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Kissinger Formally Resigns Harvard Post

By Garrett Epps

"Frankly, I cannot imagine what the government would be like without you. Your wise counsel and strong support over the past two years have meant a great deal to me .... The nation's many accomplishments in the field of foreign policy during these past two years have been due in no small measure to your energy and to your vision.

"I am grateful for what you have done and I am grateful that you are staying."

-President Nixon's letter to Kissinger

Henry A. Kissinger formally resigned his post Saturday as professor of Government and member of the executive committee of the Center for International Affairs in order to remain as President Nixon's advisor for national security affairs.

Kissinger's resignation, announced by the White House, came only three days before his leave of absence from Harvard was scheduled to expire.

Kissinger had received assurances from the Harvard Government Department over Christmas that he would be rehired if he chose to remain in Washington after his leave expired.

Samuel P. Huntington, Thompson Professor of Government and head of the Department, said last night that the senior members of the Department had voted before Christmas "an expression of hope that he would come back and said that we would recommend his reappointment at any time in the next 20 months."

The Department decided to hold Kissinger's professorship vacant for at least a year.

Special Offer

The special offer to Kissinger seemed to represent a new departure in interpretation of the long-standing University rule limiting leaves of absence to two years. The last major application of the rule came after President Kennedy's raid on the Faculty for staff members of his administration.

Kennedy appointed John Kenneth Galbraith, Warburg Professor of Economics, ambassador to India; Edwin O. Reischauer, professor of History, ambassador to Japan; McGeorge Bundy, dean of the Faculty, special assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., professor of History, special assistant to the President.

At the end of the two-year leaves, Reischauer, Bundy, and Schlesinger tendered their resignations from Harvard. Galbraith obtained a special six-month extension of his leave because he did not feel that he could leave his post during a border flare-up between India and China.

Reischauer later asked to return to Harvard. Although his chair in the History Department had been filled, he was named University Professor-receiving the only such non-endowed University-wide chair in existence.

Bundy and Schlesinger decided later not to return.

Kissinger reportedly feared that he would be slighted by antiwar former colleagues if he attempted to return. His predecessor as national security advisor, Walt W. Rostow, was turned down by M. I. T. when he attempted to regain his post as professor of Economics there.

The Departmental action represented an initiative by members of the Government Department to persuade him to return at his convenience. Huntington said last night, "I don't know if it's a precedent. I don't know of any case in recent years in which this sequence has been followed."

The White House also releasedSaturday the text of a letter from Nixon to Kissinger.

"The intensity of both your devotion to scholarship and your affection for Harvard are well-known to your friends and associates," the letter said, adding, "I am grateful for what you have done and I am grateful that you are staying."

Kissinger said yesterday that he resigned "with enormous regret," adding, "Harvard meant a great deal to me."

He would not comment on the Government Department's action. "This is a matter for the Government Department and I would not know. I just resigned," he said.

"If I return to academic life, as I intend to, then I would certainly always be pleased to be at Harvard," he said.

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