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Remarks at the Swearing In of 20 Cabinet and Sub-Cabinet Officials.

February 02, 1973

Mr. Chief Justice, the Secretary of State, and all of our distinguished guests:

This is a ceremony which is described as a mass swearing-in of members of the Cabinet and members of the sub-Cabinet as well. When I saw the number of people the Chief Justice will be swearing in this morning, I wondered if there will be any room for anybody else. We are glad, however, that some members of the families could be here, and other guests, on this very special occasion.

I have already indicated some views with regard to the people that will be sworn in this morning, and I will not delay this rather long list by any extended remarks, except to say this:

In talking to the Prime Minister last night, we were reminiscing a bit about the history of British cabinets and the fact that in World War I and World War II, two of the most distinguished cabinets in the parliamentary system were set up. They were called war cabinets. They drew from all sections of the nation. They drew from all political elements and political parties in Britain. They were cabinets under Lloyd George in World War I, and then under Winston Churchill in World War II, which contributed enormously to the success of the British in those two tremendous struggles.

The Cabinet we have here today, the new members as well as the old who will be continuing, and the members of the sub-Cabinet that we have here, in a sense I would describe as a peace Cabinet. The tasks are just as great as those in war. They are just as exciting; in ways they can be more challenging. We, therefore, have drawn from all sections of the country, from all sections of our society, from labor and management, from both political parties, and we believe we have representation in this Cabinet and in the sub-Cabinet which is not only distinguished but also representative of the entire Nation.

It is to the challenge of peace that we now turn, and it is particularly appropriate that the whole group be sworn in today by the Chief Justice of the United States.

I would simply add one final point, and that is that, traditionally, the swearing-in ceremonies are participated in by the Chief Justice and by the President only when it is a member of the Cabinet himself, at the highest level, because obviously when you get to the sub-Cabinet and the rest, the numbers become much too great.

On this occasion, as you will note, we are swearing in not only the members of the Cabinet but a considerable number of those from the sub-Cabinet. Our purpose in doing this is not simply to single out some sub-Cabinet members who may have already been approved and leave others out. But our purpose is to indicate that just as important to the success of an administration, just as important to this peace Cabinet that we are now launching, as the ones with the highest positions and with the Cadillacs, just as important as that are those who are the under secretaries, the deputy secretaries, who work day and night, who carry so much of the responsibility and who do not, of course, receive the public limelight that those in the top positions do.

We wanted on this occasion, by having you here not as inferiors, but basically as equals, because I know every member of the Cabinet would say that his under secretary, his assistant secretary, in carrying out responsibilities, is not basically a subordinate, but he is an equal partner in a great enterprise, and it is for that reason we have joined the Cabinet members with the under secretaries and deputy secretaries on this occasion.

The Chief Justice will preside. He will read off the names. I rather wondered about that, about having the Chief Justice call people up. You will wonder why. But in any event, he will read off the names, and as you come up, he will administer the oath, and I will be here to witness the oath.

[At this point, Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States, administered the oaths of office to the following Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officials:

ELLIOT L. RICHARDSON--Secretary of Defense

FREDERICK B. DENT--Secretary of Commerce

PETER J. BRENNAN--Secretary of Labor

JAMES T. LYNN--Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

CLAUDE S. BRINEGAR--Secretary of Transportation

ROY L. ASH--Director, Office of Management and Budget

JOHN SCALI--United States Representative to the United Nations

ANNE L. ARMSTRONG--Counsellor to the President

JAMES R. SCHLESINGER Director of Central Intelligence

KENNETH RUSH--Deputy Secretary of State

WILLIAM E. SIMON--Deputy Secretary of the Treasury

JOSEPH T. SNEED----Deputy Attorney General

JOHN C. WHITAKER--Under Secretary of the Interior

FRANK C. CARLUCCI--Under Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

EGIL KROGH, Jr.--Under Secretary of Transportation

WILLIAM J. PORTER--Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

WILLIAM J. CASEY--Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs

DONALD RUMSFELD--United States Ambassador to NATO

FREDERIC V. MALEK--Deputy Director, Office of Management and Budget

FRANK C. HERRINGER--Administrator, Urban Mass Transportation Administration

[The President then resumed speaking.]

Mr. Chief Justice, we want to express our appreciation to you for being with us this morning, and we will congratulate all the members of the Cabinet and the sub-Cabinet en masse, and express our appreciation, too, for the members of the Cabinet who are here who are continuing, and to those who are leaving the Cabinet for their superb work in behalf of this country.

I would like to say a word to the Chief Justice, incidentally, in his presence and without at all interfering with his independence and his separation of power, which, of course, neither he nor I would countenance.

Last night he was invited to attend the dinner in honor of the British Prime Minister. He was unable to come because he had, as he said, a touch of whatever, the virus or flu, that is running around. This morning he is here. He still is not feeling too well, but he came, nevertheless.

It gives me, therefore, a good point of departure to say very simply that I know the tremendous load he carries in the Court with the great number of very important and sometimes very controversial decisions that do come before the Court in these times.

I know, too, the tremendous amount of work he does outside the Court, but for the purpose of promoting better justice all over the country, including the State courts and the local courts. He has spoken at judicial conferences and has given leadership in such a splendid way. And I know, too, that when we have a ceremony of this type, or a dinner honoring a distinguished guest, that the Chief Justice is always one who, if he can come, he will be there. And for a man to get out of a sickbed to come here, I think he deserves a little hand this morning, too.

Mr. Chief Justice, if you don't mind, don't get too close to any of the members of the Cabinet. We can't afford any time off.

I am immune, so it doesn't bother me. We would like to stay and greet all of the members of families who are here, but there is a luncheon at the British Embassy which some of us have to attend, in fact, some of the members of the Cabinet, the Secretary of State, and Mrs. Nixon and myself, so we will depart now.

But despite the austerity of the budget, Mr. Ash says that we can afford coffee this morning and some very small rolls, so you can have them out here.

Thank you very much, and we congratulate you all.

Note: The President spoke at 11:05 a.m. in the East Room at the White House.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Swearing In of 20 Cabinet and Sub-Cabinet Officials. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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