The National Archives Center No. 4. is keeping 37 archival fonds and collections on 2,700 linear meters of shelves. The fonds/collections are historical significant, being created during long history of Vietnam ranging from the feudal time to the French-colonial time, the Republic of Vietnam and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Records in the National Archives Center No. 4 are varied in forms and content, reflecting long history and culture of Vietnam dating back to the Hung Kings’ reign.
We would like to give you more information on some typical fonds/collections in the Center.
The Woodblocks created in Nguyen Dynasty is a particularly rare and valuable archival collection in the National archival fonds of Viet Nam. Woodblocks are boards of wood carved with classic Chinese or Nom (Sino-Vietnamese) characters in reverse as a popular method of printing in Vietnam in the feudal time.
The collection of the Nguyen Dynasty’s Woodblocks refers to various aspects of Vietnamese society in feudal time including history, geography, socio-politics, military affairs, legislation, culture, education, religion, philosophy, literature and language.
The original collection was digitized and printed on paper; database on the originals was also set up for reference. Researchers can access the collection by catalogue or software running on intranet in the Reading room of the National Archives Center No. 4.
On March 15, 1874, Nguyen Dynasty and French government joint a treaty on peace and alliance (Treaty of Sai Gon) in Sai Gon. The Treaty consists of 22 articles in which Article 20 said that Hue royal court allowed French government to assign a Trú sứ (Resident), who is equivalent to Thượng thư (Minister), beside the Emperor to maintain peaceful relation between two sides and supervise the implementation of the above-mentioned Treaty.
On August 25, 1883, Hue signed another Treaty with French government known as Harmand Treaty. Accordingly, Nguyen Dynasty recognized Nam ky (Cochinchina) as French colony while Bac Ky (Tonkin) and Trung ky (Annam) were put under French protectorate represented by a Commissioner General. In Annam, the French assigned a General Resident. According to the Treaty signed on August 25, 1883 and June 6, 1884, the French officially replaced her Resident in Hue by a General Resident. The General Resident had great power and was known as French General - Governor of both Tonkin and Annam, who administered French protectorate there. On May 9, 1889, the President of French enacted a decree abrogating the presence of General Resident. The administering in Annam was handed over to the Resident Superior in Annam. The Resident Superior’s role and responsibilities were prescribed in decrees enacted by the Indochina General Governor on April 1, 1892, February 13,1899 and October 20, 1911. The Office of the Superior Resident in Annam was closed when the French colonial government in Indochina was overthrew in 1945.
The collection includes administrative records of the Office of the Superior Resident such as system of legal documents, records on central and local government organization, political report, records on political inspection and administration of provinces in Annam; records on judiciary, land, public works, transportation, culture, education, social affairs, finance and economy, etc.
The collection was previously preserved in Da Lat Archives Department. In 1981, Da Lat branch of the Central Archives Repository No. 2 received 300 bundles of records created by the Department of Finance in South Central Highlands, 799 bundles and boxes of records created by the Office of the Chief of State of the State of Vietnam and 270 bundles, 1,0002 boxes and folders of records created by the Office of French Resident Superior in Annam. All of them then were transferred to the Central Archives Repository at 34 Ly Tu Trong street, Ho Chi Minh City for preservation. When the National Archives Center No. 4 was established, the whole collection of the Office of the Chief of State of the State of Vietnam was transferred to Da Lat.
Most of records in the collection are administrative records, financial records on border, the organization and activities of the provinces in the Southern Highlands; organizational structure, personnel organization, emulation and commendation, record management and archives, the correspondences of the Southern Highlands Financial Department, financial reports, information on family history provided by officials in the Departments in the Southern Highlands, officials’ salary, budget provided to the Southern Highlands provinces, comparison of monthly revenues and expenditures of provinces in Southern Highlands Financial Department, receipts, tax collection, etc.
After the August revolution, the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established. However, the French returned to Vietnam with intention to re-establish the colonial system here. In order to realize the ambition, they set up a puppet state in Vietnam. After many changes with different political tactics, the French used Bao Dai as a solution. On March 8, 1949, French President Vincent Auriol and former Emperor Bao Dai signed the Elysée Treaty, establishing a Vietnamese government in the French Union under the name the State of Vietnam headed by Bao Dai. On July 1, 1949, the Provisional Government of the State of Vietnam was established under Decree 01-CP and Bao Dai was appointed as the Chief of State.
After the establishment of the government of the State of Vietnam, the Chief of State Bao Dai signed Ordinances No. 1 and No. 2 on “ Organization and Operation of civil authorities in Vietnam”, “Statutes of Government office”. According to the Ordinances, the State of Vietnam was divided into three parts: Bắc Việt (the North), Trung Việt (the Central), and Nam Việt (the South), each part was headed by a Thủ hiến (Governor). Therefore, the Governor of Trung Viet’s Office was officially established.
In 1954, in order to conduct reform in civil authority system, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam enacted Ordinance 21 dated August 4, 1954, abrogating the governors and the autonomous status of the parts. Accordingly, it put an end to the operation of the Office of the Central Vietnam Governor and a new organization with different function and responsibilities - the Government’s Representative in Central Highlands - was established.
Records in the Office of the Central Vietnam Governor are mostly administrative records reflecting activities in all areas such as economy, social affairs and security in Central provinces from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan.
After certain time of operation, the government organization under the Ordinance No. 01 and No. 02 in 1948 was no longer consistent with the political intentions of France and the United States. Accordingly, they had other intentions. First, they forced Bao Dai to accept Ngo Dinh Diem, who had just came back from the United State and was always against Bao Dai, as the Prime Minister in Bao Dai government. Then, they conducted numbers of reforms in structure of the authorities. On August 4, 1954, the Chief of State Bao Dao enacted Ordinance 21 abrogating the Governors and appointing Government’s Representatives in all parts of the country including the Central of Vietnam. On October 26, 1955, after calling for a referendum on October 23, 1955 to remove Bao Dai, Ngo Dinh Diem officially became the President. Since then, the Republic of Vietnam carried out a series of reforms from central to local.
In order to facilitate his management, on October 24, 1956, the President of the Republic of Vietnam enacted Decree 147a/NV to device Trung phần (the Central) into Trung nguyên Trung phần (the Central Midlands) and Cao nguyên Trung phần (the Central Highlands). According to the Decree, Cao nguyên Trung phần was the territory of the old Southern highlands while Trung nguyên Trung phần is the territory of the old Trung Việt (the Central). A Government’s Representative and an Assistant Representative were appointed in Trung phần. The Office of the Government Representative was located in Ban Me Thuat and the Office of the Assistant Representative was located in Hue.
The Republic of Vietnam had many changes in 1963, especially the coup carried out by a group of Army officers under the US support on November 1, 1963. The coup put an end to Diem’s administration, the government was controlled by the Army. This led to crises in local and international-relation policies.
Accordingly, the power of the Government’s Representatives in Trung phần was gradually replaced by the control of the Tactical zone’s Commanders (Tư lệnh Vùng Chiến thuật). The Army’s control ended after the election in September 1967 and was replaced by the civil regime. Many reforms were carried out by President Nguyen Van Thieu. Act 001/69 by the President of the Republic of Vietnam becoming effective on January 1, 1969 officially abolished the Government’s representatives in all parts. It was followed by Decree 544 - NĐ/ThT/QTCS dated May 12, 1969, which abrogated administrative position and dismissed Civil offices besides Tactital zone’s Commanders, handed over all officers and facilities to the Central Inspector General, ending operation of the Office of the Government’s Representative in Trung nguyên Trung phần.
Most of the collection is administrative records reflecting activities in all areas such as economy, social affairs and security in Central provinces from Quang Binh to Binh Thuan.
The Department of Education was established under Decision No. 02 dated April 15, 1947. It was initially Sở Học chánh Trung kỳ (the Department of Education in Annam), then, Sở Học chánh Trung Việt (the Department of Education in Trung Việt). In 1950, when the French government transferred departments of education in Trung Việt to Viet Nam, Sở Học chánh was renamed into Nha Học chánh Trung Việt. In late 1955, when Ngo Dinh Diem’s government conducted administrative reform in regions, “Trung Việt” was renamed as “Trung nguyên Trung phần”. Accordingly, “Nha Học chánh Trung Việt” was renamed as “Nha Học chánh Trung nguyên Trung phần”.
Records in the collection are personal files of teachers and officials in the education sector in Trung Việt. Besides, there is a great number of personal files of teachers and official in education sector in Bắc Việt recieved by Sở Nhân viên (Department of Personnels) and Nha Học chánh Trung Việt (Department of Education in Trung Việt) from Nha Học chánh Bắc Việt (Department of Education in Bắc Việt) after the implementation of Genève Agreement.
The maps were mainly published by the US. Army Map Service and the Dalat branch of the National Geographic Service of Vietnam or Nha địa dư Quốc gia Việt Nam. They are maps of Bắc phần, Trung phần, Nam phần (the North, the Central and the South) in general; maps on administrative division, military maps, geological maps. There are also maps of agriculture, soil, forestry, population, etc. Especially, there are invaluable maps of Yen Bai, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Hue, Da Nang, etc. in the collection.
The Administrative Center of Thừa Thiên province was established on March 1, 1947. After its establishment, Decree No. 07 dated April 21, 1947 was enacted to establish administrative agencies in provinces, cities and districts and assign heads of administrative and military affairs of all levels.
From 1948 to 1952, many decrees were enacted by Hội đồng Chấp chánh lâm thời Trung kỳ and the Governor's Office of Trung Việt to reorganize districts and cities.
Content: Most of the records refer to state management in political, military and security affairs in Thừa Thiên.
Records refer to personnel matters in organizations and agencies in Trung nguyên Trung phần, such as recruitment, appointment, dismissal, organizing of training courses, leaves, salary and allowance and personal files.
Besides typical record collections, there are many other records, such as:
- The collection of rare and valuable records about Vietnam collected from the Republic of France in 2011: They are copies of administrative records belonging to the fonds of the Office of French Resident Superior in Annam, the Office of the Resident Superior in Tonkin and the Indochina Governor General’s Palace. The collection is 3.9 linear meters in 113 files.
- The collection of woodblocks in temples, pagodas, families and clans: The collection accounts for 5.7 linear meters of shelves.
The collection of Công báo: The collection was created from 1902 to 1956 with 97 volumes. They are administrative journal of the French High Commission in Trung Việt from 1948 to 1951, Công báo of Hoàng Triều Cương Thổ or the Domain of the Crown from 1953 to 1955, the administrative journal of Trung Việt from 1951 to 1956 and the administrative journal of the Southern Highlands in 1956.
- The collection of the Airport Authorities: Records refer to operation of the Middle Airport Authorities from 1976 to 2000 with 1.3 linear meters of records in 110 files.
- The collection of the Central Power Corporation: The collection consists of administrative records, capital construction records and records of professional activities created from 1997 to 2001.
- The collection of Dung Quat refinery: The collection includes records regarding bidding offer, bidding application, bidding selection, completion records and technical records.