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    Dwight D. Eisenhower letter with exceptional McCarthy content

    Dwight D. Eisenhower Typed Letter Signed. Three pages, recto only, 7" x 10.5", on his personal gilt-embossed letterhead, Gettysburg PA, December 8, 1961. Headed "PERSONAL." Just ten months after leaving the Oval Office, Eisenhower remained deeply concerned and attentive to issues both domestic and foreign. He declines, however, to participate in discussions with the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding "muzzling" the military, and offers his own views on how best to deal with vocal and aggressive agitators within the government.

    Addressed to Senator John Stennis, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee , the letter reads, in part: "Dear Senator Stennis: I refer to our conversation of December fourth respecting your January hearings on a so-called 'muzzling' of the military. The more I have pondered our discussion - I have reflected over it earnestly since our visit - the more I am forced to the conclusion that my personal participation at these hearings would be unwise."

    The former president then goes on to discuss his personal experience dealing with Joe McCarthy and offers strategy suggestions to counter the type of 'bait and attack" tactics that McCarthy used. Although he never mentions McCarthy by name - something Eisenhower was well known for avoiding - it is quite clear to whom he refers: "Recalling a particular experience of my own in the Presidency, I was urged by many respected and politically experience friends and advisers to dramatize a somewhat similar situation by direct and personal involvement. The chief character had become a national figure, not by the inherent merit of his viewpoint, but rather by his public jousting with my predecessor himself. Conversely, in the first two years of my Administration, in spite of repeated attempts to cast me in a role of open, personal controversy with this same individual, I refused to take any public notice of his extreme statements. The result was a shriveling both of the person and the movement. Within two years the issue was dead and its leader discredited. No longer, of course, am I President, but the example cited still holds valid lessons. In this case I cannot with certainty identify the individual whose public visibility would be thus enhanced, but no matter who it might be, the result would be undesirable."

    He continues: "In situations involving unsubstantiated criticism and condemnation, rather than calling upon individuals whose words would probably help to polarize opposition and engender press interest, thus bestowing more respectability, credibility and momentum to the extremists, the wise course I think is to proceed on a low-key basis, avoiding name-calling or challenging of motives and objectives... I have concluded that it would be a serious error for me to appear as a witness...because my appearance with the inevitable 'cross examination' process would in due course produce repercussions which none of us would desire." Boldly signed "Dwight D. Eisenhower."

    This outstanding letter reveals Eisenhower's fine mind and calm approach to sensitive matters created by difficult and aggressive individuals. Very fine condition and extremely desirable!

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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