Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks Upon Accepting the Resignation of Earl L. Butz as Secretary of Agriculture

October 04, 1976

Good afternoon. Will you please sit down.

I wish to announce my decision to accept the resignation of Earl Butz as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. This has been one of the saddest decisions of my Presidency.

Two years ago Earl Butz told me that he wanted to leave the Cabinet. At my request he agreed to stay on until the end of this term, in spite of personal family obligations. I felt that I needed him in the Cabinet to implement my policies of full farm production coupled with fair prices for the consumer and good income for farmers through the sales of their products throughout the world.

Earl Butz has been and continues to be a close personal friend and a man who loves his country and all that it represents.

Earl Butz has devoted more than 20 years of his life in public and academic service: as an Assistant Secretary in the Eisenhower administration; as a professor and then a dean at one of the most distinguished universities in this country; and more recently, as the Secretary of a Department that has helped to restore personal freedom and abundance to American farms.

Yet Earl Butz is also wise enough and courageous enough to recognize that no single individual, no matter how distinguished his past public service, should cast a shadow over the integrity and good will of the American Government by his comments.

For that reason, I have accepted the resignation of this decent and good man.

Note: The President spoke at 1:35 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House.

Prior to the President's remarks, Secretary Butz read his letter of resignation and statement. The Secretary's remarks are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 12, p. 1440). Secretary Butz' letter of resignation read as follows:

Dear Mr. President:

I hereby submit my resignation as Secretary of Agriculture.

I sincerely apologize for any offense that may have been caused by the unfortunate choice of language used ill a recent conversation and reported publicly.

It has been a high privilege to serve as a member of the Ford Administration. American farmers will always be grateful to you for your solid support of our efforts to raise their incomes and to permit them to manage their farms without excessive governmental regulation.
I shall always be your ardent supporter.
Sincerely yours,

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

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks Upon Accepting the Resignation of Earl L. Butz as Secretary of Agriculture Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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