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His ink signature on a typescript of his resignation as Attorney General during the "Saturday Night Massacre," refusing President Nixon's demand that he fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox
Typescript signed: "Elliot Richardson", 1 page, 8x11. No place cited, but probably Washington, D.C. Date of original document was October 20, 1973. To "Dear Mr. President [Nixon], in full: "It is with great regret that I have been obliged to conclude that circumstances leave me no alternataive to the submission of my resignation as Attorney General of the United States. At the time you appointed me, you gave me the authority to name a special prosecutor if I should consider it appropriate. A few days before my confirmation hearing began, I announced that I would, if confirmed, 'appoint a special prosecutor and give him all the independence, authority, and staff support needed to carry out the tasks entrusted to him.' I added, 'Although he will be in the Department of Justice and report to me - and only to me - he will be aware that his ultimate accountability is to the American people. At many points throughout the nomination hearings, I reaffirmed my intention to assure the independence of the special prosecutor, and in my statement of his duties and responsibilities, I specified that he would have 'full authority' for 'determining whether or not to contest the assertion of 'Executive Privilege' or any other testimonial privilege.' And while the special prosecutor can be removed from office for 'extraordinary improprieties', I also pledged that 'The Attorney General will not countermand or interfere with the Special Prosecutor's decisions or actions.' While I fully respect the reasons that have led you to conclude that the Special Prosecutor must be discharged, I trust that you understand that I could not in the light of these firm and repeated commitments carry out your direction that this be done. In the circumstances therefore, I feel that I have no choice but to resign. In leaving your administration, I take with me lasting gratitude for the opportunities you have given me to serve under your leadership in a number of important posts. It has been a privilege to share in your efforts to make the structure of world peace more stable and the structure of our own government more responsive. I believe profoundly in the rightness and importance of those efforts, and I trust that they will meet with increasing success in the remaining years of your Presidency." Elliot L. Richardson (1920-1999) was President Nixon's Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare from June 24, 1970 until February 2, 1973, when he was named Secretary of Defense. He served until May 25, 1973, when he was sworn in as Attorney General. On October 20, 1973, President Nixon ordered Attorney General Richardson to dismiss Special Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had rejected Nixon's compromise to supply summaries of the "Watergate tapes". Richardson resigned rather than enforce President Nixon's order. President Ford appointed Richardson Secretary of Commerce. He served in this, his record fourth Cabinet post from February 2, 1976 to January 20, 1977. Fine condition.

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Born: July 20, 1920 in Boston, Massachusetts
Died: December 31, 1999 in Boston, Massachusetts

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