The life of former General Secretary Phieu was closely connected to the military. He started as a soldier and came up through the ranks to senior lieutenant general, fighting in three wars. Only after the liberation of the South did I have chance to meet Comrade Phieu. He was a simple and friendly person whose words and acts were always consistent. He laid special emphasis on the people, considering the people as the root in working out issues in all aspects. On that basis, he often cared for troops and Party building work at grassroots levels.

General Pham Van Tra

I still remember the incident in 1997. Comrade Le Kha Phieu was a standing member of the Politburo when the riots related to land occurred in Thai Binh province. I was the Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army then. As the standing member of the Politburo, Comrade Phieu said, “This incident happened due to the wrongdoings of grassroots-level cadres, not other forces’ enticement. Therefore, we have to find out who the wrongdoers are so the people know the real picture. Absolutely, we must not suppress the people at any cost.” Later on, we sent various missions to Thai Binh and gradually solved the problems in the province.

In 2001, I was defense minister when the riots in the Central Highlands happened. Comrade Phieu, the Party General Secretary then, directed that though the situation was complicated, it was mostly due to the fact that the people were incited. Therefore, force must not be used. That year, we sent cadres to every village in the Central Highlands to persuade the people and disseminate information about hostile forces and their plots. After that, the situation gradually came under control. For me, the position of former General Secretary Le Kha Phieu was clear: He always considered the people as the root in dealing with issues in all aspects of life!

As for Party building work, as the Director of the General Department of Politics, Comrade Phieu always paid attention to building Party organizations into a core force in the military. He said that only when the Party organization of the military is strong can the military be powerful and ever-ready for combat. When he was Party chief, he and members of the Politburo implemented Party revamping procedures in all Party organizations from grassroots to central levels. At that time, the Politburo served as examples and conducted their self-criticizing and criticizing procedures. Then, the procedures were implemented throughout the Party.

In combat, when he was the Political Chief of the Command of Vietnamese Volunteer Soldiers in Cambodia, each time he visited affiliated units, he paid close care to the living and working conditions of troops. At that time, a lot of troops contracted malaria and almost all of those infected did not survive. He was so devastated that he made a request to the Government to send a specialized medical mission to the unit to snuff out the disease.

It is true to say that former General Secretary Le Kha Phieu is a person who always stayed close to military troops and the people. He often visited battlefields to understand the real situations of the living, working and combat conditions of troops so that sound decisions could be made.

Reported by Viet Cuong

Translated by Huu Duong