely vile colonialists as well as many good Frenchmen. And we wholly applauded those who behaved themselves. For example, a French air force officer named Jean Souteray who had been discharged and who was writing newspaper articles for the left wing Socialist Party in Saigon
was quite close to us. Many times he told us that should we have to defend our independence with force, we should give him a gun and allow him to fight alongside us. But it was really unfortunate that during all the confusion when the fighting erupted, Souteray was killed.
But our friendship toward the French people, especially the working people and the progressive people, continues to develop until today. A French journalist, Mrs. Violis, maintained a longstanding friendship with us. And her children and grandchildren have been in touch with us frequently.
At that time we had few contacts with the British. But later on we had many British friends who supported our cause. And the British peace movement opposed the American war of aggression from the very beginning and is still supporting us. And there were many American groups who supported us during the war years. We were very touched to see honest and courageous Americans who stood up to struggle, thereby contributing to, the inability of the US government to continue with its war of aggression and to the final withdrawal of the American troops from Indochina.
We are still very grateful to the British, the French and the American peoples for having supported us. And the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese government will never tolerate a policy of xenophobia. We know that international solidarity and friendship is to the benefit of everyone. This is our attitude and this is also the precious and profound legacy of our President Ho Chi Minh.