Miller Center

Dwight D. Eisenhower: Secret Recordings

Between 1949 and 1950, Dwight D. Eisenhower secretly recorded a number of meetings while president of Columbia University. While U.S. president, Eisenhower secretly recorded at least 25 additional meetings in the Oval Office. In the 1990s, archivists at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library discovered and released close to 15 hours of these recordings. more about the tapes →

The complete collection of Eisenhower recordings is available for download below.

Dwight D. Eisenhower - Pre-Presidential Recordings

The complete collection of Eisenhower's Pre-Presidential Recordings is available for download below. The Miller Center received the audio recordings from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library as multiple audio files. Each audio file represented a single dictabelt recording. Often a particular conversation would span multiple dictabelts. We have spliced audio files together when we could identify overlap between two audio files. We have also arranged the conversations chronologically. To access the non spliced audio files as we received them from the Eisenhower Library, click Original Audio Files.

The Eisenhower Library has created detailed descriptions of the following conversations. Click Pre-Presidential Descriptions to access a full-text searchable .pdf version of these descriptions. We have also broken the descriptions into individual descriptions for each conversation below.

Meeting with Thomas D. Campbell—September 24, 1949

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Eisenhower and Campbell discuss the farm economy, specifically the cost of production, taxes and wheat surpluses.

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Note: the quality of this recording is very poor.

Meetings with Thomas D. Campbell; Henry Schley—September 24, 1949

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Eisenhower and Campbell discuss lead mining and irrigation in New Mexico.

Eisenhower and Schley discuss Schley's personal life. Schley tells Eisenhower that he is reconsidering the Vice Presidency.

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Note: large portions of the tape are unintelligible.

Meeting with Max Immanuel—September 27, 1949

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Eisenhower and Immanuel discuss post-war Germany and Immanuel's fears that another war is imminent. Eisenhower expresses concern about the communist threat to Western Europe.

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Meeting with Yusif el Bandak—November 2, 1949

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El Bandak, an Arab Christian from Bethlehem, speaks about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. He is in New York to address the General Assembly of the United Nations and to help fund relief efforts for Christians in Palestine.

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Note: the quality of this recording is very poor.

Meeting with Yusif el Bandak—November 2, 1949

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This second dictabelt with Yusif el Bandak is a duplicate of the above conversation.

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Meeting with John Foster Dulles—December 20, 1949

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Eisenhower and Dulles discuss a current water shortage in New York City, national debt, the increasing materialism in American society, and communism. Eisenhower says he is unsure whether he wants to run for political office.

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Meeting with John Foster Dulles—December 20, 1949

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A continuation of the above conversation.

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Meetings with John Foster Dulles and Unidentified Man—December 20, 1949

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A continuation of the above conversation.

Eisenhower discusses his reasons for writing Crusade in Europe. He explains that many other histories about World War II were "twisted."

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Meeting with Dr. and Mrs Rudolph R. De Villiers—December 21, 1949

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After presenting Eisenhower with a book on Switzerland, De Villiers updates Eisenhower on the leukemia foundation he established. De Villiers asks for Eisenhower's advice on publishing a book dealing with the illness and death of his son.

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Meeting with Unidentified Staff Member—December 21, 1949

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The conversation is brief and obscured by background noises.

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Meeting with Arthur Gardner—February 6, 1950

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Eisenhower discusses the nature of politics and the importance of educating citizens about their government. Eisenhower expresses uncertainty about seeking political office.

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Meeting with John Gunther—February 7, 1950

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Eisenhower discusses modern warfare. He also talks about the current situation in Western Europe. Eisenhower and Gunter discuss the Cold War and General Douglas MacArthur.

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Meeting with John Gunther—February 7, 1950

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Meeting with John Gunther—February 7, 1950

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Meeting with Unidentified Staff Member—February 14, 1950

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Eisenhower asks about an upcoming appointment with Dean Young and a later social engagement with Henry Ford II.

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Unidentified Staff Member Testing the Recording Equipment—February 14, 1950

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A staff member tests the recording equipment.

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Meeting with C. W. Bayer—February 28, 1950

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Eisenhower talks about the destructive power of the atomic bomb but continues to say that he is not a pacifist.

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Meeting with Clarence M. Malone—April 7, 1950

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Eisenhower and Malone discuss Milton Eisenhower as a public speaker. The two also discuss Eisenhower's political ambition.

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Meeting with Clarence M. Malone—April 7, 1950

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Eisenhower and Malone discuss Milton Eisenhower, Bill Russell and education.

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Meeting with Unidentified Man—ca. April 29, 1950

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Recording begins with Eisenhower discussing agriculture with an unidentified man. There is an interruption and the man leaves.

Meeting with Roy Rutherford—April 29, 1950

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Eisenhower and Rutherford discuss the negative perception of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). They also explore the nature of big business and government involvement in business.

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Meeting with Roy Rutherford—April 29, 1950

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Meeting with Richard M. Pittinger—April 29, 1950

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Pittinger asks Eisenhower to speak at a proposed "General Eisenhower Day," but Eisenhower is wary of that kind of attention.

Eisenhower states that anyone who seeks to be president must be egotistical.

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Meeting with John Henshaw Crider—May 19, 1950

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Eisenhower and Crider discuss President Truman and developments in public education. Crider urges Eisenhower to seek the presidency. Eisenhower replies that he is not a politician.

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Meetings with John Henshaw Crider; Grayson Kirk and Joseph Campbell; E. J. Price—May 19, 1950

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Eisenhower and Crider discuss the possibility of Eisenhower running for elected office.

Kirk, Campbell and Eisenhower discuss Columbia University 's library and its relations with its employees. Eisenhower reads a letter from Chancellor Chase.

Price, former adjutant of the American Legion, talks about a parade to be held in Chicago. Eisenhower says that he has to go to Washington to view a parade with the president.

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Meeting with Henry Cabot Lodge and Telephone Conversation with William Burnham—June 9, 1950

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Eisenhower and Lodge talk about possible communists in government. Eisenhower agrees with Oliver Wendell Holmes that the basic rights of American citizenship do not include the right to be employed by the government.

Eisenhower talks briefly about education and the "role of the university."

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Meeting with Edwin Clark—June 13, 1950

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Eisenhower and Clark talk about Russell Davenport, Ralph McGill and the possibility of Eisenhower running for president. Clark tells Eisenhower that McGill wants to give Eisenhower money for a presidential campaign on the Republican ticket. Eisenhower remains cautious.

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Meeting with Godfrey Lowell Cabot—October 10, 1950

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Eisenhower and Cabot discuss the impact of public opinion on government policy, the Soviet Union, Nazi V-2 rockets, and changes in air warfare and commercial aviation.

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Meeting with Unidentified Man—Date Unknown

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Eisenhower and the unidentified man discuss investments to increase individual income and Congress's motives in granting farm subsidies. They also talk about general economic and business trends, including the gross national product of 1949, money supply, deficit spending, the law of supply and demand and the economic recovery since World War II.

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Meeting with Unidentified Man—Date Unknown

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Most likely a continutation of the coversation above.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower - Presidential Recordings

The complete collection of Eisenhower's Presidential Recordings is available for download below. The Miller Center received the audio recordings from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library as multiple audio files. Each audio file represented a single dictabelt recording. Often a particular conversation would span multiple dictabelts. We have spliced audio files together when we could identify overlap between two audio files. We have also arranged the conversations chronologically. To access the non spliced audio files as we received them from the Eisenhower Library, click Original Audio Files.

The Eisenhower Library has created detailed descriptions of the following conversations. Click Presidential Descriptions to access a full-text searchable .pdf version of these descriptions. We have also broken the descriptions into individual descriptions for each conversation below.

Meeting with Leonard Hall, Sinclair Weeks and Robert Murray—January 4, 1955

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Eisenhower, Hall, Weeks and Murray discuss problems with the Civil Aeronautics Board and one of its members, Oswald Ryan.

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Note: Conversation continues in following recording.

Meeting with Sinclair Weeks and Robert Murray—January 4, 1955

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Eisenhower receives instructions on how to use the dictabelt machine from his secretary.

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Note: This conversation is brief and barely intelligble.

Meeting with Senator Walter George—January 7, 1955

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No Description

Note: Conversation continues in following recording.

Meeting with Senator Walter George—January 7, 1955

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No Description

 

Meeting with Representative Frances Bolton and James C. Hagerty—January 19, 1955

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Eisenhower and Bolton discuss education reform and funding, and then Eisenhower and Hagerty discuss foreign affairs, specifically relations with Latin America.

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Meeting with Roy Howard—February 24, 1955

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No Description

 

Meeting with Paul G. Hoffman—March 5, 1955

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Eisenhower and Hoffman discuss possible government contracts for Studebaker-Packard, Corp.

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Note: Conversation continues in following recording.

Meeting with Paul G. Hoffman—March 5, 1955

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Eisenhower and Hoffman discuss possible government contracts for Studebaker-Packard, Corp.

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