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        #220: Ford Leads Nation After Nixon Resigns

        作者:Steve Ember 發布日期:9-19-2013

        U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger administers the oath of office to Gerald Ford, whose wife, Betty, is at center
        U.S. Chief Justice Warren Burger administers the oath of office to Gerald Ford, whose wife, Betty, is at center

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

        This week in our series, we tell the story of the thirty-eighth president of the United States.

        GERALD FORD: "Mr. Chief Justice, my dear friends, my fellow Americans, the oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every president under the Constitution. But I assume the presidency under extraordinary circumstances, never before experienced by Americans."

        (MUSIC)

        Gerald Ford was sworn into office on August ninth, nineteen seventy-four. Ford was vice president to Richard Nixon, who had announced the day before that he would resign.

        If Nixon had not resigned, he might have been removed from office. Congress had been moving to charge him with corruption in the Watergate case.

        At his swearing-in ceremony, the new president spoke about the nation's future.

        GERALD FORD: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule."

        He went on to say:

        GERALD FORD: "As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate -- more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars -- let us restore the 'Golden Rule' to our political process and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate."

        Gerald Ford became the only leader in American history to have served both as vice president and president without being elected.

        Richard Nixon chose him as vice president in October nineteen-seventy-three. That was when Nixon's former vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned because of criminal charges that he failed to pay his taxes.

        When Nixon himself resigned, Ford became president.

        Ford was a longtime congressman from the state of Michigan. He was well-liked by his congressional colleagues. His education was in economics and political science at the University of Michigan. Then he attended Yale Law School. During World War Two, he served as a Naval officer in the Pacific.

        After the war, Ford entered politics. He was a member of the Republican Party. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in nineteen forty-eight. He won re-election twelve times. Republicans in the House elected him the minority leader during the administration of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.

        Ford was still minority leader when Richard Nixon, a fellow Republican, was elected president in nineteen sixty-eight. In his leadership position, Ford helped win approval of a number of Nixon's proposals. He became known for his strong loyalty to the president. It was no surprise, then, when Nixon named Ford as vice president.

        Gerald Ford was an "accidental president." He came to office in a sudden turn of events. Almost as suddenly, he had to decide what to do about the former president.

        After Nixon left office, he could have been charged with crimes for his part in covering up the events of Watergate. Instead, one month after Nixon resigned, President Ford settled the question. He pardoned Nixon for any crimes that he might have committed.

        The pardoning of Nixon made many Americans angry. Some believed he should have been put on trial. They thought he might have answered more questions about Watergate if he had not been pardoned.

        Ford said he pardoned Nixon in an effort to unite the country. For a while, though, the pardon only seemed to intensify the divisions.

        REPRESENTATIVE ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN: "And I wondered if anyone had brought to your attention the fact that the Constitution specifically states that, even though somebody is impeached, that person shall nonetheless be liable to punishment according to law."

        President Gerald Ford testifies at a House of Representatives hearing in 1974 on his pardon of Richard Nixon
        President Gerald Ford testifies at a House of Representatives hearing in 1974 on his pardon of Richard Nixon

        In October nineteen seventy-four, President Ford appeared before a congressional hearing on the pardon. He gave a strong response to questioning by Democratic Representative Elizabeth Holtzman.

        GERALD FORD: "Mrs. Holtzman, I was fully cognizant of the fact that the president, on resignation, was accountable for any criminal charges. But I would like to say that the reason I gave the pardon was not as to Mr. Nixon himself. I repeat - and I repeat with emphasis: The purpose of the pardon was to try and get the United States, the Congress, the president, and the American people focusing on the serious problems we have, both at home and abroad.

        "And I was absolutely convinced then, as I am now, that if we had had this series - an indictment, a trial, a conviction, and anything else that transpired after that - that the attention of the president, the congress, and the American people would have been diverted from the problems that we have to solve. And that was the principal reason for my granting of the pardon."

        (MUSIC)

        Anger about the pardon was still strong when President Ford made another controversial decision. He pardoned men who had illegally avoided military service in the Vietnam War.

        Most of them were not sent to prison. Instead, they were offered a chance to do work for their communities. Many of the men, however, did not accept the president's offer. Some stayed in Canada or other countries where they had fled to avoid the draft.

        President Ford received greater public support when he asked Congress to limit the activities of the nation's intelligence agencies. He hoped better control would prevent future administrations from abusing the constitutional rights of Americans, as Nixon had done.

        On another issue, Ford, while serving as vice president, had described inflation as America's "public enemy number one." He had supported several measures to fight it. As president, however, an economic recession forced him to cancel some of those measures. Inflation decreased during the recession, but unemployment increased.

        On foreign policy issues, Ford kept Henry Kissinger as secretary of state. Kissinger had won much praise for his service to Richard Nixon, including in the opening of diplomatic ties with Communist China.

        But Kissinger had also received much criticism. Critics accused him of interfering with civil liberties in the name of national security. They also accused him of supporting the overthrow of the Marxist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.

        By the time Ford became president, the United States and the Soviet Union had taken steps to try to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev had signed two such agreements as part of the détente policy to ease Cold War tensions. Relations with China were also less tense than before.

        U.S. Marine helicopter crewmen carry Vietnamese civilians to safety aboard the U.S.S. Blue Ridge on April 29, 1975. Their evacuation helicopter crashed on the deck of the amphibious command ship.
        U.S. Marine helicopter crewmen carry Vietnamese civilians to safety aboard the U.S.S. Blue Ridge on April 29, 1975. Their evacuation helicopter crashed on the deck of the amphibious command ship.

        American policy in Southeast Asia, however, had failed. Involvement in the Vietnam War had officially ended the year before Gerald Ford became president. But fighting continued between South Vietnam and communist forces from the North.

        The peace agreement signed by the United States and North Vietnam in nineteen seventy-three left South Vietnam to defend itself. By nineteen seventy-five, South Vietnamese forces were clearly in danger of defeat.

        President Ford tried to prevent a communist takeover. He asked Congress to approve seven hundred million dollars in military aid for South Vietnam. Congress said no. The American people were tired of paying for the war.

        (SOUND)

        Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital, fell to communist forces on April thirtieth, nineteen seventy-five.

        President Ford ordered the rescue of American citizens and South Vietnamese who had supported the American efforts. Few people who saw those struggling to escape Saigon will ever forget that day.

        MARINE AT AMERICAN EMBASSY: "Please stop pushing - one at a time."

        Terrified Vietnamese were screaming for help at the American Embassy. Everyone was pushing, trying to escape the city. Some held on to overloaded military helicopters as the aircraft tried to take off.

        As a signal to American citizens to prepare to leave, Armed Forces Radio had played the song "White Christmas."

        (MUSIC: "White Christmas"/Bing Crosby)

        Some were to go to an apartment building where a helicopter would pick them up from the roof. But other people also tried to get onto the helicopter -- a scene captured in a famous news photo of the fall of Saigon.

        The former South Vietnamese capital was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

        (MUSIC)

        In the Middle East, Henry Kissinger led negotiations after the nineteen seventy-three Arab-Israeli war. Israel agreed to give up some captured territory. In return, the United States promised not to recognize or deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization unless the PLO met certain conditions.

        In September nineteen seventy-five, Israel and Egypt signed an agreement that included permission for American civilians to act as observers along the ceasefire lines. Henry Kissinger was praised for his peacemaking efforts, though peace in the Middle East would remain a challenge for future administrations.

        (MUSIC)

        At home, things seemed better as the presidential election campaign of nineteen seventy-six began. That year marked the nation's two hundredth birthday. The United States was not fighting any wars. Unemployment remained high, but inflation had eased. Most importantly, Gerald Ford had led the country through the difficult period after Watergate.

        The nineteen seventy-six election will be our story next week.

        (MUSIC)

        You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        Contributing: Jerilyn Watson

        This was program #220. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        今天我們要講述美國第三十八屆總統福特的故事。

        福特說:"首席大法官先生,我親愛的朋友們,我的美國同胞們,我像華盛頓總統及歷任總統一樣,對著憲法宣誓就職。但在美國歷史上,從沒有人像我一樣在這種特殊情況下當上總統。"

        這是杰拉爾德.福特在1974年8月9日宣誓就職時所說的話。福特本來在尼克松政府中擔任副總統。他在尼克松宣布辭職的第二天當上了總統。當時,尼克松如果不辭職的話很有可能被彈劾,因為美國國會已經開始籌劃針對他在水門事件中的腐敗行為而起訴他。

        福特在就職講話中談到了國家的未來。他說:"美國同胞們,漫長的噩夢已經結束。我們的憲法發揮了作用。我們偉大的共和國是一個法治政府,不是人治政府。在這里,人民做主。"他接著說:"如今,我們正在包扎水門事件在我們心里留下的傷口,這種傷害比在外國打仗造成的傷害更痛苦,毒性更大。不過與此同時,讓我們恢復我們政治程序中的"金科玉律",讓兄弟般的愛清除我們心中的猜疑和仇恨。"

        福特是美國歷史上唯一一個未經選舉就當上副總統,又未經選舉就成為總統的領導人。尼克松1973年10月挑選福特為副總統,因為原本的副總統阿格紐因為被控逃稅而引咎辭職。尼克松自己也辭職后,福特成了總統。

        福特曾在很長一段時間里擔任密西根州的眾議員。他在國會的同僚中人緣很好。他曾在密西根大學學習經濟及政治學,之后又就讀耶魯法學院。在二戰中,他曾是駐太平洋戰區的海軍軍官。

        戰后,福特進入政壇,他是共和黨人,1948年第一次當選眾議員,之后連任12次。在民主黨人約翰遜當總統的時候,眾議院共和黨人推選福特為少數派領袖。共和黨人尼克松1968年當選總統時,福特仍然是國會里的少數派領袖。福特利用自己的領導地位幫助尼克松通過了多項法案,以對總統的忠誠而聞名。因此,尼克松會任命福特為副總統也就不足為奇了。

        福特是個"意外總統"。他在一件突發事件后當上了總統,又馬上要面對一個問題,就是怎么處理尼克松。尼克松下臺后本來有可能被控參與掩蓋水門事件。然而,尼克松辭職一個月后,福特總統就解決了這個問題--他赦免了尼克松可能犯過的罪。美國民眾對此非常憤怒。有人覺得尼克松應該被送上法庭受審。他們相信,如果尼克松沒被赦免,他就不得不回答更多關于水門事件的問題。

        福特說,他赦免尼克松是為了讓美國人團結起來,然而,他的做法在一段時間內反而加劇了社會的分裂。1974年10月,福特出席國會就赦免尼克松舉行的聽證會,對眾議員霍爾茨曼的質問做出了態度強硬的回答。

        霍爾茨曼問:"我想知道,到底有沒有人提醒過你,美國憲法明確規定,即使在被彈劾之后,政府官員仍然應依法受到懲罰。"福特回答說:"霍爾茨曼女士,我完全明白,總統即使辭職也要對刑事指控負責,但我想說,這個赦免針對的并不是尼克松先生本人。我再說一遍,再強調一遍:赦免的目的是要讓美國、國會、總統和人民把注意力放在內政外交的重要議題上。"

        福特還說:"我當時和現在都絕對相信, 如果不赦免尼克松,而是按照程序,起訴,審判,定罪,以及面對這一切所引發的后果,那么,總統、國會和美國人民的注意力就會被轉移,就無法集中精力處理那些我們本該去解決的問題。這才是我赦免尼克松的主要原因。"

        就在人民對赦免尼克松的決定依然忿忿不平的時候,福特又做了一個引發爭議的決定,那就是,他赦免了非法逃避越戰兵役的人,其中大部分不用去坐牢,而是換成在社區里從事勞動感化工作。不過,許多人并沒有領總統的情。一些逃到加拿大等國家去逃避兵役的人選擇繼續生活在國外。

        美國總統福特是美國歷史上唯一一個未經選舉就當上了副總統和總統的領導人,他上任后赦免了因水門事件而辭職的尼克松總統,這一決定當時被很多人垢病。不過,他后來提出,國會應該限制美國情報機構的活動,這一提議得到了公眾的支持。福特這么做是希望更好地控制情報機構,防止以后的行政當局像尼克松那樣去傷害憲法賦予美國人的權利。

        另外,福特在擔任副總統時曾把通貨膨脹形容為"美國的頭號公敵",并支持實行一些降低通脹的措施。不過,在他當上總統后,美國處于經濟蕭條中,現實情況讓他不得不取消了當初的一些抑制通脹的措施。經濟衰退期間通脹率下降,但失業率升高了。

        在外交方面上,福特留任了尼克松當政時的國務卿--基辛格?;粮駷槟峥怂傻恼叱隽Σ簧?,包括他為美中建交所作的貢獻,這也為他贏得了贊譽。不過,基辛格也受到很多批評。批評者指責他以國家安全的名義干涉公民自由。他們還指責他支持智利政變,為推翻那里的馬克思主義阿連德政府提供支持。

        另外,在福特就任總統時,美國和蘇聯已經采取措施,設法限制核武器擴散。尼克松和蘇聯領導人勃列日涅夫簽署了兩個這方面的協議,以緩和冷戰的緊張局勢。美國與中國的關系也沒有以前那么緊張了。然而,美國在東南亞的政策卻失敗了。雖然在福特上臺的前一年美國已正式脫離越戰,但北越共產黨軍隊同南越還在打仗。

        美國和北越1973年簽署和平協議,讓南越自生自滅。到1975年的時候,南越面臨被北越打敗的危險。福特為阻止共產黨奪取對整個越南的控制權,要求國會撥款7億美元,為南越提供軍事援助,結果遭到了國會的拒絕。美國人民也厭倦了為戰爭埋單。

        1975年4月30號,南越首都西貢被越共占領。福特下令救出那里的美國公民和曾支持美國的南越人。人們拼命逃亡,想離開西貢,那場景真是怵目驚心。

        驚慌失措的越南人哭喊著,希望美國使館能幫助他們。每個人都在向外擠,想逃離西貢。一些人拼命抓住已經超載的軍用直升機,希望這些飛機能把他們帶出西貢。美國空軍廣播電臺播放歌曲"白色圣誕節",示意美國公民快做好準備,從西貢撤離。

        一些人按計劃跑到一座公寓樓去,那里有直升機,從樓頂接他們,但是其他人也想上飛機,這一幕被拍攝下來,成為見證西貢淪陷的著名新聞照片。西貢被北越占領后,改名為胡志明市。

        在中東地區,1973年爆發阿拉伯-以色列戰爭,基辛格主導了戰后談判。以色列同意放棄一些占領領土。作為回報,美國承諾,除非巴勒斯坦解放組織答應并滿足一些條件,否則美國不承認巴解組織,也不會和這個組織打交道。

        1975年9月,以色列和埃及簽署了一項協議,內容包括允許美國平民在?;鹁€附近充當觀察員?;粮裢苿又袞|和平的努力受到了稱贊,盡管中東和平將成為后來歷屆美國政府都要面對的挑戰。

        美國國內狀況在1976年總統大選開始時似乎已經出現了好轉。這一年是美國建國200周年。當時美國沒有打仗,雖然失業率居高不下,但通貨膨脹有所緩解。最重要的是,福特領導美國走過了水門事件后的那段艱難時期。

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