January 7, 1979 – after some two weeks, large numbers of rebel troops, aided by Vietnamese tanks, seized control of Cambodia, and captured the capitol city of Phnom Penh and overthrow premier Pol Pot.
The Hanoi forces claimed victory, and Radio Hanoi reported Phnom Penh had fallen into their hands. Confirmation came when a rebel message was broadcast over Radio Phnom Penh. Calling the station The Voice Of The Cambodian People, called on the remaining Khmer Rouge troops to surrender and that all would be forgiven. Well informed sources in Bangkok said the invasion force was almost totally Vietnamese; some 100,000+ troops, with another 10-20,000 Cambodians alongside. The five non-Communist countries of Southeast Asia; Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and The Philippines were expected to hold an urgent meeting shortly in Djakarta to discuss the report that Phnom Penh had fallen, and Vietnamese troops now controlled large stretches of Cambodia.
In Washington, the State Department said it was unable to confirm the rebel claims, but called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Cambodia. Officials termed the developments a threat to regional peace and stability.
Former Cambodian Chief of State, Prince Norodom Sihanouk was in Beijing, where he held a news conference, saying he believed Cambodian leaders survived the rebellion and that he was en route to New York to appeal to the United Nations support for Cambodia.
Meanwhile, back home – bargainers continued to work against a strike deadline for the oil refining industry. Talks covering the contracts for more than 60,000 union workers at more than 400 refineries around the country. The impact of a potential strike was not expected to be immediate, as advisory personnel would be called in to handle production in the short-term. If the picket lines were observed, however, making it impossible to transport finished product out of the refineries, then it could be a serious situation.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this January 7th in 1979 as reported by CBS Radio’s Hourly News.