In France, People Come Together to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords

Fifty years ago, a momentous occasion occurred as the Paris Agreement was officially signed, symbolizing the successful revolution of the Vietnamese people and their diplomatic accomplishments in ending the War in Vietnam and restoring peace.

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UGVF President Vuong Huu Nhan speaks at the event. Photo: NDO
UGVF President Vuong Huu Nhan speaks at the event. Photo: NDO

The General Union of Vietnamese in France (UGVF) held a gathering and a photo exhibition on May 13 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam (Paris Peace Accords) on January 27, 1973, as reported by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on Sunday. The event served as a reminder of the historic milestone in bringing an end to the war and restoring peace in Vietnam.

UGVF President Vuong Huu Nhan recently held a special gathering to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords. The event was held at the UGVF’s headquarters at No. 16 on Petit Musc Street in Paris, a historically significant spot that served as the venue for negotiations during that time. Attendees shared fond memories of that heroic period.

He emphatically underscored that the patriotic movement of the Vietnamese people in France, with the Union of Vietnamese in France (UGVF) at its core, made a tremendous contribution to the eventual signing of the agreement.

At the event, the UGVF presented stunning visuals of the negotiation sessions leading to the signing of the agreement, as well as several illuminating books on Vietnamese history.

Photo: NDO
Photo: NDO
The Paris Peace Accords was the result of the longest and most difficult struggle in the history of Vietnam's diplomacy, with over 202 public meetings held over four years, eight months and 14 days.
The Paris Peace Accords was the result of the longest and most difficult struggle in the history of Vietnam’s diplomacy, with over 202 public meetings held over four years, eight months and 14 days. Photo: NDO

The arduous and intricate Paris negotiations spanned a period of nearly five years before finally coming to a close. On January 22, 1973, Special Advisor Le Duc Tho of the delegation of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and US Advisor Henry Kissinger initialed the agreement.

The Paris Agreement, which aimed to bring an end to the War and restore peace in Vietnam, was signed on January 27, 1973, after months of intense negotiations. This process included over two hundred open sessions, 45 high-level private talks, 24 secret meetings, 500 press conferences, 1,000 interviews, and hundreds of smaller gatherings in support of Vietnam. During this time, the heroic efforts of overseas Vietnamese in France served as an invaluable “special force”, helping to mobilize public opinion in favor of Vietnam and the two negotiating teams.

The agreement put an end to the most protracted and challenging conflict in the annals of Vietnam’s diplomatic history.

To reach the Paris Peace Accords, nearly 250 open and secret meetings took place from March 1968 to January 1973, making this the longest diplomatic negotiation of Vietnam and the world in the 20th century. More than 40 secret sessions were held in Choisy-le-Roi, Gif-sur-Yvette, and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche cities in the suburbs of Paris. Photo: NDO
To reach the Paris Peace Accords, nearly 250 open and secret meetings took place from March 1968 to January 1973, making this the longest diplomatic negotiation of Vietnam and the world in the 20th century. More than 40 secret sessions were held in Choisy-le-Roi, Gif-sur-Yvette, and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche cities in the suburbs of Paris. Photo: NDO

Thousands of overseas Vietnamese living in Paris and other parts of France showed their support for the two negotiating teams during both the inner and outer rounds of negotiations. These individuals also contributed to activities that served the negotiation team and public opinion mobilization in the Paris metropolitan area, as well as in cities and provinces across France, albeit in a more quiet manner.

Every individual has a duty to fulfill, either covertly or overtly, including collecting autographs to advocate for the end of the Vietnam War, actively participating in demonstrations in support of the Vietnamese contingent.

In order to assess the invaluable contributions of the Vietnamese community and French allies in the negotiation process, the UGVF convened a gathering of the members who had backed the two negotiating teams, as well as French friends who had offered assistance to Vietnam during the negotiations.

Hannah Nguyen