The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Digital Library
Faced with mounting evidence of the imminent fall of South Vietnam, President Gerald R. Ford authorized the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese orphans (many fathered by American military personnel) to the United States on April 3, 1975. This evacuation became known as Operation Babylift. Two days later he greeted a planeload of orphans at San Francisco International Airport.
This evacuation was quite brief and direct White House involvement was limited, so Ford Library holdings on it are not extensive. The Library does have the Shirley Peck Barnes Papers that contain correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, research materials, and artifacts relating to her involvement with Friends of Children of Vietnam (FCVN) and Operation Babylift.
In addition to items listed below, the Library has some orphan-related documents scattered among the more extensive holdings on the rescue and resettlement of other Indochina refugees. Please contact the Library for additional information on holdings concerning Operation Babylift, other refugees, or other aspects of the Vietnam War.
Digitized Holdings on Operation Babylift
- President Ford's Daily Diary, April 5, 1975
- Photograph contact sheets of President Ford greeting an orphan flight, April 5, 1975
- Excerpts from White House memoirs
- Reading copies of President Ford's statements:
- Opening Statement at Press Conference in San Diego, CA, April 3, 1975
- San Francisco Bay Area Council, April 4, 1975 (see speech cards 26-26b)
- National Association of Broadcasters, Las Vegas, NV, April 7, 1975 (see speech card 45)
- Folder titled "Indochina Refugees - Orphan Airlift" from Theodore Marrs Files
- White House press releases
The Library has also digitized additional selected documents related to the Vietnam War.