As popular support back home for the war evaporated, the U.S. scaled back its military involvement, and began looking for a way out. Years of peace talks finally culminated in the Paris Peace Accord of January 1973, which called for a cease-fire and for the U.S. to pull all troops and equipment out of Vietnam. While the U.S. did pull out its forces, a cease-fire did not occur, and North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces took Saigon on April 30, 1975. Nearly 150,000 refugees, mostly ARVN officers, government officials and their families, fled Saigon as the capital fell. Many settled in the United States.
The fall of Saigon, and the conflicts with China and Cambodia that followed, prompted a mass exodus of "boat people" from Vietnam. By some estimates, nearly half of the hundreds of thousands who set out across the South China Sea in rickety boats succumbed to drowning, starvation, dehydration or pirates. The lucky ones reached refugee camps in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines, from where many were permitted to emigrate into the United States, France, Canada, and other countries. As members of this first wave gained refugee status, the Vietnamese government allowed many of their relatives to join them. In total, it is estimated that over two million Vietnamese fled the country in the years following the end of the Vietnam War.