Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of New Cabinet Officials.

June 12, 1972

Mr. Vice President, members of the Cabinet, Members of the Congress, and all of our distinguished guests:

We, of course, are delighted to have all of you here today, but we are particularly delighted and proud to have the Chief Justice of the United States. We have a number of swearings in from time to time, but we seldom impose on him. Since this is one of those occasions when three members of the President's Cabinet are going to be sworn in, the Chief Justice was able to work it into his schedule, and we are very happy that he will be the presiding officer for this occasion.

We will swear in the new members of the Cabinet in the order that they were appointed. The first will be the Attorney General of the United States. I will make brief remarks about each, and after I have made my remarks, if the appointee, or the man who has been confirmed, will please step up with his wife, who will hold the Bible for the ceremony, then the Chief Justice will swear them in.

As far as the Attorney General is concerned, everybody is aware that I appointed him several months ago. [Laughter] When I called him the day of his continuation, he said it seemed like several years ago.

But in any event, he has been, as all of you know, one of my very close friends over many, many years. But beyond that, he has been one of the very able men in this Administration, serving as Deputy Attorney General. I had great confidence in his intellectual capacity, in his honesty and his integrity, in his devotion to the law of this land, when I appointed him as Attorney General.

The long ordeal to which he was submitted when he went to the Senate for confirmation in no way reduced that confidence. As a matter of fact, it increased it, because, as many of you have heard me say on occasion, a great ship is not tested by smooth sailing, only by rough seas. Only when a man has been through adversity do you find out how really strong he is.

Richard Kleindienst, I always knew, was intellectually capable. I always knew that he had total loyalty and devotion to this country, but now there is no question that here is a man who is strong in character and who is at his best when the going is roughest. He will be a great Attorney General. And now, to be sworn in as the 68th Attorney General of the United States of America, Richard Kleindienst.

[At this point, Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States, administered the oath of office to Attorney General Kleindienst. The President then resumed speaking.]

The next member of the Cabinet to be sworn in did not have quite the ordeal that Mr. Kleindienst has. As a matter of fact, when I called him the day that the Senate confirmed him, I congratulated him on winning with such a close vote. [Laughter]

I do want you to know that the Senate's confirmation of him unanimously, however, only underlined the fact that when we tried to find the man to succeed Secretary John Connally, the decision was also a unanimous one. I remembered having a long discussion with Secretary Connally at the time that the decision was made that he would have to leave the Cabinet, and independently we both reached the conclusion, unanimously between the two of us--[laughter]-- that the man best qualified, the first choice for the next Secretary of the Treasury would be George Shultz.

You all know his years of Government service as Secretary of Labor, as Director of the Office of Budget and Management. You also, of course, are aware of the fact that he has an unusual combination of qualities which qualify him for this position. He is a fiscal expert. He is a very respected economist. In addition to that, he has demonstrated ability in the field of organization in running a huge department, a very important department, and has, of course, particular competence in the field of international economics, which is one of the special responsibilities of the Secretary of the Treasury.

We are very proud to have him here to be sworn in as the 62d Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Mr. George Shultz.

[At this point, Chief Justice Burger administered the oath of office to Secretary of the Treasury Shultz. The President then resumed speaking.]

Just for the Secretary of the Treasury's, at least, protection from any attack that might be made upon him, I think the record must show that when he assumed this position he took a $20,000 salary cut, when he left the Cabinet, the position of Secretary of Labor, to take the other Cabinet position of Director of the new Office of Budget and Management. He now gets a $20,000 salary increase, but that is not in violation of the law. [Laughter]

I have known, of course, both of the two outstanding members of the Cabinet, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, for a number of years, but the new Director of the Office of Budget and Management is a man I have known longer than either of those two. Going back to the early days in California when I first met him, in the year 1949, I have respected him as an outstanding lawyer, as an outstanding State legislator, as an outstanding servant of the State of California as its director of the budget, and then as the director of the budget under George Shultz here in Washington after serving a very splendid term as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

To add any adjectives with regard to his record would be certainly gilding the lily a bit. I will simply say this: He is a man who has demonstrated extraordinary intellectual capacity. He has, certainly, managerial ability, and beyond that, he has that total integrity and fearlessness in carrying out the duties of an office that we need in a public servant. We are very proud to have Caspar Weinberger as the new Director of the Office of Budget and Management.

[At this point, Chief Justice Burger administered the oath of office to Director of the Office of Management and Budget Weinberger. The President then resumed speaking.]

Ladies and gentlemen, if you will bear with us for just a moment, for purposes of a photograph, we would like all of the three new members of the Cabinet and their wives, and Mrs. Nixon, please, to step up for a photograph that all of you might enjoy having.

I understand that many Members of Congress have to get back up to the Hill, and that others may have to leave, but for all of those who have the time, we would like very much now to receive you in the Blue Room so that you can congratulate the new appointees, and also for coffee and tea and, I understand, some cakes that are available in the State Dining Room.

Incidentally, the cakes were baked freshly this morning. I wanted to make sure, because I realize that this is the first anniversary of the Rose Garden wedding. This is not the wedding cake from last year. [Laughter]

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:23 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. He spoke without referring to notes.

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

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