The Nobel Peace Prize 1973
Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho
Le Duc Tho
Born: 14 October 1911, Nam Ha province, Vietnam
Died: 13 October 1990, Hanoi, Vietnam
Residence at the time of the award: Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Le Duc Tho declined the Nobel Peace Prize.
Le Duc Tho had had long experience of fighting against great powers when he negotiated with Henry Kissinger for an armistice in Vietnam between 1969 and 1973. As a young man he became a Communist, and the French colonial authorities imprisoned him for many years. He gained a place in the Communist Party's leadership during Japan's occupation of Vietnam in the Second World War. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent after the defeat of Japan in 1945, but the French returned, and Le Duc Tho became one of the military leaders of the resistance against the French.
After the defeat of the French, Vietnam was divided. The USA supported a government in South Vietnam which the Communists in the north regarded as an American puppet government. When the United States decided to negotiate after 1968, Le Duc Tho was appointed North Vietnam's chief negotiator, confronting Henry Kissinger.
When Hanoi was bombed at Christmastime on Kissinger's orders, Le Duc Tho agreed to an armistice. But when he received the Peace Prize together with Kissinger in the autumn of 1973, he refused to accept it, on the grounds that his opposite number had violated the truce.