Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Letter Accepting Resignation of Thomas S. Gates as Secretary of Defense.

January 08, 1961

Dear Tom:

On the successful discharge of the duties that you have borne, the safety of our nation has vitally depended. In accepting your resignation as Secretary of Defense, effective January 20, 1961, I assure you of my deep appreciation and admiration of the distinguished contribution you have made in carrying out this task.

Today the United States has a military strength second to none, with the greatest striking power in our history. At the same time, provision has been made to see that this pre-eminence can be sustained in future years. In the building and maintaining of this deterrent power, the work of you and your splendid team of associates has been outstanding. But you have not only seen that our armed forces are well designed, fit and ready for their tasks; you have shown a keen understanding that we maintain these forces for purposes that are entirely peaceful--to preserve security, justice and freedom.

In each of the offices you have held in this Administration, your service has been marked by fairness and open-mindedness in approaching your problems, as well as hard work and willingness to consider all points of view, coupled with decisiveness and good judgment. You have stood like a rock for honest judgments and responsible military programs against the unsound and spurious, from whatever quarter advanced.

I add one personal note. For a President, there is a special cause for gratitude when he can feel certain, always, of the unfailing loyal and able support of his chief lieutenants, as I do of yours.

I hope you will take with you, as your term of service ends, the satisfaction of a difficult, vital job always superbly done.

My very best wishes to you and your family now and in the future, and my warm regard.

As ever,


Note: During President Eisenhower's administration Mr. Gates served as Under Secretary of the Navy from October 7, 1953, to March 31, 1957; as Secretary of the Navy to June 7, 1959; as Deputy Secretary of Defense to December 1, 1959; and as Secretary of Defense to January 20, 1961. His letter of resignation and his report were released with the President's reply.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter Accepting Resignation of Thomas S. Gates as Secretary of Defense. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234761

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives