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United States Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Ambassador at Large Dick Clark.

October 30, 1979

To Dick Clark

Fritz 1 had reported to me your pledge to remain neutral in the political campaign and to devote your efforts to assisting refugees and other suffering people. I consider this work to be of transcendent importance.


Note: Vice President Mondale.

Therefore, I accept your resignation with regret and appreciation.

October 29, 1979

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to advise you of my decision to resign from the Administration.

I do so with reluctance because of my respect for you personally, because of what you stand for, and what you have tried to accomplish. This decision is made all the more difficult because of my admiration for and friendship with Vice President Walter Mondale.

My original intention was to remain neutral in the Presidential Primary contest. Careful thought and further reflection have convinced me that such a position is untenable and unwise. I think you would agree with me that to remain uninvolved in a matter of such importance to the country is irresponsible. Consequently, I have made my choice. I will be joining Senator Edward Kennedy's Campaign Committee following my resignation.

It is with regret that I leave my present position as Coordinator of Refugee Affairs. It has been a rewarding job. Working with Secretary Vance has been a particular pleasure and a rare opportunity. In January, when the Secretary asked me to take this position, I was reluctant to do so, but he urged me to accept even if only for a few months in order to reorganize scattered jurisdiction and the hodgepodge of existing programs. That objective has now been completed:

—A new Office of Refugee Programs has been established in the Department of State with a Director at the Assistant Secretary level. Previous jurisdictions in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and the Agency for International Development are now under that single authority.

—An Interagency Committee on .Refugee Affairs has been established and is working effectively to coordinate all existing refugee programs in the Government, both foreign and domestic.

—The Refugee Act of 1979 has passed the Senate (85-0) and will be voted on in the House in the next few days. It is the first comprehensive refugee legislation in the nation's history and will end existing inequities and inconsistencies in our refugee program.

—With your support, we have increased our refugee resettlement program to over 200,000 annually, and the appropriation for implementation has now passed both Houses. The authorization has passed the House and is to be taken up in the Senate in the next day or two.

—Much has been accomplished in achieving a greater burden sharing by the international community in dealing with Indochinese refugee problems.

In summary, those tasks assigned to me in January have now been accomplished with the support of others in the Administration and in the Congress. An effective Coordinator will be needed to give direction to these on-going programs, but I am confident that such a person can be found.

Therefore, I am resigning effective November 1, but will, of course, be available to assist in any way I can.

Again, thank you for your many kindnesses. It has been a privilege to work with you.
Dick Clark

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

Jimmy Carter, United States Coordinator for Refugee Affairs Exchange of Letters on the Resignation of Ambassador at Large Dick Clark. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248503

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