The Ford Administration and Hispanic America: The Papers of Fernando E.C. De Baca

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Originally appointed as deputy special assistant for Hispanic Affairs, in July 1974 by President Nixon, President Ford elevated Fernando E. C. De Baca to Special Assistant to the President for Hispanic Affairs in September after President Nixon’s resignation. The function of DeBaca’s historic role as the first Hispanic Special Assistant was to advise the President on the needs of Spanish-speaking Americans and to promote the President’s programs within the Hispanic community and the federal government.

The collection includes material on his efforts to oversee and promote the President’s policies in the federal government, especially in areas of federal employment opportunity, presidential appointment of Hispanics and minority business programs. He served on and collected material from the Domestic Council Committee for Illegal Aliens and the Interagency Council for Minority Business Enterprise, but these materials provide only scant information about his own contributions. There is documentation on his participation in the Cabinet Committee on Opportunities for Spanish Speaking Persons (CCOSSP), and his lobbying efforts for its extension, as well as for the Voting Rights Act and bilingual education appropriations. Material is widespread in this collection on De Baca’s energetic outreach and shared goals with Hispanics and major Hispanic organizations through conference participation, speeches, correspondence, visits and telephone calls. The material contains the hopeful, sometimes ardent and verbose, expectations and pronouncements of a minority attempting to gain government assistance and build political power. His well-documented publicly stated views were sometimes controversial and in contrast to the President’s, such as his endorsement of blanket citizenship for illegal aliens, statements about Cuban refugee attitudes and an Army depot layoff affecting a local Hispanic labor force.

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