Vietnam and Cambodia have a long neighboring relationship, support each other in fighting, and protect country for independence. In history, the diplomatic relationship between the two countries is not always smooth but they are very close, together sharing difficulties and happiness in a solidarity base. This relation can be found through many objects and materials preserved and displayed in Vietnam National Museum of History.
1930-1951: Indochinese Communist Party led people to fight against French and Japanese colonialism.
The Communist Party of Vietnam was formed on 03/02/1930. 8 months later, it held the first session in Hongkong, and approved the Politics Draft made by Tran Phu (the first General Secretary) and decided to change the name of the party into Indochinese Communist Party. The Party was in charge of revolution in 3 Indochinese countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). The article in Cong Nong Binh newspaper published on 06-02-1931 (original copy preserved in VNMH) explained the reason for changing the name of the party.
The politics draft made by General Secretary Tran Phu, 10/1930
1930-1945: Addressing national issues in the resistance war by each country.
The World War II started in 9/1939, at the same time, Japanese colonist invaded Indochina. Vietnamese and Cambodian people stayed together to fight against both French and Japanese.
The 6th session of Central Party Executive Board (11-1939) stated that “the Indochinese countries need to be united to defeat French to liberate the Indochina; each country addressed the matter by herself”. “Making alliance of Indochinese countries does not mean to require a merging country but remaining independence for each country. Each country has right to solve the matters by herself, but the self-determination does not mean the separation”.
The 8th session of Central Party Executive Board (5-1941) chaired by Nguyen Ai Quoc Ho Chi Minh analyzed thoroughly the world’s circumstances and Indochinese conditions. The session’s resolution emphasized that Indochinese countries were suffering from rule of French and Japanese colonialism, so that it must gather the revolutionary forces in the whole of Indochina, to make Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia solidarity, and support each other to win over the invaders. The resolution fought back allegations of “Indochinese Union” that blamed “Vietnam ruled Indochina by one party, one government and one state”.
The resolution of the VIII Central Session of Indochinese Communist Party, 5/1941
Regarding to this issue, VNMH is keeping a document issued in 1978 by Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Ministry (English version), that mentioned on Vietnamese Government’s political opinions declared from 1930 to 2/1978 that reject the above allegations.
Regarding to Cambodia by the end of 1945, an article with the head “Cambodian have voiced” published in serial no. 19 of Co Giai Phong Newspaper (the propaganda unit of Indochinese Communist Party) dated 28-10-1945 wrote: Right after Japanese colonists yielded, Cambodian government has been established and headed by Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh. After the terrible terrorization in Nam Vang that kidnapped Son Ngoc Thanh, French set up the puppet cabinet and inducing some Cambodian to kill overseas Vietnamese and requested for Mekong delta and South of Vietnam. However, Cambodian people could not forget about 1/3 of Cambodian land was sold to Thailand by French, and let Japanese occupied whole Cambodia. They also could not forget that French killed hundreds of soldiers and patriotic monks who struggled for the independence of the country. Cambodian understood that together with Vietnamese, they had to suffer from the French colonialism, so both of them needed to stay together to defeat the enemy for the independence of whole Indochina.
1945-1951: Practicing the utmost equality for sovereignties; establishing one leading party in each Indochinese country, strengthening solidarity between Vietnam and Cambodia in resistance war to defeat French and protecting the national independence.
The World War II ended, the Fascism had been destroyed, Japanese and his arms in Indochina were trembled, Vietnamese people stood up for the revolution and won to declare the Government of Vietnam Republic Democratic on 2/9/1945. In 9/1945, after attacking to South of Vietnam and reoccupied Saigon, French tried to parachute into Phnom Penh to expand the war.
On 25/11/1945, the Executive Board of Indochinese Communist Party issued an instruction for revolution and protection of independence for Indochina. The instruction said “Uniting the front alliance of Viet – Cambodia - Laos to fight back French”.
Realizing the importance of co-operation in fighting against the same enemy, two governments made conditions for organization and legal stuff for the war. “After the Khmer Government was established, the Southern Administrative Committee has sent Son Thai Nguyen to Phnom Penh to meet Son Ngoc Thanh for a discussion but it was not successful. In 10/1945, to avoid the French’s pursuing, some Cambodian revolutionists ran to Chau Doc, An Giang. With the support of Vietnamese, they have set up a committee called Independent Cambodian Committee; the president was Pach Chuon, and the vice was Kim Chuon. However, this committee just existed for a short time.
In those of difficult situation in Cambodia, Vietnamese Communist Party decided to set up Vietnam-Cambodia front and organize the guerrilla war in Cambodia. In 12/1945, Xamakhum Ítxarắc National Saving Association was formed gathering Khmer patriots like Me Muon, Maypho, Xiu Hieng, Dap Chuon… Early 1946, Southern committee decided to set up a group to transport goods and weapons from Thailand to Vietnam and fetching the personnel from the South to the North. During this time, Management Board for West Front pushed up the propaganda and army from Laos to North West Cambodia. In 8/1946, the Cambodia-Vietnam coalition directed by Ngo That Son organized an attack to Siem Reap, controlled the city for one week, making a beat in the South Indochina battlefield.
Vietnamese voluntary army in Cambodia in French resistance war
The flag salute ceremony of Viet - Cambodia coalition troops in French resistance war
Regarding to this period, VNMH has kept many photographs about the Viet-Cambodian coalition; The 1st National Conference of Free Cambodia from 17-19/3/1950; The 1st and 2nd Conference of National Cambodian Personnel in 12-22/3/1950 and in 6-1951…
The 1st Conference of National Cambodian Personnel in 12-22/3/1950
The 2nd Conference of National Cambodian Personnel in 6-1951
Pham Van Bach (right side), head of Southern Resistance Committee gave a Vietnamese National Flag to Son Ngoc Minh on the visit of Cambodian people army’s delegation to the South, 12-11-1951
In 1951, the war conditions became favorable for Vietnam and Cambodia, creating conditions for the collaboration in a new stage. However, with the support of US, French strengthened the war and made obstacles to prevent such alliance.
To address this matter, the 2nd personnel session of Indochinese Communist Party held from 11 to 19/01/1951 in Tuyen Quang province. The session approved the Resolution on the approach and general responsibilities, working out a draft of solutions for each country of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. By that, each country would have a leading party and creeds that met the country’s conditions. In Vietnam, the session decided to open the party’s activity under the name of Vietnamese Labor Party.
In 21 years of existence, the Indochinese Communist Party finished the duty of leading Vietnamese people to make the August Revolution successful in 1945, defeated Japan, and led the people in the resistant war against French.
On 11-3-1951, the Vietnamese Labor Party directed to hold a meeting in Tuyen Quang province with the attendances of Lien Viet Front of Vietnam, Laos Itxala Front, Khmer Itxarac Front. The delegates discussed and agreed to set up an association of Vietnamese, Laos and Cambodian people. They would follow the rules of voluntary, equality, respecting each other’s sovereignty and assisting each other in fighting against the colonists, securing real independence for Indochina. The meeting worked out the common action programs and voted the association committee with representatives of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
VNMH is keeping some photographs on the Meetings of establishment of Association Committee of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos (held in Cambodia); Cambodian delegates attended the National Conference of Union of Viet Minh – Lien Viet fronts in Viet Bac base (3-7/3/1951)…
Sieu Hieng – Cambodian representative addressed the speech in the National Conference of Union of Viet Minh – Lien Viet fronts, 1951
The formation of the people association of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia was a strategic achievement in building a foundation to improve the solidarity and co-operation of Indochinese countries, and it was either a strong hit into the enemy’s policy of “separating to control”.
By Dr. Vu Manh Ha - Deputy Director of VNMH
And Nguyen Thi Tuong Khanh – Vice Manager of Communication Dept
EN: Tran Trang