March 11, 1975. An uneasy day in Cambodia – a dramatic and sweeping shakeup in the government of Lon Nol which many believed was a move to get talks started with the Khmer Rouge. The shakeup brought about the resignation of the Cambodian Commander in Chief, but it left Lon Nol still in place as President. He said “the political in-fighting has become increasingly critical, and we lack cooperation within our infrastructure”. Meanwhile, the evacuation from Phnom Penh was beginning, with a small number of Americans, mostly wives and children of Embassy personnel, some three dozen British civilians and some Philippine nationals leaving quickly and presumably heading to Bangkok and Singapore. The shelling of the airport continued, stopping some of the American planes bringing rice to the city. All in all, the writing on the wall was growing larger by the minute.
In South Vietnam – fighting was continuing in several places with more house-to-house fighting taking place. Nine Americans remained trapped in the provincial capitol of Ban Me Thuet. The Pentagon released a statement saying that no Americans had been killed or wounded in this new fighting and it did not represent a major offensive.
On Capitol Hill – there were indications the Senate might approve some aid money to Cambodia, but that came too late to dispel the impending gloom over the situation.
From Detroit; there was some good news for laid-off Auto workers. General Motors announced that almost 7,000 workers on indefinite lay-off were called back to work in April. The company added that projected production for the second quarter would be increased by some 7%. Worker recalls were now becoming regular in the auto industry – it didn’t mean a boom in auto production and sales, but it was an improvement and everyone was glad to be getting back to work.
And that’s a small slice of what happened, this March 11, 1975 as presented by NBC Nightly News.