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Department of State Remarks Announcing the Selection of Senator Edmund S. Muskie as Secretary.

April 29, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. I'm extremely pleased to announce to the Nation that Senator Ed Muskie has accepted my offer to become our next Secretary of State.

Senator Muskie brings to the senior position in a President's Cabinet years of experience in foreign policy, a very deep and profound knowledge of our country, the esteem and respect of his fellow Senators, sound judgment and integrity which will be a great asset in this challenging position.

His extensive knowledge of foreign affairs will be a very valuable asset as he joins Warren Christopher, who will be the Deputy Secretary of State, and their partnership will be a great benefit to our entire Nation. This will provide continuity for our foreign policy and give us the strength and wisdom which is necessary in this important post.

I'm very grateful this afternoon that Secretary Vance has joined us. He has served with distinction and with honor. The constructive accomplishments of his administration as Secretary of State have brought credit not only to him but to our Nation as well.

Our country has always benefited in times of trouble when strong men and women have come forward to serve. I'm very glad that the strength and vision of Senator Ed Muskie will now be applied to the tasks that face us all—the challenge of defending our Nation's honor, of promoting our national interest, of providing leadership throughout the world, and maintaining our country at peace.

It's a distinct pleasure and honor for me to introduce to this group and to our Nation, Senator Ed Muskie, who will be our next Secretary of State. Ed, congratulations to you.

SENATOR MUSKIE. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for that generous expression of confidence. You notice I didn't say thank you for the appointment; I'll reserve that judgment until later. But in any case, it is a pleasure to have this—and a privilege—to have this opportunity of service in a new field in the months ahead.

I've got to say at the outset that I leave the Senate with very genuine regret. It has been my home and my life for more than 20 years. I hope that I've contributed something to making it a better institution.

May I say, secondly, that to follow in the footsteps of a close friend and a man for whom I have the most profound respect is a silver moment. Cy Vance has been a dedicated and effective world leader. He has left a legacy of good will and concern for the welfare of all people. He has dedicated himself to the endless search for peace.

The world is in turmoil. The issues are complex. But I believe that in this instability the United States must be perceived as stable and as a source of strength in the free world. As Secretary of State, I will devote my full energies to achieve these goals. I respond to this challenge with genuine hope. America remains a land of great opportunity.

If these are dangerous times, they are also times of uncommon opportunities. I harbor no doubt that the great majority of Americans share that view and will sacrifice to that end, and I cannot stand in the wings when so much is at risk and so many have raised questions about the country's sense of purpose.

And so let me end as I began: first, to thank the people of Maine for their unstinting support for many years, and to recognize a great contribution already made by Secretary Vance, and my thanks to the President for an awesome but a stimulating challenge as I face the months ahead.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE: PRESIDENT. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Note: The President spoke at 5 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House.

Following his remarks, Senator Muskie answered reporters' questions, and the question-and-answer session is included in the press release.

Jimmy Carter, Department of State Remarks Announcing the Selection of Senator Edmund S. Muskie as Secretary. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249836

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