White Paper on the
Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands
Republic of Vietnam
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
UNANIMITY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
The events of January 1974 had the effect of cementing
the entire Vietnamese nation into a bloc resolutely united in order
to defend the national sovereignty.
After the invasion by troops of the People's Republic
of China, all newspapers (including those of the Opposition) and
other media in Saigon unanimously backed the Government of the Republic
of Vietnam in its determination to fight for the Hoang Sa Islands.
The media's opinion and the feeling of the people
can be summarized by the following editorial in the Dan Chu daily:
" In the middle of a difficult battle to repulse 400,000 North
Vietnamese back to the North and a struggle for economic development,
the Paracels battle is another burden on our shoulder.
The naval battle between us and China has temporarily
ceased with both sides suffering heavy casualties and material damages.
But in reality, it was only just a beginning. The method to carry
on the fight will be flexible depending on the development of the
situation but the goal remains the same.
The South Vietnamese will not stay idle, crossing
their arms, to see their ancestral inheritance stolen away."
Although the Vietnamese are known to be war-weary, enthusiastic
mass rallies were held in virtually every city and town to condemn
the PRC's aggression.
Everywhere the people unanimously adopted resolutions
denouncing before public opinion the violation of Vietnamese sovereignty.
Most of these resolutions also asked the Government and Armed Forces
of the Republic of Vietnam to take appropriate measures against
The warship Ly Thuong Kiet received a hero welcome
by an overwhelmingly enthusiastic crowd upon its return from the
Hoang Sa battle. On January 21, 1974 the Vietnamese Confederation
of Labor stated that Communist China committed a an extremely serious
act infringing on the Republic of Vietnam's sovereignty and crudely
challenging the national spirit of the Vietnamese people living
from Nam Quan Pass (54) to Ca Mau Cape. , The Saigon Students Union
issued a declaration which vehemently denounced the invasion to
University students over the world.
The War Veterans Association made a solemn proclamation
to condemn the - Red China's violation of intemational law - and
expressing deep gratitude to the Vietnamese combatants or their
heroic fight against the aggressors. Abroad, Vietnamese students
and residents in several countries demonstrated in an attempt to
alert world opinion: in Tokyo, Ottawa, New York etc.... Vietnamese
students marched against the PRC's diplomatic mission; in Geneva,
Vietnamese students went on a hunger strike to draw attention on
the PRC's violation of international public order.
The indignation of the entire Vietnamese people at
home and abroad was reflected in a true manner in the declaration
of the National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) of
the Republic of Vietnam. This declaration says, in part, that c
Communist China... has clearly demonstrated her scheme of invasion
and expansion, (and) poses a serious threat to peace in the Pacific
Therefore, the National Assembly denounces to the
public opinion at home and abroad Communist China's brutal act of
invasion, seriously infringing upon the territorial sovereignty
of the Republic of Vietnam and - urgently appeals to the United
Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice and
peace-loving countries in the world to take positive actions to
put an end to the above-mentioned brutal act..."
The people of the Republic of Vietnam are thus unanimous
in their determination to defend the integrity of their territory.
On behalf of the Vietnamese nation, the Republic of Vietnam resolutely
demands that all portions of her territory that are illegally occupied
be restored to Vietnamese sovereignty.
The Government of the Republic of Vietnam solemnly
condemns the brazen act of invasion of the Hoang Sa Islands by troops
of the People's Republic of China in January, 1974.
It strongly denounces illegal actions against its
Truong Sa territories by any other country.
It rejects all claims by any power over these Islands
and regards attempts to occupy them as violations of international
law and of Vietnamese sovereignty.
Although deeply committed to the cause of peace,
the Republic of Vietnam must reserve the right to consider all means
of action if occupying powers decline to follow the lawful and peaceful
channels of settlement to restore Vietnamese rights.
The Hoang Sa archipelago and some of the Truong Sa
Islands have temporarily been lost. But these insular territories
will live for ever in Vietnamese hearts and will some day be restored
to the Fatherland.
1. GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS
- State History Academy (Quoc Su Quan). Dai Nam Thuc
Luc Chinh Bien Volumes L, LII, CIV, CLIV and CLXV; printed in
- Ministry of Public Works. Kham Dinh Dai Nam Hoi
Dien Su Le, section 204; 1851.
- State History Academy. Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (6th
Volume: Quang Nghia Province); last edition: 1910 original work
in Chinese characters, translated into modern Vietnamese by Cao
Xuan Duc Saigon 1964.
- State History Academy. Quoc Trieu Chinh Bien Toat
Yeu, 3rd Volume. Last edition: 1925S; originally in Chinese characters,
translated into modern Vietnamese by the History and Geography Research
Group., Saigon 1972.
- Protectorate of Annam Bulletin Administratif de
l'Annam, Hue, Years: 1932 and 1938 through 1945.
- Ministry of Economy, Republic of Vietnam, Mineral
Distribution Map of the Republic of Vietnam; Tectonic Map of the
Preliminary Metallogenic Map of the RVN; Saigon
- Ministry of Information and Open Arms, RVN. Hoang
Sa, Lanh tho VNCH, Saigon 1974.
2. OTHER WORKS PUBLISHED IN VIETNAM
Books originally in Chinese characters.
- Do Ba. Toan Tap Thien Nam Tu Chi Lo Do Thu, published
circa 1653. Map of Quang Ngai Province and accompanying notes translated
by Truong Buu Lam in Hong Duc Ban Do, a publication of the Historical
Research Institute, Saigon 1962.
- Le Qui Don. Phu Bien Tap Luc, 1776; translation
into modern Vietnamese by Le Xuan Giao, Saigon 1972.
- Phan Huy Chu. Lich Trieu Hien Chuong Loai Chi;
year of original publication uncertain; translation into modern
Vietnamese by Nguyen Tho Duc Saigon 1971.
- Claeys, Jean Yves. "The Vietnamians and the
Sea." in Asia Quarterly of Culture, Volume III. June 1953,
- Dinh Phan Cu Chu Quyen Quan Dao Hoang Sa va Truong
Sa, National School of Administration, Saigon 1972.
- Cucherousset, Henri:
La Question des iles Paracels. In L'Eveil Economic
de l'Indochine, Hanoi issues of January 27, 1929; May 19, 1929;
May 26, 1929: February 26, 1933.
Les iles Paracels et la securite de l'Indochine.,
ibid, May 10, 1931. L'lndochine aux Paracels., ibid., May 31. 1931.
Histoire moderne des iles Paracels., ibid., July 3, 1932 and July
A la conquete des iles a phosphates (Spratley).,
ibid., May 28, 1933.
Les Annamites et la Mer ., ibid., February 25, 1934
- Lacombe, A.E. "Histoire moderne des iles Paracels.,
ibid., May 22,1933.
- Lam Giang. "Nhung su lieu Tay phuong chung
minh chu-quyen Viet Narn ve quan dao Hoang Sa, Truong Sa ",
in Su Dia review, n° 29, January-March 1975, Saigon.
- Le Thanh Khe. 'Chu quyen Viet Nam Cong Hoa tren
hai quan dao Truong- Sa va Hoang Sa in the review Chinh Tri va Cong
Dan, issue of Jan. 1, 1972'.
- Malleret, Louis. Une tentative ignoree d'etablissement
francais en Indochine au 18e siecle. in Bulletin de la Societe des
etudes indochinoises, no. 1, Hanoi, 1942.
- Pasquier, P. Histoire moderne des iles Paracels.
in L'Eveil economique de 1'Indochine, issue of June 12, 1932.
- Pham Quang Duong. Van de chu quyen tren dao Hoang
Sa in Su Dia, Dalat, issue of November 1970; "Cuoc tranh chap
chu quyen tai quan dao Truong Sa, ibid; issue of November 1971.
- Sale, Gustave. Les iles Paracels. in Avenir du
Tonkin, Hanoi, issue of April 17, 1931.
- Salles, A. Le Memoire sur la Cochinchine de J.B.
Chaigneau., Bulletin des amis du Vieux Hue, Hanoi, isisue of April-June
- Tran Dang Dai, Mr. and Mrs. 'Hoang Sa qua vai tai
lieu van kho cua Hoi Truyen-giao Ba Le in Su Dia' issue of January-March
- Tu Minh. Cuoc tranh chap chu quyen tren cac quan
dao Hoang Sa vi Truong Sa, in Bach Khoa, issue of February 9, 1914
- Vo Long Te. Les archipels de Hoang Sa et de Truong
Sa selon les anciens ouvrages Vietnamiens d'histoire et de geographie,
- Chevey, Pierre. Temperature et salinite de l'eau
de mer de surface des iles Paracels, (43rd Report of the Indochina
Oceanographie Institute), Saigon
- Chevey, Pierre. Iles et recifs de la mer de Chine,
in Bulletin de la Societe des Etudes Indochinoises, May 1934.
- Clerget, Maurice. Contribution a l'etude des iles
Paracels Les phosphates.
- Delacour, J. and Jabouille, P. Oiseaux des iles
Paracels, Saigon 1930.
- Fontaine, Henri and Le Van Hoi. Contribuhon a la
connaissance de la ftore des iles Paracels. Faculty of Sciences,
- Krempf, A. La forme des recifs coralliens et le
regime des vents alternants Saigon 1921,
- Kunst, J. Die strittigen Inseln in Südchinesischen
Meer, in Zeitschrift für Geopolitik, Berlin / Heidelberg, 1933.
- Saurin. E. "Notes sur les iles Paracels. in
Archives geologiques du Vietnam, Saigon 1955;" Faune malacologique
des iles Paracels. in Journal de Conchiliologie, volume XCVIII,
Paris 1958; Gasteropodes marins des iles Paracels, Faculty of Science,
Saigon 1960 (I), l961 (II); Lamellibranches des iles Paracels, Saigon
3. FOREIGN PUBLICATIONS
- Barrow, John. A Voyage to Cochinchina, London 1806.
- Boudet. Paul and Masson, Andre. Iconoraphie historique
de L'lndochine francaise, Paris 1907.
- D'Estaing (Admiral). Note su- l'Asie demandee par
M. de la Borde a M. d'Estaing, manuscript (1768), archives of the
- Government of the French Republic. Journai Officiel,
July 26, 1933, Ministere de la Marine: Depot des cartes et plans.
Les Paracels, Paris.
- Manguin, Pierre Yves. Les Portugais sur les cotes
du Vietnam et du Campa PEFEO, Paris 1972.
- Rousseau, Charles. Le differend concernsnt rappartenance
des lles Spratly et Paracels, in Revue generale de Droit international
public, July-September, 1972, p. 826, Paris.
- Saix, Olivier.· Iles Paracels, in La Geographie,
issue of November-December 1933, Paris.
- Sauvaire, Jourdan. " Les Paracels infiniment
petits de notre domaine colonial, in La Nature, issue of November
1, 1933, Paris.
- Serene, R. "Petite histoire des iles Paracels,"
in Sud Est Asiatique, issue January 19, l9S1, Brussels.
- Silvestre, Jules. L'Empire d'Annam et le peuple
annamite, Paris 1889
- Taberd, Jean Louis. "Note on the Geography
of Cochinchina", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of
Bengal, India, issue of April 1837.
- United Nations. ECAFE. Phosphate Resources of Mekong
Basin Countries, Bangkok 1972.
- United States Government. The Spratly / Paracels
Islands Dispute, U.S. Army Analysis Q1066; Conference for the Conclusion
and Signature of the Treaty of Peace with Japan, Dept. of State
Publication 4392; Washington D.C.- Vivielle, J. " Les llots
des mers de Chine, in Monde colonial iZZustre, September 1933, Paris.
We are sorry! Due to the printing difficulties, we
can not complete the auditing this paper.
1. The Atlas is being kept at the " Ecole Francaise
d'Extreme Orient", Tokyo Bunko Library in Tokyo, Japan, has
a microfilm of it under reference number 100891.
2. Ly is an ancient unit of measure (1 ly: 483 meters
or 528 yards).
3. Dai Chiem: present-day Cua Dai, province of Quang
Nam; Sa Vinh: present-day Sa Huynh, province of Quang Ngai.
4. The author assumedly included in three Hoang Sa
archipelagoes main islands and reefs closer to the Vietnamese shore
than the islands desigated as the Paracels in the 20th century…
5. Internationally-known Vietnamese historians have,
directly or indirectly, contributed to the task of determining the
date of the Do Ba document. Among them are Prof. Hoang Xuan Han
and historian Truong Buu Lam, who has been associated with many
American universities. Details on this question can be found in
Vo Long Te, Les Archipels de Hoang Sa et Truong Sa selon les anciens
ouvrages Vietnamiens d'Histoire et de Geographie. - Saigon. 1974.
6. Summarized and commented in Bulletin de l'Ecole
Francaise d'Extreme Orient, Vol. XXXVI, 1936.
7. This term is often used to designate all the distant
insular posseessions of Vietnam.
8. Lettres edifiantes et curieuses des Missionnaires
de Chine, quoted in the Revue Indochine, No. 46, p. 7.
9. The document was reprinted in Bulletin des etudes
indochinoises, tome XVII, No. l Hanoi, 1942.
10. Archives of the French Navy, Ministere de la
Marine, Paris. The document was reprinted in Bulletin de la Societe
des Etudes indochinoises, tome XVIII, No. 1, Hanoi, 1942.
11. Translation into French from Arrow's book is
available in Paul Boudet and Andre Masson. Iconographie historique
de l'Indochine Francaise, p. 250-300. Paris, editions G. Van Oest.
12. Issue of April 1837. pp. 737-745.
13. Jean Baptiste Chaigneau, Notice sur la Cochinchine,
presented and commented by A. Salles in Bulletin des amis du Vieux
Hue, No. 2, April - June 1923, p. 253-283.
14. History annals called - Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh
Bien, 1833, 104th Volume).
15. Principle of international law established after
the Palmas Island dispute (1928). See United Nations - Reports of
International Arbitral Awards, pp. 829-855.
16. History annals Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien
17. History annals Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien, 165th
18. In Vietnamese: - Dai Nam Nhat Thong Toan Do -
Dai Nam is a former name for Vietnam.
19. Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien, 154th Volume. The
same description is given by the Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (Dai Nam
Comprehensive Encyclopedia). 6th Volume devoted to Quang Nghia,
present day Quang Nam, Province.
20. Truong, xich, thuoc are ancient units of measure
(1 truong: 3.91 yards or 3.51 meters ; I xich or thuoc : 14.1 inches
or 0.36 m.).
21.This isle is erroneously named Ban-Na in other publications,
for example Sauvaire Jourdan "Les Paracels infiniment petits
de notre domaine colonial.
22. Annals Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien, 154th Volume.
23. Kham Dinh Dai Nam Hoi Dien Su Le, or Administrative
records of the Dai Nam, Ministry of Public Works, p. 25.
24. History Annals Su Quoc trieu chanh bien toat
yeu; Year of original publication unknown. Reprinted in 1935.
25. Map named Tabula Geographica Imperii Annamitici
1838, reprinted in J. Silvestre, I'Empire d'Annam et le peuple annamite,
Paris 1889., Felix Alean, editeur
26. E. Cortambert and L. de Rosny, Tableau de la
Cochinchine, Paris 1862.-Armand.
27. Sauvaire Jourdan "Les Paracels infiniment
petite de notre domains colonial" in La Nature, issue of November
1, 1933, Paris.
28.Reported by the French Daily…
29. The French engineer who supervised the work,
Mr. Andre Faucheux, is presently 75 years old and lives in Paris.
31. Memorandum No. l104 VP/CT/M dated October 30,
32. Memorandum No. 1220-VP/CT/M dated September 17,
1951 and signed by the Director of Political and Legal Affairs,
Government Delegation to Central Vietnam.
33. Decree No. 174-NV dated July 13, 1961.
34. Decree No. 709-BNV/HCDP/26 dated October 21,
1969 signed by Mr. Tran Thien Khiem.
36. The coordinates correspond to those of S6ng Tu
D6ng (North East Cay) and Shira Island.
38. It may be noted that the principles established
by the intemational Court of Justice in the Palmas decision (1928)
cannot but reinforce Vietnamese rights, for instance, the emphasis
given to the actual exercise of sovereignty over mere geographic
contiguity (see Reports of International Arbitral Awards, United
Nations. p. 829).
39. The lack of seriousness in this undertaking does
not deserve further comments. Mr. Tomas Cloma was reported arrested
by the Philippine police in November 1974 on charge of committing
acts detrimental to state authority on insular
40. For instance, a comprehensive study of the Spratlys
question by Professor Charles Rousseau in Revue Generale de Droit
International Public, July-September 1972, does not mention any
sort of Chinese claims to this archipelago prior to 1951.
41.New China; bulletin dated February 4, 1974.
42.Far-Eastern Economic Review, HongKong, Dec 21, 1973.
43. Mr. Tran Van Manh is presently the Chief of Tuy
Hoa Meteorological Service, Republic of Vietnam.
44. Decree No. 143-NV signed on October 22, 1956
by the laie President Ngo Dinh Diem.
45. Arrete No. 420-BNV/HCDP/25X signed on September
6, 1973 by the Minister of the Interior.
46. Rapport sur le fonctionnement de l'Institut Oceanographique
de l'Indochine, 22, Note, Saigon 1934.
47. Reported by Prof. Charles Rousseau in Revue General
de Droit International Public July-September 1972, p.830.
48. Vietnam Press.
49. Conference for the Conclusion and Signature of
the Peace Treaty with Japan - Record of Proceedings: U.S. Dept.
of State Publication 4392, December 1951. page 292.
50. Agence France Presse news dispatch sent from
Moscow, February 10, 1974.
51. Reuter news dispatch from Moscow, February 21,
52. Article 7 (a): In the event of a violation of
the Agreement or the Protocols which threaten the peace, the independence,
sovereignty, unity or territorial integrity of Vietnam, or the right
of the South Vietnamese people to self-determination, the parties
signatory to the Agreement and the protocols shall, either individually
or jointly, consult with the other Parties to this Act with a view
of determining necessary remedial measures.
53. As presented in Chapter III. on February 4, 1974
the PRC issued a particularly aggressive statement on the Truong
54.The Nam Quan pass marks the border between Vietnam and China.