PARIS -- Dispatches from Indo-China said tonight that President Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Nam Republic government had been forced to flee Hanoi, their capital. Viet Nam troops attacked the French garrison at Hanoi yesterday with artillery and mortars.
French press agency dispatches from Hanoi said French troops, in turn, attacked Ho Chi Minh's headquarters with half tracks, mortars and machineguns. He and his government fled.
Battle goes on
The French flag was reported flying over his residence, and over the Hanoi municipal theater, which had housed the Viet Nam national assembly.
French armored units also were reported to have occupied the Hanoi railroad station, police headquarters and the city prison.
These dispatches indicated that the back of the Viet Namese attack had been broken, although some fighting was still going on. Commander Francois Sainteny, French commissioner of the Republic in Hanoi, was wounded at the start of the fighting. He died today.
Orders martial law
Gen. Jacques Morliere took over as acting commissioner of the Republic and immediately proclaimed martial law and a curfew. He appealed to the approximately 149,000 residents of Hanoi to maintain order.
Morliere proclaimed a 12-hour curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. He announced that anyone caught pillaging would be subject to the most drastic penalties and outlawed the possession of firearms, unless they were specifically authorized to individuals by French authorities.