151. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Vietnam 1

236790. Subj: President Ford’s Letter to President Thieu.

There follows the text of President Ford’s letter to President Thieu dated October 24.

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Dear Mr. President:

I very much appreciated meeting with Foreign Minister Bac and receiving from him your letter of September 19.2

American policy toward Vietnam remains unchanged under this administration. We continue strongly to support your government’s efforts to defend and to promote the independence and well-being of the South Vietnamese people. We also remain confident in the courage, determination and skill of the South Vietnamese people and armed forces.

I fully understand and share your concern about the current situation in the Republic of Vietnam, particularly the growing Communist military threat which you now face.

I am also well aware of the critical necessity of American military and economic aid for your country. I give you my firm assurance that this administration will continue to make every effort to provide the assistance you need.

Although I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss ways and means to achieve a genuine and lasting peace in South Vietnam, prior commitments preclude such a meeting at this time. But I hope that such a meeting can be arranged in the future.

I agree with you that it is essential that my government clearly indicate its support for your government and for the full implementation of the Paris Agreements. I believe my public statement of October 9,3 my meeting with Foreign Minister Bac and Deputy Defense Secretary Clements’s visit to Saigon4 all clearly demonstrate that we are standing firm in our commitments to you. We have also conveyed to other powers having an interest in Vietnam that we continue to support your government and that we favor a complete implementation of the Paris Agreements. I shall take advantage of other occasions to show my support for your government and for the peace that we achieved together.

Our countries have been through many difficult times together. It appears likely that we shall face other difficulties in the future. I am confident, however, that these problems can be overcome if we work together to meet them with strength and determination.

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With best wishes for you and for the valiant people of the Republic of Vietnam.


Gerald R. Ford. End text.

Signed original being pouched.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by the White House; approved by Wenzel, EA/VN.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 148.
  3. When signing the Department of Defense Appropriations Act on October 9, Ford said: “The bill has, however, a major drawback. The $700 million funding for South Vietnam is inadequate to provide for all of their critical needs, if South Vietnam’s enemies continue to press their attacks. It may, therefore, be necessary to approach the Congress early next year to work out some solutions to meet critical needs which arise.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1974, p. 244)
  4. Martin reported on Clements’s visit to Saigon in telegram 12865, October 4. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the Pacific, Box 21, Vietnam, State Department Telegrams, To SECSTATE, Exdis)