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May 24, 1975 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-05-24

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The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students of the
University of Michigan
Saturday, May 24, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
Fair 'Trade Law otae
r~liI f 0 .W out ale
A BILL PASSED by the State House Tuesday to repeal
the Michigan Fair Trade law, now goes to the Senate
for approval.
The legislation, designed to relieve the Michigan
retail goods consumers of the burden of artificially high
prices woigld, if aoproved by the Senate and Gov. Milli-
ken, remove the Resale Price Act of 1937 from the books.
Originally an extension of anti-trust legislation, fair
trade laws were designed to act as a hedge against the
ruination of small local businesses by cost-efficient na-
tional chain stores.
Once in effect, however, the legislation proved to be
more of a boon for manufacturers and a bother for con-
sumers than a safeguard for small businesses.
STATISTICAL SURVEYS show that the survival rate of
independent businesses in non-fair trade law states
doesn't vary sisnificantly from that in states where fair
laws are in effect. Yet in states like Michigan, retail
goods purchased on contract from the manufacturers
will often wear a price tag up to 61 per cent higher
than the identical item sold in a state with no fair
trade law.
Admittedly. large stores stand to reap greater bene-
fits than small retailers from a repeal of the law, but
only to a maroinsl extent. The largest impact of a re-
peal would be felt by manufacturers, now allowed to
virtually name their price under "fair trade", and con-
sumers presentlv are held captive by the contrived and
noncomnetitiv orice system under the 1937 law. We
encourage swift passage of the fair trade repeal bill by
the State Senate and subsequent approval by Cov. Milli-
ken.
Spring Tens News Staff
JEFF SORENSEN
Editor
PAUL HASKINS
Editorial Director

An eyewitness account
The Khmer Rouge Revolution

By RICHARD BOYLE
AS THE LAST American news-
man to leave Cambodia on
May 8, I witnessed the battle
of Phnom Penh, interviewed
hundreds of persons at the
French embassy and traveled
by road through Khmer Rouge
territory on the last convoy out.
Stories of a bloodbath, as re-
ported by other news agencies,
can not be verified, and there
is every indication that many
of the accounts are outright
lies. ,
For example, AP reported
that French women were raped
and had broken bottles put in
their vaginas. I spent almost
two weeks in the intensive care
section of the makeshift French
hospital in the embassy dining
room and spoke with French
doctors and nurses. None of us
ever saw any of the "rape"
victims.
This reporter and several
French and other westerners
informed AP in Bangkok that
their reports were false. AP
and UPI reporters then check-
ed with Doctor Bernard Pi-
quart, whom AP in Paris quot-
ed as the source for the blood-
bath story. He told reporters the
story was "absolutely false."
AN ABC REPORTER here,
somewhat embarrassed about
the story, said "you were
right," and he could not un-
derstand why AP put out the
story without checking the
source first.
From what I saw, the Khmer
Rouge were extremely lenient.
For example, many "Sunday
hunters," French mercenaries
who enjoyed sniping at Khmer
Rouge troops for pleasure, as
well as some Americans with
CIA and Defense Intelligence

what the Cambodian. staff re-
ported to me: that the Khmer
Rouge troops told Phnom Penh
government soldiers that they
were "brothers" and that they
did not want to kill them. There
were eye witness accounts by
Cambodian AP staffers of
Khmer Rouge and Phnom Penh
troops embracing on the bat-
tlefield, yet when I filed this
it was censored by AP. After
that story was killed, AP re-
ported that the Khmer. Rouge
burnt down refugee huts two
days before the fall of Phnom
Penh, yet the Cambodian AP
staffers who visited the front
all day could not confirm the
report.
I saw the first Khmer Rouge
troops to enter Phnom Penh
from the north, and witnessed a
fierce firefight outside the sand-
bagged French embassy. The
Khmer Rouge front line troops,
who numbered only two hundred
crack commandos, were wel-
comed as liberators by students
and civilians in Phnom Penh. I
photographed Phnom Penh citi-
zens cheering and welcoming
the first Khmer Rouge troops.
WITHOUT THE MASSIVE
support of the citizens of Phnom
Penh, who threw up hundreds
of white flags and took over ar-
mored cars from the Lon Nol
army, the 200 Khmer Rouge
commandos could never have
taken Phnom Penh with so few
casualties. I witnessed cycle
drivers being warned by Khmer
Rouge troops, shouting from
sniper positions, to turn back,
,as the Khmer Rouge prepared
to mount their last offensive on
April 17. They avoided firing
at civilians, aiming only at Lon
Nol army troops holding out.
Yet, there were reports by

"Stories of a bloodbath, as reported by other
news agencies, can not be verified, and there is
every indication that many of the accounts are
outright lies."

"The Khmer Rouge
treated me and other
journalists with re-
spect, although t h e y
suspected that many
newsmen were intelli-
gence agents."
return after they spent some
time in the country growing rice
to feed the people. Many mer-
chants were obviously upset
with having their shops seized
and being forced to go out into
the country and grow rice, but
the Khmer Rouge said they had
to take these drastic steps to
save the country. In the past,
the city of Phnom Penh which
had swollen to almost two mil-
lion from 600,000 because of the
massive bombing of free-fire
zones by the Lon Nol army, had
faced near starvation. Only the
airlift of rice by Americans had
prevented full-scale starvation.
So the Khmer Rouge decided to
put people in Phnom Penh to
work in the fields to avoid star-
vation.
C O N D I T I O N S AT THE
French embassy, crammed with
1000 refugees of various na-
tionalities, were very bad. There
were no toilets working and the
stench and swarms of flies
made life miserable for us, but
th Khmer Rouge tried to help.
After a week they brought wa-
ter and food to us, and on the
convoy, they supplied potent
rice wine as well as chopped
up pork and other meat.
The French demanded that
the Khmer Rouge allow them
to fly a plane in to evacuate
the refugees, but the rebels nev-
er trusted the French, and de-
cided to organize their own con-
voy to gt the refugees out. Al-
though the trip was physically
exhausting, much of it in open
trucks through jungle trails,
the Khmer Rouge tried to make
the journey as easy as possi-
ble. We were even billeted on
the first night of the convoy at
the former Lon Nol governor's
house in Kompong Chhanng.
The Khmer Rouge troops were
friendly to us, waving as we
passed, and we were never
threatened. Although many of
the American journalists be-
came panicky, fearing they
would be executed along the
way, the Khmer Rouge took
steps to see that we were safe
and comfortable as possible. As
soon as they could, they pro-
vided fairly comfortable buses
for the last part of the jour-
ney, and even issued cigarets
as a daily ration. Since I don't
smoke, I gave away my rations
to Khmer Rouge troops, who
appreciated filter tip cigarets,
being used to smoking only
hand-packed tobacco rolled in
leaves.
AFTER TAKING A drag
from a cigaret I offered, a
Khmer Rouge soldier, who com-
manded a combat platoon at
the town of Pursat, seemed sur-
prised to learn that I was an
American, a citizen of the na
tion he had been fighting.
"You will now see what you
B-52s have done," he told me.
"Tell the American people nev-
er to bring them back."
Richard Boyle is a veteran
war correspondent and th
last American reporter to
leave Cambodia after the
Khmer Rouge victory.

DAvE BLOMQUIST
NOB 5MEACHUM ..
JEFF RISTINE
TIM SCHtCK..
DAVID WHITING .
BILL TURQtUE .
BETH NISSEN .....,
505 ADES..
GLEN ALLERHAND
DAN BLUGERMAN .,
ELAINE FLETCHER
GEORGE LOBSENZ
CATHY REUTTER

Night Eitor
Night Editor
Night Edito
Night Editor
Editorial Page Ass't.
.Ass't. maths Editor
. Ass't. Night Editor
Asa't. Night Editor
. Ass't. Night Editor
Ass't. inse Editoe
As't. Sighs Editor

.I .
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AM I

-

Agency connections took re-
fuge in the French embassy.
The Khmer Rouge, who had ag-
ents inside the compound, knew
their 'names and reported on
their radio that known war
criminals" were hiding inside
the embassy. Yet they allowed
them all to leave the country in
safety because they wanted to
avoid an international incident.
One American, Douglas Sap-
per, a former Green Beret,
publicly boasted to me and oth-
ers that he was planning to
take a Swedish sub machine
gun, given to him by Associat-
ed Press correspondent Matt
Franjola on the day the Ameri-
cans left Phnom Penh, and
raise the American flag at the
U. S. embassy, killing as many
"commies as I can." Yet Sap-
per was one of the first Amer-
icans to seek refuge in the em-
bassy, and managed to get out
on the first convoy in a truck
with Sydney Schanberg of the
New York Times and seven
Soviet citizens. The Khmer
Rouge, who knew of Sapper's
threats from an Agence France
Presse dispatch, let him out, as
well as some journalists who ru-
mored to be working for Ameri-
can intelligence agencies. Sap-
per is now working for Associat-
ed Press.
THERE HAVE BEEN other
distortions in the coverage from
Cambodia. Associated Press
asked me to take over their bu-
reau, pay Cambodian staff
members and file for them as
well as PNS after the hasty
American departure. I reported

AP and other agencies of mass
executions, rape and pillaging
by Khmer Rouge troops. From
what I saw, the Khmer Rouge
tried to avoid the slaughter of
innocent civilians on the last
day of the war.
The Khmer Rouge treated
me, and other journalists, with
respect, although they suspect-
ed that many newsmen were
intelligence agents. I was al-
lowed to photograph them free-
ly and they never made any at-
tempt to take my film or cam-
eras although the French au-
thorities did seize film belong-
ing the AP CBS and other ag-
encies.
WHEN WE WERE running
out of water, and the drippings
of water from the embassy air
conditioners were not sufficient,
the Khmer Rouge allowed me
and other journalists outside
the compound to get water from
an open pump near a deserted
bus station. Yet the French
ordered us not to go outside or
fraternize with the Khmer
Rouge. On on occasion two
Khmer Rouge troops visited us
at the journalists' compound,
chatting for several hours. A
French security official came
up and told them to get out,
although we wanted them to
stay.
During the traumatic days
that followed their victory, I
saw the Khmer Rouge force
all inhabitants of Phnom Penh
to leave the city, and empty all
shops of their supplies. Khmer
Rouge troops explained to me
that they would be allowed to

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