President Ford has appealed to Americans to accept Vietnamese refugees in the same way as they welcomed thousands of Hungarians and Cubans who have since been, he says, good citizens of the country.
GV EXTERIOR OF White House (MUTE)
Reporter asking President Ford question; President Ford replying
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ 2): REPORTER: "Mr. President, you've been reported as saying that you're damn mad about the adverse reaction of American people towards the Vietnamese refugees. And I would like to ask you how can you explain that reaction, what in your judgement is the cause of that?"
FORD: "Mr. Lisagor, I am primarily very upset because the United States has had a long tradition of opening its doors to immigrants from all countries."
REPORTER: "Why in your judgement is there such a widespread adverse reaction?"
FORD: "I understand the attitude of some. We have serious economic problems. But out of the 120,000 refugees who are either here or on their way, 60 per cent of those are children. They ought to be given an opportunity. Only 35,000 heads of families will be moved in into our total society. Now I understand people who are concerned with our economic problems, but we have assimilated between fifty and a hundred thousand Hungarians in the mid-50s. We have brought into this country some five hundred to six hundred thousand Cubans. They've been good citizens. And we ought to welcome these people in the same way. And despite our economic problems I am convinced that the vast majority of Americans today want these people to have another opportunity to escape the probability of death."
Initials CL/2031 CL/2035
EDITORS NOTE: This film is serviced with an extract from the news conference, which is transcribed below.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Ford has appealed to Americans to accept Vietnamese refugees in the same way as they welcomed thousands of Hungarians and Cubans who have since been, he says, good citizens of the country.
The President was speaking to newsmen in Washington a few hours after he was quoted as being "damn mad" at the adverse reaction among Americans towards the migration of Vietnamese into the Country.
He said he was primarily upset because the United States has had a tradition of opening its doors to immigrants from all nations.
He then pointed out that although he understood those who said the country was facing severe economic problems, he left the Vietnamese would not aggravate the situation.
He said that of the 120,000 refugees, half of them were children of the rest only 35,000 were heads of families.