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President / News Conference / South Vietnam #239760

CBS Evening News for Thursday, Apr 03, 1975
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(Studio) President Ford believes he has authority to call on military to protect any evacuation of 7000 Americans from South Vietnam, although Congress has set limitations on use of troops overseas. President makes statement at San Diego news conference
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

(San Diego, California) President devotes most of news conference to Indochina. [PRES. - says funds to be made available to evacuate 2000 orphans from South Vietnam to US as soon as possible.] Questioned about United States miscalculations of South Vietnam's will to resist North Vietnam offensive. [Mr. FORD - doesn't believe United States miscalculated. Govt.'s decision to withdraw from areas created chaotic condition among South Vietnam people.] Asked why President Thieu didn't inform President of plans to retreat. [PRES. - says answer can only come from Thieu.] Mr. Ford defends American involvement in Vietnam. [PRES. - believes United States policy of involvement right if it had just been carried out. Doesn't assess blame for not carrying out promises on anyone; American people must decide who was at fault.] Asked if he believes 55,000 American lives wasted on Vietnam. [PRES. - doesn't think lives wasted provided United States carries out commitments made at Paris peace talks; not too late for South Vietnam to be salvaged. American to continue to stand by its allies.] President's remarks with regard to more military aid to South Vietnam catch even some aides by surprise.
REPORTER: Bob Schieffer

(Studio) War powers act explained; President's plans to use military under this act to protect American evacuation from South Vietnam. Pentagon officials say cargo planes President wants to use in evacuating South Vietnam orphans would need to be re-fitted to carry passengers.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter;
Schieffer, Bob

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