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Letter Accepting the Resignation of Robert C. McFarlane as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

December 04, 1985

Dear Bud:

It is with deep regret and reluctance that I accept your resignation as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Your more than thirty years of service to the United States have been exemplary in all regards. As a career Marine, you served your country in peace and war—from your days at the Naval Academy to Vietnam.

Your contributions since 1981 have been in the highest tradition of national service. As Counselor to the Secretary of State and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, you served tirelessly. A little more than two years ago, I asked you to be my National Security Adviser. You continued your record of distinguished service in the most sensitive and critical assignment in the national security area. I know of no President who has been better served. You have offered wise counsel and have been a trusted adviser and confidant. Your kind words to me regarding our national renewal are due in no small part to your own efforts over the last five years.

As you move on to new personal and professional challenges, I shall never forget the sacrifices you and your family made in service. I trust you will still permit me to call on you from time to time.

Again, my thanks to you and Jonny. You have truly lived up to the proudest traditions of your beloved Marines Semper Fidelis; a President could ask no more.



Dear Mr. President,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude, sadness and fulfillment that I tender my resignation as your national security advisor. Five years ago, without knowing me, you appointed me to serve in your administration. It was an important moment in our history. During the previous five years, a number of historic events had occurred: we had lost a war, with all that implied for our reputation as a reliable ally; our economy was stricken—overseas, leaders were asking whether we could solve our own problems, much less lead in the resolution of theirs; and finally, there had been a dramatic shift in the military balance, and with it a greater willingness on the part of the Soviet Union to challenge us through ambitious excursions from Angola to Ethiopia to Cambodia to Afghanistan to Nicaragua. But it was also a time at which the deep and enduring self-confidence of the American people was reasserting itself in a call for leadership.

Looking back over these five years, it is difficult to encompass the enormity of change. Under your leadership, America has indeed come back. We are deterring, "Not one square inch of territory has been lost . . ." and democracy is once more the ascendant model for developing countries everywhere. There is little doubt that history will record this period of your stewardship as the time when Spengler was disproved. Truly, you have led in the highest tradition of Churchill and Roosevelt.

As for me, to have been a part of this national renewal has been an honor and privilege beyond expression. For that I am deeply grateful. In the coming years, as you continue to consolidate this foundation of political, economic and military strength and move beyond it to greater stability in East-West relations, I shall be one of the millions of proud Americans out there in support. Hopefully, there will be a little more time for Jonny and the family. But we won't forget that we were a part of something very important. Thanks, Mr. President.

God bless.


Note: The originals were not available for verification of the content of these letters.

Ronald Reagan, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Robert C. McFarlane as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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