248. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • 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

Kissinger: Vietnam will be off our backs in two weeks, and Congress will be on our backs to give aid to Communist Vietnam and we will be resisting.

The President: I am glad you feel that way. I see no reason to give money to Waldheim to keep the bleeding hearts off our backs.2

Kissinger: The Americans are down to 2,000 now. We will be able to pull the remaining out because it takes two waves to do it. We have done it well. Had you led the charge for evacuation, we would have had chaos.

Schlesinger, after a lecture to me, agreed to send the battalion in if it’s for reinforcement not for a signal.

I think we should reassert our aid request to the Congress.

The President: I agree. I don’t think we will even get the $200 million though.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Vietnam.]

[Kissinger:] I asked Dobrynin Saturday for a two-week ceasefire and we would cooperate in the kind of government necessary.

I worried about Martin being Chinese Gordon and causing a panic to prove he had been right. So we have to treat him with care. I am afraid Martin accelerated Thieu’s departure.

Scowcroft: His talk with Thieu must have been provocative because of his quick action and blast at you.3

Kissinger: Then we heard from Dobrynin yesterday. The battalion was designed to strengthen Moscow’s hand with Hanoi. Brown thinks we need only one lift now.

[Page 871]

Martin should be told that our judgment is as soon as the airport comes under fire, the DAO personnel at Tan Son Nhut should immediately be taken out by C–130, not by helicopters. But reduce the non-essential personnel as soon as possible. He should not delay a move at Tan Son Nhut until it is irretrievably closed.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 11, Chronological File. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. According to the President’s Daily Diary, the meeting lasted from 9:25 to 10:25 a.m. (Ibid., Staff Secretary’s Office File)
  2. On April 18, UN Secretary General Waldheim appealed to UN members for $100 million for humanitarian assistance to Indochinese refugees.
  3. See Documents 244 and 246.