The Administration: The Firing of a Fighter

A certain bureaucratic politesse muffles most premature departures from an Administration. By mutual agreement, Cabinet officers make their exits murmuring about personal reasons or the completion of their assignment. The President protests his deep regret. No such charade disguised the exit last week of Interior Secretary Walter J. Hickel.

The Secretary was attending a budget-making session in the Executive Office Building when White House Aide John Whitaker informed him of a presidential summons. When Hickel left the room, Whitaker told the others: "The Secretary won't be back." Presidential Assistant John Ehrlichman...

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