Lê Đức Thọ (October 14, 1911 – October 13, 1990) was a Vietnamese revolutionary, general, diplomat, and politician, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973.
The United States actively joined the Vietnam War during the early 1960s. Several rounds of Paris Peace Talks (some public, some secret) were held between 1969 and 1973. While Xuan Thuy led the official negotiating team representing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at the talks in Paris, Thọ and U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger since February 1970 engaged in secret talks that eventually led to a cease-fire in the Paris Peace Accords of January 23, 1973. The basic history of the Accords included: release of POWs within 80 days; ceasefire to be monitored by the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICC); free and democratic elections to be held in South Vietnam; U.S. aid to South Vietnam would continue; DRV troops could remain in South Vietnam.
While January 23 is generally recognized as the enactment date of the Peace Accords, the talks continued out of necessity. Sporadic fighting continued in some regions. While U.S. ground forces were removed by March 29, bombing continued in North Vietnam. Due to continued allegations of ceasefire violations by all sides, Kissinger and Lê Đức Thọ met in Paris in May and June 1973 for the purpose of getting the implementation of the peace agreement back on track. On June 13, 1973, the United States and the DRV signed a joint communique pledging mutual support for full implementation of the Paris Accords.
Lê Đức Thọ and Henry Kissinger were jointly awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in negotiating the Paris Peace Accords.When Henry Kissinger was announced to be awarded the Peace Prize two of the Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned in protest. However, Thọ declined to accept the award and the prize money, stating:
"There was never a peace deal with the U.S. We won the war".