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Letter to Clark R. Mollenhoff Accepting His Resignation as Special Counsel to the President.

May 30, 1970

Dear Clark:

It is with regret that I accept your resignation as Special Counsel effective as of mid-July. The work you have done has alerted us to many potential problem areas and has been important in demonstrating that good government can be good politics for any administration.

I hope that seeing this administration from the inside has given you some greater perspective on the problems of government and the difficulties we face in trying to solve them. I am sure that this experience has demonstrated to you that we are trying to come to grips with the great issues of our times in an honest and forthright manner.

As you return to the press corps, I am sure that you will call them as you see them with regard to the Nixon Administration. And while I recognize that our relationship cannot be the same as it was when you were in the government, I know that it will always be one of friendship and respect.

With warm personal regards,



[Honorable Clark Mollenhoff, The White House, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The letter of acceptance was dated May 29, 1970, and released May 30, 1970, at San Clemente, Calif. Mr. Mollenhoff's letter, dated May 28 and released along with the President's letter, follows:

Dear Mr. President:

It is with some regret that I submit my resignation at this time, effective in mid-July. I had hoped that it might be possible to continue for many months more before making a decision relative to my own long-time future plans. However, the retirement of Richard L. Wilson as Bureau Chief for the Des Moines Register and Tribune makes it necessary for me to take the step now. This last chance to return to the Des Moines Register and Tribune as Chief of the Washington Bureau is too good an opportunity to let slip by despite the great experience it has been to work as "presidential ombudsman" in your administration.

Your instructions were to investigate any indications of wrong-doing or questionable ethical conduct, and to call them the way that I saw them without regard for partisan politics or ideology. You have never changed those instructions. As your Special Counsel, it has been my responsibility to keep informed on problems dealing with mismanagement or corruption in government, to report to you and other administration officials on the facts where it appeared that illegality, impropriety, or just plain careless practices might be interfering with the honest efficient operations of government. Your personal responses to my reports on these problems in government operations have always been in the highest tradition.

My decision to resign is in no manner an opposition to your policies, and it is certainly not an indication of any dissatisfaction with our personal relationship. There have been no restraints placed upon my work except to be accurate, fair and firm as I had been in the past in dealing with Democratic and Republican administrations.

It has not been possible to spotlight or to solve all of the problems of government operations, but I believe that much has been accomplished in avoiding the factual errors and the delays in problem solving that have plagued so many of our past administrations. I hope that a good government tone has been set, and that we have made some headway in proving that aggressive good government can be good politics. I also hope that we have been able to right a few wrongs, and to help a few average citizens fight their way through the bureaucratic jungle that our big government has become.

I have become more appreciative of the problems of making big government operate effectively, and sympathetic with the problems our presidents face in making the federal government move. The experience has dramatized how important it is that the President have the "right to know" what is taking place at all levels of government, and the fight to expect that his will is carried out.
Special Counsel to the President

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

Richard Nixon, Letter to Clark R. Mollenhoff Accepting His Resignation as Special Counsel to the President. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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