White Paper on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands

Republic of Vietnam

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Saigon, 1975


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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 invaders.


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 Region.


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.





- 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 RVN;
Preliminary Metallogenic Map of the RVN; Saigon

- Ministry of Information and Open Arms, RVN. Hoang Sa, Lanh tho VNCH, Saigon 1974.



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.

Modern publications


- Claeys, Jean Yves. "The Vietnamians and the Sea." in Asia Quarterly of Culture, Volume III. June 1953, Saigon.

- 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 17, 1932.

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 1923.

- 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 1975.

- 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, Saigon 1974.

Scientific Studies


- 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, Saigon 1957.

- 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 1962.




- 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 French Government.

- 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. 1907.

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 volume.

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.

30. …

31. Memorandum No. l104 VP/CT/M dated October 30, 1950.

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.

35. …

36. The coordinates correspond to those of S6ng Tu D6ng (North East Cay) and Shira Island.

37. …

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, 1974.

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 Sa archipelago.
54.The Nam Quan pass marks the border between Vietnam and China.


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