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Civil Aeronautics Board Letter on the Resignation of Alfred E. Kahn as Chairman.

October 25, 1978

To the Members and Staff of the Civil Aeronautics Board

When I talked to Chairman Kahn about accepting the position as my counselor on inflation policy, he expressed very deep concern about what the effect of his leaving might be on the Civil Aeronautics Board. He told me that he felt a heavy responsibility for helping the Board through these very important transitional months of adjustment to the new deregulation legislation, which the Board and I have strongly supported. I offered at once to do everything I could to set his concerns at rest.

I have a particular desire to communicate directly with you in any event, because you at the Board have presented my Administration with one of its great success stories, and I wanted to express my deep appreciation to you for the work you have been doing.

I want to explain to you, also, that Chairman Kahn leaves you only with the greatest reluctance, and only because I persuaded him that I need his services worse than you do. I know that you still have very challenging tasks ahead, but your direction, I believe, is now set; and you have demonstrated to the world the benefits of restoring the air transport industry to the free enterprise system.

In order further to set your minds at rest, I am immediately naming Board Member Marvin Cohen as Chairman Kahn's successor. Chairman Cohen, I am convinced, will give the Board dynamic and dedicated leadership in the years ahead, and help you to continue your proud record of accomplishment in the public interest.

I would understand it if you felt a particular concern with this departure of your Chairman just after Congress has passed a bill that contemplates eventual abolition of the Civil Aeronautics Board. I have two observations I should like to make about that prospect. First, this will be an event of historic significance—a case of a government regulatory agency moving forthrightly to deregulate the industry it is charged with supervising, and then to terminate its existence when it has become unnecessary. It is a task worthy of your most dedicated and imaginative efforts; and one in which you may take great pride.

Second, you and I know that there will remain very important responsibilities of the Federal Government towards the air transportation industry—effectuating our recently developed liberal international aviation policy, engaging in much more thorough antitrust regulation, providing essential consumer protections, and developing and administering a new small communities service subsidy program. These are responsibilities of the government that will continue for as long into the future as any of us can see. And when I contemplate with satisfaction the elimination of the Civil Aeronautics Board, therefore, I do not at all contemplate the disappearance of your jobs: there is still and will continue to be important work to be done, and we will need you to continue to do it.

I conclude, once again, with an expression of my deep appreciation to you for your devoted, successful and historic efforts.


Jimmy Carter, Civil Aeronautics Board Letter on the Resignation of Alfred E. Kahn as Chairman. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243543

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