Political sources said the Viet Cong and South Vietnamese administrations reached agreement in principle to call a cease-fire Wednesday but the Communists raised two more demands before there can be a final truce.
The American evacuation on orders from President Duong Van "Big" Minh prepared for the surrender of Saigon without a fight, ending 30 years of warfare in Indochina and 14 years of American involvement.
The evacuation of Americans from Tan Son Nhut airport was reported finished by midnight, but an hour later evacuation from the embassy grounds still continued. There were reports that many Americans, foreigners and Vietnamese dependents still were trapped in various buildings around the city, unable to reach the embassy.
Vice President Nguyen Van Huyen said on Saigon radio and television his government decided to meet the last two demands of the Viet Cong for the opening of peace talks-an end to American intervention in Vietnamese affairs and abolition of the Saigon "war machine."
But no sooner had Huyen met these demands than the Viet Cong raised two more-withdrawal of the U.S. 7th Fleet from Vietnam waters and disarming of Saigon's army and police. French government forces said the demands were more like a demand for complete surrender.
Political sources said late Tuesday that the Minh government will agree if necessary to disarm most of its forces. The U.S. evacuation fleet is expected to leave Vietnamese waters once the evacuation is completed.
But many South Vietnamese soldiers were reported fleeing the Saigon area, as were sailors who loaded their families aboard Navy vessels in the Saigon river for a flight to the South China Sea. The South Vietnamese Air Force flew out officers and their families to the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. At least 70 planeloads landed in Thailand.
Many commandeered South Vietnamese helicopters and crash landed near American evacuation ships in the South China Sea in the hopes they and their families would be picked up. They were.