278. Editorial Note

The Ambassador to Vietnam, Graham Martin, left Saigon aboard a CH–46 military helicopter at 2058Z, April 29, 1975. The last members of the U.S. Marine Corps Ground Security Force left the Embassy complex at 2346Z. During the Frequent Wind Operation, 0252Z, April 29 to 0054Z, April 30, the U.S. military evacuated 7,806 U.S. citizens and foreign nationals from South Vietnam. Operation Eagle Pull, 0030Z to 0418Z, April 11, removed 276 U.S., Cambodian, and third country nationals from Phnom Penh. (Memorandum from the Director, Joint Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Public Affairs, DJSM–1480–75, August 25; National Archives, RG 218, Records of Chairman, George S. Brown, Box 52, 820, Vietnam, 1975) According to an Interagency Task Force for Indochina Refugees report, June 15, 131,399 Cambodians and Vietnamese entered the U.S. refugee system between March and June 1975. For complete accounting, see “Report of Interagency Task Force for Indochina Refugees Transmitted to the Congress,” Department of State Bulletin, July 28, 1975, pages 133–139.

President Ford released a brief statement on April 29 informing Americans that he had ordered the evacuation of all American personnel in Saigon and that the evacuation was complete. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1975, Book I, page 605.

During an April 29 press conference, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pointed to “the weakening of executive authority in the United States for reasons unconnected with foreign policy considerations” as a major cause of the failure of the Paris Agreement. He added:

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“I think it will be a long time before Americans will be able to talk or write about the war with some dispassion. It is clear that the war did not achieve the objectives of those who started the original involvement nor the objectives of those who sought to end that involvement, which they found on terms which seemed to them compatible with the sacrifices that had been made. What lessons we should draw from it, I think we should reserve for another occasion. But I don’t think that we can solve the problem of having entered the conflict too lightly by leaving it too lightly, either.” For full text, see Department of State Bulletin, May 19, 1975, pages 625–633. Excerpts were printed in The New York Times, April 30, 1975.