Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Fall of Saigon 2 - Documents

When California governor (first time around) Jerry Brown and his Health and Welfare Secretary Mario Obledo telephoned and wrote to the White House on May 1, 1975, requesting that no Vietnamese refugees be allowed to settle in California (they would be a burden on the welfare system!) and that no Air Force planes ferrying Vietnamese refugees to the US be allowed to land at Travis AFB or any other AFB in California, they were told by the President and his staff that the governor of California did not command the USAF. Julie Taft, head of the task force to resettle Vietnamese in the US (49 other states all responded positively) told Brown she would accede to his and Obledo's wishes but she would also put their requests on the front page of the Washington Post. At that threat they backed off (source: documents and interviews with the late Julia Taft.) Bill Clinton later awarded Obledo the Medal of Freedom. The California governor's request so upset White House photographer David Kennerly, who had visited South Vietnam and Cambodia during the crisis of the spring of 1975, that he wrote the following telegram to Brown.

More documents on the Fall of Saigon.

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