Jimmy Carter photo

Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Joseph A. Califano, Jr., as Secretary.

July 19, 1979

To Secretary Joe Califano

I accept your resignation with a genuine feeling of appreciation and of recognition for your notable accomplishments as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

You have, indeed, demonstrated that major public service can exemplify both competence and compassion.

My desire is that you continue to serve with my confidence and support until your successor assumes the office. Your pledge of a smooth, harmonious and orderly transition is typical of your attitude and performance.

You have my personal best wishes and friendship.

Sincerely,

JIMMY CARTER

Dear Mr. President:

In accord with our conversation yesterday afternoon, I hereby formally tender my resignation as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

For me, it has been a deeply enjoyable and satisfying experience to administer so many of the programs enacted into law under President Lyndon Johnson.

I have called HEW the Department of the people because its programs touch the lives of so many Americans each day. The Department reflects the compassion of the American people. It tends to the needs of the old and the young, of the poor, the ill, and the handicapped. It exists to protect the health of all Americans, to assure equal educational opportunity for all citizens, and to guarantee the individual rights of victims of discrimination of all kinds. It administers Social Security and the other basic income maintenance programs of our nation.

My goal as Secretary has been to demonstrate that Government can do all these things, not only with compassion, but with competence. Achieving that goal is urgently necessary because there are still in this nation millions of people whose needs can be met only by Government—and they are the most vulnerable among us.

To do this job effectively, I needed the authority to run this Department and the freedom to decide and speak out on controversial public issues. You have given me that authority and freedom, and I appreciate it.

Whenever the laws that the Congress charges the Secretary of HEW to execute are administered with vigor, there will be controversy. I have tried to execute these laws vigorously.

I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to serve our nation and you.

I wish you well as you continue striving to fulfill the enormous responsibilities of your office, and to build upon your achievements, of which you can be justly proud.

Sincerely,

JOSEPH A. CALIFANO, JR.

[The President, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Jimmy Carter, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Joseph A. Califano, Jr., as Secretary. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249564

Simple Search of Our Archives