Berlin (EAST SEA) Sunday, July 14th, 2019 / 03:29 AM

Viet Nam’s Sovereignty Over Hoang Sa And Truong Sa Archipelagoes (Part 2)

Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes under French colony period

Since the conclusion of the Treaty of Hue on June 6th, 1884, France had represented Viet Nam in all of external relations and protected‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Relating to land border between Viet Nam and China, in 1887, France signed the convention with Qing Dynasty, in 1895, France signed the supplementary convention with Qing Dynasty. Within the framework of those commitments, Viet Nam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes was exercised by France. That sovereignty exercise is clearly illustrated with numerous examples of which some are listed below.

Theo French battleships often patrolled in the East Sea, including the areas of Hoang Sa và Truong Sa archipelagoes.

In 1899, Paul Doumer, the then Governor – General of Indochina, sent a proposal to Paris for building a lighthouse on Hoang Sa island within Hoang Sa archipelago to guide in the area. The plan, however, was not implemented due to budget issue.

Since 1920, Indochinese ships of customs had intensified their patrol in the area of Hoang Sa archipelago to prevent smuggling.

In 1925, the Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang sent the ship De Lanessan for an oceanography survey in Hoang Sa archipelago. In addition to A. Krempf, the then Institute’s Director, other researchers including Delacour and Jabouille also joined the trip for their geological and biological research and other studies. Also in 1925, the Minister of Military Affairs Than Trong Hue of the Imperial Court reaffirmed that Hoang Sa archipelago is within Viet Nam’s territory.

In 1927, the ship De Lanessan went to Hoang Sa archipelago for a scientific survey.

In 1929, the Pierre de Rouville delegation proposed that four lighthouses to be set up at four corners of Hoang Sa archipelago, namely Tri Ton (Triton) and Linh Con (Lincoln) islands, and Da Bac (the North) and Bong Bay reefs (Bombay).

In 1930, the gunboat La Malicieuse went to Hoang Sa archipelago.

In March 1931, the ship Inconstant went to Hoang Sa archipelago.

In June 1931, the ship De Lanessan went to Hoang Sa archipelago.

In May 1932, the battleship Alerte went to Hoang Sa archipelago.

From April 13th, 1930 to April 12 th, 1933, the Government of France deployed the naval units to garrison in major islands of Hoang Sa archipelago, namely Truong Sa Lon (Spratly), An Bang (Amboyna Cay), Ba Binh (Itu Aba), Song Tu (Group des Deux Iles), Loai Ta (Loaita), and Thi Tu (Thitu).

On December 21th, 1933, the then Governor of annexing the islands of Truong Sa Lon, An Bang, Ba Binh, Song Tu, Loai Ta, and Thi Tu to Ba Ria province.

In 1937, the French authorities sent a civil engineer named Gauthier to Hoang Sa archipelago to examine the positions for building lighthouses and a seaplane terminal.

In February 1937, the patrol ship Lamotte Piquet commanded by Rear-Admiral Istava came to Hoang Sa archipelago.

Decree No.4762-CP dated December 21st, 1933 signed by the Governor of Cochinchina

On March 29th, 1938, Emperor Bao Dai signed the Imperial Edict to split Hoang Sa archipelago from Nam Nghia province and annex them to Thua Thien province.

Imperial Edict signed by Emperor Bao Dai on March 29th, 1938
The Edict reads:

“Considering that Hoang Sa Islands (Archipel des Iles Paracels) have been for long under the sovereignty of Nuoc Nam, and directly under the province of Nam Nghia during the previous dynasties’ time, and that this administration had not been changed until the reign of The to Cao hoang de as all the communications with these islands were carried out via the seaports in the province of Nam Nghia.:

Considering that by nautical progress, the communications have changed, and that the Imperial Court’s representative who went on an inspection tour with the Protectorate’s representative, petitioned to annex those islands to the province of Thua Thien for the sake of convenience.


Single item – to annex Hoang Sa Islands (Archipel des Iles Paracels) to the province of Thua Thien. In terms, of administration, these islands are under the command of the Governor of the province.”

On the June 15th, 1938, the then Governor – General of Indochina Jules Bre’vie’ signed the Decree on Establishing an Administrative Unit in Hoang Sa archipelago under Thua Thien province.

In 1938, France erected a sovereignty stele, completed the constructions of a lighthouse, a meteorological station, a radio station on Hoang Sa (Pattle) island, and a meteorological station and a radio station on Ba Binh island within Hoang Sa archipelago. The inscription on the stele reads: “the French Republic, The Kingdom of An Nam, The Paracel Islands, 1816 – Pattle Island – 1938” (1816 and 1938 are the years of Viet Nam’s sovereignty exercise over Hoang Sa archipelago by Emperor Gia Long, and of the French erection of the stele, respectively).

On May 5th, 1939, the Governor – General of Indochina Jules Bre’vie’ signed the decree to amend the Decree of June 15th, 1938. The new decree established two administrative delegations, namely the Delegations of Croissant and its Dependents, and Amphitrite and its Dependents

For the whole time of representing Viet Nam for its external relations, France consistently affirmed the sovereignty of Viet Nam over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes, and protested actions that violated this sovereignty. For instance, on December 4th, 1931 and April 24th, 1932, France opposed the Government of China on the intention of the Guangdong provincial authorities to invite bids for exploiting guano on Hoang Sa archipelago. Other examples include the France’s objection on April 4th, 1939 to the Japan’s inclusion of some islands within Hoang Sa archipelago

Under its jurisdiction.


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