Text of Nixon's Resignation Letter

August 9, 1974

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States.


[Richard Nixon's signature]

HK 11:35 AM

The Honorable Henry A. Kissinger
The Secretary of State
Washington, D.C. 20520



Foregoing the anticipated, "It has been a tremendous pleasure to be a part of the United States Government team. It has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I wish you and the United States continued success," Richard Nixon saw little reason to include any more than one sentence. I tried resigning with a letter like this once, but it didn't go over too well. I don't recommend resigning this way unless you find yourself embroiled in a scandal, and you are also the head of a successful Western nation.

Two further things seem odd to me about this letter:

    - It is addressed to its recipient at the bottom of the page rather than the top,

Henry Kissinger received and initialed the letter at 11:35 AM, making the President's resignation effective at that moment.

Update 4/24/04

Thanks to dabcanboulet for pointing out that, "The letter is written to the Secretary of State because that is who the relevant U.S. law says that it must be submitted to."

The law dabcanboulet cites, USC Title 3, Chapter 1, §20, reads: "The only evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the office of President or Vice President, shall be an instrument in writing, declaring the same, and subscribed by the person refusing to accept or resigning, as the case may be, and delivered into the office of the Secretary of State" (Cornell Law).

Original resignation letter published at:

US Law from Cornell Law, Legal Information Institute - http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/3/20.html.

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