37. Editorial Note

President Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency at 11:35 a.m. on August 9, 1974, as a result of the Watergate scandal, whereupon Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumed the nation’s highest office. In remarks made upon taking the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Warren Burger, Ford characterized the occasion as “an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.” Referencing the foreign policy commitments of the United States, Ford stated: “To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, and I hope that could encompass the whole world, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.”

Addressing his American audience, Ford said: “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.

“In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” Ford spoke at 12:05 p.m. in the East Room of the White House. The oath of office and the President’s remarks were broadcast live on nationwide radio and television networks. (Public Papers: Ford, 1974, pages 1–3)