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Letter Accepting Resignation of Herbert Brownell, Jr., as the Attorney General.

October 23, 1957

Dear Herb:

Your departure from the Administration in the near future is a matter of very deep regret to me. For nearly five years it has been a deep satisfaction to know that you were immediately available for counsel on the most difficult and complex legal matters. As I endeavored to tell you when we first discussed your return to private life, I am indeed sorry that you cannot indefinitely continue as Attorney General. Yet, knowing the thought that you have given to your decision and the personal reasons that compelled it, I must abide by it and accept your resignation.

The goals you undertook to attain when you first assumed the responsibilities of your office were extremely challenging and of the highest importance to the proper functioning of our constitutional form of government. The real worth, indeed the very existence of a republic like ours stems from prompt accomplishment of justice, complete integrity in administering it, and a sturdy sense of fairness to all concerned. That these principles have been evident in the work of the Department of Justice in recent years is a shining tribute to your effective leadership, steadfastness of purpose, and your own devotion to principle. It is a highly significant contribution that you have made in the nation's service--a contribution that will have continuing effect in the Department's high standards of performance. It should long give you cause for pride and great satisfaction.

I am grateful, too, as are the other members of the Cabinet, for the invaluable assistance you have given in the formulation of policies of general interest. We will all share a deep sense of loss at your departure.

For the wise counsel that you have added to the handling of difficult problems, for the inspiration and support you have afforded your associates, and for the dedicated service you have rendered to the nation, I shall ever be thankful. I wish you continued success and full health and happiness in the many years ahead.

With warm personal regard,



Note: Mr. Brownell's letter, dated October 23, 1957, follows:

Dear Mr. President:

In late August I discussed with you my desire to return to private law practice at the earliest practicable date. Before you were able to complete plans for the transition of the duties of the office to my successor, the Little Rock matter intervened, requiring urgent legal action in the Federal courts. Since the Federal Government's legal position in this case has now been clearly defined, it seems an appropriate time for me to fulfill my desire to resume private law practice as counsel to the firm in New York City from which I resigned when you appointed me Attorney General.

Accordingly I respectfully request that you now accept my resignation as Attorney General, which office I have held for a longer term than any other occupant for well over a century, with but one exception.

Your choice of the new Attorney General gives me great personal satisfaction. He and I have worked closely together and I know that his appointment will assure the operation of the Department of Justice under highest professional standards. I believe the transfer to my successor of the current responsibilities of the office can be accomplished in about two weeks.

The major goals which you established for this Department early in 1953 included restoring public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of Federal law enforcement, eliminating undue delays in the handling of cases in the Federal courts, protecting and strengthening the civil fights of our citizens, humanizing the administration of the immigration laws, developing a youth correction program for rehabilitation of young offenders, instituting a vigorous enforcement of the Federal laws against tax evasion and labor racketeering, clarifying the meaning of the anti-trust laws, eliminating carelessness and delay in following up on FBI reports and protecting their confidential nature, accelerating the transfer to private enterprise of the Government-owned alien properties, and providing maximum protection against the Communist menace in this country. It has been a great privilege to work under your inspiring leadership in striving to reach these goals.

My devotion to the continued success of your Administration remains unbounded. If there is any way can assist you from private life consistent with my family obligations and professional commitments, I stand ready to do so at any time. am confident that all members of the legal profession agree with me that your terms in the Presidency will long be remembered for your constant determination to uphold the Constitution of the United States and laws of our country and to strengthen the courts of our land.

Doris joins me in thanking you and Mrs. Eisenhower for your many acts of friendship over the past five years. Together with the young people in our family, we wish for both of you good health and happiness in the years ahead.
Sincerely yours,

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter Accepting Resignation of Herbert Brownell, Jr., as the Attorney General. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233859

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