President Vo Van Thuong’s special gift to US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden paid a State visit to Vietnam from September 10 to 11 at the invitation of Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee.
During his visit, the US President was hosted by President Vo Van Thuong and was presented with a special book entitled ‘Ho Chi Minh - Letters to America’, which was published by the Vietnamese Writers' Association Publishing House.
True to its name, the book introduces President Ho Chi Minh’s letters to the United States. The first letter was written in Paris, France, on June 18, 1919, under the name Nguyen Ai Quoc when he was only 29 years old, and was sent to the US Secretary of State. The last letter, addressed to President Richard Nixon, was written on August 25, 1969, just eight days before President Ho Chi Minh passed away.
On behalf of the Vietnamese Writers' Association Publishing House, I wrote an introduction to this book as below:
A man, a path and a history
This is a small, humble book but contains an infinitely compassionate heart and great thoughts of a great man: HO CHI MINH.
The book introduces President Ho Chi Minh's letters to Americans, from students, women, ordinary people, journalists to officers, senators, Secretaries of State and Presidents. Regardless of historical circumstance, recipients, and reason, the letters convey a noble humanism, the aspiration for peace, the determination to fight for national independence and freedom, and the national pride of the sender.
The first letter was written in 1919 and signed by the young patriot Nguyen Ai Quoc, while the last letter was penned in 1969 and signed by Ho Chi Minh - the President of an independent country.
The letters, written over half a century (1919 - 1969), portray a great man named HO CHI MINH and a righteous path associated with Vietnam's glorious revolutionary history.
The letters of a humble man named HO CHI MINH have become a treasured heritage of the nation.
Hanoi, August 2023
The book's box is made of blue-glazed ceramics, wood and leather.
The cover of the book's box is made of blue-glazed ceramics by artisans from Hue imperial city. The box and the book’s cover are handmade from valuable wood and leather.
The book was made by hand in a simple but delicate style. The book's content includes President Ho Chi Minh’s letters and related images taken from many reliable sources such as the Institute of Ho Chi Minh and Party’s Leaders, the Archives of the Party Central Committee’s Office, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper, and ‘United States - Vietnam Relations 1945-1967’ book (US Government Printing Office, 1971).
Notably, the book features many portraits of President Ho Chi Minh taken by Western photographers and journalists.
It has been a century since the first letter was penned under the name of the young patriot Nguyen Ai Quoc, and more than half a century has passed since the last letter was written by President Ho Chi Minh. Time passes with many changes in Vietnam as well as in the world.
However, the love for the Fatherland, the love for humanity, the aspiration for freedom of a man representing his nation will remain unchanged forever. That is the great message of the letters in this book, and also the message of the nation to US President Joe Biden.