Swearing-in ceremony for President Gerald R. Ford

August 9, 2004 marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Ford administration.  On August 9, 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office as the nation's 38th president in a quickly scheduled ceremony in the East Room of the White House, just minutes after Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had received Richard Nixon's letter of resignation.   It was a unique and historic day as power changed hands.  Benton Becker, currently a Trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, had the opportunity to accompany Gerald Ford through much of that historic day as the vice president, then the new president, went from meeting to meeting.  He graciously consented to share his recollections in the May 2004 issue of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation's newsletter.

A former Justice Department attorney, Becker served as counsel to Congressman Ford on the occasion of his House and Senate confirmation hearings for the Office of Vice President, under the then-recently ratified provisions of the 25th amendment.  Becker served as a personal counsel to President Ford during the weeks preceding the swearing-in and the presidential transition that followed.   In that capacity he made several recommendations for the disposition of President Nixon's papers and was integral in stopping their destruction or shipment to San Clemente.

View Benton Becker's newsletter article about the first day of the Ford presidency (PDF File - 407K)

View the text of President Ford's swearing-in remarks (and listen to a sound bite)

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Last Updated: June 2, 2004