Diary of Dwight D. Eisenhower

August 25, 1937

The last week has been one of the most trying ones I’ve had on the P.I. There has been an unusually large number of difficult administrative problems to handle with the Army staff, (and incidentally I heard that the Pres. was astounded and furious at the size of our Budget). But the cause for special perturbation was the receipt by the Gen. of a letter from the Chief of Staff informing him that he would be relieved and ordered home on the October transport! The chief assistant to the Genl. in the ensuing conferences, proposals, speculations, arguments, etc., etc. [. . . ] has become (or maybe always has been) a master bootlicker. From the start T.J. and I counselled moderation –and at least initial dependence on Mr. Quezon’s efforts to have the order revoked. He agreed to send any radio proposed by the Gen. to accomplish such revocation, and we got up one worded as strongly as it possibly could be. We are informed that the Pres. secured the H.C.’s favorable endorsement to that radio. But we had no sooner submitted the draft of that radio to the Pres. when a hundred other schemes were proposed here and there to “help out”. We wrote drafts (under instructions) of radios requesting retirement, of others protesting the “unjust and arbitrary procedure” of the W.D. while listening for hours on end to hypotheses and so called deductions as to what had occasioned the order. Gradually it percolated into the Gen’s head that the theory lending the greatest hopes for a successful outcome (from his standpoint) was one that held the C. of S. solely and exclusively responsible for the action. The motivation was, under this theory, jealousy; fear of the growing stature of Gen. MacA as a world figure; egotism; revenge by the “Chaumont crowd”, and hopes of pleasing the “pacifistic, subversive element that surrounds the President”. The defense T.J. and I put up was simply that we should give as much credit to the C of S for being an honorable person as we should to people like Murphy, McIntyre, Coy, etc., etc. We emphasized that we’d done what we could, when we prepared the telegram for Mr. Quezon’s signature. We insisted on waiting for an answer before making another move, since his wire was addressed to the President of the U.S. Finally the old habit of accusing every assistant who did not concur without reservation to hysterical theories and arguments with being a blockhead, an ingrate, a stupid dolt and so on manifested itself, so T.J. and I perforce stopped arguing. Finally the General shot off a “protest” wire to the C. of S. –and was answered promptly. The nature of the reply was that the President had decided, in view of world conditions, that a soldier of the General’s reputation and abilities (and youth) should be in the U.S. His date of departure is put off until February.

I hope the subject will now cease to be a topic of conversation. I’m worn out!!

Every time one of these “tempests in a teapot” sweeps the office I find myself, sooner or later, bearing the brunt of the General’s displeasure, which always manifests itself against anyone who fails to agree en tote with his theories and hypotheses, no matter how astounding they may be. These comic opera wars never center about any problem incident to the “job” we are on. They invariably involve something personal to the Gen.; I could be the fair-haired boy if I’d only yes, yes, yes!! That would be so easy, too!!