Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 27, 1975


This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

  • Citation

    get citation

    Directive from the Central Military Party Committee on preparation of units to be entering and administering the City of Saigon-Gia Dinh.
    "Central Military Party Committee Directive No. 113/QUTW," April 27, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, [Source: Dai Thang Mua Xuan, 1975: Van Kien Dang [Great Spring Victory, 1975: Party Documents] (Hanoi: Nha xuat ban Chinh tri quoc gia, 2005), 310-319.]
  • share document


English HTML

The Central Military Party Committee is issuing this directive in order to properly prepare our units that have been given the mission of entering and administering the City of Saigon-Gia Dinh.

The attacks and uprisings of our soldiers and civilians to liberate Saigon-Gia Dinh may force the enemy to surrender quickly. However, we must almost plan for the possibility that savage fighting may occur and that we may liberate and take over the administration of one portion of the city, and then another, until we eventually liberate and take over the administration of the entire city.

1. Administering Saigon-Gia Dinh properly is a very important responsibility that is of tremendous political significance.

Victory in liberating Saigon-Gia Dinh will be a victory that has the greatest strategic significance for ending our people’s revolutionary war, liberating South Vietnam, and advancing toward the peaceful unification of the Fatherland. Building on this great victory of our nation and consolidating this glorious success for the revolution are the direct responsibility and duty of all Party levels and units that have been given responsibility for administering the city, a responsibility given to them by the entire Party and the entire population. Properly administering the city will have a very great influence on our compatriots and soldiers throughout the nation, as well as on world public opinion.

The Goals and Requirements for Administering Saigon-Gia Dinh are:

Quickly destroy all remaining enemy forces, crush their resistance in their last lair, totally eliminate the entire governmental and military apparatus of the puppet army and puppet government, and eliminate all reactionary organizations.

Actively contribute to the building of a revolutionary government at all levels and of our mass organizations, correctly implement all of our policies for the newly-liberated city, quickly restore law, order, and security in the city.

Administer the city well in all areas of activities, properly administer the supply facilities and the property that the enemy has left behind to serve the common good of our entire population and our entire army.

Protect the lives and property of the people, work to disseminate propaganda about the policies of the revolution, spread propaganda about our victory in order to create a high spirit of enthusiasm and a feeling of solidarity and confidence among the population.

Actively help to stabilize the lives of the people and return them to normalcy.

In the shortest possible time, strive to ensure that all aspects of the city’s life and activity, including political life, economic life, and cultural life, return to normal, and in that way raise the spirit of enthusiasm and confidence of the people of our entire nation and elevate and promote the just cause and the prestige of our country’s revolution in the eyes of the world public opinion.

2. In order to properly and correctly carry out their responsibilities, those units assigned to administer the city need to have a firm understanding of the special characteristics of Saigon-Gia Dinh.

We have correctly and properly taken over the administration of many cities and province capitals during the course of our attacks and uprisings this spring. Many units have gained valuable experience. However, recently, because the situation was developing so rapidly, some policies and regulations were not disseminated in time and our personnel were not given careful enough instructions about these polices and regulations, and for that reason a number of our cadre and soldiers lacked the proper sense of discipline and spirit of responsibility, thereby causing a certain number of shortcomings and mistakes. In addition, the city of Saigon-Gia Dinh has a number of characteristics that are very different from the cities that we have already liberated, so administering this city involves many more important and more complex requirements.

The city is extremely large (700 square kilometers, including the suburbs, and just the central city itself consists of a total of 11 precincts with a total area of 100 square kilometers). The terrain is complex and consists of many central city precincts with large buildings and built-up city blocks along with suburbs that have many river, streams, and villages. The enemy has many installations deployed in a complex pattern, installations that are deployed in lines and layers, and that also include large secret tunnel and bunker networks.

The city has a very large population (3.3 million residents). The vast majority of the workers in the population have a tradition of revolutionary struggle and a spirit of patriotism, and they are very supportive of our cause of liberating Saigon-Gia Dinh, liberating South Vietnam, and unifying the Fatherland. This is a location in which large numbers of university students, government officials, and intellectuals are concentrated. It is also a place where there are large numbers of capitalists and foreigners (with the largest number being Chinese). The enemy has many organizations here that are used to control and suppress the masses. There are complicated religious and reactionary political party organizations in the city.

This is the “capital” of the puppet government, the place where the headquarters and central agencies of national government, of the armed forces, of reactionary political parties, of espionage organizations and international intelligence services, etc., are located. This is also the center for the activities of the different religions. In order to protect all of his leadership agencies and nerve centers, the enemy has deployed a large number of armed and paramilitary forces in the city, forces headed by the most violent reactionaries.

They will organize and carry out stubborn resistance to our revolution. They may carry out acts of sabotage and other violent acts against the population when we mount our attack and even after they have fallen into a posture of defeat.

Saigon-Gia Dinh is also the place where all the foreign embassies, diplomatic agencies, commercial organizations, and international organizations with relations with the Saigon puppet government are concentrated. If we do not implement tight measures to administer and control them, many of these organizations and agencies may try to cover for and protect the Saigon reactionaries, to help hide them or help them escape abroad.

A very large number of enemy economic and logistics installations, including extremely important military and civilian economic facilities are located in the city and its outskirts. The administration of the large supply facilities and property that the enemy has left behind will be extremely important for the work of consolidating our liberated zone as well as for increasing and strengthening our economic and national defense potential, both in the short-term and over the long term.

There are many complex issues regarding the cultural and social situation in Saigon-Gia Dinh. These are the result of the influence of the depraved and reactionary culture that the American imperialists have brought into our country. This is the location where the enemy’s psychological warfare apparatus is the most active and where in the past our propaganda activities there have encountered many problems. On the surface the city exhibits many signs of a false prosperity that could easily give some of our people wrong ideas when they enter the city.

3. Specific tasks to be carried out when we enter the city and take over

Based on the policies that our Party and our Government have already promulgated, based on this directive issued by the Central Military Party Committee, and based on concrete directives issued by COSVN, the COSVN Military Party Committee, and, most directly, by the Military Management Committee, we must develop a comprehensive plan to carry out tasks in all fields and areas.

Depending on the specific situation when we enter the city and take over administration, and paying proper attention to the special characteristics of the city in general, and particularly to the actual situation in the area for which the unit is assigned responsibility, fully implement all directives and regulations while employing the experience that the unit has gained in the past.

a) The most urgent tasks will be to crush all remaining enemy forces, to quickly restore law, order, and security in the city, and to eliminate the puppet governmental structure at all levels, from the central [national] level down to the ward and sub-ward level. Because of the peculiar characteristics of the city, it would be easy for the enemy to hide and conceal his forces. We must be extremely vigilant. We must rely on our political and revolutionary organizations and agents, we must rely on the workers, and we must closely coordinate with Liberation Security forces to quickly identify and arrest important leaders of the puppet government and armed forces and of reactionary organizations. We must quickly uncover and take care of secret bunkers, confiscate all enemy weapons, closely guard enemy weapons warehouses, transportation equipment [vehicles, boats, ships, planes], and communications equipment, and prevent enemy elements from contacting one another. We must not allow military criminals that the enemy has released from prison to commit crimes and criminal acts. We must implement a tightly organized plan for conducting patrols and standing guard. Special attention should be given to organizing and giving good, proper guidance to military police units. Cooperate with public security forces in severely punishing all acts of sabotage and opposition by the enemy.

b) Using a plan prepared by the Military Management Committee, quickly liberate our comrades and other patriotic elements that the enemy is holding in the prisons and act quickly to block any enemy plots to eliminate or to evacuate prisoners. Actively participate in effort to rescue and care for our brothers and sisters who are in danger. Quickly establish contact with our organizations and with political organizations inside the newly-liberated prisons.

Help other brothers and sisters to return to us in accordance with the regulations and policies that have been disseminated.

c) Quickly arrange for the security and defense of the city. Immediately occupy all key areas, administrative and military centers, and important traffic nodes. Control the important airfields, docks, bridges, and intersections inside the city. We must deploy our forces to focus on key locations in order to avoid being sucked into covering less important targets and thereby spreading our forces too thin. Immediately deploy military police forces. Have a plan ready to fight to protect the security of the city as a precaution against counterattacks by enemy forces remaining inside the city and in surrounding localities. A strict system of guard duty and combat alert duty watches must be implemented. There must be a plan for all forces administering all areas inside the city and the surrounding areas to coordinate their actions. They must have a unified command structure and solid communications.

Pay special attention to building local armed forces, to expanding our militia self-defense forces, to providing timely training to these forces, and to developing a good plan to coordinate these forces in battle. When developing and expanding our forces, we must place great emphasis on quality, and under no circumstances may we allow any gaps, weaknesses, or lack of vigilance to develop.

d) Correctly handle the problem of enemy prisoners of war and enemy remnant military personnel. We should apply the policies and directives issued by the Party Secretariat and conduct this effort under the guidance of the Military Management Committee. The number of prisoners of war and of those whom we must arrest and detain will be very large. We must coordinate very closely with Party and governmental agencies in order to implement a program to register and categorize these individuals quickly and carefully. With respect to enemy officers and troops who have laid down their arms and who have recognized the justice of our cause, our policy is to handle them humanely and leniently. As for stubborn elements, they must be sternly and severely punished. Leading reactionaries, high-ranking officers, and important thugs must be imprisoned and closely guarded to prevent them from escaping.

e) In accordance with a plan prepared by the Military Management Committee and in coordination with all of our forces, quickly take over the administration of all supply facilities and property that the enemy has left behind, including both civilian and military installations. This is an extremely large responsibility that is part of the work of taking over the administration of the city of Saigon-Gia Dinh. It is a responsibility of important economic and political significance. All levels must carefully study all current directives, regulations, and plans regarding this task in order to carry out this assignment properly. This is not a matter of simply collecting captured war booty, but it is in fact the taking over of virtually the entire supply and material support structure of a social order that the American imperialists have built up in South Vietnam over the course of the past several decades. Relying on our own information and on information we are able to obtain from puppet governmental and military personnel, we need to develop an overall policy and a comprehensive and systematic plan to take control of and run this entire network of very important material, technical, and supply facilities, to utilize these facilities properly to carry out our immediate responsibilities, and to administer and preserve them properly so that we can use them over the long term. We must not allow this network of facilities to be disrupted or sabotaged. This is an extremely vital task that we must carry out in order to properly rebuild the military, political, and economic apparatus in Saigon-Gia Dinh, and in South Vietnam in general, and to restore it to normal operations, thereby making an enormous contribution to our cause of defending and building our country.

g) Actively participate in stabilizing every aspect of the lives of the people and of its foreign residents.

We must pay special attention to the fact that Saigon-Gia Dinh has a large population, that it has many foreign residents, and that its daily life and activities are very complicated. For that reason it will be very difficult for personnel from our agencies and organizations to handle this task smoothly, especially immediately after we enter the city.

All units must actively participate in this work, must utilize all of their forces and equipment, and must have very concrete plans for coordinating with agencies and mass organizations to contribute as much as possible to the work of propagandizing and educating the working class in order to stimulate the spirit of enthusiasm, confidence, and solidarity among the working population of the city. Strive to help the people stabilize every aspect of their daily lives. Caring for the lives of the people is a combat goal of our revolutionary armed forces. It is the very fundamental policy direction that is required to strengthen solidarity between the army and the civilian population and to create armed forces with the tremendous strength required to accomplish their difficult and complex missions, both when assigned to administer the city as well as when accomplishing all other assignments.

In our contacts with the different classes of the population in the newly-liberated city, we need to pay special attention to educating our cadre and soldiers so that they have a firm understanding of all of our policies, so that they maintain a correct and modest attitude, so that they understand the need to respect the lives, property, and customs of the population, and so that they do not even lay a finger on so much as a needle and or a piece thread that belongs to the people. We must strictly forbid any action directed against the property of the people, against State [Government] property, or against captured military equipment and supplies.


* *

All units to which the Party and the people have given the responsibility of representing our entire army by advancing into Saigon and taking over the administration of the city that bears the name of our illustrious Uncle Ho have been given a very great honor. In order to be worthy of that trust and confidence, Party committees at all levels, all Party chapters, all cadre, enlisted men, Party members, Youth Group members, and units entrusted with the mission of administering the city must strive to fully understand and grasp our general policy guidelines and policies and the Party’s directives and resolutions and then to carry out their responsibilities properly and correctly.

In order to fully accomplish their assigned responsibilities, cadre and enlisted men must maintain the noble and beautiful quality and traditions of our army and they must exhibit the attitude of revolutionary soldiers and the posture of victors in this war. No one must be allowed to do anything that would adversely affect the good name of our people’s armed forces.

You Must Properly Carry Out the Following Requirements:

First: You have discipline, but you must maintain an even higher level of discipline. Every individual must be conscious of his own actions. Administration and control must be tight. Punishment must be stern, and commendations must be timely.

You must strictly carry out all of our policies and regulations in the newly-liberated area.

You have solidarity, but your solidarity must be even stronger. You must maintain solidarity between Party and governmental agencies, between the different types of armed forces [main force, local force, guerrilla militia], between units, and between agencies in carrying out your administrative management duties in order to maintain a high level of unity and prepare concrete coordination plans for the sake of the common good of our revolution.

Second: You must make clear assignments of responsibility, and you must have a concrete, specific chain of command. The distribution of responsibilities and missions to the different units must be clear and decisive, clearly designating which units are authorized to enter the city, the size and scope of the area of responsibility of each individual unit, and which units are not authorized to enter the city.

Clearly spell out the responsibilities and powers of each level, of each unit, and of each unit involved in the mission of administering the city, and there must be a focused, single, unified chain of command.

Third: You must implement many different concrete organizational measures and you must maintain a profound, flexible, and cautious attitude in order to decide how to deal with different situations. [Military] operations, political, and rear services [logistics] staff agencies must have their own concrete plans.

Preparatory tasks must be carried out carefully but with a sense of urgency, and they must be carried out throughout the period of our preparations for battle. Give particular attention to maintaining a firm grasp of educational and inspection activities. You must establish an organization that is specifically responsible for this task to provide close guidance and monitoring.

The Central Military Party Committee hopes that this directive will be fully and completely studied and absorbed down to the party cell, platoon, and squad level, and that it will be strictly implemented. We are confident that all units will accomplish the glorious mission with which they have been entrusted in an outstanding manner.

For the Central Military Party Committee



Vo Nguyen Giap