Ho Chi Minh

Indochinese Prosperity Under the Rule of M. Long

First Published: La Vie Ouvriere, December 22, 1922
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

M. Albert Sarraut, our great Minister of Colonies, never misses an opportunity to go into raptures over the prosperity of Indo-China, of ‘his’ Indo-China, and over the grandiose tasks that he and his have performed or are performing there. To prove that he is telling the truth and nothing but the truth, we will put before him and our friends the following passages, extracted from a letter addressed to the newspaper Republique Franfaise of December 6, 1922, by Colonel Bernard who, set your mind at rest, Mr. Minister, is not a communist.

‘Indochinese exports,’ says the letter ‘are stationary or even in regression. In 1914 Indo-China exported 45,000 kilos of silk, 99,000 tons of maize, 480 tons of tea. Last year, it exported only 15,000 kilos of silk, 32,000 tons of maize, and 156 tons of tea.

‘It is also believed that the Indochinese government is at this moment actively carrying out the big projects which are indispensable for the improvement of the colony. But, since 1914 not a kilometre of railway has been built nor a hectare of ricefield reclaimed. Ten years ago M. Sarraut had a programme of works approved which included the construction of a railway from Vinh to Dong Ha and the building of four big irrigation systems; all these works have been suspended for over five years on the pretext of lack of credits. But, during the same period, Indo-China devoted 65 million piastres, 450 million francs, to the construction of roads and civil buildings. Let M. Faget meditate on such figures! Nearly half a billion spent for the construction of motor-roads along which not even a ton of goods travels, for the building of houses and offices for the countless officials who swarm in Indo-China with all the luxuriance of tropical vegetation, and, meanwhile, works acknowledged as indispensable and already approved by a vote of Parliament have been abandoned.

‘And don't think that there is any intention of changing the methods in Indo-China. In order to complete the 1912 programme, M. Long has already asked Parliament for authority to raise a loan. Today, he is still asking for permission to contract an agreement on it. Those who now have charge of the development of Indo-China seem determined to do nothing really useful if they are not first allowed to contract debts. As for budgetary resources, and reserves accumulated during the war and post-war period, they have grandly decided to play ducks and drakes with them, if Parliament does not take a hand.’