The fall of Saigon, 1975 – Fact sheet 243
Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell on 30 April 1975 when forces of the North Vietnamese Army invaded the city and captured the presidential palace. This ended a campaign begun in January that saw the North Vietnamese Army overrun the central highlands of South Vietnam and then the coastal cities of Hue (where Australian journalist Peter Whitlock was detained), Da Nang and Qui Nhon.
Australia's military commitment to the Vietnam War – in which over 50,000 personnel saw service – ended with the withdrawal of all combat forces by December 1971. By 1975 the only Australian government presence in Vietnam was diplomatic.
By March 1975 the concern was for the safety of Australians in Vietnam (such as journalists) and those Vietnamese who might be at risk under the new regime. The plight of Vietnamese infants came to particular attention and on 4 and 17 April, RAAF flights evacuated some 270 of them to Bangkok (for transfer to Australia by Qantas) as part of 'Operation Babylift'. Arrangements were also made to assist adult Vietnamese in fear of the new government, including over 400 who were students in Australia. The last Australians from the Australian Embassy in Saigon – including Ambassador Geoffrey Price – were evacuated by the RAAF on 25 April 1975.
Records relating to the fall of Saigon
A selection of records relating to the fall of Saigon held by the National Archives is listed below. Unless otherwise indicated records are held in Canberra.