240. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

President: I thought we should have a meeting this afternoon to decide what to do on a vote.

Kissinger: I am testifying tomorrow before Doc Morgan’s Committee.

[Page 845]

President: One of the weakest members is Peter DuPont. He should be good.

Kissinger: Broomfield is good.

President: But he is not a leader. There is no leader on that Committee. Phil Burton wants to see me about evacuation.

Kissinger: I would be careful. Those bastards want to hang you. They are just waiting to pin it on you.

President: That is what he wants to tell us, I am sure. That we get out.

Kissinger: Graham Martin is a noble American. He is trying to hold things together and get people out.

They are sticking with the figure of 1,250. I meant official ones; they thought it meant total.

All the Pentagon wants is to evacuate. It is tough problem. Whatever you do there will be some Americans left. We are planning a WSAG.2 It might be better to have your meeting after the WSAG.

President: [Changes meeting time.]

Kissinger: Javits called last night. He says we are not moving out fast enough. He asked what we objected to in the bill. I said the amount and the conditions. He asked if we would compromise. I said I would talk to you. I don’t see what we gain by compromise.

President: I think we should say we made an honest evaluation of the needs and we have the figures to back it up. They are an equal branch and can exercise their judgment. It has worried me that we can show progress every day on evacuation.

Kissinger: I send Martin a cable a day.

I wonder if we should call Dean Brown back to coordinate the refugees. It would be good public relations. He gets things done.

President: Go ahead. Let’s get an announcement out.3

Kissinger: I will need to get Dean Brown first.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Vietnam.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 11, Chronological File, 4/18/75. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 243.
  3. Nessen announced on April 18 that retired Foreign Service officer L. Dean Brown would head a special task force to coordinate evacuation, humanitarian aid, and the flow of refugees. (Washington Post, April 19, 1975)