National Geographic : 1955 Jun
o 150 STATUTE MILES © National GeographicMap their withdrawal from the Communist zone over a period of from 80 to 300 days, depending on the area. Similarly, the Viet Minh were committed to pull back their forces from south of the 17th parallel by May 19, 1955. Civilians who wished to do so could move from one side to the other while the troops were withdrawing. As the deadlines for French withdrawal neared, people surged overland and to the sea, seeking to move south. Under the French colonial administration, some 1,600,000 Vietnamese had been converted to Catholicism by French missionaries, and the Cath olics came first. Buddhists and members of other re ligious groups also joined the exodus. The people were sub Viet Nam: One More Divided Land France no longer governs her former colony of Indochina. Communists rule 12,000,000 people and 60,900 square miles north of the cease-fire line. Free South Viet Nam governs 11,000,000 citizens and 66,300 square miles. Communist pres sure threatens the independent States of Laos and Cambodia. Above: Danger lies behind, yet fear still freezes faces that should be soft with smiles. 862 Gertrude Samuels, Pix. Inc.