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

Perhaps you can tell me how to make some of these Americans abandon their half Vietnamese children, or how the President would look if he ordered this.2

For more than 50 minutes there have been no CH–53’s here, and only one CH46.

Commander Seventh Fleet messaged me about hour and half ago, saying he would like to stand down about 2300 hours and resume 0800 tomorrow morning.

I replied that I damn well didn’t want to spend another night here.

Four hours ago I told Noel the number of sorties we need. Now the number is 30 CH53 sorties. I don’t really mind giving DAO complete priority—they were more exposed than we were here. I need 30 CH53’s sorties damn quick and I have received nothing but silence since I asked for them.

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I am well aware of the danger here tomorrow and I want to get out tonight. But I damn well need at least 30 CH53’s or the equivalent to do that. Do you think you can? Get President to order CINCPAC to finish job quickly.

I repeat, I need 30 CH53’s and I need them now!3

Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages, Box 3, Martin Channel, April 1975, Incoming (3). Secret; Sensitive; Flash.
  2. In backchannel message WH50786 to Saigon, April 29, Scowcroft informed Martin: “Understand there are still about 400 Americans in Embassy compound. You should insure that all repeat all Americans are evacuated in the operation ASAP.” (Ibid., Outgoing, 3)
  3. In a follow-up, unnumbered backchannel message from Saigon, April 29, 1433Z, Martin added: “Among Americans here it is Father McVeigh, head of Catholic Relief Service, who will not leave without his Vietnamese staff who he knows will be persecuted on basis of what has happened in MR’s I and II. How will President explain to Bishop Swan Strum, U.S. head of CRS, or Father McVeigh’s great and good friend Cardinal Cooke why I left him. I repeat I need 30 sorties tonight. Please get them for me.” (Ibid., Incoming (3)) In backchannel message WH50788 to Saigon, April 29, Scowcroft replied: “Defense promises 30 CH53’s on the way.” (Ibid., Outgoing, 3)