OPINION

May 11, 1954

THE FALL OF DIEN BIEN PHU: London, 10 – Peking radio has broadcast a communique from the Viet Minh confirming that the heroic defender of the garrison at Dien Bien Phu, which fell yesterday, the French Brigadier (Christian de Castries) has been taken prisoner. The broadcast did not specify the conditions under which he was captured, or whether he was injured. The report could only be heard faintly in London, and toward the end was incomprehensible. The full text of the official communique, sent by a relay station, is as follows: «The Viet Minh people’s military forces have completely defeated the enemy on the battlefield in Dien Bien Phu and have won the greatest victory ever recorded in the history of the people’s army of the Viet Minh against 21 enemy brigades and 10 units of a total force of 16,000 men. All the French military leaders were either killed, taken prisoner or injured, including a brigadier, 16 colonels and 1,649 officers and NCOs.» It emerged from the communique that since de Castries was the only brigadier at the garrison, he has either been killed, injured or taken prisoner.