Hillary Clinton’s Parting Email to State

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers her farewell address to the staff in the C Street lobby of the State Department on February 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton departed Foggy Bottom this afternoon, she sent a farewell email to employees that included the predictable thank you’s, and the introduction of several new acronyms including NY/WJC and NY/CVC.  Check after the break for the text of the letter.


Subject: Thank You
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2013 19:50:00 +0000

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Thank you.

That’s what I want to say to you one last time before I finish my tenure as Secretary.  Thank you for four wonderful years.

When President Obama asked me to serve as Secretary of State, I was determined to restore America’s leadership and to elevate diplomacy and development as core pillars of American power, because I was convinced that they are critical for solving problems and seizing opportunities worldwide.

I will walk out the door today even more convinced of that—because of you.  Because of the work we have done together and its importance to our nation and world.

I haven’t been able to meet every one of you, but I wish I could have.  Because I have been dazzled by the men and women of the State Department and USAID.  You have inspired me, impressed me, and energized me.  In virtually every country I’ve visited, I’ve met with the staff of the local U.S. embassy or consulate.  So I’ve seen for myself all that you do every day—some of it glamorous, most of it not—to make real our policies and values, and to make a difference in people’s lives.

I think about the FSO in Kabul who rescued his wounded DoD colleagues after their convoy hit an IED.  Or the consular officers in Port-au-Prince who refused to be evacuated even after their own homes were destroyed in the earthquake because people needed their help more than ever.  Or the locally employed staff member in Timor-Leste who went on to become a member of parliament in her new democracy.  There are so many stories of extraordinary service and colleagues who went above and beyond.

You’re the ones sitting at the table with our allies and partners to respond to threats, or hammer out new trade agreements, or build better health systems, or coordinate assistance in an emergency.  You’re the ones championing human rights and democracy, even—especially—in places where they’re imperiled.  You’re the ones engaging with people everywhere; sometimes, you’re the only Americans they ever meet.

There’s no one I’d rather have be the face of the United States to the world than the men and women of the U.S. Foreign and Civil Service.

During these four years, we’ve worked together to make important reforms.  Through the first QDDR and our outreach to Congress, we’ve sought to ensure that you have the resources and support you need to do your jobs, and to keep the United States at the cutting edge of diplomacy and development.  Thanks to the recommendations of the recent Accountability Review Board, we’ll improve security at our posts worldwide.  The State Department and USAID are in better shape today than they were four years ago.  I’m deeply proud of that.

And I—like you—will carry with me the memory of the friends and loved ones we’ve lost along the way.  Some of their names are etched into the walls of the State Department lobby.  Some, like Richard Holbrooke and Chris Stevens, were giants of American diplomacy.  Others were men and women far too young, with long futures ahead of them, and so much promise and passion.  They were patriots, and their commitment of service lives on in you.

We were reminded again this morning in Ankara of the risks you face and the sacrifices you make every day to stand up for our values and interests.  Yesterday, I had the privilege of presenting the Department’s Heroism Awards to the brave security professionals who responded to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi.  And I know there are so many unsung heroes serving our country and protecting our colleagues around the world.

There is no more extraordinary group of people anywhere than all of you.  Your new Secretary knows this.  Of course he does—he was born with it.  Isn’t that the case with all Foreign Service families?  John Kerry brings judgment, experience, vision, and a deep understanding of what diplomacy and development require.  He’ll be an excellent Secretary of State.

So now all that’s left is to say goodbye.  There’s so m uch I will miss about this place:  the professionalism of Ops… the precision of the Line… the passion of a USAID Development Officer, the excitement I see in the face of a Desk Officer sharing his or her expertise.

I’ll even miss the acronyms!  In fact, I created a few of my own.  NY/WJC and NY/CVC – who I used to simply call Bill and Chelsea – are my newest advisors.  Instead of S, now I’ll just be HRC.  I’m also thinking of turning my Chappaqua house into a SCIF, but I will not/not check my new iPad at the door.

I understand there’s a tradition of embassies and consulates throwing a “wheels-up party” whenever a senior official’s plane departs after a visit.  I don’t know if there’s a similar tradition for when a Secretary leaves for the last time, but I hope you all take a moment this afternoon to celebrate how hard we’ve worked together and all that we’ve accomplished.

Take a bow. You certainly deserve it.  But Monday morning, President Obama and Secretary Kerry need you right back at your post, serving the country and the Department we love.

It has been one of the great honors of my life to be your colleague for these four years.

So let me say it one last time as “S”: Thank you.

With gratitude and best wishes,

Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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Zachary Fryer-Biggs

Senior Staff Writer at Defense News
Zach is the State Department correspondent, cyberwarfare, research & development and business reporter for Defense News.
Zachary Fryer-Biggs
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