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3 septembre 2011 6 03 /09 /septembre /2011 03:09

Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. Sony VGP-BPL10 Battery

As the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment (after Spiro Agnew had resigned), when he became President upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the only President of the United States who was never elected President nor Vice-President. Sony VGP-BPS10 Battery

Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as the Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.

As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. Sony VGP-BPS10/S Battery

With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over arguably the worst economy since theGreat Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure.Sony VGP-BPS10A/B Battery

One of his more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford's incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President.Sony VGP-BPS10B Battery

In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. Sony VGP-BPS10A Battery

After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. He lived longer than any other U.S. president, dying at 93 years and 165 days.

Childhood

Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., on July 14, 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska, where his parents lived with his paternal grandparents.Sony VGP-BPL8 Battery

His mother was Dorothy Ayer Gardner, and his father was Leslie Lynch King, Sr., a wool trader and son of prominent banker Charles Henry King and Martha King. Dorothy separated from King just sixteen days after her son's birth. She took her son with her to the Oak Park, Illinois home of her sister Tannisse and brother-in-law, Clarence Haskins James. Sony VGP-BPL8A Battery

From there, she moved to the home of her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and Adele Augusta Ayer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dorothy and King divorced in December 1913; she gained full custody of her son. Ford's paternal grandfather Charles Henry King paid child support until shortly before his death in 1930.Sony VGP-BPL8B Battery

Ford later said his biological father had a history of hitting his mother.James M. Cannon, a member of the Ford administration, wrote in a Ford biography that the Kings' separation and divorce were sparked when, a few days after Ford's birth, Leslie King threatened Dorothy with a butcher knife and threatened to kill her, Ford, and Ford's nursemaid. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

Ford later told confidantes that his father had first hit his mother on their honeymoon for smiling at another man.

After two and a half years with her parents, on February 1, 1916, Dorothy married Gerald Rudolff Ford, a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company. They then called her son Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr. Sony VGP-BPS8A Battery

The future president was never formally adopted, however, and he did not legally change his name until December 3, 1935; he also used a more conventional spelling of his middle name.He was raised in Grand Rapids with his three half brothers by his mother's second marriage:Sony VGP-BPS8B Battery

Thomas Gardner Ford (1918–1995), Richard Addison Ford (born 1924), and James Francis Ford (1927–2001).

Ford also had three half-siblings from his father's second marriage: Marjorie King (1921–1993), Leslie Henry King (1923–1976), and Patricia Jane King (born 1925). Sony VGP-BPL9 Battery

They never saw one another as children and he did not know them at all. Ford was not aware of his biological father until he was 17, when his parents told him about the circumstances of his birth. That year his father Leslie King, whom Ford described as a "carefree, well-to-do man who didn't really give a damn about the hopes and dreams of his firstborn son", Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

approached Ford while he was waiting tables in a Grand Rapids restaurant. The two "maintained a sporadic contact" until Leslie King, Sr.'s death.

Ford maintained his distance emotionally, saying, "My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn't have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing."Sony VGP-BPS9/B Battery

Scouting and athletics

Ford was involved in The Boy Scouts of America, and earned that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout. In later years, Ford received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in May 1970 and Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the only U.S. president who was an Eagle Scout.Sony VGP-BPS9/S Battery

Scouting was so important to Ford that his family asked that Scouts participate in his funeral. About 400 Eagle Scouts were part of the funeral procession, where they formed an honor guard as the casket went by in front of the museum. A few selected scouts served as ushers inside the National Cathedral.Sony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery

Ford attended Grand Rapids South High School and was a star athlete and captain of his football team. In 1930, he was selected to the All-City team of the Grand Rapids City League. He also attracted the attention of college recruiters.

Attending the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, Sony VGP-BPS9A/S Battery

Ford played center and linebacker for the school's football team and helped the Wolverines to undefeated seasons and national titles in 1932 and 1933. The team suffered a steep decline in his 1934 senior year, however, winning only one game. Ford was the team's star nonetheless,Sony VGP-BPS9B Battery

and after a game during which Michigan held heavily favored Minnesota (the eventual national champion) to a scoreless tie in the first half, assistant coach Bennie Oosterbaan later said, "When I walked into the dressing room at half time, I had tears in my eyes I was so proud of them. Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

Ford and [Cedric] Sweet played their hearts out. They were everywhere on defense." Ford later recalled, "During 25 years in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, I often thought of the experiences before, during, and after that game in 1934. Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

Remembering them has helped me many times to face a tough situation, take action, and make every effort possible despite adverse odds." His teammates later voted Ford their most valuable player, with one assistant coach noting, "They felt Jerry was one guy who would stay and fight in a losing cause."Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

During the same season, in a game against the University of Chicago, Ford "became the only future U.S. president to tackle a future Heisman Trophy winner when he brought down running back Jay Berwanger, who would win the first Heisman the following year."[15] In 1934, Ford was selected for the Eastern Team on the Shriner's East West Crippled Children game at San Francisco (a benefit for crippled children), played on January 1, 1935. As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game at Soldier Field.[16] By virtue of Ford's later career as President of the United States, the University of Michigan retired Ford's No.48 jersey in 1994.

Ford remained interested in football and his school throughout life, occasionally attending games. Ford also visited with players and coaches during practices, at one point asking to join the players in the huddle. Ford often had the Naval band play the University of Michigan fight song, The Victors, before state events instead of Hail to the Chief.Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

He also selected the song to be played during his funeral procession at the U.S. Capitol. On his death in December 2006, the University of Michigan Marching Band played the fight song for him one final time, for his last ride from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

Ford was also an avid golfer. In 1977, he shot a hole in one during a Pro-am held in conjunction with the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee. He received the 1985 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

Education

At Michigan, Ford became a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Omicron chapter) and washed dishes at his fraternity house to earn money for college expenses. Following his graduation in 1935 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

he turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Ford hoped to attend Yale's law school beginning in 1935 while serving as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach. Yale officials at first denied his admission to the law school, because of his full-time coaching responsibilities. He spent the summer of 1937 as a student at the University of Michigan Law School and was eventually admitted in spring 1938 to Yale Law School.Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

Ford earned his LL.B. degree in 1941 (later amended to Juris Doctor), graduating in the top 25 percent of his class. His introduction to politics came in the summer of 1940 when he worked in Wendell Willkie's presidential campaign. While attending Yale Law School, he joined a group of students led by R. Douglas Stuart, Jr., and signed a petition to enforce the 1939 Neutrality Act. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

The petition was circulated nationally and was the inspiration for the America First Committee, a group determined to keep the U.S. out of World War II.

Ford graduated from law school in 1941, and was admitted to the Michigan bar shortly thereafter. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

In May 1941, he opened a Grand Rapids law practice with a friend, Philip Buchen, who would later serve as Ford's White House counsel. But overseas developments caused a change in plans, and Ford responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by enlisting in the Navy.Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

Naval service in World War II

Ford received a commission as ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on April 13, 1942. On April 20, he reported for active duty to the V-5 instructor school atAnnapolis, Maryland. After one month of training, he went to Navy Preflight School in Chapel Hill, Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

North Carolina, where he was one of 83 instructors and taught elementary navigation skills, ordnance, gunnery, first aid and military drill. In addition, he coached in all nine sports that were offered, but mostly in swimming, boxing and football. During the one year he was at the Preflight School, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on June 2, 1942, and to Lieutenant in March 1943.Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

Applying for sea duty, Ford was sent in May 1943 to the pre-commissioning detachment for the new aircraft carrier USS Monterey(CVL-26), at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. From the ship's commissioning on June 17, 1943, until the end of December 1944, Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

Ford served as the assistant navigator, Athletic Officer, and antiaircraft battery officer on board the Monterey. While he was on board, the carrier participated in many actions in the Pacific Theater with the Third and Fifth Fleets in late 1943 and 1944. Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

In 1943, the carrier helped secure Makin Island in the Gilberts, and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng, New Ireland in 1943. During the spring of 1944, the Monterey supported landings at Kwajalein and Eniwetok and participated in carrier strikes in the Marianas, Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

Western Carolines, and northern New Guinea, as well as in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.[28] After overhaul, from September to November 1944, aircraft from the Monterey launched strikes against Wake Island, participated in strikes in the Philippines and Ryukyus, and supported the landings at Leyte and Mindoro.Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

Although the ship was not damaged by Japanese forces, the Monterey was one of several ships damaged by the typhoon that hit Admiral William Halsey's Third Fleet on December 18–19, 1944. The Third Fleet lost three destroyers and over 800 men during the typhoon.Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

The Monterey was damaged by a fire, which was started by several of the ship's aircraft tearing loose from their cables and colliding on the hangar deck. During the storm, Ford narrowly avoided becoming a casualty himself. As he was going to his battle station on the bridge of the ship in the early morning of December 18, Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S Battery

the ship rolled twenty-five degrees, which caused Ford to lose his footing and slide toward the edge of the deck. The two-inch steel ridge around the edge of the carrier slowed him enough so he could roll, and he twisted into the catwalk below the deck. As he later stated, "I was lucky; I could have easily gone overboard."Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/T Battery

Because of the extent of the fires, Admiral Halsey ordered Captain Ingersoll to abandon ship. Instead Captain Ingersoll ordered Ford to lead a fire brigade below. After five hours he and his team had put out the fire.

After the fire the Monterey was declared unfit for service, and the crippled carrier reached Ulithi on December 21 before continuing across the Pacific to Bremerton, Washington where it underwent repairs.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/S Battery

On December 24, 1944, at Ulithi, Ford was detached from the ship and sent to the Navy Pre-Flight School at Saint Mary's College of California, where he was assigned to the Athletic Department until April 1945. One of his duties was to coach football.Sony VAIO VGN-NW11Z/T Battery

From the end of April 1945 to January 1946, he was on the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois as the Staff Physical and Military Training Officer. On October 3, 1945, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S Battery

In January 1946, he was sent to the Separation Center, Great Lakes to be processed out. He was released from active duty under honorable conditions on February 23, 1946. On June 28, 1946, the Secretary of the Navy accepted Ford's resignation from the Naval Reserve.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF Battery

For his naval service, Gerald Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF Battery

He also received the Philippine Liberation Medal with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign and World War II Victory Medals.

Ford was a member of several civic organizations, including the American Legion, AMVETS, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Sons of the Revolution, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W Battery

Gerald R. Ford was initiated into Freemasonry on September 30, 1949. He later said in 1975, "When I took my obligation as a master mason—incidentally, with my three younger brothers—I recalled the value my own father attached to that order.Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF Battery

But I had no idea that I would ever be added to the company of the Father of our Country and 12 other members of the order who also served as Presidents of the United States."Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W Battery

Marriage and children

On October 15, 1948, at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Ford married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren (1918–2011), a department store fashion consultant. Warren had been a John Robert Powers fashion model and a dancer in the auxiliary troupe of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF Battery

She had previously been married to and divorced from William G. Warren.

At the time of his engagement, Ford was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives.Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery

The wedding was delayed until shortly before the elections because, as The New York Times reported in a 1974 profile of Betty Ford, "Jerry was running for Congress and wasn't sure how voters might feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer."

The couple had four children: Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery

  • Michael Gerald, born in 1950
  • John Gardner, known as Jack, born in 1952
  • Steven Meigs, born in 1956
  • Susan Elizabeth, born in 1957
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House of Representatives

After returning to Grand Rapids, Ford became active in local Republican politics, and supporters urged him to take on Bartel J. Jonkman, the incumbent Republican congressman. Military service had changed his view of the world; "Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q Battery

I came back a converted internationalist", Ford wrote, "and of course our congressman at that time was an avowed, dedicated isolationist. And I thought he ought to be replaced. Nobody thought I could win. I ended up winning two to one." During his first campaign in 1948, Ford visited voters at their doorsteps and as they left the factories where they worked.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W Battery

Ford also visited local farms where, in one instance, a wager resulted in Ford spending two weeks milking cows following his election victory. Ford was known to his colleagues in the House as a "Congressman's Congressman".

Ford was a member of the House of Representatives for twenty-five years, holding the Grand Rapids congressional district seat from 1949 to 1973.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R Battery

It was a tenure largely notable for its modesty. As an editorial in The New York Times described him, Ford "saw himself as a negotiator and a reconciler, and the record shows it: he did not write a single piece of major legislation in his entire career".Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/P Battery

Appointed to the House Appropriations Committee two years after being elected, he was a prominent member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Ford described his philosophy as "a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy". Sony VAIO VGN-SR41M/S Battery

In the early 1950s, Ford declined offers to run for both the Senate and the Michigan governorship. Rather, his ambition was to become Speaker of the House.

Warren Commission

In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford to the Warren Commission, a special task force set up to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ER/S Battery

Ford was assigned to prepare a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin.The Commission's work continues to be debated in the public arena.

In the preface to his book, A Presidential Legacy and The Warren Commission, Ford said the CIA destroyed or kept from investigators critical secrets connected to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11E/S Battery

He said the commission's probe put "certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed". The CIA's reaction, he added, "was to hide or destroy some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK's assassination".Sony VAIO VGN-NS11J/S Battery

According to a 1963 FBI memo released in 2008, Ford secretly provided the FBI with information about two of his fellow commission members, both of whom were doubtful about the FBI's conclusions about the assassination. The FBI position was that President Kennedy was shot by a single gunman firing from the Texas Book Depository.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11L/S Battery

Another 1963 memo released in 1978 stated that Representative Ford volunteered to advise the FBI regarding the content of the commission's deliberations if his involvement with the bureau was kept confidential, a condition which the bureau approved.Ford was an outspoken proponent of the single-assassin theory.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11MR/S Battery

According to the same reports, Ford had strong ties to the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.

House Minority Leader

In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson led a landslide victory for his party, securing another term as president and taking 36 seats from Republicans in the House of Representatives.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11M/S Battery

Following the election, members of the Republican caucus looked to select a new Minority Leader. Three members approached Ford to see if he would be willing to serve; after consulting with his family, he agreed. After a closely contested election, Ford was chosen to replace Charles Halleck of Indiana as Minority Leader.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11SR/S Battery

The Republicans had 140 seats in the House compared with the 295 seats held by the Democrats. Consequently, the Johnson Administration proposed and passed a series of programs termed by President Johnson as the "Great Society". During the first session of the Eighty-ninth Congress alone,Sony VAIO VGN-NS11S/S Battery

the Johnson Administration submitted eighty-seven bills to Congress, and Johnson signed eighty-four, or 96%, arguably the most successful legislative agenda in U.S. Congressional history.

Criticism over the Johnson Administration's handling of the Vietnam War began to grow in 1966, with Ford and Congressional Republicans expressing concern that the United States was not doing what was necessary to win the war.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11ZR/S Battery

Public sentiment also began to move against Johnson, and the 1966 midterm elections saw a 47-seat swing in favor of the Republicans. This was not enough to give Republicans a majority in the House, but the victory did give Ford the opportunity to prevent the passage of further Great Society programs.Sony VAIO VGN-NS11Z/S Battery

Ford's private criticism of the Vietnam War became public following a speech from the floor of the House, in which he questioned whether the White House had a clear plan to bring the war to a successful conclusion.The speech angered President Johnson, who accused Ford of playing "too much football without a helmet".Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/S Battery

As Minority Leader in the House, Ford appeared in a popular series of televised press conferences with famed Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, in which they proposed Republican alternatives to Johnson's policies. Many in the press jokingly called this "The Ev and Jerry Show".Sony VAIO VGN-NS12M/W Battery

Johnson said at the time, "Jerry Ford is so dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time."The press, used to sanitizing LBJ's salty language, reported this as "Gerald Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

Ford's role shifted under President Nixon to being an advocate for the White House agenda.Sony VAIO VGN-NS12S/S Battery

Congress passed several of Nixon's proposals, including theNational Environmental Policy Act and the Tax Reform Act of 1969. Another high-profile victory for the Republican minority was the State and Local Fiscal Assistance act. Passed in 1972, the act established a Revenue Sharing program for state and local governments.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/P Battery

Ford's leadership was instrumental in shepherding revenue sharing through Congress, and resulted in a bipartisan coalition that supported the bill with 223 votes in favor (compared with 185 against).Sony VAIO VGN-NS21M/W Battery

During the eight years (1965–1973) he served as Minority Leader, Ford won many friends in the House because of his fair leadership and inoffensive personality. An office building in the U.S. Capitol Complex, House Annex 2, was renamed for Gerald Ford as the Ford House Office Building.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/S Battery

Vice Presidency, 1973–74

On October 10, 1973, Vice President Agnew resigned and then pleaded no contest to criminal charges of tax evasion and money laundering, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme in which he accepted $29,500 in bribes while governor of Maryland.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21S/W Battery

According to The New York Times, "Nixon sought advice from senior Congressional leaders about a replacement. The advice was unanimous. 'We gave Nixon no choice but Ford,' House Speaker Carl Albert recalled later".

Ford was nominated to take Agnew's position on October 12, the first time the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment had been implemented.Sony VAIO VGN-NS21Z/S Battery

The United States Senate voted 92 to 3 to confirm Ford on November 27. Only three Senators, all Democrats, voted against Ford's confirmation:Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Thomas Eagleton of Missouri and William Hathaway of Maine. On December 6, the House confirmed Ford by a vote of 387 to 35.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/P Battery

One hour after the confirmation vote in the House, Ford took the oath of office as Vice President of the United States. Ford's brief tenure as Vice-President was little noted by the media as reporters were preoccupied by the continuing revelations about crimes committed during the 1972 presidential election and allegations of cover-ups within the White House.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31M/W Battery

Following Ford's appointment, the Watergate investigation continued until Chief of Staff Alexander Haig contacted Ford on August 1, 1974, and told him that "smoking gun" evidence had been found. The evidence left little doubt that President Nixon had been a part of the Watergate cover-up.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31S/S Battery

At the time, Ford and his wife, Betty, were living in suburban Virginia, waiting for their expected move into the newly-designated vice president's residence in Washington, D.C. However, "Al Haig [asked] to come over and see me," Ford later related, "to tell me that there would be a new tape released on a Monday,Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/P Battery

and he said the evidence in there was devastating and there would probably be either an impeachment or a resignation. And he said, 'I'm just warning you that you've got to be prepared, that things might change dramatically and you could become President.' And I said, 'Betty, I don't think we're ever going to live in the vice president's house.'"Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/S Battery

Accession

When Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Ford assumed the presidency, making him the only person to assume the vice-presidency and the presidency without having been voted into either office.Sony VAIO VGN-NS31Z/W Battery

Immediately after taking the oath of office in the East Room of the White House, he spoke to the assembled audience in a speech broadcast live to the nation. Ford noted the peculiarity of his position: "I am acutely aware that you have not electeI have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it.Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/P Battery

Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people. Sony VAIO VGN-NS38M/W Battery

I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery

On September 8, 1974, Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country, Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery

and that the Nixon family's situation "is a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must." When he announced the Nixon pardon, Ford also introduced a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam War draft dodgers who had fled to countries such as Canada.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery

Unconditional amnesty, however, did not come about until the Jimmy Carter Presidency.

The Nixon pardon was highly controversial. Critics derided the move and claimed, a "corrupt bargain" had been struck between the men.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery

They claimed Ford's pardon was granted in exchange for Nixon's resignation that elevated Ford to the Presidency. According to Bob Woodward, Nixon Chief of Staff Alexander Haig proposed a pardon deal to Ford. He later decided to pardon Nixon for other reasons, primarily the friendship he and Nixon shared.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery

Regardless, historians believe the controversy was one of the major reasons Ford lost the election in 1976, an observation with which Ford agreed. In an editorial at the time, The New York Times stated that the Nixon pardon was "a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act" that in a stroke had destroyed the new president's "credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence".Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery

Ford's first press secretary and close friend Jerald Franklin terHorst resigned his post in protest after President Nixon's full pardon. Ford also voluntarily appeared before Congress on October 17, 1974 to give sworn testimony—the only time a sitting president has done so—about the pardon.Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery

After Ford left the White House in 1977, intimates said that the former President privately justified his pardon of Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court decision which stated that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt, and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt.Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery

In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to Ford for his pardon of Nixon. In presenting the award to Ford, Senator Ted Kennedy said that he had initially been opposed to the pardon of Nixon, but later stated that history had proved Ford to have made the correct decision.Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery

Administration and cabinet

Upon assuming office, Ford inherited Nixon's cabinet. During Ford's brief administration, only Secretary of State Kissinger and Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon remained. Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery

Ford appointedWilliam Coleman as Secretary of Transportation, the second African American to serve in a presidential cabinet (after Robert Clifton Weaver) and the first appointed in a Republican administration.

Ford selected George H.W. Bush as Chief of the US Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China in 1974, and then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in late 1975.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery

Ford's transition chairman and first Chief of Staff was former congressman and ambassador Donald Rumsfeld. In 1975, Rumsfeld was named by Ford as the youngest-ever Secretary of Defense. Ford chose a young Wyoming politician, Richard Cheney, to replace Rumsfeld as his new Chief of Staff and later campaign manager for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery

Ford's dramatic reorganization of his Cabinet in the fall of 1975 has been referred to by political commentators as the "Halloween Massacre".

Midterm elections

The 1974 Congressional midterm elections took place fewer than three months after Ford assumed office and in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery

The Democratic Party turned voter dissatisfaction into large gains in the House elections, taking 49 seats from the Republican Party, and increasing their majority to 291 of the 435 seats. This was one more than the number needed (290) for a two-thirds majority, necessary to override a Presidential veto (or to propose a constitutional amendment). Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery

Perhaps due in part to this fact, the 94th Congress overrode the highest percentage of vetoes sinceAndrew Johnson was President of the United States (1865–1869). Even Ford's old, reliably Republican seat was taken by Democrat Richard Vander Veen, defeating Republican Robert VanderLaan. In the Senate elections, the Democratic majority became 61 in the 100-seat body.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery

Domestic policy

In this Land of the Free, it is right, and by nature it ought to be, that all men and all women are equal before the law.

Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, to remind all Americans that it is fitting and just to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment adopted by the Congress of the United States of America,Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery

in order to secure legal equality for all women and men, do hereby designate and proclaim August 26, 1975, as Women's Equality Day.

Ford continued the détente policy with both the Soviet Union and China, easing the tensions of the Cold War.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery

Still in place from the Nixon Administration was the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). The thawing relationship brought about by Nixon's visit to China was reinforced by Ford's December 1975 visit to the communist country.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery

In 1975, the Administration entered into the Helsinki Accords with the Soviet Union, creating the framework of the Helsinki Watch, an independent non-governmental organization created to monitor compliance that later evolved into Human Rights Watch.Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery

Ford attended the inaugural meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations (initially the G5) in 1975 and secured membership for Canada. Ford supported international solutions to issues. "We live in an interdependent world and, therefore, must work together to resolve common economic problems," he said in a 1974 speech.Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery

Middle East

In the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, two ongoing international disputes developed into crises. The Cyprus dispute turned into a crisis with theTurkish invasion of Cyprus, causing extreme strain within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance.Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery

In mid-August, the government withdrew Greece from the NATO military structure; in mid-September 1974, the Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to halt military aid to Turkey. Ford, concerned with both the effect of this on Turkish-American relations and the deterioration of security on NATO's eastern front, vetoed the bill. Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery

A second bill was passed by the house, and vetoed, although a compromise was accepted to continue aid until the end of the year. As Ford expected, Turkish relations were considerably disrupted until 1978.

In the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, although the initial cease fire had been implemented to end active conflict in the Yom Kippur War, Kissinger's continuingshuttle diplomacy was showing little progress.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery

Ford considered it "stalling" and wrote, "Their [Israeli] tactics frustrated the Egyptians and made me mad as hell."During Kissinger's shuttle to Israel in early March 1975, a last minute reversal to consider further withdrawal, prompted a cable from Ford to Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, which included:Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery

I wish to express my profound disappointment over Israel's attitude in the course of the negotiations ... Failure of the negotiation will have a far reaching impact on the region and on our relations. I have given instructions for a reassessment of United States policy in the region, including our relations with Israel, Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery

with the aim of ensuring that overall American interests ... are protected. You will be notified of our decision.

On March 24, Ford received congressional leaders of both parties and informed them of the reassessment of the administration poli

cies in the Middle East.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery

"Reassessment", in practical terms, meant to cancel or suspend further aid to Israel. For six months between March and September 1975, the United States refused to conclude any new arms agreements with Israel. Rabin notes it was "an innocent-sounding term that heralded one of the worst periods in American-Israeli relations".Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery

As could be expected, the announced reassessments upset the American Jewish community and Israel's well-wishers in Congress. On May 21, Ford "experienced a real shock", seventy-six senators wrote him a letter urging him to be "responsive" to Israel's request for $2.59 billion in military and economic aid. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery

Ford felt truly annoyed and thought the chance for peace was jeopardized. It was, since the September 1974 ban on arms to Turkey, the second major congressional intrusion upon the President's [foreign policy] prerogatives.The following summer months were described by Ford as an American-Israeli "war of nerves" or "test of wills",Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery

and after much bargaining, the Sinai Interim Agreement (Sinai II), was formally signed on September 1 and aid resumed.

Vietnam

One of Ford's greatest challenges was dealing with the continued Vietnam War. American offensive operations against North Vietnam had ended with the Paris Peace Accords, signed on January 27, 1973.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery

The accords declared a cease fire across both North and South Vietnam, and required the release of American prisoners of war. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and, like the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for national elections in the North and South. Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery

The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The accords had been negotiated by United States National Security Advisor Kissinger and North Vietnamese politburo member Le Duc Tho. Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery

South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu was not involved in the final negotiations, and publicly criticized the proposed agreement. However, anti-war pressures within the United States forced Nixon and Kissinger to pressure Thieu to sign the agreement and enable the withdrawal of American forces. Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery

In multiple letters to the South Vietnamese president, Nixon had promised that the United States would defend his government, should the North Vietnamese violate the accords.

In December 1974, months after Ford took office, North Vietnamese forces invaded the province of Phuoc Long.Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery

General Tr?n V?n Trà sought to gauge any South Vietnamese or American response to the invasion, as well as to solve logistical issues before proceeding with the invasion.

As North Vietnamese forces advanced, Ford requested aid for South Vietnam in a $522 million aid package. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery

The funds had been promised by the Nixon administration, but Congress voted against the proposal by a wide margin. Senator Jacob Javits offered "...large sums for evacuation, but not one nickel for military aid". President Thieu resigned on April 21, 1975, publicly blaming the lack of support from the United States for the fall of his country.Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery

Two days later, on April 23, Ford gave a speech at Tulane University. In that speech, he announced that the Vietnam War was over "...as far as America is concerned".The announcement was met with thunderous applause.

1,373 U.S. citizens and 5,595 Vietnamese and third country nationals were evacuated from the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon during Operation Frequent Wind.Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery

Military and Air America helicopters took evacuees to U.S. Navy ships off-shore during an approximately 24-hour period on April 29 to 30, 1975, immediately preceding the fall of Saigon. During the operation, so many South Vietnamese helicopters landed on the vessels taking the evacuees that some were pushed overboard to make room for more people. Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery

\Other helicopters, having nowhere to land, were deliberately crash landed into the sea, close to the ships, their pilots bailing out at the last moment to be picked up by rescue boats.

Many of the Vietnamese evacuees were allowed to enter the United States under the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery

The 1975 Act appropriated $455 million toward the costs of assisting the settlement of Indochinese refugees. In all, 130,000 Vietnamese refugees came to the United States in 1975. Thousands more escaped in the years that followed. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery

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