Following is the full text of a letter sent by outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell to all State Department employees on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004, as obtained by FOX News.

Message From The Secretary

To All Hands:

As you have no doubt heard by now, I have submitted my resignation as Secretary of State to the President, effective at his pleasure. I expect to leave sometime within the next two months. The President and I have been discussing this for a number of months and we have concluded that this is the right time for me to pass the reins. I will be working like a dog until the day I leave.

I will never be able to convey to each of you how honored I feel to have served as your Secretary over the past four years. We have accomplished a great deal together. We have helped fight the war against terror; we've liberated two countries; we've created the best relations with more than half the population of the world, just counting China, India, and Russia; we've doubled the development assistance we provide, not to mention the Millennium Challenge Account; we've done more for the fight against HIV/AIDS than anyone. I could go on, but our record of accomplishment is clear. Yes, there are still challenges and crises with which we still must deal. And we will deal with them. I just wanted you all to understand all we've done together and for you to be proud of our accomplishments.

We've also worked to improve the State Family in so many ways. The Diplomatic Readiness Initiative, our IT Modernization, Leadership Training, better Congressional relations and tens of thousands of Americans wanting to be part of our team. We're in good shape.

Although I will be stepping down, I will never really leave the Department, no more than I could stop being a soldier.

My thanks to each and everyone of you and to your families.