Henry Kissinger Honors President Ford At Grand Rapids Economic Club
Henry Kissinger was in town for an event with the Grand Rapids Economic Club earlier in the week. With only two months until former President Gerald R. Ford’s 100th birthday, the event was to celebrate his contribution and service to the country.
After a brief opening statement by Steven Van Andel, Kissinger took the stage with Ford’s son, also named Steven. Kissinger then made an opening statement where he saluted President Ford, saying he was “a remarkable human being, a man who saved America in a very difficult period.”
The following thirty minute talk was a set up as a question and answer session between Ford’s son and Kissinger. Many topics were discussed during the event including: The Helsinki Accord, United States foreign policy, Ford’s unique position as an appointed President, and various other global socioeconomic issues .
One of the first questions Kissinger answered from Steven Ford was in regards to The Helsinki Accord. Kissinger spoke about his trip to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki. Although Ford had just entered office, he helped craft crucial points in the final draft of the Helsinki Accord. Kissinger spoke highly of Ford’s actions at the conference. He gave credit to Ford, saying that the system Ford set up helped create a social climate that eventually allowed Eastern European countries to shed their communist bonds. Kissinger and Ford both believed that one of the key points in The Helsinki Accord was a respect for human rights. That section of the Accord would later lead the more courageous citizens to speak up about freedom and their beliefs and eventually the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe.
Kissinger went on to talk about Ford’s unique position of not being elected into the office of the President of the United States. This gave Ford more freedom to lead based on his morals and principles. After explaining that Ford didn’t have any concern about opinion polls, Kissinger even jokingly said that Ford had no idea what a focus group was. Ford was able to lead in an extremely unique that has yet to be seen from another American President.
Below you can watch a brief story on the event from our media partners at WZZM 13.
Some of my favorite quotes from Kissinger’s talk are below. The first quote rings true to the sentiment that Ford led the country based on what he believed to be right.
“You will be judged by history, not the New York Times editorial board.”
“I don’t like it when we’re jerked around by the North Koreans.”
“[President Gerald R. Ford] was a remarkable human being, a man who saved America in a very difficult period.”
“He had not been eleceted, and yet he took over with an assurance and benevolence that so was uniqley American” – Kissinger