Former Prime Minister Pham Van Dong Passes Away

Pham Van Dong, former Politburo member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), former prime minister, former advisor to the Party Central Committee, and National Assembly deputy from the first to the seventh legislatures between 1946 to 1987, died in Hanoi on April 29, of illness at the age of 94.

The news was announced today, May 2, in a special joint communique by the CPV CC, the National Assembly, the President, the government, and the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VNFF) Central Committee.

Pham Van Dong was born on March 1, 1906 in Duc Tan commune, Mo Duc district, Quang Ngai province. He was involved in revolutionary activities from 1925, when he was 18.

In 1926, Mr Dong attended a training course held in Guangzhou, China, by Nguyen Ai Quoc (later known as Ho Chi Minh) and joined the Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi (Revolutionary Youth Association). After attending the Congress of the Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi, Mr Dong returned to Saigon and was arrested by the French colonialists. He was in the Con Dao (Poulor Condor) prison for 10 years until 1936.

In 1940, Mr Dong was admitted to the Indochinese Communist Party (now the CPV).

He held various important posts from 1945 to 1987 after which he became an advisor to the Party Central Committee.

He was appointed finance minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, deputy prime minister in 1949, deputy prime minister and foreign minister in 1954, and prime minister in 1955.

From 1960 to 1981, Pham Van Dong was prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and then the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

From 1981 to 1987, he was chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Pham Van Dong was elected as a member of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee at the second Party congress in 1952, his position was confirmed at the third in 1960, the fourth in 1976, and the fifth in 1982.

He was awarded the Gold Star Order, the country's highest distinction, the Communist Party of Vietnam's 60-year Badge and other domestic and foreign orders and medals.

Mr Dong's death is "a great loss to the Communist Party, State and people of Vietnam," the communique said.

The CPV Central Committee, the National Assembly, the president, the government and the VNFF Central Committee declared May 5 and 6 as State mourning days with national flags to be flown at half-mast. All entertainment, cultural and sports activities will be suspended throughout the country.

A 31-member funeral board has been appointed with CPV general secretary Le Kha Phieu as the head.

Memorial and funeral services will be held in Ha Noi on May 6. Pham Van Dong will be buried at Ha Noi's Mai Dich cemetery.

A memorial service will also be held in his native province of Quang Ngai on May 6. (VNA)