The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. The Ford Library in Ann Arbor. The Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. Overview of Holdings. - 21 million pages of materials 400+ sets of papers 500,000 audiovisual items 17,000 artifacts
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The Ford Museum
in Grand Rapids
Gerald R. Ford
38th President of the United States
Ambassador Graham Martin, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Frederick Weyand, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger discuss the situation in Vietnam, March 25, 1975.
President Truman's resolution must guide us today. Our purpose is not to point the finger of blame, but to build upon our many successes, to repair damage where we find it, to recover our balance, to move ahead as a united people. Tonight is a time for straight talk among friends, about where we stand and where we are going.
A vast human tragedy has befallen our friends in Vietnam and Cambodia. Tonight I shall not talk only of obligations arising from legal documents. Who can forget the enormous sacrifices of blood, dedication, and treasure that we made in Vietnam?
Under five Presidents and 12 Congresses, the United States was engaged in Indochina. Millions of Americans served, thousands died, and many more were wounded, imprisoned, or lost. Over $150 billion have been appropriated for that war by the Congress of the United States. And after years of effort, we negotiated, under the most difficult circumstances, a settlement which made it possible for us to remove our military forces and bring home with pride our American prisoners. This settlement, if its terms had been adhered to, would have permitted our South Vietnamese ally, with our material and moral support, to maintain its security and rebuild after two decades of war.
The chances for an enduring peace after the last American fighting man left Vietnam in 1973 rested on two publicly stated premises: first, that if necessary, the United States would help sustain the terms of the Paris accords it signed 2 years ago, and second, that the United States would provide adequate economic and military assistance to South Vietnam.
Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned. As I see it, the time has come to look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the Nation's wounds, and to restore its health and its optimistic self-confidence.
The Air Force halts evacuation flights.
The President convenes a meeting of the National Security Council.
Just before midnight, Gerald Ford orders the final evacuation of Saigon.
9:47 a.m. EST
1:42 p.m. Zulu Time
From Secy. Of State Kissinger to Martin (via Brown)“IBM headquarters reports its personnel still in Saigon and is most disturbed. Do what you can.”
10:11 a.m. EST
2:11 p.m. Zulu Time
In 16 hours, United States forces evacuated 6,500 Americans and South Vietnamese from Saigon, ending decades of American involvement in the area.
President Gerald R. Ford's Remarks Announcing a Program for the Return of Vietnam Era Draft Evaders and Military Deserters
September 16, 1974
In my first week as President, I asked the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense to report to me, after consultation with other Governmental officials and private citizens concerned, on the status of those young Americans who have been convicted, charged, investigated, or are still being sought as draft evaders or military deserters.
On August 19, at the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in the city of Chicago, I announced my intention to give these young people a chance to earn their return to the mainstream of American society so that they can, if they choose, contribute, even though belatedly, to the building and the betterment of our country and the world.
I did this for the simple reason that for American fighting men, the long and divisive war in Vietnam has been over for more than a year, and I was determined then, as now, to do everything in my power to bind up the Nation's wounds.
I promised to throw the weight of my Presidency into the scales of justice on the side of leniency and mercy, but I promised also to work within the existing system of military and civilian law and the precedents set by my predecessors who faced similar postwar situations, among them Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Harry S. Truman.