Although United States military presence in South Vietnam is on the decrease, their civilian and commercial influences are likely to remain forever.
Although United States military presence in South Vietnam is on the decrease, their civilian and commercial influences are likely to remain forever. This film, shot by VISNEWS Cameraman Bill Woodman, shows to what extent life in Saigon has been influenced by the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, civilian personnel, businessmen, officials, contractors, etc, who have been there during the past eight years. These effects range from motorcycles and mopeds circulating where bicycles and ox-carts used to be the main form of transport; to the sales of sophisticated photographic and electrical equipment.
The film also shows some of the areas in which the departure of the Americans is--and will continue--affecting the economy of the country. From "good time girls" who cannot find other regular employment; to small stalls and street hawkers who are losing their best customers.
U.S. military personnel numbered over half a million--plus tens of thousands of civilians--at the height of their commitment. Today, the military strength is just over 30,000. Civilians have also decreased--but not in the same proportion.
SYNOPSIS: Saigon--the South Vietnamese capital--is gradually seeing the departure of United States military and civilian personnel. But, the American influence on the life-style and commercial aspects of the city, is likely to be more permanent.
Only about five per cent of the maximum number of Americans are left in Vietnam...but the sophisticated goods which they bought and sold, are still an important part of Saigon shops.
The shops relied heavily on sales to Americans--and many have had to close down. Another aspect is the motorisation of individual transport.
Among those most seriously affected by U.S. departures, are the sidewalk vendors of souvenirs and paintings.
A popular remembrance of the lighter moments of the war--army jackets with embroidered slogans....
At the height of U.S. commitment, there were some six hundred thousand American military and civilian personnel businessmen, contractors personnel, businessmen, contractors and others in South vietnam--today there are just over thirty thousand.
One result--and one which both the Americans and the Vietnamese have tried to play down--is black marketeering.
Military police will be among the last to leave. And, among those finding it hard to find alternative employment, the good-time girls of Saigon, who now look for jobs as shop assistants or office girls.