Letter Accepting the Resignation of Dr. Thomas O. Paine as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
I deeply regret that you will be leaving the government, but I accept your resignation as Administrator of NASA effective September 15, as you have requested.
You have earned the gratitude of every one of your fellow citizens many times over for the outstanding leadership you have given to the nation's space programs. Your contribution to man's knowledge of the Earth as well as the heavens has been major, and the course you have done so much to set will help guide our efforts for years to come. The respect and affection of the colleagues and associates you leave behind will accompany you wherever you go, and I hope you will always take pride in your splendid achievements in behalf of every American and, indeed, in behalf of all mankind.
You have earned a unique and permanent place of honor in the history of man's exploration. It has been a privilege to know you, and to work with you, and to share with you the sense of excitement, adventure and achievement that has marked this time of triumph in the nation's space program.
With warm personal regards,
[Dr. Thomas Paine, Administrator of NASA]
Note: On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news conference by Dr. Paine on his resignation.
The President's letter was released at San Clemente, Calif., along with Dr. Paine's which read as follows:
Dear Mr. President:
Please accept my resignation as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration effective 15 September 1970. Now is an appropriate time for a change of command at NASA, and this coincides with my wish to return to private life.
During my direction Americans orbited the moon and walked on its surface, achieving our boldest national goal on time and within budget. We have made the transition to the post-Apollo internationally oriented space program of the 1970's, and the Congress has approved the new direction and pace in the 1971 budget. We will shortly publish a prospectus for man's conquest of space through the year 2000 which charts a long-range plan for future progress.
The world can well be proud of the NASA team's incredible space achievements accomplished under four Presidents of the United States in twelve short years. Now the nation should press on boldly with the exploration of the universe as well as with the solution of man's problems here on the blue planet.
It has been a privilege and honor to have led the nation's space program through critical times under two Presidents. You have shown me every courtesy and consideration, as have your staff and the Congress. I am most grateful to you for having given me this unique opportunity to serve my country during mankind's first journey to another world.
[The President, The White House, Washington, D.C. 20500]
Richard Nixon, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Dr. Thomas O. Paine as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/240199