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Letter Accepting the Resignation of William P. Rogers as Secretary of State.

August 22, 1973

Dear Bill:

It is with the greatest reluctance and regret that I accept your resignation as Secretary of State.

I cannot do so without thinking back gratefully on our quarter century of close personal friendship, on the battles we have fought together and the crises we have weathered together, and on your unwavering good spirits, good judgment and good sense.

I vividly recall that you were the first person I turned to for advice and counsel after receiving the terrible news of President Eisenhower's heart attack in 1955, and I recall how much your calm, reasoned encouragement meant to me as I sought to do what was right in the course of that ordeal. But that was only one of many times, before and since, when I have instinctively turned to you for advice and relied heavily on your judgment at those critical moments that are the truest test not only of an associate's friendship, but also of his character.

Few men have given so much of themselves to their country as you have, with your eight years of distinguished service as Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General in President Eisenhower's Administration, and now having carried the heavy responsibilities of Secretary of State for four and a half years at a particularly crucial time in the evolution of the Nation's foreign policies. Throughout, your service has been completely dedicated and completely selfless. The Nation owes you an enormous debt of gratitude.

As Secretary of State, you have represented this country abroad with great skill. You have played an historic role in the formulation and execution of those policies which I believe, and I know you believe, can at long last produce a structure of peace in the world that will endure long into the future, and that will make it possible for differences among nations to be settled at the negotiating table rather than on the battlefield. This is an achievement of which you should be immensely proud, just as I am immensely proud of the vital contribution you have made to it.

Not only in foreign policy, but also on the wide range of other issues on which I have sought your advice, it has always been given with candor and courage and with exceptional insight. I have appreciated this greatly, and the Nation is much the better for your service--service which I know has been at great personal sacrifice.

Pat joins me in wishing you and Adele the very best in the years ahead, and in trusting that we will continue to see both of you often.

With warmest regards,



Note: The President's letter was dated August 20, 1973, and released August '22 at San Clemente, Calif.

Secretary Rogers' letter of resignation, dated August 16 and released with the President's letter, read as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

I herewith submit my resignation as Secretary of State effective September 3, 1973.

Because of our personal friendship which has extended over such a long period of time I take this action with a bit of sadness. You will recall, though, that when I accepted the post I did it with a firm resolve to return to the private practice of the law at the end of your first term of office. However, because of several pressing matters, particularly the closing phase of our involvement in the war in Viet-Nam, an uncertain cease-fire in the Middle East, the initial phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the need for immediate attention to our relations with NATO, CENTO, Japan, South Korea and our Latin American allies it was agreed that I should stay on for awhile.

Now that the United States has ended its long war in Indochina; that the cease-fire in the Middle East has had its third anniversary; that the first phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe has ended satisfactorily; and that our relations with our allies as well as with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China are on a good basis I believe the time is right for a change.

It has been a great privilege and honor to serve the nation as Secretary of State during the last four and one-half years. Under your strong and effective leadership the conduct of our foreign affairs has been marked with extraordinary success. Because of your policies, initiative and resolve, and the loyal support and assistance of many others including those in the State Department with whom I have been privileged to be associated, the world is a much more peaceful place than it was four and one-half years ago.

Under your leadership we are on the way to constructing a structure of international relationships which gives hope of providing peace and stability for future generations. It is the completion of this task especially which is so important to all mankind and which will continue to command great public support during the remainder of your term.

Please accept my thanks and deep appreciation for giving me the opportunity to serve the country during these critical and important years in our nation's history. Adele joins me in sending you and Pat our warmest personal regards.

[The President, The White House]

Richard Nixon, Letter Accepting the Resignation of William P. Rogers as Secretary of State. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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