Country roads take John Denver to the White House
Denver, then considered to be the most popular singer in the world, was in the area as part of a nationwide tour. He played four concerts at the Capital Center, one of which Susan Ford attended.
The signer met with President Ford in the Oval Office on April 14, 1975. During the meeting President Ford and Denver discussed the upcoming American Bicentennial, as Denver had been appointed as a youth advisor to the Colorado Bicentennial Commission. They also had another connection through Colorado as both enjoyed skiing there. Denver lived in Aspen, and President Ford often hit the slopes while vacationing in Vail.
-from the Ford Library
Faced with mounting evidence of the imminent fall of South Vietnam, President Gerald R. Ford authorized the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese orphans to the United States on April 3, 1975. This evacuation became known as Operation Babylift. Between April 3 and 15 more than 2,000 orphans were flown into the United States by military and private aircraft.
Resources about the Ford administration’s involvement in Operation Babylift are available in the Ford Digital Library.
Images: President Ford carries a Vietnamese baby from “Clipper 1742” at the San Francisco International Airport on April 5, 1975; memo regarding A.I.D. Efforts to Airlift Vietnamese Orphans to the United States from the Theodore Marrs Files; and a pair of well-worn baby shoes worn by orphans evacuated from Vietnam during Operation Babylift.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976
President Ford signed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976 into law on March 23, 1976.
When it was originally enacted in 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibited discrimination in credit transactions because of gender or marital status. These amendments broadened the scope to bar creditor discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or age.
“This Administration is committed to the goal of equal opportunity in all aspects of our society,” President Ford said in his signing statement. “In financial transactions, no person should be denied an equal opportunity to obtain credit for reasons unrelated to his or her creditworthiness.”
Memo from the White House Records Office: Legislation Case Files, 3/19/76 HR6516, Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976
Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
It’s hard to believe, but we’ve made it through all of the state dinners hosted by President and Mrs. Ford. We hoped you’ve enjoyed going behind the scenes at these White House events.
Although we’re saying goodbye to our state dinner focus, don’t worry! We’ll be back soon with even more great items from our collections.
President and Mrs. Ford wave goodbye to Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti as he departs the White House following a state dinner held in his honor on December 6, 1976.
Jeanne Holm, Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs
President Ford appointed Jeanne Holm, Major General USAF (Retired), as Special Assistant to the President for Women on March 8, 1976. She succeeded Patricia S. Lindh, who had resigned to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Jeanne Holm enlisted in the armed services during World War II and later became the first woman to attend the Air Command and Staff College. She went on attain the rank of Major General in the Air Force, and at the time of her retirement in June 1975 had the distinction of being the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
As Special Assistant, Holm served as a liaison with women’s organizations and provided the President and White House staff members with advice on legislation, regulations, and executive orders. Her office also developed programs supporting women’s civil rights and encouraged recruitment of women for top-level government positions.
Off the Record with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
In 1975 the reporting duo from The Washington Post were working on a follow up to their book “All the President’s Men.” They had contacted President Ford about doing an off the record interview with them after he took office, but he declined their request.
Woodward and Bernstein arranged to meet with Press Secretary Ron Nessen at the White House in March 1975 to give him a progress report on their research. In preparation for their visit Nessen sent the President this decision memo to review his options. Although President Ford agreed to speak to them off the record for 30 minutes, the meeting didn’t take place.
-from the Ford Library
Late Night at the White House
After Italian Prime Minister Andreotti departed at 12:20 a.m. the party warmed up. The Marine Band kept a crowd on the dance floor, with President and Mrs. Ford joining in to do the Hustle.
Some guests provided extra entertainment. Actor Peter Graves of Mission: Impossible fame played the clarinet and poet Rod McKuen and baseball player Johnny Bench both sang. Pearl Bailey once again ended the night on a high note, this time with a medley that included “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” topped off with the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The Fords didn’t leave the party until at 2:00 a.m.
Gonna Boogie Tonight
Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of Italy and the guests at the Fords’ final state dinner enjoyed after dinner entertainment provided by the musical group Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Orlando and Dawn, singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, had a string of hits in the early 1970s, including “Knock Three Times” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.” During this performance Orlando also serenaded President and Mrs. Ford with the song “You Are So Beautiful,” drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.
“Your enthusiastic performance brought much joy to the evening and generated a warmth and spirit that permeated the audience,” President Ford wrote in a thank you letter to Orlando. “We want you to know that your loyalty and friendship mean a great deal to both of us.”
Adopted on February 23, 1967, the 25th Amendment established procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President and responding to Presidential disabilities. This amendment was first used in 1973 when President Richard Nixon nominated Congressman Gerald Ford as Vice President following Spiro Agnew’s resignation.
The next year Ford became President after Nixon resigned. Under the 25th Amendment he nominated Nelson Rockefeller to fill the Vice Presidential vacancy, announcing his decision in the Oval Office on August 20, 1974, seen here.
-from the Ford Library