EISENHOWER, Dwight D. Typed letter signed (''Ike E'') as U.S. Army Chief of Staff, to Earl M. Price of Bakersfield, California; Washington, D.C., 31 October 1947. 2 1/3 pages, 4to (10 7/16 x 8 in.), War Department stationery, on rectos only, ''Personal and Confidential'' typed at head, staple holes at upper left corners, in very fine condition.
EISENHOWER, Dwight D. Typed letter signed ("Ike E") as U.S. Army Chief of Staff, to Earl M. Price of Bakersfield, California; Washington, D.C., 31 October 1947. 2 1/3 pages, 4to (10 7/16 x 8 in.), War Department stationery, on rectos only, "Personal and Confidential" typed at head, staple holes at upper left corners, in very fine condition.
"I WANT NO PART OF ANY POLITICAL JOB"
Eisenhower writes an unusually lengthy and outspoken letter to a former West Point classmate, just three months before he resigned from the army. The General responds with a great deal of irritation to Price's critical letter. Above all, he adamantly denies any interest in running for political office: "... First of all, you seem to think that I have been rather a shrinking violet in supporting Universal Military Training. I could send you a whole list of Congressional hearings, public speeches and records of press conferences in which I have battled for UMT ever since our 1943 campaigns in Africa. In fact, I kept talking when many real friends of UMT suggested that I keep still... You devoted a considerable portion of your letter to discussing political affairs, more particularly as they might affect me personally. It is true that numbers of friends, acquaintances, or old associates around the country have done some talking about the possibility of my standing for political office. That has happened to every man who has ever had his name favorably mentioned in the newspapers and I see no reason for my getting particularly excited about it except to say what I have already said, and mean, that I want no part of any political job. Since no man--at least since Washington's day--has ever gone to high political office except with his own consent, indeed with his own connivance, I feel perfectly secure in my position and I do not consider it either approproate or in good taste that I say another word about it. If you ever find any statement anywhere that purports to quote me as saying that I want a political office, and I mean now or in the future, then you send it on to me and remind me of this statement. You seem to be impressed greatly with what Sherman said as applicable to any citizen whose name might be casually mentioned (at any time) for political office ["If nominated I will not accept; if elected I will not serve"]. Did you ever look up the circumstances under which he said it? For 20 years many people hounded Sherman to take a part in politics and he steadfastly refused. Finally in 1884 a political convention was actually in session. It deadlocked. The bosses communicated with him and asked him to step in as the one person around whom all might unite. Of course, under those circumstances, it was appropriate and proper for him to say exactly what he did..."
"Frankly, the reason I am trying to point out these things in some detail is because you state that I have been guilty of double-talk. I am astonished that... you should feel yourself so competent to pass such firm and unfavorable judgment upon an old classmate. Although I can agree with your generalization that plenty of double-talk does come out of Washington, I do not see why that circumstance alone convicts everyone who is compelled to serve here. I have never evaded a legitimate question or consciously lied to the press or the public... Enough of that!... I hope that you will consider this letter entirely personal and confidential, which it is, but I also hope that when next you have the impulse to accuse an old friend of things of which you yourself would not be guilty, you try to avoid jumping at conclusions."
Eisenhower continued to resist pressure to run for President in 1948. He returned from the war in 1945 and succeeded George C. Marshall as Army Chief of Staff, resigned from the Army in February 1948 to serve as President of Columbia University until 1950. Like Zachary Taylor before him, Eisenhower was actively recruited by both parties to seek the presidential nomination. In 1952, vowing to "clean up the mess in Washington," he was named Republican Party candidate by a large margin over other contenders.