Trần Văn Lắm

Last updated
Tran Van Lam (1971) Tran Van Lam (1971).jpg
Tran Van Lam (1971)

Trần Văn Lắm, also known as Charles Trần Văn Lắm (30 July 1913 – 6 February 2001), was minister for foreign affairs for the Republic of Vietnam during the height of the Vietnam War.


He was at the Paris Peace Accord in 1973. He was the first Vietnamese ambassador to Australia in the late 1950s and became the minister for foreign affairs of South Vietnam in 1969. In 1973 he became the president of the Senate of South Vietnam. When Saigon fell in 1975, Trần Van Lam was required to sign an undertaking not to take part in any political activities as a condition for his entry into Australia. He moved to Canberra where he and his wife opened a coffee shop. On 6 February 2001, Charles Tran Van Lam died in his Canberra home, aged 88. [1]

Early life

The son of a well-to-do ethnic Chinese real estate owner, Tran Van Lam was born in Saigon Cholon. He was educated at Hanoi University and trained as a pharmacist. He was the founding Secretary General of the Vietnam Pharmacists Association before his election to the Saigon City Council in 1952, near the end of French colonial rule.[ citation needed ]

Rise to power

He moved up to the national legislature and was speaker of the Constituent Assembly in the 1950s and the majority leader of the Assembly after that. In 1961, President Ngo Dinh Diem appointed him ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. [2]

A soft-spoken urbane diplomat fluent in French and English, he remained in the post after Diem's assassination in 1963. Mr. Lam returned to private life as chairman of the Vietnam Commercial and Industrial Bank from 1964 to 1967. In 1969 he became the minister for foreign affairs of South Vietnam. [3]


All Points of the Compass A Vietnamese Diaspora (2005) Directed by Judy Rymer, Australian Broadcasting Corporation OCLC   156899092

Charles Trần Van Lam had the ill-fated destiny to be foreign minister of South Vietnam during the devastating war with the North. He was a patriot, committed to seeing his country emerge from its colonial history. He was also the father of nine children, who with his wife formed a seemingly privileged family, which dined together, had vacations at the beach, learned musical instruments, and were instilled with their Vietnamese identity. As the war intensified, he and his wife made provisions for the children to leave the country. The nine children were dispersed to Australia, France, the U.S. and Scotland. The hope was that they would be educated abroad and bring their talents back to their native country.

That was not to be. Trần Van Lam was betrayed by the United States, his ally against the North. While he was a delegate to the Paris peace talks, Henry Kissinger secretly arranged the pull out with the North. Fortunate to be airlifted out at the fall of Saigon, he and his wife finally emigrated to Australia with one small bag, where they ultimately opened a coffee shop.

The adult children, now in mid -career with families of their own, speak poignantly about their experience of dislocation. They each longed to be re-united as a family and had to struggle to forge a new identity in a foreign land. They were all deeply affected by their father's expectations to become accomplished and"give back." Each one feels "multicultural." All Points of the Compass is at once a gripping portrait of the "immigrant experience" and a new perspective on the American role in the Vietnam War.

Best Documentary, ACT Film Awards, 2004 Bilan du Film Ethnographic, Paris, 2005

See also

Related Research Articles

Ngo Dinh Diem President of South Vietnam (1955 to 1963)

Ngô Đình Diệm was a Vietnamese politician. He was the final prime minister of the State of Vietnam (1954–1955), and then served as President of South Vietnam from 1955 until he was captured and assassinated during the 1963 military coup.

South Vietnam Country in Southeast Asia from 1955 to 1975

South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country in Southeast Asia that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It first received international recognition in 1949 as the State of Vietnam within the French Union, with its capital at Saigon, before becoming a republic in 1955. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and 87 other nations, though it failed to gain admission into the United Nations as a result of a Soviet veto in 1957.

Viet Cong Revolutionary organization active in South Vietnam and Cambodia from 1960 to 1977

The Viet Cong was an armed communist revolutionary organization in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. It fought under the direction of North Vietnam, against the South Vietnamese and United States governments during the Vietnam War, eventually emerging on the winning side. It had both guerrilla and regular army units, as well as a network of cadres who organized peasants in the territory the Viet Cong controlled. During the war, communist fighters and anti-war activists claimed that the Viet Cong was an insurgency indigenous to the South, while the U.S. and South Vietnamese governments portrayed the group as a tool of North Vietnam. According to Trần Văn Trà, the Viet Cong's top commander, and the post-war Vietnamese government's official history, the Viet Cong followed orders from Hanoi and were part of the People's Army of Vietnam, or North Vietnamese army.

Dương Văn Minh South Vietnamese commander

Dương Văn Minh, popularly known as Big Minh, was a South Vietnamese politician and a senior general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and a politician during the presidency of Ngô Đình Diệm. In 1963, he became chief of a military junta after leading a coup in which Diệm was assassinated. Minh lasted only three months before being toppled by Nguyễn Khánh, but assumed power again as the fourth and last President of South Vietnam in April 1975, two days before surrendering to North Vietnamese forces. He earned his nickname "Big Minh", because at approximately 1.83 m (6 ft) tall and weighing 90 kg (198 lb), he was much larger than the average Vietnamese.

Nguyễn Văn Thiệu President of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975

Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was a Vietnamese military officer and politician who was the president of South Vietnam from 1967 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), became head of a military junta in 1965, and then president after winning an election in 1967. He established rule over South Vietnam until he resigned and left the nation and relocated to Taipei, Taiwan a few days before the fall of Saigon and the ultimate North Vietnamese victory.

Thích Quảng Đức Vietnamese Buddhist monk and self-immolator (1897–1963)

Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Quảng Đức was protesting the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government led by Ngô Đình Diệm, a staunch Roman Catholic. Photographs of his self-immolation circulated around the world, drawing attention to the policies of the Diệm government. John F. Kennedy said of one photograph, "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one." Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize for his photograph of the monk's death.

Trần Thiện Khiêm South Vietnamese commander and politician

General Trần Thiện Khiêm was a Vietnamese soldier and politician, who served as an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He was born in Saigon, Cochinchina, French Indochina. During the 1960s, he was involved in several coups. He helped President Ngô Đình Diệm put down a November 1960 coup attempt and was rewarded with a promotion. In 1963, however, he was involved in the coup that deposed and assassinated Diêm.

Lê Văn Hưng (1933–1975) was an infantry general of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

Trần Văn Đôn was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and one of the principal figures in the coup d'état which deposed Ngô Đình Diệm from the presidency of South Vietnam.

Nationalist Party of Greater Vietnam Political reform organization

The Nationalist Party of Greater Vietnam, often known simply as Đại Việt or ĐVQDĐ, was a nationalist and anti-communist political party and militant organisation that was active in Vietnam in the 20th century. The party operated rather secretively and had ties with Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. The party continues to be active outside of Vietnam, with the goal of a multi-party democratic government for the country.

Cao Văn Viên South Vietnamese general

Cao Văn Viên was one of only two South Vietnamese four-star army generals in the history of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He rose to the position of Chairman of the South Vietnamese Joint General Staff. Considered one of "the most gifted" of South Vietnam's military leaders, he was previously called an "absolute key figure" and one of "the most important Vietnamese military leaders" in the U.S.-led fighting during the Vietnam War. Along with Trần Thiện Khiêm he was one of only two four-star generals in the entire history of South Vietnam.

Major General Đỗ Mậu was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) best known for his roles as a recruiting strategist in both the 1963 coup that toppled President Ngô Đình Diệm and the 1964 coup led by General Nguyễn Khánh that deposed the junta of General Dương Văn Minh. He was born in Quảng Bình Province.

Phạm Văn Đổng

Phạm Văn Đổng was a South Vietnamese general. In 1965, as military governor of Saigon, he had successfully repressed Buddhist mobs instigated by Thích Trí Quang of the Ấn Quang group and Thích Tâm Châu of Việt Nam Quốc Tự. With his commanding skills and knowledge, Đổng was regarded highly by American and French officers, and well respected by many ARVN officers. A staunch nationalist and anti-communist, he was considered an ally to the labor union, the Northern Catholics, several Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng factions, multiple Đại Việt groups, Việt Nam Cách Mạng Đồng Minh Hội high-ranking members, Duy Dân and Hòa Hảo leaders.

Lieutenant General Dương Văn Đức (1927–1983) was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He is best known for leading a coup attempt against General Nguyễn Khánh on 14 September 1964. He was a supporter of the Đại Việt Quốc Dân Đảng, a Roman Catholic political movement.

The High National Council was a civilian legislative assembly convened by the Military Revolutionary Council (MRC) led by the three generals Dương Văn Minh, Nguyễn Khánh and Trần Thiện Khiêm, under US pressure, after the First Republic led by Ngô Đình Diệm was overthrown by the military junta. Its ultimate objective was to prepare the constitution of the Second Republic of Vietnam. The Council consisted of 16 well-respected citizens: Nguyễn Xuân Chữ, Tôn Thất Hanh, Nguyễn Văn Huyền, Ngô Gia Hy, Nguyễn Đình Luyện, Nguyễn Văn Lực, Trần Đình Nam, Hồ Văn Nhựt, Trần Văn Quế, Lê Khắc Quyến, Phan Khắc Sửu, Lương Trọng Tường, Hồ Đắc Thắng, Lê Văn Thu, Mai Thọ Truyền and Trần Văn Văn.

Trần Ngọc Liễng

Trần Ngọc Liễng was a Vietnamese prominent Attorney-at-Law and a pioneer law scholar in Vietnam for over 70 years from the 1930s until his retirement at the end of the last millennium.

1954 in Vietnam

When 1954 began, the French had been fighting the insurgent communist-dominated Viet Minh for more than seven years attempting to retain control of their colony Vietnam. Domestic support for the war by the population of France had declined. The United States was concerned and worried that a French military defeat in Vietnam would result in the spread of communism to all the countries of Southeast Asia—the domino theory—and was looking for means of aiding the French without committing American troops to the war.

The Vietnam V.League 1 clubs in the AFC Cup. This details the participation and performances in the competition since its rebranding and reformatting in 2004 and excludes the details of the old AFC Club Championship.

Tran Van Soai, also known as Nam Lua, was a Vietnamese general and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Hòa Hảo.


  1. Saxon, Wolfgang (20 March 2001). "Tran Van Lam, 88, Top South Vietnam Aide" via
  2. Corfield, Justin (2013). Historical Dictionary of Ho Chi Minh City. p. 304. ISBN   9781783083336.
  3. Towle, Philip (2000). Democracy and Peace Making: Negotiations and Debates 1815-1973. p. 178. ISBN   9780415214711.