Skip to content
Placeholder image for when a portrait image is not available

Lê, Đức Thọ (Le Duc Tho) 1911- 1990

Lê, Đức Thọ (Le Duc Tho) Le Duc Tho served as Special Adviser to the North Vietnamese Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference from 1968-1973. He was awarded but declined the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

Biography

Placeholder image for when a portrait image is not available

Le Duc Tho was one of the founders of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. For his political activities he was imprisoned by the French in 1930-36 and 1939-44. Ten years of imprisonment by the French did not lessen Tho's commitment to the Vietminh, or Vietnamese independence movement.

After his second release he returned to Hanoi in 1945 and helped lead the Viet Minh, the Vietnamese independence organization, as well as a revived communist party called the Vietnam Workers' Party. He was the senior Viet Minh official in southern Vietnam until the Geneva Accords of 1954. From 1955 he was a member of the Politburo of the Vietnam Workers' Party, or the Communist Party of Vietnam, as it was renamed in 1976. During the Vietnam War, 1955-75, Tho oversaw the Viet Cong insurgency that began against the South Vietnamese government in the late 1950s. He carried out most of his duties during the war while in hiding in South Vietnam.

Tho is best known for his part in the cease-fire of 1973, when he served as special adviser to the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris Peace Conferences in 1968-73. He eventually became his delegation's principal spokesman, in which capacity he negotiated the cease-fire agreement that led to the withdrawal of the last American troops from South Vietnam. It was for this accomplishment that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Tho oversaw the North Vietnamese offensive that overthrew the South Vietnamese government in 1975, and he played a similar role in the first stages of Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia in 1978. He remained a member of the Politburo until 1986.

Popular Documents

July 12, 1972

Discussion between Zhou Enlai and Le Duc Tho

Zhou Enlai advises Le Duc Tho on negotiations with the US, particularly the issue of Nguyen Van Thieu.

December 15, 1980

Speech Given by Comrade Le Duc Tho to the Leaders of Public Security’s Departments, Bureaus, and City and Provincial Offices during the Conference to Discuss the Three Specialized Drafts and to Implement Politburo Resolution 31 [Excerpts]

A speech given by Party Politburo Member Le Duc Tho during a three-day conference of the Ministry’s top Public Security officers along with the Directors of Public Security of all of the nation’s provinces and major cities, where the attendees received instructions on three new Ministry of Interior Party resolutions - one on “the struggle against Chinese spies”, one on “the struggle against American spies”, and one on  “the struggle against the enemy’s ideological attacks.” At the time of the speech, Le Duc Tho was viewed as Vietnam’s second most powerful leader, second only to Party General Secretary Le Duan. 

Le Duc Tho commented that while recruiting Americans would be easy, requiring only “money, women, and drinking and carousing”, recruiting Chinese would require a careful process of political education of the target

December 16, 1966

Second Meeting: Record of a Conversation between CPSU CC General Secretary Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and Cde. Le Duc Tho, memeber of the Politburo and Secretary of the VWP CC

Le Duc Tho assesses the prospects of the war in Vietnam.

May 21, 1973

Sixth Interkit Meeting, Record of Meetings with Oleg Rakhmanin and Konstantin Katushev

These are the records of two meetings on the occasion of the Sixth Interkit Meeting. The first of these involves a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Oleg Rakhmanin, while the second is a meeting with the secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Konstantin Katushev. Both address relations between China and the Soviet Union. The documents discuss the Sino-Soviet border clashes, the Soviet security policy in the Far East and Siberia, and the position of countries such as Yugoslavia, Romania, and Albania, as well as the critical situation in Vietnam and Cambodia.

May 25, 1973

COSVN Party Current Affairs Committee Issues Information Bulletin No. 06/TT 73 on the Le Duc Tho-Kissinger Talks (17 to 22 May 1973)

The COSVN Party Current Affairs Committee report on steps to be taken against the United States.