Many people in Laos fear that the present coalition government, made up of "Vientiane side" and Pathet Lao members, will not survive now that Cambodia and South Vietnam have fallen.
GV South Vietnamese outside Embassy (4 shots)
SV PAN North Vietnamese man outside Embassy
SV Troops (3 shots)
LV ZOOM INTO GV Scene of Vientiane (3 shots)
GV & CU Sign "United States Embassy" (2 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV & CU Sign "North Vietnamese Embassy" (2 shots)
GV & SV North Vietnamese celebrating the fall of Saigon
TRANSCRIPT: BARRY KALB: "The day Saigon fell, there was an odd demonstration at the South Vietnamese embassy here. There were South Vietnamese trying to get their passports out of the embassy, and North Vietnamese, like this man, hoping to retrieve documents being burned inside. The help that arrived was also strange, the combined Police Force and the Royal Lao Government, and the Hanoi-backed Pathet Lao. Since the coalition Government was formed here a year ago, the two have patrolled Vientiane together. But Laos has always been the "oddman out" among the three former states of French Indo-China. Vientiane is a dusty, underdeveloped backwater along the Mekong River; it's never achieved the elegance of Saigon or Phnom Pehn. Because of their weakness, the Laotians establish relations with just about everyone. From the Americans, still the largest aid-donors despite their dwindling presence here, to the North Vietnamese. Americans used to flock to this embassy in a vain effort to obtain release of American war prisoners. They were told "when the war is over". Now the war is over, and the North Vietnamese took time to celebrate. Signs reading......"Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City", and "the Vietnamese in Laos rejoice that South Vietnam has been liberated". But many fear that once the celebration is over Hanoi will send troops to help its Pathet Lao followers take over completely."
Initials BB/0130 MC/DW/BB/0150
This film is serviced with an English commentary.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Many people in Laos fear that the present coalition government, made up of "Vientiane side" and Pathet Lao members, will not survive now that Cambodia and South Vietnam have fallen.
Laos is the only non-communist nation remaining in the former French Indo-China triangle.
In Vientiane, reporter Barry Kalb looks at the situation.