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Primary Sources: A Message from the President

President Gerald Ford issued this press release at the outset of Operation Babylift, after the first group of orphans perished in a plane crash.


April 4, 1975

Office of the White House Press Secretary
(San Francisco, California)

The White House
Statement by the President

I am deeply saddened at the loss of so many lives in the crash of the United States C-5A mercy flight today near Saigon.

I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims, many of whom were coming to new homes in the United States, and to the volunteers who were caring for them on the flight.

Our mission of mercy will continue. The survivors will be flown here when they are physically able. Other waiting orphans will make the journey.

This tragedy must not deter us from offering new hope for the living. The government and people of the United States offer this hope in our rededication to assisting the Vietnamese orphans as best and as quickly as we can.

Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Library.

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