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Ford proud he ordered South Viets evacuated

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WASHINGTON, April 30, 1975 (UPI)-President Ford said Wednesday he is proud he ordered the evacuation from Saigon of thousands of South Vietnamese who otherwise would have been killed in the Communist takeover.

Ford's remarks were offered to reporters by Press Secretary Ron Nessen, who estimated that "somewhat more than 7,000 persons-roughly 6,000 Vietnamese and 1,000 Americans"-were evacuated from Saigon Tuesday just before the government surrendered.

He said Ford still wants Congress to pass the $327 million bill for Vietnamese aid so that he can repay the money he has borrowed from other foreign aid projects to spend on the refugees and possibly send some aid through humanitarian organizations "to the people left behind."

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Although there will be no more rescue attempts, Nessen said, Ford has nevertheless ordered U.S. navy ships to remain near the coast of Vietnam for an indefinite period of time to pick up South Vietnamese refugees fleeing by boat.

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