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REGROUPING TO THE NORTH (Tập Kết Ra Bắc)

In accordance with the Geneva Accords of July 1954, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam agreed to regroup its soldiers heretofore located in southern Indochina (including Cambodia) to areas in Vietnam located above the newly established partition line at the 17th parallel. Between 80 and 90,000 individuals moved to northern Vietnam in the wake of the signing of the Geneva Accords. However, the Vietnamese Workers’ Party (VWP) authorized some 5 to 10,000 cadres to remain secretly in southern Vietnam and Cambodia in the event that war resumed. In September 1954, Le Duan returned to the south to oversee the relocation of soldiers and cadres to the north and to decide who stayed on and how the Party’s Territorial Committee for the South would operate in the new circumstances. Sometime in January 1955, as the relocation process wound down, Le Duan boarded the Polish ship Kilinski to escort high-ranking communists to North Vietnam. However, with the agreement of the Polish skipper, Le Duan left the boat secretly in the middle of the night and secretly returned to southern Vietnam to continue running the party’s clandestine affairs. A handful of Cambodian allies of the DRV/VWP, including Son Ngoc Minh, also relocated to Hanoi at this time. Most, however, remained in Cambodia, where they demobilized and laid down their arms. See also REFUGEES, FRANCE; CATHOLICS IN VIETNAM AND THE WAR; CATHOLICS, EXODUS FROM NORTH; REPATRIATION, JAPANESE TROOPS.