Papers shed light on Eisenhower speech
ABILENE, Kansas: Newly discovered documents from a cabin owned by President Dwight D Eisenhower’s speechwriter are shedding more light on the evolution of the former general’s historic farewell address nearly 50 years ago, and his fears that America’s burgeoning military prowess was driving its foreign policy.
The documents, portions of which appeared on the Eisenhower Presidential Library’s research website before their public unveiling yesterday, are expected to shed more light on the origins of the term “militaryindustrial complex” – phrasing used by Eisenhower in the speech to warn against unbridled military development. The phrase began as “warbased” industrial complex before becoming “military” in later drafts.
Grant Moos, son of Eisenhower aide Malcolm Moos, discovered the papers – covered with pinecones, dirt and other debris – in a cabin in Minnesota.
“We are just so fortunate that these papers were discovered,” said Karl Weissenbach, director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene.
“We were finally able to fill in the gaps of the address. For a number of years it was apparent that there were gaps.”
The papers show how Eisenhower and his staff spent two years preparing for his goodbye to the nation and why he decided to include his concern about how America’s military buildup had come to dictate foreign policy in the speech.
One document features a typewritten note from Eisenhower lamenting that when he joined the military in 1911, there were 84 000 soldiers – a number that ballooned roughly tenfold by 1960. – Sapa-AP