Wednesday, September 13, 2023

the last book I ever read (Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977, excerpt nine)

from Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley:

Official White House photographer David Hume Kennerly, who had accompanied the delegation to Saigon, returned with a more candid report to the president. “I don’t care what the generals tell you,” Kennerly blurted with the bluntness Ford valued him for. “They’ve bullshitting you if they say that Vietnam had got more than three or four weeks left. There’s no question about it. It’s just not gonna last.”

Ford no longer had any reason to believe otherwise. On April 21, President Thieu resigned his office, made a speech accusing the United States of selling South Vietnam out to the Communists, and fled to Switzerland. Ford duly requested the $722 million from Congress to protect Saigon’s new caretaker government, but he had already decided what to do regarding Vietnam. And once Gerald Ford made a decision, he acted on it. In an April 23 speech before six thousand Tulane University students jammed into the basketball field house, he declared: “Today, American 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 American is concerned.”

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