Secret White House Tapes

Meeting with Richard M. Pittinger—April 29, 1950

About this recording

  • Richard M. Pittinger
April 29, 1950
Recording begins with Pittinger asking Eisenhower to speak at a proposed "General
Eisenhower Day" in which he wouldmake two addresses. Eisenhower says, ". . .I was
raised, as a soldier, rather to despise the fellow who was always seeking a chance to get
up in front of the public and run off at the mouth. In the first place I'm not too sure of the
efficacy of words at influencing people, certainly, words that just are just got nothing, and
given to them because of the occasion; and secondly, because of my mistrust ofpeople
that do it too damned much." He continues by saying "So, I don't know exactly what I'll
answer the governor. I most certainly love that section ofthe country. I was stationed
out there in Fort Lewis and when I was there went down a couple of times to inspect that
post that was there near Portland ."
Pittinger indicates the event could be limited to one speech if Eisenhower would agree to
that . Eisenhower indicates that he is "flattered" to be asked and that he always tries to
keep his speeches "unassuming and simple." He tells Pittinger that he tries to answer
questions that he thinks people would ask him. This statement prompts Pittinger to
inquire "General, what are you going to do when the pressure comes up to run for the
presidency of the United States?" To which Eisenhower responds "Well, I don't know
that that pressure is going to be as great as many people think." As Pittinger continues
discussing the possibility of an Eisenhower presidential bid, Eisenhower tells him "I
think that anyone that definitely seeks to be president of the United States is the most
egotistical so-and-so, I think. I don't understand how anybody could conceive that he
would really be a worthy president, I'd say. The manI say ought to be president of the
United States, I think, is at least St. Peter come back to earth."
Eisenhower agrees to Pittinger's request to send a letter to the Governor of Oregon
concerning the proposed event. He says he will ask Kevin McCann to write a note and
send it to Pittinger before he leaves New York.