My dear Elliott:
I have just received your letter of to-day, in which, for reasons of health, you ask to be relieved of responsibility for the administration of the Post Office Department, and tender your resignation as Postmaster General.
As you are well aware, I have all along shared the hope that the impairment of your health would prove but temporary, and that, with rest and change, you would be in a position to continue to administer the affairs of the Post Office Department over which you have presided since the administration came into office in 1935.
I am delighted that your health is so much improved. I agree, however, with you that, instead of continuous improvement in your physical condition, you might encounter a setback were you, either immediately or in the near future, to attempt to resume the duties and responsibilities of a minister of the crown. In your own interest, therefore, as well as in the public interest, I feel you are right in asking to be relieved of the duties of your present office. I shall accordingly, early in the New Year, recommend to His Excellency the acceptance of your resignation.
I shall be deeply sorry to lose you as a colleague in the government. For over twelve years we have been together in the House of Commons, and, of that time, for more than seven years have sat together at the council table. I cannot be too grateful for the loyal and helpful cooperation which you have given me as leader of the party and of the government during the course of those years. I should be distressed indeed did your retirement from the government mean your retirement from public life. Happily, the reverse. I believe, will prove to be the case, and that the restoration of your health will be much accelerated by freedom from the duties and responsibilities of office. This, I trust, may mean for you many years of continued public service.
I thank you warmly for the much too kind personal references of your letter. I need not tell you how deeply they are appreciated, coming as they do from so close a colleague, and so old and true a friend.
May I add that my regret at losing you as a member of the government will be shared by every one of our colleagues. All, however, will rejoice that our association in the House of Commons is to continue, and we shall all hope for the early complete restoration of your health.
With every good wish for the New Year, Believe me, as always,
Yours very sincerely,
W. L. Mackenzie King.