“I have left my heart in Vietnam”, says former French Ambassador to Vietnam


It is 30 years since Vietnam started its renewal process. For many Vietnamese people, the first days of the process have been an unforgettable mark in their mind. Those days seemed more special in the stories and new and objective visions of a Western diplomat, former French Ambassador to Vietnam Claude Blanchemaison.
On the evening of June 29th, at a conference to introduce his book “Memoirs of an Ambassador”, the diplomat shared his unforgettable memories of his time in Vietnam during his diplomatic career.
Alluring and pure beauty
At the event, the former French ambassador said that it was his second book of his diplomatic life in Vietnam. Previously, his memoirs of General Vo Nguyen Giap, entitled “General Giap’s La Marseillaise Marching Song”, was published in 2013.
Calling himself as a historical witness, not a historian, the diplomat held that in the newly-released book, 23 short stories would help readers further understand historical ups and downs of a nation. Those stories were about film-making, agricultural cooperation, music and diplomacy, all of which had actively contributed to building and consolidating France-Vietnam friendly ties in the 1989-1993 period and afterward.
As the diplomat said, before his 1989-1993 term in Vietnam as a French ambassador, he had been warned that coming to Vietnam meant taking up a risky adventure, the “death gate” of minefields.
In fact, what he had faced during his four-year term in Vietnam was no danger, but poverty of locals. He recalled that he had had to prepare much food to bring to Vietnam. Sometimes, the embassy’s personnel bought foodstuff from Thailand during their diplomatic trips.
However, the former French ambassador admitted that Vietnam in the 1989-1993 period had an alluring beauty with hidden charm of a lively history and a surprisingly pure and gentle look.
More than 20 years have passed since his tenure ended. Unforgettable images of Vietnam in the diplomat’s heart and mind include a sleeping gorgeous girl of Hanoi, a dynamic beauty of Ho Chi Minh City, mysteriously sparkling lights of Ha Long Bay and an active Mekong River Delta full of initiatives.
Impression on great persons
In the book “Memoirs of an ambassador in Vietnam”, former ambassador Claude Blanchemaison shows his special sentiment for General Vo Nguyen Giap.
The French diplomat held that he first met with the General in early April 1989 in Hanoi. At that time, the General was the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of scientific and educational affairs.
“Before the meeting, I felt a bit self-conscious as remembering what I had read about this exceptional figure. He was the hero of the war for national independence. He was also considered a very dynamic general”, the diplomat recalled, adding that he was deeply impressed by the General’s small build, bright and shining eyes, and high forehead prominent in the white hair. The General was in a simple khaki uniform for summer use.
“What makes me admire him is his intelligence and his excellent knowledge of the French culture and his command French”, the diplomat emphasized.
His second chance to meet with General Vo Nguyen Giap was on July 14th, 1989 when the Embassy of France in Vietnam marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. The General and his wife attended the event.
The French diplomat recalled, General Vo Nguyen Giap spoke French perfectly. In that event, the General talked about Victor Hugo and other French classical writers. “And obviously, the General did not want to talk about the war”, former ambassador Claude Blanchemaison remarked.
In his speech, as the ambassador remembered, General Vo Nguyen Giap spoke of the need for bilateral cooperation in culture, science, training between France and Vietnam, saying that French enterprises should not lag behind Japanese and Australian firms in investing in Vietnam because he wished them to be the pioneer in Vietnam.
Another person that left deep impression on the French diplomat is former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh.
“A question that I have not had an answer to yet is why a war-torn country could “produce” many special, smart and wonderful women like her. I want to talk with you that I have left my heart in Vietnam”, he said.
Reading the memoirs, readers would see major historical changes of Vietnam through his simple but attractive story-telling. In his memoirs, the French diplomat tells stories about Vietnam with his heart full of love for the country and the people.
As he writes in the foreword that “for all who make me love Vietnam”, his memoirs are not for him but for the Vietnamese people.

Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 10 ]

John Smith 26/7/16 14:29

The political relations between Vietnam and France have experienced fruitful developments through regular exchange of visits by delegations at all levels.

LawrenceSamuels 26/7/16 14:30

Alongside the exchange of visits by Party, State, Government and National Assembly leaders of the two countries, the French high-ranking leaders have affirmed to bolster the multi-faceted relations with Vietnam, especially in the fields of economics, culture and education.

yobro yobro 26/7/16 14:31

The two countries agree to build and fortify their relationship under the motto of “traditional friendship, long-term, trusting and comprehensive cooperation in the 21st century”.

MaskOf Zero 26/7/16 14:32

Vietnam is one of a few countries to receive France’s three financial assistance channels: official development assistance (ODA), preferential loans from the French Development Agency (AFD), and soft loans from the Priority Solidarity Fund (FSP).

Only Solidar 26/7/16 14:32

The Vietnam-France cooperation has been focusing on four fields, namely legal and political reform assistance, education system modernization and research programme assistance, economic restructure assistance, and poverty reduction and social welfare improvement by participation in community healthcare.

Deck Hero14 26/7/16 14:39

The sound relations between the two nations, which were demonstrated through long history and it should be remained in future

Gentle Moon 26/7/16 14:40

France considers Vietnam an important partner in Asia. The two countries have longstanding historical connections.

Jane smartnic 26/7/16 14:41

Bilateral relations between France and Vietnam are founded on substantial and regular dialogue.

Love Peace 26/7/16 14:43

France and Vietnam also enjoy bilateral relations at decentralised level.

Pack Cassiopian 26/7/16 14:44

Vietnam always warmly welcomes French friends!

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