Letter from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Dr. Milton S. Eisenhower (1953)

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Personal and Confidential

As for McCarthy. Only a short-sighted or completely inexperienced individual would urge the use of the office of the Presidency to give an opponent the publicity he so avidly desires. Time and time again, without apology or evasion, I — and many members of this administration — have stood for the right of the individual, for free expression of convictions, even though those convictions might be unpopular, and for uncensored use of our libraries, except as dictated by common decency.

We have urged that America must be true to the principle of freedom and justice as applied to the individual if America herself is to remain free. Permit me to say that I think there would be far more progress made against so-called “McCarthy-ism” if individuals of an opposing purpose would take it upon themselves to help sustain and promote their own ideals, rather than to wait and wail for a blasting of their pet enemies by someone else. Frankly, in a day when we see journalism far more concerned in so-called human interest, dramatic incidents, and bitter quarrels than it is in promoting constructive understanding of the day’s problems, I have no intention whatsoever of helping promote the publicity value of anyone who disagrees with me — demagogue or not!

My final remark is that I should like to see the writer’s explanation of the bitter attacks made upon this Administration by some of the well-known reactionary columnists and the Chicago Tribune series of publications.

You say that the writer supported me for the Presidency because he believed certain things about me. There is one thing you can assure him. I have not changed. I stand for exactly the same things that I have stood for for many years. He or anyone else can go back over my public statements to the very first time that anyone showed enough interest in me to listen to a public statement of mine, and he will find that I have never indulged in bitter personal indictment or attack. To my mind, that practice smacks of more of the coward and the fool than of the leader.

As ever,

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