The recently-ousted US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sounding exhausted after just returning from a five-country tour of Africa, mentioned the "honesty" of Americans and "respect" of government colleagues in an emotional speech but did not mention the country's President Donald Trump at all.
Tillerson said earlier that he had spoken with Trump hours after the firing, but numerous reports suggested he found out initially about losing his job via the President's morning tweet.
The ousted Secretary of State is being replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who will need to go through the Senate confirmation process.
Trump told reporters in the wake of the announcement that he and Pompeo shared similar thinking, while he had "disagreed with Tillerson." He added that the former oil and gas CEO would be "much happier" out of office.
Tillerson will hand over his duties effective immediately to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and will officially step down at midnight on 31 March.
In the meantime, he will meet with State Department career and diplomatic staff to "ensure a smooth, orderly transition" for incoming nominee Pompeo.
Tillerson addressed all his staff and that of War Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in saying they "all took the same oath of office" to "support and defend the Constitution" and "bear true faith and allegiance to the same".
"We are bound together by that oath, here in Washington and at posts across the world," he said.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team