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

October 26, 1956

Message on the occasion of the Promulgation of the Constitution.

My dear compatriots,

On this solemn occasion when in fellowship we worship our heroes with the joy of a great hope, we celebrate the anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic and the Promulgation of the Republic and the Promulgation of the Constitution, I should like to invite you to look back upon the past in order to measure the road covered and thus to prepare the way for the future. For the democracy that we want to build must be a heroic and continuous effort and not a closed and impassive system.

By virtue of the mandate that the Nation has vested upon me with the Referendum of October 23, 1955, I was given the mission to assume the functions of Chief of State and to organize a democratic regime. As soon as the results of the Referendum were known, I proclaimed the Republic in the Declaration of October 26, 1955 and took the title of President.

Organized according to the provisions of the Ordinance of February 23, 1956, the general elections of March 4, 1956 designated the deputies to the National Constituent Assembly.

After six months of intensive work, the National Assembly has elaborated the Constitution that I have just had the high honor to promulgate.

While in other Asian countries, a period of several years was necessary to organize a republican regime, Viet-Nam, in a much more critical situation, has taken only one year to lay the foundations for democratic institutions.

The pace with which we have organized Democracy in our country demonstrates at the same time the determination of our people and the heroic character of our destiny. It also indicates what is left to us to achieve in order to perfect the historical mission which has devolved upon our generation.

It is a fundamental truth that laws do not cover all the aspects of life, and a Constitution does not create a democracy. Democratic institutions will prosper only when the spirit and will of the people supply the adequate precedent conditions. For democracy is a moral system which will develop gradually as the concept of Common Good will become, day after day, broader and more profound in the mind of the citizen as well as of the governing.

Now for more than a century, abnormal political conditions have corrupted the sense of civic responsibility in many a mind. It behoves us now to restore the spirit of public service, the spirit of honor and national dignity, moral and intellectual honesty, the spirit of sacrifice, the sense of discipline, and personal responsibility, courtesy in human relations which is simply the expression of respect for others as for oneself.

In other words, it is necessary to revive the honor for Vietnamese traditional civic virtues, “Thanh” and “Tin”. “Thanh”:  intellectual loyalty and noble morality, an acute consciousness and clear vision of the compass of one’s duties toward the Creator, toward the country and toward oneself as well as toward one’s fellowman. “Tin”: sincere and courageous practice of all these duties, no matter how grievous. A profound and acute sense of the entirety of one’s responsibilities, a constant and sincere practice of all one’s obligations, which create the climate of social confidence necessary to the life and to the development of all democracy.

In fact, if the sense of civic duty derives its supreme justification from the ethical principles of the respect for the human person and for the common good, however, it thrives with vigor only in a political, administrative and economic climate which is alive and congenial. In addition to the institutions which allow him to take part in the direction of public affairs and draw the attention of his leaders to his legitimate grievances, the citizen must be able to rely on just laws, on an equitable apportionment of social duties, on a courteous and effective administration as well as on the impartiality of the courts.

Even in a healthy environment, the sense of civic responsibility must further be nourished by a careful education of which the molding of character, the sense of personal responsibility and discipline, honesty and the devotion to work and to public service must be the constant object, in the school as in the family, in political and social organizations, as at all echelons of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of  government.

My dear compatriots, democracy exists only where a concrete democratic experience exists. And democratic life is in short but the putting into practice, by all citizens and all the custodians of public power of the most perfect loyalty and of a mutual confidence which is thus total and justified.

It is in this sense that we ought to endeavour to complete the laws and to apply the Constitution.

It is in this sense that we will effectively work for the unification of the country. For it is only with a regime which elevates loyalty and confidence as supreme civic values that we will unify our ravaged fatherland.

It is in this sense that a moment ago I took the oath before the Almighty and before the people.

For therein is the import of the Human Person, the true meaning of Progress.

May the Almighty forever protect Viet-Nam.

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



November 9, 1956

Opening of the First Legislative Session of the National Assembly.


Honourable Dean of the Assembly, Honourable Deputies:

It is with a feeling of profound satisfaction that I attend today the solemn inauguration of the first legislative assembly of Viet-Nam.

Thus, in a record time, and in spite of difficulties of all kinds, we are taking a further essential step of the national and democratic revolution, that of applying the Constitution and, in your particular case, that of elaborating the laws.

A tremendous and arduous work, touching all branches of activity of the nation, awaits you. Your efforts will not be so limited, however. For in addition to the institutions to be revised or created, there is the parliamentary life and tradition for which it is your duty henceforth to lay solid foundations in order to strengthen further, each day, the customs of our Assembly. May loyalty, confidence and fair play preside during your work.

It is at this price that we will be able to safeguard our young Republic, and contribute to its growth during the difficult hours which lie ahead of us.

Members of the Assembly, the grave events which are presently unfurling in other parts of the world, the tragic plight of the heroic Polish and Hungarian peoples so cowardly and cynically massacred by the most virulent form of modern colonialism which is communism, not only must unite all the Asian countries in common and courageous solidarity against all imperialism in all its forms, but also remind us Vietnamese of the compelling necessity of being particularly vigilant.

Honourable Deputies, confident in your experience and your wisdom, I am convinced that you will know how to conduct successfully the legislative work of the government, in a fashion conforming to the permanent vocation of free men, to the constant geopolitical determinants of the country, to the exigencies of this technological age par excellence, as well as to the genius of our race.

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


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