Secret White House Tapes

Meeting with John Gunther—February 7, 1950 (part 3)

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  • John Gunther
February 7, 1950
The conversation continues with a new topic : a discussion of General Douglas
MacArthur. Eisenhower says that if a writer is going to do a book on the Philippines,
MacArthur "will do his best to get to see that manuscript. He will do his best to write it .
As a matter of fact, I know, his own chief of staff told me that MacArthur wrote
paragraph after paragraph of that Frazier Hunt book." Eisenhower tells Gunther that
MacArthur has "uncanny judgement" and "comes out a hero ." In response, Gunther says
that Mar-Arthur has been "smart" and Eisenhower responds "Huh. And then, and still
trying to keep it before the American public that the reason he hasn't been home is
because insistent daily duty would not allow him to do so and because he is sacrificing
that to the American people. Why, goddamn his soul!"
Eisenhower ends the conversation by recounting that "when he [MacArthur] went down
to the Philippines, you know what he did? He insisted on twenty-one guns. He said he
was ruler of a country-. We went down there when what's-his-name, the first president
after the war was inaugurated. He insisted on it again. Oh, they had a hell of a fight .
Then I think they finally compromised and he got nineteen. I tell you what I'd do, go out
there and write a book. . ."
At this point the recording becomes difficult to understand ; it appears that Gunther has
moved toward the door.