Department of Justice Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Griffin B. Bell as Attorney General.
To Attorney General Griffin Bell
I accept with genuine regret your resignation as Attorney General of the United States.
As a dedicated and independent professional, as a wise and judicious administrator, as a fair and compassionate public servant and as a valued personal friend of the President you have served our country well. Your accomplishments have been a source of pride for me and for others who have assessed the accomplishments of the Department of Justice under your leadership. You have left a good heritage of personnel and policy which will serve to perpetuate the advantages of your good work.
You have my best wishes and sincere thanks as you return to private practice, and I look forward to having your advice and support in the months ahead.
Give my love (and thanks) to Mary.
August 2, 1979
Dear Mr. President:
As we have discussed, I hereby formally tender my resignation as Attorney General of the United States, which will be effective upon the appointment and qualification of my successor. I do so with gratitude to you for affording me the opportunity to serve as Attorney General.
As a lawyer and citizen, this has been the highest privilege of my life. For 30 months I have been the lawyer for the people of the United States. The work has been hard; the challenges have been great; and I have given my best effort. It is an experience that I will cherish for all of my days.
When you asked me to undertake this responsibility, I told you I would stay on the job until I could warrant to you that the Department of Justice was strong, running well, and an institution of which you and the American people could be proud. In asking you .earlier this year for my release to return to the private sector, I gave you that representation, and I now leave the Department knowing that it is in the hands of good and strong men and women whom you have placed in its top leadership positions and that it is staffed by professionals.
You have been a bulwark of strength to me in leading the Department. I have carried out your direction to develop traditions of excellence and independence in the Department and you, indeed all Americans, can have the satisfaction of knowing that these traditions will be demanded practices for many years to come.
Finally, I simply want to state that serving in your Cabinet has been a great personal honor. I value my friendship with you, and I hope that you will call upon me whenever I can be of service.
Warm personal regards.
GRIFFIN B. BELL
[The President, The White House]
Note: The texts of the letters were made available on August 4.
Jimmy Carter, Department of Justice Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Griffin B. Bell as Attorney General. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250117