This is the 28th time we have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time we have done so to discuss with you some matter that we believe affected the national interest.
In all the decisions we have made in our public life, we have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to us that we no longer have a strong enough political base to justify continuing that effort.
We have never been a quitter. To leave office before our term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in our body. But as President, we must put the interest of America first.
Therefore, we shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
To those who have stood with us during these past difficult months, to our family, our friends, to many others who joined in supporting our cause because they believed it was right, we will be eternally grateful for your support. And to those who have not felt able to give us your support, let us say we leave with no bitterness, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.
Sometimes we have succeeded and sometimes we have failed, but always we have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
We pledge to you tonight that as long as we have a breath of life in our body, we shall continue in that spirit.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, we do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.