Vintage: Saigon by François Sully (1960s)

Vintage: Saigon by François Sully (1960s)


François Sully (1927 – 1971) was born France and fought against the Nazis in the French Resistance as a teenager and was wounded on his seventeenth birthday in Paris. After the liberation of Paris he enlisted in the French Army, fought the Nazis in Germany and then volunteered for the French Expeditionary Forces, arriving in Saigon when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Discharged in Saigon, Sully tried his hand as a tea planter and rancher before turning to journalism. In 1947 he joined Sud-Est Asiatique, a now defunct French magazine, working for them until 1953. He was assigned to cover the battle of Dien Bien Phu by Time-Life. He escaped from behind the Viet Minh lines. In 1959 he joined United Press International (UPI). He wrote articles for Time magazine and his photographs were carried by Black Star until he joined Newsweek in early 1961.

In March 1962, Sully was to be expelled from South Vietnam by President Ngo Dinh Diem, egged on by Madame Nhu, as his reporting was deemed “helpful to the enemy”. Unofficially, Diem intended the expulsion to serve as a warning to all journalists reporting the failings of his U.S.-assisted war against the Viet Cong. The other journalist on the expulsion list was Homer Bigart of the New York Times. Diem backed down after the U.S. Mission explained that expulsion would only worsen an already bad relationship with the press. Five months later, however, in August 1962, Sully was sent packing after some seventeen years in Indochina. The Newsweek issue of August 20, 1962 carried a long article by Sully “Viet Nam: The Unpleasant Truth”. His expulsion became a major political affair between Saigon and Washington. Sully departed Saigon on September 9, with most of the press corps at the airfield in a show of solidarity. After his expulsion Sully proceeded to Harvard where he put in a year at the Nieman Foundation and worked in bordering countries to Vietnam. He returned to the Newsweek bureau in Saigon after the November 1963 Coup and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem.

Ho Van Nga Street (now Le Thi Hong Gam), Saigon, 1967

Ho Van Nga Street (now Le Thi Hong Gam), Saigon, 1967. Photo: François Sully

Saigon air drill - State of emergency, Saigon, August 1964

Saigon air drill – State of emergency, Saigon, August 1964. Photo: François Sully

Saigon noon traffic on Boulevard Le Loi, 1969

Saigon noon traffic on Boulevard Le Loi, 1969. Photo: François Sully

Scooter traffic on road, Saigon, June 1968

Scooter traffic on road, Saigon, June 1968. Photo: François Sully

Street scene in Saigon, 1969

Street scene in Saigon, 1969. Photo: François Sully

The Tet including the flower market, Saigon, ca. 1965-66

The Tet including the flower market, Saigon, ca. 1965-66. Photo: François Sully

The traditional Tet Flower Market on Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Saigon, 20 January 1966

The traditional Tet Flower Market on Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Saigon, 20 January 1966. Photo: François Sully

U.S. tanks moving through Saigon traffic, June 1968

U.S. tanks moving through Saigon traffic, June 1968. Photo: François Sully

U.S. tanks, 25th Division take position to defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base, June 1968

U.S. tanks, 25th Division take position to defend Tan Son Nhut Air Base, June 1968. Photo: François Sully

Vietnamese farmers on their way to village festival, June 1968

Vietnamese farmers on their way to village festival, June 1968. Photo: François Sully

Women leaving the area with belongings during street fighting, Saigon, 1968

Women leaving the area with belongings during street fighting, Saigon, 1968. Photo: François Sully

Young Vietnamese girls wear Western dress, Saigon, 1969

Young Vietnamese girls wear Western dress, Saigon, 1969. Photo: François Sully

Buying spree and carnival atmosphere at Saigon Central Market, 20 January 1966

Buying spree and carnival atmosphere at Saigon Central Market, 20 January 1966. Photo: François Sully

Clare Hollingworth with life photographer Tim Page, Saigon, June 1968

Clare Hollingworth with life photographer Tim Page, Saigon, June 1968. Photo: François Sully

Crowd walking toward the Central and Flower Market at night in Saigon on Vietnamese New Year's Eve, 20 January 1966

Crowd walking toward the Central and Flower Market at night in Saigon on Vietnamese New Year’s Eve, 20 January 1966. Photo: François Sully

ESSO trucks in Saigon (Tan Son Nhat airport on the left), 1968

ESSO trucks in Saigon (Tan Son Nhat airport on the left), 1968. Photo: François Sully

Saigon rue Catinat, June 1964

Saigon rue Catinat, June 1964. Photo: François Sully

Saigon street scene, 1964

Saigon street scene, 1964. Photo: François Sully

via manhhai


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