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Letter Accepting the Resignation of Melvin R. Laird as Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs.

December 19, 1973

Dear Mel:

It is with deepest personal regret that I accept your resignation as Counsellor for Domestic Affairs, effective February 1, 1974. At the same time, I greatly appreciate the fact that you have agreed to postpone your departure for a month until February I in order to assist in the work related to next month's State of the Union and Budget Messages to the Congress. When you agreed to return to public service seven months ago, I knew of your desire that it be temporary, and I certainly understand the special personal considerations for your decision now. But because our association over the years has meant such a great deal to me personally, as well as officially, I wanted you to know how much you will be missed.

Since the beginning of our Administration nearly five years ago, no one has served our Nation more capably and conscientiously than you. The impressive record you built as Secretary of Defense and in your present position is without parallel--not only for its high distinction, but also as measured by your selfless devotion to the well-being of your countrymen and women. Goals which we set in 1969 are today achievements to which we can point with justifiable pride, knowing they have and will continue to benefit the American people and other peoples of the world.

In converting to an all-volunteer service and shifting the balance of our Federal budget from defense to human resources, your contributions have been invaluable. Above all, we have ended American involvement in our longest war and embarked on a promising course of negotiations aimed at building a durable structure of peace throughout the world. That we have accomplished this while always maintaining the preparedness of our national defense and the quality of our Armed Forces is the surest tribute to your brilliant leadership. You have properly earned the gratitude of all Americans, and I am confident I speak for them in expressing heartfelt thanks.

As we both know, these past months have been particularly challenging, and it has been heartening to me that I have always been able to look to your sound judgment and wise counsel when it was needed most. More than anything else, I have valued your loyal friendship during this difficult period. It has been a constant source of reassurance to me and words cannot adequately convey how much I have appreciated your steadfastness.

As you once again return to private life to assume a prestigious position in the field of national and international publication, Pat joins me in sending Barbara and you our warmest good wishes for every future success and happiness. No one is more richly deserving.



[The Honorable Melvin R. Laird, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Note: On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Mr. Laird on his resignation.

The text of Mr. Laird's letter of resignation, dated December 17, 1975, read as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

Following our conversation earlier today concerning my future plans, which I outlined to you in previous discussions and in an earlier letter of December 6, I will be pleased to postpone my departure from the White House staff for thirty days in order to help in the final development of your State of the Union and Budget messages to the Congress. As we agreed, Vice President Ford is eminently qualified to serve you most effectively in a broad range of areas including those to which you have looked to me since I joined the White House staff last June 6. Vice President Ford is in a unique position statutorily and personally to assume the responsibilities you asked me to perform as Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs and as a member of the National Security Council.

Following my previous conversations with you, I have discussed my intentions with Jerry and have communicated to him my willingness to help you and him during the transition period.

Much has been accomplished under your leadership these past five years in moving toward peace and an improving quality of life. I have considered it a high honor to have been a part of these efforts both as Secretary of Defense and as Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs.

Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity you afforded me once again to serve you, the Presidency, and the country during these past seven months. I will of course be available, subject to your wishes, for future consultations in national security and domestic affairs.

With best wishes and kindest personal regards, I am


Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs

[The President, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Richard Nixon, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Melvin R. Laird as Counsellor to the President for Domestic Affairs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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