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In this Vietnamese name, the family name is Nguyễn, but is often simplified to Nguyen in English-language text. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Thọ.

Nguyễn Hữu Thọ (July 10, 1910- December 24, 1996) was acting President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from March 30, 1980, to July 4, 1981.

A French-educated lawyer in Cochin China, he was also a member of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and a participant in the Vietnamese struggle for independence. He joined the Communist Party of Indochina in 1949. Kept in detention from 1950 to 1952, he later came to support the 1954 Geneva agreements, but opposed the régime of South Vietnam’s president, Ngô Đình Diệm. In August 1954, he founded the Committee in Defense of Peace and the Geneva Agreements. The committee was crushed and banned by the South Vietnamese government in November the same year, and Nguyễn Hữu Thọ and other members of the organization were jailed after a police raid.[1] He remained in detention until 1961, when he managed to escape.

Once free, Nguyễn Hữu Thọ became Chairman of the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front. In 1965, he delivered an anti-imperialist speech—a booklet was later published in English. It was simply entitled SPEECH and his title was given as: President of the Presidium of the Consultative Council of the South Viet Nam [sic] National Front for Liberation on the 5th founding anniversary of the N.F.L. In 1969, he came Chairman of the Consultative Council of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, a post he retained until South Vietnam was incorporated into North Vietnam in 1976. In the newly re-united Vietnam, he served as one of the vice presidents until the death of Tôn Đức Thắng, when he was named acting president (April 1980 –- July 1981), a post he held until the appointment of Trường Chinh, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, in July 1981. Upon relinquishing the post of president, he assumed the role of Chairman of the National Assembly until 1987. He was vice-chairman of the council of state 1981-1992.

Nguyễn Hữu Thọ was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize (1983-84).

Preceded by
Chairman of the Consultative Council of Provisional Revolutionary Government
of the Republic of South Vietnam

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tôn Đức Thắng
President of Vietnam (acting)
Succeeded by
Trường Chinh


  1. ^ Kiernan, Ben. How Pol Pot Came to Power. London: Verso, 1985. p. 170-171


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