VIET NAM: THIEU'S RISKY RETREAT

"Pleiku fini. Kontum fini. Ban Me Thuot fini. Hué fini. Everything fini."

—Immigration official at Tan Son Nhut airport

Suddenly, unexpectedly, the endless war in South Viet Nam took a dramatic new turn last week. Abandoning a 20-year government policy of fighting for every inch of South Vietnamese territory, President Nguyen Van Thieu surrendered fully one-fourth of his country —seven provinces with an estimated population of more than 1.7 million people—to the attacking Communists. Dusty district roads and coastal highways were choked with countless thousands of frightened civilians clutching their possessions and...

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