Ford, Gerald R.


1967 TLS as House Minority Leader to a Michigan constituent on President Johnson’s  Vietnam-era March 1967 Message on Selective Service, the military draft


Type: Letter
Description: (1913-2006) 38th President 1974-77, 40th VP 1973-74, 1st person appointed Vice President under 25th Amendment; when he became President upon Richard Nixon’s resignation (Aug.  9, 1974), he was the ONLY President neither elected President nor Vice President.

Before ascending to the vice-presidency, he served nearly 25 years as Michigan US Rep., 8 as GOP Minority Leader. As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente with the USSR. With conquest of So. Vietnam by North Vietnam 9 months into his presidency, US involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, he presided over what was then the worst economy since the Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his more controversial acts was to grant a pardon to Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During his incumbency, foreign policy was characterized by increased role Congress began to play, and by corresponding curb on powers of the President. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but lost election to Jimmy Carter. He lived longer than any other president, dying at age 93 years and 165 days.

TLS on his 10 ½ x 8 “Congress of the United States/Office of the Minority Leader/House of Representatives” letterhead, Washington, May 1 1967,  to a Michigan constituent, enclosing (not present) President Johnson’s message on selective service in which he outlines his recommendations and encloses (also not present), Rep. Ford’s statement on elective service, the Vietnam era military draft. Leader Ford says the House Committee on Armed Services will have public hearings on the matter, will hear witnesses, then make specific recommendations to the House. In his March 6, 1967 Message to the Congress on Selective Service,

President Johnson: extended the Selective Service law for 4 years upon its June 30, 1967 expiration; inductions would begin at age 19; policies on undergraduate college deferments were tightened so deferments could never become exemptions from military service; enacted a “fair and impartial random” (FAIR) system of selection to determine the order of call for all men eligible and available for the draft; sought improvements in the Selective Service System to assure better service to registrants in counselling and appeals; better information regarding the System’s operation and broader representation on local community boards; and, renewed the National Commission on Selective Service for another year to provide a continuing review of the system.

In 1973, President Ford’s Defense Secretary Melvin Laird announced the formation of the All‐Volunteer Force (AVF) and the end of the conscription that had been the major basis of America’s Cold War army. On Sept. 16, 1974, President Ford issued a proclamation offering amnesty to those who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War and to those in the military who deserted while serving. The amnesty required those involved to reaffirm their allegiance to the United States and serve 2 years working in a public service job.  President Ford abolished the draft in 1975.

Condition: Very good

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