In April 1975, Ford argued that, as the last American troops were removed from the country, the U.S. should evacuate the South Vietnamese who had helped the U.S. during the war, too.

“The United States has had a long tradition of opening its doors to immigrants of all countries … And we’ve always been a humanitarian nation,” Ford said. “We felt that a number of these South Vietnamese had been very loyal to the United States and deserved an opportunity to live in freedom.”

But Biden objected and called for a meeting between the president and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to voice his objections to Ford’s funding request for these efforts. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who led the meeting, told the senators that “the total list of the people endangered in Vietnam is over a million” and that “the irreducible list is 174,000.”

Biden said U.S. allies should not be rescued: “We should focus on getting them [the U.S. troops] out. Getting the Vietnamese out and military aid for the GVN [South Vietnam’s government] are totally different.”