THE CONDITIONS established by the Communist victors in Indochina continue to flush out substantial numbers of refugees , people who find the system so incompatible with their beliefs or standards that they are prepared to abandon homeland ties and possessions and seek haven abroad. This continuing flow is a telling comment the kinds of societies now being built in Indochina. It is also a heavy burden on the countries of refuge. Many of the socalled boat people, who slip out in small boats, find themselves abandoned by foreign ships on the high seas and pushed away from foreign shores. The even larger numbers who leave by land pile up in wretched camps in Thailand. Their plight is property an international concern.
Since the collapse of the American-supported regimes in 1975, some 165,000 Indochinese have settled in the United States. Most came in the first surge, but some 15,000 later departees have arrived this year. Now another 4,700 people, who have been clinging to beach-heads in Asia but cannot be resettled there, are in need of emergency admission. The State Department has begun the process and, at the same time, it is preparing to ask Congress to develop a "long-term policy" to deal with 100,000 more refugees still in Thai camps, plus others expected in the future. Congress, which has supported two administrations in handling the refugees, can be expected to direct the State Department to keep asking other countries to accept their fair share.
Ultimately the answer lies in the setting of policies, by the Indochinese governments, that do not impel helpless citizens to flee. The best place to stanch the flow is at the source. In the meantime, however, people are still trickling out of Indochina, and a disproportionate part of the burden falls on the countries closest by. They should be encouraged to help as many refugees as they can, but countries further from the scene must also do their part. The United States, France, Australia, New Zealand, even Israel have taken in various numbers of refuges, and they and other must continue to assist in this sad, unfinished business of the war.