Although not elected to the office, Gerald Ford nonetheless had the opportunity to change the nation's course in Vietnam when he assumed the presidency in August 1974. He did not do so, leaving the burden of ending the war there to the U.S. Congress. Contrary to what some policymakers and historians have subsequently argued, Congress did not sell out a healthy, viable South Vietnamese government to the communists in 1974––1975. Instead, the senators and representatives who voted to reduce, not cut off, military and economic assistance to the government of Nguyen Van Thieu made the correct and proper decision in the face of that regime's obviously untenable nature and the overwhelming desire of the American people to curtail support for it. Rather than working out a plan to end the war and remove those South Vietnamese who had worked with the Americans over the years, the Ford administration, led by the President himself, his Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and Graham Martin, the U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, chose to pursue a deliberate policy of denial, one designed to place the blame for the loss of South Vietnam on the shoulders of Congress. The resulting tragedy left thousands of Vietnamese to face life as the clear losers in a civil war.
Research Article| August 01 2002
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T. Christopher Jespersen; Kissinger, Ford, and Congress: The Very Bitter End in Vietnam. Pacific Historical Review 1 August 2002; 71 (3): 439–473. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2002.71.3.439
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