On Thursday (9 January), the second day of an official three-day mourning period to mark the fall of provincial capital Phuoc Binh, Saigon's President Nguyen Van Thieu attended a memorial service in the main basilica in the capital, Saigon.
GV EXT Saigon Basilica as President Thieu arrives
SV Guard of honour
GV INT Thieu in front of altar
SV Congregation during service
SV Troops in church
SV EXT Thieu shakes hands with priest and leaves in car
SV Troops leaving basilica
Initials BB/2104 BB/2120
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Background: On Thursday (9 January), the second day of an official three-day mourning period to mark the fall of provincial capital Phuoc Binh, Saigon's President Nguyen Van Thieu attended a memorial service in the main basilica in the capital, Saigon.
President Thieu proclaimed the period of mourning on Tuesday, after announcing the fall of Phuoc Binh. The provincial capital -- 75 miles (120 kms) north of Saigon -- had been the only remaining Government stronghold in the northern Phuoc Long province until it was overrun by Vietcong forces after a week-long siege.
The simultaneous capture of an important communications post near Tay Ninh, 65 miles (107 kms) north of Saigon and attacks on Hoai Duc in the northeast underline the gravity of the military situation in South Vietnam.
On Friday (10 January), the last official day of mourning, Communist shelling destroyed more than one million gallons (five million litres) of South Vietnam's precious fuel reserves at an oil depot in the Central Highlands, according to military sources. The report coincided with a nationwide speech by President Thieu in which he pledge that Government troops would return to Phuoc Binh.