More than 10,000 Viet cong prisoners were released by the South Vietnamese government on the occasion of the Tet, the Asian New Year.
GV Released Viet Cong prisoners walk to Ham Luong ferry in red prison uniforms (4 shots)
GV Prisoners talking to villagers (2 shots)
SV Passengers and prisoners walk on to ferry (2 shots)
SV Ferry leaves docks (2 shots)
SV Released prisoners shaking hands
SV Passengers leaving ferry (3 shots)
SV Prisoners at Mo Cay district office filling in forms
SV Two released men walk along road and enter rice field
SV Other ex-prisoners on motor tricycle
SV Huong My village (2 shots)
SV Released man at home with mother & brother
SV Police checkpoint & bus stopped
SV Market place at Mme Binh's native village (2 shots)
SV Children talking to released prisoners
TRAVEL SHOT Mme Binh's house, now used as army post
SV Soldiers at house
SV Two other soldiers raising Now Year banner
Initials ESP/2203 ESP/2236
This film includes scenes at An Thanh, home village of Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the Viet Cong representative at the Paris Peace Talks. Her former home has been used as a South Vietnamese civil guard post.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: More than 10,000 Viet cong prisoners were released by the South Vietnamese government on the occasion of the Tet, the Asian New Year.
The first peacetime Tet thus became a time for reunions in many villages. Some Viet Cong had cot seen their families for ten years.
It was also a time for meeting former friends who had become wartime enemies, fighting on opposite sides.
SYNOPSIS: More than ten thousand Viet Cong prisoners have been released in South Vietnam on the occasion of the Tot, the Asian New Year. The sight of the former enemy a their red prison uniforms has become familiar in towns in them Mekong Delta, where most of the man were released. Some civilians shunned the prisoners, but others were curious and ready to talk to them.
The Viet Cong men mingled with ordinary passengers as they boarded a ferry to cross the Mekong River. The ferry ride to freedom took the men across a river little known outside Vietnam until recent years. But reports of the bitter fighting focused on the Mekong Delta have since made the name familiar around the world.
Across the river, many of the prisoners separated. Some of them had spent years sharing a cell. Now they were each going back to their own villages.
But first, there were regulations to be complied with, forms to be filled in at the government district office.
Then the final few miles to walk to the families who were waiting.
Some released prisoners managed to hitch a ride home.
Huong My was a village typical of those where Viet Cong fighters returned to families they hadn't seen for years. Sometimes families had difficulty in recognising their sons. This man hadn't seen his mother and younger brother for ten years. Sometimes it Wasn't just families who were reunited. The policeman checking this bus not old friends who'd spent the war on the ??? side.
An Thanh is the native village of Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the Viet Cong's representative at the Paris Peace Talks. Here, too, men came back after years in captivity. They soon found an eager audience of children to hear their tales of jungle fighting and prison life.
Madame Binh's former house has been used as a command post for the civilian guard. But at New Year, with peace declared, the men manning the post had relaxed. The yellow flowers symbolised good luck, and the banner proclaimed the joys of a new year and a new peace.