272. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Vietnam (Martin) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

761. 1. Evacuation proceeding without serious hitch. General Smith tells me he hopes to depart about 1815 local time since they are in a more exposed position they are moving out faster. If the CH55 aircraft can land at night we are putting a big luminous sign and hope to flood light the Embassy compound to facilitate landing. We will come out quicker if we are confined to the pad on the roof since CH–46 can only take out 20 at a time. We will be here well towards dawn.

2. This is the last communication in this channel. If we are fortunate we may still maintain telephone communications for awhile. The US Mission staff has performed magnificently with great courage and imagination and we are all greatful for the precision with which Noel Gayler has carried out his instructions.

3. In the absence of any instructions to the contrary I have asked the French Embassy to assume responsibility as protecting power for our properties. At the moment he is not certain that his own will be safe, but there is literally no one else. I would suggest you have the Department request the French Government formally to assume this.

4. May I again say what a tower of strength you have been to us in these trying months.

5. With the warmest regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages, Box 3, Martin Channel, April 1975, Incoming (3). Secret; Flash. Sent with the instruction: “Deliver immediately.”