The first state bond of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Resistance Bonds (Công phiếu kháng chiến, CPKC) were the first state bonds issued nationwide according to Decree No. 160 of the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. To implement the decree, on April 24, 1948, the Ministry of Finance issued Decree No. 43 specifying the regulations for issuing the CPKC. According to Decree No. 43, the Resistance Bonds are issued in three regions, and each region is responsible for its own printing:
1. In the Northern and Northern Central Regions CPKC are printed by the Ministry of Finance and issued in April 1948.
2. In the Southern Central region CPKC are printed by the Administrative Resistance Committee (UBKCHC) of the the Southern Central region and issued in April 1949.
3. In the Southern region CPKC are printed by UBKCHC of the Southern region and issued in February 1949.
CPKC has four denominations, divided into two classes:
- Anonymous bonds: Category A: 200₫, Category B: 1,000₫.
- Named bonds: Category C: 5,000₫, Category D: 10,000₫.
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Finance, after printing, the two Administrative Resistance Committees of the Southern and Southern Central regions must send 40 samples of each denomination to the Ministry of Finance, and 20 samples of every denomination to each other for preservation and comparison.
CPKC of the three printing regions are not entirely identical in terms of color and appearence. However, all of them must have three signatures including:
- The first signature is pre-printed on the bond. For CPKC of the Northern Region, it is the Minister of Finance Lê Văn Hiến; for the Central Southern Region, it is the Chairman Lê Đình Thám; and for the Southern Region, it is the Chairman Phạm Văn Bạch.
- The remaining are two handwritten signatures of the provincial chairman and the head of the provincial treasury where the bond is issued.
In my collection, I have a CPKC issued to Mr. Nguyễn Thành Vĩnh, and there are some unusual points about this artifact:
1. The note has multiple erasures, overwriting, and alterations to the originally printed text:
- The title "Chủ tịch U.B.K.C.H.C Tỉnh" (Chairman of the Provincial Committee) is amended to "U.B.K.C.H.C Nam Bộ" (Southern Committee). This change is understandable as Nam Bộ (Southern Region) is at a higher administrative level than the province. Mr. Nguyễn Bình signed the note as a committee member in charge of military affairs, not as a provincial chairman.
- The word "Tỉnh" (Province) is crossed out, and the words "Nam Bộ … 24 … 4 … 1948" are added, indicating that the bond was ssued in the Southern Region.
- The line "Trưởng Ty Ngân Khố" (Head of the Treasury Department) is crossed out. When issued at the provincial level, the second signature would be the Chief of the Treasury. Since it was issued at the regional level, the second signature would be the Director of the Treasury Department. Mr. Nguyễn Thành Vĩnh wisely removed this line to avoid signing the bond for himself.
- The letters "D.D.N.H", that stand for Đông Dương Ngân Hàng (Bank of Indochina), are added after the denomination of 10,000 Đông. This indicates that the bond was purchased with Indochinese piastres rather than Vietnamese đồng as it was initially stated.
2. The CPKC was issued in the South on April 24, 1948, and the seal stamped over the General Nguyễn Bình's signature states "Ủy ban kháng chiến hành chính Nam Bộ - Ủy viên" (Southern Administrative Resistance Committee - Commissioner). Here, I observe four issues that need to be addressed:
- First, it was issued in the South, but this is not the CPKC for the South signed by Chairman Phạm Văn Bạch. This is the CPKC intended for issuance in the North, printed by the Ministry of Finance, and signed by Finance Minister Lê Văn Hiến.
- Second, the North issued CPKC in 1948, before the Southern Central and Southern regions. It wasn't until February 1949 that the South issued documents to conduct propaganda for the release of CPKC. The issuance of this CPKC in the South in April 1948 is a significant question that needs an answer.
- Third, CPKC issued in any province must bear the stamp and the signatures of the Chairman and the Treasury Head of the province. Mr. Nguyễn Bình signed and put the Committee stamp on the provincial issue. Therefore, it was necessary to cross out, overwrite, and amend the original text.
- Fourth, Decree No. 149 from March 29, 1948, mandated the removal of the word "kiêm" (and) from the phrase "Ủy ban kháng chiến kiêm hành chính Nam Bộ" (Resistance and Administrative Committee of the South). However, in reality, the South continued using the old seal with the word "kiêm", and the stamps have not been updated. Southern documents still used the seal with the word "kiêm" up to December 1949. This CPKC, issued on April 24, 1948, has a new stamp without the word "kiêm"; it requires consideration!
The content of Nguyễn Thành Vĩnh's CPKS seems extremely messy and illogical. To explain these issues, it is necessary to consider historical factors, the identities of the bondholder, and related individuals.
Mr. Nguyễn Thành Vĩnh was originally a lawyer and a successful businessman in Saigon. He gave up his career and wealth to join the resistance. He served as a financial commissioner of the Southern Administrative Committee and Director of the Southern Department of Finance. He was the father of the "Vietnamization of Indochina banknotes" initiative, an unprecedented innovation in the history of Vietnamese currency circulation. He was the initiator and founder of the special printing committee in the Đồng Tháp Mười military zone to print Uncle Ho's paper money to establish independence in the South and satisfy the financial needs of the resistance war.
Lieutenant General Nguyễn Bình was a special phenomenon of military talent in the early days of the resistance war against the French. He was a strategic commander, a Supreme Leader, who unified the armed forces in the South that was in a state of permanent conflict, the architect and organizer of the resistance campaign in the South. He served as a military commissioner of the Southern Administrative Committee, Vice Chairman of the Southern Administrative Committee, and Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Military Region. He gave his life on the way to the North to undertake a new mission in October 1951. Nguyễn Bình fell down for the South to rise!