The professor was an ardent peace activist and a member of the National Peace Movement in France, who raised strong voice against the US war in Vietnam, especially its use of chemical weapons.
On presenting the hat to the embassy, Biquard’s daughter, Claire Biquard recalled that during a visit to Vietnam, her father and a delegation of the National Peace Movement in France were received by President Ho Chi Minh on January 2, 1969. Noticing that her father was without a hat while it was very cold, the President gave his felt hat to her father.
Since then, the French professor and his family carefully kept the hat as an unforgettable memory, she said.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son expressed his appreciation for Biquard and his family for keeping the special memento, adding that the hat will be sent to the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi for display, thus helping Vietnamese people and international friends have deeper understanding about President Ho Chi Minh’s warm sentiments toward French friends who passionately supported Vietnamese people’s struggle for national independence, peace and unification.
The story about the hat was discovered by historian Alain Ruscio who has helped Biquard’s family make contact with the embassy.
The historian said the hat, while a small gift, is a vivid symbol of the France-Vietnam friendship and solidarity.