NIXON, Richard M. Typed letter signed ("RN"), as President, TO JOHN D. EHRLICHMAN (1925-1999), with autograph postscript. 1 page, 4to, White House stationery, with original White House envelope.
"MY HEART IS FULL...I LOVE YOU"--NIXON ACCEPTS THE RESIGNATION OF A KEY AIDE IMPLICATED IN THE WATERGATE SCANDAL
On 30 April 1973, President Nixon made a televised address to the nation announcing the resignation of three top aides, John Ehrlichman, H. R. Haldeman and John Dean. Eighteen days later, Nixon tells Ehrlichman "it is with the deepest regret that I write to acknowledge your letter of resignation. This letter will be brief, though my heart is full. I believe you know, better than I could say, just how much your loyal assistance has meant to me in the crucible of the Presidency, how deeply I respect the courage and self-sacrifice that now prompt your leaving, and how sorely missed you will be...Few men have done so much good in so short a time..." In an emotional postscript at the bottom of the page Nixon writes, "I have every confidence in the final outcome. Love you."
The dismissal of Ehrlichman, Haldeman and Dean was intended by Nixon to staunch the political bleeding of the Watergate scandal, and to sell the idea that culpability stopped with those three aides. Neither the Congress nor the public bought this strategy, and throughout the summer of 1973 a Senate investigative committee under Senator Sam Ervin disclosed an ongoing pattern of corruption and law breaking within the administration, dating from its earliest years, such as the so-called "Plumbers" group under Ehrlichman, designed to plug press leaks; the compilation of an "enemy's list" to harass political opponents with IRS audits and other such "dirty tricks." The break-in at the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex on 17 June 1972 proved to be only one instance of a pattern of lawlessness. The House Judiciary Committee, using the Oval office tapes that were disclosed by the Ervin committee, voted articles of impeachment against Nixon. With conviction in the Senate and removal from office a near certainty, Nixon resigned on 9 August 1974--the only President ever to do so.