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lanced Force Reductions agreement with the East.” Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIV, No. 1907, Jan. 12, 1976, pp. 57–58.
In the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), adopted on August 1, 1975, the 35 participating states recognized their interest in efforts aimed at lessening military confrontation and promoting disarmament to complement political détente in Europe and to strengthen their security. They stated their conviction of the necessity to take measures constituting steps toward “the ultimate achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
For the text of the subsection of the Final Act of the CSCE on “Questions relating to disarmament,” see ante, Ch. 14, § 1, p. 786. For the full text of the Final Act of the CSCE, see Dept. of State Bulletin, Vol. LXXIII, No. 1888, Sept. 1, 1975, pp. 323–350. For reference to other provisions of the Final Act, see index entries, this Digest, under Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) (1975).
President Ford, on March 29, 1975, directed U.S. participation in an international humanitarian effort in which U.S. naval vessels with helicopters and troops would be used to evacuate civilian refugees from Danang and other South Vietnamese coastal communities to points farther south in Viet-Nam. On April 4, 1975, in a letter to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, he reported the issuance of his directive, stating his desire to keep Congress fully informed and taking note of section 4(a)(2) of the War Powers Resolution (P.L. 93–148; 50 U.S.C. 1543(a)(2)), enacted November 7, 1973. The letter reads in part as follows:
This effort was undertaken in response to urgent appeals from the Government of the Republic of Viet-Nam because of the extremely grave nature of the circumstances involving the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees. This situation has been brought about by large-scale violations of the agreement ending the war and restoring the peace in Viet-Nam by the North Vietnamese who have been conducting massive attacks on the northern and central provinces of South Viet-Nam.
In accordance with my desire to keep the Congress fully informed on this matter, and taking note of the provision of section 4(a)(2) of the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93–148), I wish to report to you concerning one aspect of United States participation in the refugee evacuation effort. Because of the large number of refugees and the overwhelming dimensions of the task, I have ordered U.S. naval vessels to assist in this effort, including Amphibious Task Group 76.8 with 12 embarked helicopters and approximately 700 marines. These naval vessels have been authorized to approach the coast of South Viet Nam to pick up refugees and U.S. nationals, and transport them to safety. Marines are being detailed to vessels participating in the rescue mission. The first
vessel entered South Viet-Nam territo rial waters at 0400 a.m. EDT on April 3, 1975.
Although these forces are equipped for combat within the meaning of section 4(a)2) of Public Law 93–148, their sole mission is to assist in the evacuation including the maintenance of order on board the vessels engaged in that task.
As stated above, the purpose of the introduction of United States naval vessels into Vietnamese waters is to assist in an international humanitarian effort involving vessels of several nations, including both military and civilian craft. The United States participation in this effort includes the charter of commercial vessels, the use of military Sealift command vessels with civilian crews, as well as United States naval vessels with military crews. This effort is being undertaken pursuant to the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive in the conduct of foreign relations and pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, which authorizes humanitarian assistance to refugees, civilian war casualties and other persons disadvantaged by hostilities or conditions relating to hostilities in South Viet-Nam.
You will appreciate, I am sure, my difficulty in telling you precisely how long United States forces may be needed in this effort. Our present estimate, however, is that this operation may involve the presence of United States naval vessels in Vietnamese waters for a period at least several weeks.
The full text of the President's letter may be found at Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 52, Apr. 7, 1975, p. S5280 (daily ed.). Sec. 4(a)(2) of the War Powers Resolution requires that in the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which U.S. Armed Forces are introduced into the territory, air space or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces, the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Congress a report, in writing, setting forth the circumstances necessitating the introduction of U.S. Armed Forces, the constitutional and legislative authority for it, and the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement. The War Powers Resolution (P.L. 93–148; 50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) was enacted into law on Nov. 7, 1973, over President Nixon's veto.
On April 12, 1975, President Ford made a second report to Congress, in which he took note of section 4 of the War Powers Resolution (P.L. 93–148; 50 U.S.C. 1543). He informed Congress that he had ordered U.S. troops into Cambodia in order to facilitate an evacuation of U.S. citizens from that country in view of the deteriorating military situation there. He reported the use of ground combat troops of the U.S. Marines, helicopters, and supporting tactical air and command and control elements, beginning on the night of April 11, and the successful completion of the evacuation on April 12. The report noted that there had been no firing by U.S. forces during the operation, that no U.S. Armed Forces personnel were killed, wounded or missing, and that there were no casualties among the American evacuees. The President added:
Although these forces were equipped for combat within the meaning of section 4(aX2) of Public Law 93-148, their mission was to effect the evacuation of U.S. nationals. Present information indicates that a total of 82 U.S. citizens were evacuated and that the task force was also able to accommodate 35 third country nationals and 159 Cambodians including employees of the U.S. Government.
The operation was ordered and conducted pursuant to the President's constitutional Executive power and authority as Commander in Chief of U.S. Armed Forces.
The President's report was contained in letters dated Apr. 12, 1975, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate. For the full text, see Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 56, Apr. 14, 1975, p. H2706, and No. 57, Apr. 15, 1975, p. S5933 (daily ed.); H. Doc. No. 94-105, 94th Cong., 1st Sess.; Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 11, No. 16, Apr. 21, 1975, p. 378.
On April 30, 1975, President Ford made his third report to Congress under section 4 of the War Powers Resolution. He stated that he had ordered U.S. military forces to proceed by means of rotary wing aircraft with the emergency final evacuation of U.S. citizens and their dependents in and around Saigon, together with foreign nationals whose lives were in jeopardy. He reported that the defensive lines to the northwest and south of Saigon had been breached by the North Vietnamese, that the Tan Son Nhut Airfield and Saigon had come under increased rocket attack and had received artillery fire for the first time, that Tan Son Nhut Airfield had become unusable, that North Vietnamese forces were approaching within mortar and anti-aircraft missile range, and that the situation presented a direct and imminent threat to the remaining U.S. citizens and their dependents. The President reported specifically that 70 evacuation helicopters and 865 marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens, together with approximately 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese, between 1 a.m. and 7:46 p.m. EDT on April 29, 1975. He also noted the loss of two crew members, as well as two marines the previous day at Tan Son Nhut Airfield, the use of U.S. fighter aircraft to provide protective cover, and firing by ground security forces during the evacuation operation.
The President again cited the President's constitutional Executive power and his authority as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The President's report was contained in letters dated April 30, 1975, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate. For the text, see Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 69, May 1, 1975, p. H3592 (daily ed.); H. Doc. No. 94–124, 94th Cong., 1st Sess.; Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 11, No. 18, May 5, 1975, p. 467.
When President Ford addressed a Joint Session of Congress on April 10, 1975, to request additional military and economic aid for South Viet-Nam, he asked the Congress "to clarify immediately its restrictions on the use of U.S. military forces in Southeast Asia for the limited purposes of protecting American lives by ensuring their evacuation if this should be necessary." He also asked "prompt revision of the law to cover those Vietnamese to whom we have a very special obligation, and whose lives may be in danger, should the worst come to pass.”
See Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 55, Apr. 10, 1975, p. H2684 (daily ed.). See also H. Doc. No. 101, 94th Cong., 1st Sess.
On the following day President Ford submitted for congressional consideration three draft bills-one to clarify restrictions on the availability of funds for the use of U.S. Armed Forces in Indo china, the others for additional military and economic assistance for South Viet-Nam. His proposed bill on clarifying restrictions on the availability of funds provided:
That nothing contained in section 839 of Public Law 93– 437, section 741 of Public Law 93-238, section 30 of Public Law 93–189, section 806 of Public Law 93–155, section 13 of Public Law 93–126, section 108 of Public Law 93-52, section 307 of Public Law 93-50, or any other comparable provision of law shall be construed as limiting the availability of funds for the use of the Armed Forces of the United States to aid, assist, and carry out humanitarian evacuation, if ordered by the President.
The provisions referred to in the draft bill were those relative to the cut-off of funds for activities in Indochina, which had been passed in the Ninety-third Congress.
See Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 57, Apr. 15, 1975, p. 55933 (daily ed.). See also H. Docs. Nos. 94-103 and 94-104.
As congressional consideration of the President's proposed bills and a number of alternative bills proceeded, the authorization of funds for humanitarian assistance and evacuation programs and the requested clarification of the President's authority were combined in a single bill in each House. On April 23, 1975, the Senate passed by a vote of 75 to 17 a bill (S. 1484) entitled the “Viet-Nam Contingency Act of 1975.” It would have provided limited congressional authorization for the President to use U.S. Armed Forces to withdraw U.S. citizens and their dependents from South VietNam, and in doing so to assist in bringing out endangered foreign nationals if he determined and certified to the Congress, pursuant to section 4(b) of the War Powers Resolution, that certain stated conditions were observed.
See Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 63, Apr. 23, 1975, pp. 56640-6641 (daily ed.).
In the early hours of April 24, by a recorded vote of 230 to 187, the House passed H.R. 6096, the "Viet-Nam Humanitarian Assistance and Evacuation Act," a similar but less restrictive bill whicii would have given the President limited authority to use American troops to rescue American and South Vietnamese citizens from Saigon.
On April 24, the Senate adopted H.R. 6096 after substituting the text of S. 1484 as passed by the Senate, and the bill was sent to conference.
See Cong. Rec., Vol. 121, No. 64, Apr. 24, 1975, pp. 86669-6671 (daily ed.).
In the Conference Report on H.R. 6096, issued April 28, 1975 (H. Rept. No. 94–176), the managers of the House and Senate assigned to the committee of conference recommended that the Act be entitled the “Viet-Nam Humanitarian Assistance and Evacuation Act of 1975" and that sections 4-9 read as follows:
SEC. 4. (a) If the President determines that the use of United States Armed Forces is necessary to evacuate citizens of the United States and their dependents from South Viet-Nam, the President may, in accordance with the