The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Letter Accepting Resignation of August Heckscher as Special Consultant for the Arts.
June 17, 1963

[ Released June 17, 1963. Dated June 10, 1963 ]

Dear Augie:

I accept your resignation with great regret. As Special Consultant for the Arts, you have initiated a new function in the Executive Office of the President. The best tribute to the success of your work is the decision to establish this function on a full-time and, I hope, permanent basis. I am sorry that you cannot take on the continuing assignment yourself; but I know your desire to return to your duties at the Twentieth Century Fund, and I am grateful for your willingness to stay until a successor has been named.

I have long believed, as you know, that the quality of America's cultural life is an element of immense importance in the scales by which our worth will ultimately be weighed. Your report on "The Arts and the National Government" opens up what I am confident will be a new and fruitful relationship between Government and the arts. Government can never take over the role of patronage and support filled by private individuals and groups in our society. But Government surely has a significant part to play in helping establish the conditions under which art can flourish--in encouraging the arts as it encourages science and learning.

We have much to learn in this complex and delicate area. Your Report will guide your successor and the President's Advisory Council on the Arts in their study of these problems. I am glad to have your assurance that you will serve on the Council when it is appointed, and I have no question that your work in these past months will be regarded as a milestone in the process by which our Government has begun to fulfill its responsibilities to our culture.


[Mr. August Heckscher, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Letter Accepting Resignation of August Heckscher as Special Consultant for the Arts.", June 17, 1963. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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