Nation: Departure of a Good Soldier

The chilling of Soviet-U.S. relations blighted Vance's dreams

In his handwritten letter of resignation to President Carter, Cyrus Vance declared: "I look with pride and satisfaction at the many actions and new directions which have marked our foreign policy under your leadership." Then he listed the accomplishments for which he wants to be remembered. Yet even that recitation —by which Vance meant to console both Carter and himself—has a melancholy ring. It is a list of what may well turn out to be pyrrhic victories, noble failures and unfinished business:

The Panama Canal treaties....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!