Today’s post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty.
Gerald Ford called April of 1975 the “cruelest month.”
Having inherited a Presidency and the closing act of an unpopular war, Gerald Ford convened his National Security Council in April 1975 to discuss the final evacuation of Saigon. The North Vietnamese were on the outskirts of the city. While there were once over 500,000 troops in Vietnam, now there were only a handful of civilian personnel, and the time had come to leave.
The decisions that brought America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict to a close were tough, calibrated decisions, and few documents highlight this more than the minutes of that fateful National Security Council meeting on April 28, 1975. Forty-eight hours later, the last American would leave Vietnam.
These documents are part of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library. You can also view them here. The message mentioned in the minutes, and later sent by Secretary of State Kissinger to Ambassador Graham Martin, follows.