(courtesy of Mr. Larry Hadzima, Neillsville, WI)

October 26, 1955

Proclamation of the Republic

“Fellow Countrymen, a year ago, with the anguish that was in our hearts, who among us could have foreseen that we would, in the not too distant future, finally extricate ourselves from an impossible an almost desperate situation?

But in the darkest hours of our history, our people have always joined together and now, in a moment of supreme unity, we have broken the bands of iron and fire which encircled us, taking the path towards independence and liberty.

In the terrible battle which men and women, both military and civilian, have waged for more than a year against interior as well as exterior forces, this same unity of feeling has allowed us to liquidate an outdated regime. The focus of our national interest has been placed in the South, where hope for a better future for every human being was born. It is this new hope which drew a million refugees to us from the North, and their presence among us further reinforces our confidence in the righteousness of our cause.

Compatriots, the October 23rd Plebiscite in which you took such an enthusiastic part constitutes an approval of the policies pursued thus far and at the same time augurs a whole new era for the future of our country.

The new responsibilities which you entrust to me today - to form a democracy in our beloved country - are heavy for my shoulders alone, however.

Democracy is not a group of texts and laws, to be read and applied. It is essentially a state of mind, a way of living with the utmost respect toward every human being, ourselves as well as our neighbors. It requires constant self-education, careful practice, flexible and patient attention, in order to achieve a harmonious balance between the desirable diverse conceptions of men and the inevitable complexity of reality. Democracy demands from each of us, then, infinitely more efforts, understanding and goodwill than any other form of government.

Confident in the unity which you proved during the difficult times we endured, confident in the moral strength of our people whose spirit has been enriched by elements from the oldest and most highly developed civilizations, I know that together we will be able to throw off all forms of opposition and build the ideal political and economic state to which our people aspire with such fervor.

Compatriots, it is in this spirit that the Constitution of our country will be written and the members of the National Assembly elected.

On the threshold of this new era which presages true democracy for Viet-Nam, let us ask for divine guidance for our country, and let us reverently remember all those who, long ago or only recently, made the supreme sacrifice in order that we might lead free and independent lives.

Let us express our gratitude towards those friendly countries which, even in the darkest hours of our struggle, had faith in us and in our eventual success.

United and determined, we shall see a unified, free and prosperous Viet-Nam emerge triumphantly.

With this conviction and following the desires you expressed by your vote of October 23, 1955, I solemnly proclaim that the state of Viet-Nam is a Republic.

Long live the Republic!     Long live the people of Viet-Nam!

(President Ngo Dinh Diem on Democracy, (Addresses relative to the Constitution), Press Office: Saigon, February 1958.)  


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