Luu Doan Huynh

Luu Doan Huynh was born in Xieng Khoang Province, Laos, in the late 1920s.  His father was a non-commissioned officer in a French Army unit, the Guarde Indochinois, that was stationed in Laos.  Huynh was attending high school in Vientiane, Laos, in 1945 when the Japanese ousted the French and took over the government of Indochina.  He joined a Viet Minh unit fighting in Laos and was wounded in the spring of 1946 during fighting against the French army when it returned to retake control of Indochina following the end of WWII.  After an extended period of recuperation in northeastern Thailand, where the remnants of his unit fled following their battles against the French, he returned to Laos to fight with his old unit.  When the Burmese government recognized the Viet Minh and wanted to send a delegation to visit the Viet Minh “liberated zone,” because Huynh spoke some English he was assigned to escort the Burmese to visit a Viet Minh zone in Central Vietnam.  Huynh then went to Burma where he participated in the transfer of a significant quantity of weapons that were being given to the Viet Minh by the Burmese government.  Following this weapons transfer, Huynh was sent in 1948 to Bangkok to work as a member of the Viet Minh government’s “representative office” there.  When the Thai government forced the Viet Minh mission in Bangkok to close in 1951, Huynh returned to Vietnam via Hong Kong and China and was assigned to the Foreign Ministry.  He was then sent to Moscow to work as a secretary in the Vietnamese Embassy in Moscow.  Following his tour in the Soviet Union, Huynh returned to Vietnam, where he was assigned to work in the Americas Department of the Foreign Ministry.  He served a tour in India at the DRV Embassy in New Delhi, working under then Ambassador Nguyen Co Thach.  Huynh was transferred to the China Department of the Foreign Ministry in the mid-1960s and worked there through the rest of the war.  When Henry Kissinger made a trip through Asia in the summer of 1971 was first announced, Huynh wrote an assessment for his superiors stating that he believed that Kissinger was planning to conduct secret negotiations with the Chinese during his stop-over in Pakistan. When it was revealed that Kissinger had used his stopover in Pakistan to make a secret trip to Beijing to initiate the Nixon Administration’s “opening to China,” Huynh was awarded a promotion for his prescient assessment.  After the war ended in 1975, Huynh served tours in the Vietnamese embassies in Bangkok and Canberra before being assigned to the Foreign Ministry’s Institute of International Relations.

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