Department of State Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Cyrus R. Vance as Secretary.
To Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
I accept your resignation with regret, but with deep appreciation for your dedicated and effective service to me and to our country.
As mentioned in your letter, we have had notable accomplishments under your leadership as Secretary of State. I share your pride in what has been achieved.
Because you could not support my decision regarding the rescue operation in Iran, you have made the correct decision to resign. I know this is a matter of principle with you, and I respect the reasons you have expressed to me.
You leave your post with the admiration and best wishes of a grateful nation. Our close friendship and partnership during challenging times have been a source of strength and reassurance to me.
I look forward to your continuing advice and counsel on matters of importance to the United States—our country, which you have served so well.
Monday, April 21
Dear Mr. President:
I have the greatest respect and admiration for you and it is with a heavy heart that I submit my resignation. It has been a privilege and a high honor to serve you and our nation. I look with pride and satisfaction at the many actions and new directions which have marked our foreign policy under your leadership. The Panama Canal Treaty, the Camp David Accords, the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, normalization of relations with the Peoples Republic of China, the strengthening of our military forces and our alliances, the negotiation of the SALT II Agreement, the Zimbabwe settlement, and the new thrust and direction given to our relations with the nations of the third world are several of these major steps.
I know how deeply you have pondered your decision on Iran. I wish I could support you in it. But for the reasons we have discussed I cannot.
You would not be well served in the coming weeks and months by a Secretary of State who could not offer you the public backing you need on an issue and decision of such extraordinary importance-no matter how firm I remain in my support on other issues, as I do, or how loyal I am to you as our leader. Such a situation would be untenable and our relationship, which I value so highly, would constantly suffer.
I shall always be grateful to you for having had the opportunity to serve. I shall always have for you the deepest respect and affection, and you know you can count on my support for your continued leadership of our nation.
Note: On April 28, Press Secretary Jody Powell read the letters to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House and stated that Deputy Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher would serve as Acting Secretary.
Jimmy Carter, Department of State Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Cyrus R. Vance as Secretary. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249809