Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of William E. Colby as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

September 04, 1973

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are ready to swear in the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Judge Hart.

[At this point, George L. Hart, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, administered the oath of office. The President then resumed speaking.]

Ladies and gentlemen, you all know Mr. Colby's background, his background as a distinguished public servant over many years and in the CIA.

We tinct that in making appointments of this sort, when we can find what we think is a true professional in the best sense of the word, that we prefer that kind of appointment, and Mr. Colby met all the qualifications, and his appointment has met with, I would say, almost universal acclaim, certainly within that agency, and with a very overwhelming vote, I think to% in the Senate.

[ would point this out, too, that his career of service in the CIA is not as well known as most, because as we all know, in that particular organization your successes usually must remain unknown and your failures become known.

I would say, though, in the case of Mr. Colby, he is an exception to the rule in one sense: that he had a very distinguished career, when I first met him, in directing our pacification program in Vietnam. And we now find that that country, the 17 million people of that country, are benefiting from all the years of bard work put in by the people under your direction and others in building South Vietnam into a viable peacetime country where it is now paying off.

So, the Nation is grateful for your service in the past, and I know that we will profit from your service in the future as the head of this organization.

MR. COLBY. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I appreciate very much the honor and confidence that you showed in appointing me to this duty. I take it as a major charge to fulfill both of the meanings of the word "intelligence." The one, the official meaning of an intelligence organization which provides the facts and presents them to you so that you know what is going on in the world, but the second meaning is the application of the human quality of intelligence to be able to analyze facts and come out with assessments and judgments about them.

I hope that the CIA and the whole of the intelligence community will truly serve you and, through you, the people of the United States in protecting our national security and welfare.

THE PRESIDENT. I will just conclude by saying Mr. Colby, that I have often said to other directors--to Allen Dulles, whom, of course, you knew well, worked under, and of course, Mr. Helms, now the Ambassador--that wherever you can, when anything is going to happen, or does happen, that the CIA could tell me before I read it in the papers. [Laughter]

MR. COLBY. That is a very direct charge.


Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

Richard Helms was United States Ambassador to Iran.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Swearing In of William E. Colby as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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