Since the arrival of the first settlers on our eastern seaboard nearly 400 years ago, America has been a refuge for victims of persecution, intolerance and privation from around the world. Tide after tide of immigrants has settled here and each group has enriched cur heritage and added to our well-being as a nation.
For many residents of Southeast Asia who stood by America as an ally and who have lost their homeland in the tragic developments of the past few weeks, America offers a last, best hope upon which they can build new lives. We are a big country and their numbers are proportionately small. We must open our doors and our hearts.
The arrival of thousands of refugees, mostly children, will require many adjustments on their part and considerable assistance on ours. But it is in our best interest as well as theirs to make this transition as gracious and efficient as humanly possible.
I have determined that it would be in the public interest to establish an advisory committee to the President on the resettlement in the United States of refugees from Indochina.
Now, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, and as President of the United States, it is ordered as follows:
SECTION 1. Establishment of a Presidential Advisory Committee. There is hereby established the President's Advisory Committee on Refugees, hereinafter referred to as the Committee. The Committee shall be composed of such citizens from private life as the President may, from time to time, appoint. The President shall designate one member of the Committee to serve as chairman.
SEC. 2. Functions of the Advisory Committee. The Committee shall advise the President and the heads of appropriate Federal agencies concerning the expeditious and coordinated resettlement of refugees from Southeast Asia. The Committee shall include in its advice, consideration of the following areas:
(a) Health and environmental matters related to resettlement;
(b) the interrelationship of the governmental and volunteer roles in the resettlement;
(c) educational and cultural adjustments required by these efforts;
(d) the general well-being of resettled refugees and their families in their new American communities; and
(e) such other related concerns as the President may, from time to time, specify.
The Committee shall also seek to facilitate the location, solicitation, and channeling of private resources for these resettlement efforts, and to establish lines of communication with all concerned governmental agencies, relevant voluntary agencies, the Vietnamese-American community and the American public at large. The Committee shall conclude its work within one year.
SEC. 3. Assistance, Cooperation, and Expenses.
(a) All executive departments and agencies of the Federal government, to the extent permitted by law, are directed to cooperate with the Committee and to furnish such information, facilities, funds, and assistance as the Committee may require.
(b) No member of the Committee shall receive compensation from the United States by reason of service on the Committee, but may, to the extent permitted by law, be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by law (5 U.S.C. 5703).
SEC. 4. Federal Advisory Committee Act. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Executive order, the functions of the President under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 1), except that of reporting annually to Congress, which are applicable to the advisory committee established by this Order, shall be performed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
May 19, 1975.