CFF Co-founder and past president Ralph White’s memoir, Getting Out of Saigon: How a 27-Year-Old Banker Saved 113 Vietnamese, published by Simon & Schuster, launches in April 2023. Praised as “an edge-or-your-seat, too-insane-not-to-be-true story” by Oprah’s Book Club, this is the remarkable true tale of White’s desperate efforts to save the entire staff of the Saigon branch of Chase Manhattan bank and their families before the city fell to the North Vietnamese Army.
In April 1975, Chase Manhattan Bank's senior management asked Ralph White to relocate from its Bangkok branch to its Saigon branch as enemy troops closed in on the city. The bank needed an American - preferably one who was young and single - to helm the branch in Saigon's final days. White was given the mission of keeping the branch open as long as possible and rescuing its senior Vietnamese employees if closing became necessary. Upon arrival in Saigon, White encountered towering obstacles that the bank's management had not anticipated: a delusional U.S. ambassador refused to support the bank's evacuation of its Vietnamese employees. The Vietnamese government prohibited its citizens from leaving the country. And fears of a bloodbath made it essential to evacuate all employees, not just the senior staff. Then civil aviation in and out of Saigon was terminated. When White discovered the clandestine evacuation channel being run behind the U.S. ambassador's back, he resolved to pull out his staff and their families that way. With legwork and luck, White ferried his families to the U.S air base days before Saigon fell. Getting Out of Saigon is the remarkable true story of a city once called the Paris of the Orient on the eve of cataclysmic destruction.