Richard Nixon photo

Letter Accepting the Resignation of Clifford M. Hardin as Secretary of Agriculture.

November 11, 1971

Dear Cliff:

It is with the deepest of regret, both personal and official, that I accept your request to leave the Cabinet.

You have served with high distinction as Secretary of Agriculture--both as an effective advocate for the American farmer and for the needs of rural America, and as a trusted adviser whose counsel at the Cabinet table has been wise and welcome. It has been a great satisfaction to me to know that I could always count on your excellent assistance in our efforts, which meant so much to both of us, to secure for the American farmer the better break that he deserves. The solid beginning we have made on the difficult task of bettering the conditions of life in rural America and restoring the economic vitality of the Nation's heartland will be a lasting testament to your skill, your energy and your dedication.

It has been a great pleasure to serve with you. As you return to private life, you do so with my profound gratitude for all that you have contributed as a member of the administration. Pat joins me in wishing you and Martha the very best, and in the hope that we will see you often in the years ahead; and I look forward to what I am sure will be many opportunities to continue drawing on your rich storehouse of wisdom and experience.

With warm personal regards,



[Honorable Clifford M. Hardin, Secretary of Agriculture]

Note: Secretary Hardin's letter of resignation, dated October 25, 1971, and released with the President's letter, read as follows:

My dear Mr. President:

My request to leave the Cabinet soon is prompted by an unusual business opportunity. From our conversation, I know that you understand why Martha and I feel we must accept it.

I want to thank you for your strong support of the programs of the Department of Agriculture. Your public announcement early in the Administration that you wanted me to speak for the farmers of the nation and to be the champion for rural development gave me a role that I have enjoyed playing.

The accomplishments of your Administration on behalf of agriculture have been solid ones:

(1) The Agricultural Act of 1970 passed the Congress with the support of the leadership of both parties. It is constructive legislation and will help farmers to improve their economic position. Unfortunately it could not deal adequately with one serious problem-the cost-price squeeze brought on by inflation; however, that is now being corrected by your new economic program.

(2) Export sales of farm commodities are at the highest level in all history.

(3) Following eleven years of no change in funding levels, farmers, and especially young farmers, need no longer be turned down for loans from the Farmers Home Administration because the agency has run out of money. The new insured loan programs combined with our new policy of making joint loans with local lending institutions represent a vast improvement.
(4) You have recognized the unique role of the Soil Conservation Service in preventing pollution and improving the environment. You have increased the staffing level of that agency and you have expanded the highly useful small watershed development program.

(5) In May, 1969, you announced that the time had come to eliminate poverty related hunger and malnutrition. We are now very, very close to making good on that challenge. Accomplishments since early 1969 amount to the largest and most comprehensive nutritional undertaking in all history. Never before has a nation come so close to providing adequate food for all its citizens.

(6) For the first time the development of rural America has been placed in a top-priority position by the President. As a result, strong efforts are being made to bring about a redistribution of the population and economic growth of the nation. As you said to me one day in the Cabinet Room, "It is essential that growth be in the heart of the country, if the country's heart is to survive."

(7) You have recognized on many occasions the growing productivity of the American farmers and you have repeatedly expressed your desire that ways be found for farmers to share equitably in the fruits of a rich economy to which they are contributing so much. As I leave office I am confident that the lot of farmers will continue to improve significantly throughout calendar year 1972.

There are many more initiatives that have been taken, and all are contributing to your overall goal of "prosperity with peace."

I wish that All Americans could have the opportunity we have had to observe at close hand the sincerity, skill and dedication with which you have proceeded to lead the nation into what should and can be the most satisfying era yet in the life of the American people.

Even though we will soon be outside of government, we hope that we will be able to find some way to be useful to you and your Administration. Finally, Martha and I wish to thank you and Mrs. Nixon for your thoughtfulness on so many occasions and for your personal interest in our family.

[The President, The White House]

Richard Nixon, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Clifford M. Hardin as Secretary of Agriculture. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives