Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Letter of Reply to Cordell Hull.

November 21, 1944

My dear Cordell:

Your letter of this afternoon has hit me between wind and water. It has been very sad for me even to contemplate the ending of our close relationship during all these twelve years. It is not merely that our personal relations have been so uniformly and invariably agreeable, or that our joint work has borne true success in so many fields, as it is the personal feeling of not being able to lean on you for aid and intimate interchange of thought.

This is especially true because we have come so far along the road of friendly relations among Nations that I have counted so much on your help in carrying this work through the final stage of complex and difficult conditions which still face us.

Your health is honestly my first thought, and I am really confident that you will be on your feet again in a relatively short time, even though you are limited to special tasks and avoid the daily routine of Department work. As of today, therefore, you must devote all your thought to getting back on your feet and on this all your friends will join in helping.

I will, of course, accept your resignation as Secretary of State if you want me to do so. But I wish you would, as an alternative, allow me to accept it as of January twentieth, which is the end of our Third Term. Perhaps sentiment enters into this suggestion a little bit, but it would give me great satisfaction if we should round out the three terms. That means two months more, and during that time I could see you from time to time and get your advice on some of the things that will come before us.

Incidentally, when the organization of the United Nations is set up, I shall continue to pray that you as the Father of the United Nations may preside over its first session. That has nothing to do with whether you are Secretary of State or not at the time, but should go to you as the one person in all the world who has done the most to make this great plan for peace an effective fact. In so many different ways you have contributed to friendly relations among Nations that even though you may not remain in a position of executive administration, you will continue to help the world with your moral guidance.

With my affectionate regards,

As ever yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter of Reply to Cordell Hull. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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