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Cold War Strategist : Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security McFarland, Linda. Greenwood Publishing Group 0275971902 9780275971908 9780313046490 English Symington, Stuart,--1901- , Legislators--United States-Biography, United States.--Congress.--Senate--Biography, United States--Foreign relations--1945-1989, United States--Politics and government--1945-1989, Cold War-Political aspects--United States, Na 2001 E748.S95M38 2001eb 328.73/092 Symington, Stuart,--1901- , Legislators--United States-Biography, United States.--Congress.--Senate--Biography, United States--Foreign relations--1945-1989, United States--Politics and government--1945-1989, Cold War-Political aspects--United States, Na

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Page i COLD WAR STRATEGIST

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Page ii

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Reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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Page iii COLD WAR STRATEGIST Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security Linda McFarland

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Page iv Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data McFarland, Linda, 1943– Cold War strategist: Stuart Symington and the search for national security/Linda McFarland. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p.) and index. ISBN 0-275-97190-2 (alk. paper) 1. Symington, Stuart, 1901– 2. Legislators—United States—Biography. 3. United States. Congress. Senate—Biography. 4. United States—Foreign relations—1945–1989. 5. United States—Politics and government—1945–1989. 6. Cold War—Political aspects—United States. 7. National security—United States—History—20th century. 8. United States. Central Intelligence Agency—History—20th century. I. Title. E748.S95M38 2001 328.73′092–dc21 2001016318 [B] British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2001 by Linda McFarland All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001016318 ISBN: 0-275-97190-2 First published in 2001 Praeger Publishers, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.praeger.com Printed in the United States of America The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Page v For Mac

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Page vii Contents Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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ix 1 5 21 41 55 77 103 123 145 171

Acknowledgments Introduction Mr. Symington Goes to Washington: The Origins of a Cold Warrior Joining the Front Lines: Implementing the Truman Doctrine and Containment Defining the Cold War: “And the United States Is Losing that War” The Eisenhower Administration: “If I Don’t Catch ‘Em I’ll Worry ‘Em Like Hell” The Making of a Myth: Stuart Symington and the Missile Gap Mr. Symington Throws His Hat in the Ring: The Election of 1960 and the Missile Gap “Fish or Cut Bait”: LBJ and the Vietnam War The Nixon Administration and the Wars in Indochina The Final Term in the Senate

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Page viii Chapter 11

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Conclusion Selected Bibliography Index

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191 197 207

Photographs follow page 122

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Page ix Acknowledgments There are many individuals to thank for their encouragement and help in the publication of this book: Archivists who willingly gave of their time and expertise, particularly at the Harry S.Truman Library, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, Princeton University, and the George Meany Memorial Archives. Above all, a special thanks is due to the excellent staff at the Western Manuscripts Collection at the University of Missouri-Columbia. They were efficient, patient, and caring, and it was a pleasure to work with them. Many thanks also to Stuart Symington, Jr. and James W.Symington, who gave graciously of their time and their memories. A special thanks to Dr. Gerard Clarfield, who meticulously edited the original manuscript and encouraged its publication. Aaron Ferguson and Cheryl Campbell provided the computer skills that greatly diminished this author’s frustrations. A simple thank you seems inadequate to my husband, Mac, without whose support and understanding I could not have completed this work.

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Page 1 Chapter 1 Introduction William Stuart Symington III served as a Democratic Senator representing the state of Missouri from 1953 until his retirement in 1976. His total government service spanned thirty-five years-crucial years during which American foreign policy, dominated by Cold War assumptions, developed worldwide commitments to check the spread of communism. Like most Americans in the post-World War II era, he viewed the Soviet Union with both fear and distrust and encouraged military preparedness to meet the communist threat and to ensure U.S. national security. He was intimately involved with American foreign policy in fighting the Cold War. In helping to formulate that policy, Symington was himself shaped by it. For Stuart Symington and many political leaders of his generation, U.S. involvement in World War II and the diplomatic challenges of the postwar period provided a seminal experience and indelible lessons for future policy making. The ideology that guided the Allies against the Fascist dictators was easily transformed into a virulent anticommunism in the postwar period. World War II also encouraged in Symington a sense of moral superiority, because the battle pitted good against evil, a morality that shone even more pristine after 1945 when the United States worked for peace while the Soviet Union transgressed against its Eastern European neighbors and later menaced Greece and Turkey. Having been in London during the German attacks that wreaked such horrible damage in 1941, Symington returned to the United States convinced that national security must have preeminence in the nation’s foreign policy. A strong economy, technological development, and sound management could guarantee security with solvency. No matter what the cost, defense was the one place where budget constraints could not apply if the United States were to remain strong. Symington was absolutely convinced that the focus of this strength should be air power. As Assistant Secretary of War for Air from 1946 to 1947,

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Page 2 then as the first Secretary of the Air Force from 1947 to 1950, and for most of his career as a U.S. Senator, he never wavered from this conviction. So vigorous was his obsession with Soviet military strength vis-a-vis the United States that many people came to view Symington as a one-issue politician. Still, he apologized to no one for his constant warnings about Soviet military superiority and its threat to the free world. As long as the American economy could sustain an arms race, and he had no reason to doubt that it could do so indefinitely, it was imperative to keep ahead of the Soviets. For Symington, as for most American policy makers, communist expansion posed a very real threat to U.S. national security; its containment became national policy. In 1950, as the National Security Council (NSC) issued a directive, NSC 68, he became a member of the NSC as chairman of the National Security Resources Board. With the implementation of NSC 68, U.S. worldwide involvement became indiscriminate as international crises assumed importance. The significance of NSC 68 meant that the American mission presumed to protect those countries deemed threatened by leftist ideology. This policy encouraged enormous amounts of economic and military aid to allies. It also led to the creation of an arms race that cost American taxpayers staggering sums of money. Containment, or at least the whole ideology of a bipolar world, also led policy makers to abandon certain basic ethical assumptions. Because the struggle became in effect a zero sum game, a succession of administrations supported repressive regimes abroad simply because they opposed communism, and hence they turned their backs on the often legitimate aspirations of third world peoples. Covert operations undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interfered in the internal affairs of numerous countries in South America and throughout the world. Eventually, in the mid-1960s, Symington came to realize that priorities had to be established. A redefinition of foreign policy goals had to be developed vis-a-vis the U.S. economy, both at home and abroad. As a Cold Warrior, he began to question current conventional wisdom relating to foreign policy and its effect on U.S. national security. His new perceptions came at a cost. Most of Symington’s personal and professional friends were, indeed, Cold Warriors. Even before World War II he had become close friends with James V. Forrestal and Clark Clifford. The three men served together in the Truman Administration, where each of them influenced the formation of national policy. In 1941, when Symington was president of Emerson Electric Company, he also began an official association with the military establishment and the U.S. government. He entered the Truman Administration in 1945 as head of the Surplus Property Administration, but it was during his tenure as Assistant Secretary of War for Air, and especially as Secretary of the Air Force, that he established his close professional and personal ties to the Pentagon. Forrestal had been Secretary of the Navy during World War II, but with the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947 he became the first Secretary of Defense Once Symington became part of the Truman Administration, he enjoyed the friendship and advice of an eclectic group of Washington insiders. He

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Page 3 developed not only a professional but a very personal relationship with fellow Missourian Harry S.Truman. They often played poker together, and Truman occasionally entertained Symington and other friends on the yacht Williamsburg. Symington played golf with General Dwight D.Eisenhower while their wives played canasta or bridge. After Eisenhower became President in 1953, the two men were frequently joined on the links by the popular comedian Bob Hope. Other Symington golfing partners included J.William Fulbright, John F.Kennedy, and George Meany of the American Federation of Labor. On occasion Symington discussed matters of national policy with David E.Lilienthal, the head of the Atomic Energy Commission, as well as with the financier Bernard Baruch. During his terms as a Congressman from Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson actively cultivated Symington, and a close personal friendship developed between their families. When LBJ made his controversial run for the Senate in 1948, he needed to emphasize his importance, especially in securing defense contracts. Through Symington, Johnson secured a Bell helicopter, with which he continued his successful campaign. In the early 1950s many Democrats, including the Johnsons and the Symingtons, were also entertained by Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, the Florida banker and eventual Republican ally of Richard M.Nixon. The Symington family even enjoyed the friendship of General and Mrs. George C.Marshall. Although Senator Symington made friends easily, he could be strong-willed and intransigent on issues about which he felt strongly, even to the point of alienating friends and colleagues. He constantly criticized Defense Secretary Forrestal and President Truman, not only for their parsimonious annual budgets, at least as he saw them, but especially for the lack of appropriate allocations for the Air Force. His friendship with Forrestal did not survive; his relationship with Truman improved only after the President left the White House. Even his relationship with Eisenhower turned acrimonious when he accused the President of permitting the development of a “missile gap” and of sacrificing “guns for butter.” With Lyndon B.Johnson it was the presidential election of 1960 and his eventual opposition to Johnson’s foreign policy that stretched their friendship almost beyond repair. The war in Vietnam also created a heated argument between Symington and the former Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, a man Symington deeply admired. U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia marked the beginning of a new phase in Symington’s career, during which he grew increasingly critical of the Pentagon and reconsidered earlier views on broader issues, including executive privilege, the function of the CIA in foreign policy, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, secrecy in the government, and the role of the Senate in the making of foreign policy. The world of 1967 had changed so drastically that Stuart Symington, the consummate Cold Warrior and defense “hawk,” demanded an analysis and a redefinition of American foreign policy. He questioned the necessity of many Cold War commitments and, above all, worried whether or not the United States could continue to support its worldwide obligations. He decided it could not. Symington therefore revised many long-held assumptions, a number of them remnants from the immediate post-World War II period.

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Page 4 Political defeat, he ultimately concluded, did not necessarily depend on military defeat but could come about as a result of a depressed economy. The arms race presented an economic and psychological liability for the entire world. Communism, though contrary to American values, was not monolithic and did not threaten American national security worldwide. All revolutions were not necessarily communist inspired, and the United States was not obligated to intervene in the internal affairs of any country. Coexistence was not only possible but was also in the interest of both the United States and the Soviet Union. By the late 1960s Symington was convinced that Western Europe was no longer devastated by World War II and should clearly assume more responsibility for its own defense. American foreign aid must be discriminate, and recipients should be held accountable for the proper use of funds Symington thought it especially important that Congress reassert its Constitutional duties in foreign policy. It was imperative that Congress monitor the Pentagon and the activities of the CIA. Above all, the U.S. Senate should accept, and indeed demand, its rightful place in advising—and not just consenting to—policies of the executive branch of the government. The making of foreign policy was a constitutional partnership between the executive and legislative branches of government, and Senator Symington significantly influenced the development and redefinition of that policy. Symington evolved from a Cold Warrior who rarely questioned Pentagon decisions to a distinguished Senator who became not only less enchanted with policy makers but even suspicious of them. This was the most striking characteristic of his long public career. For a highly partisan politician, the break with Lyndon Johnson, a fellow Democrat and a friend, over the policies in Vietnam was traumatic, personally and professionally. Many of the Missouri Senator’s own constituents criticized him for his “dovish” stance, but more troublesome to Symington was his discovery of commitments made abroad without Senate approval—a secret war in Southeast Asia, the involvement of the CIA in that war, and the Nixon Administration’s obvious arrogance and seeming immunity from all oversight by Congressional committees. Stuart Symington was not a man to take his responsibilities lightly, nor was he about to be ignored. His confrontation with the executive branch during his last term in office completed his total transformation. He asked the right questions, he set priorities based on reevaluations of practical national security needs, and he defended the right of the Senate to be involved with foreign policy.

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Page 5 Chapter 2 Mr. Symington Goes to Washington: The Origins of a Cold Warrior Stuart Symington’s dual careers in business and politics came as no surprise. At the time of his birth on June 26, 1901, his father, Dr. William Stuart Symington, was teaching Romance languages at Amherst College in Massachusetts. In 1903 the elder Symington moved his family to Flushing, New York, where he edited collections of literature and did commercial translations. He eventually graduated from the University of Maryland Law School and settled the family in Baltimore, where he practiced law, served as a judge on the Maryland bench, and ventured into real estate development. His wife, Emily Harrison Symington, participated in the women’s suffrage movement and even picketed the White House. She infused her Episcopalian beliefs with social conscience and political activism, much of it reflected by her considerable volunteer work in the poor and African-American neighborhoods of Baltimore. Although several Symingtons and Harrisons were rich and influential, the fortunes of the Baltimore Symingtons rose and fell as Mr. Symington slowly developed his fledgling law practice. Times for them were not always easy, so five of the six Symington children were frequently forced to live with different and more prosperous relatives. Stuart’s turn came during 1906 and 1907, when he stayed with a childless aunt and uncle.1 Young Stuart worked at summer jobs from the time he was eleven years old. In 1912 he sold candy and cigarettes at the Democratic National Convention and was thrilled by the selection of Woodrow Wilson as the party’s presidential nominee. He accompanied his mother and one brother to Europe in 1914 just as World War I broke out. In 1918 he enlisted in the Army, but by the time he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, the war had ended. In 1919 Symington decided to attend Yale University. By that time the family was able to provide at least part of his tuition, but he supplemented this through summer jobs. At Yale he participated in numerous campus and fraternity activities. During the summer months he reported on sports and politics for the Baltimore Evening Sun.

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Page 6 In 1921, through an acquaintance at Yale, Symington met his future wife, Evelyn Wadsworth, at a party in Washington, D.C. Evelyn (Eve) was a vivacious, charming, and beautiful young woman. While the Symingtons could brag about their Southern heritage and participation in the Civil War, the Republican Wadsworths were among the first families of America and had a powerful influence in New York politics. Eve’s grandfather, John Hay, served as Abraham Lincoln’s secretary and as Secretary of State for William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Her father, James W.Wadsworth, at the time a U.S. Senator, lost his bid for reelection in 1926 but was later elected to the House of Representatives, where he remained for many years. The political and social connections that Symington made through the Wadsworths later proved invaluable when as a successful businessman he sought government contracts during World War II. Although Symington considered pursuing law, he left Yale in 1923 to take a menial job making railroad equipment with the T.H.Symington Company of Rochester, New York, which was owned by an uncle. He was expected to learn all aspects of the company operation, from the bottom to top-level management. The job allowed Symington and Eve to be married in 1924. Working with people who lived under penurious circumstances and with an African-American foreman, Symington developed a respect for the working class and a distaste for racial prejudice. At night he took correspondence courses in mathematics, metallurgy, and engineering. He was determined to succeed—to become a rich man. Even as a laborer, however, Symington neither suffered fools gladly nor tempered his criticism with diplomacy. His outspoken denunciation of his uncle’s inefficient managerial style cost him his job in 1925. For the next few years, Symington was employed by several of his other uncles, improving his business skills and even rescuing his first ailing company, a clay products plant that was in financial trouble. His big break came when two of his more prosperous uncles agreed to loan him, along with his partner Fulton Catting, $500,000 to purchase Colonial Radio Corporation. In 1930 Symington convinced General Robert E.Wood, president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, to market the radios his company produced in return for 49 percent of the company stock. Four years later he sold Colonial to Sylvania Products for $3,750,000 and retired at the age of thirty-three. Symington ended his brief flirtation with retirement in 1935 when he became president of the ailing Rustless Iron and Steel Corporation and in two years turned it around and again sold out. Symington never intended to stay retired—he was much too energetic and competitive. Besides, he wanted to provide a very comfortable life for Eve and his two sons, Stuart, Jr., and James Wadsworth Symington, who were born in the 1920s. By the mid-1930s Eve Symington had gained something of a reputation as a chanteuse singing in fashionable New York nightspots. She had been persuaded to perform first for a charity event but was then signed by several club owners for regular engagements. Symington, as her greatest fan, rarely missed a performance. The move to Missouri and Symington’s next business venture changed the family’s lives forever. The Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Missouri, maker of electric fans and small motors, suffered during the

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Page 7 1930s from poor management and hostile labor relations. In 1938 it experienced a fifty-three day strike, the second longest sit-down strike in the history of the nation, because the company refused to recognize the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). William Sentner, a self-avowed communist and an unrelenting union man, led the union. The investment firm of Van Alstyne, Noel & Company, which had underwritten Emerson, had a large financial stake in its success or failure. David Van Alstyne, head of that firm, contacted Symington and persuaded him to become the chief executive officer of Emerson Electric at a salary of $24,000 a year with the option to buy seventy-five thousand shares of stock (15 percent of the company). Symington was at first so doubtful about the prospects at Emerson that he advised Eve to remain in New York temporarily, but, never one to avoid a challenge, he subsequently moved the family to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1938.2 At the beginning of his tenure at Emerson, Symington hired a consulting firm, the Trundle Engineering Company of Cleveland, to study the company’s organization and operating methods. He was also able to persuade several banks in New York and St. Louis to extend much-needed credit to Emerson. As a result, the company, which had been running in the red, began showing a profit in February 1939. Calling upon his previous connection with General Wood, Symington convinced him that Emerson could make small motors for Sears. Soon, Emerson began to produce not only the motors but also welders for the giant merchandiser. It was a profitable marriage for both parties. Another problem Symington had to address at Emerson was labor-management relations. He recognized the necessity of working cooperatively with the union, whose members were extremely skeptical of any management proposal. Many businessmen in St. Louis resented Symington’s enlightened ideas but, as he averred, it was the law under the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act of 1935. He also understood the relationship between smooth labor relations, increased productivity, and happy stockholders. Symington opened the books to the union members, candidly admitted that wages were low, granted the union the privilege of the checkoff for dues, and promised that wages would rise with increased profits. He even offered a profit-sharing plan. Because of his successes as a manager, by 1941 both stock prices and profits increased dramatically. Also, because of his sweeping changes, Emerson experienced no labor-management relations problems during the war years. From the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the war’s end, the number of company employees climbed from 1,500 to 11,000. Reflecting the liberal style of Emerson’s management, the company established a labor-management committee, subcommittees to handle employee suggestions and war bond drives, and African-American committees to deal with problems involving race relations. Even in the Jim Crow city of St. Louis, racial problems at Emerson were rare because the company did not discriminate in hiring or operate as a segregated plant. Although bathrooms were segregated, the cafeteria was not. In fact, Symington established a black grievance committee to study minority concerns, and following the lead of other wartime industries, Emerson employed many women.3

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Page 8 In 1940, as a result of national defense mobilization, the Army’s Ordnance Department approached Symington about making components for artillery shells. At first Symington turned down the offer, believing that Emerson should concentrate on its new plant and hermetic motors to secure itself financially. However, by the end of the year, Emerson was manufacturing “boosters” for artillery shells. Within a year and a half, Emerson produced more than two million boosters, and by 1945 it had produced more than ten million.4 David Van Alstyne, Jr., suggested to Symington that Emerson might consider manufacturing gun turrets for bombers. Symington, who at the time was searching for a war product that would open Emerson to other government contracts, seized the opportunity. He flew to Washington during the early spring of 1941, where he discussed the proposition with James V.Forrestal, then Undersecretary of the Navy, and General William S. Knudsen, head of the Office of Production Management. Within days, Symington found himself on a plane bound for England, where the British were already producing turrets for their bombers. By the time he returned to the United States, he had decided that the British 30-caliber guns were impractical for American planes—Symington planned to produce 50-caliber guns, which could be used for daylight bombing, while the British concentrated on guns that were more appropriate for nighttime raids. By the end of World War II, Emerson was producing $100 million in turrets per year, more than seventy turrets a day. Net sales went from $4.9 million in 1941 to $114 million in 1944.5 Even though Emerson Manufacturing Company received more “E” awards from the Army and the Navy for superior work than any of its competitors, the company did come under the scrutiny of one House subcommittee. In altering British plans to accommodate larger American bombers, the company had to make major adjustments in equipment, which meant major expenditures. In 1943, when the subcommittee issued a scathing report denouncing Emerson, Symington appeared before the committee and completely vindicated his company, but he left the committee room furious. Later that same year, when he received word that a Senate subcommittee was about to investigate Emerson, he promptly informed his lawyer, Sam Fordyce of St. Louis, to draw up contracts whereby the turret business would revert to the government—he wanted out. A few days later Symington met for lunch with Fordyce, his banking friend John Snyder of St. Louis, and Senator Harry S.Truman. The Senator promised Symington that the Senate subcommittee would conduct an orderly investigation and persuaded him to stay in charge of the government contracts. He agreed.6 The events surrounding Symington’s wartime activities and certainly his experience with government contracts were watersheds in his life. After his stay in England, which had been interrupted by heavy German bombing, he returned home convinced that the United States could remain secure in the postwar era only through military strength. The production of turrets for bombers and the knowledge of how important air power had been during the war also led Symington to adopt the cause of educating Congress and the public about the importance of air power for national defense. The personal contact with Senator Truman proved fortuitous. Truman had been impressed with Symington and his achievements at Emerson. Symington

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Page 9 and Truman shared not only the Missouri connection but also some very influential friends in John Snyder and James V.Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy. Indeed, Snyder and Symington flew to Lamar, Missouri, for Truman’s announcement that he would be the Democratic vice-presidential candidate with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. After the inauguration Snyder and Symington hosted a reception for the Trumans, which provided Stuart Symington with an opportunity to meet many Washington insiders with whom he eventually became well acquainted. Upon becoming President after Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945, Truman brought Symington to Washington.7 One of the major challenges confronting the Truman Administration at the close of the war was the disposal of surplus goods and installations. Items involved billions of dollars and ranged in size and value from tubes of toothpaste to large manufacturing plants. The Administration admitted that the situation was ripe for graft and corruption and for control by monopolistic businesses. Truman discussed the problem with Snyder, soon to become his Secretary of the Treasury, and they agreed that Symington possessed the necessary experience and competence to handle the job. At a meeting at the White House in June 1945, Truman told Symington that he wanted “to dump a load of coal” on him. He asked him to become the administrator of the Surplus Property Board. To say that Symington lacked enthusiasm for the task would be a gross understatement. He remembered only too well the numerous scandals associated with the same activity after World War I.Besides, he had recently been approached by officials of International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) about becoming the corporation’s second in command, a most lucrative position. However, after consulting with his father-in-law, Congressman James Wadsworth, who reminded him that it was an honor to serve the President when asked, Symington acquiesced.8 The confirmation hearings for the post of chairman of the Surplus Property Board almost drove Symington back to Missouri. Democratic Senator Joseph O’Mahoney of Wyoming chaired the hearings. O’Mahoney was suspicious of all businessmen, and he vigorously interrogated Symington, but on this occasion his sensitivities were especially aroused by the highly popular and influential Washington syndicated columnist Drew Pearson, who also despised Wall Street and big business. Pearson wrote three vicious columns extremely critical of Symington’s nomination. Symington visited with Truman and offered to withdraw his nomination, but Truman stood squarely behind him and advised him not to be intimidated. Following this meeting, the nominee advised O’Mahoney to call the President and tell him he was unsuited for the job. At that O’Mahoney backed down. On July 13, 1945, the New York Times announced Symington’s unanimous confirmation. That same day Truman sent Congress a bill to make the Surplus Property Board an independent agency and to grant it absolute authority over the $100 billion worth of war surplus goods. Two days later Symington announced that he would place his holdings in Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company (about $1 million) in trust; he wanted to make certain no conflict of interest charges could be leveled against him.9

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Page 10 Some company executives criticized Symington’s management of the Surplus Property Board. Small businessmen believed that they could not successfully compete with large industries and big business for goods and wartime installations. Independent retailers charged that the Surplus Property Board favored chain stores. Many smaller companies felt that overall the Board only tepidly encouraged competition and failed to live up to its promise that war plants would be available for lease or purchase to new businesses. There was one rare instance, however, where it drew praise—preventing an aluminum monopoly. At the end of the war the Aluminum Corporation of America (Alcoa) owned all of the patents necessary for running aluminum plants. It wanted to buy the government-owned aluminum-producing war plants cheaply, and it either refused to rent the patents or agreed to do so but charged a prohibitively high price in order to stifle competition. In 1945 Symington threatened Alcoa with antitrust litigation; finally, Reynolds Aluminum and Kaiser Aluminum bought several of the plants. Perhaps as an expression of gratitude, Reynolds became a contributor to Symington’s later political career.10 By late 1945 Symington decided to leave the Surplus Property Board but not the government. Truman had another more important job for him. In fact, he offered Symington his choice of three positions: Assistant Secretary of State for Commercial Air, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, or Assistant Secretary of War for Air. In 1946 the Army controlled the Air Corps, and from what Symington had observed, there was considerable inefficiency and waste in its management. Also, because of his wartime work at Emerson, Symington had gained quite an affinity for the idea of air power. He reasoned that with his managerial experience he could bring order out of chaos within that department.11 Symington’s appointment was announced on January 19, 1946. In an editorial that appeared in the New York Times on January 27, Cabell Phillips granted that Symington had done a “good job as Surplus Property Administrator, where his business background stood him in good stead.” He speculated, however, that “what he knows about airplanes is, at this time, somewhat less apparent.”12 To prepare for his new responsibilities, Symington arranged for a conference with General Carl A. (“Tooey”) Spaatz, the chief of staff of the Army Air Force. He promised Spaatz that he would eliminate inefficiency and acquire from the Congress and the Bureau of the Budget whatever the Army Air Force thought it needed. His efforts on behalf of the Army Air Force solidified a firm friendship with General Spaatz, as the Assistant Secretary soon became one of the most vocal supporters for the Military Unification Act, primarily because it would establish the Air Force as a separate branch in the armed services. In response to a request by Secretary of War Robert Patterson, Symington even assumed primary responsibility for the eventual passage through Congress of the National Security Act of 1947.13 As the new Assistant Secretary for Air, Symington had very definite ideas on the future of air power and on the Soviet Union, which he considered the number one menace to the United States. Shortly after his appointment, he advised his sons to study Russian at Yale, saying that “in twenty-five years we will either be fighting them or doing business. In either event we had better be

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Page 11 able to talk.”14 In his new position he watched the grand alliance of World War II slowly disintegrate. Symington, like other policy-makers of the postwar world, realized that the United States could no longer rely on its geographical location to isolate itself from the rest of the world. Reliance on the atomic bomb could deter war; superior air power, however, would ensure victory in the event that the deterrent failed. The United States had no choice but to maintain a permanent, efficient, mobile, well-trained military. Another facet of the new policy, and certainly a break with tradition, was the commitment to a system of alliances, which guarded nations against communism but at the same time encouraged the growth of a bipolar world. Symington’s principal responsibilities dovetailed perfectly with these policies. He concentrated on strategic and tactical air power. In a speech before the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce on June 28, 1946, Symington warned against another surprise attack like Pearl Harbor and noted that the best guarantee against such an assault was a powerful Air Force armed with nuclear weapons. In a future war, he said, planes could arrive “with supersonic speed, carrying atomic bombs, which in a few seconds would leave the target a glowing dome of destruction.” He bragged that “the B-36 and the B-35 can fly 10,000 miles with an atomic bomb, and the great destructive power of the bomb makes one-way operations profitable.” He emphasized that “the surest defense…is our ability to strike back quickly with a counter offensive to neutralize a hostile attack at the source. For such action only air power has the reach and speed.”15 As Assistant Secretary of War for Air, Symington and his department were responsible for the immediate postwar demobilization of the military forces, for a reevaluation of particular wartime government contracts, for the policies imposed by the U.S. occupation forces, and for the withdrawal of troops from foreign soil and its concomitant military policy toward those foreign nations. His office coordinated the Air National Guard Program, the Air Reserve Program, and the Air Reserve Officer Training Corps, all of which Symington personally encouraged, viewing them as a powerful public relations program for selling air power. In fact, by December 1946 his office estimated that five thousand elementary students and twenty-nine thousand advanced students participated in the various air programs. He fought budget battles and especially pushed for more defense in the polar regions. He was responsible for arranging the availability of planes for various Congressmen and Senators, plus their requests for keeping aircraft plants and airfields in their particular states.16 Symington was privy to the decisions made by the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC). This group acted as a liaison among the various departments and decided many postwar policies. However, its name notwithstanding, it was not always able to coordinate policy measures efficiently. SWNCC was composed of men who were instrumental in formulating the basis of what came to be known as the Truman Doctrine. Because of the necessity of “selling” his foreign aid program, President Truman enlisted the help of his whole Administration. In order to convince Congress and the American public of its importance, the rhetoric increased in intensity and the threat of an expanding Communist influence on the free world was no doubt exaggerated. In May 1947, when the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) presented

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Page 12 their war plans, Symington knew of these contingencies. The proposal recommended the need for bases in the eastern Mediterranean, and it emphasized the role of air power. In a prefatory note on the proposal, the JCS recognized the possibility of dropping atomic bombs.17 The new Assistant Secretary of War for Air also traveled extensively. Because one of his tasks was to inspect airfields, in the spring of 1946 he flew to Texas as part of his national defense work. There he was wined and dined by Lyndon B.Johnson, with whom he established a close personal friendship. Congressman Johnson was up for reelection and at such times always publicized his skill in acquiring national defense work. Because Texas had more air bases than any other state, a great many jobs depended on government largesse. Johnson hosted numerous talks for Symington—an influential voice in the War Department could advertise air power (after all, the debate for unification was on, and Symington could sell a separate Air Force), and LBJ could sell himself.18 On another trip in June, Symington had the thrill of sending President Truman the first letter to be flown by a jet-propelled aircraft, a P-80 Shooting Star. His letter was delivered after a flight of just more than an hour from Schenectady, New York, to Washington, D.C. The flight, by the Army Air Force but in conjunction with the General Electric Air Research Demonstration in Schenectady, served to focus attention on the benefits of research and development for both civilians and the military. Symington cooed about “this exhibition,” which he saw as just “one more step in our proclamation to the American people that our strength in the air will decide the destiny of our country.”19 Later that same month, Symington began a worldwide tour of air bases. To educate the public and himself, he wanted to see and evaluate firsthand the present position of air power. As part of the trip, he stopped at the Bikini atoll in the Pacific to watch Operation CROSSROADS, the first peacetime atomic test that was ordered by President Truman to commence on July 1, 1946, “Able Day.” General Curtis E.LeMay, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff for Research and Development, accompanied Symington, the top-ranking civilian in the War Department attending the test. There they met Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal.20 Eight months of planning had been devoted to the operation. The Navy wanted to test its ships and in the demonstration fleet were ships of all types—American, German, and Japanese. The Army Air Force was to drop the first bomb, its crew having been well trained. Both the Army and the Navy had developed plans to send pilotless “drone” planes through the radioactive cloud, and scientists from all over the world assembled there to study the effect of fallout on the ships, the planes, and marine life. The B-29s were housed on the island of Kwajalein and were kept under armed guard. Dave’s Dream had been designated to drop the bomb. On July 1, 1946, right on time, the bomb was dropped. On “Baker Day,” July 25, another atomic bomb was exploded. One observer, acknowledging the conventional wisdom of the policy-makers, commented that the tests at Bikini “were a dandy Fourth of July celebration intended to demonstrate America’s supreme science and scare the trouble-makers abroad…. We had the bomb and the bomb would take care of the

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Page 13 future.”21 Symington never forgot that demonstration. He was assured not only of the importance of air power but also that the Air Force should be the branch for deployment. During his militaristic, Cold War days he focused on the power of the bomb; later, he recalled the devastation and warned against the arms race. From Bikini Symington traveled on to Manila in the Philippines. He had been appointed in the spring by President Truman to represent the United States at the ceremonies of the Proclamation of the Independence for the Republic of the Philippines, July 4, 1946.22 Stuart Symington’s trip around the world allowed him to engage in the activities he did best—gently twisting arms, charming important people while persuading them to accept his ideas, and, above all, lobbying for a separate Air Force and the unification of the armed services into a single coordinating department. Neither idea was particularly new, but both were extremely controversial. Many policy-makers had recognized and deplored the inefficiency, waste, and duplication of effort that was the result of having separate, independent services. During World War II a Senate subcommittee and a House Select Committee recommended that some sort of unification was necessary but warned that during the war was not the time to make major changes. Upon becoming President in 1945, Truman reiterated his desire for unification. He “wanted to break up the power of the West Point and Annapolis cliques, to make the armed services more democratic.”23 Opposition flared from several quarters. One major problem stemmed from both houses of Congress having separate committees for military and naval affairs, providing a rival forum for each one’s preferred service. Truman believed that the chairmen had become mini-secretaries, enjoying the “red carpet” treatment when visiting bases. Each branch courted its respective committees for appropriations.24 Another problem, and the one that became so rancorous and public, was the vehement opposition of the Navy, led by Secretary Forrestal himself. During World War I, between the wars, and for most of World War II, the Navy epitomized U.S. power. It feared losing its premier status, the transference of all air power functions to the Air Force, and the reduction of the Marine Corps into a peacetime force. Such losses also augured a tremendous reduction of Congressional funds. In 1945 Truman ordered the JCS to conduct a general study into the future requirements for both the Navy and War Departments. The final plan, though not accepted, recommended 3 to 1 for unification of the services under one Defense Department. The Navy undertook its own study, known as the Eberstadt Report, which recommended against a single department and suggested three equal branches of the armed services into War, Navy, and Air. In a meeting with Secretary of War Robert Patterson, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Secretary Forrestal, Ferdinand Eberstadt presented Symington with a compromise plan— accept coordination as opposed to administration in the proposed department and he probably could then convince Forrestal to accept a separate Air Force. Symington remarked, “What he was actually saying was, if you agree nobody can rule over Naval Air, we don’t give a darn what the Army does with its Air…. I answered, throw your 30 pieces of silver somewhere else.” The War Department and the Navy Department, at President

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Page 14 Truman’s urging, submitted their individual plans for unification. The Army and the Army Air Force strongly approved; the Navy did not. A Senate subcommittee drafted its own bill for unification, but the testimonies given by naval personnel made it clear that they would never accept it. The bill died.25 While debate raged in Congress and interservice rivalry grew, Symington sought support by whatever means were at his disposal. In June he spoke in Detroit at a luncheon held by the Economic Club, telling the assembled business leaders “that he considered coequality for the air arm of the services a necessity.” He expressed appreciation to the President for his support. In calling for a “full and equal place for air,” he reiterated his favorite argument: “The major new weapons coming up are primarily weapons of the air.”26 Symington also sought support for unification of the armed services from influential military leaders he encountered on his trip. On July 8, 1946, having arrived in Japan, he discussed these and other issues with General Douglas MacArthur and General George Kenney. The American occupation of Japan was continuing under the leadership of MacArthur, who expressed hostility toward the Kremlin but also firmly believed, that if called upon, the Japanese would fight against the Russians. MacArthur also assured Symington that he absolutely believed in air power, as it “was the basis of winning the past war.” Speaking Symington’s language, he criticized the Navy, saying that it always placed its own interest ahead of the good of the country. He also charged that the Navy had become powerful because Franklin Roosevelt had been prejudiced in its favor. MacArthur added that the Navy knew that its postwar strategic importance was limited and so it was “going to make a desperate bid to get control of the air.” He suggested that President Truman force the services to unify because, if he did not, this sign of weakness would damage his image in the presidential race of 1948. Obviously, he continued, Forrestal and Admiral Chester A.Nimitz were “bucking his orders.” In the ultimate irony, MacArthur called for the dismissal of a top-ranking naval officer. This, he said, would stop “the sabotage against the Commander-in-Chief” as the Navy maneuvered only for its own position while “showing its contempt for constitutional Government.” Symington, who had in part stopped in Tokyo to win the General’s support in the ongoing unification battle, got what he wanted. MacArthur not only added his support for that reorganization but also endorsed a separate and equal Air Force.27 Symington could not have been more pleased. From Japan the Assistant Secretary of War for Air continued his round-the-world jaunt, traveling to mainland China, where he met with General George C. Marshall. Symington’s arrival in Nanking corresponded with one of the numerous breakdowns in the meetings between the nationalists and the communists. General Marshall, who was pessimistic about the deteriorating situation in China, was no more sanguine about chances for unification. He predicted that the Navy would never agree, for several reasons. It objected to War Department plans for the Marines to serve a less prestigious function as a peacetime force. It was well known that General MacArthur and the Navy shared a mutual antipathy and that the Navy was aware of indiscreet and derogatory remarks made about it by several Air Force officers. For his part, however, General Marshall eagerly supported unification. In fact, as early as

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Page 15 1939 he had encouraged more coordination among the various air forces and added, “We just won’t have the money to continue to run this expensive and unnecessary dual system.”28 Symington could not have agreed more, as Marshall’s views coordinated perfectly with his own. At the end of July 1946, Symington had made his way from Nanking to Berlin. There he interviewed General Lucius Clay, coming into contact with the first high-ranking American who did not share the prevalent antiRussian sentiment. General Clay told Symington that there had been incidents of arrests and detentions on the part of both the United States and Russia. In fact, he said, the Allied occupying forces in the European zones had killed more Russians than Russians had killed Americans. Clay expressed disappointment at the closing of the American zone to the Russians because it increased the hostility and suspicion between the two powers. He believed a war with the Soviet Union was unlikely, at least until they developed their own atomic bomb. Clay explained, “I am one who believes we can, over a period, work out the prevention of that war which so many people think inevitable.” Ironically, he and Symington would implement the Berlin Airlift in only a scant two years. At this time, however, Clay’s primary and immediate consideration centered on the procurement and distribution of food and shelter to the thousands of Germans who were displaced by the war. Apparently, Clay and Symington did not discuss military unification. While in Germany Symington was granted visitor status for the Nuremberg trials. He arrived back in the United States on August 5.29 Symington was also fighting another battle. In the fall of 1946 the debates over unification intensified, as did the rivalry between the Navy and the Army Air Force. On October 9 the New York Times noted that the Air Force wanted to send its B-29 Superfortresses around the world and would do so if the State Department approved. This move, “closely rivaling the Navy’s recent cruises in support of American foreign policy,” the Times noted, added fuel to the ongoing animosity between the two departments.30 Symington, an enthusiastic supporter of this display of nuclear might, declared that it was “an accepted fact that armed forces are instruments of national policy,” and this was as true for the Army Air Force as it was for the Navy. The Times pointed out that Symington’s statements reflected what had been assumed but not vocalized publicly—namely, that from the Assistant Secretary of War for Air to Generals H.H. Arnold and Carl A.Spaatz on down, air power was considered the “dominant military instrument.” The Navy conducted maneuvers in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Seas to make a point to the Soviets. The air representatives in the War Department believed that air power could make the same statement, but “more economically.” As an illustration of the ongoing rivalry between the two departments, on the same day and on the same page, two other articles appeared in the New York Times. One article quoted Rear Admiral J.J. (Jocko) Clark, Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), who promised that soon the Navy would begin construction of “a submersible aircraft carrier capable of launching planes carrying atomic bombs.” Clark added that “our national defense should be designed to beat to the punch any enemy.” Navy air, he continued, would always be needed to “pave the way for the Army.” In the

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Page 16 other article President Truman congratulated airmen who had just completed flights over the polar regions. Symington accompanied the airmen to the White House and after the ceremony again indicated the possibility of round-the-world flights. Hanson W.Baldwin observed in an editorial published October 13 that if the underlying reason for Symington’s announcement of the planned flight was to “shake a big stick under the nose of the Russian bear,” it mainly reflected the acrimony between the War Department and the Navy. Baldwin described Symington’s statement as “incautious” and “plainly a somewhat provocative gesture.” The world situation was tense. He speculated on the reaction of Americans if the Russians sent bombers into the Western Hemisphere, particularly after announcing that “Russian air power was an instrument of Soviet foreign policy.”31 By the fall of 1946 Symington had gained a powerful ally in his fight to unify the services. Clark Clifford, who by this time was counsel to the President, like so many in the Administration found himself caught between the warring factions and good friends. Although Clifford admired Forrestal and initially sympathized with the position of the Navy, he eventually came to the conclusion that the Secretary of the Navy was too intransigent in his position. In a top-secret September 24 memorandum to the President, Clifford assessed the deteriorating situation with the Soviet Union. He urged that the United States relinquish no air and naval bases in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and stated that “the language of military power is the only language which disciples of power politics understand.” He emphasized that “the main deterrent to Soviet attack on the United States, or to attack on areas of the world which are vital to our security, will be the military power of this country.” He pointed out that the Soviets were “vulnerable to atomic weapons, biological warfare, and long-range air power” and that “the United States must,” therefore, “be prepared to wage atomic and biological warfare.” Reflecting the new policy of deterrence, he called for “a highly mechanized army, which can be moved either by sea or by air, capable of seizing and holding strategic areas,” and that it “must be supported by powerful naval and air forces.” He stressed the need to support all democracies: “Our policies must also be global in scope.”32 Clifford and Symington shared their Cold War views not only with each other but also with the Chief Executive. They all agreed on the need to eliminate waste and overlapping duties and responsibilities. As early as December 1945, President Truman announced to Congress his desire for unification. By the spring of 1946, however, the armed services remained at odds, and Congress had taken no action. At that point Truman lost all patience. On May 13, 1946, he summoned Secretary Forrestal and Secretary of War Robert Patterson to his office and directed them to submit plans for unification. The President considered a single department of defense a fait accompli—only the details remained to be ironed out. The Secretaries’ proposals were to include areas of agreement and disagreement. The President told his warring Secretaries that he would decide issues they could not resolve themselves. When Forrestal and Patterson reported back, it was clear their divisions were deep and systemic. The points of difference included the use of the Marine Corps; organization under one department; three coequal branches of the Army, Navy, and Air

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Page 17 Force, and the role of aviation. Compromise would be difficult but not impossible. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, favoring unification under one administrative department, inadvertently aided the compromise. He recommended against maintaining two land armies, but he agreed to keep the Marine Corps.33 By June 15 Truman was ready to act. He accepted the War Department’s suggestions of an umbrella Defense Department and a separate Air Force. He and the Army also agreed with the Navy and Eisenhower to keep the Marine Corps. At the same time and as part of the whole unification process, he proposed several executive committees to coordinate intelligence along with various duties of the military. On January 16, Secretaries Forrestal and Patterson submitted a joint letter reflecting their proposals for unification. By the time the new Congress convened in 1947, the separate Congressional naval affairs and military affairs committees had been consolidated, eliminating that rivalry. Also, many members of Congress realized the need for unification and especially for ending the relentless rivalry and very public bitterness between the two military branches. Thus, after a long legislative and public relations struggle, Congress passed the National Security Act of 1947. By the provisions of this act, Congress created the National Military Establishment under a single Department of Defense. Symington had won the main point. The Air Force had been given its independence. Still, he was not pleased, for Congress, in bowing to Forrestal’s wishes, provided only coordination rather than administration of the three independent branches. Symington, always the businessman, stated that “the new bill violated one of the basic principles of management, namely, no responsibility without adequate authority. This is true especially in Government where you don’t show profit or loss.”34 Appointed by the President, the Secretary of Defense was to be aided by three civilian assistant secretaries, representing each branch. In attempting to coordinate all facets of American security needs, the National Security Act provided for a National Security Council (NSC), the CIA, and the National Security Resources Board (NSRB). The NSC was to be composed of the President; the Secretaries of State, Defense, Army, Air Force, and Navy; the chairmen of the NSRB, the Munitions Board, and the Research and Development Board. Truman finally had his reorganized executive offices; now he had to fill the positions. The President made the decisions about the appointment of the military secretaries after conferring with Forrestal and Kenneth Royall, who, only a short time before, had succeeded Robert Patterson as Secretary of War. Forrestal recorded in his diary that, at a meeting with Truman in July 1947, he recommended John L.Sullivan to head the Navy. He thought Stuart Symington “able” but, he wondered whether they could work together, having known each other for so long. “I said one’s friends were frequently more difficult as partners than [are] strangers.”35 By August, Washington insiders were speculating on the appointments. Patterson had turned down the job of Defense Secretary. Arthur Krock, a prominent journalist and confidante of many in prebeltway Washington, was told by Forrestal that Symington had gone along with the compromises for unification because “he was so anxious to become Secretary of Defense.” Paul Nitze, a member of the Strategic Bombing Survey, was a contender to head the

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Page 18 Air Force. All speculation ended on August 22, 1947, when the New York Times announced the appointments of Kenneth C.Royall, Secretary of the Army, John L.Sullivan, Secretary of the Navy, and W.Stuart Symington, Secretary of the Air Force. Symington quickly accepted his new position; Chief Justice Fred M.Vinson administered the oath of office on September 18, 1947.36 By the time Symington accepted his new appointment, he had clearly become a Washington insider and a Cold Warrior as well. As a policy-maker within the upper echelons of the War Department and then the Department of Defense, Symington had been well educated in Cold War policies, and as Secretary of the Air Force he had no trouble adopting the rhetoric that accompanied these doctrines. NOTES 1. Symington’s early years can be found in Ralph G.Martin and Ed Plant, Front Runner, Dark Horse (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1960); Paul I.Wellman, Stuart Symington: Portrait of a Man with a Mission (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1960); Flora Lewis, “The Education of a Senator,” The Atlantic, December 1971, 55–64. See also Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, St. Louis, 8 October 1994; James W. Symington, interview by author, Washington, 6 June 1996. 2. Stuart Symington, oral history interview by James R.Fuchs, Harry S.Truman Library (HSTL), 29 May 1981; Edward P.Morgan, “The Missouri Compromise—Stuart Symington,” in Candidates 1960: Behind the Headlines in the Presidential Race, ed. Eric Sevareid (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959), 258; “A Yaleman and a Communist,” Fortune, November 1943, 147–148; Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author; Emerson Electric Company, Emerson Electric Company: A Century of Manufacturing, 1890–1990 (St. Louis: Emerson Electric Co., 1989), 95. 3. Morgan, 259–260; “A Yaleman and a Communist,” 212–216; James W.Symington, oral history interview by Larry J.Hackman, John F.Kennedy Library (JFKL), 18 January 1968, 10; Emerson Electric Company, 96, 117. 4. Emerson Electric Company, 106–107. 5. Martin and Plant, 287–288; Morgan, 260–261; “A Yaleman and a Communist,” 218; Robert Coughlan, “Home Front Boss,” Life, 2 October 1950, 110, 112; SS, oral history, HSTL, 3; Emerson Electric Company, 106–112. Symington had first met Forrestal years before in New York when Forrestal worked for the Dillon-Reed brokerage firm. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author. 6. SS, oral history, HSTL, 3–9; John W.Snyder, oral history interview by Richard Shick, 15 March 1980, HSTL, 20; Emerson Electric Company, 115–116. 7. Martin and Plant, 289; SS, oral history, HSTL, 11–13. 8. John W.Snyder, oral history interview by Jerry N.Ness, HSTL, 3 September 1969, 457–458; SS, oral history, HSTL, 15–16; Morgan, 261. 9. SS, oral history, HSTL, 16–19; Townsend Hoopes with Douglas Brinkley, Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1992), 432; Morgan, 262; Wellman, 119; New York Times (NYT), 13 July 1945, 14:6; 15 July 1945, 9:8; Martin and Plant, 296. 10. James William Fulbright Papers: MS F956 144, f. 48, letter from Fulbright to G.G. Hubbard of Blytheville, AR, 4 October 1945, and to SS, 4 October 1945, BA: Special Collections Division, University Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; Martin and Plant, 289–299; Alonzo L.Hamby, Beyond the New Deal: Harry S.Truman and American Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973), 74.

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Page 19 11. SS, oral history, HSTL, 19–21; Papers of Stuart Symington, 1946–1950, Truman—W General, Box 13, f. Corres, File Truman, Harry S., Symington, letter to SS from HST, 19 January 1946, HSTL; Lewis, 56. 12. NYT, 19 January 1946, 4:2; Cabell Phillips, NYT, 27 January 1946, IV, 10:6. 13. SS, oral history, HSTL, 26–27, HSTL: Lewis, 56; Martin and Plant, 302. 14. James W.Symington, The Stately Game (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1971), 139–140. 15. NYT, 30 June 1946, 16:3; Murray Green, “Stuart Symington and the B-36” (Ph.D. diss., The American University, Washington, 1960), 4–5; Allan R.Millett and Peter Maslowski, For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America (New York: Free Press, 1984), 471–472; Martin and Plant, 301. 16. RG 107 Records of the Office of the Secretary of War, Office, Assistant Secretary of War for Air, Decimal File, 1946, 326–510, Box 6, f. 326 Air ROTC, JOB A47–225; 160–319 Box 3; Box 2 f. 110 1946 dates only, JOB A47–225, Memorandum from Symington to Major General L.Norstad, 1 November 1946; 110– 160, Box 2, f. 110 1946 dates only, JOB A47–225; Box 1, f. 032 (alphabetically), 1946 dates only, JOB A 47–225. 17. Melvyn P.Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War, Stanford Nuclear Age Series, ed, Martin Sherwin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), 41, 146; George F.Kennan, Memoirs (1925–1950) (New York: Bantam Book, 1969), 332; Harry S.Truman, Years of Trial and Hope (New York: Doubleday & Company, 1956), 102–105; Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 1969), 217– 222; Thomas H.Etzold with John Lewis Gaddis, eds., Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945–1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), 302–311; Herbert Feis, From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War, 1945–1950 (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 1970), 188, 197, 237–238. 18. Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 290. 19. Papers of SS, letter from SS to HST, 21 June 1946, HSTL. 20. NYT, 18 June 1946, 4:4; NYT, 25 June 1946, 4:2; Green, 72; Hoopes with Brinkley, 296. 21. David Bradley, No Place to Hide 1946/1984 (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1948, reprint 1983), xx–xxi, 27, 28, 90, 170–171. 22. Papers of SS, letter from HST, 21 July 1946, HSTL. 23. Truman, Years of Trial, 47–48; David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 476. 24. Truman, Years of Trial, 47; Wilhelmine Burch, “September 18, 1947,” A History of the United States Air Force 1909–1957, ed. Alfred Goldberg (Princeton: D.Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1957), 101. 25. SS, oral history, 55–56, HSTL; Burch, 100–101; Truman, Years of Trial, 48–50. 26. NYT, 18 June 1946, 4:5 27. SS, oral history, HSTL, 27; Papers of Harry S.Truman, President’s Secretary’s files: Subj: File Cabinet (Defense-2)-(War), Box 157, Memorandum from SS, “Discussion with General MacArthur,” 8 July 1946, HSTL. 28. Papers of Harry S.Truman, President’s Secretary’s files: Subj: File Cabinet (Defense-2)-(War), Box 157, Memorandum from SS, “Discussion with General Marshall in Nanking,” 10 July 1946; George C.Marshall Papers, Box 123, f. 43, letter from SS to Marshall, 18 September 1946, George C.Marshall Foundation, Lexington.

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Page 20 29. Papers of Harry S.Truman, President’s Secretary’s files: Subj: File Cabinet (Defense-2)-(War), Box 157, Memorandum from SS, “Interview with General Clay,” 25, 29, 30 July 1946, HSTL; NYT, 5 August 1946, 22:2. 30. NYT, 19 October 1946, 3:4. 31. NYT, 9 October 1946, 1:2; Hanson W.Baldwin, NYT, 13 October 1946, 48:4. 32. Clark Clifford, “American Relations with the Soviet Union: A Report to the President by the Special Counsel to the President,” 24 September 1946, reprinted in Etzold and Gaddis, 64–71; Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), 151. 33. SS, oral history, HSTL, 27–28; Congress, Senate, Armed Services Committee, National Defense Establishment Unification of Armed Services: Hearings on Senate Report No. 758, 80th Congress, 1st Sess., 18 March–3 April, 1947, 97–98. 34. SS, oral history, HSTL, 27–28, 30–31; Truman, Years of Trial, 50–51; Burch, 102; Hoopes with Brinkley, 331–333. Eventually, even Forrestal, who became the first Secretary of Defense, realized the folly inherent in the legislation, as he had very little actual control over the three branches. In 1949 the National Security Act was amended to reflect this needed change, but even that change did not solve the problems. 35. SS, Oral History, HSTL, 30–31; Truman, Years of Trial, 51–53; Burch, 99; Hoopes with Brinkley, 333; James Forrestal, eds. Walter Millis with E.S.Duffield, The Forrestal Diaries (New York: Viking Press, 1951), 292. 36. SS, oral history, HSTL, 331; Arthur Krock, Black Notebook: Memoranda, Vol. 3, May 3, 1960–July 8, 1965, Arthur Krock Papers, Box 57, f. S.S. 10, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Archives; Paul H.Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision, A Memoir, with Ann M. Smith and Steven L. Readen (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), 79–80; Strobe Talbott, The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1988), 46; NYT, 22 August 1947, 1:1; David E.Lilienthal, The Atomic Energy Years, 1945–1950. Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 231; Burch, 99.

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Page 21 Chapter 3 Joining the Front Lines: Implementing the Truman Doctrine and Containment Stuart Symington relished the chance to fight the Cold War on the front lines. International tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1947 seemed to portend the inevitability of military confrontation. Europe was the primary concern. The Allies watched with considerable trepidation as communists were elected to coalition governments in France and Italy. West Germany had to be protected against Soviet aggression and communist infiltration. Whereas once the British had been the traditional protectors of the Mediterranean, they no longer had the resources to continue massive aid to their protectorates. The Allies accused the Soviets of encouraging and aiding communist rebels in Greece, the ancient seat of democracy, and Turkey, the guardian of the eastern Mediterranean and the Dardanelles. In order to provide Western access to the rich oil reserves of the Middle East, the Suez Canal had to be protected at all costs, and Palestine was a powder keg. In the Far East the Nationalist Chinese were losing their struggle against the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong), in spite of enormous amounts of American military advice and material. These vital areas and ominous threats provided policy makers, Stuart Symington among them, with grave challenges. As Secretary of the Air Force, Symington initially conceived of himself as a marketing agent to Congress. General Carl Spaatz, the new Chief of the Air Force, would decide what was needed. “I concentrated on two things,” said Symington, “on the logistics, to be sure the taxpayer got a good return for his investment, and on the presentation to Congress, so we would get what we hoped to get.”1 To ensure economy and efficiency, Symington appointed Eugene M.Zuckert, who had earlier served as his Special Assistant at the War Department, as Assistant Secretary for Management. Zuckert developed a management system that closely accounted for its expenses and prepared budgets for Congressional presentation and approval. Both Zuckert and Harold C.Stuart, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Civil Affairs (1949–1951), agreed that Symington’s brand of management provided them with tremendous flexibility and responsibility. Zuckert considered Symington one of the “top

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Page 22 three administrators” for whom he had worked. Roswell L.Gilpatric, a member of the Defense Department in the early 1950s and 1960s, speculated that Symington and Air Force Generals H.H.Arnold, Spaatz, and Hoyt S. Vandenberg had to be aggressive because their branch was a “newcomer.” They fought for its survival with a tenacity that ultimately ensured its predominance. According to Gilpatric, Symington was “flashy, flamboyant. He had a very keen political sense. He knew how to make the best use of publicity.” Zuckert claimed that Secretary Symington proved to be “very effective with the Congress.” He believed that to be an efficient administrator he could not be partisan toward either the Democrats or the Republicans on Capitol Hill; rather, he had to work both sides of the aisle and be prepared to respond “very quickly” to any situation. Symington’s number one priority was to “sell” the Air Force and the importance of air power. He was a charming and persuasive salesman.2 Not everyone saw him in such a positive manner. Critics accused him of being “hypertensive and very competitive,” of having “a bold, damn-your-eyes defiance which found a natural outlet in taking long risks,” of being mean-spirited and petty, and of playing “political hardball.”3 Admittedly, Symington knew how to use the power at his disposal. Believing that he should do anything necessary to keep the Air Force from being overshadowed by the other armed services, he viewed his primary job as ensuring that the Air Force received its fair share of the appropriations (although some critics might say “the lion’s share”). Symington, however, saw himself as a team player, fighting for his particular team just as the Navy and Army fought for their individual interests. But if his passion was the promotion of air power, he also promised “management control through cost control.”4 It was an unbeatable combination. Yet a million and one details had to be attended to before the Army Air Force would be transformed into the Air Force. To combat the problem of fewer college-educated officers in the Air Force, the Army and Navy allowed 25 percent of their graduates from West Point and Annapolis to be commissioned into the Air Force. However, the Air Force wanted to train its own, and so it was not long before Symington, Spaatz, and Vandenberg conceived of the Air Force Academy and appointed a committee to study the idea and find an appropriate site. Symington emphasized the need for well-trained reserves to supplement enlisted personnel and so he relied on the Air National Guard. The lack of adequate base housing for Air Force personnel discouraged recruitment until 1949, when Congress granted supplemental funds for private accommodations.5 Racial segregation was another obstacle facing Symington and the armed services. As early as 1947 and as a part of his overall civil rights program, Harry S. Truman called for complete integration of the military although the Navy especially objected.6 Symington vigorously supported racial integration of the armed services and made no secret of his own views against discrimination. In March 1948, at a dinner gathering in Washington, David Lilienthal noted, “Symington is indignant about the extent of it, and how we all lie about it. He says we can talk a lie, but we can’t live a lie.” Lilienthal added: “He [Symington] is a corker.”7 In January 1949 Symington declared that racial discrimination would no longer be considered in personnel policies. He

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Page 23 recommended that black Americans be integrated into all-white units of the Air Force and made it clear that nondiscrimination policies were to go into effect immediately. In May Symington publicly announced his program, promising equality and promotion on individual merit.8 The major problem confronting the Air Force in these early days was a definition of its role and its mission. In Symington’s view, air power would be the dominant force for the future, and the question plaguing all branches was how it was to be deployed and by whom. The Navy relied on its aircraft carriers for its future; the role of the Army was ambiguous. Questions unanswered were how much air power should the Air Force have, how was it to be utilized, and how much of it was to be shared. For all branches of the military, the bottom line to their questions depended on the very limited funds available from Congress. With the Defense Secretary serving as a coordinator, the three branches were left to fight among themselves, to sell themselves to individual members of Congress and to the President in the hope of receiving a larger slice of the defense pie. As technology improved, it seemed necessary for each service not only to “sell” its new weapons but also to undercut the requests of the other branches. Consequently, the bickering and competition that unification should have halted only intensified as a result of the struggle for funds. Several reports issued in 1947 and 1948 supported Symington’s belief in air superiority, but the reports also put the Navy on the defensive.9 The Air Policy Commission (known as the Finletter Commission, chaired by Thomas K. Finletter, a future Secretary of the Air Force) reflected the growing concept in Congress and among the general population that air power and nuclear weapons were central to national security. The JCS recommended a general buildup of all air, sea, and land forces to provide a balanced defense posture; however, the Commission’s final report, issued in 1948, emphasized the need to develop air power to fulfill the minimum needs of the United States in a possible conflict. In testimony before the Commission, Symington and the Air Force Generals called for a minimum of a seventy-group force—the Commission endorsed that number. Finletter agreed with Symington that “air power was something recent which had not yet been fully given the responsibilities that lay before it, but it was something new, it was something which required special attention. He and I saw alike.”10 Another positive report that provided ammunition for an expanded Air Force was released as the Hinshaw-Brewster Report, which originated in the House of Representatives. It, too, stressed the predominance of air power in deterrence and endorsed the idea of a seventy-group force.11 The Finletter Commission and the Hinshaw-Brewster Report solved nothing but merely heightened the interservice rivalry. All branches had particular friends in Congress, and even the defense industries courted the Hill and the Pentagon. The battle of the budget was a campaign that Symington and the other Secretaries fought constantly. In January 1948, President Truman committed the country to an overall balanced budget of $39.7 billion for all military services; he expected all departments to fall into line. Truman’s goal, along with that of Budget Director James E.Webb, was to maintain a balanced budget and a surplus to reduce the national debt. Secretary Forrestal therefore

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Page 24 demanded a balanced allocation among the three military branches and expected the other Secretaries to acquiesce. His initial fears about Stuart Symington, however, proved only too true—Symington never fully accepted the balanced concept and spoke openly against it. As Secretary of the Air Force, he labored to educate the public and Congress on what he assumed to be the desperate situation confronting the United States—a lack of adequate airpower to meet the Soviet menace. His task, he believed, was to fight budget constraints in order to secure the funds for an increased, efficient, modern Air Force, capable of delivering an atomic bomb.12 Symington, never doubting that he could obtain the largest part of the military budget, called for bigger and better planes as well as increased research and development for long-range missiles. His goal was an entirely jet-propelled force consisting of nine thousand planes. The eventual seventy-group force would “include 21 heavy-bombers, 22 fighter and 5 light-bomber groups, with the remainder devoted to transport, reconnaissance, mapping and weather observation.” The immediate goal was for fifty-five groups.13 Such optimism was short-lived. Testimony before Congress and the Finletter Commission, reflecting the interservice rivalries and jealousies, created an atmosphere of paranoia and distrust among military officers and among the Secretaries. Professional concerns turned personal, straining relationships and forcing more discriminating trade-offs. Foreign events, however, immediately dictated decisions that would affect Stuart Symington’s demands for the Air Force. In March 1948, following the Czechoslovakian communist putsch, Truman announced that American occupation troops would remain in Germany, and he asked Congress for passage of the European Recovery Program, Universal Military Training and Selective Service. He then authorized Secretary Forrestal to request an additional $3 billion supplement for military appropriations.14 It could not have been a more propitious time for Symington. Being the consummate salesman, his public relations programs for the importance of air power had provided him with several invaluable allies. On a professional level none was more influential than Carl Vinson, Democrat from Georgia. Vinson had entered Congress in 1914 and autocratically chaired the Naval Affairs Committee, which eventually became the House Armed Services Committee. Because Vinson had earlier opposed the unification of the services and had naturally been a “Navy man,” even referred to as “the Admiral” in the House, it reflected well on Symington that he was able to persuade him not only on the importance of air power but also on the seventy-group proposal.15 Another important ally for the Air Force was Representative Lyndon Baines Johnson of the Tenth District of Texas. Johnson, who had served in Congress since 1937, had been a member of Vinson’s Naval Affairs Committee, had worked closely with the Navy during the war years, and had cultivated Vinson as a political ally. In fact, through the powerful Speaker Sam Rayburn, also a Texan, plus Vinson’s and Johnson’s connections with the Navy, Johnson was able to establish the Naval Air Base in Corpus Christi, the Naval Air Training Station near Dallas, and shipbuilding facilities on the Texas coast. By 1948 Johnson was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Joint

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Page 25 Committee on Atomic Energy. He avidly believed in the importance of air power and was critical of the fact that the Air Force had so few big bombers. Johnson also supported the projected seventy-group Air Force. He, like Symington, compared the Soviet military buildup and recent aggressive action to pre-World War II Germany and accused the Administration of appeasing the Russians. During this “battle of the budget,” Symington and Johnson developed not only a professional relationship but a personal one as well. In placing orders with the numerous defense plants in Texas, Symington never failed to give credit to the Cold Warrior Congressman from Texas who so aggressively worked for the nation’s national security and his state’s economy. A few people who observed their relationship even speculated that Johnson would promote Symington for Forrestal’s job.16 On April 12, 1948, Forrestal appeared before Vinson’s House Armed Services Committee to defend the proposed $3 billion increase in military appropriations. At that time Vinson announced that he would up the ante $822 million more for the seventy-group air force. In a meeting on April 23 with Johnson and another Texas Congressman, Paul Kilday, Vinson assured Forrestal that many Democrats and Republicans supported the revised budget—and, indeed, the House approved Vinson’s increased appropriation. Later that same month Symington and Spaatz appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee and insisted on the $822 million above Forrestal’s original request.17 Even with the projected supplement, President Truman was committed to a balanced budget. At a White House meeting in May, however, Budget Director James Webb warned of inflation and suggested that the Air Force scale back its demands to fifty-five groups, that the government defer parts of the Navy program and reduce some Army material. Webb pared the supplemental budget from $3.48 billion to $3.1 billion and proposed a ceiling on military spending. He warned of increased military buildup, and the Chief Executive agreed.18 Neither Democrats nor Republicans supported the low budget, particularly since it emphasized a fifty-fivegroup Air Force rather than the seventy groups called for by Symington and Spaatz. The Air Force received only $3.5 billion out of a total of $13.8 billion, certainly not a reflection of the “balanced” allocation among the services that Forrestal had espoused. When Symington complained to Forrestal that he and the Air Force could not live with that level of support, Forrestal told him to quit. Symington replied, “I won’t quit, and I won’t support it.” Forrestal, who sympathized with all the services because none received their requests, was caught in the middle. He agreed on the need for increased air power, but he was committed to defending the budget of his Commander in Chief while attempting to convince Truman to increase it, even against Webb’s recommendations. By late April, however, it became a moot point as all of the services gained the supplemental appropriation.19 The interservice squabbling over funds, missions, and the proper place of airpower continued unabated. Each service had representatives who toured the country speaking against the President, his budget, and his plans for meeting any national emergency. Lilienthal recorded in his diary that Truman complained that “the speeches and pressures…mentioning Symington and General

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Page 26 [George] Kenny” by name were intended “to scare the country into believing that anyone who wouldn’t go along with these plans would be responsible for a catastrophe.” In May 1948, Symington wrote his good friend and benefactor General R.E.Wood of Sears, Roebuck and Company, complaining: “Our problems here have not lessened. To the normal ones incident to our new[ly] won autonomy is added now the fight to have that modern Air Force considered essential to our security, a struggle against many forces.” He and Army Secretary Kenneth Royall both resented the portion of the proposed budget targeted for the Navy. He commended General Dwight D.Eisenhower, though, as being “the greatest backer of Air Power in Washington.” In fact, Ike sent Symington a birthday greeting, boasting, “Seventy groups should look good on a cake.”20 The end of the Forrestal-Symington relationship was near. On July 16 Symington spoke to a group of aviators and engineers in Los Angeles. The New York Times described his speech as extremely critical, acerbic, and directed against Secretary of Defense Forrestal and the other services. Forrestal was livid. He wrote Symington that if indeed the report were accurate, “it was an act of official disobedience and personal disloyalty.” Forrestal spoke to the President, insisting that he must ask for Symington’s resignation. The President refused. Wilfred J.McNeil, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, later recalled that the speech—at least as reported by the Times—was a culmination of little things and that Truman would have been justified in firing Symington. McNeil asserted, “Having the policy very clearly discussed and understood and agreed to, and then to go out and completely take an opposing stand against the decision of the Secretary of Defense was disloyalty.”21 In the following days, however, several details came to light. Forrestal’s friend and confidant, Arthur Krock, talked to a mutual friend who had listened to the speech and assured Krock that Symington had made no disrespectful remarks. Krock passed this information on to Forrestal, who “was obviously relieved that once again he could evade the issue with Symington.” Symington then invited Krock to join him for lunch at which time he explained that the Times had a copy of a speech that had been prepared for him but that he had declined to use because of its inflammatory nature. Symington thus mollified Forrestal, and the issue of resignation died. Yet, as he later wrote to Eisenhower, “the damage was done.” Symington explained that there was “no basic difference between the Army and the Air Force. It is all going well.” He added, however, that there was “only one real difference between the Air Force and the Navy, but that one is fundamental; and if it isn’t decided soon, it will, in my opinion, become more and more dangerous from the standpoint of the security of the country.”22 The basic question hinged on the strategy and use of the atomic bomb. The fact that national security depended upon the nuclear monopoly necessarily raised the question of access to atomic weapons, and access automatically placed the Air Force in a position of predominance. Forrestal wrote, “The area of disagreement between the Air Force and Navy Air is not necessarily very wide but it is quite deep. This boils down to use of the atomic bomb.” “The Navy is willing to concede…the responsibility of strategic warfare to the Air Force but is not willing that it, the Navy, should be denied the

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Page 27 use of the atomic bomb on particular targets.”23 Regardless of who controlled the bomb, the Navy and the Air Force still had to compete for funds for their particular means of deployment. Contingency war plans always contained the possibility of actually using atomic weapons. Most thoughtful policy makers acknowledged that the use of an atomic weapon would be a momentous decision. David Lilienthal characterized as “grim” a conversation involving Secretaries Royall, Symington, and others in which they discussed dropping the bomb. Royall said its possible use disturbed him. Symington, according to Lilienthal, “said the American public was completely misinformed about how quickly we could go into action and what we could do.” Lilienthal thought to himself: “A small table in a big room, in a big empty building overlooking the Potomac and the City of Washington. A small table with small men, all of us; but what such small groups can do to tear the world apart. Holding it together—well, that’s another story.”24 Lilienthal believed strongly in civilian control of atomic weapons. His recommendation was that civilians and the military could cooperate and, with the President as Commander in Chief, could effectively and efficiently transfer the weapons to wherever they were needed. The military establishment petitioned the President to relinquish control of the atomic bomb to it, arguing that it would ultimately be the military who would deploy it, and therefore the decision would be under a unified command. Truman had to make a choice. In July 1948 he held a series of meetings at the White House in which each side presented its case. There was an immediacy to the issue, with the United States and its allies at the time engaged in airlifting supplies and medicines to West Berlin. In one of the meetings Symington attempted to dispel the notion that the Air Force supported indiscriminate bombing of civilians. He added, however, that he could not “see the difference between trying to stop a man at a lathe building a bomber to attack us and trying to stop a soldier.” At the most important meeting on July 21, the one which determined Truman’s decision, Symington apparently assumed a fairly lighthearted approach, not at all catching the somber mood of the occasion. He spoke about his visit to Los Alamos and Sandia, where “our fellas” thought that they should have control of the bomb. His reasoning was that they needed to become accustomed to handling atomic bombs because they were the people who needed to ensure that they functioned properly. Symington likened the situation to salesmen who go on the road and must have tried-and-true goods. Truman then spoke about how the bomb could not be treated the same as other weapons. In an extraordinary statement, the President declared that the bomb would not be a military weapon because its only use was for mass destruction of civilians. Lilienthal commented: “If what worried the President, in part, was whether he could trust these terrible forces in the hands of the military establishment, the performance these men gave certainly could not have been reassuring on that score.” Custody of the bomb, however, became a moot point when the President decided that it would remain with the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.25 Although that was one problem solved between the various services, Forrestal still had to resolve the competition between the Navy and the Air Force over their roles and missions regarding the bomb. On July 28, 1948, he

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Page 28 met with General Hoyt Vandenberg, who told him that responsibility for strategic warfare should lie with the Air Force. He said that it was a question of money, that the United States could not continue spending on duplicating services or on developing weapons that would soon be obsolete. Meeting at Newport, Rhode Island, in August with the top military brass, Forrestal decided that the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, which handled the bomb, would report to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, as an interim measure. He also said that both the Navy and Air Force were to look at strategic bombing capabilities. Forrestal hoped that these decisions would halt the interservice bickering. In a pessimistic mood, though, Forrestal wrote that “the difficulty [stemmed] mainly from money.” He recognized that each branch of the services knew “the magnitude of its own responsibilities,” but he believed the economy could not “stand fulfillment of all the requirements without the nation accepting very substantial deficit spending.”26 Symington not only was convinced that the Air Force should have sole custody of the bomb, he even had his own ideas concerning the diplomatic possibilities for atomic weapons. In April 1948 he hosted a dinner party for the Eisenhowers and Clark Clifford and his wife. Symington suggested to them that the United States send an envoy to Josef Stalin and offer to open both countries for mutual military inspections. “Otherwise, evacuate the following cities by July 20 because we’re going to destroy them. We had the bomb; they didn’t. So Stalin couldn’t have said no.”27 Discussion of the possible use of the bomb also involved a diplomatically sensitive question of sharing research and development in fissionable materials with America’s allies. During the war years Canada, Great Britain, and the United States had cooperated in the development of the bomb. However, by the terms of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, the “dissemination of restricted data,”—that is, “all data concerning the manufacture or utilization of atomic weapons,” was left to the discretion of the Atomic Energy Commission, although the Act encouraged sharing “scientific and technical information relating to atomic energy.”28 Separate agreements with Great Britain and Canada had been established for buying uranium and for control of fissionable materials, but these arrangements would terminate in 1949. President Truman never believed in sharing information concerning nuclear weapons. In a meeting at Symington’s office on September 17, 1948, Dr. Vannevar Bush, chairman of the Research and Development Board, spoke of the “considerable irritation on the part of his opposite members in Great Britain and Canada” because they believed that the United States had failed to disclose all information concerning atomic weapons and nuclear energy. All three service Secretaries responded that they shared as much information as they felt they could without jeopardizing national security. Charles E.Bohlen, a career diplomat and Counselor to Under Secretary of State Robert A.Lovett, agreed that the issue was indeed a volatile matter. Political situations, recipients of technological information, and political relationships all had to be considered. In view of these changing circumstances, he thought U.S. nuclear policies ought to be under constant review. Truman solved the problem by deciding that the atomic program would be strictly protected by the United States alone.29

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Page 29 Secretary Symington had another consideration concerning the bomb. The Air Force needed quick access to Soviet targets in the event of hostilities. Securing permission to use, lease, or build bases abroad presented a problem. Although the Mediterranean Sea was acknowledged by all to be the key to European and Middle Eastern security, the American military doubted that it had the personnel and equipment to adequately protect the area in case of a Soviet confrontation. One of the key areas was thought to be Italy. Symington was especially anxious to have “military transit and landing rights in Italy.” It was the responsibility of the Department of State to negotiate with the Italian government to secure these privileges, and it was up to Symington to justify them. The Air Force Secretary pointed out that the unique geographical location of the Italian peninsula could provide airlift support between the European and Far Eastern occupation troops, American support and protection of the Dhahran Air Base in the Saudi Arabian desert, and aid to Greece and Turkey as required by the Truman Doctrine. Already the military was in Trieste, and it had to be protected and supplied. Airlift and combat protection was also necessary for the occupation troops in Germany and Austria. Agreement on the use of Italian air space and air bases was also of immediate concern because the demobilization of U.S. forces required support facilities. Another reason for securing rights to occupy bases in Italy was the fear of a communist-controlled government coming to power in that strategic country. In fact, American policy makers were so concerned that NSC 1/3, issued in early 1948, authorized covert U.S. involvement in Italian politics in hopes of subverting the communist movement. What really seemed to substantiate these fears was the inclusion of an all-communist cabinet in Czechoslovakia. With the “fall” of Czechoslovakia, the JCS immediately prepared policy papers in the event of a communist takeover in Italy; they recommended strengthening naval and air forces in the Mediterranean and implementing a program of selective service or universal military training. The JCS regretted that they could not provide the Italian forces with all the military equipment they requested because that might endanger the Greek and Turkish missions. All agreed, however, that Italy was germane to the security of Europe.30 Turkey was considered strategically valuable and was an important component of the Truman Doctrine. The Air Force requested one hundred military and civilian personnel to participate in the Mission for Aid to Turkey. This requisition was granted in January 1948. Also allocated was $26,750,000 in aircraft supplies and maintenance equipment, communication and electronic equipment, instructors, bombs, and ammunition; 519 aircraft of various types were to be transferred for use in this mission. In August Secretary Symington met with Ismet Inonu, the Turkish President. Inonu impressed Symington with his determination to resist Soviet aggression. He was convinced that Turkey would always be in danger from the Russians and wanted assurance from Symington that the United States would continue to “revitalize” the Turkish armed forces “and not be cut off mid-way in the program.” More and more, because of Turkey’s strategic importance, the United States relied on Turkish bases for defense of the Middle East. Existing runways were lengthened to accommodate medium-range bombers, and in 1949 Symington received NSC

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Page 30 approval to construct additional airfields. Although reluctant to make a major military commitment to Turkey, primarily for fiscal reasons, the United States recognized its strategic importance and, consequently, feared a neutral Turkey. As the Cold War deepened, the investment grew.31 Halfway around the world Symington had to contend with another commitment. The Nationalist Chinese aspired to an 8–1/3 group Air Force.32 In a discussion with all of the Secretaries it was agreed to expedite the transfer of surplus property then in the Marianas to China, including fifty C-46 aircraft. General George C. Marshall claimed that this action would at least have psychological value to the Chinese. Symington explained, however, that even if the 8–1/3 group force were achieved, planes and spare parts would be scarce. Nationalist Chinese leaders also requested that the Americans provide aerial mapping of Chinese provinces and of Formosa (Taiwan). The Air Force agreed to photograph Formosa but not the Chinese provinces, “presumably due to the further deterioration in the political and military position of the National Government of the Republic of China.”33 By May 1948 the Chinese “urgently” requested more “military equipment and especially aircraft for the Chinese Nationalist Forces.” There were neither a sufficient number of available planes nor could they be “rehabilitated” in time to make any appreciable difference. Forrestal commented: “It is not anticipated that either of the above mentioned approaches will meet the urgency of the deteriorating military situation in China.” Symington offered to send surplus planes already in the Pacific but reiterated the lack of spare parts. He also said that his department could spare only a little aviation gasoline for the Chinese because of the fear of depleting the national stockpile, largely because of the oil refinery strike on the West Coast. He offered to send some oil reserves from Japan.34 Of course, by the end of the year the Nationalist Chinese were in complete disarray, and many of Chiang Kai-shek’s (Jiang Jieshi) troops had deserted him. In 1949 Mao Tse-tung declared the People’s Republic of China and the Nationalist Chinese fled to the island of Formosa. The most spectacular and potentially most dangerous foreign policy problem in 1948, however, was the Soviet blockade of Berlin. The only way to relieve the hostage city was with air power. Ground action could prove to be provocative. An airlift, on the other hand, might forestall more serious consequences while, in the meantime, the Allies and the Soviet Union could reach an amicable agreement. As early as April the idea of a massive airlift began to germinate in the minds of a few policy makers. Secretary of Defense Forrestal turned to the Secretary of the Air Force for precise information on the exact capabilities of the Air Force. When Symington reported that his service could do the job, Truman ordered a continuous airlift.35 By July it was obvious that the three Western zones in Berlin needed increased supplies, not only for the military personnel but also for the two million Germans living in those zones. Coordination among the British, French, and Americans was crucial. General Lucius Clay met on July 20, 1948, with the members of the NSC and assured them that with a sufficient number of planes, he could supply Berlin indefinitely. Symington and General Vandenberg promised immediate delivery. On August 7 Symington announced that the

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Page 31 success of the airlift was due mostly to “American ingenuity.” He bragged that “it has amazed the world and that somebody apparently miscalculated.” On August 9, he and Vandenberg flew to London to impress on the British the importance of continuing the airlift for as long as necessary. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Symington told the media that “the Government has given us a job to do in ‘Operation Vittles.’ We have come over here to congratulate Lieut. Gen. Curtis E.LeMay and his people on what they have already done and to make sure there is nothing else we can do to cooperate with them.” On August 11, Symington and Vandenberg arrived in Berlin. The New York Times speculated that the presence of so many high-ranking officials in Germany “stressed American determination to keep the air lift to Berlin going through the winter if the current Moscow talks failed to break the Berlin blockade.” Symington reassured the Allies that winter weather would not be an insurmountable problem. In September he reported to the NSC that the operation was delivering more than four thousand tons of food and supplies daily, and that this figure could easily be increased to five thousand tons. By the spring of 1949 daily deliveries had increased to eight thousand tons per day.36 Talks continued in Moscow and in the Security Council of the United Nations. By the end of November the Soviets had managed to split Berlin virtually into two opposing zones, limiting access to either. They interfered with electrical power, using any means to weaken the resolve of the Germans. To buoy spirits over Christmas, Symington, Vice-President-elect Alben Barkley, Kenneth Royall and his wife, Bob Hope and his wife, and Irving Berlin and his wife, visited with the Clays; Bob Hope and Irving Berlin, with their entertainment troupes, performed several shows for the military personnel. Morale was high among the troops and among the German population in the western zones of the city. Finally, on March 1, 1949, the Russians agreed to lift the blockade on May 12. Truman praised the Air Force for its unbelievable tactical feat. The airlift, he declared, “proved a beacon light of hope for the peoples of Europe.” Symington’s assessment was similar. He boasted that the airlift “had demonstrated what it means to this nation to be able to use the air space in pursuit of national diplomatic aims.” For the inhabitants of Berlin, he declared, the airlift had meant the difference between “hope and despair,” and he predicted that from a historical viewpoint, “Operation Vittles will go down as a powerful influence for the preservation of peace during the past year and a half.”37 There is no question but that to the American people the Berlin Airlift represented a democratic victory in the Cold War with the USSR. It was a tremendous accomplishment, and Symington deserved to be proud of it. In January 1949 Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington submitted his first annual report. In it he again called for a seventy-group Air Force by 1952, thus reopening the controversy and the competition for funds with the Navy. If nothing else, the Berlin experience had demonstrated the incredible potential of air power. Sympathy for the Air Force in Congress was widespread, making it increasingly difficult for Defense Secretary Forrestal to defend his balanced concept for the services and President Truman’s low budgets. Congress added to the Air Force allocations but cut those for the Army. Part of the decision was based on Symington’s argument that the only possible enemy that the United

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Page 32 States would face any time soon would be the Soviet Union; its ground forces were superior in number, so American national security could be preserved only with air power.38 Symington and the Air Force demanded bigger bombers, especially the new B-36 with its capability to fly at high altitudes over long distances and deliver the atomic bomb. As early as January 1949 Symington sang the praises of the B-36 and strategic bombing to David Lilienthal. Expressing mild skepticism, Lilienthal wrote: “He is a rather impulsive fellow and I don’t feel as much confidence in his judgment as I would like, considering the kind of post he holds, and I judge, will continue to hold.” In February he confessed that Symington’s speeches emphasizing the B-36 and its bombing potential made him “more and more uncomfortable.”39 By March there was open criticism of the Air Force and the intemperate, seemingly irresponsible remarks made by its personnel, especially concerning the use of the atomic bomb. General Eisenhower even sent Symington a copy of an unsigned letter that appeared in the New York Tribune expressing “the opinion that there is a civil war within the Security Establishment, the winning of which is more important to the participants than is assuring our safety against a possible enemy.” The author added that members of the military establishment “talk too much.” Symington responded that the Navy had begun to criticize the B-36 and the whole idea of strategic bombing. He believed that the attack by the Navy was intimately related to the budget, but he did not understand why, since its allocation had increased by 20 percent. He neglected to mention that the Air Force budget increased by 30 percent.40 By January 1949 President Truman, disenchanted with the performance of Secretary Forrestal, asked for his resignation and named as his successor Louis A.Johnson, former Assistant Secretary of War. Johnson was sworn in on March 28, 1949. Truman directed Johnson to control interservice rivalry and to remain faithful to his austere budget ($14.2 billion for all the military). As part of the savings strategy, Johnson canceled construction of the supercarrier USS United States, a vessel designed to carry long-range bombers. The carrier was part of the Navy’s plan to secure a role in strategic bombing, but of course Johnson’s action was perceived as partisan for the Air Force. Johnson’s decision touched off the “revolt of the admirals,” as several top-ranking officers resigned along with Secretary of the Navy Louis Sullivan. The Navy, in retaliation, circulated vicious rumors that the B-36 could not perform to the level promised by the Air Force and that Symington and Johnson were somehow involved in corrupt procurement of the B-36. Hearings were held before the House Armed Services Committee in April and May and continued into the fall. Columnist Drew Pearson, who thought “Stuart was a lousy witness before the committee,” claimed that Johnson, however, looked “as if his statement will be pretty good.” Nevertheless, eventually the Air Force and Symington were completely vindicated.41 The battle of the budget continued. In August Symington sent Secretary Johnson a memorandum (with a copy to General Eisenhower for his comments). In it he pointed out that the budget was inadequate, that it was not even sufficient to support a 48-group Air Force, much less the seventy groups he

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Page 33 believed were essential for national security. He commended Johnson on his view that the budget was to be developed with Eisenhower. Already, of course, Symington knew that Eisenhower shared his own ideas and encouraged Johnson to base the budget “on the basis of a plan as to how we would fight a war against the only known enemy this country could have for many years to come; a plan from which balanced forces could be derived according to General Eisenhower’s definition.” He nevertheless warned that “as a result of the limitation of… funds the Air Force will not have enough air groups to provide for the security of the United States at the time it is expected the Russians will have both quantity production of the atom bomb and the ability to deliver it.” The budget crunch, he pointed out, would lead to a lack of spare parts and obsolete equipment, which, “in turn, will increase the difficulties as to performance of the mission and result in greater loss of life.” Symington recommended that “the armed forces be tailored to the same level of austerity; and that the forces of all three services be truly in balance against the tasks to be preformed.” Eisenhower, responding to his copy of the memorandum Symington sent to Johnson, wrote that in the main he agreed, especially that the Air Force needed to be ready to deliver that first blow in a confrontation. In a postscript he congratulated Symington on the progress of the B-36 hearings.42 Symington’s protest notwithstanding, Secretary Johnson insisted the restricted budget was adequate. It was not long until conflicting views became available to the media, either from Symington (a real possibility) or others within the military establishment. It was no secret that none of the services was pleased with the Truman-Johnson budget, and so the rivalry continued. Joseph and Stewart Alsop wrote several columns disputing Johnson’s claims that the budget could provide for national security. Johnson believed their information came from both Secretary of State Dean Acheson and from Symington. The Alsops admitted that Symington was a good friend but denied that he was the source for their information; Johnson’s own budgets were. Other columnists entered the fray. Drew Pearson noted in his Diary: “Talked to Stuart Symington. He looks like a phony. He talks like a phony. But I still am convinced he isn’t a phony.” Walter Lippmann was somewhat more sympathetic. Symington observed that Lippmann “is now beginning to see through to the truth, as are more and more leading newspaper people.”43 President Truman became concerned about the security “leaks” to the press, especially one concerning a “top-secret air development.” He directed the head of the CIA to find the source of the information, as it was obviously from “a top official.” Truman reported that “further investigation disclosed this leak was committed by this official in order to help get a certain budget through the Congress.” He recognized that “the rivalry for the attention and the support of Congress was, in part, responsible for many news leaks.” Truman realized, too, that “Potomac fever creates a great desire on the part of people to see their names in print.” The CIA prepared a detailed report that was sent to all the services; only the Air Force declined to comment.44 Anonymous “sources” were not uncommon, and certainly Symington had influential friends in the media. Although he would never have “leaked” classified information, a little publicity could be positive in the battle of the budgets.

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Page 34 In late August 1949, suddenly and shockingly, Symington’s Cold War warnings seemed prophetic—the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. Most of the executive branch attempted to remain calm in the aftermath of the Soviet accomplishment, but certain policies were affected. U.S. Air Force concentrations emerged in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. A concerned Symington strongly suggested to the Administration that Boeing Aircraft Company should move from Seattle to Wichita, Kansas, because he firmly believed in an eminent Soviet attack and that the West Coast seemed most vulnerable. U.S. News and World Report observed in challenging his superiors in the fight for appropriations “that [Symington], not they, was right.” The article announced that although Symington insisted on increasing orders for big bombers at the cost of smaller planes, he made sensible arguments. One was “that, if the air over a nation is controlled by an enemy, that nation can be as disastrously defeated as though occupied by an enemy army” and that “the U.S. must have air power ‘in being,’ an adequate air force ready for action, because it cannot be mobilized as the Army [was] in former wars.” There would be too little time to mobilize.45 Reiterating this same theme, but using the occasion to emphasize the sudden, compelling need for the seventy group force, Symington prepared a secret memorandum for Secretary of Defense Johnson and, once again, sent a copy to Eisenhower. In it he explained that given the existence of the Soviet bomb, “we must conclude that the question of the survival of the United States may be involved.” War plans had always hinged on atomic policies and projections of Soviet atomic development. “It now appears that even this gloomy hypothesis was too optimistic; and by a substantial period.” A first strike against Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States would not be inconceivable since Soviet capabilities were developing so rapidly. Only the fear of a retaliatory attack from the United States would keep the Russians from attempting a military confrontation. Because the Air Force was inadequate compared to Soviet strength, it had to be modernized and increased in group strength. Symington insisted that the “build up of the Air Force is now actually being decelerated instead of accelerated.” The seventy group force had only been a minimum estimate. He feared that “by 1955, when the Russians can be at their strongest in the air, America will be at its weakest.” Unfortunately, “we have learned to live with that danger…. But if this should lead us to a ‘business as usual’ attitude, and cause us to refrain from taking protective measures, adequate in quantity and quality, it can lead us to disaster.” There was no time to waste; “let us not mistake inaction for calmness.”46 Symington’s admonitions and scare tactics became part of an emerging pattern that he would exhibit for the next fifteen years. It may have been just a ruse to secure increased appropriations, or it may have been that he was succumbing to “Potomac fever.” Later when he served in the United States Senate during his Cold Warrior days, critics often said that his information (exaggerated figures concerning U.S. inferiority to Soviet superiority) came from contacts in the Pentagon; but as Secretary of the Air Force, he was the Pentagon. Yet he was the voice of reason during the McCarthy hearings, so he

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Page 35 certainly was not seeing communist conspiracies domestically. Because of the tense international situation in 1949, however, it is quite possible that he actually believed his own rhetoric in spite of access to classified material. There is no question that the loss of the atomic monopoly created a certain insecurity for many policy makers. Also, accurate U.S. estimates of Soviet strength tended to be unreliable and, unfortunately, exaggerated. In spite of Symington’s dire warnings, President Truman and Secretary Johnson held firm to their budget restrictions. Johnson cut the Air Force to 48-groups, which Symington thought created a direct danger to national security. In retrospect Symington remarked that he never thought “Johnson was the right man for the job, because he had characteristics, not the right characteristics, for a chief executive. Upon becoming Secretary of Defense he was determined to cut everything.” Because of Johnson, “morale went down.” He had no “concept of the limits of his authority.” Once again, Symington could not refrain from publicly speaking out against his superiors. “An arms outlay of 13.5 billion, in the ‘cold war’ with Russia, is not buying military superiority,” Symington complained in an interview with U.S. News and World Report. Exaggerating, he warned that the Soviet Union had superior strength in ground forces, in fighter planes, in submarines and battleships and cruisers. Worse still, “Soviet bombers now can hit anywhere in the U.S.” Earlier, the United States could rely on its industrial capacity to win the wars; now, however, it must also rely on a prepared military.47 While fighting for a larger share of the defense budget, Symington also zealously advocated an increased emphasis on research and development, especially for missiles. As usual, there was tremendous disagreement among the departments over control of research and who would deploy missiles. Symington finally recommended that specific types of missiles, depending on their uses, should go to the individual branches. He also “recommended that responsibilities in the research and development field be allocated on the basis of roles and missions.” In March 1950, after the JCS granted the Air Force exclusive responsibility for developing strategic guided missiles, Symington immediately began to inquire into programs already planned, by whom and for whom. To assist him in this endeavor, he enlisted the support of his friend, Lyndon Baines Johnson, now a Senator, who hoped to persuade Congress and the White House to join the race to develop a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). “For push-button war,” Johnson warned, “we have neither the push nor the button.” In part at least because of Johnson’s work, Symington secured additional funds to establish a missile research center in Tennessee. Because individual businesses lacked the personnel and financial resources to pursue this work, government would have to help. In this manner Symington contributed to the inevitable marriage of business, government, and the university.48 By 1950 Symington had become frustrated and disillusioned. Even General Vandenberg complained that, as a policy making body, the JCS was ineffective because it lacked a leader with responsibility. Consequently, there was always enormous pressure to reach a consensus, even when none existed. Vandenberg remarked that “the country is entitled to expect from its military leaders the right

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Page 36 decision in the national interest, not merely agreements which represent the best deal that can be made among the three armed services.”49 Truman continued to insist upon what both Vandenberg and Symington viewed as an inadequate budget, and the services continued to bicker. Although the Air Force and Symington retained their reputations after the protracted B-36 hearings, the struggle had been long and arduous. Even after evaluation of current air capabilities and the explosion of the Soviet bomb, Secretary of Defense Johnson cut the Air Force to forty-eight group force. While Congress had appropriated funds for at least a fifty-eight group force, the President refused to spend the extra money. Symington found it most difficult to work with a policy in which he did not believe and, indeed, one he viewed as detrimental to national security. Consequently, on March 31, 1950, Symington’s resignation as Secretary of the Air Force was announced along with his new appointment—chairman of the National Security Resources Board.50 Stuart Symington had loved the Air Force. Just as in business, where he had resuscitated failing enterprises, he had thrown the same energy and determination into building a strong and capable Air Force. His mission had been to educate the public and Congress on the potential of air power. This, in turn, was intertwined with the concept of atomic deterrence against the expansion of the Soviet Union. The sobering and frightening international events of 1948 and 1949 forced a reevaluation of U.S. defense. Many Americans blamed inaction, or worse, weakness, on policy makers for the “fall” of Czechoslovakia and the “loss” of China. Although the Berlin Airlift proved to be a great psychological and diplomatic success, the United States no longer had a monopoly on atomic weapons. As a matter of fact, the Administration had decided to proceed with the development of a new and much deadlier weapon—the hydrogen, or “super,” bomb. In addition, the President directed the Policy Planning Staff to prepare a statement of U.S. national security goals. That “paper” became NSC 68/2, one of the most important policy statements of the Cold War. As chairman of the NSRB Stuart Symington sat on the NSC and had the opportunity to respond to NSC 68 proposals for fighting the Cold War. NOTES 1. Flora Lewis, “The Education of a Senator,” The Atlantic, December 1971, 56. 2. Eugene M.Zuckert, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 27 September 1971, Harry S.Truman Library (HSTL) 5–9, 30; Harold C.Stuart, oral history interview by Charles J.Gross, 28 August 1978, HSTL, 14; Roswell L.Gilpatric, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 19 January 1972, HSTL, 20–24; Harold Larson, “Management,” A History of the United States Air Force 1907–1957, ed. Alfred Goldberg (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 1957), 227. 3. Arthur Krock, Black Notebook: Memoranda, Vol. 3, 12, Arthur Krock Papers, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Archives; Townsend Hoopes with Douglas Brinkley, Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1992), 357. 4. Stuart Symington, oral history interview by James R.Fuchs, 29 May 1981, Washington, D.C., HSTL, 29; Lewis, 56–58. 5. Stuart, oral history, HSTL, 16; J.William Fulbright Papers, BCN23, f. 1, Announcement of Air Force Academy Site Selection Board Appointed by Secretary

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Page 37 Symington, 2 December 1949, Mullins Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; Wilhelmine Burch, “September 18, 1947,” A History of the United States Air Force 1909–1957, 102; George F. Lemmer, “Manpower,” A History of the United States Air Force 1909–1957, 162–163. Symington referred to the living conditions on and off the bases as “unfortunate conditions,” “sub-standard,” “sordid surroundings,” and emphasized the seriousness of the situation. RG107 (Secretary of War), Office, Assistant Secretary of War, Decimal File, 1947, 686–800, Box No. 187 Q, f. File of Eugene Zuckert, Asst. Sec. Of Air Force, Memorandum from Symington to General Hawlings, 31 October 1947, National Archives Annex II, College Park, Maryland. 6. Harry S.Truman, Years of Trial and Hope (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956), 180–183. 7. David E.Lilienthal, The Atomic Energy Years, 1945–1950, Volume 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 302. 8. Memorandum for Mr. Forrestal, 17 February 1949, Pre-Pres., f. ss (2), Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL). 9. SS, oral history, HSTL, 57; Alfred Goldberg, “Roles and Missions,” A History of the United States Air Force 1909–1957, 115; Hoopes with Brinkley, 365. 10. Thomas K.Finletter, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 15 February 1972, HSTL, 36–38; Hoopes with Brinkley, 365–366; Goldberg„ 115; Phillip S.Meilinger, Hoyt S.Vandenberg: The Life of a General (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 139–140. 11. Meilinger, 140. 12. Truman, Years of Trial, 37–38; SS, oral history, HSTL, 35–36; Hoopes with Brinkley, 365. 13. “People of the Week,” U.S. News, 5 September 1947, 48, 50; 7 November 1947, 52, 54. 14. Melvyn P.Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and The Cold War Stanford Nuclear Age Series, ed. Martin Sherwin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992), 209. 15. Robert A.Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1990), 537– 539. 16. SS, oral history, HSTL, 43; Caro, 124–125; Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 198, 294–295; Hoopes with Brinkley, 378; Alfred Steinberg, Sam Johnson’s Boy: A Close-up of the President from Texas (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1968), 233–234; Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980), 114. 17. Forrestal, James, The Forrestal Diaries, ed. Walter Millis with the collaboration of E.S.Duffield (New York: The Viking Press, 1951), 412–419. 18. Ibid., 430–432. 19. SS, oral history, HSTL, 46–47; Hoopes with Brinkley, 366–367, 376–378; Zuckert, oral history, HSTL, 18– 19; Forrestal, 400–419. 20. Lilienthal, 350–351; DDE Papers: Pre-presidential, f. ss (3), letter from SS to General R.E.Wood, 13 May 1948; letter to SS from DDE, 25 June 1948, DDEL. 21. Forrestal, 462–465; Wilfred J.McNeil, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 19 September 1972, HSTL, 97–98. 22. Arthur Krock, Memoirs: Sixty Years on the Firing Line (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968), 251–252; Arnold A.Rogow, James Forrestal: A Study of Personality, Politics, and Policy (New York: Macmillan Company, 1963), 291–296; DDE Papers: Pre-presidential, f. ss (3), letter from SS to DDE, 31 July 1948, DDEL. 23. Forrestal, 464.

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Page 38 24. Lilienthal, 302–303. 25. Ibid., 390–391; David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 649–650; Edgar M. Bottome, The Balance of Terror: Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Security, 1945–1985 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986), 8–9; Walter LaFeber, ed., The Dynamics of World Power:A Documentary History of United States Foreign Policy 1945–1973. Arthur M.Schlesinger, gen. ed. Vol. 2: Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (New York: Chelsea House Publishers and McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973), 393, 21 July 1948 Meeting at the White House on Atomic Bomb Custody, notes of George Marshall. 26. Forrestal, 466–467, 476–478. 27. Lewis, 59. 28. Atomic Energy Act of 1946, Public Law 585. August 1, 1946. Statutes at Large Containing the Concurrent Resolutions Enacted During the Second Session of the Seventy-Ninth Congress of the United States of America 1946 and Proclamations, Treaties, International Agreements Other Than Treaties, and Reorganization Plans, Volume 60, Part 1 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1947), 60, sec. 10 (a) and (b), 766(1947). 29. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Vol. 1, General; The United Nations Part 2 (FRUS) (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), 631–632; Truman, Years of Trial, 298, 301–304. 30. FRUS, 1948, Vol. 3, Western Europe (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974), 732–733, 770–771, 782–783. 31. FRUS, 1948, Vol. 4, Eastern Europe; the Soviet Union (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974), 134–135; FRUS, 1948, Vol. 5, The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Part 2 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976), 435–437; Leffler, 289–290. 32. A group generally consisted of three squadrons, and each squadron was composed of eight hundred to one thousand men. The number of planes varied depending on the types and uses of each squadron. Major Jack Dison, USAPR, historian for the USAF, interview by author, 1 November 1993. 33. FRUS, 1948, Vol. 5; 1947, Vol. 7,, The Far East: China (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), 908–912, 1002–1003. 34. FRUS, 1948, Vol. 8, The Far East: China (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973), 65, 68– 69, 287. 35. Avi Shlaim, The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949: A Study in Crisis Decision-Making (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 204; Truman, Years of Trial, 123–131. 36. New York Times (NYT), 7 August 1948, 28:7; 9 August 1948, 6:5; 11 August 1948, 4:2; 12 August 1948, 1:7; Lucius D.Clay, Decision in Germany (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1950), 368, 386; Stuart Symington, oral history project, by Joe B.Frantz, 6 October 1976, f. Ac 81–17, 1–4, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas (LBJL). 37. NYT, 2 October 1949, 20:3; Clay, 387; Truman, Years of Trial, 130–131; Harold Larson, “The Berlin Airlift,” A History of the United States Air Force 1907–1957, 235–242. 38. Forrestal, 544; Paul Y.Hammond, Organizing for Defense: The American Military Establishment in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), 238; William W.Stueck, Jr., The Road to Confrontation: American Policy toward China and Korea, 1947–1950 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), 155. 39. Lilienthal, 448, 475, 484.

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Page 39 40. The Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1949 (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1948), 651; The Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1950 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949), M20–M21. The proposed budgets for FY 1950 resembled Forrestal’s idea of balanced allocations—$4.6 billion to the Air Force, $4.5 billion to the Army, and $4.6 billion to the Navy. 41. SS, oral history, HSTL, 76–78; Drew Pearson, Diaries, 1949–1959, ed. Tyler Abell (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974), 86–87; Murray Green, “Stuart Symington and the B-36,” Ph.D. Dissertation, The American University, 1960, 58, 83–91; Goldberg, 116. For a thorough description of Forrestal’s last months on the job and his subsequent breakdown and suicide see Marx Leva, oral history by Jerry N.Hess, 9 December 1969, HSTL, 43–44; Hoopes with Brinkley, 446–447. 42. DDE Papers: Pre-Presidential, Principal File, Box 113, f. Symington, W.Stuart (2) [Feb. 1949–Feb. 1950], Memorandum from SS to Johnson, 22 August 1949; letter to SS from DDE, 29 August 1949, DDEL. 43. Ibid., letter from SS to DDE, 11 March 1949, DDEL; Joseph Alsop and Stewart Alsop, The Reporter’s Trade (New York: Reynal & Company, 1958), 73–74; Pearson, 44. 44. Truman, Years of Trial, 291–292; Arthur B.Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to 1950 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990), 354. 45. Truman, Years of Trial, 306–307; Pearson, 81; “People of the Week,” U.S. News and World Report, 7 October 1949, 36–37. 46. DDE Papers: Pre-Presidential, Principal File, Box 113, f. Symington, W.Stuart (2) [Feb. 1949–Feb. 1950], letter from SS to DDE, 10 November 1949, with enclosure memorandum to Secretary Johnson, 8 November 1949, DDEL; Thomas H.Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis, eds., Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945–1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1978), edited reprint of memorandum, 366–368. 47. SS, oral history, HSTL, 68–69; “How Air Secretary Symington Sees U.S.-Russian Line-Up of Power,” U.S. News & World Report, 3 March 1950, 16–17. 48. DDE Papers: Pre-Presidential, Memorandum to SS from Thomas G.Lanphier, Jr., Special Consultant to Secretary of the Air Force, 15 February 1950, DDEL; Harlow, Bryce N: Records, 1953–61, Box 1 A 67–56, f. Chronological Brief of Selected Guided Missile Programs [February, 1956], 1–10, DDEL; Theodore von Karman, The Wind and Beyond: Theodore von Karman, Pioneer in Aviation and Pathfinder in Space (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1967), 298–299; Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977), 267–268; Dallek, 382; Steinberg, 206. 49. SS, oral history, HSTL, 71; DDE Papers: Pre-Presidential, f. SS (3) [June 1946– June 1949], Memorandum to SS from Hoyt S.Vandenberg, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, 12 January 1949, DDEL; Richard F.Haynes, The Awesome Power: Harry S. Truman as Commander in Chief (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973), 112; Robert Frank Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine. Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907–1960 (Maxwelll Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1989), 274. 50. NYT, 31 March 1950, 1:6, 30:2; Arthur Krock, The Consent of the Governed and Other Deceits (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971), 116; Ralph G.Martin and Ed Plant, Front Runner, Dark Horse (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1960), 307–308; Harry R.Borowski, A Hollow Threat: Strategic Air Power and Containment Before Korea (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982), 200–201.

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Page 41 Chapter 4 Defining the Cold War: “And the United States Is Losing that War” Stuart Symington later commented on his appointment by President Harry Truman as chairman of the NSRB: “I liked that, primarily for one reason…. NSRB would put me back on the Security Council by statute. There I could look in the eyes of those who were constantly cutting the services further down; and also, in discussion, get my thinking over to the President.” Members of the NSRB included the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, plus the Federal Reserve chairman and presidential aide Averell Harriman. The Board was responsible for coordinating all industrial, military and civilian mobilization in time of war. The New York Times noted: “It would be hard to imagine a more solemn responsibility, the weight of which obviously must fall on the chairman more heavily than on the Secretaries who already have their own heavy obligations.” Symington was now “very much on the spot,” editorialized Robert S.Allen of the New York Times. “He must deliver. The job is the biggest and toughest he has tackled in his five years in Washington, and it will take a lot more than sweet talk and photogenic glamour to put it over.”1 Not everyone was skeptical about his appointment. Democratic Arkansas Senator J.William Fulbright noted that although the NSRB had been rather moribund in the past, “since Mr. Symington was appointed Chairman there is every indication that the NSRB will play an important part in our industrial mobilization.” Even General George C.Marshall wrote to Symington expressing “pleasure” at his new appointment. “There is much that can be done in that field and I am sure you have the imagination and initiative to bring it about.”2 One of the first tasks Symington intended to fulfill was to process a departmental response to the NSC directive known as NSC 68, one of the most important policy statements ever issued by the Council. In January 1950 Truman had authorized the Secretaries of State and Defense “to undertake a reexamination of our objectives in peace and war and of the effect of these objectives on our strategic plans, in the light of the probable fission bomb

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Page 42 capability and possible thermonuclear bomb capability of the Soviet Union.” The group responsible for preparing the statement was the State Department Policy Planning Staff, headed by Paul H.Nitze, who toward the end of World War II led the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey team in the Pacific Theatre. After surveying the damage inflicted on Hiroshima, Nitze concluded that the city had not been totally devastated and that there were many survivors. The lessons learned from that experience were that a nuclear war did not have to be “all or nothing,” and that preparedness could make the difference.3 The final study produced by Nitze’s group was presented to Truman on April 7, 1950. NSC 68 had gone through many revisions, with contributions from all departmental members of the NSC. It became not only a statement of existing conditions but also a policy plan for future national security. NSC 68 concluded that the United States posed the major check to the Kremlin’s desire to control the world. Victory over communist aggression required a marriage of American technology and industry with economic and military superiority. Economic, political, and psychological pressure would be applied wherever possible. Atomic weapons must be stockpiled and military services substantially strengthened from current levels. The document ended with an ominous warning that “the cold war is in fact a real war in which the survival of the free world is at stake.” It should therefore be fought on a nonpartisan basis. “The prosecution of the program will require of us all the ingenuity, sacrifice, and unity demanded by the vital importance of the issue and the tenacity to persevere until our national objectives have been attained.”4 In the fourth Ad Hoc Committee meeting at which the document was discussed, “it was the consensus of opinion that NSC 68 had emphasized the inseparability of the military buildup from other weapons of the cold war, and that the one without the other would fail to achieve the objectives of the United States.”5 The general feeling within the Administration reflected the attitude that a Soviet confrontation was near and that there was precious little time to prepare. Symington’s response to NSC 68 reflected his Cold Warrior attitudes toward the Soviet Union and monolithic communism. In a May 29, 1950, report to the Policy Planning Staff, he concluded: “There is an obvious possibility that Soviet Russia will have and intends to use the atomic strength to attack this country by 1954 or earlier.” Moreover, with its current capability, the United States would be unable to defend itself. The best defense combined “the maximum military and civil defense obtainable, plus a retaliatory bombing force sufficient to impress the Soviets with the fact that a lethal atomic attack upon the United States means a lethal atomic attack on Soviet Russia.” The report stressed the fact that the NSRB disagreed with those who were willing to assume a “calculated risk” that the Soviets would not attack the United States by 1954. Even the implication of risk would force the NSRB “in the direction of overt and organized planning to defend the United States as best it can be defended.” Strong defense was preferable to risking “millions of lives and this country’s survival on the chance the Soviet [sic] cannot or will not attack the United States in the next few years.” The Board, assuming an attack on or before 1954, called for all men, women, and children not in the expanded military to serve in a civil defense program. Minimum stockpiles of goods and

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Page 43 resources should be amassed. Symington also prepared a list of the minimum requirements for basic, necessary materials, including aluminum, copper, lead, manganese, rubber, tin, and zinc.6 Following the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950, Symington presented a twenty-one point program for national mobilization and drafted legislation that would have granted the President power to declare a national emergency and establish economic controls over prices, wages, and essential materials. Under Symington’s leadership, agencies for price controls and stabilization were created, but the Administration preferred instead volunteer price and wage controls to curb inflation and “in favor of the rhetoric of self-restraint.”7 On July 6, 1950, Symington presented a statement to the NSC in which he acknowledged that the invasion of South Korea shocked everyone around the world, including the members of the NSC. What was apparent, though, was the “growing combined military strength of Soviet Russia, and such of its willing and ambitious satellites as China and North Korea.” He warned that the USSR presented power “so great that it will be impossible for the United States to settle this dispute in this little country of Korea for some months” and that American forces were woefully inadequate to meet the enemy, especially if Russian or Chinese regulars entered the fight. He also observed that no one in the Administration had presented a long-range strategic plan. “If a general war starts tomorrow,” he warned, “everybody will want everything yesterday.” He pointed out that “the operating chaos resulting from such an approach to joint military-civilian planning would be further complicated by the knowledge that any time…this planning might have to also include recognition of the problems of major sabotage and devastating atomic attacks.” Moscow sought to “rule the world” and would “harass the United States, through such satellites as North Korea, communist China, and eastern Germany.” He warned that more money must be spent building the armed forces and all agencies needed to coordinate planning. “Our national survival is now paramount over all other considerations…. Any delay in taking the action necessary to implement the President’s policy may result in our being too late.”8 Symington recommended that Truman ask Congress for broad powers to mobilize the country. His recommendations were influential in the debate over price and wage controls and possible food rationing as well as quotas for scarce metals for industry. Steel, for example, was allocated to the military first but was made available to the automobile industry. Symington took pains to be fair to all industries but he had to maintain fair prices. As with the Surplus Property Board, authority eventually centered on Symington as chairman rather than a board of directors. He met with individual African-American leaders and with members of the Urban League to work out fair employment policies that were eventually submitted to the President in December from both the NSRB and the Labor Department. Symington worried only about rubber, as that was the only resource that was somewhat controlled. He urged industrial production to keep pace with expanding military needs and cautioned business and labor not to exploit the situation because that could induce wage and price controls.9 In September 1950 Symington sent a message to the NSC. Warning against Soviet strength and Soviet aggression, he stressed sufficient military forces to

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Page 44 block these threats. In order to fully mobilize, the NSRB recommended a review of current programs, a buildup of continental defenses, “a winning effort in Korea,” and strength “sufficient to notify the Soviets that further communist aggression, either overt or through satellites, will result in the use of that force against Russia itself.”10 Following the Inchon landing and the Eighth Army’s breakout from the Pusan perimeter, Symington permitted himself a brief moment of optimism. But the entrance of the Chinese into the Korean War on October 31 restored his gloom. At an NSC meeting in November, Symington recommended that the U.S. “get out of Korea as fast as possible.” He reasoned that this nation simply could not equal in sheer numbers the ground troops that the Chinese could provide, nor could it mobilize its resources quickly enough to meet the Chinese threat. Business and labor simply did not realize the severity of the situation. “It [is] important for us to get strong as fast as we can,” he argued, “even though we have to give up such things as refrigerators and television.” Time would at least give the United States a chance to mobilize resources in places where it could meet the Chinese and Soviet menace. At the same meeting, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, who did not agree with Symington’s estimate of the situation, pointed out that Korea had to be considered “not in isolation but in the worldwide problem of confronting the Soviet Union as an antagonist.” If the United States ran out on the Koreans, the fate of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) might easily be foretold. And how long, Acheson wondered, would Japan remain friendly to the West if the United States proved less than a reliable friend?11 They both agreed that the Soviet menace was real and had to be confronted. In January 1951 Symington submitted NSC 100. It was an extraordinary document and one that seems in retrospect almost hysterical. He declared that “the United States is now in a war of survival; the United States is losing that war.” America and its allies had allowed the Soviet Union to put them on the defensive. While the Russians and their Asian counterparts could not be matched in numbers, the Western allies refused to use their superior air and naval power. As of now, the free world had superior power and advantage, “the atomic bomb and the capacity to deliver it.” However, that power “every week from here on will steadily decline.” The democracies “cannot hope to survive this war against Soviet aggression if it is continued on the basis of defensive containment. The hour is late.” Greater mobilization should be implemented immediately. Thus, he again recommended that the United States pull out of Korea, retaliate against Communist China in the form of blockades, attack North Korean supply routes and industrial sites, aid all anticommunists in Southeast Asia, and reaffirm the protection of Formosa (Taiwan). If the United Nations refused to support these endeavors, the United States should act unilaterally. In his most sweeping statement he declared, “On the political front, the United States could make its greatest contribution to the defense of Western Europe and other areas of interest to the free nations by announcing, preferably through NATO, that any further Soviet aggression, in areas to be spelled out, would result in the atomic bombardment of Soviet Russia itself.” The survival of all free peoples depended on “that military policy which gives the United States the

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Page 45 greatest chance of victory against the Soviet[s].” At the moment the United States had only a “temporary atomic advantage…of strength relative to the Soviet[s] that it cannot attain again for some years to come.” The Soviet stockpile “of successfully delivered atomic bombs is enough to blast the heart out of United States industry: and who doubts any longer that the Soviets will attack when ready?”12 Other policy makers may have doubted the eminent threat from the USSR, but Stuart Symington did not. He was convinced by 1953 that all of Korea, Indochina, and Southeast Asia would probably be lost to communism. Indecision by the United Nations would even destroy that organization. A general war could erupt at any time. So he urged that more air defense be given to NATO. “Atomic bombing by itself cannot win a war against Soviet Russia, but today it is the most powerful military weapon. In this world of power politics, therefore, it should be further utilized in political negotiation.” Symington also warned that other strategic air power should not be allowed to become obsolete. The United States should consider which worldwide bases and resources it could rely on in case of war. A faster-paced mobilization was needed. Symington specifically recommended: “(1) A political use now of its diminishing atomic bombing advantage; (2) A fuller and more effective use of its industrial potential.” Make no mistake, he warned, “in the event of overt or satellite aggression against stated points throughout the world, this would mean the use of the atom bomb, if the Soviets moved aggressively in defiance of NATO terms.” In keeping with conventional Cold War wisdom, he said, “There should be an accelerated program for insuring the alliance and security of North America, South America, Africa, and the Pacific areas of the United States’ interests.”13 At its January 24, 1951, meeting the NSC actually discussed NSC 100; thereafter President Truman sent it to the Departments of State and Defense for comment. Eventually the Joint Strategic Survey Committee (JSSC) of the JCS rejected Symington’s proposal to issue an ultimatum to the Russians or, for that matter, to anyone else. Members of the Committee did believe that Symington’s opinions reflected the widespread view that somehow the United States lacked cohesive plans for limiting aggression on a small scale. They also agreed that the use of the atomic bomb was a viable option, depending upon the specific situations. Nevertheless, after reviewing NSC 100, Truman rejected it. In fact, he had an earlier memo from Symington, written with the same ominous warnings about the Soviet Union and its military strength vis-à-vis the United States, and on this Truman had written in several places that it was all “bunk.” In fact, at the end of it he wrote: “My dear Stu, this is [as] big a lot of Top Secret malarkey as I’ve ever read. Your time is wasted on such bunk as this. H.S.T.”14 It is problematic whether or not Truman ever returned the report. Symington himself continued to advocate preemptive attacks, the buildup of air and sea power, and the maintenance of a full atomic arsenal. Even as late as 1953 these ideas were discussed by the JCS in case the Korean armistice negotiations floundered. Gregg Herken, in The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War 1945–1950, contended that Symington’s proposal merely prepared the way for the ideas of “massive retaliation” and “immaculate war,”

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Page 46 phrases commonly used during the Eisenhower Administration. Herken also maintained that NSC 100 predicted that with the erosion of American atomic superiority, the whole defense plan that was predicated on just that superiority was undermined. All NSC 100 accomplished was to encourage an arms race with the USSR.15 Although Symington’s voice seemed to be the most strident, he was not alone in calling for a more aggressive approach to the Soviets. In January 1951 Symington, along with eight military and civilian advisors, met at West Point, New York, with General Dwight D.Eisenhower. They discussed “a report to President Truman and Congress that [would] blueprint the North Atlantic powers’ army against communism.” Later, at an NSC meeting held at the White House, Eisenhower emphasized the need for more equipment for the Europeans. He insisted that “we have got to turn to a full war basis of production…. The difference here is whether our civilization goes up or goes down, and so I am ready for a tremendous sacrifice.”16 Symington could not have agreed more. By the spring of 1951, however, several new agencies had been created that co-opted many of the functions of the NSRB, resulting in a reduction of Symington’s influence. His role of policy making had ended; he had always preferred to make his own decisions. After serving five years in Washington, he was ready to leave government, so he told Truman that he wished to return to private business. He seriously considered the option of returning to Emerson Electric as chairman and chief executive officer. When he discussed his decision with the President, however, Truman told him that it was of course up to him, but that should he reconsider, Truman had one more job for him. He could clean up the mess at the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC).17 Somewhat reluctantly, Symington agreed to head the RFC if he were its sole administrator, replacing a fivemember board. Truman agreed. The RFC had been accused of “peddling” loans for questionable purposes and of “influence peddling.” It had also come under investigation by the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, chaired by Senator Fulbright. These hearings began in April 1951 and continued into the fall. Symington was sworn in on May 4. He wrote Eisenhower that he was staying on in government, in a position where he could make a contribution to his country, “despite my expressed wishes at our last meeting. Over here in this agency there is a chance to prove to the American people government can be run decently and honestly.”18 At the RFC Symington soon learned that he was living in a fishbowl. He found his office “bugged,” fired several executives, and publicly acknowledged wrongdoing in the RFC. He announced that the agency would publicize each week the loans granted, and he provided the Fulbright Committee with access to all loan requests that exceeded $50,000 and all extensions that had been permitted. Many of his reforms went even further than the Senate Committee recommended. Largely because of Symington’s efforts, the RFC was not abolished but continued to function until the Eisenhower Administration made it part of the Small Business Administration. Indeed, when Symington’s opponents tried to smear him with the scandals of the RFC during his 1952 bid for the Senate, Fulbright offered to “set the record straight.” He complimented Symington on instituting the recommendations of the Committee, and pointed

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Page 47 out that even Republican members of the Committee “complimented you… very highly on the excellent job that you had done in administering the agency while you were its Administrator.” Fulbright, who thought Symington’s contributions were well known, was surprised that the RFC was even an issue. “I think people who are sincerely interested in improving the standards of governmental administration should be grateful to you for the services you rendered the RFC.”19 The RFC was involved in twofold activities: domestic and international, lending and purchasing. With the advent of the Korean War it had the responsibility of purchasing materials involved in both military and general mobilization. Because of the war, prices for certain commodities skyrocketed, especially rubber. The RFC responded with a successful synthetic rubber program; indeed, by 1952, fully 65 percent of the rubber used in the United States was synthetic and was selling for less than half the world price of natural rubber. Another problem commodity, one that brought Symington directly into a diplomatic confrontation, was tin. Before the Korean War tin sold for $1.93 per pound. Most tin was purchased from Malaya, Indonesia, and Bolivia. Symington believed that the price of tin was controlled by an international cartel and he refused to pay the high prices. His obstinacy created an international crisis with Bolivia. In June and July the State Department received complaints from the Bolivian government because its economy was dependent on foreign purchases of tin. Symington was convinced that it would not be in the best interests of the United States to pay a higher price for Bolivian tin than from any other country. Although he realized that the political situation in Bolivia was volatile and wanted to cooperate with the State Department, he refused to accept the premise that it was the responsibility of the United States to maintain the Bolivian economy. Eventually, he offered to meet the Bolivians roughly halfway, at $1.12 per pound. Symington mistakenly thought that the Bolivians would agree to the new price. To help the RFC, a Senate subcommittee headed by Lyndon Baines Johnson announced that the RFC would be the only buyers of tin and, therefore, could avoid buying from British, Dutch, Belgian, and Bolivian interests if they were going to hike the prices. “Republican members of the subcommittee congratulated Mr. Symington and Mr. [Jess L.] Larson, [head of General Services Administration] for introducing what Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire called ‘a little Yankee trader touch’ to their enterprises.”20 But Symington and Johnson had spoken too soon. In August, as the talks with the Bolivians dragged on, Symington stopped purchasing tin. In November the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, Edward G.Miller, wrote to the U.S. representative in Bolivia, Thomas J.Maleady, announcing that the State Department did not want to be “played off” against the RFC. He said that no politics should be involved “because of the tendency of the RFC to engage in demagogic maneuvers against us with Senator Johnson.” Miller agreed that “the RFC has acted as if there were only commercial considerations involved and with little, if any, regard for the sensibilities of the Bolivians or for the strategic considerations involved.” He then acknowledged that “the Bolivian producers have not been helpful either in sticking to the impossible figure of

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Page 48 $1.50 or intending to fight Symington through the press.” He recommended that the State Department stay out of the fracas. Months passed but Symington would not budge from his $1.12 per pound price. He sent representatives to Malaya and reported that it was a “constructive trip.” An Indonesian tin group was scheduled to consult with him in January 1952. In the meantime, Secretary of State Dean Acheson urged Symington to be more flexible. International shipments of tin had virtually stopped. Symington suggested dipping into the domestic stockpile of tin, but there was strong dissent from the Departments of State, Defense, Agriculture, and from the Munitions Board. The Bolivians threatened to encourage other Latin American countries to join in bringing charges of “economic aggression against the United States.” Apparently, Bolivia failed to convince other Latin American countries to engage in an economic boycott just over the price of tin.21 The situation remained at an impasse. By the end of 1951 the RFC turned over to the United States Treasury a total of $95 million, $16,345,812 of which came from loans to private businesses. Symington said that he was “pretty proud” and that “this is one agency that doesn’t cost the government a cent.” Nevertheless, he wanted out. The RFC was on its feet, and he had saved American taxpayers millions of dollars. On January 4, 1952, President Truman announced Symington’s resignation as chairman of the RFC, denying reports that it was caused by the problems with Bolivia. Symington had wanted to leave for more than a year. He wistfully wrote Eisenhower that “in a few days I am out of government—a queer feeling—but I well remember what you said about myopia if one stays away too long from private life.” Still complaining, he reiterated his favorite gripe: “The situation here is hard to understand. We can have adequate armament, or perhaps the Fair Deal; but we can’t have both. Nobody now around in the Administration apparently wants to take a real stand on that with the President.” Symington’s friends, General Lauris Norstad and General Alfred M.Gruenther, both complimented him on his many accomplishments in Washington. Norstad remarked that Symington’s performance was “quite remarkable since you frequently committed the unpardonable sin of being right when the whole pack was in opposition.” Gruenther hoped Symington would continue his “interest in public affairs. My great prayer is that you will live long enough to have many of your ideas accepted.”22 In both wishes he could not have been disappointed. Symington was about to join the legislative branch of government, where he could continue the Cold War battle. Stuart Symington’s return to private life in the 1950s was as short-lived as it had been in the 1930s. It would have been difficult to forego the excitement, the publicity, the prestige, and especially the power that he had enjoyed for eight years in the nation’s capital. When Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson resigned, and then later his replacement, General George C.Marshall, resigned, speculation in Washington each time was that the appointment would go to Symington. The New York Times wrote that both the “general and Mr. [Robert A.] Lovett were perturbed by what seemed to be an obvious trial balloon” in favor of Symington that “Mr. Symington disavowed, and the White House disowned. Nevertheless Mr. Symington’s desire for the job is well known in

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Page 49 Washington, and there have been recurrent reports that he was in the running to succeed General Marshall.” The newspaper also speculated that although Symington had considerable support, there was also opposition because “his tenure in the Pentagon had contributed greatly to disruption and lack of harmony.”23 There is no evidence that Symington expected or wanted that appointment. It is difficult, however, to believe that he did not desire that prestigious position. Symington was a proud and competitive man. He had long criticized the administration of the Department of Defense under Secretaries James V. Forrestal and Louis A. Johnson, and he always had his own ideas for its effective organization. Symington also had supreme confidence in his own proven organizational and business abilities. Surely he must have felt he deserved it, yet he could have returned to Emerson or to other more lucrative corporate positions. There was even talk of his becoming baseball commissioner. He turned, instead, to politics. In 1952 Symington decided that a seat in the U.S. Senate would provide him with an opportunity to actively work to implement his ideas on defense and foreign relations. He also had little faith in the favored Democratic nominee, Missouri Attorney General J.E. “Buck” Taylor, who was supported by the infamous Pendergast political machine. The Democrats were attempting to unseat Republican Senator James P.Kem. Symington wrote Eisenhower that “the reasons I am running are that the Democratic nominee of the machine should never be in the Senate, and Senator Kem should not be retained because he is more of an isolationist than [Robert A.] Taft.” Eisenhower warned, albeit mistakenly, that “I doubt that you would be very happy in that particular kind of work.” However, he continued, “I am quite certain that your long experience in business and public life and your great devotion to public service would make you as outstanding in that body as you have been in other activities.”24 Symington knew he had an uphill battle in his Senatorial race, particularly since Truman had earlier agreed to support his opponent in the Democratic primary. Fortunately, once Symington entered the race, the President’s support for Taylor became tepid at best. James H.Meredith, Symington’s campaign manager, claimed that “Mrs. Truman made a statement that she was going to vote for Symington which to some extent blunted the impact of Truman’s endorsement of Taylor. And actually, while Truman endorsed Taylor, he really didn’t do anything about it.”25 Symington assembled a fairly solid campaign staff. Circuit Court Judge Durward W.Gilmore bragged that he was the first to talk to Symington about his Senate bid. Gilmore felt that Democratic nominees supported by the Pendergast machine were less than desirable and that was the reason so many had lost. Consequently, Gilmore raised the ire of many state politicians when he wholeheartedly supported Symington. He did express concern, though, when he reported that “Stu Symington, before he got into politics, was very naïve; he didn’t know that they did bad things in politics like they do. You had to watch out for him being naïve.”26 Another major supporter was the well-connected and politically savvy Stanley R.Fike of Kansas City. Fike owned several weekly newspapers in

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Page 50 Missouri and had served as president of the Missouri Press Association. His influence carried a lot of weight throughout the state. James W.Symington said that Fike “could take Dad down any main street in the state and if he did not know someone, he knew someone who did.” He also claimed that Fike later gained the reputation as “Missouri’s third senator.” Fike supported Symington because he was the candidate most likely to beat the Republican incumbent. When Symington returned to Washington as a U.S. Senator in January 1953, Stanley Fike accompanied him as his executive assistant.27 Symington won wide support across the state. The Kansas City Star recommended that Missouri Democrats nominate Symington, describing him as “a man of national stature.” The newspaper described Symington’s chief opponent as a “routine state Attorney General.’” The leaders of the state American Federation of Labor and of the Congress of Industrial Organizations publicly spoke in favor of Symington. Missouri Governor Forrest Smith also endorsed him. Symington wined and dined the influential St. Louis Democratic City Committee. Even his sons Stuart, Jr., and James returned from law school to “erase the mustaches from Dad’s political posters.” Most important, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch unequivocally supported Symington.28 Newsweek described the campaign “as hot as Missouri’s steaming summer.” The entire Symington family traipsed the state, campaigning in all 114 counties. Son James played his guitar while the rest of the family shook hands. Symington became “plain Stu” and declined to use the W. in his name. The Post-Dispatch reported that he campaigned “like a battle-scarred veteran of the political wars,” that he started “from scratch” and had “astounded the Missouri Democratic professional politicians by the manner in which he went to work and lined up strong backing from party organizations and independent groups.” The campaign was “aggressive,” and Symington was “the candidate with the best ability to unify the party and defeat Senator Kem.”29 During 1952, foreign relations sparked hot debate, first against “Buck” Taylor and then against Senator Kem, and predictably elicited Cold War rhetoric from Symington. It was during the campaign that a theme emerged that Symington carried into the Senate and frequently repeated for several years: the need “for now telling the American people more facts about our relative strength as against that of the Communists; all truth that will not help the enemy.” He preached his usual theme: “America faces an enemy whose record and actions prove that its rulers respect only power. After painful years we now know that such words as justice, morality, and honor mean absolutely nothing to the Communists.” He insisted that Americans lived “in a period when military and economic power is all important and will be decisive.” The United States had reduced its military strength and spending, thereby allowing the Russian Politburo to “set up his air-ground university in Korea.” And, “even though Korea drags on as a small sample of what might come, this Nation will not be armed in time.” The Soviets especially are “men and women who believe there is no God, who look with contempt on our reverence for church and home, and who are determined to break us to their will.” Taylor countered Symington’s Cold War sermons by announcing his support for “the Administration’s foreign policy” and by charging that Truman had tried to discourage Symington’s entry

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Page 51 into the Senate race “because he was not a real Missourian” and by accusing Symington of “fouling his own nest” by attacking the Truman Administration, “of which he was a proud part for years.” Regardless, Symington won the primary against Buck Taylor by 2 to 1. Symington now faced Kem and it was on foreign policy that the contrast between the two men was most striking.30 During the November race the Post-Dispatch charged Kem with aligning himself with the old guard in the Senate and opposing “the nation’s foreign policy at literally every step of the way.” Symington consistently accused Kem of being the “most reactionary isolationist of all the Republican Senators of the Class of 1946.” He frequently reminded voters that Kem voted against the Marshall Plan, membership in the NATO, aid to South Korea, and all national defense programs. Kem had also voted against aid to Greece and Turkey, without which, Symington claimed, both nations would have fallen to communism. While Kem condemned Truman’s “unconstitutional war in Korea with its many deaths,” Symington asked “who is more responsible for the terrible tragedy of those coffins than a Senator who, before all the world and the Kremlin, voted against our soldiers and airmen having enough equipment when they went into battle?”31 Kem, like Taylor, had very little positive ammunition to use against Symington. The best he could do was to attack him as a “mysterious stranger” from the East, “the ‘idol of New York café society,’ and our newlyarrived friend from the East.” Symington countercharged: “When Mr. Kem’s record is carefully studied, it will reveal that he is living in a world which has long since passed him by.” This Senatorial campaign never lacked for mudslinging. Kem charged that Symington knew very little about agriculture, saying, “the only thing he ever milked was a corporation.” He accused Symington of graft from government contracts while at Emerson Electric in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Because of Symington’s willingness to negotiate with William Sentner, the communist union leader at Emerson, Kem called them “pals” at a time when Sentner was currently “under indictment in St. Louis for conspiracy to advocate the overthrow of the Government.”32 High-powered Democratic politicians supported Symington in the campaign. Lyndon Johnson spent so much time in Missouri that he was criticized for ignoring the struggle of Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson in Texas. It seemed only fair for Johnson to help Symington in 1952, however, since the latter had campaigned for Johnson in 1946 and 1948. Indeed, Symington had consulted with Johnson in the fall of 1951 about his decision to run for the Senate and to solicit some Texas oil money. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota also shared the dais with Symington for a campaign speech in October. On the other side, perhaps as a portent of confrontations to come, Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph R.McCarthy arrived in Missouri to campaign for Senator Kem. McCarthy, too, charged that Symington was “soft on communism” because of his relationship with Sentner and accused him of making “war profits over $1,000,000.” When Senator Robert A.Taft of Ohio came to speak on Kem’s behalf, he attempted to blunt the McCarthy charges. During a speech he said, “I hope that Jim Kem will be re-elected because Dwight Eisenhower will need him. But Stuart Symington is a gentleman and a

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Page 52 patriotic American.” In spite of McCarthy, Taft, and the Eisenhower deluge, Symington won a resounding victory. Even Republicans voted for him.33 The victory provided Stuart Symington with an opportunity to launch yet another career, and this time with a whole different constituency. While serving as chairman of the NSRB and the RFC, Symington had fought the Cold War with his managerial skills and tough talk. He reasoned that the economy could very well withstand additional defense spending and greater utilization of natural resources, provided all programs were adequately coordinated. Air power for Symington would remain the most efficient way to use the taxpayers’ dollars for the military and the most advantageous way for the United States to keep an edge over the Soviet Union. These ideas were his litany during the next eight years. It was ironic, however, that he and President Eisenhower, two good friends who so often had discussed national defense, found themselves as adversaries on military matters. Symington continued to fight the Cold War in the Senate, but his rhetoric became more strident and his accusations against the Eisenhower Administration more inflammatory until ultimately the relationship collapsed. Their divergence seemed in inverse proportion: the more Symington pressed for military research and development, the harder Eisenhower sought an accommodation with the Russians. Symington fought what he believed was a lagging defense effort. In his view the Soviets were winning the Cold War, and Stuart Symington, always a warrior, continued his crusade. NOTES 1. Stuart Symington (SS), oral history interview by James R.Fuchs, 29 May 1981, 38–39, Harry S.Truman Library (HSTL); New York Times (NYT), 31 March 1950, 1:6, 30:2; Robert Allen and William V.Shannon, The Truman Merry-Go-Round (New York: Vanguard Press, Inc., 1950), 86; Robert Coughlan, “Home Front Boss,” Life, 2 October 1950, 118. 2. Fulbright Papers, Access No. 144, BCN 13, f. 28, letter from JWF to Robert R.C. Miller, 28 July 1950, Special Collection, Mullins Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Marshall Papers, Box 163, f. 48, letter to SS from GCM, 2 May 1950, Marshall Foundation, Lexington. 3. Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1950, Vol. I, National Security Affairs; Foreign Economic Policy (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977), 141–142; Ernest R.May, ed. American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (New York: Bedford Books, 1993), 4. 4. FRUS, 1950, Vol. 1, 235–292, the complete text of NSC 68. 5. Ibid., 313. 6. Ibid., 316–321. 7. John Prados, Keeper of the Keys: A History of the National Security Council from Truman to Bush (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991), 32; Glenn D. Paige, The Korean Decision (June 24–30, 1950) (New York: Free Press, 1968), 195, 244–249; Jordan A.Schwarz, The Speculator: Bernard M.Baruch in Washington 1917–1965 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), 528–530. 8. FRUS, 1950, Vol. 1, 338–341. 9. Papers of Harry S.Truman, WHCF: Confidential File, National Security Council [Italy, Korea, Japan, national security, etc.] to National Security Resources Board (5 of

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Page 53 10), Box 27, HSTL; National Security Resources Board, Box 28, HSTL; “People of the Week,” U.S. News and World Report, 28 July 1950, 38–39; Robert J.Donovan, Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S.Truman, 1949–1953 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982), 243; Donald R.McCoy and Richard T. Ruetten, Quest and Response: Minority Rights and the Truman Administration (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1973), 266–267; Alonzo L.Hamby, Beyond the New Deal: Harry S.Truman and American Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973), 417; “Policy on Wage-Price Controls: An Interview with W.Stuart Symington,” U.S. News and World Report, 20 October 1950, 28–34. A photograph of Symington appeared on the cover of this issue. 10. FRUS, 1950, Vol. 1, 395–397. 11. FRUS, 1950, Vol. 7, Korea (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976) 1242–1249. 12. FRUS, 1951, Vol. 1, National Security Affairs: Foreign Economic Policy (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), 7–12; Gregg Herken, The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War 1945–1950 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), 53, 334–337. 13. Ibid., 11–12. 14. FRUS, 1951, Vol. 1, 7–18, 21–33; John Lewis Gaddis, The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 120–121; Robert Frank Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907–1960 (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1989), 295; Rosemary Foot, The Wrong War: American Policy and the Dimensions of the Korean Conflict, 1950–1953, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, ed. Robert J.Art and Robert Jervis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 115–116; Marc Trachtenberg, History and Strategy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 123–124. 15. Herken, 53, 334–337. 16. FRUS, 1951, Vol. 3: European Security and the German Question, Part 1 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981), 457. 17. SS, oral history, 80–81, HSTL; Francis H.Heller, The Truman White House: The Administration of the Presidency, 1945–1953 (Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1980), 170; Thomas R.Wolamin, Presidential Advisory Commissions: Truman to Nixon (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), 56– 57, 81. 18. Papers of Harry S.Truman: Official File 1295 (1949)—1295 Misc., Box 1657, f. 1295 (1951–Aug. 1952), HSTL; “Truman Requests Symington to Head and Reform R.F.C.,” NYT, 4 April 1951, 1:4, 23:1;, ibid., “Symington Named to Head New R.F.C.,” 18 April 1951, 1:2, 34:5; ibid., 4 May 1951, 19:2; Donovan, 338. 19. SS, oral history, HSTL, 81–86; letter to SS from JWF, 22 October 1952, Fulbright Papers, Access No. 144, BCN 40, f. 38, BCN 78, Loc. 416, f. 14; Jules Abels, The Truman Scandals (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1956), 73–74; Andrew J.Dunar, The Truman Scandals and the Politics of Morality (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984), 94–95. 20. NYT, 25 July 1951, 12:4; FRUS, 1951, Vol. 2: The United Nations: The Western Hemisphere (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979), 1152–1159; United States Congressional Record, Proceedings and Debates of the 82nd Congress, First Session, Appendix, Vol. 97—Part 14 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951), A5168. 21. “R.F.C. Is Adamant On $1.12 Tin Price,” NYT, 21 December 1951, 35:6; “Compromise on Tin Urged by Acheson,” NYT, 22 December 1951, 22:1; “Indonesian Tin Group to Confer With R.F.C.,” NYT, 29 December 1951, 18–8; FRUS, 1951, Vol. 2, 1164–1165.

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Page 54 22. “R.F.C. Turns Over $16,345,812 ‘Bonus’,” NYT, 25 December 1952, 39:7; ibid., 4 January 1952, 1:2; DDE Papers: Pre-Presidential, f. ss, DDEL; Norstad, Lauris: Papers, 1930–87, Box 41, f. Eyes Only, f. 20, DDEL; Gruenther, Alfred M: Papers, 1941–83, General Correspondence Series, Box 18, A83–16, f. Symington, Stuart, Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL). 23. Wilfred J.McNeil, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 19 September 1972, HSTL, 181–183; Allen and Shannon, 465; NYT, 13 September 1951, 8:3–5. 24. DDE Papers: Pre-presidential, f. ss (1), DDEL; Ralph G.Martin and Ed. Plant, Front Runner, Dark Horse (New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1960), 314, 322. 25. James H.Meredith, oral history program, by Larry Hackman, 7 July 1967, 1, 5–6, John F.Kennedy Library (JFKL), Boston. 26. Durward W.Gilmore, oral history interview #458, by Neil M.Johnson, 20 January 1989, HSTL, 63–65. 27. Stanley R.Fike, oral history interview #283, by Jerry N.Hess, HSTL, 10 May 1972; Martin and Plant, 328; James W.Symington, interview by author, 6 June 1996, Washington. 28. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2 April 1952, 1:5–6; 4 April 1952, 8A:2–3; 13 May 1952, 8:2; 16 July 1952, 6C:1–2; 17 July 1952, 10A:2–3 29. “Primaries: Victory for Symington,” Newsweek, 18 August 1952, 19; Herbert A. Trask, “Only Last-Minute Switch Here Can Beat Symington, Party Chiefs Say,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1 August 1952, 3A:1. 30. W.S.Symington, “Increasing Military Power Without Destroying Economy,” Vital Speeches of the Day, 15 April 1952, 393–395; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 16 July 1952, 6C:1–2; 17 July 1952, 10A:2–3; 6 August 1952, 1:8; NYT, 7 August 1952, 20:5. 31. “The Man for the Senate,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 May 1952, 2B:2–3; 2 October 1952, 3A:1. 32. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3 October 1952, 2C:2–3; ibid., October 1952, 1:3; Irving Dilliard, “Farewell to Mr. Kem,” New Republic, 27 October 1952, 16–17. 33. Alfred Steinberg, Sam Johnson’s Boy: A Close-Up of the President from Texas (New York: Macmillan Company, 1968), 332, 338; Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 421; Fike, Stanley, oral history interview by Larry J.Hackman, JFKL, 3; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2 October 1952, 3A:1; 1 November 1952, 1:4; 5 November 1952, 1:1, 3:3; NYT, 6 November 1952, 20:5.

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Page 55 Chapter 5 The Eisenhower Administration: “If I Don’t Catch ‘Em I’ll Worry ‘Em Like Hell” Stuart Symington entered the Senate as one member of a large and impressive group of freshmen Senators. Democrats Mike Mansfield of Montana and Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson of Washington moved up from the House of Representatives. Arizona Republican Barry M.Goldwater replaced a Democratic incumbent. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, like Symington, beat a conservative incumbent. Symington’s son James recalled that Kennedy and his father quickly formed a “friendship based on having gone through the fire at that particular time together.” In addition, he claimed, they had “a kind of ‘happy warrior’ approach to the whole business of politics.”1 Even before the Eisenhower inauguration, Symington experienced a taste of national politics in the struggle for Senate committee appointments. Fortunately for him, in 1952 Lyndon B.Johnson had become Minority Whip and used his influence in the Senate to break with the tradition that all desirable appointments were awarded strictly by seniority. Johnson, in trying to build party harmony, believed that breaking that tradition would unite the Democrats in the Senate and especially involve the entering freshmen. He also realized that it would not hurt to have political debts owed to him. Johnson even guided freshman senators in their choices of committees so that appointments were mutually satisfactory. He wanted Symington to go to the Finance Committee. But when the Missourian balked, demanding a place on the Armed Services Committee, Johnson and Senator Walter George of Georgia together persuaded Senator Russell Long of Louisiana to make room for him by going to the Finance Committee.2 Symington was pleased. He wrote his friend General Lauris Norstad that it was “a pleasure to be on Armed Services. Maybe I can contribute; I’ll try—and work for all three Services.” Capturing a theme that would recur frequently during the 1950s, he complained to Norstad that the Pentagon was “a mess—disorganized and disunited. Too bad.”3 Symington wrote to former President Harry S.Truman in June 1953, declaring: “Some freshmen Senators down here are talking too much—you know how that hurts them. I am adopting a policy of [being] ‘seen and not heard’ this first year.”4 In spite of his good intentions, he soon became a sharp

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Page 56 critic of Eisenhower defense policy. On the campaign trail in 1952 and in his State of the Union Address, Eisenhower pledged that his party and his Administration would reduce the deficit, balance the budget, and make the Pentagon more efficient. He meant what he said. By April 1953 $7 billion had been trimmed from the military budget that had been proposed by the previous Administration.5 Symington, as a partisan Democrat and defender of the military, especially the Air Force, could not ignore these cuts. As early as March, he warned that the world was a much more dangerous place due to the development of an atomic bomb by the Soviet Union. In a speech to the Philadelphia Bulletin Forum he noted that even after the death of Stalin the change of leadership within the Soviet Union was “unlikely to affect the world favorably, because Communists believe fanatically that they must bring all men under their bloodstained banner.” Symington felt strongly that the government should provide the American people with all the facts relating to the relative strength of the USSR vis-à-vis the United States and let them judge for themselves the imminent danger. Instead, Symington complained, American leaders followed “the tragic steps of certain World War II allies” and attempted “to purchase a nervous neutrality.” He declared, however, that “in this air atomic age…the opening battle may well decide the war.” With the Korean War still raging, Symington argued that the United States could not go on “trading man for man with the Communist hordes.” The solution, he concluded, was to “use the atomic bomb on military targets in North Korea.”6 President Eisenhower, however, assured the nation and Congress that national defense would not be endangered in spite of the budget cuts and the proposed reductions in the federal deficit. Symington disagreed. In April, at a gathering of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, D.C., he again “warned against putting ‘a price tag on security’” and reiterated his assertion that the United States was “growing weaker each day in relative military strength against Russia.” In commenting on the speech, the New York Times stated that “Senator Symington was among a group of Congressional Democrats billed as the Eisenhower Administration’s ‘loyal opposition.’”7 Symington constantly blamed the Administration for endangering national security with budget cuts. On the television program Meet the Press, he warned that the “Communist threat against the United States” was hardly “lessening.” In fact, he claimed, the Soviets already had “a very great Air Force,” and the United States was cutting its air power at a time of tremendous expansion by the Soviet Union. Symington was convinced that within twelve months the Russians could “have enough bombs to make the attack” on the United States, which would “destroy at least a third of our industrial capacity and kill around 13 million people.” The narrator on Meet the Press responded that President Eisenhower had pointed out that even with the cuts, 60 cents of each defense dollar would be devoted to air power. Symington ignored his argument and replied that the important issue was to have “an Air Force that’s so strong that the Communists will not attack us.” The narrator responded that both the Chief Executive and Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson had promised that the cuts would not matter because the United States had the best Air Force in the world.

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Page 57 Then he asked why anyone should believe Symington. “Well all I’ve told you is what I was told by the head people of the Pentagon,” he replied. “In addition to that, we now know and have known for some time that the Communists have enough long range bombers to attack the United States.”8 Symington never shied away from extreme rhetoric when it came to discussing national security and the imminent threat posed by the communist enemy. He still had friends and contacts at the Pentagon. Throughout much of his tenure in the Senate he relied on the military establishment’s own projections and figures, especially those provided by the Air Force. Whether or not he understood that the projections and figures were exaggerated is strictly speculation. Regardless, he called upon the Administration to provide him with an estimate of when the Soviet Union would be in a position to launch a nuclear attack on the United States and then asked whether or not the Department of Defense would be able to retaliate. The President characterized Symington’s analysis as “pure rot.”9 Not to be deterred, Symington continued the same theme in his first major speech from the Senate floor on June 25, 1953. Testimony given to Congress by the Defense Department concerning cuts in air power was proof, he said, “that budget reduction—money—was the primary consideration, instead of national security.” In addition, Symington charged, “the reductions were the decision of the new and inexperienced civilian heads, without the concurrence of a single top military expert.” Symington condemned the Administration for not planning ahead because “there is now no date in the foreseeable future when the United States will have reasonable security against atomic attack by the great and growing Soviet Air Force and submarine fleet.” His comments sparked responses from several of his colleagues. One supporter, Senator Henry Jackson, said he would take Symington’s word, due to his vast experience, over “those of the Johnny-come-latelys who are trying to suggest that there is some easy way out of providing the kind of air power necessary for the defense of America and the free world.”10 Symington insisted that from 1945 to 1951 “there never was a military budget that even pretended to be based on the defense needs of the country.” His recommendation was to determine the requirements for each branch of the military, especially the Air Force, and then find the most efficient way to supply those needs. “If today we follow the military experts instead of the budgeters and the ‘figures before forces’ people, we may be able to avoid a far bigger war than Korea.” He then assured members of the Senate that his comments were nonpartisan and reminded them that he had expressed the same concerns during the previous Democratic administration. Korea, he insisted, should have been a lesson to the United States. “Apparently,” Symington declared, “the idea now is to meet with a firmly balanced budget possible waves of the new Russian bombers streaming across the polar wastes to attack our industrial heartland.” It was imperative that Congress should provide for an adequate Air Force or “else, when this country is attacked, we may be the ones responsible for losing the world.”11 The following day the New York Times, reporting Symington’s Senate speech, pointed out that not all Senators agreed with his facts and allegations.

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Page 58 Republican Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, who was in charge of Air Force appropriations, commented “that Senator Symington possibly was endangering the security of the country by dealing in statements that ‘had better be left unsaid.’” The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Leverett Saltonstall from Massachusetts, claimed that “Symington had offered ‘no new facts’ and that, until the full story had been told by the Administration, it was unfair to criticize the budget.” The same article reported that Symington wanted to see a portion of the budget restored.12 In hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Hoyt Vandenberg, the recently retired Air Force Chief of Staff and long-time Symington friend, spoke for more air power. When Vandenberg was criticized by the Administration for expressing his opinion, Symington rose to his defense, remarking that “there is one reduction in the Air Force that the group of ‘money-first men’ have made with complete success. Their bitter attacks against people to justify these money cuts have now seriously reduced Air Force morale.” Symington strongly suggested that witnesses be given the opportunity to express their “professional judgment without being subjected to bitter personal attack” or else Congress could not “perform its independent function,” and could “only become a rubberstamp [sic] for the executive department.” A few days later Saltonstall reminded Symington that the Air Force budget had been reduced the year before by the previous Administration and even more by the House—down to $3.6 billion from $4.4 billion. He also noted that since the Air Force had only been able to spend $3.2 billion in the last fiscal year, the Eisenhower budget looked adequate.13 Symington remained intransigent. Several months later he continued the attack in an address to the annual conference of the Metropolitan Council of B’nai B’rith, at which time he received its 1953 Humanitarian and Distinguished Public Service Award. He told the assembled group that Russia’s power was much greater even than it had been, especially since Georgi Malenkov announced to the world that the Soviet Union could build a hydrogen bomb. He asked, “Can this administration, or any administration, be so sure there will be no war that they can afford not to adequately prepare for it?” He then asked if it were possible for “a sound policy for national security [to] emerge as the convenient product of thinking which starts with a dollar ceiling rather than with enemy capability.” On the same day, October 4, 1953, Arthur S.Fleming, head of the Office of Defense Mobilization, and Representative W.Sterling Cole, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, warned of Russia’s capabilities and called upon the Eisenhower Administration to spend more for defense.14 Symington’s was not a “voice in the wilderness,” but his was certainly more strident. As budget discussions continued, changes occurred that would have a direct effect on the allocation of funds. The Korean War ended, and tremendous advancements were being made in nuclear weapons. Eisenhower realized that the national economy and military spending were closely intertwined and that the United States could and should reduce waste wherever possible, including the military. His plan became known as the “new look”—a term “coined to describe noticeable changes in the style of women’s dresses,” according to the

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Page 59 President. It was, however, a new analysis of military functions for the various forces, along with “a reallocation of resources” for each. More important, it emphasized the deterrent, delivery, and destructiveness of modern nuclear weapons.15 Unhappy with the “new look,” Symington blamed the budget cuts for making “a dangerous ‘stretch-out’ in the buildup of air power.” There were places within the government where waste could be eliminated without affecting air power. In a letter to Senator Ralph Flanders (R-VT) he argued that “the Pentagon must be tightened up if we are to arm and at the same time remain solvent.” What would really save money would be to tie “weapons systems into a real long-range strategic military plan.” However, mirroring Eisenhower’s concern, he admitted that he was “very worried about how to obtain adequate defense without bankruptcy, and am growing amazed at how little is being done to that end.”16 Debate continued in Congress over the “new look” in the military. In February 1954, when Aviation Week purported to show superior Russian air power and new planes, Symington jumped on the issue. On the floor of the Senate he asked a rhetorical question: “Could it be that the Soviets already have had a new look for so long a time that to them it is now an old look—in any case a new look in being?” He again accused the Administration of “underestimating Soviet engineering and production ability” with regard to fighters, and he expressed concern that it would do so again with long-range bombers. He warned that “it could well be the last mistake we shall ever be allowed to make.” He defined a “new look” as being “a two-way look: It should look inward with respect to our economic development and national military power. It should look outward so as to fix the nature of the power of a possible enemy.” As always, he called upon the Administration to give Congress and the American people “all truth about the strength of our possible enemy in its development of plans and weapons necessary to accomplish its oft-announced intention to destroy the free world.”17 Symington, hardly a fan of Defense Secretary Wilson, accused him of “incorrectly belittling Soviet air power” even after Aviation Week pictured Russian bombers in northern Russia and reported that they were capable of making “a round trip atomic bomb attack on most of this country’s large industrial centers.” He attacked the Administration for “trying to explain its defense policy with slogans” and still “not telling the American people ‘all the truth.’” Upon hearing of U.S. hydrogen bomb tests carried out in the Marshall Islands on March 1 and 26, 1954, he emphasized the continuing need for correct information because “the explosions gave additional proof that we are now in that era some of us have predicted with dread for a long time—the period of total danger.”18 Symington’s early attacks defined the issues that dominated Democratic criticism of the Eisenhower Administration and became the standard around which all could unite—the “bomber gap” and, eventually, the “missile gap.” His ability to scare the public was enhanced by the Administration’s focus on budgetary concerns and by his charge that the government was also failing to adequately fund research and development in ICBMs plus hiding pertinent

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Page 60 information on Soviet military strength. These concerns emerged in a major speech on July 21, 1954. Speaking to his colleagues, he said the major problem confronting the free world was adequate defense against world communism. In spite of conflicting statements about the “missile crisis,” he believed the most pessimistic reports. There was no doubt that the USSR would build ICBMs first because they were pouring their resources into that effort. Instead of keeping up with the Soviets, the West was instituting military cuts. Not only were funds inadequate for defense needs, the money “being spent [was] not being allocated to provide the weapons most needed.” He insisted that in order to protect the free world, “America must lead in weapons; first, with superior bombers and fighters, naval task forces, and mobile ground forces. Second, and as soon as possible, with superior long-range missiles.”19 Symington had two powerful allies in syndicated columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop. They supported the accusation that the defense budget was inadequate, that the Russians had the military advantage, and that the United States lagged in research and development for guided missiles. The two brothers complimented Symington on his “brilliant speech,” which was delivered “with all the authority of a man who knows the American defense picture from the inside” and “warned of the danger described in the present [Pentagon] report.” The speech, in their view, was “thoroughly factual as well as grimly ominous.” They only regretted that it received “far less attention than the most recent didos of the McCarthy Committee.” The Alsops, too, warned that the “era of the intercontinental ballistic missile will be the final stage of the journey into danger.”20 Years later, in 1965, General Nathan F.Twining, who was also interested in building a superior retaliatory force, recalled, “We were really scared of the Russians then. People forget this. Our people were really frightened of Russia, of an attack. Really! We were worried.”21 In the Senate chamber, however, Saltonstall claimed “that the Administration’s Air Force program was sound and that there was ‘no urgency’ requiring a rapid build-up.” Symington responded to these claims by declaring that “Mr. Saltonstall’s self-described ‘calm and objective appraisal’ was ‘so calm as to appear to be concerned with events on another planet.’” Saltonstall failed to mention “the ominous and growing Red Air Force,” the “increasing Soviet stockpile of atomic and hydrogen bombs,” and “Soviet progress in longrange guided missiles, which in a few years will be able to reach this country directly.” To forestall this catastrophe Symington insisted that the communists must understand that “if they attack us in this atomic age, regardless of the effect of their atomic attack, we will be so strong that we can get up and in turn destroy them.” With the current Administration’s reductions in appropriations, however, there seemed to be a “policy of strength through weakness,” when actually the United States should negotiate only from relative strength.22 Echoing Symington’s complaints, Thomas K.Finletter (former Secretary of the Air Force) and Roswell Gilpatrick (former Undersecretary of the Air Force) concluded that the proposed budget did “not provide adequate funds for the building of the kind of United States air power which is so necessary in this time of increasing Russian air atomic strength.”23 Although their voices lent credence to Symington’s concerns, Finletter and Gilpatrick were personal

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Page 61 friends of Symington, and they too were subject to partiality and partisanship for the Air Force. Symington was not without his supporters throughout the country. From Illinois, a concerned citizen wrote endorsing his ideas and asked of the Eisenhower Administration, “Is there, in all honesty, any real Administration Program?” He used the analogy of bubble gum: “You chew on it awhile—you blow it up big— and then it bursts. Then you start all over again, perhaps with a different flavor.” He commented: “That’s fine for children and bubble gum; but how is it for a national program?” Another person wrote from Minnesota, saying that “this is a time of great responsibility. Our way of life and that of our children is under the guillotine-like shadow of the red sickle!”24 Stuart Symington could probably relate to the macabre comparison. Preparedness was a consuming passion for Symington. When President Eisenhower sent to Congress a recommendation for a three-year extension of the Trade Agreements Act plus amendments that would reduce tariffs up to 15 percent on specific items, Symington proposed an amendment which implied, at least to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and other leaders in the Administration, “that any product that was needed for our national security must be produced domestically in sufficient quantity before any tariff reductions could be undertaken on that item.” At a White House legislative meeting held on June 28, 1954, the Senators and executive advisors discussed Symington’s amendment. “None of the group understood what could be Sen. Symington’s motivation unless he were merely trying to embarrass the Administration.” Dulles called the amendment “obscure,” and the President, who reminded the group that the Democrats had been pushing tariff reform for twenty years, thought it “ironic.” The Symington amendment was “not acceptable.”25 Part of Symington’s motivation derived from an extensive European defense tour that he and Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had undertaken in March 1954. They visited defense industries in England, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. In determining whether or not reports were true that communists had infiltrated plants that produced equipment for the U.S. armed forces, they were also looking at the overall defense program abroad in light of the Administration’s “new look” for the military. Their final recommendation was for “a thorough Congressional reappraisal” of foreign aid because they were convinced that U.S. assistance, in many cases, “had enabled foreign beneficiaries to become competitors of American business, with legally prescribed advantages on their side.”26 Symington became increasingly concerned over the trade restrictions on various businesses in the United States He recognized the importance of worldwide competition, not only for a strong domestic economy but as a way to indirectly influence other countries in the fight against communism. The trade issue continued to appear and reappear during Symington’s Senatorial career, and eventually he questioned foreign aid and its effectiveness in fighting the Cold War. Much of what the Missouri Senator said during 1954 was a reaction to the tense and futile situation in Indochina. France continued its postwar struggle to retain Vietnam in a world where European colonialism seemed passé to many

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Page 62 people. The problem in this Cold War was that the nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh had embraced communism. As much as many policy makers in the Administration and Congress wished otherwise, because of the traditional U.S. stand against colonialism, France was an important ally. As early as February 1954 Symington, adhering to the “domino theory,” commented, “If we lose Indo-China, we lose Asia to the Communists.” When South Korea offered one of its military divisions to fight for France, Symington felt that it was “a mistake not to use also Chinese Nationalist troops.” He criticized the Administration’s approach to the struggle as their “tepid manner.”27 It was not long before Symington took a less critical stand on the sticky problem of Indochina. On their European tour Symington and Bridges met with French Defense Minister Rene Pleven regarding Indochina. In one meeting they were assured that the military situation could remain stable with American aid, if there were no further Communist Chinese aid and if the Vietnamese army was developed into a disciplined and seasoned force. The political picture, however, appeared “more pessimistic.” Symington suggested using two Korean divisions in Vietnam but was assured by Pleven that in all probability the Red Chinese would match that number. Symington also suggested that those divisions could be reinforced by U.S. “carrier-based planes using tactical atomic bombs.” The response to his suggestion was that there was a “lack of suitable targets.” He briefly considered the possibility of having France surrender the war effort to the United States.28 Symington was not the only person to suggest the use of atomic weapons. General Nathan Twining and Admiral Arthur W.Radford also thought atomic bombs were the only answer to the French predicament at Dien Bien Phu, the last gasp for the French. Twining said that he did not want to bomb the Chinese mainland, but they could “take three small tactical A-bombs” and, since Dien Bien Phu was isolated, “could take all day to drop a bomb, make sure you put it in the right place.” There would be “no opposition,” he said, and the United States could “clean those Commies out of there and the band could play the Marseillaise and the French would come marching out of Dien Bien Phu in fine shape.” Then, “those Commies would say, ‘Well, those guys may do this again to us. We’d better be careful.’” Dulles nixed the idea, however, and Twining did not believe that Eisenhower “would have ever done it either.”29 In a Senate debate on April 6, 1954, the dominant feeling in Congress was that the United States could not support colonialism. Senator John F.Kennedy made the statement, remarkable in retrospect, that he could “see no real difference between French withdrawal today from Indochina, and having the United States intervene unilaterally in support of the French on the current political basis.” Prophetically, he advised that “both policies would end in disaster.” During the same debate Symington reported on the discussions he and Bridges had in Paris, and his main conclusions were similar to those of Kennedy: “We asked if they saw any military solution. The answer was, ‘No.’” Symington then added that “we then asked if there was any political solution which could be seen. The answer was, ‘No.’” There did not seem to be a “definite, affirmative policy” on the part of the French. Symington speculated that this stalemate could be perpetuated and, he believed, was purposeful

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Page 63 “because it was a method” by which the French could “secure continued support.”30 The total cost of aid to Indochina, Symington pointed out, had exceeded “the total cost of the farm parity program in the United States since its inception.” Yet U.S. entrance into the war seemed imminent and “may or may not be for the best—I take no position on that question at this time.” He nevertheless thought it “extraordinary that we should be moving into this picture, and at the same time be further reducing heavily our own military strength.” Kennedy agreed, but added that neutral Asians would resent unilateral U.S. action and “our program would be doomed to failure.” In general the Senators thought the French should agree to Vietnamese independence but, at the same time, expressed fear of Ho Chi Minh’s power. Henry Jackson called on the President to develop a flexible policy, and Symington agreed. They both believed it should be an alternative to “all-out war.” Once everyone knew what the policy was, Symington declared, “let us get behind that policy and let the world know that the Congress supports the President of the United States in his efforts to prevent southeast Asia from falling into the hands of the Communists.” The New York Times commented that Symington “did not, however, attack the Administration’s efforts to hold Indo-China. He contented himself with a criticism of military budget policy.”31 That certainly was nothing new. Symington, like many Americans during the 1950s, viewed the deteriorating situation in Vietnam as a microcosm of the Cold War. He made use of that crisis to reiterate his favorite theme—the increasing strength of the Soviet Union and communism. “We had hoped that our diplomatic and military policies would create favorable events, all over the world,” he declared on July 21, 1954, in a speech to the Senate, “but that has not been the case.” In fact, “unfavorable events have been creating policy, for many long months. If this condition continues, the free nations will lose the fight against communism; and darkness will prevail.” He mourned “the retreat of the free world in Indochina.” Even though ultimately Symington concluded that the United States should not intervene in Indochina, he managed to blame the French defeat on U.S. domestic budget cuts and on research and development plans that were not pursued by the Eisenhower Administration.32 For Symington and a few of his military-minded friends, the whole concept of limited wars fought with conventional weapons was simply anathema in light of modern technology and the development of “special weapons.” Roswell Gilpatrick wrote that the “United States’ experience to date [in] ‘local wars’—meaning small peripheral wars waged without resort to air-atomic weapons—have not paid off in a military sense.” The division of Korea and Vietnam were prime examples of policy failure. He believed that “regardless of the amount of United States or United Nations military force committed to a local war in the Far East, the odds are against the free world’s winning it by conventional arms.” Consequently, those confrontations should be avoided.33 Symington agreed that unless the full potential of American military might was unleashed on the enemy, American servicemen were at a terrible risk and the end result would be a stalemate, or worse, a lost cause. He constantly voiced this opinion as the United States became more deeply involved in Vietnam.

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Page 64 On the domestic scene there was yet another war that Symington could not avoid during his first term in the Senate—the confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy. When Symington entered the Senate, McCarthy had already gained a national reputation for his “red witch hunts” and rabid crusade to ferret out alleged communists from government jobs. One of McCarthy’s most famous diatribes had been against General George C.Marshall in 1951, a 60-thousand-word speech in which he denounced Marshall as “at worst a conspirator against the security of the United States and at best a dupe of other conspirators.” He continued his attack on Marshall in 1952, in spite of the fact that Marshall’s close friend, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was seeking the Republican nomination. In search of votes, however, Eisenhower did indeed embrace the rightwing. In October he even went to Wisconsin “to welcome McCarthy on his ‘team.’” The New Republic lambasted Eisenhower for a speech in which he seemed to support McCarthy. The magazine stated that no one in the audience “knew or cared that he had come to Wisconsin to defend his life-long friend and sponsor George Marshall, only to fall silent when McCarthy told him to defend Marshall elsewhere.34 In his memoirs, Eisenhower asserted that he had prepared a staunch defense of Marshall but that his advisors warned against using it, explaining that it would further embarrass General Marshall.35 The tepid defense of Marshall shattered what remained of the cordial relationship between Symington and Eisenhower. Symington greatly admired Marshall as a general and as a friend. The Missouri Senator was a person who “played by the rules,” and part of those rules was to publicly defend one’s friends against such outrageous accusations. He also had a tremendous sense of fair play and detested character assassinations.36 Partisan politics and McCarthyism promised a fight with him. As a premonition James Symington remembered watching television during the spring of 1953 hearings in which McCarthy attacked both the Voice of America (VOA) and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA). “I felt that somehow,” he wrote of his father and McCarthy, that even then “they were on a collision course.”37 In this he was quite correct. Symington, Kennedy, and Jackson were assigned to the Governmental Operations Committee, where they would suffer through McCarthy’s scurrilous remarks, unfounded charges, and the infamous Army hearings. But it was during the VOA-USIA hearings that Symington first challenged McCarthy. He received numerous letters congratulating him for standing up to McCarthy in trying to be fair and decent to the witnesses. Even the newspaper columnist Stewart Alsop wrote a congratulatory letter to Symington regarding his questioning of the VOA personnel. “Several reporters have mentioned it to me, and I’m surprised it didn’t get more of a play. At any rate, it took real courage.” Symington replied to Alsop that his “head and heart” were “both really in the Armed Services Committee,” but he promised to do his “best re that other situation.”38 Symington and other Democratic members of the McCarthy committee treated the witnesses “with fawning respect,” which tended to highlight the inquisitorial nature of McCarthy’s questions. By the summer of 1953, however, the Democrats decided it was actually time to speak out against McCarthy’s dictatorial methods. In a commencement address at Radcliffe College,

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Page 65 Symington asserted that there was “no place for one-man investigations or for peremptory summons to inquisition.” He agreed that Americans should “search out communism and fight it to its death—but we must do this with the weapons of democracy.”39 Of this speech I.F.Stone, the iconoclastic editor, wrote that “Symington executed a quick metamorphosis and turned up as a liberal to warn that the recklessness of the Red hunters could easily turn into ‘a new reign of terror.’” Stone also noticed that “Symington’s sudden conversion on the road to Cambridge, Massachusetts, was gratifying, though important chiefly as a weather indicator.” In his view the reason was clear: “Symington wants to be President, and is prepared to move left or right with the prevailing winds.”40 Presidential ambitions aside, in July Symington, along with Senators “Scoop” Jackson and John McClellan (DAR), the other Democratic members, protested McCarthy’s dictatorial methods by boycotting his committee for the rest of the year. In January 1954 the impasse between McCarthy and the Democrats on the committee ended when McCarthy realized that funding for his continuing investigations might cease if the Democrats were not involved in them. He therefore agreed to share the hiring and firing policies with the committee and to include members in planning the agenda. The Democrats asked McCarthy for minority counsel and a clerk. Robert F.Kennedy, younger brother of John F.Kennedy, accepted the job as counsel.41 Thus, all of the actors were in place for the Army-McCarthy hearings, a really big show that mesmerized the nation for five months. On the eve of that infamous circus, Symington wrote former President Truman concerning McCarthy’s effect abroad. “If you think McCarthy is hurting us here, you ought to see what he is doing to us over there, especially in England and France. Our friends, real friends, are broken-hearted.” Reflecting the perplexity of many Americans, the Missouri Senator said that “the only person who can stop this bird at this time is Eisenhower. Where is his courage? I wish he had some of yours.”42 Symington was not alone in his bewilderment over Eisenhower’s reticence. McCarthy had become extremely powerful but he was on a self-destructive course. It was only a matter of time before he hanged himself with the proverbial rope. Symington hoped it would be sooner rather than later because he always believed that McCarthy’s antics tarnished the American image abroad and damaged foreign relations. Once McCarthy attacked the military, however, Symington became convinced that nothing less than U.S. national security was at stake. He could not sit idly by and allow his friends at the Pentagon to come under ridiculous accusations and clouds of suspicion. The morale of the whole military establishment hinged on the challenge. The hearings officially began on April 22, 1954, but preliminary hearings were held beginning in January. McCarthy charged that at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, the site of sensitive communications technology, the Army had first promoted a dentist, Irving Peress, but later gave him an honorable discharge after he invoked his Fifth Amendment right when asked about communist affiliations. Extrapolating from this single incident, McCarthy went on to accuse Brigadier General Ralph W.Zwicker, Peress’s commanding officer, and the Army, of protecting subversives. After a particularly brutal attack on General Zwicker, Army Chief of Staff Matthew Ridgway and Secretary of the

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Page 66 Army Robert T.Stevens contacted Symington, knowing quite well about his sympathy for the military. He promised to help them in any way possible. Symington and Stevens had been classmates at Yale, and because of the nature of the hearings, he could not remain aloof. Together he, Secretary Stevens, and his longtime friend Clark Clifford decided to counter McCarthy’s charges.43 The Republican members of the Senate subcommittee wanted the preliminary hearings with General Zwicker and Secretary Stevens to continue through February, but Symington asked that they be postponed until March because of his planned European trip. McCarthy agreed on Zwicker, but while Symington was in Paris he announced that Stevens would be called the following week. Symington, in a telegram sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Washington office, said that he had wired Senator McClellan urging that Stevens’s hearing be postponed until his return. He contended that he would make no statements while abroad “in accordance with policy decided on” but that “off the record” he was “very very worried about European reaction to McCarthy’s actions.”44 In March 1954 the Army launched a counter-attack on McCarthy by leaking stories to the press that he and his aid Roy Cohn had attempted to secure special favors for Cohn’s friend, Private David Schine. McCarthy then demanded public hearings and Senator Lyndon Johnson agreed, but only if they were televised. Symington hoped that since McCarthy and Cohn were now also to be investigated, Eisenhower would persuade Senate Republicans to remove McCarthy from his committee chairmanship. Indeed, on March 20, Symington issued a press statement saying that he was “confident” Senator McCarthy would “not want to appear in the triple role of accusing witness as well as prosecutor and judge,” and he believed that McCarthy should be replaced as chairman by another Republican. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois stressed to the Republican members of the committee the need to follow “proper procedures,” and he tried to convince McCarthy to investigate only Roy Cohn. Democratic members of the committee insisted, however, on a full investigation with McCarthy as part of it.45 Stuart Symington, Jr., has since claimed that Richard Holbrooke, who collaborated with Clifford as he wrote his memoirs, called him and asserted that Clifford and Symington had set out to “get” McCarthy. One tactic they agreed on was that Symington would “needle” McCarthy so that he would lose control and show the national audience just how despicable he really was. Clifford wrote that Symington “had bedrock values and the highest personal integrity; McCarthy had neither.” Symington and Clifford agreed that the best way to expose McCarthy was to challenge every point McCarthy tried to make. Going into the hearings, Symington warned McCarthy that he would be against him, and McCarthy swore in reply that he would “destroy” Symington.46 On several occasions during the hearings, McCarthy badgered Symington to take the witness stand with his usual phrases—“in common decency, in common honesty.” McCarthy sneered that Symington was “Sanctimonious Stu.” He also reverted to the 1952 campaign attack on Symington, claiming that he had been associated with known communists—clearly referring to William Sentner, the head of the labor union at Emerson Electric. In response to these charges James

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Page 67 B.Carey, president of the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers-CIO, offered to refute the distorted facts before the committee, as he had been an employee at Emerson when Symington was president. Carey wrote to Senator Karl Mundt (R-IN), the new chairman of the committee: “Any unethical or reprehensible arrangement involving Stuart Symington would be inconceivable and impossible.” McCarthy charged that “Pentagon politicians, holdovers from the Truman-Acheson regime, were using Mr. Stevens because they were definitely afraid of continued exposure of Communists who were invited in under the old administration.” Symington, along with Clifford and William Rogers, Deputy Attorney General, were accused of being involved in an “insidious plot” to destroy the hearings, the President, and the Republican Party. Symington responded that “the Republicans had created ‘one of the greatest messes in the world and put it on television.’” If anything positive could come out of the hearings, he said, “it will be that no single man can attack the dignity of the Armed Forces of this country and not account for it to the American people.”47 The confrontations between McCarthy and Symington became extremely acrimonious and personal. Symington resented McCarthy badgering the witnesses. Former President Truman wrote Symington, “I think McCarthy’s mind ought to be picked to the bottom, if there is any bottom to it.” Truman, like much of the rest of the country, believed that McCarthy should not “get away with smearing everybody else when he never told the truth in his life.” Symington answered Truman that he was “warming up on this b——. Any suggestions from you would sure be appreciated.”48 But Drew Pearson thought Symington needed no advice from anyone. “Senator Symington of Missouri, who I panned for being a molly coddler at the McCarthy hearings, is really doing a job; he has turned out to be the best cross-examiner of all.”49 Clark Clifford thought the hearings were Symington’s “finest hour.” Michael Straight wrote of Symington in the New Republic that he had become “the protagonist.” Although Symington “spoke too often, and with too much feeling,” McCarthy’s implications of cowardice brought out in Symington “courage instead.” Straight said that many people believed Symington was “a master politician laying a broad lane, free of roadblocks, to the White House.” Yet, Symington “set aside self interest in these hearings for what he believed was right.” He could have hurt himself politically, but “for the moment he did not care, feeling that if he went down and took McCarthy with him he would have served well.”50 Straight was right. Symington evidenced little fear of McCarthy. He, like Eisenhower, found McCarthy and his tactics distasteful and certainly undignified. Also like Eisenhower, he thought getting into the gutter with McCarthy was unnecessary. He was correct. The televised hearings destroyed McCarthy’s power. The Senate cast a vote of censure against McCarthy. With the McCarthy hearings at an end and with Democratic victory in the midterm elections in 1954 behind him, Symington, as a member of the Subcommittee on Reorganization, began hearings intended to discuss the challenges the Soviets presented to American security. Before there could be much discussion, however, the United States was faced with Communist Chinese aggression against Quemoy and Matsu, islands claimed by both the

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Page 68 Nationalist and the Red Chinese. The People’s Republic of China began intermittently shelling Quemoy Island in September 1954, and by January 1955 renewed its attacks on several islands controlled by the Nationalist Chinese not far from Quemoy and Matsu. Although President Eisenhower acknowledged that these islands were not important to the defense of Formosa and the Pescadores, he believed that the aggression had to be stopped before the principal islands were directly threatened. Consequently, on January 24 he asked for a Congressional resolution giving him the power to act as the situation might dictate.51 The resolution passed the House of Representatives but ran into considerable opposition in the Senate. Symington supported the President’s request and announced he would vote for the resolution even though most of the mail sent to his office objected strenuously to giving the President such unspecified powers. He thought the people would accept the resolution if they realized how U.S. security was compromised “as the result of the possession, by the Communists, of both the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb, and also of the means of delivering them.” In a typical response to foreign policy problems, he appealed for “a united front in our resistance to the growing Communist aggression.” The situation was perfect for Symington’s views: Military defense cannot continue to be cut; an “atomic stalemate” could mean a land war; the U.S. economy can afford adequate defense. “I have said, and say again, that there is little merit in being the richest man in the graveyard.” The budgetary constraints imposed by the Eisenhower Administration had already damaged American troops abroad. There were eleven U.S. pilots imprisoned in Red China because they had been flying obsolete planes—a perfect example of the need for modern equipment and a strengthened military.52 Consequently, Symington called for increasing the size of the military because previous reductions in troop strength had given a psychological boost to the communists, who had “little respect for human life as they continue their plans and programs to conquer the free world.” He explained that formerly the United States possessed the “atomic deterrent,” but that was no longer the case. Instead, there was “a strategic standoff from the standpoint of nuclear weapons, so that, if there are to be peripheral wars, the chances are we shall be fighting such wars on terms favorable to the enemy.” Air power was about equal on both sides. The idea of massive retaliation, interpreted by Symington as a great bluff, did not afford a viable policy on which to establish the national security. As usual, he stressed the fact that the Administration valued only a balanced budget.53 By April 1955 diplomacy had largely diffused the crisis over Quemoy and Matsu. When asked on NBC’s Meet the Press if he believed Eisenhower would insist on defending the islands, Symington answered probably not, for fear of igniting a hydrogen war. In this decision he supported the President. In 1958 when Quemoy and Matsu again came under pressure, Symington wrote a friend in St. Louis that he would support the President’s decision, whatever he decided to do, but that he could see no reason why the islands were even necessary for the defense of Formosa. In fact, he suggested that the whole matter be taken under the auspices of the United Nations. Symington was unwilling to give up

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Page 69 Formosa, however, because “the tens of billions of dollars we have put into our Japan-Okinawa-Philippines bastion against Communism could well go down the drain; and possibly with it the survival of the Nation.” In a somewhat shocking statement for 1955, he called for the recognition of Red China and then suggested that even Formosa might go into a UN trusteeship. He asserted: “Realism is not Appeasement.”54 Fortunately, in October 1958, the crisis was again resolved peacefully. While Symington was willing to support Eisenhower over Quemoy and Matsu, he remained a persistent critic of Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson. In April of that year, while appearing again on Meet the Press, Symington indulged in a bit of name-calling himself, warning that Democrats would vote against the latest round of proposed military cuts. He accused Wilson of surrounding military developments in a “veil of secrecy” and claimed that his directives “read like the writings of the one-time Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.” The Russians, he insisted, were definitely ahead of the United States in the development of intercontinental missiles. “We’ve got the program but we have no missiles, he said.”55 After reading a Department of Defense report issued in May, Symington claimed that even he was “shocked and astounded upon learning more…with respect to the current strength of the Soviet air force.” It proved that dominance of air power had passed to the Soviets or was in the process of doing so. “Throughout his tenure of office, Mr. Wilson has underestimated the strength of the Communists and their ability to produce modern arms. Nor has he taken the steps necessary to obtain adequate arms for this country.” Unless something was done and done quickly, Symington warned, “the lights of freedom will soon be going out, all over the world.”56 The Defense Department report spurred a request by Senator Richard B. Russell, the chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, for a “complete review of this country’s air strength relative to that of Russia.” The New York Times credited Symington with actually setting off the controversy with his persistent criticism of the Administration. It quoted him as saying, “The warning light is on. Only the blind, or more sinister people, will deny that fact.” In an interview in New Orleans, Symington accused the Administration of not telling the truth about relative USSR-U.S. strength, and he “discounted the effectiveness of recently announced Administration plans to step up production of B-52 bombers by about 35 percent over present schedules.”57 No assurances from the Administration were ever satisfactory. For his part, at least according to an article in the New York Times, President Eisenhower denied that the Russians had superior air power even though “Russian achievements more than once had outrun this country’s intelligence estimates.”58 The President and several prominent bureaucrats and scientists, including the noted German Nazi scientist and rocket expert Dr. Wernher von Braun, announced in a nationwide telecast that the United States really was several years ahead of the Soviets in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Symington asked to meet with von Braun and reported that the famous German scientist “could give no facts whatever to justify his position. In fact, his detailed replies convinced me even more that we are behind.” He said that later, von Braun told him that “his television address

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Page 70 should be optimistic, so as to reassure the American people.” This was all Symington needed to launch a further attack. “Once again,” he charged, “lulling insupportable information is presented to the American people by the Department of Defense.” He asked how the people’s will can be enforced if they are continually misinformed. He then introduced an article from Aviation Week that was critical of Secretary Wilson and byand-large reflected Symington’s own opinions.59 By June 1955 discussion of the budget was in full force. Symington, prefacing his opinions with the usual warning against Soviet air supremacy, again promised that the Democrats would fight against the Administration’s proposal to reduce the armed forces from 3,400,000 to 2,850,000 men by mid-1956 and would attempt to add $200 million to the budget for the development of supersonic jet fighters. A May 1955 display of Soviet air power in Moscow only served to reinforce Symington’s dire predictions. The display plus secret photographs seemed proof that the Russians were gaining an edge in missiles and all-weather fighters.60 In an August memorandum to Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, he claimed that the communists were outproducing the United States and “the facts are being withheld from the American people.” In his cover letter to Stennis, Symington claimed that “deception is now being practiced by the Department of Defense in its release of information”; consequently, obtaining the truth was “going to require a tremendous amount of work.” Symington argued that “the next shocker of further discrepancy in the production of modern planes will become apparent when the Soviets put on their next big air show.” He also compared the United States during the 1950s with Great Britain on the eve of World War II, when it was caught unprepared by the Nazis. “With one great exception,” Symington stated, “we were behind the British— who is behind us as we were behind them?”61 In spite of his rhetoric and frightening predictions, Symington favored world disarmament. He did not come to this decision out of any altruism or because he believed the Soviet Union presented less of a threat. Rather, he approached it as an economic necessity and a realistic assessment of the dangers inherent in the arms race. He introduced Senate Resolution 71 in March 1955, calling for a program that would raise the living standards of all nations by limiting resources that could be used for armaments. Control would be exercised through the United Nations so that both human and material resources would be used primarily for peaceful purposes. To be certain all nations allocated only a clearly defined percentage of their wealth and resources to military purposes, an international inspection system would be required. Should a country be found in violation of its allocation, that “would be considered automatic evidence of aggressive intent.”62 Symington was doubtful that his plan for economic disarmament would come to fruition. Committed to Cold War assumptions, he more or less assumed that the Soviets would want nothing to do with it. However, even if the plan were dismissed by the Soviets, “it would still provide a basis for action in behalf of peace.” Resolution 71 would allow the free nations of the world “to launch an all-out moral offensive,” to make “clear just what we stand for—peace through high living standards for all; as against what the Russians stand for—

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Page 71 insecurity from the rest of the world and low living standards for their own people.” The agreement would focus attention on the importance of resources and their allocation and, hopefully, leaders would seek to improve the living standards of their populations, which in turn would lead to world peace.”63 In a July radio interview Symington admitted that the Russians might not accept economic disarmament. Even so, he thought his proposal reflected the “sincere efforts which the free world has made toward peace.” The refusal of the USSR to participate would tell “the whole world that they prefer aggression to food, clothing and shelter—prefer aggression to a decent living standard for their own people, as well as for the people of the free world.” On September 5, 1955, it surprised only a few public officials when Lyndon Johnson appointed Symington to the Disarmament Subcommittee. Johnson commented that he did not “know of anyone better qualified” to head a subcommittee on that issue.64 Following the Geneva Conference of the summer, during which Eisenhower introduced his “Open Skies” proposal to the Soviets (and which they promptly rejected), Symington wrote a discourse he entitled “Disarmament.” In this document he continued his plea for disarmament but believed that negotiation could be effective only from a position of strength. In referring to the “spirit of Geneva,” he cautioned that “a narcotic-like aftermath of a few days of apparent goodwill has given the burdened taxpayers of the free world a platform for demanding defense budget cuts.” As usual, he warned that “this platform rests in the quicksands of communist imperialism and mutual distrust.” If the American people understood the real Soviet strength, they would be more than willing to pay the tax burdens.65 As with many Americans, the Missouri Senator saw no contradiction in simultaneously calling for arms reductions and increased military strength. Symington seemed to offer something for everyone. An advocate of disarmament, he nevertheless insisted that it could not be achieved under current conditions because the Eisenhower Administration had adopted what amounted to a dangerous policy of unilateral disarmament. If the American people “have learned anything from history,” he said, “it is that the Communists respect power, and power only.” Everything should be done to achieve permanent world peace. “That means keeping our powder dry, and staying strong.” The Pentagon wasted money on building obsolete weapons, and its bureaucracy continued to grow. As usual, budgetary concerns assumed precedence over national security. If the Department of Defense were truthful with its facts, those figures would show that the communists were overtaking all U.S. military strength. Referring again to the “Geneva spirit,” Symington’s usual pessimism won out. He wrote to Leo Charne, executive director at the Research Institute of America, declaring that the optimism “may be a net loss to us, because of its seductive possibility from the standpoint of lowering the Free World’s guard.”66 As the first Eisenhower Administration entered its fourth year, Stuart Symington emerged as one of the most vociferous critics of the President and his foreign and military policies. His stand on defense never wavered, although he began to embrace the idea of world disarmament if that reduction could be bilaterally achieved with the Soviet Union. The various committees to which Symington was assigned only seemed to provide a convenient forum for his

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Page 72 criticism of the Administration. Symington’s media exposure exploded with the election of 1956, his subcommittee hearings on air power, and the election of 1960. Throughout these years Symington had opportunities to speak about breathtaking world events and to direct the attention of the country to an even graver concern—the missile gap. NOTES 1. New York Times (NYT), 6 November 1952, 20:5; James Symington, oral history interview by Larry J. Hackman, 18 January 1968, John F.Kennedy Library (JFKL); the subtitle of this chapter is from Neil MacNeil, Dirksen: Portrait of a Public Man (New York: World Publishing Company, 1970), 176. Senator Everett Dirksen said Symington’s attack on the Eisenhowever Administration reminded him “of a man who was climbing trees to catch woodpeckers.” He was told that he would “never catch any woodpeckers that way,” to which the man replied, “Maybe not, but if I don’t catch ‘em I’ll worry ‘em like hell.” 2. Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 429; Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 113; Stuart Symington, interview by Michael L.Gillette, 18 November 1977, oral history project, f. Stuart Symington Ac 81–18, Symington II-3, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (LBJL). 3. Symington to Norstad, 13 February 1953, Norstad, Lauris Papers, 1930–87, Box 41 F. Eyes Only—Folder 20, Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL). 4. Symington to Truman, 2 June 1953, Papers of HST Post-Pres., Box 81, f. Symington, Stuart 1, Harry S. Truman Library (HSTL). 5. Dwight D.Eisenhower, Mandate for Change 1953–1956 (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1963), 121–130. 6. Stuart Symington, “The Truth May Keep Us Free,” address to the Evening Bulletin Forum, 11 March 1953, Central Files, President’s Personal File, PPF 525 Box 952, f. 532 Symington, Stuart, DDEL; also summarized in “Symington urges Publicity on Arms,” NYT, 12 March 1953, 3:1. 7. “Pentagon to Seek Draft Beyond ’55,” NYT, 18 April 1953, 10:2. 8. Transcript of Meet the Press, 21 June 1953, DDE: Records as President (White House Central Files), Alphabetical File, Box 3052, Folder: Symington, Stuart (1), DDEL. The truth of the matter was that the Eisenhower Administration projections from December 1953 to June 1955 actually increased for the Air Force twenty thousand, positions in manpower and proposed a budget from $15.6 billion in 1954 to $16.4 billion for 1955. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 452, fn 7. 9. “Symington Urges Publicity on Arms;” Stephen E.Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President, Vol. 2 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 312, 321. 10. Congress, Senate, 83d Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (25 June 1953), vol. 99, pt. 6, 7237–7245. 11. Ibid. 12. “Democrats Assail Air Force Budget,” NYT, 26 June 1953, 6:6. 13. Congress, Senate, 83rd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (6 July 1953), vol. 99, pt. 6, 8015; ibid., (22 July 1953), vol. 99, pt. 7, 9494, 9498. 14. “Symington Wary of ‘Budget-Minded,’” NYT, 5 October 1953, 53:2; “High Officials Say Nation Is Menaced by Hydrogen Bomb,” NYT, 5 October 1953, 14:2, 1:4. 15. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 447–451. 16. Townsend Hoopes, The Devil and John Foster Dulles (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1973), 193; SS to Flanders, 27 March 1953, Armed Services Com. F. 1947 Preparedness Inv. Subcom. 1953, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western

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Page 73 Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP); SS to Norstad, 28 November 1953, Norstad Papers, 1930–87, Box 41, f. Eyes Only-Folder 20, DDEL. 17. Congress, Senate, 83rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (15 February 1954), vol. 100, pt. 2, 1720–1721. 18. “Wilson Attacked on Red Air Power,” NYT, 16 February 1954, 5:1; “Democrats Brand New Look Defense Unsafe For Nation,” NYT, 31 March 1954, 1:1, 3, 4, 5:5. 19. Congress, Senate, 83rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (21 July 1954), vol. 100, pt. 8, 11157– 11165. 20. Joseph Alsop and Stewart Alsop, The Reporter’s Trade (New York: Reynal & Company, 1958), 238. 21. General Nathan F.Twining, USAF, John Foster Dulles Oral History Project, 1965, Seeley G.Mudd Library, Princeton University, 8–9. 22. “Symington Renews Air Build-Up Plea,” NYT, 15 August 1954, 60:2–3. 23. NYT, 26 January 1954, 26:7. 24. Staff Files f. 3498 Symington—Misc., n.d., 1955–1963. The letters, however, are dated 27 October 1954 and 5 June 1954, SSP. 25. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 292–293; Legislative Leadership Meeting, 28 June 1954, Supplementary Notes, Eisenhower, Dwight D: Papers as President of the United States, 1953–61 (Ann Whitman File) Legislative Meeting Series, Box 1A75–22, f. Legislative Meetings 1954 (3) [May–June]; Legis. Conf. 6/28—Reciprocal Trade (book p. 62), L.Arthur Minnich Series, Cab. And Leg. Mtg. Index—SETAF Box 27, A67–49, DDEL. 26. “2 Senators In London,” NYT, 1 March 1954, 4:6; NYT, 3 March 1954, 2:3; NYT, “Two Senators Return,” 7 March 1954, 44:3; C.P.Trussell, “2 Senators Urge New Study of Aid,” NYT, 30 May 1954, 19:1. 27. SS to HST, 16 February 1954, Papers of HST, Post-Pres. Box 81, f. S, S (f. 1), HSTL. 28. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Southeast Asia (FRUS), Vol. 13 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982), 1096. The editors described the Senate debate concerning aid for France in Vietnam, 6 April, which “indicated a growing concern” but opposed U.S. unilateral intervention on behalf of the French. The best defense was to ensure independence, 1266. 29. Twining, Dulles Oral History Project, 29–30. 30. Congress, Senate, 83rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (6 April 1954), vol. 100, pt. 4, 4676– 4681. 31. Ibid., 4681; NYT, 7 April 1954, 2:3. 32. Congress, Senate, 83rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (21 July 1954), vol. 100, pt. 8, 11157– 11165. 33. Letter from Gilpatrick, NYT, 20 December 1954, 28:6; Arthur M Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days: John F.Kennedy in the White House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965), 311. 34. “McCarthy vs. Marshall,” Newsweek, 25 June 1951, 17–18; “Eisenhower Moves Right,” New Republic, 22 September 1952, 8; “McIke,” New Republic, 13 October 1952, 7. 35. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 318. 36. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis. 37. James Symington, The Stately Game (New York: Macmillan, 1971), 130. 38. Numerous letters from supporters. Alsop’s is dated 13 March 1953, Symington’s 17 March 1953, Government Operations Com. F. 2327 Voice of Am. Feb.–Mar. 1953,

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Page 74 Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP). 39. David Oshinsky, A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy (New York: Free Press, 1983), 280n; Edward P.Morgan, “The Missouri Compromise—Stuart Symington,” in Candidates 1960: Behind the Headlines in the Presidential Race, ed. Eric Sevareid, (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959), 270. 40. I.F.Stone, A Nonconformist History of Our Times: The Haunted Fifties, 1953–1963 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1989), 39. 41. Oshinsky, 361; Arthur M.Schlesinger, Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978), 109. 42. SS to HST, 8 March 1954, Papers of HST, Post-Pres. File, Box 81, f. Symington, Stuart (folder 1), HSTL. 43. Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), 292–300, documents the entire hearings. Clark M. Clifford, interview by Joe B.Frantz, 17 March 1969, 14–16, Oral History Collection AC 74–79, LBJL. 44. Gov’t. Op. Com. Box 348 f. 2336 Corres. w/Chair-Staff Feb.–Mar. 1954, f. 2337 Corres. w/Chair-Staff Feb.–Mar 1954, SSP; Oshinsky, 380. 45. Clifford with Holbrooke, 295; Peter Lyon, Eisenhower: Portrait of the Hero (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1974), 593; Press release 20 March 1954, Gov’t. Op. Com. Box 348f. 2337 Corres w/ChairStaff Feb.–Mar. 1954, SSP; Robert Griffith, The Politics of Fear: Joseph R.McCarthy and the Senate (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970), 253; Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 325; Fawn M. Brodie, Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 1981), 302. 46. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author; Clifford with Holbrooke, 293, 295; Brodie, 302. 47. Richard Rovere, “He Was in Some Meaningful Sense Aberrant,” in Joseph R. McCarthy, ed. Allen J. Matusow (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970), 110; Richard M.Fried, Men Against McCarthy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976), 289; Carey to Mundt, 9 June 1954, Gov’t. Operations Com., Box 348, f. 2339, SSP; Richard J.H.Johnston, “McCarthy Accuses Symington of ‘Plot,’” NYT, 6 June 1954, 1:8, 43:3. 48. Papers of HST, Post-Pres. File, HST to SS, 28 May 1954, SS to HST, 3 June 1954, Box 81, f. Symington, Stuart (folder 1), HSTL. 49. Drew Pearson, Diaries, 1949–1959, ed. Abell Tyler (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974), 2 June 1954. 50. Clifford with Holbrooke, 292–300, described the hearings and the aftermath. Michael Straight, “The Growth of Stuart Symington,” New Republic, 21 June 1954, 12–14. 51. Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 466–467. 52. Congress, Senate, H.J. Res. 159, 84th Cong. 1st sess., Congressional Record (28 January 1955), vol. 101, pt. 1, 975–977. 53. Ibid., (8 February 1955), vol. 101, pt. 1, 1280–1283. 54. “Senator Says Reds Lead Missile Race,” NYT, 25 April 1955, 8:2; SS to Dr. Seymour Reichlin, 16 September 1958, SS to John Meing, 26 September 1958, Alpha/Subject, f. Quemoy, SSP. 55. “Senator Says Reds Lead Missile Race.” 56. Congress, Senate, S.R. 100, 84th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (17 May 1955), vol. 101, pt. 5, 6403.

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Page 75 57. “Democrats Seek ‘True’ Air Picture,” NYT, 24 May 1955, 1:7, 16:34; 30 May 1955, 26:1. 58. “Democrats Seek True’Air Picture.” 59. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (1 June 1955), vol. 101, pt. 6, 7322– 7323. 60. Allen Drury, “Symington Warns Soviet Leads U.S. in Air Strength,” NYT, 20 June 1955, 1:4; NYT, 4 July 1955, 2:4. 61. SS to Stennis, 4 August 1955, Memorandum, 3 August 1955, Armed Services Com. f. 1950, SSP. 62. Copy of S.R. 71, Foreign Relations, f. 2100 Foreign Relations Misc., SSP; Congress, Senate, S. Res. 71, 84th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (2 March 1955), vol. 101, pt. 2, 2320. Stuart Symington, Jr., said that about this time Symington’s brother-in-law was one of the disarmament negotiators in Geneva, which may also have had some influence on him. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author. 63. SS to LBJ, 3 March 1955, LBJA Congressional File, Box 55, f. Symington, Stuart (3 of 3), LBJL. 64. Missouri Radio Interview, July 1955, Staff Files, f. 3498 Symington—Misc., n.d., 1955–1963, SSP; LBJ to SS, 5 September 1955, United States Senate, 1949–61, “Master File” Index, Su-Ta Box 182, F. SW-SY 266, LBJL. 65. “Disarmament,” October 1955, For. Rel. Box 4017, f. 2165 For. Rel. Disarmament Subcom. 1955, SSP. 66. Executives’ Club News, Vol. 31, No. 4, Chicago 2, U.S.A., 7 October 1955, “Symington Kicks Hat out of Ring and Calls for an End to News Blackouts by Pentagon,” Corres. Selected (Name Files: State File: Indiana-Wisconsin; Sz) Box 42 f. Symington, Stuart 1955, Adlai E.Stevenson Papers 1955, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University; SS to Charne, 2 November 1955, Alpha/Corres., Box 1, f. 4323 Caa-Cli, SSP.

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Page 77 Chapter 6 The Making of a Myth: Stuart Symington and the Missile Gap From 1955 and throughout the remainder of the Eisenhower Administration, several factors influenced Stuart Symington’s views and behavior. He remained, of course, suspicious of the gross Administration neglect of national security. By now, however, he was also influenced by partisan considerations. After all, 1956 was a presidential election year, 1958 was his own Senate reelection year, and in 1960 he made a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Throughout these years, he remained a relentless champion of national defense and the military, especially the Air Force, and gained national attention for hearings he chaired on preparedness. Symington, like other policy makers, not only panicked in the wake of Sputnik but was able to use it to his political advantage. In the matter of intelligence he always sided with Air Force figures, which if not deliberately falsified, were at least exaggerated. International conflicts with their concomitant dangers to the United States provided an additional forum in which to express his views, to criticize President Eisenhower and the Republican Party, and receive national attention. While a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Symington served on several of its subcommittees on civil defense, such as that chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, focusing on the Atomic Energy Commission and nuclear testing. By far his most important subcommittee assignments were the air power hearings of 1955 and the preparedness hearings of 1956, both of which he chaired. All of these activities enhanced his national reputation.1 The air power hearings in 1955 hinged primarily on the testimonies of Generals Nathan Twining and Curtis LeMay. Both generals, knowing full well of Symington’s sympathies, supported his warnings of Soviet superiority in air strength and hinted that in the event of a first strike, the United States lacked sufficient retaliatory power. As a result of these hearings Congress appropriated an extra $900 million for the purchase of B-52 jet bombers. When Eisenhower and Secretary of Defense Charles E.Wilson refused to spend the money, Symington was further convinced that the Administration was ignoring both national defense needs and the Senate.2 This refusal on the part of the

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Page 78 Administration to spend funds appropriated by the Senate added fuel to Symington’s criticism of the budget and Secretary Wilson. Democrats, and Symington in particular, entered the 1956 presidential election year ready for warfare against the Republican Party and Eisenhower’s fiscal policies. Republicans recognized that the Democrats would be on the offensive and eager to exploit any weakness of the Administration. Even with that in mind, in January 1956 the Administration announced further cuts in the military budget for fiscal year 1957. Symington was furious. He immediately “asserted ‘the security of the nation is being thrown into the marketplace to be traded for political advantage.’” His remarks followed testimony given to Symington’s subcommittee by recently retired Army Chief of Staff General Matthew Ridgway, who shared Symington’s opinion that the military stance of the Administration was jeopardizing national security. Symington reported that during his subcommittee’s air power hearings, reports had surfaced “of an ‘almost unbelievable build-up in Communist air and sea strength.’” He repeatedly charged the Administration with building confidence in the Communist world because of the cuts in defense. As a result of his criticisms and a genuine concern within Congress, Senator Richard B.Russell (D-GA), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, authorized Symington to head a subcommittee on defense policy, slated to begin work in April 1956.3 Members of the committee were Symington as chairman, Henry Jackson (D-WA), Sam J.Ervin (D-NC), Leverett Saltonstall (R-MA), and James H.Duff (R-PA).4 The Democrats were not only a majority of the committee, they were also avid supporters of a strong military and staunch critics of the Administration. Judging by Symington’s correspondence and his remarks on the Senate floor, he genuinely believed that the Eisenhower Administration had sacrificed national defense for a balanced budget. But, as the Republicans knew, Congressional hearings in an election year provided the Democrats with national publicity, and they intended to make the most political use of it. Knowing of Symington’s great affinity for air power, the Air Force witnesses grasped the opportunity to seek increased appropriations by exaggerating the Soviet threat. Because Secretary Wilson disagreed with the analyses of the Air Force, his exchanges with Symington were often acrimonious. Jackson and Symington were relentless in their charges that in an attempt to balance the budget the Eisenhower Administration had allowed the Soviets to gain the military advantage. Many Republicans countercharged that in reality it had been the Truman Administration that had impeded bomber and missile developments; research and development, they charged, should have begun then.5 In June parts of the secret testimony were released to the press, though “sanitized” by the Defense Department. The Air Force lost no time or ground in exaggerating the Soviet threat and the general decline, or at best the failure, of U.S. defense to keep abreast with the USSR. General Earle E.Partridge of the Continental Air Defense Command testified that by 1960 the United States and the Soviet Union would be evenly matched in bombers but that the communists would be ahead in the development of missiles. “The Bear has the range to bomb the United States from high altitudes and return to the Soviet Union without refueling,” he announced. “The United States has no comparable

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Page 79 aircraft.” In his view the United States was unprepared to meet the Soviet challenge in long-range bombers and in missiles. Air Force Major General Lee B.Washbourne testified that production on the B-52 intercontinental bomber was behind schedule. General Curtis LeMay and Partridge both called for additional funds for air defense.6 When Symington sought to influence a colleague on the need for additional funds, he argued that through its testimony the Defense Department proved that the Soviets had “so many thousand modern jet bombers they are already in a position to destroy Europe.” If NATO were unable to provide for adequate defense, Symington asked, should not the United States “concentrate more of our tax dollar[s] on the defense structure of this country?” Then, he hammered away at his usual theme: “It is now no secret that in many vitally important categories America’s defense structure is sadly lacking in RELATIVE [sic] strength as against the Communists.” The scare tactics worked. In mid-June the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to add $1.16 billion for air defense.7 Symington never ceased criticizing the Defense Department throughout the remainder of 1956. He accused Republicans of deliberately slowing production of the B-52 bomber, and he attacked the unnecessary censorship of testimony that he thought should be released. Yet he assured the public that he hoped to keep the hearings nonpartisan and, with this in mind, would perhaps not release the full report until after the presidential election in November.8 It was terribly difficult to keep this promise, partly because of “leaks” and partly because of the partisan opportunity provided by the hearings. The most damaging testimony heard at the air power hearings, which seemed to lend credence to Symington’s warnings and negate Wilson’s assurances of adequate defense, came from Air Force General Nathan Twining and Army General James M.Gavin. Twining, who had only recently visited the Soviet Union, presented evidence contradicting that given by Defense Department officials. He claimed the Soviets were indeed closing the gap in air power. He had “studied that whole thing with [Nikita] Khrushchev and his crowd on down. We learned a hell of a lot. We came back scared.” The General not only testified before the subcommittee but he also told Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that he had spoken with Marshall Georgi K.Zhukov, the top Soviet military commander and an old acquaintance of Eisenhower’s from World War II. Twining told the President that Americans should not be surprised at any advance made by the Russians. Twining concluded, “We were quite surprised at some of the things they were doing.”9 Gavin’s report was more shocking. He warned that a thermonuclear war against the Soviet Union could kill or injure at least seven million Americans and make uninhabitable hundreds of square miles of territory. A retaliatory attack by the United States against the Russians could spread radiation from Japan and the Philippines all across Asia, or across Europe and Great Britain, killing millions of Europeans. Both the United States and the USSR, however, continued to experiment with hydrogen bombs.10 Symington really could not understand, especially in view of these reports, why the Administration was reluctant to spend the military budget as approved by Congress. “What we are really getting into,” he complained, was “the question of the right of the

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Page 80 President and his aides to thwart the will of the Congress with respect to the size of the Military Establishment.”11 Wilson immediately defended Administration policies and challenged the opinions expressed by the imposing array of generals who had testified during the Symington subcommittee hearings. He emphasized U.S. superiority and accused Symington of “disputing over opinion rather than truth.” Symington lashed back, accusing Wilson of “shading” the figures to suit himself. Thomas K.Finletter, a former aide to Symington and later Secretary of the Air Force, called for Wilson’s resignation.12 Aviation Week, a vigorous proponent of a powerful Air Force (and financed by the aircraft industry), reported in August that the outcome of the hearings brought about a Congressional recommendation to the President for FY1957 of a $6.8 billion budget for the purchase of planes and missiles and $710 million for research and development. The increase, the magazine editorialized, was “better late than never” but still was “not enough.”13 The final report from the Symington subcommittee, released in January 1957, received mixed reviews in Congress and in the press. The Democrats charged “that the Eisenhower Administration’s ‘tendency to either ignore or underestimate’ Soviet military progress had dangerously weakened United States defenses against atomic attack.” In their view, U.S. air defenses had been allowed to deteriorate during the last decade, while the USSR built up its own. Democrats viewed the situation as intolerable. Republicans, on the other hand, denounced the report as “unduly pessimistic.” They retorted that the Democrats overlooked the civilian testimony, which was not nearly as negative as the military testimony. In their view the United States was superior to the Soviets when all of the combined figures for all of the services and their allies were taken into consideration. Hanson W.Baldwin of the New York Times accused the Democrats of presenting “an unbalanced picture.” According to Baldwin, the final majority opinion “highlight [ed] a number of weaknesses in United States air power that must be remedied. But remedial action is hampered—not helped—by overstating the case.”14 If one of Symington’s purposes was to raise questions about Eisenhower’s judgment, he failed. Few citizens doubted the General-President’s expertise in the area of national defense. Symington, on the other hand, was viewed as an alarmist. Lyndon Johnson wrote Symington in August, after the hearings had ended, thanking him for all his help during the Congressional session. “The one [thing] that neither the press nor the public yet understand is what you have done for defense. They may not know it, and in fact may never know it but the American people sleep more soundly in their homes today because of Stuart Symington.” Quite a statement considering the frightening message of the hearings. Clearly, the air power hearings provided Symington with a pulpit from which he publicized his worst-case scenario and became better known throughout the country.15 As early as 1953 there was speculation that Symington could become a serious contender for the presidential spot on the Democratic ticket because the power brokers, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Russell, remained somewhat cool toward a second run by Adlai Stevenson. He had been soundly defeated by

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Page 81 Eisenhower in 1952. Symington repeatedly denied any desire for the Presidency, but in October 1955 he met at the LBJ ranch with Johnson and the powerful Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, igniting considerable media speculation. By early 1956 numerous articles appeared predicting a deadlock at the Democratic convention between Stevenson and Kefauver or even Averell Harriman of New York, with the “dark horse” candidacy of Stuart Symington looming large in the background. The New York Times declared that “if the suitability of a candidate were simply a matter of looking the part, the Senator should qualify readily.” It described Symington as “a tall, handsome, stately man” who “moves about the Senate with an air of solemn importance.” The New Republic described him as having “no rents in his trousers, no mud on his boots.” It also noted that Symington’s critics accused him of having only one issue to which he could speak—national defense, and “that he has no more knowledge of the problems of government than Dwight D.Eisenhower.” The article probably was accurate when it added that these criticisms “must be gall and wormwood to a Senator who is the Senate’s most passionate non-admirer of the General in the White House!” Nevertheless, at its convention in April 1956 the Missouri State Committee of the Democratic Party endorsed Symington as a favorite son for the nomination.16 By June, after Stevenson won the California primary over Kefauver, speculation grew about Symington as the vice-presidential candidate. It was clear that a number of people were working behind the scenes to garner support for him and to make him a truly national figure. He reportedly had the support of the United Steel Workers Union and of many conservatives within the Democratic Party who considered Stevenson much too liberal. In addition, Symington had strong attributes. He had been a successful businessman with important business contacts; he had a background in various government positions in the executive branch under Harry S.Truman; he served in the Senate; and he had the support not only of organized labor but of AfricanAmericans as well. On the first ballot all of Missouri’s 38 votes went for Symington, which gave him a total of 45 1/2. Truman hinted that he would support Symington but only after it became apparent that Harriman could not garner sufficient votes. There was modest support from Arkansas, but Governor Orval Faubus failed to deliver his state’s votes (after the Little Rock Crisis in 1957, a Symington staff member exclaimed, “Thank God for that!”). Stanley Fike, Symington’s administrative assistant, believed that had Symington actively pursued the nomination for Vice-President, he probably could have won it. Fike said that Symington chose to concentrate on the air power hearings because he believed that the Democrats stood little chance of winning against Eisenhower.17 He failed to add that party support for Symington was tentative at best. In 1956 Symington supported Stevenson, even appearing with him on a televised round table with Senator Clinton Anderson (D-NM) on disarmament and nuclear testing. Stevenson praised Symington for speaking out in defense of national security. Symington said his “primary effort” had been “working for permanent peace through adequate strength.” As usual, he attacked the Eisenhower Administration, claiming that the Soviets were overtaking the United States in the air and that people who warned of this were not

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Page 82 “fearmongers,” as Secretary Wilson labeled them. In fact, he argued, those who call for more defense may be in error, but “if we’re wrong we will lose some money. But if we are right and the policies are not changed then we may well lose our country.” Symington reiterated that dealing from strength was necessary “until this world has found a safe way to disarm.” All three men at the podium agreed on a hydrogen bomb test ban as a first step for peace and a show of good faith.18 Khrushchev undercut Stevenson’s proposal but inadvertently boosted Symington’s credibility when he boasted that soon the Russians would have a guided missile that could deliver a hydrogen bomb anywhere in the world.19 President Eisenhower won reelection to a second term, easily defeating Stevenson. As for Symington, he now had four more years to attack the Eisenhower Administration’s foreign and military policies, including EastWest trade. The most vital questions arose regarding goods supplied by the United States to its allies that were then sold to communist countries. Because of the controversy over possible indirect U.S. aid to its avowed enemies, the question of foreign aid and American business practices abroad prompted Senator John McClellan (D-AR) to establish in March 1955 a subcommittee of the Governmental Operations Committee to study the problem. A number of policy makers believed that business incentives and/or foreign aid should be withheld from firms and countries that did not take a strong stand against communism or that conducted business with communist countries. Foreign aid became entangled with international business. As early as March 1955, Symington, speaking to his Senate colleagues, complimented the ambassador to Italy, Claire Booth Luce, for withdrawing contracts from firms whose unions voted communist. Withholding contracts or simply canceling them was viewed by Symington (as well as Mrs. Luce) as one way to fight the Cold War and to carry out U.S. policy. That policy, if adopted by the government, could possibly influence foreign aid in controlling the flow of goods sold to its allies and then resold to communist nations.20 Early in 1956, Symington made the statement that “what isn’t right—in principle or in practice—is the fact that those we have helped in turn seem to want to help the Communists.” He accused Britain of exporting to the Soviets “products of strategic importance to their war economy—copper, aluminum, machine tools.” These goods helped the USSR develop intercontinental bombers and ballistic missiles and increased “the dependence of China on the Soviet military dictatorship.” Symington also accused both the French and the British of buying agricultural products from Soviet bloc countries in exchange for “war goods” and wondered “why this Administration is concentrating on building up the Soviet war machine.”21 In June, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) proposed an amendment to the foreign aid bill that would prohibit aid to countries that shipped “strategic war materials to the Soviet bloc.” Although Symington voted for McCarthy’s amendment, it failed. The majority report issued by the subcommittee of the Government Operations Committee of which Symington was a member “blasted the Eisenhower Administration for failing to choke off trade between Soviet countries and some of our allies.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch criticized the Democratic senators, Symington included, for joining hands with McCarthy.

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Page 83 “Senator Symington no doubt still believes that embargoes and other belligerent gestures are the way to deal with the world situation today.” However, “those who believe otherwise will regard the McCarthy-Democratic report as four-fifths campaign fodder in an election year.” Symington defended his position by pointing out that the Administration had lied about critical goods being shipped to the Russians. He ended his response with a postscript: “The way this so-called ‘business’ Administration is administering foreign aid, they are slowly but surely jeopardizing the whole foreign aid program with the Congress.”22 Symington’s views were complicated and often seemed contradictory. His explanations were threefold: First, he believed that the Administration had a contradictory policy in allowing allied nations to trade with and then resell U.S. goods to communist nations. Second, he perceived that policy as contradictory in that U.S. businesses were being punished for not being allowed to trade directly with the Soviet bloc countries and were therefore stymied in international trade. Third, he viewed the Administration policy as indirect aid and a way of circumventing the will of Congress.23 During these heated discussions, Symington began to reevaluate the whole foreign aid program. Before he had an opportunity to arrive at any conclusions, tensions in the Middle East grabbed his attention. In the fall of 1955 Egypt contracted with Czechoslovakia for the purchase of a large shipment of arms. Symington’s response was that “Jim Forrestal used to say that the man responsible for putting one Communist on the Mediterranean would be jeopardizing the future security of the United States.” Now, with General Gamal Abdel Nasser’s military purchases, there would be “Soviet tanks and MIG-15 planes, dominating what was formerly called the British ‘life-line’—the Suez Canal.” Symington became convinced that a Middle East mutual security pact would be in order. For the moment, however, that prospect was dim indeed.24 Eisenhower labored to balance arms sales between Arabs and Israelis. Then in February 1956 the story broke that a shipment of arms from the United States was on its way to Saudi Arabia at the same time that Americans had temporarily refused to sell new military weapons to Israel in the hope of preventing an arms race in the Middle East. Debate raged in Congress over the advisability of this action. Senators requested that the U.S.S. James Monroe, loaded with tanks for Saudia Arabia, be held up until the State Department offered a satisfactory explanation for the seemingly incongruent policy. Senator Hubert H.Humphrey (D-MN), echoing Symington’s concern, claimed that the U.S. lacked a “consistent…discernible policy toward the Middle East.” Eisenhower believed there was nothing “amiss” in the transaction and ordered that the tanks be shipped. By summer Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal, and by the fall serious skirmishes occurred between several Arab nations and the Israelis. Symington expressed his concern in a letter to Major General James B. Newman, Jr., United States Air Force (Retired), declaring that “it begins to look to me as if we are either going to lose on Suez or drive Nasser into the arms of Khrushchev, this if he can get Egypt to follow him.”25 After hostilities broke out in October, Eisenhower refused to support either side. Symington condemned the Administration’s position primarily for two

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Page 84 reasons. First, he genuinely believed that Britain and France, old allies of the United States, should be supported, especially against an aggressive Egyptian force underwritten by the Soviet Union. He declared that the fact that France and Great Britain, “our two closest and strongest allies, should have felt forced to this hazardous venture without word to us, seems to me to be the most scathing criticism possible of our diplomacy.” Even though their actions were “unwise,” it was inexcusable “to wrap ourselves in the garments of a pacifist moralism, join with the enemy, and lead the attack against our closest friends, thus assuring both their defeat and their humiliation.”26 Second, Symington was a staunch supporter of Israel. Numerous Jewish groups through the years had bestowed various awards on him and made significant contributions to his political campaign. In his view it was unthinkable to leave the allies to their fate. When, after the shooting had stopped, Israel defied U.N. directives to pull its troops back across its borders, the United States backed sanctions against Israel. Symington could not believe it. He called for the same sanctions to be applied to Egypt: “Are we now adopting as a national program, a policy of being strong against the weak and weak against the strong?” He recommended that U.N. troops temporarily occupy lands vacated by Israel, a suggestion also endorsed by the Administration. Symington called for a “doctrine of equality” to be applied not only against Egypt but also “against India, for its unfair and unjustified attack against Kashmir; and against the Soviet Communists, for their stark brutality in their suppression of Hungary’s bid for freedom.”27 Congressional leaders, including Symington, met with Eisenhower on February 21, 1957, to discuss his decision concerning the Middle East crisis, which he planned to publicly announce later that same day. Symington’s reaction to the speech was cautious. He thought “the President’s speech was not belligerent in any sense—he emphasized strongly the importance of going through the United Nations.” And in March he supported the Administration’s request for $200 million in military and economic aid to the Middle East and for a resolution calling for American defense against communism in that troubled area. Of course, that same month, while speaking at a Jewish National Fund testimonial dinner in Chicago, Symington speculated that perhaps “’it might have been wise to let the demolishment of Nasser proceed, after the British-French forces and the Israelis attacked Egypt.” He emphasized that “there will be no real peace in the Middle East…until Nasser is out of power.” At the time Symington referred to Israel as a “bastion of free people” and claimed the invasion of the Sinai was “justified” because “President Nasser had ‘blockaded a canal that was not his.’” Indeed, it was “an act of war.”28 Of course, neither statement was technically true. Symington never changed his opinion about the Suez crisis. In August 1957 he took a final swipe at the Eisenhower Administration: “The Suez fiasco last fall, the subsequent Nasser triumph, plus the events in Syria [a coup d’etat] would appear to prove that the Soviet Communists have now established a bastion of strength in the Middle East.” He pointed to the “Communist axis” from Moscow to Damascus to Cairo. Again, in defense of the allies, he accused the Administration of threatening “the democracies who were willing to risk

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Page 85 their treasure and blood to oppose the aggression of Nasser to the point where they finally gave up.”29 Thus ended the discussion of the Suez Canal crisis. Symington could now focus on familiar concerns, especially arms control. During the presidential election campaign of 1956, atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons became a hotly debated issue. Symington quickly joined the ranks of legislators who showed the same concerns and, indeed, made his own proposals for arms control. He began by assuming that “the United States and the Soviet Union have enough weapons to inflict tremendous damage upon one another.” Increasingly he spoke against nuclear atmospheric testing, saying that he could not accept the Administration’s assurances to the public that testing was safe. Nuclear arms had to be controlled because of their proliferation and cost, but until a foolproof inspection system had been established—and that was in the far distant future because the Russians could not be trusted—the Americans must keep a strong defense and a high budget. Symington wrote to his close friend Clark Clifford in June 1957, complaining that Eisenhower’s military cuts were “in effect unilateral disarmament…the worst possible thing we could do as we have our first real opportunity to negotiate some form of mutually agreed on inspection-proof disarmament.” Clifford responded that if Symington kept “at it, the American people [would] ultimately come to understand the message you are trying to get over to them.”30 Symington was referring to the negotiations that had been ongoing throughout the summer of 1957. Representatives from Great Britain, France, Canada, the Soviet Union, and the United States met in London for a series of disarmament conferences. Symington believed that these could “be the most important conferences of this century; or, for that matter, in the history of the world.” He bemoaned the fact that it was “unfortunate that both our allies and our possible enemies now know we plan to further reduce our defense programs.”31 Even though Symington’s views seemed contradictory, he maintained his position that true negotiation and diplomatic solution could come only if the United States enhanced its military strength. Eisenhower, on the other hand, seemed bent on a policy of military reductions, which to Symington seemed completely irresponsible in a world that had become a precarious and dangerous place. In August 1957, Symington again had his worst fears confirmed when Moscow Radio announced the first successful ICBM test. Senator Jackson immediately called for increased appropriations for missile development, and Symington publicly accused the Administration of lying to the American people about their own national security. In a speech before the National Encampment of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, whose Gold Medal he received for contributions to aviation, Symington proclaimed that “Moscow’s announcement …‘is the ultimate step in the propaganda use of this weapon—and therefore half the battle is won by their saying they have it.’” Symington contended that the Soviets led the United States in everything except surface vessels. When, despite the fact that the London negotiations had broken down, Secretary Dulles assured the American public that “some progress” had been made in the disarmament discussions, Symington disagreed: “It is misleading and dangerous to our national security to convey the impression that significant progress has

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Page 86 been achieved in the London talks.” He reiterated that in his view the military budget cuts amounted to unilateral disarmament.32 The realities of the missile gap were not quite what Symington believed. Author Herbert York later wrote that the apparent Soviet advance in missile development was definitely misleading, that the “missile gap” was more myth than reality. He speculated that the Russians often wrote “theoretical” articles on missile technology that many Americans believed to be factual. He also accused the various aerospace companies and agencies of encouraging a climate of fear by blaming the Administration for its complacency. It was, he added, also a matter of interpreting intelligence correctly. York believed that “the missile gap psychosis” was simply a ruse to spend more money, develop wasteful programs, and allow partisan attacks “to put the budget ahead of survival.”33 If the Russian announcement of a successful launching of the ICBM shocked the United States, the October 4, 1957, announcement of the successful launching of Sputnik galvanized Congress and the nation. A stunned and fearful Symington lost no time in demanding a full investigation. He immediately sent a telegram to Senator Russell, emphasizing that this latest development was but “more proof of growing Communist superiority in the all important missile field. If this now known superiority…develops into supremacy, the position of the free world will be critical.”34 Other Senators demanded similar investigations. Fearing that Symington might turn Sputnik into a partisan issue, Russell hastened to create a committee that would conduct a nonpartisan investigation. He went to his protégé, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, and asked him to activate the Preparedness Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Symington was a prominent member. Johnson met with Styles Bridges (R-NH) and Defense Secretary Neil McElroy to assure them that he would labor to prevent partisan attacks on the Administration. According to historian Robert A.Divine, Johnson promised “an orderly inquiry that would have ‘a rather stabilizing effect’ on Symington and other senators who were still demanding a full-scale committee investigation under Russell’s leadership.” Russell told Johnson, Divine wrote, that although Symington “has a lot of information and would raise a lot of Hell…it [his attack] would not be in the national interest.”35 As much as Johnson and Russell wanted to maintain a neutral stance, they could not prevent Symington’s demand for the President to convene “a special session of Congress to explain to the Congress and the people the national emergency in which our lagging defense program…has placed us.” He warned that in two to three years the Soviets would have an ICBM system capable of a first strike against the United States. Funds appropriated for missile development and scientific research, he said, should be utilized at once. “We call upon the President,” Symington pleaded, “to be a leader.” In a telegram to Eisenhower he demanded that the missile production program promptly expand to six days a week in order to combat the Russian advantage. He simply could not understand how the Administration could have done nothing in the past two weeks. Eisenhower’s defense for the “retarded” missile research and development program once again was laid at the door of the Truman

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Page 87 Administration, which had spent very little on it.36 Of course, the truth was that the missile and satellite programs were not retarded. Moreover, Eisenhower knew that the Soviets were not far ahead in either of these races. The secret U-2 flights had provided an exclusive few people within the intelligence community with plenty of evidence. However, the President would not and could not make public announcements of that proof for fear of exposing the secret surveillance program—nor, of course, did he feel he could share such knowledge with legislators. Before the hearings on U.S. preparedness began, Symington received considerable attention in the national media and in his personal mail for his remarks and his well-known penchant for citing “facts” relating to military programs. By the end of October, columnist Arthur Krock had written two editorials about Symington, whom he viewed as a credible voice, especially since his information came from the Pentagon and because he once worked there. In his columns, Krock speculated that because of Symington’s Senate role as “the outstanding challenger of the soldier-President’s evaluation of our military capacity…the prospect is that his analysis will be an important part of the contentious political and technical record of which the sputnik [sic] is writing a chapter in code from outer space.” When Vice-President Richard Nixon responded to Symington’s charges, Krock devoted a third column to Symington’s refutation of most of Nixon’s points. The Alsop brothers, kindred spirits with Symington on defense, wrote columns that Sam Rayburn declared were “telling the truth now about a part-time or know-little President. The situation they have gotten us in is tragic and humiliating and every day is an added danger.”37 Symington could not have been unhappy with all of the attention. The Senate Preparedness Subcommittee began its hearings on November 25, 1957, with a membership of three Democrats (Symington, Kefauver, and Mississippi’s John Stennis) plus Johnson, and three Republicans (Bridges, Flanders, and Saltonstall). The committee was fully briefed in advance of the hearings by both the Defense and State Departments. Lyndon Johnson, who constantly stressed the importance of nonpartisanship, kept military witnesses to a minimum and concentrated instead on scientists. He ran a tight ship. Questioning was limited to ten minutes per Senator. The White House provided guidelines for its witnesses. One memorandum pointed out that “with Senator Symington participating in these hearings, witnesses can probably expect to be confronted with his assertions about relative air power and the trend of aircraft procurement.” It advised the witnesses “to challenge his assertions on these points as these are made, especially in open hearings.” It also warned that Symington’s witnesses from missile manufacturers could turn their testimony to “command unfortunate headlines.” The recommendation was to preface any testimony with the fact that the United States was not behind, “but that we could usefully proceed for planning purposes on the assumption that we were [behind].”38 When Symington’s questions became too intense and his rhetoric too strident, Johnson moved swiftly to dilute them.39 Emerging from one closed session with Allen W.Dulles, Director of the CIA (DCI), Symington acknowledged that the subcommittee had “heard a ‘sad and shocking story’ in a

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Page 88 comparison of this country’s missile development with that of the Soviet Union.”40 But General Twining later calmly explained that Sputnik “didn’t change the strategy any. We knew the Russians were working like the devil. We didn’t think they were quite as far ahead as they were.” He added that Sputnik “was a great victory for the Russians…. The President was worried. But what it did for us, just spurred us on, that’s all.”41 The Administration attempted to keep calm, to play down the significance of Sputnik, and, above all, to hold down expenditures. Eisenhower constantly emphasized that “excessive spending” caused deficits, that deficits caused inflation, and that inflation created a reduction in “the amount of equipment and manpower the defense dollar can buy.” John Foster Dulles admitted “that perhaps the public does attach a great deal of importance, perhaps excessive importance, to the military aspects.” He admonished the public not to allow their “eyes [to become] so fixed on the skies, on sputnik, that we forget what’s actually going on under foot and that is the political, economic, psychological warfare which they are carrying on.”42 Even before the Preparedness Subcommittee could publish its report, the stance of the Administration was undercut by two national security studies, the Gaither and Rockefeller Reports. Both reports seemed to conclude that the United States was “rapidly losing its lead over the U.S.S.R. in the military race.” At the present level of production, Americans had only two years to maintain their superiority over the Soviets. “Unless present trends are reversed, the world balance of power will shift in favor of the Soviet bloc.” Cost could not be the only factor “when the security of the United States and the free world is at stake.” The Rockefeller Report warned against “complacency” but also against “hysteria.”43 In January 1958 the Senate Armed Services Preparedness Subcommittee finally issued its report. It contained seventeen recommendations for the future of the space program. Symington, convinced that the report did not go far enough, threatened to issue a minority report until Senator Johnson warned him that if he did not go along with the other members of the subcommittee, he would have to stand alone. The statement in its final form admitted that the Soviets led “the United States in the development of ballistic missiles” but claimed that the United States was ahead in atomic submarines. It also pointed out that it was possible that this country could close “the gap in manned air power” because American industry was extremely efficient.44 Although the Preparedness Subcommittee completed its initial assignment by January 1958, it continued to meet throughout that year. As discussion of the fiscal year 1959 budget increased, the hearings provided Symington with a forum for a renewed attack on budget constraints. He hammered away at the facts that manpower had not been increased and that nothing substantial had been achieved by the United States since the launching of Sputnik. “For years Administration people have come up here and testified that the reason we could pass over quantitative military superiority to the Russians voluntarily, in practically all fields, was because we were qualitatively supreme. Well, Sputnik blasted that premise once and for all.” The airlift capabilities of the Army and Air Force were severely inadequate and the country was “not in a position to support its diplomatic commitments, unless the concept of that support [was]

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Page 89 based solely on the theory of massive retaliation.” National security was being jeopardized by budget constraints and, he charged, was “being shackled by a lack of decisive leadership.”45 When a second Sputnik was launched in May 1958, Symington railed that it represented an additional “warning for all but the blind to see—a ton and a half of Soviet technology circling our country at will.” Once more, Symington attacked the Administration for placing “soft living and budgetary considerations ahead of national security.” He charged that the Administration had “fallen back into its former ostrich-like state of complacency.” The Strategic Air Command was at risk because of budgetary concerns. In fact, recalling Nixon’s recent visit to Latin America, Symington claimed that there had been a loss of prestige in “places where people recently stoned and spat in derision on the Vice President of the United States.” In spite of all of the reports and the chilly reception of Nixon, nothing was being done to comply with the recommendations of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee.46 In August Symington really gained national prominence when he inserted into the Congressional Record an article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting that a surrender study was being prepared by the Administration. The article, written by Brigadier General Thomas R.Phillips, United States Air Force (Retired), and entitled “Question of Why United States Should Surrender in All-Out Nuclear Attack Studied for Pentagon,” charged that because the Soviets led in ICBMs the United States was placed in “mortal danger.” It would therefore be only “prudent” to spare cities and people and to do so would require surrender.47 President Eisenhower was furious. The “surrender study” was the prime topic for discussion at a legislative leadership meeting held at the White House on August 12, 1958. The Chief Executive could not believe Symington would take this article seriously; surrender was out of the question. Eisenhower said that even if he were the last person alive, “there wouldn’t be any surrender in the next 2–1/2 [sic] years, at least.” He declared “that allegations like this were about the same as saying there is no sun!” He told an aide to obtain a statement from the Defense Department and “added that if there were even an implication of any truth in anything like that, then there would be the greatest shaking up in the Pentagon that ever happened.” Eisenhower “wondered why Sen. Symington would put anything like that into the Record when the Senator knew that he could come right to the President to clear it up.” Eisenhower decided that it certainly was not worth getting “’a stroke over a thing like that.’”48 Symington continued unabated. He entered more articles into the Record in August 1958 and reiterated his claims about the inadequateness of U.S. defenses. Tremendous debate ensued. Senator Russell criticized Symington for inserting the articles in the first place because they seemed to impugn Eisenhower’s loyalty. Symington defended his actions by declaring that it was necessary because the Administration refused to respond to any of the recommendations made by the various studies calling for increased preparedness. At the same time, retreating somewhat, he finally admitted that in all probability surrender was “not in the mind of anyone who has a responsible

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Page 90 position in the Government.”49 That seemed to end the discussion of surrender studies. The “missile gap” controversy, however, remained a highly publicized issue. Much of the dispute between the Eisenhower Administration and Symington stemmed from the different “facts and figures” each presented. Administration projections of Soviet missile capability were usually based on figures provided by the CIA. These figures tended to be more conservative than those provided by the military (whose figures determined much of their budget requests). A very important fact unknown at the time to most people, both in and out of the Administration, was that the CIA did not include information currently being gathered by U-2 surveillance flights over Russia. These flights were a closely guarded secret even within the intelligence community. Symington, on the other hand, frequently obtained figures based on information “leaked” to him by his Air Force connections within the Pentagon, lower echelon CIA employees, and his former aide and good friend Thomas G.Lanphier, vice-president of Convair. Symington himself gained access to a considerable amount of intelligence data as a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and as ex officio member of Appropriations. He also had an opportunity to observe firsthand missile test operations.50 Thus Soviet missile capabilities and future projections depended on who was interpreting what facts. In order to diffuse much of Symington’s criticism, DCI Allen Dulles met with the Senator and Lanphier on August 6, 1958. The meeting was held one day after Lanphier presented Symington with facts on Soviet missile progress that did not correspond with the figures given to Symington by Dulles a month earlier. Lanphier’s informants came from “the intelligence components of the military services, in the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission], and in CIA.” Symington thought the figures from Lanphier were “sufficiently different from the DCI’s official position, and apparently so much more alarming, that he and his informants were concerned.” The discussion between Dulles and Symington revolved around missile development and deployment. After the facts and figures had been discussed, Dulles “stated that he did not feel that he was minimizing the danger, but that he could not go along with Lanphier’s figures on test firings.” Dulles added that “he doubted that Lanphier’s figures could be backed up in any intelligence component in the Government.” After Lanphier left, Dulles briefed Symington on CIA estimates “of the Soviet capacity to produce and deploy ICBMs, emphasizing that the estimated operational capability for future dates would vary depending upon just when a first operational capability was achieved.” Further, a CIA summary showed that Lanphier had “no direct sources of information about the USSR.” To the contrary, his information apparently came from people “in or on the fringes of intelligence,” and most probably from people he knew as a result of his work at Convair.51 Shortly after the meeting with Dulles, Symington and Saltonstall, also a member of the Armed Services Committee, engaged in a heated exchange on the floor of the Senate over the relative strength of the United States and the USSR. Saltonstall insisted that overall the United States was far ahead, at least at the time, and would remain so. He pointed out that Symington had access to

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Page 91 classified information and so could see the figures for himself. However, the figures Saltonstall presented to the Armed Services Committee were those of the CIA. Symington proceeded to expound on how little was budgeted for missile development. In his opinion psychological and economic warfare were inadequate. “No foreign policy, however wise in concept it may be,” he declared, “can succeed against the Sino-Soviets unless that policy is backed up by adequate strength.” The “communists respect only power.”52 Symington was relentless in his zeal to expose the missile gap. He periodically released estimates of the numbers of Soviet ICBMs, their development, and possible deployment. On August 29, 1958, he sent President Eisenhower a detailed letter relating various statistics and pointing out where his figures differed from the CIA estimates. He complained in the letter that the most striking omission by Dulles in three briefings (two with Symington and one to the Senate Armed Services Committee) was that he gave no information on “the number and location of medium and longrange missile bases the Soviets now have, or may be building.” Symington also complained that Dulles failed to “give any indication of the number and status of ballistic missile test ranges being used by the Soviets, as compared with our one range,” which he considered “vital to any understanding of the true nature of the threat.” (To do so would have involved information derived from the U-2 flights, which Eisenhower had forbade making public.) After surveying all the facts and figures, Symington believed that the CIA estimate understated precise and current Soviet testing. “Even so, however, it predicts a greatly superior operational Soviet ICBM force, from 1960–1962, as compared with the actual program of the United States.” He ended with this evaluation: “Our national defense plans and programs are not being effectively related to sound estimates of Soviet capability.”53 It was not until October that Allen Dulles responded to Symington’s allegations in a top secret report to the President. He did so, however, only after discussing the official figures with selected “senior intelligence officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and JCS, and the State Department, and the Atomic Energy Commission.” Dulles said that after careful study of Symington’s information by the intelligence community there was in fact “no basis for changing our estimate on Soviet guided missiles as presented to you and to the National Security Council and to the Committees of Congress.” He denied that there had been any “effort within the Intelligence Community to suppress evidence or to prevent the fullest analysis of the views of any competent person with information to contribute on this vital subject.” The DCI had previously discussed Soviet flight-test ranges with committees on which Symington served. All estimates, he insisted, were constantly under review.54 In December 1958 Symington received an answer to his letter from the White House. Bryce N.Harlow, Deputy Assistant to the President, wrote to him declaring that “the conclusions reached as a result of this analysis are substantially at variance with the information you were furnished.” Harlow pointed out that the conclusions drawn were classified and could not be communicated by letter but that Allen Dulles, along with Defense personnel, could provide him with an oral report.55 This intelligence briefing was arranged

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Page 92 for December 16, 1958, in Dulles’s office, with another briefing scheduled for the Pentagon and Major General James C.Walsh, Assistant Chief of Staff, Air Force Intelligence, attending both. For whatever reason, Symington brought Thomas Lanphier with him to the meeting. Dulles was not happy. He told Symington that “he did not brief representatives of industry, that such briefing was within the jurisdiction of Defense rather than his own.” Symington threatened to have Lanphier appointed to a Senate committee staff position so that he could receive a briefing. Regardless, Lanphier was excused from most of the discussion. Symington believed that his evidence indicated that missile production had slowed and there had been a cutback on bomber production. He wanted to know exactly where in his letter to the President his analysis was wrong. Dulles responded that “he wasn’t saying who was right or wrong, but was giving the Senator the intelligence we had.” He then informed Symington that the CIA, with the rest of the intelligence community, estimated that the Soviets could possibly have 500 operational ICBMs by 1962.56 After the briefing Lanphier reentered the room. He complained that there was a severe lack of communication between the intelligence community and industry. To keep abreast of the Russians, Lanphier insisted, industry must be apprised of the latest weapons developed by the opposition. Both he and Symington agreed that U.S. production was insufficient and that the missile program seemed to lack direction and an overall supervisor. Symington warned Dulles that the CIA “was in for a surprise” because the Soviets had a far greater missile force than “we think they have.” Nor were they going to relinquish their lead. Angry, Symington announced that he would soon make a major speech concerning the state of national defense.57 When, subsequent to this meeting, the CIA revised its figures downward to reflect a lessening of Soviet missile capability and development, Symington jumped on the revised figures.58 He announced that the Russians would have four times the ICBMs as the United States by 1961; indeed, in closed Congressional hearings, he predicted three thousand by the end of 1961, an estimate even higher than that of the Air Force. He believed that the United States had the capacity to outproduce the Soviets in its missile program but that the Eisenhower Administration was unwilling to spend the money to do it. Symington again charged that as the missile gap persisted, American diplomacy was weakened, as were foreign alliances, because U.S. military strength was inadequate. As to the newly revised CIA figures, Symington wondered whether these were released “primarily to support a restricted budget position.” He had visited defense plants and knew production could be stepped up.59 During the 1959 preparedness hearings, Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy attempted to dispel the idea that the Administration was not adequately funding national defense. In doing so, however, he inadvertently gave Symington more ammunition to use against the policies of the Administration. In one exchange with Symington, McElroy claimed that it was not the policy of the United States to produce missiles solely to match the exact numbers of those produced by the USSR. American forces were much more diversified, and the exact delivery of significant weapons was the important consideration. The fact that the Soviets

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Page 93 would have a 3 to 1 edge in the number of missiles over the United States was not decisive in itself, he said. Symington quickly picked up on McElroy’s blunder. Once again, appearing on the CBS news show Face the Nation, he predicted a 6 to 1 lead for the Soviets and said that to plan to let them achieve the lead, and a significant one at that, presented “an extraordinary situation.” In Symington’s opinion a large part of the problem was that the executive branch simply would not spend the money allotted by Congress.60 In 1959, following his reelection to a second six-year term, Symington contacted his friend Lyndon B.Johnson and asked to be removed from the Government Operations Committee and appointed to the Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee. Johnson agreed; he appointed him to head a subcommittee to study waste and the possible unification of several space programs.61 This new appointment provided Symington with a broader picture of the nation’s defenses and meshed perfectly with his Armed Services Committee membership. It also reflected his fascination with air power and its development. One of the first witnesses to appear before the subcommittee in January 1959 was Dr. T.Keith Glennan, the newly named administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Admitting his nervousness in appearing before Congressional committees to defend his budget, he and his aides rehearsed answering tough questions in preparation for his appearance before what they referred to as “the murder court.” He was grateful for that practice when confronted by Symington, who, Glennan said, “was determined to prove that none of us knew very much about what we were doing.” At their first meeting Symington lectured Glennan on “organizational practices and left no stone unturned in his determination to paint himself as the expert on industrial organizations.” As a consequence, Glennan immediately developed an intense dislike of Symington. He deeply resented Symington’s “inquisitorial methods.” In his opinion the Missouri Senator was a “demagogue…. Heaven help the U.S. if he ever makes the Presidency!” Most of the Senators “were pretty good about questions,” he declared, except for Symington, who was “determined to be president. He tends to make a circus of this sort of thing with [a] prosecuting attorney approach.” Glennan informed the subcommittee that he believed the Soviets were ahead of the United States only in the propulsion field. He later remarked that “many incidents have occurred in the interim which support this feeling on my part.”62 Symington, however, wanted to know more about the relationship between NASA and the Defense Department, and the activities of the Space Council. Since NASA was only four months old, no long-range plan had been formulated with Defense, and the exact relationship between the two agencies was still a murky area. The Space Council, was theoretically headed by the President, and its activities were secret. This secrecy, of course, was at the very heart of Symington’s initial desire to serve on the Space Committee. He wanted access to more classified material. Although during the winter of 1958 and throughout 1959 it appeared that Symington was merely continuing to oppose the President on every issue, he did manage to support him in the effort to reorganize the Defense Department. Symington had always believed that Defense needed a powerful administrative

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Page 94 executive and a strong chairman of the JCS. Eisenhower agreed. Symington wrote General Norstad that he was very happy that he and the President were “completely together on his Reorganization Bill. It is rough but this time I think we are going to get what he wants.” Symington actively worked to gather support and to obtain passage for the new plan. Much of his support was based on the belief that there was considerable waste and overlapping of duties in the Pentagon. Better organization would ensure a more secure defense. A grateful Eisenhower wrote to Symington thanking him for his “vigorous and outspoken support,” and although both had hoped for a more effective plan, “the end result should help considerably in strengthening the efficiency and readiness of our defenses. For your contribution to that result I am most grateful.”63 By late 1959, however, Symington was again on the attack against waste, duplication, interservice rivalry, and inefficiency within the Defense Department. For the President it must have seemed that some things never changed. Yet Symington and the Administration also shared a mutual interest in disarmament, arms control, and nuclear testing. The Missouri Senator remained as a member of Senator Humphrey’s Subcommittee on Disarmament, which discussed these issues. As early as 1955 Eisenhower had expressed interest with his “Open Skies” proposal on arms limitations and ways in which to police such agreements. Symington agreed with the need to limit arms but was definitely opposed to “disarmament while disarming.” Neutral countries that might be called upon to make a choice at some point would undoubtedly look at the United States and its capability of meeting its commitments to protect and defend them. By early 1958 there was talk again within the Administration and at the United Nations about an agreement to limit, and possibly suspend, nuclear testing. Symington thought that “unilateral cessation of testing would be suicidal” and that “an agreement might be dangerous; but on the latter I am keeping an open mind.” Nevertheless, he called upon the Administration to carry out the nuclear tests scheduled for the spring. He also called for a worldwide test ban agreement with all countries, including the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, but only if “this agreement carries with it a foolproof system of inspection.” Symington criticized the Administration for requiring in the negotiations a suspension of testing and also a cessation of production of fissionable materials. This stipulation would be worthless, depending on stockpiles of materials and their supervision. He called on the world to enter into agreements to slow the arms race and to avoid a probable war.64 Symington sincerely hoped that the arms control and nuclear test ban proposal submitted by the Administration in 1959 would be accepted by the Soviet Union. Eisenhower had recently declared a “voluntary moratorium” on nuclear weapons testing, but this declaration was to expire at the end of the year. By the spring of 1960 an initial agreement looked promising. In spite of the negotiating efforts of the Administration, Symington could not refrain from criticizing the exclusion of Red China from any test ban agreements and the Administration’s refusal to recognize it diplomatically.65 Taking this position on recognizing the People’s Republic of China was a remarkable stand in view of the prevalent attitudes toward the Cold War. In many respects Symington was a

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Page 95 practical man, a realist who understood that the Communist China was probably permanent, whether or not it was recognized by the United States. In 1960 Symington moved to serve on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, which dovetailed perfectly not only with his natural interests but also with his ongoing tenure on the Armed Services Committee. This was, at least on the surface, a promising moment in Soviet-American relations. International tensions had been reduced as a result of Nikita Khrushchev’s successful tour of the United States. As East-West tensions subsided, the West and the Soviet Union planned for a summit meeting to be held in Paris in mid-May 1960. Eisenhower predicted that it would continue the good will exuded by Khrushchev’s American trip, but actually it became “the summit that never was,” and with good reason. On May 1 a U.S. reconnaissance U-2 plane was shot down inside the Soviet Union. Unfortunately for the Administration, pilot Francis Gary Powers was captured alive along with his surveillance equipment. By May 7 Khrushchev announced the Soviet’s good fortune to the world—the righteous United States had been spying on the USSR by encroaching on its air space. What to do about the summit?66 It was a disaster. Khrushchev arrived, publicly demanding that Eisenhower make an apology for the U-2 incident. The President refused, so the Soviet Premier angrily left the conference. Although many people felt Khrushchev had no justification for vilifying Eisenhower, Symington realized that the meeting provided the Soviet Premier with excellent propaganda value. Eisenhower had been forced into an untenable position. “It was then that Mr. Khrushchev was offered such an opportunity as has seldom been given into such willing and unscrupulous hands,” Symington proclaimed. The Administration, “by a series of blunders, each surpassing its predecessor,” left the President “a bound and living sacrifice for such public denigration and humiliation as no occupant of that office had ever before experienced.” He further stated that there must be an increase in national defense; leadership could only come from the Congress and not the Executive Office.67 The controversy over the downed U-2 plane continued to be a hotly debated topic. Symington admitted that he knew of the flights but did not say when he was so informed. There was no question that Eisenhower insisted on complete secrecy about the U-2 flights and that he refused to share information with senior senators, and there is no available evidence about who was fully informed and when. Apparently, after the Congressional inquiry into the U-2 exposure, Senators gained access to the CIA information concerning the U2 flights, but some historians speculate that many of them already knew. DCI Allen Dulles frequently briefed both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and the DCI appeared before the Appropriations Committees to seek a budget each year. In addition, Dulles supposedly secretly briefed the chairmen of the appropriate committees. Yet Dulles said of Richard Russell, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he always told the truth, but only if he really wanted to hear it. There was another problem. Rarely did the CIA have to justify in depth its requests, at least under the leadership of Allen Dulles. Most Senators during the Eisenhower era simply did not want to know the activities of the agency—and that attitude did not change until the Nixon

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Page 96 Administration, when knowledge of past CIA activities became publicized, including its involvement in the Vietnam War. When Senator Fulbright was asked whether or not he believed Symington was informed about the U-2 flights because of his membership on the two key committees, he failed to provide a direct answer. Interestingly, however, Fulbright did explain that often, powerful committee chairmen (and Richard Russell was most powerful) simply did not share controversial matters with other senators.68 Even if Russell had known about the U-2 flights, and even though he might have wanted to inform Symington just to cease his attacks on the Administration, Eisenhower was too adament in his desire for secrecy to allow that. It is difficult to believe that Symington knew of the U-2 surveillance information for long because then one would have to assume that his relentless attacks on the Administration and the accusations of the “missile gap” were mere political fodder. However, the missile gap provided the Democrats with a tremendous political football in the 1960 presidential election. Then, after the election when there appeared to be no gap, they had to explain its myth. Throughout both Eisenhower Administrations, Symington stood as the Senate’s premier critic of administrative military policy. His concern, even though expressed in strident and sometimes almost hysterical rhetoric, was usually genuine. His overt partisanship, not only for the Democratic Party but also for the military, and especially the Air Force, often made him less credible, as did the fact that he was clearly interested in the presidential nomination in 1960 and was, indeed, a viable contender. Yet, his fear of communism and of the USSR, so typical of national politicians during the early years of the Cold War, was far more responsible than political ambition for his pursuit of a strong defense to ensure American national security. NOTES 1. Richard G.Hewlett and Jack M.Holl, Atoms for Peace and War, 1953–1961: Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 287–288; Robert A.Divine, Blowing on the Wind: The Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1954–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 40. 2. Sherman Adams, Firsthand Report: The Story of the Eisenhower Administration (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961), 404; Robert Frank Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrines: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907–1960 (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1989), 445. 3. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (18 January 1956), vol. 102, pt. 1, 745; ibid., (10 February 1956), vol. 102, pt. 2, 2494–2500. 4. “Air Power Study Will Open Today,” New York Times (NYT), 16 April 1956, 1:2. 5. John Prados, The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence Analysis & Russian Military Strength (New York: Dial Press, 1982), 43–44; Adams, 401; Robert J.Donovan, Eisenhower: The Inside Story (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), 329–330; Gerard H.Clarfield and William M.Wiecek, Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940–1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 161; Richard Aliano, American Defense Policy from Eisenhower to Kennedy: The Politics of Changing Military Requirements, 1957–1961 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1975), 211–212.

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Page 97 6. Brig. Gen. Thomas R.Phillips, USA (Ret.), “Gen. Partridge Gives Senators Grim Picture of Air Defense: Outlook Grim for Next 3 Years,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6 June 1956, PartB 1:1; ibid., 11 June 1956, Part 3, 3:1; ibid. 14 June 1956, 1:6. 7. SS to Sen. H.Alexander Smith, copy to Sen. J.William Fulbright, 13 June 1956, Fulbright, J.W. BCN 101, Loc. A537 f. 41, J.William Fulbright Papers, Special Collections Division, University Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 June 1956, Part 3, 1:1,2. 8. Marquis W.Childs, “Democrats Say Only 8 B-52s Have Been Delivered in 1956, Attribute Lag to G.O.P. Policy,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 June 1956, Part 3, 1:1, 2. 9. General Nathan F.Twining, oral history interview, 1965, John Foster Dulles Oral History Project, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Archives. 10. Richard P.Stebbins, The United States in World Affairs, 1956 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957), 194– 195; Hewlett and Holl, 345–347. 11. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 June 1956), vol. 102, pt. 8, 1138. 12. “Wilson Declines to Promise Rise in Output of B-52,” NYT, 3 July 1956, 1:8, 8:8; “Senators Charge Wilson Misleads Nation On Might,” NYT, 4 July 1956, 1:8, 11:1. 13. Aviation Week, 13 August 1956, 30. 14. “Senate Report Calls Air Defense Weak,” NYT, 30 January 1957, 1:2; Hanson W. Baldwin, “Holes in the Air Defense,” NYT, 31 January 1957, 10:7–8. 15. LBJ to SS, 3 August 1956, United States Senate, 1949–61, “Master File” Index, Su-Ta, Box 182, f. Sw-Sy 266, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (LBJL); Herbert York, Race to Oblivion: A Participant’s View of the Arms Race (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970), 121. York, a scientist with the Eisenhower Administration, pointed out that the recommendations made by the Symington Committee in 1956 went almost unnoticed even though they were similar to those made by the Subcommittee (on which Symington served), which was formed under the leadership of Johnson after the shock of Sputnik. 16. “Democrats Urge Partisan Program,” NYT, 20 December 1953, 46:3, “Symington Wins Backing,” NYT, 13:1; Cabell Phillips, “Who Will Head the Ticket in ’56,” NYT, 25 July 1954, 52:5, 53:1; “Symington Kicks Hat Out of Ring and Calls for an End to News Blackouts by Pentagon,” Executives’ Club News, 7 October 1955, 7, Adlai E.Stevenson Papers 1955, Corres. Selected (Name Files: State File: Indiana-Wisconsin; Sz) Box 42, f. Symington, Stuart 1955, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University; “Symington Sees Johnson, Calls It a ‘Social Visit’,” NYT, 22 October 1955, 11:2; “Behind the Headlines,” New Republic, 12 March 1956, 6; NYT, 10 April 1955, IV, 12:5; “A Dark Horse In the Spotlight,” NYT, 16 April 1956, 22:2–4; Robert Riggs, “Why Might They Go for Symington?” New Republic, 28 May 1956, 10. 17. “California Vote a Blow to Hopes of Symington and Harriman,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 6 June 1956, 2:1; Samuel Shaffer and Peter Wyden, “Mr. ‘If’ of the Democrats: Is Symington Best Bet ‘If’ Stevenson Stumbles?” Newsweek, 18 June 1956, 45–52; Joe Alex Morris, “Candidate Bubbling with Charm,” The Saturday Evening Post, 21 July 1956, 67; “Kennedy Nominates Stevenson as Gary Puts up Harriman,” NYT, 17 August 1956, 6:2,4; James Symington, oral history project, John F.Kennedy Library (JFKL), 2; Ralph G.Martin and Ed Plant, Front Runner, Dark Horse (New York: Double Day & Co., Inc., 1960), 39– 56; Stanley Fike, interview by Larry J.Hackman, oral history project, JFKL, 30 November 1967, 89–91. 18. “Text of Address by Stevenson Calling for World Pact to End Hydrogen Bomb Tests,” NYT, 16 October 1956, 18:1, 2, 6; Hewlett and Holl, 367–368. 19. Robert A.Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, 1952–1960 (New York: New Viewpoints, Inc., 1974), 103.

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Page 98 20. McClellan announcement, 13 March 1955, Gov’t. Op. Com., Box 348, f. 2345 Corres. w/Chair & Staff Feb.–May 1955, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, University of Missouri, Columbia Stuart Symington Papers (SSP); Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (30 March 1955), vol. 101, pt. 3, 4037–4043. 21. Statement by Symington, 4 February 1956, SS to Charles J.Hardy, Jr., 20 March 1956, Helen Walker Jenkins, 1 March 1956, Gov’t. Op. Com. Box 348, f. East-West Trade 1956–1958, SSP. 22. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 June 1956), vol. 102, pt. 8, 11367– 11374. In February and March there had been tremendous debate on this subject. Irving Dilliard, “Something New in Senate Line-ups,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 21 July 1956 (copy), SSP; Symington’s reply, 25 July 1956, Gov’t. Op. Com. Box 348, f. 2365 East-West Trade, SSP. 23. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 June 1956), 11374–11375. 24. SS to LBJ, 17 November 1955, Congressional File, Box 55, f. LBJA Congressional File Symington, Stuart 3 of 3, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (LBJL). 25. Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (16 February 1956), vol. 102, pt. 2, 2671–2675; Dwight D.Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 1956–1961 (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965), 29; SS to Major General Newman, 25 September 1956, Alpha/Subj. Box 164, f. Suez Canal, 1956–1957, SSP. 26. SS in Atlanta, 15 December 1956, Staff Files 3874, f. 3498 Symington—Misc., n.d., 1955–1963, SSP. 27. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (11 February 1957), vol. 103, pt. 2, 1840; (25 February 1957), vol. 103, pt. 2, 2512. 28. “Johnson Attacks President’s View,” NYT, 21 February 1957, 4:2, 8; John D.Morris, “7 Democrats Aid G.O. P. on Mideast,” NYT, 2 March 1957, 14:3; “Nasser Ouster Favored,” NYT, 21 March 1957, 17:1. 29. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (20 August 1957), vol. 103, pt. 11, 15276. 30. Draft speech “Prospects for Disarmament,” 1 June 1957, For. Rel., Box 4017, f. 2170 For. Rel. Disarmament Subcom. Feb.–Dec. 1957, SSP; SS to CC, 17 June 1957, CC to SS, 24 June 1957, Alpha/ corres. Box 5, 1957, A-K, f. 4631 1957 Cl-Col, SSP. 31. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (1 July 1957), vol. 103, pt. 8, 10668– 10669; ibid., (12 July 1957), vol. 103, pt. 9, 11445. 32. Edgar M.Bottome, The Missile Gap: A Study of the Formulation of Military and Political Policy (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971), 37–38; Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (27 August 1957), vol. 103, pt. 12, 16048–16049; NYT, 27 August 1957, 7:4; NYT, 13 September 1957, 2:3–4. 33. York, 11, 48, 72–73, 123; Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945–1971 (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1972), 202. LaFeber added that the Soviet advance in missile development was definitely misleading because they cleverly simply quoted back to the West their own figures of Soviet missile capability, thereby adding to the exaggerated impression of progress. 34. SS to RR, 5 October 1957, Armed Services Committee, f. 1984 Preparedness Inv. Com. Missile and Satellite Program, 1957, SSP. 35. Robert A.Divine, The Johnson Years, Vol. 2: Vietnam, the Environment, and Science (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), 218–221. 36. John W.Finny, “Missiles Speed-up Termed ‘Doubtful’ by Defense Aides,” NYT, 15 October 1957, 1:4; “Science ‘Failure’ Laid to President,” NYT, 19 October 1957, 1:7, 9:3.

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Page 99 37. Arthur Krock, “In the Nation,” NYT, 18 October 1957, 22:5, 24 October 1957, 32:5, 19 November 1957, 32:5; SR to SS, 25 October 1957, Sam Rayburn, Speak, Mister Speaker (Bonham: Sam Rayburn Foundation, 1978), 332. 38. Memorandum to Bryce Harlow from Phillip Areeda, The White House, December 1957, Harlow, Bryce N: Records, 1953–61, Box 1A 67–56, f. Hearings and Investigations [1957–1958] (1), Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL). 39. Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 529–531; Divine, The Johnson Years, 221–222. 40. Jack Raymond, “M’Elroy Orders Thor and Jupiter into Production,” NYT, 28 November 1957, 1:1. 41. Twining, Dulles oral history interview, 19–20. 42. Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 217; interview by Christopher Serpel for the British Broadcasting Company, 3 December 1957, Selected Corres. & Related Material: 1957 (Sssa-Sp) Box 122, f. Serpel, Christopher, John Foster Dulles Papers, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University; Paul Y.Hammond, Cold War and Détente: The American Foreign Policy Process since 1945, ed. John Morton Blum, Yale University (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1975), 112. 43. Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 219–220; Hammond, 113–114; Rockefeller Report, “International Security— The Military Aspect,” 5 January 1958, Staff Files, f. 3477 Rockefeller Report 1958, SSP. 44. Dallek, 531; Divine, The Johnson Years, 224–225; “Statement of the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee Issued by Chairman Lyndon B.Johnson and Ranking Minority Member Styles Bridges at the Direction of the Subcommittee,” 23 January 1958, Harlow, Bryce N: Records, 1953–61, Box 1A, 67–56, f. Missile Hearings and Investigation [1957–1958] (1), DDEL; York, 120–121. 45. Testimony excerpts with General Nathan Twining and Secretary McElroy, 26 February 1958, Armed Services Com., f. 1956 Preparedness Inv. Sub. 1958, SSP; Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (14 May 1958), vol. 104, pt. 7, 8653. 46. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 May 1958), vol. 104, pt. 8, 9789– 9790. 47. Ambrose, Stephen E., Eisenhower: The President. Vol. 2 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 476; Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (8 August 1958), vol. 104, pt. 13, 16668– 16669. 48. “Legislative Leadership Meeting,” 12 August 1958, Eisenhower, Dwight D.: Papers as Pres. of U.S., 1953– 61 (Ann Whitman File), Legislative Meetings Series, Box 3 A75–22, f. Legislative Minutes 1958 (4) [JulyDecember], DDEL; Sherman Adams, 421. 49. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (14 August 1958), vol. 104, pt. 14, 17510–17511, 17516–17526. 50. Symington’s affiliation with Thomas G.Lanphier went back to his Air Force Secretary days. In 1957 Lanphier presented Symington with the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association. Other awards Symington received included the Medal for Merit (1947), Distinguished Service Medal (1952), and the H.H.Arnold award from the Air Force Association as “aviation’s outstanding man of the year” in 1948 and 1956. Staff Files f. 3498 Symington—Misc., n.d., 1955–1963, SSP; TGL to SS, 18 February 1957, Alphabetical Corr. 1957, f. La, SSP; Ambrose, 514; “Symington to See Missile Test,” NYT, 7 March 1957, 33:5; York, 72. 51. “Memorandum for the Record,” 18 August 1958, meeting on 6 August 1958, White House Office, Office of the Staff, Secretary: Records of Paul T.Carroll, Andrew J. Goodpaster, L.Arthur Minnich, and Christopher H.Russell, 1952–61, Subject Series:

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Page 100 Alphabetical Subseries, Box 24 A61–49, 67–50, f. Symington Letter [Aug–Dec. 1958], DDEL. This memorandum was declassified in 1981 but it has been heavily sanitized. 52. Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (21 August 1958), vol. 104, pt. 15, 18894, 18896, 18907–18908; ibid., (23 August 1958), 19331–19332. 53. Ambrose, 314, 470; Gregg Herken, Councils of War (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1985), 128; Edgar M. Bottome, The Balance of Terror: Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Security, 1945–1985 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986), 46–47; Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 389; SS to DDE, Eisenhower, Dwight D.: Papers as President of the United States, 1953–61 (Ann Whitman File) Administration Series, Box 36 A75–22, f. Symington Senator Stuart, DDEL. 54. “Memorandum for the President,” Evaluation of Information on Soviet Ballistic Missile Capabilities, 10 October 1958, Harlow, Bryce N.Records, 1953–61, Box 2 A67–56, [Missiles] Sen. Stuart Symington, 1958, DDEL. 55. Ibid., Harlow to SS, 10 December 1958, DDEL. 56. Memorandum of conversation, DCI briefing of Senator Stuart Symington on Soviet Ballistic Missile Programs and Capabilities, 16 December 1958, cover letter to Brig. Gen Andrew J.Goodpaster, Staff Secretary, White House, White House Office, Office of the Staff, Secretary: Records, Subject Series: Alphabetical Subseries, Box 24 A67–49, 67–50, f. Symington Letter [Aug.–Dec.1958], DDEL. 57. Ibid. Stuart Symington, Jr., was extremely “vague” as to the relationship between his father and Thomas Lanphier. He did say that the aerospace industry in Missouri had very little impact on his father’s campaigns. However, within that industry Symington had numerous contacts all over the country, stemming even from his Emerson days, and he seemed to have enormous influence. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis. 58. Bottome, Balance of Terror, 47–48; Ambrose, 513–514; John Prados, 83; Scott D. Breckinridge, The CIA and the U.S. Intelligence System (Boulder: Westview Press, 1986), 166–167. In an effort to mollify Symington, Defense Secretary McElroy proposed that Symington and like-minded critics be shown some of the hard evidence produced by the U-2 aerial flights, but Eisenhower would not allow it. In the long run, of course, CIA figures proved to be more correct, but Symington persisted with his own evaluations. 59. Congress, Senate, 86th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (23 January 1959), vol. 105, pt. 1, 1101– 1102, 1114; William E.Burrows, Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security (New York: Random House, 1986), 100; McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival (New York: Random House, 1988), 337–338. 60. Bottome, The Missile Gap, 92–93; CBS News, Face the Nation 1959, Volume 5 (New York: Holt Information Systems, 1972), 2 July 1959, 218–219. 61. SS to LBJ, 23 August 1958, LBJA Congressional File, Box 55, f. Symington, Stuart (3 of 3), LBJL; Philip Potter, “New Space Group Named to Check Against Waste,” The Sun, Norstad, Lauris: Papers: 1930–87, f. Symington, Stuart, U.S. Senator, f. (2), DDEL. 62. T.Keith Glennan: Diary, 1958–1961, Box 1/1 A70–109, f. 1, 1959, p. 25; A82–19, 16 January 1959 and 30 January 1959, f. 13, DDEL. 63. SS to Norstad, 1 July 1959, Norstad, Lauris Papers 1930–87, f. Symington, Stuart, U.S. Senator, (3), DDEL; Statements by SS from the Washington Post and from the Associated Press wire, Bryce N.Harlow, Defense Department Reorganizational Proposals (DDE), Box 2, f. Defense Department Reorganization Proposals (DDE)—Roundup of Reaction, DDEL; DDE to SS, 24 July 1958, DDE: Records as Pres (White House Central Files) Alpha, Box 3052, f. Stuart Symington (2), DDEL. 64. Harold Karan Jacobson and Eric Stein, Diplomats, Scientists, and Politicians: The United States and the Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966), 35; Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record

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Page 101 (4 February 1958), vol. 104, pt. 2, 1607, 1610, 1612, 1620; SS to Lanphier, 15 March 1958, Alphabetical Corr. 1958, f. La, SSP; Congress, Senate, 85th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (22 April 1958), vol. 104, pt. 5, 6868. 65. Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 480; Congress, Senate, 86th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (30 April 1959), vol. 105, pt. 6, 7133; Statement by SS, Washington Star, 2 April 1960, Staff Files, f. 3499 Symington—Statements of Positions, etc., 1959–1960, SSP. 66. Eisenhower, Waging Peace, 543, 549–552. 67. Congress, Senate, 86th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (23 May 1960), vol. 106, pt. 8, 10770– 10771, 10794; ibid., (26 May 1960), vol. 106, pt. 9, 11225–11226. 68. Michael R.Beschloss, Mayday: The U-2 Affair (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), 5–6, 56–57, 129; Walter A.McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1985), 219–220; J.William Fulbright, interview by author, 22 July 1992, Washington, D.C.

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Page 103 Chapter 7 Mr. Symington Throws His Hat in the Ring: The Election of 1960 and the Missile Gap In 1960 Stuart Symington decided to make a serious bid for President of the United States. His name had been bandied about as a possible candidate for the nation’s highest office even before the unsuccessful campaign of Adlai E. Stevenson in 1956. A poll conducted in mid-June of that year indicated that although he was far behind the leading aspirants, Stevenson and Estes Kefauver, Symington did have a limited number of delegate votes and, quite naturally, was Missouri’s favorite son. Two years later Time Magazine listed him as one of the possible Democratic candidates for 1960. It pointed out that Symington had a wide range of friends with various political philosophies. His voting record had been consistently pro-labor and pro-civil rights but he somehow had managed to keep Southern friends. Beginning a trend in the media, Time reported that he was everyone’s number two choice. Unfortunately for Symington, who was not entirely an unknown quantity, this perception remained a fact through the 1960 convention in Los Angeles.1 His years in the Truman Administration had earned him a reputation for sound management. Media exposure during the Army-McCarthy hearings and the air power hearings helped to make his name nationally known. In 1958 Symington himself began to talk about the Presidency. He aided other Democrats in the midterm elections, but he also explored his own possible candidacy and the depth of support. Soon he joined Tennessee Senator Al Gore’s Tuesday Evening Informal Round Table, where important political pundits spoke; along with John F.Kennedy, he became a member of the Democratic Advisory Council, which was often referred to as the “shadow government” because of its watchdog effect on the Eisenhower Administration. He began his political strategy of going into other states to evaluate the possibilities for an organization, to speak well of the other candidates, to talk about a Democratic victory, and to “parry any questions” that might arise about his being interested in the Presidency. On Face the Nation in July 1959, Symington declared, “I am not a candidate for President…. I have no plans at this time to enter any primaries.” That was true but irrelevant, as he made

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Page 104 clear when he said, “Well, I won’t be a candidate, but I would run if I was [sic] asked.” Then, as if to cover all bets, he added, “I’m in politics, and it’s the highest office that the people can offer, either the people in the party, or later on the people in the country.” Asked if he were a conservative or a liberal, he replied that he was merely a “good Democrat”—one who sometimes voted with liberals and sometimes with conservatives, depending on his study of the issues.2 Much of what he said certainly sounded like a man running for office. In July William S.White wrote in Harper’s Magazine that Symington was “the most possible of all” nominees for President. White thought that he had “the damnedest big hatful of good, fat-cat Republican friends you ever saw.” He listed qualities that both enhanced and detracted from Symington, concluding that Symington lacked “any deep and abiding political philosophy, of the kind which at some point or another is found in most top politicians.”3 By the end of the year, in spite of Symington’s coy denials, his interest in the Presidency was an open secret. In fact, he made plans for a tour of Mediterranean military bases during the month of December and hoped to talk with General Lauris Norstad, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, about various security issues. Air Force General Glen W.Martin reminded Norstad that “as you would anticipate, you will find undertones in” the subjects Symington wished to discuss “focused on ’60.”4 On January 27, 1960, having definitely decided to run for the Presidency, Symington gave a major speech on the floor of the Senate in which he again charged the Eisenhower Administration and specifically Allen Dulles, DCI, with juggling the “intelligence books” so that “the budget books may be balanced.” He accused the Administration of leading the American people “down the trail of insecurity by the issuance of misinformation about our deterrent power; and specifically about the missile gap.” Symington acknowledged that his “statements on this vital matter may be labeled as politically motivated by those who prefer to conceal the facts; and by others who do not know the facts. I choose to face that risk.” After reviewing the various briefings he had received, Symington charged the CIA with the “manipulation of data” and claimed that the facts prove “that a very substantial missile gap does exist, and the administration apparently is going to permit this gap to increase.” The Administration, he claimed, was “using intelligence information in such a manner that the American people have been given an inaccurate picture of what is necessary for our national defense.” The following day Senator Leverett Saltonstall denounced Symington for hinting that the Administration had skewed the truth and insisted that the Eisenhower appraisal was correct in that overall the United States was equal to the Russians, except in missiles. When the Missouri Senator contradicted Saltonstall and claimed that overall the United States was unequal, there followed an extended debate, with numerous statistics from a variety of sources.5 The debate settled nothing, but the battle lines had been drawn. Other than Symington, the most visible contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and possibly Adlai Stevenson, who had lost to Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956. All of the Democratic candidates accused the Eisenhower

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Page 105 Administration of scrimping on national security, and each assured the public that the country’s economy could provide for a more adequate defense. Privately, Eisenhower railed against the Democrats for scaring the people, while the Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, found it difficult to counter their charges without divulging classified secrets.6 Hence the missile gap, though a myth, became real political fodder. Symington formally announced his candidacy in March from the Senate caucus room. The platform he proposed revolved around party unity, “lasting peace and unparalleled progress.” A nice touch to the occasion was the presence of 149 high school students who had been flown from St. Louis on two chartered planes and “joined the frequent applause and cheering as the Senator read his announcement and answered questions.” Symington promised “resourceful and decisive leadership” because “only a first-rate, first-class, first-place America can reinforce the world’s faith in freedom, and secure a just and lasting peace.” He had something for everyone: a negotiated peace through strength, an emphasis on social programs with higher benefits for the elderly, equal rights and opportunity for all, and a minimization of the displacement of small farmers.7 Symington’s speaking engagements increased during the spring of 1960, including one before the Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C., and yet another appearance on Face the Nation. By April a few primary votes had been tallied. Symington received 6,351 write-in votes in Pennsylvania and 3 delegate votes in Nebraska, but in both states he ran a poor fourth. Undeterred, he sped up his attacks on the Republican Administration. After the collapse of the summit in Geneva on the heels of the U-2 incident, he “charged…that a ‘complacent’ President Eisenhower had subjected the country to ‘humiliating disaster’ in Paris by permitting a steady deterioration of national purpose and military power.” He accused the Chief Executive of “weak leadership,” of the “mishandling of foreign and defense policy,” and of “submitting this country to ‘Soviet blackmail.’” Even the New York Times editorialized that this was “one of the harshest direct criticisms of the President ever delivered by a prominent Democrat in Congress.” Symington continued unabashed. At the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in July, he publicly complained that “a fumbling, inept, inattentive Administration [had] suffered shocking setbacks in both hemispheres.” The U.S. military lag had encouraged “the increasing boastfulness and intransigence of Khrushchev.” It was therefore incumbent upon the Democratic Party to rectify the unbalanced military parity—“our very survival as a nation depends upon our success.”8 Now the missile gap had become the political bandwagon on which all the Democrats could hop. The big question for Symington was could he ensure a Democratic victory in November. Perceptions of Symington were as varied and disparate as were his acquaintances. He had the ability to identify with ethnic groups, mountain folk, and the Black populations of Missouri. Like his Senate colleague Lyndon Johnson, he made a concerted effort to learn people’s first names and to be polite to all people, regardless of their social, political, or economic status. He was also known as a skillful manager, a successful businessman, and a Senator who did his homework, and in fourteen years as a public servant he had made

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Page 106 few political enemies. Although he was outspoken on farm issues, which were his bread and butter in an agricultural state like Missouri, many people viewed Symington as a one issue politician—national defense. The Americans for Democratic Action rated him perfect for his liberal voting record. He was an outspoken critic of segregation, and, indeed, he believed that racial segregation damaged U.S. relations with other countries. In fact, on the eve of the 1960 Democratic Convention, he spoke to a gathering of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—although Humphrey was the real darling of the crowd. Symington, like his opponents, had a charming and attractive wife and two successful sons with their own winsome families. He had the support of labor, of professional politicos, and of House Democrats. Even so, with those attributes, however, almost everyone viewed him as the second choice for President.9 Certainly Symington was not without friends; but it was problematic whether they could push him into the White House. He did, however, enjoy the unqualified support of former President Harry S.Truman. In June, Truman spoke at a Stuart Symington dinner, at which he formally endorsed the Senator and pledged to do everything within his power to help. Truman wrote Stanley Fike, Symington’s administrative assistant, that he hoped they could “keep the situation open so that Symington will have a chance at the Convention. That is all I am working for.” In fact, Truman’s daughter Margaret claimed that her father even toyed with the idea of filling Symington’s Senatorial term if he should win the Presidency. Truman met with House Speaker Sam Rayburn in Washington and attempted to convince him that Johnson and Symington were the only viable candidates. In an effort to boost his fellow Missourian, just before the convention Truman called a news conference, during which he spoke out against Kennedy’s youth and inexperience and asked him to withdraw from the race. When he concluded that the convention was “rigged” for Kennedy, Truman resigned as a delegate. Unfortunately, Truman’s support was not sufficient to garner widespread enthusiasm for Symington. His speech attacking Kennedy, coupled with his failure to attend the convention, may even have alienated potential support for Symington.10 One important and eager Symington supporter was former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He agreed with Truman that the Democratic Party had “a dozen good second-place men but no real honest to goodness firstplace men.” He was fond of Stuart Symington; indeed, they were both “Yale men” who had been critical of the Eisenhower Administration for abdicating America’s world leadership. They enjoyed a mutual admiration— Symington truly believed that Acheson was brilliant. Acheson unabashedly supported Symington but recognized that only in a deadlocked convention could he expect to win the nomination. As a matter of fact, Acheson wrote Truman advising him on what not to say if he wished to avoid hurting Symington. He especially warned against attacking any of the other candidates. The former President obviously disagreed. Truman was able to convince Averell Harriman, however, to support Symington, and although the New Yorker was not particularly enthusiastic about Symington, he bowed to Truman’s request.11

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Page 107 William Loeb, president and publisher of the Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire, also supported Symington for the Democratic nomination and endorsed his decision to avoid entering any primaries. Of his own state’s primary, he said that it was a lost cause because “Joe Kennedy has apparently sewed these up for Jack and there would be no point of coming in second-best, especially when you can probably pick up these delegates after Jack fails to make it.” He also told Symington that former Senate Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts was “ostensibly” for Kennedy but “after that duty is done you would be his choice.”12 Many of the delegations set to attend the convention were split. Wisconsin, Indiana, New York, and even Stevenson’s home state of Illinois were all undecided. Professional politicians and many journalists predicted that Kennedy delegates might very well move to Stevenson or Symington. It was widely assumed that Stevenson could be enticed to support Kennedy but would not support a ticket led by Symington. He viewed Symington as a one-issue man who could not see the whole scheme of domestic as well as foreign concerns, and although Symington enjoyed support in almost every state, it was the Kennedy organization that succeeded.13 Stuart Symington, Jr., stated that Jim Meredith, a long-time Missouri politico and Symington advisor, recommended to both Symington sons immediately after the election of 1956 that “now is the time to get ready for 1960. You boys should go on the road and stay on the road until 1960.” They agreed, but “[Clark] Clifford was telling him [Symington] he could wait…. So Meredith slid out of the picture. Clifford got in it more and more.” It was a strategy that “killed us.” When he and his brother finally did go on the road, they generally found that one of the Kennedys had already gained commitments. When the elder son went to Wyoming, the Democratic leader there told him that Ted Kennedy had already been there, asked for delegates, and said that he was thinking of buying a ranch there. Then he remarked: “Funny thing, he doesn’t want any cows.” James Symington had the same experience in New Mexico.14 The Symington campaign lacked a strong organization, but it did contain three elements that helped make Stuart Symington a credible presidential candidate. First, Symington did not want to be the “Protestant” candidate and never believed that religion should be an issue. Second, avoidance of the primaries was at least in part based on a lack of money. William Loeb analyzed Kennedy’s spending in New Hampshire and wrote that “the only way you can block Kennedy is to talk about the ‘jack’ his father is spending to buy Jack the nomination and the White House.” Loeb was confident that “the picture of Joe using his ‘jack’ to buy Jack the White House for a toy will do the trick.” Third, Symington’s advisors never really believed that primary campaigns and elections determined convention outcomes. This strategy, of course, proved to be a serious error. Clifford, Truman, and Frank McKinney of Indiana, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, all advised Symington against entering the primaries, which many advisors considered a form of civil war in which the Party simply fed on itself. There was the hope, of course, that if Symington stayed out of the primary campaigns, perhaps Kennedy and Humphrey would eliminate each other.15

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Page 108 One tactic stressed in the Symington campaign was not to make anyone angry, being careful not to alienate any of the candidates. Stanley Fike kept a file of people in each state who had expressed interest in their campaign, and the Symington forces began to establish state organizations. Charles Brown, a Representative from Missouri, was selected as Symington’s campaign manager. In 1959 Symington spoke on various occasions in thirty-two states. The object was to see and be seen—to push the idea of a Democratic victory in 1960. During the West Virginia primary, which Kennedy won, the Symington workers changed their slogan from “Win with Symington” to “Symington for President, Kennedy for Vice President, Stevenson for Secretary of State and Nixon for Sports Writer.” What Symington’s people hoped for and foresaw was a deadlocked convention. The problem was that Symington’s campaign started too late and was too unorganized. Moreover, with Kennedy’s astounding success in the primaries, the chance for Symington’s campaign workers to recruit delegates at the convention plunged to almost nil. Still, Symington’s camp remained hopeful because Johnson carried the albatross of the South and the antipathy of labor, Humphrey’s liberalism was anathema to the South, and Kennedy was Roman Catholic and Eastern.16 There was an interesting interconnection among Symington, Johnson, and Kennedy. During the late 1940s and 1950s the Symingtons and the Johnsons had been very close. There was speculation that the relationship cooled either when Symington spoke against McCarthy or in 1958 when Johnson headed the space and air hearings, thereby co-opting the spotlight from his potential rival Stuart Symington. As Majority Leader in the Senate, Johnson could almost always inhibit somewhat the political attention his Senate colleagues attracted from the news media. Stuart Symington, Jr., quoted his father as saying, “Well, what happened was in the last two or three years, from the time after ’56 what Johnson did was to bottle me up and to hamper me in the Senate every possible way he could.” Whatever the reason for the split, by 1960 Symington and Johnson saw themselves in direct competition for the Presidency. Johnson, however, was clearly a strong candidate and could not understand where Symington’s delegate strength lay. Even President Eisenhower commented that he could not figure out why the Democrats would consider anyone other than LBJ. Like Symington, Johnson refused to enter the primaries. Part of the reason could have been his heart condition, his fear of defeat, or even his concern about the possibility of a concerted effort by the other candidates to stop him.17 Kennedy and Symington both entered the Senate in 1953. They lived close to one another in Georgetown and visited each other; the age difference seemed to matter little. Symington once remarked that whenever he was with the Kennedys he always felt better afterwards. Kennedy, he said, “was essentially a person who imparted cheer to other people.” The two men shared a concern over the missile gap, but even though Symington was the first to use it as a political issue, Kennedy picked up the banner. It allowed him to secure defense dollars for economically distressed New England and, at the same time, publicize it as a timely issue (which was about the only foreign policy issue dividing Kennedy and Nixon in their televised debates). Unlike Symington he

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Page 109 developed a superb and well-financed campaign organization. Kennedy entered the primary races and did amazingly well. Indeed, he was convinced that had Symington organized earlier, he would have been his major competition. On May 10, 1960, both Kennedy and Symington spoke at a Jackson Day dinner in Omaha, Nebraska. Stanley Fike later remarked that it was at that dinner that Symington saw Kennedy for the first time as a real contender. He spoke passionately about the poverty in Appalachia, and he adopted many of Symington’s themes: “Let’s have an America that’s first on land, first in the air, first in peace, and first in space.”18 On July 1, 1960, ten days before the convention, Kennedy asked Clark Clifford to meet him at his home in Georgetown. At that meeting he proposed to Clifford that Symington drop out of the race and swing his delegates to him. Kennedy praised Symington’s campaign for being free of the usual mudslinging associated with politics. He hinted that he would like to talk to Symington about the second place on the ticket. Clifford admitted that it was not a firm offer but rather “the baiting of a hook”—one Symington refused. As long as it appeared possible for the Democrats to deadlock on the first ballot, Symington was determined to stay active.19 The Democrats met in Los Angeles in July 1960 and, contrary to what most delegates expected, Kennedy was nominated on the first ballot with 806 votes compared to 409 for Johnson and only 86 for Symington. After the first roll call of all states, and the obvious selection of Kennedy, it was Symington who moved “to make Kennedy’s nomination unanimous.” Tom Cameron of the Los Angeles Times reported that immediately afterward, Symington “hastened to offer congratulations and promises of cooperation to Sen. Kennedy.” He also commented that Symington “was never a serious contender at any stage of the pre-balloting proceedings” but that “he continued to be mentioned…as a prime possibility for the Vice Presidential nomination.” Cameron speculated that much of Symington’s support came from the heavily agricultural states, especially Kansas. In another article the Los Angeles Times reported that the two men most mentioned for the number two spot were Senators Symington and Jackson, but that Jackson was favored by the nominee’s brother, Robert Kennedy. Kyle Palmer, the political columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote that Johnson was “sent back to his Senate leadership” but that he had “put up a valiant fight and insisted when all hope was gone that he still had a chance.” He said that Symington had been “lost in the shuffle,” that “his demonstrators made as much noise as the others, but it was unavailing.” However, Senator Clair Engle, who was chairman of the California Democratic delegation, publicly urged Kennedy “to choose Sen. Symington of Missouri as his Vice Presidential running mate,” and said that he would “speak to Symington and plead with him to accept the second spot on the ticket.”20 The Missouri Senator was of course disappointed at the outcome of the balloting, but his excitement was rekindled when Clifford approached him with an offer from Kennedy. Would Symington be interested in the vice presidential office? This was no dangling carrot now but a firm offer. Most political forecasters predicted Symington for the second place on the ticket. He was a logical choice who brought with him no baggage as Johnson did. Symington

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Page 110 was supported by labor, and his votes on civil rights were liberal. Kennedy insiders knew that he was considering not only Symington but also Jackson of Washington and Orville Freeman of Minnesota. Most Democrats believed that the choice would be Symington. He met in his hotel suite with his wife Eve, his two sons and their wives, and Clark Clifford and his wife Marny Both sons at first opposed their father’s accepting the nomination, arguing that he could be more effective if he remained in the Senate, but the more they talked, the more it seemed likely Symington would accept. He subsequently declared that he had not really been interested in the Vice-Presidency, but when it appeared to be a reality, its appeal grew. Stuart Symington, Jr., said part of the reason his father agreed to take the Vice Presidency was that in the long run he could do more for his home state.21 The family retired that evening believing that Symington would indeed be Kennedy’s running-mate. James Symington summed up his feelings: “We went to bed in a troubled state of mind, fully expecting to wake up and find ourselves Little Goody Shoes in the trail of the Kennedy crowd, number two, and all being patted on the head.” He said that “the first headline that [he] saw was ‘Symington the Choice’…. And then the thing began to take a little longer. We weren’t so sure. And then we finally saw Kennedy on television.” Kennedy announced his choice, Lyndon Johnson. Stuart Symington, Jr., remembered that the “next thing we went around for breakfast and a cup of coffee or something and we were told ‘no.’” He said that “we weren’t too hot for it but we’d been talked into it. And that was that. We were going to go from there, but it turned out differently.”22 According to biographer Robert Merry and confirmed by Katherine Graham in her autobiographyy, Joseph Alsop went to Kennedy’s room the night before the announcement. There he supposedly remarked to Kennedy: “You know damn well that Stu Symington is too shallow a puddle for the United States to have to dive into.” With Kennedy’s smile Alsop concluded that he had already dismissed Symington. Alsop suggested Johnson.23 It is unclear why Alsop opposed Symington’s nomination, because for most of their relationship they had mutually viewed national security not only as a priority but also as a concern. It would not be surprising for Symington to have been responsible from time to time for providing the Alsop brothers with information for their columns. Clark Clifford recalled that the next morning he was summoned to Kennedy’s suite, where he was informed that he would have to “renege on an offer made in good faith.” Kennedy told Clifford that during the night he had been persuaded that he could win only with Johnson. “Tell Stuart that I am sorry.” Clifford wrote that he “was stunned by the sudden reversal, but I realized it made political sense.” When he informed the Symingtons of Kennedy’s decision, the sons were angry but “true as always to his nature, Stuart took it with good grace.” With only a trace of bitterness he remarked to Clifford that he had at least made $100 out of this miserable business. He and Clifford had made a bet on Kennedy’s final choice, and Symington had “won.”24 Symington himself said that “we decided we knew we had some chance for it. Then he [Kennedy] made his decision to choose Lyndon Johnson. When that

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Page 111 was over, that was that.” Stuart Symington, Jr., said of his father that he never “cried over spilt milk,” no matter what the occasion, that he simply was not a man who dealt with “maybes.” He also said that he had heard that Johnson told Kennedy that he would “take a walk if he did not get the nomination…and blackmailed Kennedy into it.” Having grown up with the admonition from his mother to “be satisfied with where you are and do the best you can,” plus never complaining about “the grass being greener on the other side of the pasture in anything he ever did,” Symington graciously accepted Kennedy’s decision. Kennedy said later that had he been stopped at the Los Angeles convention, the delegates would have eventually picked Symington.25 Johnson’s nomination was made by acclamation. Cameron of the Los Angeles Times reported that “Sen. Symington yesterday watched the second-highest prize of his party handed to Sen. Johnson.” In a statement issued to the press Symington said of Johnson that he was an “excellent choice” and that he held him in the “highest regard.” He even went to LBJ’s hotel suite to congratulate him. When reporters asked his opinion, Symington replied that “this is the strongest ticket we could put up and we’re going to win.”26 Personally, however, it took time for Symington to get over the Texan’s selection for the vice-presidential candidacy. Later, after Johnson had assumed the Presidency, he extended a sort of “olive branch” by appointing Symington’s son James to be his Chief of Protocol. Clifford was convinced that the appointment was made because in many ways Johnson was “a pretty sentimental fellow” and hoped “to bring to Senator and Mrs. Symington’s attention that [he] had not forgotten that they were old friends.”27 There were subsequent examples of these sentimental gestures during the Johnson’s White House years until he and Symington fell out over strategy and philosophy concerning the war in Vietnam. In the aftermath of the convention Symington received many letters of condolence. Floyd B.Odlum, husband of aviatrix Jackie Cochran, wrote that “it was evident that the steam roller was at work” at the Democratic convention. Nevertheless, he thought that given “the circumstances your speech of Friday night was a masterpiece.” Former President Truman, never known for his ambiguity, wrote that “it was quite an arrangement in Los Angeles and I did not like it one little bit.” Symington commented afterward to Arthur Krock: “We are back—me licking my wounds—feeling great.” It was time to work for a Democratic victory in November. Symington campaigned incessantly for Kennedy and helped to deliver the “Show Me” state to the Democrats.28 With the election over, Symington could concentrate on his various Senate committee assignments. It was largely due to his work on the Foreign Relations Committee and his association with Fulbright that Symington made his most important contributions in the Senate. Carl M.Marcy, chief of staff for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described the group as one where “members thought of themselves as a totality.” He explained that “there was a camaraderie, freewheeling, very little dogmatism.” The ideas of a Fulbright, a Symington, a Jacob Javits of New York, or an Al Gore of Tennessee had tremendous “significance.” Even when they disagreed over policy, “real acrimony never developed.” When later Symington reversed his stand on

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Page 112 Vietnam, he credited much of this transformation from hawk to dove to Fulbright, who as the committee chairman saw himself as an educator. One of Symington’s first committee assignments was to chair the Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Subcommittee. His other subcommittee assignments were on Disarmament and State Department Organization and on Public Affairs.29 The controversy over the missile gap reappeared just one month after the Kennedy Administration assumed office. Robert S.McNamara, the newly appointed Secretary of Defense, remarked in a White House press briefing (not for distribution) that there was no missile gap. The next day the newspapers were full of the story. Jack Raymond of the New York Times wrote that an Administration study showed “tentatively that no ‘missile gap’ exists in favor of the Soviet Union.” He pointed out that this fact supported Eisenhower’s report to Congress that the missile gap showed “every sign of being a fiction.” The Kennedy Administration tried to cover McNamara’s gaffe but with little success. Republicans attacked the Democrats for their past criticism of the Eisenhower Administration’s defense policies, demanded Democratic apologies to Eisenhower, and “charged that the [new] Administration had admitted that the missile gap was the ‘grand deception’ of the political campaign.”30 The Democrats had no option but to respond. Senator Richard B.Russell defended the missile gap as “real” but said that he was “not so concerned about it as some of [his] Democratic colleagues in the Congress—we are rapidly closing the gap.” Russell stated that while the Soviets were ahead in some technology, the United States still had “the world’s most powerful weapon, the Polaris submarine, and the world’s most effective striking force, the Strategic Air Command.” Symington charged that the missile gap information “was withheld from President Kennedy by the Eisenhower Administration during the election campaign last fall.” Had he been given the correct information, Kennedy “would be in a better position to tell the American people the facts about the missile gap.” And Representative George H.Mahon, Democrat of Texas and chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, agreed that “the general feeling is that a missile gap exists and will continue to exist through 1961, 1962, and 1963.” He admitted, however, that it was not as serious as had been thought in 1959 and that, overall, the U.S. military defense was superior to that of the Soviet Union.31 Of all the former critics of the Eisenhower Administration’s defense policies, Symington was the only one who attempted to explain exactly what happened to the missile gap. He felt compelled to come forward for one overriding reason: The Administration was in the process of organizing a budget proposal calling for large increases in defense spending. However, if the missile gap were a fiction, how could the spending be justified? Symington offered his answer on the floor of the Senate and in an article published in The Reporter in February 1961. He admitted that even though there appeared to be no missile gap at the present time, the people who warned about it had done so in good faith. The reason the gap had disappeared was because of revised U.S. intelligence estimates of Soviet military strength, the system for intelligence projection having been tremendously improved. (He did not mention the U-2 flights by name.) Nevertheless, he warned, it was dangerous to underestimate Soviet

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Page 113 capability. So the United States should proceed with Kennedy’s campaign promise to increase the development of various military programs.32 William Kaufmann offered much the same explanation in The McNamara Strategy. He added that the Eisenhower Administration had reacted by “strengthening SAC [Strategic Air Command], reducing its vulnerability, and accelerating the missile program,” and these improvements went “part of the way toward explaining why the situation in 1961 looked less ominous than had been expected.” Like Symington, he agreed that “crying wolf for once had had a salutary effect.” He claimed that the real explanation was “what the Soviets had not done. In a word, they had not built as many ICBM’s as they were thought to be capable of doing.”33 Yet, for Stuart Symington and many Cold Warriors, there could not be enough defense. Throughout most of the 1960s they believed that the United States should be ever vigilant and remain wary of the Russians. At the same time, Symington continued his interest in disarmament and arms control. He was therefore pleased when arms control talks among representatives from the United States, Britain, and the USSR opened in Geneva in March 1961. Determined to achieve a nuclear test ban treaty, President Kennedy was willing to compromise with the Soviet Union even more than Eisenhower had been. His hopes were dashed, however, when, to his extreme dismay the Soviets announced in August their resumption of atmospheric testing. Kennedy was at first angry and then deeply disappointed. When Symington learned that the Soviets would soon resume testing, he again joined with the military and scientific people who predicted that unless the United States followed suit, it would fall desperately behind in the nuclear race. He even expressed skepticism that the Soviets had ever discontinued testing in the first place.34 When it became clear by the end of September that the Soviets had conducted at least thirteen tests, Symington could not imagine why anyone would object to the resumption by the United States of at least underground testing. He reminded all Americans that “this Nation has worked long and hard, over many years, to reach some agreement with the Soviet Communists on nuclear testing, arms control, and disarmament—to the point where we may already have jeopardized our security.” To ignore Soviet duplicity and the advantages Moscow sought by its resumption of nuclear testing would be to adopt “a policy of unilateral disarmament, and that would mean surrendering to communism.” Symington explained, “Our government policy would then be practical application of the current slogan of the appeasers: ‘Wouldn’t you rather be Red than dead?’” He called for a reexamination of the policy of trusting an enemy who seemed to be willing to risk the condemnation of public opinion. Senator George A.Smathers of Florida agreed with Symington’s appraisal of the crisis, adding that the Russians must be judged on “what they do rather than on what they say.”35 In January 1962, at British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s request, Kennedy wrote Khrushchev again proposing agreement on disarmament and a nuclear test ban treaty. After all, eighteen nations were to begin just such talks at Geneva in March. Symington, who opposed the President on this issue, suggested to Senator Russell that the Armed Services Committee hold hearings

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Page 114 to decide whether or not to resume atmospheric testing. It appeared to him that to this point only those who opposed the resumption of testing had been allowed to speak on the issue. He questioned why just one side of the argument was being presented, especially since U.S. intelligence indicated that the Soviets had carried out forty to fifty tests during the fall of 1961. As a result, when Mississippi Senator John Stennis announced that there would indeed be hearings conducted by the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, Symington lost no time lining up support for atmospheric testing. He contacted Dr. Edward Teller, one of the foremost scientists in the country and one of the most vocal adherents for atmospheric testing, and asked him to prepare a statement that Symington could read in support of their positions. Teller promised Symington that he would write one “since I consider your suggestion as a command….” He said that his conclusions had been based on their discussions, and he assumed that Symington’s statement would “carry exceptionally great weight.”36 On August 9, 1962, Symington announced from the floor of the Senate that the Soviet Union had just set off “the world’s second largest nuclear explosion.” No one knew for certain the extent of U.S. nuclear capability vis-à-vis the USSR, but everyone did know that the Russians had been testing extensively. Because of this uncertainty, he continued, those experts who believed in atmospheric testing should be heard. Teller congratulated Symington on his address, which he thought was “just wonderful,” and reiterated his belief that an atmospheric nuclear test ban would encourage the Russians to move forward with the development of a missile defense system “dangerous to us.” He expressed hope that the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee would convene soon in order to “clarify the situation before any dangerous commitments will be made.” The hearings proved unnecessary, however, because later in August the Russians rejected draft treaties by the United Kingdom and the United States.37 The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 provided an impetus for reviving the test ban and disarmament talks between the Soviet Union and the United States. Even so, any treaty was certain to run into opposition in the United States because of the skepticism of most Senators, the influence of the Atomic Energy Commission, and the opposition of the JCS. Nevertheless, American negotiators continued to work toward an agreement. When it looked in February 1963 as though the United States might be willing to reduce the number of on-site inspections—Kennedy had said that six on-site inspections would be the “rock-bottom number”—Symington again wrote to Richard Russell, “In my own mind I am convinced that this operation…is at least as great a menace to the future security of the United States as Cuba or West Berlin or anything else.” As a postscript on a copy of the same letter to Senator Stennis, Symington expressed his hope that concern over Cuba was “not going to stop our interest in what to me may be the most serious matter of all.” In fact, Symington, Russell, and Henry Jackson wrote to Kennedy emphasizing that they absolutely could not approve the new proposals as written. On Meet the Press Symington insisted that most scientists believed atmospheric testing was necessary simply because without it the United States would fall behind the Soviet Union. “We think we might lose our country,” Symington declared, “if they get well ahead of us in this field.”38

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Page 115 On June 10 Kennedy gave a major address at American University that was intended to restart the stalled test ban talks with the Soviets. His rhetoric was compromising, stressing the importance of lasting peace in a world threatened constantly with nuclear destruction. Attitudes had to be reexamined, he said, and the place to start was with a nuclear test ban treaty. Following this speech the U.S. negotiators noticed a softening in the attitudes of the Russians toward attaining a test ban. By the end of July a partial nuclear test ban treaty was agreed upon, limiting all testing except for underground. Kennedy took every precaution to ensure passage of the proposed treaty, which faced serious opposition on Capitol Hill. He sent Defense Secretary McNamara to brief the various committees, he delivered a major speech defending the agreement, and he encouraged the formation of a group called “Citizens Committee for a Nuclear Test Ban,” which consisted of prominent citizens who could marshall broad support. Kennedy also met privately with selected Senators, including Symington, whom he converted to the cause. In fact, after meeting with the President, Symington suggested that it would be to the Chief Executive’s advantage to personally brief both Senators Stennis and Russell, two formidable opponents of the treaty. Symington also told Kennedy that although he had opposed a treaty of this kind, after talking with him, he realized that this was indeed a “momentous event” and that the Senate would “ratify it.”39 On September 17, 1963, Symington delivered a major speech on the floor of the Senate. He reminded his colleagues that he sat on both the Armed Services and the Foreign Relations Committees and, as a consequence, had access to both briefings and testimonies. In his opinion he was therefore able to analyze military problems within “the context of international affairs and foreign policy.” Symington warned that “the action taken by the Senate on this treaty could well be its most important action during our time.” He added that “unless there can be some understanding among the growing number of nations that will have the weapon, a nuclear holocaust is only a question of time.” The advantages and disadvantages to both the United States and the USSR must be evaluated as a whole and not individually. He believed that “any significant cheating on the part of the Soviets could be discovered promptly,” and if that happened, this government would “resume atmospheric testing immediately.” By the terms of the treaty the Soviets would “not be able to change the elemental facts of the strategic nuclear power balance.” The United States would still have the nuclear capability “to destroy the Soviet Union if a retaliatory strike is required.” Symington also supported the four safeguards insisted upon by the JCS: continued underground testing, the maintenance of modern nuclear laboratories, the ability to resume atmospheric testing, and the monitoring of treaty violations and vigilant intelligence of “Sino-Soviet nuclear activity, capabilities, and achievements.”40 Symington switched from opponent to supporter of the limited tests because he believed in loyalty to the President and to the Democratic Party. He genuinely liked Kennedy and, apparently, Kennedy could be most persuasive. Second, Soviet testing could most likely be detected with modern technology and, as he reminded his colleagues, at that point the United States would no longer be bound by the agreement. Third, Symington had been interested in

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Page 116 arms control and disarmament for a very long time but always with the idea that without verification and agreement, the United States must remain strong. The JCS and their conditions also had a positive impact on his attitudes. He was nearly always influenced by the attitudes and opinions of the military. For him it was important that testing would continue underground. However, the two committees on which Symington sat issued two distinct recommendations to Congress. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave its unqualified support to the treaty. The Armed Services Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, chaired by Stennis, issued a less than enthusiastic endorsement. It concluded that the United States must be vigilant in maintaining superiority in the nuclear race with the Soviets because the Russians were untrustworthy and secretive. As it was written, the report continued, the treaty could impair the development of the highest quality and quantity of nuclear weapons, but only for the United States. Six of the seven committee members signed the statements. Senator Saltonstall dissented, calling the committee report “overly pessimistic.” Symington, who signed the statement, nevertheless announced that he would vote for the treaty. It passed the Senate with the support of 55 Democrats and 25 Republicans. For Kennedy the treaty represented a major diplomatic feat, providing him with a great deal of personal satisfaction.41 Support for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty did not mean that Symington wavered in the continued fight against communism, even when it came to providing military and economic aid to countries abroad. In supporting Kennedy’s call for an increase in funds to better support indigenous military forces abroad, Symington made a major speech in August 1961. “These forces are actually on the lands they are prepared to defend,” and “they are already in place, in those strategic areas in the path of Communist-bloc aggression.” Acting together, he insisted, all allies must fight communist aggression, maintain the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and, above all, resist “wars of liberation—internal subversion whether or not backed by a parallel external threat.” These types of wars, he added, had increased, and the United States nuclear arsenal alone would not be adequate to combat them—it must be the will of the indigenous peoples to resist, but with American military support. Noting that in recent years military aid had shifted primarily to the Far East, where the communist menace was greatest, these nations received U.S. military assistance and were “carrying out military missions geared to our overall strategy for countering Sino-Soviet aggression.” Foreign financial assistance had allowed Laos, Korea, and South Vietnam to remain free. “We are in a long and unremitting struggle in which progress will not always be even, but in which we cannot afford to slacken our effort on every front where it can be brought to bear effectively.” Economic and military assistance went hand in hand. There were many emerging nations and there was no doubt that they would make economic and social progress. “The great question…is whether they will progress as open societies in freedom, or as closed societies under Communist influence or domination.” Foreign assistance, he explained, provided another defense against communism, “an economic” defense, “as well.”42 By 1963 Symington agreed with Senators who were convinced that funds should be cut from nations that could provide for their own economic and

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Page 117 military needs. He continued to worry, however, that massive cuts from the foreign assistance bills could have a detrimental effect on areas that continued to need United States support. U.S. representatives abroad, he thought, “should emphasize to our friends and allies that they must bear more of the price of freedom.” The European nations, which obviously had recovered from the devastation of World War II, were now draining America’s gold reserves. Symington considered it grossly unfair that West Germany, Canada, France, Britain, and other Western countries became more prosperous while the United States protected them with its nuclear arsenal. He also worried about obsolete foreign bases and about assistance programs that had “now become comparable to coffee—a matter of habit.” The United States was spending “far more than its just share in banking the cause of freedom” and at the same time was suffering from an unfavorable trade balance, becoming a debtor nation. Once, in exasperation, he asked Senator Fulbright: “Just what is our foreign policy; and how and in what way does it require or even justify the further contribution of many billions of dollars?”43 India was one of Symington’s favorite targets in this regard. In 1962, after the Soviets had resumed atmospheric nuclear testing, he reminded his colleagues that the most outspoken critic of U.S. policy was Krishna Menon, Indian Minister of Defense. Menon had defended the 1962 Soviet decision to resume nuclear testing at the same time Congress was debating sending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to India. Symington also pointed out that although the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, called himself a man of peace, he maintained the largest army and the largest air force in the Asian world. Not only that, India was the enemy of “one of the greatest friends this nation has, Pakistan.” Symington proposed in May 1962 to reduce aid to India by 10 to 25 percent. His proposal was based on what he learned during a visit to India during the fall of 1961, at which time he “became skeptical about some of the characteristics of the relationship between this country and India.” Symington cited the problems of Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, as part of his concern.44 By the fall of 1962 Indian troops were provocatively gathered on the border to Pakistan as U.S. negotiators worked feverishly to avoid war. The experienced troubleshooter Averell Harriman was one of the diplomats who attempted to secure a policy statement concerning India and Pakistan from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a conversation with committee chairman Fulbright, he asked about potential trouble spots. Fulbright told him that Symington was one of them. In a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, the President’s foreign policy advisor, Harriman claimed that Fulbright was hopeful for progress but that “Symington is in his most stubborn mood. Admires Ayub [Khan, President of Pakistan] and hates Nehru.” Fulbright declared that Symington was happy to see Menon leave the government but “he seems out to get Nehru.” Harriman thought Symington was as “unreasoning and emotional as our Indian and Pakistani friends.” He intended “to keep after him but am not too optimistic.”45 The “pro-Indian bloc” in Washington fought back. In January 1963 Symington was lambasted for his criticism of India in an article published in the Washington Post. He was accused of attempting to slash funds from foreign

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Page 118 aid—a charge he gleefully admitted. Symington knew at the time that 50 percent of all U.S. foreign aid throughout the world went to Pakistan and India. He was shocked to learn that more than one-third of all economic aid went to India alone. He believed it only fair to point out “that over the years Pakistan has expressed her friendship for the United States.” Symington feared that U.S. policy toward India would result in “Pakistan reaching closer agreement, through treaty, with Red China.”46 Throughout Symington’s Senate career, India remained a thorny and sticky problem for him. Cold Warriors genuinely feared that a lack of adequate aid would somehow drive countries into the communist camp. They saw only a bipolar world with two foreign relations choices—the Soviet Union or the United States. To be neutral was unthinkable; every country had to be aligned with one of the superpowers. Many Cold Warrior policy makers also lacked an understanding of countries that had emerged from colonialism and were trying to become leaders in their own parts of the world. During the Kennedy years Senator Symington had the typical doubts and questions of a Cold Warrior. He fretted over assistance to governments that might be friendly to communism and gave his full support to those that were part of the anticommunist coalition, no matter what their character. Thus, when problems surfaced in Iran, Symington remained loyal to the Shah, explaining that the United States had “very few friends who have worked with us as partners in the struggle against communism as long and as definitely as has Iran.” He greatly admired John F.Kennedy, especially his hard line with the Russians in Berlin and Cuba. It was for Symington, as for the nation, particularly traumatic when the President was assassinated in 1963. He remarked: “Those of us who knew him well, knew that he was a man of special grace, in action, in writing, and in thought. He had a rare humor, which often covered the depth of his fine mind.” Knowing how much Symington thought of Kennedy, when the first Kennedy half dollars were issued, Lyndon B.Johnson, then President, sent Symington one of the first coins. He wrote: “I felt that it would have a special significance to you and that you should have it.”47 Johnson and Symington had regained their amity at this point. Their relationship, however, eventually proved to be one of ambivalence and, finally, one of acrimony. NOTES 1. John Bartlow Martin, Adlai Stevenson and the World: The Life of Adlai E. Stevenson (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977), 81, 100, 121, 319, 343; Joseph Bruce German, Kefauver: A Political Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), 285; “Democrats: The Men Who,” Time, 24 November 1958, 16. 2. Stanley Fike, interview by Larry J.Hackman, oral history project, 30 November 1967, John F.Kennedy Library (JFKL), 22, 24, 91; Congress, Senate, 86th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (13 April 1959), vol. 105, pt. 5, 5735; Robert A.Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections 1952–1960 (New York: New Viewpoints, 1974), 206–207; CBS News, Face the Nation, Vol. 5 (New York: Information Systems, 1972), 215–216. 3. William S.White, “Symington: The Last Choice for President,” Harper’s Magazine, July 1959, 78–80.

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Page 119 4. Martin to Norstad, Norstad, Papers 1930–87, f. Symington, Stuart, U.S. Senator (2), Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL). 5. Congress, Senate, 86th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (27 January 1960), vol. 106, pt. 2, 1372– 1373; ibid., (28 January 1960), vol. 106, pt. 2, 1544–1548; ibid., (19 February 1960), vol. 106, pt. 3, 3012–3042; John Prados, The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence Analysis & Russian Military Strength (New York: Dial Press, 1982), 90. 6. Michael R.Beschloss, Mayday: The U-2 Affair (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), 318–319; Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President, Vol. 2 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 410–411, 501. 7. John D.Morris, “Symington Makes Presidential Bid,” New York Times (NYT), 25 March 1960, 1:2; “Symington’s Declaration,” NYT, 16:4, 5. 8. Ambrose, 503; CBS, Face the Nation, Vol. 6, 120–126; William G.Weart, “Vote Backs Nixon in Pennsylvania,” NYT, 28 April 1960, 21:5, 6; Donald Janson, “Kennedy Strong in Nebraska Test,” NYT, 12 May 1960, 22:1; Russell Baker, “Symington Sees U.S. ‘Humiliation,’” NYT, 27 May 1960, 1:7, 3:5; NYT, 11 July 1960, 19:5, 6. 9. Harry McPherson, A Political Education (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972), 59, 175; Fike interview, 7 September 1967, 30 November 1967, JFKL; William H. Stringer, “Missile Candidate from Missouri,” Saturday Review, 23 January 1960, 18–19; Richard Aliano, American Defense Policy from Eisenhower to Kennedy: The Politics of Changing Military Requirements, 1957–1961 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1975), 221–222; CBS, Face the Nation 1959, 212–213; Theodore C.Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 96, 123–125, 150. 10. Margaret Truman, Bess W. Truman (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986), 414; Speech by HST, 23 June 1960, Papers of Harry S.Truman Post-Presidential Files, Name File Symington, Stuart— political—Talge, Henry J.—corres., 1961–73, Box 82, f. Symington, Stuart—Political, Harry S.Truman Library (HSTL); HST to Fike, 5 July 1960, HSTL; Stanley Fike, oral history interview by Jerry N.Hess, 10 May 1972, HSTL; Divine, Foreign Policy, 189–190, 199, 215; Tom L.Evans, oral history interview by J.R. Fuchs, Vol. 3, 19 December 1963, HSTL. 11. Truman, Bess, 414; Douglas Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953–71 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 70–71, 346 n.145; Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made—Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, McCloy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 463, 591; David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 971–972; Rudy Abramson, Spanning the Century: The Life of W.Averell Harriman, 1891–1986 (New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1992), 576. 12. Loeb to SS, 7 December 1959, Alphabetical Corr. 1960, f. L, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP). 13. Martin, 484, 497, 502, 523; Fike interviews, 13 September 1967 and 30 November 1967, JFKL. 14. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis. 15. James Symington, oral history interview by Larry J.Hackman, 18 January 1968, JFKL; Loeb to SS, 25 March 1960, Alphabetical Corr. 1960, f. L, SSP. 16. J.Symington, interview, JFKL; Fike, interviews, JFKL; Sorensen, 141; Theodore H.White, The Making of the President, 1960 (New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1961), 36–130; Arthur M.Schlesinger, Jr., ed., History of American Presidential Elections, 1789–1968 Vol. 4 (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971), 3453–3454. 17. Stuart Symington, oral history interview by Michael L.Gillette, 18 November 1977, f. AC 81–18, LBJL; Robert A.Divine, The Johnson Years, Vol. 2: Vietnam, the Environment, and Science (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), 219–220; John

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Page 120 Stennis, oral history interview by Joe B.Frantz, 17 June 1972, f. AC 75–49, LBJL; Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 552, 555, 559; Symington, Jr., interview by author; Arthur Krock, Black Notebook: Memoranda, Vol. 3: May 3, 1960 to July 8, 1965, Arthur Krock Papers, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Archives; Clark Clifford, Oral History Interview by Joe B.Frantz, 15 December 1969, f. AC 74–79, LBJL. 18. Stuart Symington, oral history interview by Pat Holt, 18 August 1964, JFKL; Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama (New York: Summit Books, 1984), 231–232; Edgar M. Bottome, The Missile Gap: A Study of the Formulation of Military and Political Policy (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971), 202–203; McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival (New York: Random House, 1988), 344–345; Sorensen, 128; Lawrence H.Fuchs, John F.Kennedy and American Catholicism (New York: Meredith Press, 1967), 175–176. 19. Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), 314; Clifford interview, LBJL. 20. Tom Cameron, “Symington Pledges Aid to Nominee,” Los Angeles Times, 14 July 1960, 3:4; “Kennedy Wins!” Ibid., 14 July 1960, 1:1; Kyle Palmer, “Nominee to Run on Ultra-Liberal Platform,” Ibid., 1:3–6; “Symington Backed for Vice Presidency,” Ibid., 1:1. 21. Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography (New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1980), 244, 255; S.Symington, interview, JFKL; Stuart Symington, Jr, interview by author. 22. James Symington oral history interview, JFKL; Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author. 23. Robert W.Merry, Taking on the World: Joseph and Stewart Alsop—Guardians of the American Century (New York: Viking/Penquin Group, 1996), 350; Katherine Graham, Personal History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997), 262–265. 24. Clifford with Holbrooke, 318–319. 25. S.Symington, interview, JFKL; Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author; Benjamin Bradlee, Conversations with Kennedy (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975) 18, 132. 26. Tom Cameron, “Symington Again By-Passed, Offers Help to Kennedy-Johnson Ticket,” Los Angeles Times, 15 July 1960, 2:1–2; Robert T.Hartmann, “Kennedy’s Choice for His Running Mate Wins by Acclamation,” Ibid., 1:7–8. 27. Clifford, interview, LBJL. 28. Odlum to SS, 18 July 1960, Jacqueline Cochran: Papers, 1932–75, General Files Series A 76–4, 76–4/1, 76–4/2, 78–5, 83–5, Box 119, f. “S” Miscellaneous 1960 (2), DDEL; HST to SS, 12 August 1960, Papers of HST Post-Pres., Box 81, f. 4, HSTL; Krock, Black Notebook, SS to AK, 9 August 1960. 29. Carl M.Marcy, oral history interview, 16 November 1983, LBJL; J.William Fulbright, interview by author, 22 July 1992, Washington; Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate: Subcommittees (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1961), 3, 4, 8, Foreign Relations, F. 2056, SSP. 30. Jack Raymond, “Kennedy Defense Study Finds No Evidence of a ‘Missile Gap’,” NYT, 7 February 1961, 1:1–2, 21:3–5; “White House Denies ‘Missile Gap’ Report,” NYT, 8 February 1961, 1:4, 15:2–7; “President Awaits ‘Missile Gap’ Data,” NYT, 9 February 1961, 1:4, 4:3. On page 18 is the complete transcript of Kennedy’s news conference. He was very adept at sidestepping specific questions on the missile gap, saying that he preferred to wait for the results of his study.

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Page 121 31. “Russell Calls Gap Real,” NYT, 9 February 1961, 4:3; “Missile Secrecy Charged to G. O. P.,” NYT, 10 February 1961, 7:3–6; “House Expert Calls Missile Gap ‘Real’,” NYT, 12 February 1961, 54:6. 32. Stuart Symington, “Where the Missile Gap Went,” The Reporter, 15 February 1961, 21–23; Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (9 February 1961), vol. 107, pt. 2, 1955–1958. 33. William W.Kaufmann, The McNamara Strategy (New York: Harper & Row, Publisher, 1964), 50; Robert S. McNamara, The Essence of Security: Reflections in Office (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 57–58. 34. Sorensen, 617–619; Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (31 August 1961), vol. 107, pt. 13, 17655–17656. 35. Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (21 September 1961), vol. 107, pt. 15, 20629–20630; statement by SS, 21 September 1961, Armed Services Com., Box 6098, f. 1760 Corr. W/ Chair & Staff 1961, SSP. 36. SS to RR, 15 January 1962, Armed Services Com. Box 6098, f. 1762 Corr. W/Chair & Staff 1962, SSP; Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (11 April 1962), vol. 108, pt. 5, 6308; ET to SS, 8 August 1962, Armed Services Com., f. 1963 Preparedness Inv. Sub. 1962, SSP. 37. Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (9 August 1962), vol. 108, pt. 12, 16090; ET to SS, 23 August 1962, SS to ET, 31 August 1962, Armed Services Com., f. 1963 Preparedness inv. Sub. 1962, SSP; Michael R.Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960–1963 (New York: Edward Burlingame Books, 1991), 425. 38. SS to RR and JS, 19 February 1963, Armed Services Com. Box 6098, f. 1763 Corr w/Chair & Staff 1963, SSP; Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 577; Glenn T.Seaborg with Benjamin S.Loeb, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), 186–187; transcript from Meet the Press, 28 April 1963, Selected Correspondence and Related Material, Box 107, f. 1963 (St.-Warb), Allen W. Dulles Papers, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University. 39. Gerard H.Clarfield and William M.Wiecek, Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940–1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 268–270; Beschloss, The Crisis Years, 598– 599, 624; Sorensen, 736–739; memorandum from Mike Manatos to Larry O’Brien, 24 July 1963, office files of Mike Manatos, f. Symington, Stuart (D) Missouri, LBJL. 40. Congress, Senate, 88th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (17 September 1963), vol. 109, pt. 13, 17146–17148. 41. Seaborg with Loeb, Kennedy, Khrushchev, 277; Harold Karan Jacobson and Eric Stein, Diplomats, Scientists, Politicians: The United States and the Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966), 462; Katherine Johnsen, “Symington Cites Weapons Control in Backing Ban on Nuclear Tests,” Aviation Week, 23 September 1963, 29; Sorensen, 739–740. 42. Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (8 August 1961), vol. 107, pt. 11, 15054– 15058. 43. Foreign Relations Com., f. 2056 Foreign Relations: Reports, Press Releases, Statements 1962, SSP; Congress, Senate, 88th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (31 January 1963), vol. 109, pt. 2, 1458– 1459; ibid., (1 November 1963), vol. 109, pt. 16, 10880–10884, 21511–21513; SS to JWF, 27 May 1963, For. Rel., f. 2155 For. Rel. Corr. W/Chairman 1961–1964, SSP. 44. Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (11 April 1962), vol. 108, pt. 5, 6309– 6310; ibid., (25 June 1962), vol. 108, pt. 9, 11578; ibid., (20 July 1962),

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Page 122 vol. 108, pt. 11, 14255; Symington Amendment, For. Rel. Box 4017, f. 2187 Near Eastern and South Asia Affairs 1961–1962, SSP. 45. Memorandum of Conversation with Fulbright, 4 December 1962, Harriman to Bundy, 10 December 1962, The Papers of W.A.Harriman, Box 462, f. Fulbright, J. William 1962–68, Ms. Div., Library of Congress, Washington. 46. SS to JWF, 9 January 1963, Series 48, 48:1 Box 5, f. 1, Fulbright Papers, Mullins Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 47. Congress, Senate, 88th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (11 December 1963), vol. 109, pt. 18, 24181; ibid., (18 December 1963), vol. 109, pt. 19, 24984; LBJ to SS, 24 March 1964, White House Central File Box 688, f. Stuart Symington (Sen) 11/30/63–12/31/64, Executive F2 Kennedy, J., LBJL.

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Emily Harrison Symington posed with her six children. Stuart is standing on the right, c. 1913. Reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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Left: As a young man, Symington posed for this vanity photo, no date. Right: As Assistant Secretary of War for Air, Symington met with General Mark Clark, Commander of United States forces occupying Austria, 1946. Both photos reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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As Assistant Secretary of War for Air, Symington was granted visitor status at the Nuremberg Trials, 1946 or 1947. Reprinted with permission of Stuart Symington Papers, Western Historical Manuscript CollectionColumbia.

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As chairman of the National Security Resources Board, Symington met with Maurice Tobin (1.) and General George C. Marshall (r.) during the Preparedness Conference, 1950. Reprinted with permission of Stuart Symington Papers, Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia.

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On opposite page: Symington prepared posters for all fifty states during his presidential race in 1960. Above: Symington, a great admirer of President John F.Kennedy, met with him and the Reverend Paul Reinerk, S.J., President of St. Louis University. Both photos reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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On opposite page: Stuart and Eve Symington pose with the families of Stuart Symington, Jr. (1. standing) and James W.Symington (r. standing). Above: Stuart and Eve celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with (1. unidentified), Dolores Hope, Eve, Bob Hope, Stu, Senator Eugene McCarthy, 1964. Both photos reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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Symington visited with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, no date. Symington received numerous awards from Jewish organizations. Reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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Symington posed at work in his Senate office. Reprinted with permission of the Symington family.

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Symington is shown here in his Senate office with his secretary, Virginia Laird. Reprinted with permission of

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Above: Symington met with LBJ in 1967. They were still struggling to find a common policy on the Vietnam War. It was in vain.

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Below: Symington is photographed in a meeting with Henry Kissinger, National Security Advisor then Secretary of State, in 1973. The moment of levity belied their animosity during the Nixon Administration. Both photos reprinted with permission of Stuart Symington Papers, Western Historical Manuscript CollectionColumbia.

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Page 123 Chapter 8 “Fish or Cut Bait”: LBJ and the Vietnam War Stuart Symington’s approach to the war in Vietnam was as practical as any businessman: Go in to win, or cut your losses and get out—either “fish or cut bait,” as he was so fond of saying. From 1964 to 1968 he shifted his views of the conflict in Vietnam from support to withdrawal. He saw a war that was impossible to win because Vietnam was militarily indefensible and socially immoral. For years he was the consummate Cold Warrior, but the war in Vietnam forced him to shift his position from hawk to dove and to reevaluate all foreign policies, not just South Vietnam. Because of his criticisms of the Johnson policies of limited targets for pilots, and later of the war itself, the relationship between Symington and the President was strained almost beyond repair. Before Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency, Symington had already decided on a policy for Vietnam. He had traveled to South Vietnam in 1961 and wired President John F.Kennedy that he believed that “we ought to hold this place,” echoing the premise of the domino theory: “Otherwise this part of the world is sure to go down the drain.” While there he met with President Ngo Dinh Diem, in part to discourage Diem from insisting on a mutual defense treaty. He also assured him that on the matter of providing ground troops, the President could make that decision; a treaty would have a difficult time being ratified by the Senate. Apparently, his assurances assuaged Diem. Symington also early assumed a hard stance in the defense of South Vietnam. For him the protection of an American client state could not be a half-hearted deal. In fact, in 1962, he suggested that Congress pass a resolution concerning the Vietnam issue if the United States became “substantially” involved, because much of the criticism of the Korean War had been that Congress had had no say. Regardless, the Missouri Senator took a strong stand against the North Vietnamese—“bomb them and go on into Hanoi…. Either that or get out.” He suggested that the United States issue a strong warning to the North Vietnamese to cease infiltration into the South from Laos and Cambodia. “If they did not cut it out we would destroy the marshalling yards in Hanoi.” Symington saw no reason to “continue to put billions and billions of dollars into the southeast part of Asia

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Page 124 and be on the defensive politically as well as militarily.” He did not believe that such a stepped-up involvement could escalate into a world war. The Russians, he said, simply did not care that much about Vietnam.1 In February 1964, two months after Johnson succeeded the assassinated President, Symington urged a more aggressive policy. In his reply the President defended the Kennedy counterinsurgency program by pointing out that its implementation had improved the situation. He admitted, however, that the succession of coups within the government of South Vietnam had forced a reassessment of current policies. He assured Symington of the importance of that country and told him: “I am determined not to accept that loss.” In May Symington warned Johnson that his limited approach to the war for Vietnam was not going to resolve the problem. Clinging to Cold War ideas, he reiterated the idea that if the United States abandoned Vietnam, the entire area would be lost to communism, which would then spread to Pakistan and Afghanistan, affecting “our defense line which…runs from Japan through Okinawa to the Philippines.” Symington did think, however, that other countries should help in the defense of Indochina because the Americans were practically alone in financing freedom there and throughout the world.2 On August 4, 1964, President Johnson responded to events in the Tonkin Gulf. Supposedly, two American destroyers had been attacked by the North Vietnamese. The Commander in Chief essentially asked Congress for a blank check to do whatever seemed necessary to defeat the North Vietnamese aggression in Southeast Asia. Two days later Congressional debate began in the Senate on S.J.Res. 189, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which was pushed by the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator J.William Fulbright. The resolution expressed the advice and consent “of the Congress for the determination of the President to take such action as may be necessary, now and in the future, to restrain or repel Communist aggression in southeast Asia.” Symington spoke in favor of the resolution, arguing, however, that “the matter for decision is whether the United States accepts an attack on one of its ships 65 miles offshore or should defend itself against this clearly planned aggression.” In his view, if the United States failed to protect itself, it would undoubtedly suffer a loss of prestige around the world. “The free world continues free today because of the physical, economic, and above all spiritual strength of the United States.” Symington was convinced that the United States should unleash its full air power in the bombing of North Vietnam. To him it was a matter of defending one’s honor and credibility.3 A few members of Congress and the American people doubted the events surrounding the two destroyers. It is questionable whether or not a second attack occurred, but at least one of the ships had been on an intelligence-gathering mission. Possibly other factors played into this extraordinary acceptance by the Senate of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which many Senators later regretted. It was an election year, and LBJ was running against the conservative and hawkish Republican Barry Goldwater. Stuart Symington was also running for a third term in the Senate. Johnson’s advisors and the JCS took an aggressive stance. Indeed, LBJ was forced to “be his own man” and break out of the Kennedy shadow. Besides, the Resolution played well with voters

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Page 125 that the United States would stand firm against enemies, and it temporarily boosted the South Vietnam government. It even “demonstrated to the North Vietnamese, as well as to the Chinese and the Russians, that the United States would defend its forces.” Yet the President promised a “limited and fitting response” so that involvement seemed minimal.4 Hawks like Symington never doubted at this point the legitimacy of the action taken. By June 1965 Symington felt it necessary to defend the Administration’s policies in Vietnam from criticism, especially that emanating from college campuses. Open discussion of foreign policy was a healthy indicator of a democracy, he wrote, and should not be misinterpreted by Hanoi, Moscow, or Peking “into mistaking public debate for lack of consensus.” At the same time he insisted that the United States would never renege on its commitments. To illustrate the depth of U.S. involvement, he explained that already there were forty-five thousand servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and the cost of the war for Americans was a half billion dollars a year. Symington denied that Vietnam was a civil war or a “white man’s war against the Asians.” It was, instead, a simple case of defending a people from outside communist aggression. These “wars of liberation” were inspired by the activities of Chinese communists. True to Cold War logic, he called on the domino theory once again but also on America’s image. Military events received the headlines, but it would be the building of “schools, pig-pens, and ponds that decided the outcome for the unsophisticated peasant” and determine the outcome of the war. It could be a very long war, Symington warned somewhat prophetically, but the United States could not afford to “falter” in its commitment. If it did, “our enemies [would] be there to press the advantage.” And, if we weakened “in our resolve,” we would “encourage the aggressors to expand their subversive efforts to other nations.” The United States of America asked only that South Vietnam be allowed to determine its own fate.5 Beginning in January 1966 in what normally would have been a “business-as-usual” session, the Foreign Relations Committee used well-publicized televised hearings to, in effect, place the Vietnam policy on trial. At the time the committee was split between hawks and doves. Symington, still a supporter of the war, worked with the Administration to blunt much of the negative testimony given before the committee. In a memorandum to the President dated February 16, one presidential aide advised Johnson that Secretary of State Dean Rusk and General Maxwell Taylor were the remaining witnesses and that Republican Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois predicted that “General Taylor will knock hell out of the testimony of earlier witnesses” and “that this could well be the end of the hearing.” Johnson’s aide also explained that Symington, among others, was “anxious to be helpful before the Foreign Relations Committee meeting tomorrow. Symington told me that he is working with General Taylor on the testimony.” Another supporter hoped Rusk and Taylor could “do the kind of selling job which has to be done.” Symington’s questions were geared to allow Taylor’s answers to be presented in the most effective manner.6 In December 1965 and January 1966, Symington traveled again to South Vietnam, where he spent ten days evaluating the situation there for himself.

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Page 126 Upon his return he reported to the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees that the various services were cooperating well together in Vietnam and that morale was high. This would not remain true, he warned, unless the military was given complete authority to fight the war unhindered. General William C. Westmoreland, Symington stated, was doing an outstanding job. Air support for ground troops was excellent, but according to his assessment, the bombing raids in North Vietnam “have been relatively ineffective to the point where these operations should not be resumed unless there is more target license; license to hit such military targets as power plants, oil stores, docks, etc.” For Symington limited targets meant limited results, and he was not happy. He also reported that the coastline provided an excellent opportunity for naval operations, but it was “not being adequately utilized.” Symington urged that the sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia be eliminated. He still believed that abandoning the South would result “in a Communist takeover of additional countries and would damage seriously the world position and status of the United States. That would be the price,” but rather surprisingly he added, “it would not be catastrophic.” And, using his “fish or cut bait” philosophy, he recommended that the United States mount an all-out effort to win the war as opposed to the present holding pattern or else leave Vietnam. He still believed in the potential of air power, but he never believed in limited targets. He was not calling for all decisions to be turned over to the military; however, at the same time, he did not believe that the President and his advisors were making sound military decisions.7 In January 1966, after President Johnson renewed the bombing against North Vietnam but continued to restrict targets, Symington told the Senate that the raids should “be undertaken against more meaningful military targets. The result to us of such a change in military policy,” he argued, “would be a major increase in the effectiveness of our conduct of this war.” He insisted “it would seem that we are attacking the least important targets most, the more important targets less, and the most important military targets not at all.” If more significant targets were hit, he claimed, then fewer ground troops would be needed. Symington agreed with “some leading military authorities” that the targets should be bridges, barracks, and buses, “a real air effort to knock out important military targets.”8 The Administration did not take kindly to his remarks. In response McGeorge Bundy retorted that the President did “not hold the view that he should turn the matter over to the military.” Bundy also claimed that the Chief Executive believed there was “some question whether the weight of military judgment [was] in agreement with Stuart Symington’s conclusions.”9 Even though Symington had assumed the role of hawk through the winter of 1965–1966, it is clear that a raging intellectual battle had already begun in his mind. During a March 3 meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Symington jotted notes to himself asking a series of questions and posing some interesting answers. He agreed that he did not want to “give up,” that he would “rather see the enemy give up.” Yet, he reasoned that “a position taken in 1961 could well be changed in five years, could it not[?]” He pointed out that within the past five years the U.S. position vis-à-vis France had changed considerably.

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Page 127 He believed that a few Senators were fixated on China and that a communist victory in Vietnam would enhance China’s power and prestige. Other Senators, however, were unconcerned with China and therefore less concerned about withdrawing from South Vietnam. He also wrote the words “Churchill” and “Gallipoli” on his notepad. Was he perhaps equating the Vietnam War with Winston Churchill’s disastrous plans in World War I at Gallipoli?10 Even Ambassador to South Vietnam Arthur Goldberg reported to the President that Symington was “ambivalent; on one hand favoring withdrawal and on the other hand all-out war. I tried to point out to him that neither view was practicable or justified.”11 Clearly, Symington was already of a mind to get out of Vietnam, perhaps not at any cost, but he obviously was reevaluating the U.S. position and his own. Unlike the ambassador, he viewed either stance as practical. He never could understand a halfhearted response to the Vietnam War, especially when he believed that pilots were risking their lives for nothing and that the cost to the nation was increasing, not only in deaths but also in money. A great admirer of Churchill, he recognized that even great men make wrong decisions, but they are not necessarily bound to those choices. The metamorphosis of Stuart Symington from hawk to dove had begun. Private musing aside, Symington remained unwilling to break with the Johnson Administration. Part of his reason must have been the fact that in March 1966 the military had received license to expand its targets. He believed that decision would save American lives because increased dependence on air power would mean less dependence on ground troops. In a major foreign policy speech on March 4, Symington again defended the Administration against critics who claimed that U.S. policy was “confused and unclear.” What could be clearer, he asked, than to stop the communist strategy to infiltrate South Vietnam, its aim being “to break down law and order, terrorize the population into submission and cooperation, and produce chaos.” In his view the United States sought a peaceful settlement and posed no threat to North Vietnam or China. The place to solve problems, he said, “is at the negotiating table,” and “what we need in Vietnam is a Vietnamese solution which they themselves will work out.” The U.S., he insisted, was committed to free elections in Vietnam.12 In response to his speech James A.Farley, chairman of the board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, wrote Symington that he “was very much in accord” with his “observations…having to do with the Vietnam policy.” Farley noted: “For the life of me, Stu, I can’t understand why the members of the Democratic Party, in a time like this, do not wholeheartedly support the President.” Farley himself admired “the strong stand” he had taken. Symington forwarded the letter to Johnson.13 He was reluctant to break with the President. Most Americans in times past had generally supported the President’s foreign policy decisions out of loyalty and patriotism, and many Americans viewed the protests against the war in Vietnam as disloyalty to the President and to the country. The idea was that once committed, the troops overseas had to be supported. Open opposition to this accepted policy was not an easy decision. Nonetheless, policy makers were divided, and opposition was growing in the Senate as well as in the country as a whole.

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Page 128 Two amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act were introduced in March 1966 by Senators Fulbright and George McGovern (D-SD). Both recommended limiting funds for foreign aid programs; however, both were defeated in committee. Symington was pleased, reporting that the rejection of the amendments “made it clear to friend and foe alike that an overwhelming majority of the Committee on Foreign Relations wants to provide all necessary support for our troops in South Vietnam.” Economic assistance, he said, was every bit as important as military assistance because “we are involved in a struggle for the hearts and minds of the [Vietnamese] people.” The “American provincial representatives assisting in the distribution of food or fertilizer, the doctor injecting penicillin into a Vietnamese child, play roles comparable to that of the foot soldier slogging through the rice paddies.” He considered passage of the assistance bill as meaning that “all Communists in North and South Vietnam, all Communists everywhere, know today that the United States does not intend to be driven out of Vietnam.”14 Although Symington appeared to be absolutely committed to winning the war in Vietnam, by the spring of 1966 he was becoming more concerned about the economic implications of the Asian war. As the enormous economic, diplomatic, and military burdens mounted, he became increasingly alarmed about America’s unfavorable balance of trade, the enormous debt the country was accruing, and, most important, the damage to the domestic economy resulting from the immense commitments abroad, especially the deepening involvement in Southeast Asia. Symington explained to his colleagues that since 1945 the United States had spent $8 billion annually on foreign and military aid, 10 percent of its gross national product on defense alone. If the Vietnam war continued, he warned, U.S. involvement would grow. It was therefore imperative that the government reevaluate its foreign aid programs if it hoped to remain solvent. Most debate about Vietnam stressed the military and diplomatic aspects, “with relatively little consideration of the great and growing economic problems.” He warned: “If our policies and programs continue to necessitate this heavy price, and our 17-year unfavorable balance of payments continues unfavorable, there must be a reckoning in the not too distant future.” He called for a reevaluation of “the magnitude and direction of our foreign aid, along with our overseas military expenditures.”15 Economic concerns weighed ever more heavily upon Symington as the costs of the war continued to grow throughout 1966. At length he concluded that the allies were not doing their part in the struggle and that unless Southeast Asia began “immediately to develop their indigenous forces to react to communist expansion, whether from China or from guerrilla forces in their own countries, American efforts there [were] doomed to failure.” With almost five hundred thousand troops in South Vietnam it seemed “unavoidable that there will be growing reactions to such an omnipotent American presence—no matter how laudable and worthy our aims.” All of the Asian states, in his opinion, could and should work together to offset the influence and/or threat presented by China. “We cannot have American manpower and wealth substitute for the cooperative strength of states within the area.” As long as the United States was willing to fight “for these small giants of Asia, they will let us do so.” Perhaps worse, the

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Page 129 United States was spending “$30 billion annually in mortal combat with a country that has 17 million inhabitants, with a per capita income of around $150 a year.” He asked what kind of image that projected while at the same time questioning the ability of the domestic economy to sustain such expenditures.16 In a Congressional confrontation with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, both Senator John Stennis and Symington “repeatedly expressed concern that the United States might be overcommitted throughout the world.” These hearings gave Symington the opportunity to express his disgust with the allies, noting that very few of America’s friends supported the U.S. effort in Vietnam. In fact, “of 40 allies, only 3—Australia, New Zealand and South Korea—had combat troops in South Vietnam.” He “predicted gloomily that should ‘some hidden tripwire’ bring Chinese troops into the conflict, the United States would find itself in a world war virtually alone.” Deeply concerned, yet unable to shed his old Cold War thinking, he wrote President Johnson in October, saying, “All congratulations on your refusal to be pushed by” antiwar activists “into a cessation of the bombing effort. I just could not agree with you more.” Although on the surface relations between Johnson and Symington were congenial, LBJ even thanking him for his contributions to “the Great Congress,” their split had begun. In November Johnson remarked to Walt Rostow that although Symington once criticized Nixon for “turning faster on a dime,” so, too, could Symington.17 Johnson was well aware of Symington’s criticisms and reservations concerning his restrictive air policies, as he had aired them all year; perhaps LBJ expected an open break with Symington as had happened with so many of the President’s former Senate colleagues. In January 1967 Symington returned from a trip to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. This trip began to solidify his thinking, which crystallized after another trip to Southeast Asia in the fall of that year. On returning home he told his good friends Floyd Odlum and Jacqueline Cochran that he was “happy about very little,” especially concerning the Air Force. Symington believed the Air Force was “being ground between…(1) ineffectiveness (because of the stringent limitations on the bombing effort) and (2) immorality (because of killing civilians.)” While in Vietnam he visited a military hospital and witnessed firsthand the frenzy of the medical teams as they labored to save as many American soldiers as possible, leaving those beyond hope on stretchers in the halls to die. Symington talked with the South Vietnamese Minister of Finance, who happened to be on the plane when he flew from Vietnam to Europe. The minister, to Symington’s chagrin, was on his way to his villa on the French Riviera. This was the same man, the infuriated Senator noted, who not only complained about Vietnam being such a poor country, but consistently asked for additional economic assistance from the United States.18 On his way home Symington stopped over in Israel for a talk with General Moshe Dayan. The Israeli General too had recently toured Vietnam and expressed the opinion that in the present guerrilla war, the United States and South Vietnam might control the country in the daytime, but he felt certain that the enemy controlled it at night. Symington became convinced beyond any doubt that the disillusionment and discontent he had seen among the pilots in

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Page 130 Vietnam was due to the fact that American air power was not being utilized properly and that pilots were sacrificing their lives on meaningless missions. Pilots told him that they might have orders to hit a bridge but not a grass shack near it. Knowing about these restrictions, the Vietnamese positioned anti-aircraft guns along the only routes the pilots could take to bomb the bridge and not the shack. The Missouri Senator became even more convinced that restrictions on pilots should be lifted or the United States should leave Vietnam. Given the current situation it was hopeless to expect to win. Air power was the key if the United States insisted on remaining in Vietnam.19 Upon his return in January 1967, Symington rose once again on the floor of the Senate to defend the use of air power. The obvious failure of the bombing raids on North Vietnam, he charged, resulted “from unprecedented rigidity in the regulations and rules of engagement that have been laid down, and under which our pilots are forced to operate.” And, he warned, “if we do not start fully utilizing our technological superiority, on a conventional basis, it would be better to terminate hostilities as against continuing them on the present quantitative basis.” When reporters asked the President to respond to Symington’s charges, Johnson replied: “I have nothing to say at all on that.” In fact, Symington had changed his opinion on one vital point: “There is now less certainty in my mind than there was a year ago that the present government in South Vietnam speaks for a majority of the South Vietnamese people.” Indeed, he felt that the policies of the present government, rather than encouraging national unity, stimulated divisive political and religious differences. For Symington the many negatives of the Vietnamese situation were piling up. The United States was backing a government that did not have the support of its own people. America’s allies were refusing to aid the United States in its struggle. The war was stalemated and there was no chance of its early resolution because the President insisted on placing unacceptable restrictions on American air power. Finally, there was the tremendous cost.20 Symington was not the only Senator who worried about the numerous costs of the war and their effects on the nation. In February Senator Fulbright called for an American withdrawal from Vietnam. The United States was overcommitted. Having become disenchanted with the war and the results of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, he also recommended to his colleagues that the Senate limit the war-making powers of the President. Symington responded that if the President chose to leave Vietnam now, he was ready to get out, but supporting the troops was another matter. He was not “ready to agree to leave those young men…to operate under rules and regulations which would make it impossible for them…to achieve any success.” If the troops remained, they should have “all qualitative advantages possible to in turn give them the best chance [of winning].”21 The bottom line for Symington remained unchanged. He was not ready to leave under the cloud of defeat, believing that if given the chance of unrestricted targets, America still could win the war. A month later Symington again attacked Administration restrictions on the bombing campaign against North Vietnam. He reported that “enemy MIG fighter pilots over North Vietnam had become more aggressive and that [American] pilots wanted permission to attack MIG airfields around Hanoi.”

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Page 131 Symington was careful not to mention the key airfield targets but did say that “it was unfortunate that the Johnson Administration had a policy of not employing with maximum effect its air and sea power against ‘the more meaningful military targets in North Vietnam.’” Pilots in Thailand and elsewhere had voiced their complaints to him on his recent trip, and he was very moved by those with whom he talked. They expressed their sense of impotence at actually seeing MIG jets leave the runways but knowing there was nothing they could do about it until they faced them in the air. One pilot expressed the opinion of all of his buddies when he said that “the enemy [had] already escalated the war in the air.”22 Symington’s advocacy of an expanded air war in Vietnam prompted the New York Times to remark that the escalation he was urging would probably lead China to make its airfields available to North Vietnam, thus expanding the war. The Times also charged that bombing the targets that Symington proposed would damage U.S.-USSR détente as well as relations with the rest of the world.23 Although Stennis and Symington turned up the pressure for “more intensified bombing,” Defense Secretary McNamara rejected their demands. An angry Symington challenged the Secretary by suggesting that “United States pilots be called to testify before Congress if the Johnson Administration still doubted what he called the risks in the present restrictions.” Symington was not alone in his views. An editorial in the April 1967 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology strenuously supported his deepening concern on the policy of limiting targets. Symington stressed the fact that no one had suggested bombing population centers or important harbors; nor had anyone proposed that the JCS make policy. “Their opinions as to how we should conduct the tactical day-to-day operating details on the battle-front should not be so consistently disregarded.” It only made sense, he said, that if more attacks were made on “meaningful military targets in North Vietnam,” there would be fewer guns pointed at “American youth in South Vietnam.” Privately and pessimistically he admitted to Senator Richard Russell that he was not certain that the United States could “have success out there on any basis,” but he was confident that if the Administration continued with its present policy there would be “no chance whatever.”24 Because of Symington’s incessant criticism of Administration policy on Vietnam, by mid-1967 the political and personal rift between Lyndon Johnson and Stuart Symington had become obvious to Washington insiders. The warmth of their relationship had earlier been reflected in the numerous letters and thoughtful gestures they made toward one another, but as support for Johnson’s policies declined, Symington and Fulbright, the hawk and the dove, were relegated to the political “doghouse.” In fact, in June 1967 one of the President’s assistants suggested to Lady Bird Johnson that Symington and Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey be removed from a reception list and replaced by two other Senators who were “both staunch advocates of the President’s programs.” Neither Symington nor Williams was invited to the gathering.25

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Page 132 In June Symington copied two relevant paragraphs from an article in The New Yorker and sent them to all members on the Foreign Relations Committee. The gist of the article was that even Americans who had passionately supported the effort in Vietnam were now coming to the conclusion that it was all too little too late and that the war in Vietnam had become too costly. Colorado Senator Peter H.Dominick responded to Symington’s message by agreeing that air and naval power had not been efficiently utilized. He hoped that the South could “stay together” at least for the upcoming elections. Then, perhaps, the Vietcong could be rooted out. “Frankly,” he wrote, “I see no alternatives to these moves unless the South Viet Namese [sic] should suggest that we get out, and I don’t think we will be that lucky.” Symington replied by saying that he was “getting increasingly apprehensive about what this continuing drain could do to the integrity of our currency and for other reasons.” He still blamed the cost in lives and “treasure” on bombing limitations.26 When Hanoi announced that 2,048 American planes had been shot down and the Defense Department claimed only 588 lost planes, Symington called for an inquiry. He was concerned not only about the discrepancy in those figures but also about statements made by civilians in the Defense Department who claimed that “no important targets” were left in North Vietnam while military advisors (unnamed) had insisted to him that “many important targets” had not been hit. In an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Symington reiterated that same theme. This time, however, he added, “If we want to leave it and say we made a mistake, that’s all right with me…. Of course, it would hurt us around the world, but it wouldn’t hurt us any more than what we’re doing now.” After reading the article, social columnist Ann Landers wrote Symington about how pleased she was to read his statements. “If you keep talking like this you and I may have to start going steady,” she joked. “Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!”27 By the middle of 1967, with little or no progress toward a victory or a peaceful settlement and convinced that Johnson’s policies could only perpetuate a costly stalemate, the onetime hawk concluded that it was time to withdraw from Vietnam and perhaps even reconsider other key aspects of postwar American foreign policy. In July he again told the Senate that “we should not, we cannot, be the world’s policeman.” As he had stated before, the stresses of the war and the vast foreign aid programs on the economy was dangerous. America’s allies, who had long since recovered from World War II, should carry more of their own economic and military burdens. As to the war in Vietnam, he argued that the bombing restrictions made victory impossible. He therefore suggested that the Administration not only offer to halt the bombing raids over North Vietnam but call for a ceasefire and “start negotiations from there.” Symington believed that stopping the fighting “would give us a better chance to attain these negotiations and we could then apply at least part of the appalling cost of this Vietnam war—already some $70 million a day—to our grave and growing problems here at home.”28 A few weeks later Symington sent a letter to Johnson expressing his deep concern over recent increases in troop strength in Vietnam. When the Chief Executive received his letter, he wrote across the page that he wanted “to see him [Symington] at once.” There is no record of their subsequent conversation,

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Page 133 but the following day Symington, along with several other Senators, expressed doubt that the upcoming elections in Vietnam would be conducted honestly. If they did turn out to be “a farce from the standpoint of any true representation of the will of the people of South Vietnam, this administration might as well face up to that result” and get out. Since several Senators made the point that their continued support of the Administration’s policies on Southeast Asia was contingent on fair elections, General Maxwell Taylor and presidential adviser (and later Secretary of Defense) Clark Clifford made several trips to South Vietnam and back in order to convince Congressmen of the legitimacy of the elections.29 While debate raged over the elections in South Vietnam and the American public became increasingly skeptical, Senators on the Preparedness Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee were preoccupied with other matters. Unlike Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee, where support for the war was almost nil, members of the Armed Services Committee, almost to a man, continued to support the war in Vietnam. They differed only slightly on tactics, although most of them agreed with Symington’s analysis regarding the use of air power. It came as no surprise then when the Preparedness Subcommittee, under the chairmanship of John Stennis, began hearings to determine the efficacy of the present military policy. Shortly after Stennis announced the hearings, Symington wrote to him declaring that there could be no success in the war without the full utilization of conventional weapons. Symington hoped that the hearings would expose the need for increased bombing. As usual, he reiterated these thoughts on the floor of the Senate and received many letters in support of his ideas.30 During August and into the fall of 1967, both civilian and military witnesses testified before the Stennis Subcommittee. For Symington the testimony of Defense Secretary McNamara was the most revealing. McNamara told the committee that the bombing of the North had not been intended as a substitute for the ground war in the South and admitted that the flow of supplies and men into the South could not be stopped except by the complete annihilation of the North. Symington remarked that if McNamara’s statements were correct, then those of all of the military witnesses were wrong—including the JCS. Furthermore, he said, if the Secretary was correct, “the United States should get out of Vietnam at the earliest possible time, and on the best possible basis,” because “there would appear no chance for any true ‘success’ in this long war.”31 In its final report the Senate subcommittee agreed with Symington’s appraisal and concluded that the war could be conducted more efficiently by following military rather than civilian advice. The subcommittee also recommended that the port of Haiphong be closed, that all lines of communication from China be interdicted, that meaningful military targets should be hit, and that there should be no indiscriminate bombings of civilians. Furthermore, with what must have been music to Symington’s ears, the report explained that “every military witness who testified emphasized that the air war has been waged under severe handicaps which were contrary to military principles.” The committee granted that in recent months (beginning in June) a

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Page 134 few restrictions had been lifted, but too many remained in effect. “It is high time, we believe, to allow the military voice to be heard in connection with the tactical details of military operations.”32 In September 1967 Symington made another trip to Vietnam. On the aircraft carrier Coral Sea, a young flier asked him why this government was more interested in saving lives in North Vietnam than in South Vietnam and, in particular, the lives of the fighter pilots. The sentiment among the crew members was the same as Symington’s—too many restrictions that exposed planes and pilots to unnecessary dangers. Symington pondered this experience, the tales of political corruption in South Vietnam, his own convictions regarding the cost of the war, the enormous loss of life, and, finally, his own growing conviction that the United States had no national interests at stake in Vietnam. If the dominoes fell, so be it.33 Upon his return Symington explained to his colleagues that Soviet influence was increasing in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean areas where the United States had vital interests. Currently the U.S. was not in a position to do much about this because it was overcommitted and overextended. Lives were being lost in Vietnam at a frightening rate. Once again, Symington called for a complete cessation of hostilities. If then the North did not agree to go to the bargaining table, the war could resume and “then the United States would feel free to pursue this war in any manner of its own choosing.” After all, he said rather disingenuously, with the recent elections in South Vietnam, it appeared that the political goals had been won and it had never been our intention to invade the North. Symington proposed that the government of the South announce its willingness to negotiate with anyone and offer amnesty to the Vietcong. Again, the White House had “no comment.” Symington wrote his friend and confidant Clark Clifford that “we continue to put blood transfusions into a Government that is very, very sick indeed.” In his opinion, “the basic trouble in Saigon is the instability and lack of any true ‘nationhood’ that is characteristic of the South Vietnamese Government.” A flurry of activity in response to Symington’s charges occurred within the NSC. The Administration was very unhappy with this turn of events. Several officials from the Departments of State and Defense met with Symington “to persuade him of the error of his ways,” and papers opposing the proposal were sent to the President by the State Department, the NSC, and the JCS.34 Symington left the threat open-ended and vague against a resumption of the war if the North Vietnamese refused to bargain in good faith at the peace table. By this time, though, it is very doubtful that he meant nuclear weapons, and he even spoke against their use. With the bombing restrictions on the U.S. military and the pathetic political, economic, and social situation in the South, as far as Symington was concerned, the war already was lost. In fact, on Face the Nation in October 1967 he reported his new proposal. He said that the war was hurting the United States politically, militarily, and economically. The most important American aim should be to initiate negotiations. When asked if he believed Ho Chi Minh was a “free agent,” Symington replied that he probably had to consider the Soviets because of their supplying function, but that Ho was above all a nationalist. He recognized that “the strongest feeling in the world today

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Page 135 [was] one of nationalism.” Symington had come to accept the premise that the entire idea of an international communist conspiracy was overrated. When the interviewer pointed out that Symington had certainly changed his mind on the importance of Vietnam as of vital interest to the United States, Symington testily replied that everyone had the right to change a position because “the world changes every day.” There were simply “more important places” than Vietnam.35 At this point it was difficult for him to publicly advocate complete withdrawal under any circumstances. Symington, who felt the need to explain his reasoning, prepared his own memorandum, “Position on Vietnam (1965–1967),” which he sent to a select group of Senators. In the memorandum he outlined the political, military, and economic advantages and disadvantages of continuing the war; the disadvantages far outweighed the advantages. After his January 1967 trip to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he was more inclined than ever to pull out of Vietnam because the situation had deteriorated and he feared the tensions developing in the Middle East. He still wanted the withdrawal to be conditional, but there were so many variables. He commended the diplomatic and military leadership in Vietnam and pointed out that military targets had been expanded both for air and sea power. On the negative side, however, there was little support internationally for the American presence in Vietnam. The feeling was that because of the extent of the U.S. commitment there, Washington would be unable to meet its commitments elsewhere. At the same time there was “disillusionment to the point of bitterness” on the part of the South Vietnamese people due to the destruction of homes and crops, plus disenchantment with the “pacification” programs. “Perhaps most important of all,” he wrote, “is the lack of stability, lack of any true concept of ‘nationhood’ in the South Vietnamese Government.” Symington did not believe that the government of South Vietnam accurately represented the majority of the people. The military situation was untenable for many reasons— restrictions, weather, the Ho Chi Minh Trail supply route, the problem of killing civilians, and sanctuaries in neighboring countries. For various reasons, there was “some justification for considering the application of our force as ‘too little and too late.’” The economic cost was prohibitive and the government of Vietnam was ineffective and corrupt. Symington asked the question, “What is the definition of ‘success’ in this war, especially in its relation to our some forty other commitments to other countries?” In sum, “the Vietnam involvement is expensive in prestige, in military posture, in growing cost, and above all, in the taking of the lives of so many of the best of our youth.”36 In organizing his thoughts on Vietnam, Symington was slowly coming to the conclusions he would draw as a complete dove in 1968—to get out of Vietnam at any cost. The memorandum drew a mixed reception on Capitol Hill. Montana Senator Mike Mansfield wrote that it was no wonder that many of his colleagues had become “apprehensive”; he appreciated Symington’s military summary. Senator Joseph S.Clark of Pennsylvania congratulated him on his “reappraisal,” knowing that it “was an agonizing process.” He said that Symington deserved “the thanks of us all for doing so.” But other Senators were less receptive. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, one of the diehard “hawks,” warned that

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Page 136 the United States could not quit the war “with honor at this late stage of the conflict.” Another Cold Warrior, South Carolina’s Senator J.Strom Thurmond, who absolutely refused to consider other alternatives, was still convinced that the war should be fought to win and that the restrictions “that are hampering our military in the proper conduct of this war” should be lifted. Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin, on the other hand, wrote that the Symington paper was “superlative! This is the best job of its kind that I’ve seen anywhere.” Senator McGovern agreed with Proxmire and could not “see how any reasonable person [could] take issue with what you have said.” Republican Senator Jacob Javits of New York provided the most thoughtful reply. He found Symington’s evaluation “most stimulating” and replete with “penetrating insights.” The most perceptive insight was assessing “costs and the effects of Vietnam in their broad international and domestic context,” which provided “a much better perspective on the issues than is contained in the rather narrow and rigid explanation of official spokesmen.” Then he touched on a really sensitive and provocative effect of the whole debate (and one that certainly bothered Symington), and that was that Vietnam placed “patriotic Americans, devoted to the principles of the bi-partisan foreign policy, in a most difficult dilemma.” As Symington once felt, “We want to give full support to the President in a war situation”; but Javits felt that sustaining “a very ‘long war’” had become “unacceptable.”37 Symington continued to speak of the effects of the war on the domestic economy and its effect on the value of the dollar. Frequently he pointed out that the domestic programs requested by the President were “desirable in nature and noble in character” but that someone had to pay for them. Clearly, the war was sapping the economic strength of the nation. Symington also blamed the poor image of the United States in Vietnam as being part of the reason the North Koreans felt a certain immunity in capturing the American reconnaissance ship, the USS Pueblo, on January 23, 1968. The late January Tet Offensive by the North and the Vietcong increased Symington’s worries, for it served to emphasize that the United States had achieved little in Vietnam. He accused the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong of taking advantage of the Tet holiday to resupply and regroup.38 Aside from making these tepid remarks, he was unusually silent on the Tet Offensive. Perhaps it simply reinforced for him the hopelessness of it all. An interesting change developed in the higher echelons of the government as a result of the war in Vietnam. Because of his disagreements with the President’s other advisors over the conduct of policy in Vietnam, McNamara was asked to leave the Administration. Johnson’s new nominee for Secretary of Defense was Symington’s closest friend, Clark Clifford. To Symington’s chagrin, Clifford still supported the war and the Johnson policies, a fact that created a strain in their relationship. Nevertheless, he supported Clifford’s nomination and remarked on his “solid support” on Capitol Hill. Although Clifford firmly believed in the policy of containment, in the superiority of air power, and in staunchly anticommunist policies, he had already begun to have his own doubts about the war in Vietnam—albeit unexpressed to the President. When Clifford and Maxwell Taylor participated in a fact-finding mission to Southeast Asia designed to engage U.S. allies more fully in the war, they were

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Page 137 disappointed to discover a “hedging” process by the allies. The Philippines sent only an engineering corps and a hospital unit; the Thais sent men who had to be trained, equipped, and armed by the United States. Clifford remarked in retrospect that he originally thought the United States was just helping South Vietnam but was shocked when he realized “that it was our war!” He experienced further doubt when he asked, shortly after his appointment, what was the military plan for attaining victory in Vietnam and was told that there was none. Also, like Symington, Clifford was appalled at the enormous cost of a war without end at a time when there were so many worldwide commitments that were equally or more important. Nor did it seem likely that the Soviets and the Americans could reach agreement on an arms limitations treaty as long as the United States insisted on a military solution in Vietnam. Finally, Clifford later admitted, “I could not free myself from the continuing nagging doubt… that if the nations living in the shadow of Viet Nam were not now persuaded by the domino theory, perhaps it was time for us to take another look.”39 Early in 1968 Senator Fulbright, aware that Symington was turning away from his earlier support for the war, sought to speed his conversion from hawk to dove and secure another firm ally in his opposition to Administration policy. Toward that end he sent Symington a 1964 government memorandum that had been delivered to then Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge. Fulbright informed Symington that he found the memorandum “quite interesting, as we look back upon the deep affliction of euphoria that has dominated the Government for the last three or four years.” The gist of the report was that the North Vietnamese actually controlled 75 percent of the land in the South. Commenting on the memo, Fulbright remarked that the encouraging reports coming from the State Department during that period apparently represented its “hopes,” not what was “realistically attainable in the foreseeable future.” The report ended with the proposal, “Whereas it is desirable that we present a reasonable optimistic front publicly, we should not hide among ourselves the disagreeable facts of the current situation in Viet-Nam.” There is no recorded reaction from Symington concerning this memorandum, but he must have questioned even more his support for this war in light of his own government’s secret pessimism. He also must have been rewarded in his assessment that with all of the military and economic aid, in all these years nothing had changed the situation in Vietnam. Whether it was the discovery of this memorandum alone or the Tet Offensive and other events combined with it, Fulbright decided to open new hearings on Vietnam. Not surprisingly, what the hearings clearly demonstrated was that the Foreign Relations Committee had become considerably more dovish since its 1966 hearings.40 Secretary of State Dean Rusk appeared before the committee in March 1968, the first time in two years. Fulbright wore a blue tie printed with white doves and olive branches. The New York Times reported that although the committee had “long been critical of the Administration’s policy,” it now had turned “toward direct opposition to the war.” Symington and New Jersey Republican Clifford P.Case “openly condemned the Administration’s policy as sterile and contrary to American interests.” Symington warned Rusk that the nation’s

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Page 138 “fiscal security was being endangered” by the Vietnam commitment. In a poignant comment, John W.Finney of the Times wrote that “at the end of the day, he [Rusk] had not been able to bring along the people who had fought for his own ideal of collective security.” These included Fulbright and Symington, who were “not only his natural political allies but his natural personal friends.”41 The war in Vietnam had begun to fracture many old friendships and to affect and divide even families. It was a subject that elicited strong emotions and hot tempers. When the hearings commenced, the stage was set for an almost assuredly acrimonious exchange because the press had already published the fact that General William C. Westmoreland had recently requested an additional two hundred thousand troops, and committee members relentlessly questioned Rusk about that request. Questions reflected the increasing antipathy and skepticism of the Senators not only toward current policy, especially in the wake of the surprising Tet Offensive, but with the circumstances surrounding the 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident and the consequent resolution. The question became one of constitutionality in the matter of developing and implementing foreign policy. Rusk assured members of the committee that the Administration would consult with appropriate members of Congress on any major decisions made on Vietnam. It was clear during the hearings that the Senators were suspicious of the events that precipitated the Tonkin Gulf incident and that they resented the Administration’s continued reliance on the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to implement its Vietnam policy with absolutely no advice from the Senate.42 Yet these were the same Senators who gave almost unanimous approval to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, the wording perfectly clear. At the time of its passage in 1964, few Congressmen questioned either the events or the language. Because the hearings were televised, the Senators received an unusually high volume of mail with various opinions. One of Symington’s constituents wrote that he was surprised at his stand on Vietnam. “That you responded to reason does you credit as a Senator. For me, you have aroused reason to hope yet for change.” Another person congratulated him on his new “position of being able to ask: If we win this war what will we have won?”43 That was a question Symington often asked in the Senate and of himself. He was in a peculiar frame of mind. As long as the war continued he insisted that there should be no restrictions on air activities over North Vietnam and was sharply critical of those on the committee who called for even more restrictions on U.S. pilots. At the same time he reiterated his demand for a cessation of all hostilities. For several months he had believed that the North Vietnamese would be as eager to end the fighting as the Americans. He also rejected the Administration line that the United States had an obligation to defend South Vietnam under terms of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization agreement. The only basis for being in Vietnam, he argued, was statements made by Presidents and Secretaries of Defense and State, and those “are of no binding authority in committing the United States to go to war. The commitment consists of the fact that we are there. This is hardly the kind of commitment that would hold up in a court of law.”44

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Page 139 On March 31, 1968, President Johnson dropped two bombshells. He announced that the bombing would be limited north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and that he would stop it altogether if the enemy showed signs of limited military activities. The next shock was his announcement that he would not run for the presidency in 1968. There is no record of Symington’s reaction. Even his sons, Stuart Symington, Jr., and James Symington can remember nothing their father might have said. If, however, his response was like most people in the country, it could only have been one of surprise. Throughout the spring and summer of 1968 Symington spoke frequently against the costs required to finance the war. He was more than apprehensive “about this continuing war in Vietnam” and “the degree to which its operation has taken our minds, our policies and programs, and our treasure away from the main effort, namely, maintaining the proper deterrent capacity against the Soviet Union.” Symington constantly questioned how the United States could continue to pay for adequate defense and finance the war, especially when such heavy military losses were sustained. These questions, along with the damage to the domestic economy, clearly were having a “negative influence on our political relationship with all other countries.” When criticized by labor leaders for his anti-Administration position, he asked for an explanation of their position in view of “the heavy Federal expenditures we have been making, not only for domestic programs but also in Vietnam, and also for defending and financing this percentage of the so-called Free World.” What would be their position when the dollar weakened “to the point where the purchasing power of life insurance, pension plans (including those of the unions), retirement agreements, and Social Security itself, would be heavily reduced, if not almost eliminated?”45 Even after peace talks began in May 1968 Symington concluded that there could never be “any true success in whatever it is we are trying to accomplish in Vietnam.” There were more than five hundred thousand troops in Vietnam, tens of thousands in Thailand, and tens of thousands more in Japan. “How long,” he asked, “can the people of the United States continue to bear this worldwide military burden? What is the justification for bearing it?” One suggestion Symington explored was the possible removal of twenty-five thousand troops from Vietnam to the United States where they would be committed to NATO or become part of the reserves. This, he thought, might serve to warn South Vietnam that the United States believed it should shoulder more of the responsibility for its war and force the Japanese to reconsider their own defense needs. The message was also intended to convince European allies that the United States had given them top priority and to send a signal to the Russians that Europe and the Middle East remained major concerns of the United States. Instead of taking this approach, however, Symington reintroduced his 1967 peace plan.46 That plan became a moot point because on November 1 the President decided to halt the bombing attacks on North Vietnam. The Defense Department contacted various Senators, including Symington, to brief them and to obtain their input. Walt Rostow reported to Johnson that Symington was “for it, somewhat surprised that [the] JCS are.” John P.Walsh reported in a memorandum to Rostow that Symington was “very enthusiastic” about the

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Page 140 President’s decision and added that he felt “the announcement should help Humphrey” in the presidential election. Symington was momentarily pleased. In his view there was “little use crying over the spilled milk, and more important than events of the past are those of the present and future.” It was not long, however, before pleasure turned to anger. When the South Vietnamese began squabbling over the shape of the table at the Paris peace talks (the North finally suggested a round one), and indicated that they could wait indefinitely to begin talks, Symington became furious. He was fearful that if the South Vietnamese leaders thought that the United States would continue to “bankroll” them, they would refuse to act. If indeed that were the case, Symington believed, then the United States should begin to think of its own national interests and attend the negotiations without South Vietnam. There, hopefully, the United States and North Vietnam could work out a military settlement and the South could worry about a political settlement. In that way, he thought, “we could turn a large part of our gigantic budget for swords into ploughshares” and there would be “substantial resources available to cope with the great and growing problems which also face us in other parts of the world as well as here at home.”47 Unfortunately for Symington and the rest of the country, the peace talks ended in stalemate and the conflict broadened, turning even uglier during the Nixon Administration. If he thought the Johnson Administration was remote, insensitive to Congress, arrogant, and independent, he faced in the new Administration an even more devious and secretive opponent. After Johnson left the White House, he and Symington were able to place most of their differences behind them. In spite of their ups and downs, the friendship proved durable even though Symington was described by a member of his family as “frenetic” and Johnson as “manic.” The Symingtons—both Stuart and his wife Eve—were genuinely fond of the Johnsons, particularly Lady Bird, and they shared a past that, luckily, transcended differences over policy. The Symingtons were invited to a reception on January 4, 1969, where there were only ninety guests, to view the official portraits of the Johnsons. On January 17 in an address to the Senate, Symington paid tribute to Johnson for his advancements in “education, civil liberties, and civil rights.” He claimed that those people “who have had the privilege of knowing President Johnson over the years know also of his great ability, his tireless energy, and his strong desire to maintain a prosperous and secure nation.” Johnson wrote Symington after the tribute that he was “grateful…for your kind words in the Senate yesterday, and for all the support and generosity you have offered us through the years.” He continued by saying that it meant “a great deal to Lady Bird and me that you would think well of us, and that you spoke as you did.”48 On the occasion of Johnson’s death in 1973, Symington delivered one of several eulogies. He reminded those who “enjoyed the friendship” of the late President that they “knew of his incredible capacity for hard work, his rare natural gift for leadership, his determination to carry out the programs he felt wise and good for the people…of America.” He added that “no American, no citizen of any country at any time in history, has ever done more to improve the lot of millions of his fellow men and women.” The tribute was genuine.49

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Page 141 NOTES 1. William C.Gibbons, The United States Government and the Vietnam War, Part 4 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), 101–102, 117; Text of Meet the Press, NBC Television, 28 April 1963, Allen W. Dulles Papers, selected corres. and related material: 1963 (St-Warb) Box 117, f. Re Symington, Stuart, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University Archives; transcript from World Affairs Council, 23 May 1964, For. Rel. Com. Box 2055–2062, f. 2059, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP). 2. LBJ to SS, 19 February 1964, White House Central Files Box 688, f. Stuart Symington (Sen.) 11/30/63– 12/31/64, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (LBJL); transcript of speech before the World Affairs Council, SSP. 3. Congress, Senate, 88th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (6 August 1964, 7 August 1964), vol. 110, pt. 14, 18399, 18470–18471; Walter Arnold Zelman, “Senate Dissent and the Vietnam War, 1964– 1968” (Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California-Los Angeles, 1971), 55–59, 157–158; for discussion of the Resolution see Ezra Y.Siff, Why the Senate Slept: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Beginning of America’s Vietnam War (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1999). 4. See Siff for more analysis of LBJ’s decision; Gibbons, 341–342. 5. “Draft Remarks on Vietnam,” For. Rel. Com. Box 2115–2121, f. 2118, SSP. 6. Nancy Zaroulis and Gerald Sullivan, Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam, 1963– 1975 (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1984), 74; William C.Berman, William Fulbright and the Vietnam War: The Dissent of a Political Realist (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1988), 53; Memorandum for the President from Mike Manatos, 16 February 1966, WHCF Name File Box 688, f. Symington, Stuart, Executive FG 431 TF, LBJL; Questions for Maxwell Taylor, For. Rel. Com. Box 2105– 2114, f. 2105, SSP. 7. Report on Trip to Vietnam, For. Rel. Com. Box 2155–2166, f. 2156, SSP; New York Times (NYT), 31 December 1965, 2:6, 7; Gibbons, 142. Symington also met with U.S. Ambassador to Laos William Sullivan, who reported the conversation to McGeorge Bundy. He suggested to LBJ that they talk to Symington “before he starts to say this sort of thing (limited targets means limited results) in public. He doesn’t much like being muzzled by the White House, but he has played ball with us before.” It is not known whether this recommendation was acted upon. 8. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (1 February 1966), vol. 112, pt. 2, 1629; Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1961–1973 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 347–348. 9. Memo from McGeorge Bundy to Congressman Paul C.Jones, 4 February 1966, WHCF Name File Box 688, f. Symington, Stuart, General ND 19/CO 312, LBJL. 10. Handwritten notes made in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting, 3 March 1966, For. Rel. Box 2105–2114, f. 2105 For. Rel. Misc. 1966, SSP. 11. Gibbons, 138. 12. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (4 March 1966), vol. 112, pt. 4, 4930, 5002–5004. 13. JAF to SS, 14 March 1966, WHCF Name File Box 688, f. Symington, Stuart, Congressional, LBJL. 14. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (10 March 1966), vol. 112, pt. 5, 550; ibid., (25 March 1966), vol. 112, pt. 5, 6782–6783. For psychological and informational warfare, the government was coordinating the activities of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the U.S. Public Affairs Office, and the Agency

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Page 142 for International Development (AID), all with the Departments of State and Defense. During the Nixon Administration, however, Symington was appalled to discover that USIA and AID were both used for covert action by the CIA. 15. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (8 June 1966), vol. 112, pt. 9, 12641– 12642. 16. “Draft Statement,” 29 August 1966, For. Rel. Com. Box 2115–2121, f. 2120, SSP; Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (13 October 1966), vol. 112, pt. 20, 26539. 17. Richard Eder, “Rusk and Senators Split on Military Commitments,” NYT, 31 August 1966, 1:1, 7:2, 3,4; SS to LBJ, 14 October 1966, WHCF Name File Box 688, f. Symington, Stuart, Executive SO3 ND 19/CO 312, LBJL; LBJ to SS, 4 November 1966, WHCF Name File Box 688, f. Symington, Stuart, Executive FO7/ Asian, LBJL; LBJ to WR, 30 November 1966, Papers of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Confidential File, Name File ST Box 151, f. SU, LBJL. 18. SS to Odlum and Cochran, 10 January 1967, Jacqueline Cochran: Papers, 1932–75 General File Series A 76–4, 76–4/1, 76–4/2, 78–5 & 83–5 Box 183, f. “S” Miscellaneous 1967 (4), Dwight David Eisenhower Library (DDEL); Flora Lewis, “The Education of a Senator,” The Atlantic, December 1971, 62; James S. Olson and Randy Roberts, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945–1990 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991), 169–170; Jaya Krishna Baral, The Pentagon and the Making of US Foreign Policy: A Case Study of Vietnam, 1960–1968 (New Delhi: Radiant Publishers, 1978), 286; Harry G.Summers, Jr., Vietnam War Almanac (New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985), 329. 19. Lewis, 62; Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis. 20. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (26 January 1967), vol. 113, pt. 2, 1707– 1709; text of news conference, White House Press Office Files, Press Secretary’s News Conference Box 13, f. PS NC #712-a through PS NC #719-a, January 23–27, 1967, LBJL; SS to RR and JWF, 3 February 1967, Armed Ser. Com. Box 6098, f. 1767, SSP; Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (24 February 1967), vol. 113, pt. 4, 4446–4448. 21. Congress, Senate 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (28 February 1967), vol. 113, pt. 4, 4723– 4726. 22. “March of the News,” U.S. News and World Report, 3 April 1967, 13. 23. NYT, 4 April 1967, 7:1. 24. Robert Hotz, “Protecting the MIGs,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, 10 April 1967; SS to RR, 18 May 1967, Armed Ser. Com. Box 6098, f. 1767 Corr w/Chair & Staff 1967, SSP; Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (8 May 1967), vol. 113, pt. 9, 11867–11868. 25. Memorandum for Mrs. Johnson from Mike Manatos, 1 June 1967, WHCF Box 688, Executive CO 291, SO5, LBJL. 26. SS to For. Rel. Com., 20 June 1967, PHD to SS, 23 June 1967, SS to PHD, 27 June 1967, Armed Sr. Com. Box 6098, f. 1767 Corr w/Chair & Staff, SSP. 27. NYT, 29 June 1967, 4:6; Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (28 June 1967), vol. 113, pt. 13, 17696–17697; AL to SS, 7 July 1967, Alphabetical Corr. 1967 Box 12, f. LAN-LAR, SSP. 28. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (11 July 1967), vol. 113, pt. 14, 18367– 18368; ibid., (27 July 1967), vol. 113, pt. 15, 20380–20381. 29. “Off Record Meeting of Symington with LBJ,” 10 August 1967, President’s Daily Diary, Box 12, LBJL; Hedrick Smith, “Senators Deplore ‘Fraud’ in Vote Drive in Vietnam,” NYT, 12 August 1967, 1:6, 2:1.

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Page 143 30. Admiral Grant Sharp, U.S. Navy (Retired), Strategy for Defeat: Vietnam in Retrospect (San Rafael: Presidio Press, 1978), 187–188, 194–195; SS to JS, 29 June 1967, Armed Ser. Com., f. 1989 Preparedness Sub. Vietnam Bombing 1967, SSP. There are numerous letters of support in this folder. Johnson had authorized more targets in order to minimize the effect of the testimony that would be given in the hearings. 31. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (28 August 1967), vol. 113, pt. 18, 24199, (29 August 1967), 24423; Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: The Viking Press, 1983), 508. 32. Investigation of the Preparedness Program, Summary Report by Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, under the authority of S. Res. 71, (90th Cong., 1st sess.) on Air War Against North Vietnam (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967), SSP. 33. Lewis, 62. 34. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (3 October 1967), vol. 113, pt. 20, 27544–27545; Press Secretary’s News Conference, 3 October 1967, Box 15, LBJL; SS to CC, 5 October 1967, 9 October 1967, Alphabetical Corr. 1967 Box 10 C-E, F. CLI-COA, SSP; Gibbons, 831; Memoranda for the President from McGeorge Bundy, 17 October 1967, from Nicholas Katzenbach, 19 October 1967, from Earle Wheeler, 19 October 1967, National Security File, Memos to the President Walt Rostow Box 24, f. Walt Rostow, Vol. 46, October 16–20, 1967 [1 of 2], LBJL. 35. CBS, Face the Nation, Vol. 10 (New York: Holt Information Systems, 1972), 15 October 1967, 299–306. 36. Memorandum: “Position on Vietnam (1965–1967, inclusive),” (undated but his responses began in late October), For. Rel. Com. Box 2105–2114, f. 2106, SSP. 37. MM to SS, 27 October 1967, JC to SS, 3 November 1967, ST to SS, 1 November 1967, JM to SS, 6 November 1967, WP to SS, 6 November 1967, GM to SS, 8 November 1967, JJ to SS, 15 November 1967, For. Rel. Com. F. 2105–2114, f. 2106 For. Rel. Misc. 1967, SSP. 38. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (18 January 1968), vol. 114, pt. 1, 206; ibid., (23 January 1968), vol. 114, pt. 1, 606; ibid., (1 February 1968), vol. 114, pt. 2, 1776; NYT, 24 January 1968, 1:8; John W.Finny, “Senators Assail Policy on Pueblo,” NYT, 27 January 1968, 1:5. In December 1967 in a conversation with presidential assistant Jack Valenti, Symington said that the “U.S. had made three major mistakes in Vietnam:” First, “underestimating the durability of the Viet Cong”; second, the “theory of gradualism [which] has consistently underestimated the Viet Cong in Hanoi”; and, third, “overestimating the concept of nationhood of [South] Vietnam. They couldn’t last 24 hours without us and it is a matter of common knowledge that most of the top leaders are crooks.” Gibbons, fn on 831. There could be no doubt now that LBJ knew of Symington’s pessimism. 39. Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), 424; Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 January 1968), vol. 114, pt. 1, 1269; Clark Clifford, oral history interview by Paige Mulhollan, 14 July 1969, LBJL; Clark Clifford, “A Viet Nam Reappraisal,” Foreign Affairs: An American Quarterly Review, July 1969, 611–612. 40. JWF to SS, 6 February 1968, “Office Memorandum from DCM, US Gov’t. to Ambassador Lodge,” 21 May 1964, For. Rel. Com. F. 2155–2166, f. 2156 Cor. W/Chairman 1965–1968, SSP; Zelman, “Senate Dissent,” 329. 41. John W.Finney, “Rusk Tells Panel of ‘A to Z’ Review of Vietnam War,” NYT, 12 March 1968, 1:8, 17:1, 4; “Rusk Tells Panel ‘We Will Consult’ on Any Troop Rise,” Ibid., 1:1, 17:2. 42. Zaroulis and Sullivan, 156; Zelman, 7–15, 23, 114.

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Page 144 43. Charles W.Cover to SS, 11 March 1968, Elizabeth S.French to SS, 11 March 1968, For. Rel. Com. F. 2155– 2166, f. 2162 For. Rel. Dean Rusk, 1968, SSP. 44. “Statement,” 12 March 1968, 16 March 1968, For. Rel. Com. Box 2105–2114, f. 2107, f. 2128Cor. W/ Staff 1968, SSP. 45. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (10 April, 19 April, 24 April 1968), vol. 114, pt. 8, 9431, 9914, 10033, 10487; SS to Andrew J.Biemiller, 20 May 1968, AFL-CIO, Department of Legislation, 1906–1978, Legislative Reference Files, Box 69, f. 74 Symington, Stuart 1965/04–1976/10, George Meany Memorial Archives. 46. Congress, Senate, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (4 June 1968), vol. 114, pt. 12, 15920; ibid., (17 June 1968), vol. 114, pt. 13, 17358; ibid., (15 July 1968), 21202–21203; (31 July 1968), vol. 114, pt. 19, 24452–24453; (27 September 1968), vol. 114, pt. 22, 28587; Carl Marcy to SS, 9 September 1968, “A Proposal,” For. Rel. Com. F. 2122–2130, f. 2128 Corr W/Staff May-Dec. 1968, SSP. 47. WR to LBJ, 2 November 1968, JPW to WR, 3 November 1968, National Security File/Country File Vietnam, Box 103, f. Vietnam 7F (4) 11/68 Congressional Attitudes and Statements, LBJL; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (10 January 1969), vol. 115, pt. 1, 431. 48. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis; 4 January 1969, The President’s Daily Diary, 12/1/68–1/20/69, Box 18, LBJL; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong, 1st sess., Congressional Record (17 January 1969), vol. 115, pt. 1, 1215; LBJ to SS, 18 January 1969, WHCF, Box 688, f. Stuart Symington, 1/1/68, Executive PR 1, LBJL. 49. Congress, Senate, 93rd Cong, 1st sess. Congressional Record (24 January 1973), vol. 119, pt. 2, 2098.

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Page 145 Chapter 9 The Nixon Administration and the Wars in Indochina On February 3, 1969, Stuart Symington was appointed by Chairman J.William Fulbright to head a new ad hoc Subcommittee on Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad (SSACA). He was also reappointed to the Subcommittee on Central Intelligence. At the time neither Symington nor Fulbright foresaw the ramifications of these assignments. What began as a study of the enormous costs of obsolete obligations and the impact of the Vietnam War on U.S. commitments abroad came to encompass serious Constitutional questions by 1970. These included the role of the executive and legislative branches of government in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy and the role of the CIA in policy making. As the SSACA probed a number of executive agreements with other governments, it became clear to Symington and other Senators on the committee that in years past the Senate had surrendered its role in the foreign policy arena to the Chief Executive and that a succession of Presidents, most prominently Richard M.Nixon, had behaved in ways that were clearly unconstitutional. When Fulbright announced the formation of the new subcommittee, he stressed that one major area of concern would be “the power of the military to dictate or influence foreign policy.” It would be the committee’s responsibility “to make a detailed review of the international military commitments of the United States and their relationship to foreign policy.” The controversial war in Vietnam was to be exempt from the study, but John W.Finney of the New York Times astutely pointed out that the investigations into foreign policy commitments were partly a reaction to American involvement in Vietnam. He believed that most of the committee members had been strongly opposed to the Vietnam policies during the Johnson Administration and that the Nixon Administration would find “pressure” to reexamine and perhaps reverse U.S. postwar foreign policy, especially the “trend of a global extension of American military power.” He pointed out that committee members had previously been hesitant to criticize Vietnam policy largely because of the peace negotiations in process, but that the Nixon Administration would “have to contend with a committee intent on reasserting what it regards as its constitutional prerogatives in the formulation of foreign policy.” One of the first concerns for the

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Page 146 Symington subcommittee, Finney continued, was certain to be a question of how much influence the military had on foreign policy and if agreements made could “lead to dangerous foreign crises.”1 Finney was correct in his prediction that the Symington subcommittee probe would lead to a reevaluation of all U.S. commitments abroad. Even more important, Symington’s focus on certain specific agreements emphasized their relationship to the war in Vietnam and served to publicize many aspects of the war, which until then had seemed peripheral. Indeed, his discoveries proved beyond a shadow of doubt that American involvement in Southeast Asia extended far beyond what the Johnson and Nixon Administrations publicly admitted. The disclosures of the Symington subcommittee also forced Congress to assess the relationship of the executive branch to Congress regarding the formulation of foreign and military policies. To aid the new subcommittee Walter Pincus, a reporter for the Washington Post, and Roland Paul, counsel to the subcommittee, began a series of tours of overseas American bases and embassies to investigate the activities of the U.S. military.2 As Symington and his colleagues began their task, the key question was whether a commitment made at one time should be binding in perpetuity and, if so, why. Symington was especially cognizant of the extraordinary costs of playing “knight-errant” to the world. Time after time he pointed out that many of the allies were economically capable of assuming a greater role in defense, especially the NATO members. The need for more balanced burden sharing was made even more compelling because as Western Europe and Japan strengthened their economies, the value of the dollar and American gold reserves dwindled. The bottom line, he said, was priorities. Pennsylvania Senator Joseph S. Clark summed up perfectly the job ahead: “Congratulations on grabbing this bear by its tail. I am sure you are big enough and smart enough to hang its skin on the wall.” The hunt was on, and what a catch! Eventually the committee discovered that U.S. policy makers in several presidential administrations had secretly negotiated military understandings with foreign countries that could possibly lead to military engagement, executive promises to support questionable governments, and agreements to subsidize foreign nationals to fight in Vietnam. In conducting its inquiries the Symington committee set the stage for an ultimately successful attack on the foreign policy decisionmaking and the war-making powers of the President.3 Symington had always supported a strong military, but he realized that the military was only one important facet of national defense. Other important components consisted of a growing economy with a strong dollar and the faith of the American people in their government. All of these elements had to be in proper balance for the nation to prosper. In 1969 he believed that this balance could not be reestablished until the Vietnam struggle came to an end. As he saw it, if Vietnam were to continue as a major military commitment, then the premier task of this subcommittee was the reassessment of national priorities, other responsibilities notwithstanding. It would not be easy. Not only did the Nixon Administration refuse to cooperate in providing information, it also forbade Administration witnesses to appear before the subcommittee. As the Senators discovered, Southeast Asia was a particularly sensitive area.4

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Page 147 One of the first agreements to be investigated by the Symington subcommittee was the arrangement with Thailand. In March 1969 Stephen M. Young, Senator from Ohio, noted that the United States then had fortyfive thousand troops in Thailand, whereas in 1963 there had been only four thousand. He quoted a proWestern but anti-American journalist in Bangkok who wrote, “The Americans are the real enemies of our people, not the communists.” Young suggested that “President Nixon and the Congress would do well to reconsider our situation in Thailand before our militarists—our CIA and the generals of our Joint Chiefs of Staff—cause us to blunder into another Vietnam.” Senator Young had stumbled upon a dicey situation that had a direct bearing on the war in Vietnam. The United States had in fact stationed its own troops in Thailand but by agreement was also supporting about twelve thousand Thai troops in Laos who were fighting the North Vietnamese. Members of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee attempted to secure copies of those agreements from the Administration but met with resistance. Fulbright denounced the White House as “contemptuous of the Senate,” and Symington speculated on exactly what promises had been made that might have engendered Administration reluctance to share this pertinent information. He then opened hearings on the agreements with Thailand. What the subcommittee discovered was that the Johnson Administration had made a much larger commitment to Thailand than was required under the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) agreement; it had also developed contingency war plans for the defense of Thailand.5 Whether Symington would have gone public with the announcement of these contingency war plans remains a moot point. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird preempted any action by informing Senator John Stennis and Symington that while he would not send any relevant documents to the committees, they were welcome to go directly to the Pentagon. They did. The actual agreement, reached in 1965, provided that U.S. troops would be under Thai command if, in turn, the Thai government agreed to help resist aggression. Supposedly, the Pentagon offered the same arrangement for Laos in which Thailand agreed “to meet any would-be aggressors before they reached the Thai border.” The senators on the subcommittee publicly spoke to the media. They reported that as of August 1969 the Pentagon admitted that fifty thousand troops were stationed in Thailand at six U.S. Air Force bases. The New York Times speculated that from there they were able to operate in South Vietnam and Laos, although the United States did not “officially acknowledge the attacks in Laos.” The article in the Times further stated that ground troops were “acting as advisors to Thai troops fighting Communist-led insurrection in the northeastern part of the country.” Four days later the Administration announced that the contingency plan would not be implemented “without consulting Congress.” In fact, the State Department said it would discuss withdrawing forty-nine thousand troops currently based in Thailand.6 There were several troubling aspects in the Thai situation. In September it was announced that the 396 Green Berets already there would remain to train Thai forces in jungle warfare. Walter Pincus, the subcommittee staff researcher, confided in Symington his fear that the Green Berets were part of the

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Page 148 contingency war plan and that the United States intended to honor that plan whether it came through SEATO or not. Another problem, and one that would grow, was the charge that the United States paid $1 billion to Thailand for a contingent of Thai troops in Vietnam. In a press release from the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations, that allegation was strongly denied. The official press release drew a fine line by claiming that while the United States did not pay Thailand to send troops to South Vietnam, it had agreed to “subsidize” troops there.7 This admission inadvertently brought forward a new perspective again on the war in Vietnam. Was the United States paying for allied participation in the war? If so, which countries were involved? Was this money appropriated by Congress? Was this part of the Pentagon budget? Even more important, had the previous Administrations lied about support for the war in Vietnam? These questions became especially pertinent in the case of the Philippines. The State Department did not want it known that the United States was subsidizing Filipino troops in South Vietnam in addition to the massive foreign aid it provided to support the Ferdinand Marcos government. Therefore, the Department heavily censored the text of the hearings, many of which took place in executive session. Symington angrily protested the excessive secrecy. This proved to be an ongoing point of contention between his subcommittee and the Administration, which at this time hid behind national security concerns and its desire to keep the details secret until after the November elections in the Philippines. As was so common in the Nixon Administration, its own officials leaked to the press information “for the purpose of building up opposition to the release of [information resulting from] said hearing.” Indeed, several members received calls from businessmen who said that a full report could prove to be “embarrassing” and could only strengthen the antiAmerican sentiment in the Philippines. To Symington one businessman wrote: “If your objective was to prove that a determined Missouri jackass can supplant the much vaunted Missouri mule in American folklore, you may very well have achieved that too.”8 Part of the controversy surrounding the release of information from the hearings centered on newspaper reports that the United States was financing 1,500 to 2,000 Filipino troops in Vietnam. John Finney of the New York Times reported that the Philippines sent “a 2,000 man construction battalion to South Vietnam” but only “upon receiving assurances of financial and military assistance.” Finney pronounced the dispute between the State Department and the Defense Department “a test case for the Senate subcommittee…in its proclaimed intention of re-examining and making public the extent of the nation’s foreign commitments.” Since it was the State Department that so objected to a public forum, this was “an indication that the objections [were] based more on political consideration than on reasons of military secrecy.” Critics like Finney charged that the Nixon Administration was in effect hiring mercenaries from the Philippines and South Korea for service in Vietnam. President Marcos denied that charge, of course, and the State Department justified refusing to release material to the contrary until after the November elections “out of a concern that the testimony could inflame the nationalistic,

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Page 149 anti-American feelings that already began to appear in the course of the campaign.”9 Perhaps not surprisingly, Finney’s report was fairly accurate. The Nixon Administration admitted in November —after the Philippine elections—that beginning in 1966 and continuing for three years, the United States spent $39 million on 2,200 Filipino men, “four times the amount spent by the Philippine government to support the battalion, and paid individual soldiers allowances that in effect doubled their pay.” In the face of this revelation Senator Fulbright reacted by noting that it was only “further evidence that the United States had secretly undertaken extraordinary efforts to demonstrate widespread allied support for the war in Vietnam.” For Symington it was one more example of how agreements that had no Congressional approval could involve the United States in compromising and embarrassing situations. The Times reported that some subcommittee members believed these agreements could “lead, in turn, to a steady and unmonitored expansion of American military commitments and, with each new commitment, a further round of demands from the recipient country.”10 Naturally, there were discrepancies in exactly how much money was involved and where exactly it went. Symington went to the General Accounting Office (GAO) to obtain the facts. After the report had been declassified, a sanitized version showed that the payments had been arranged personally by Marcos and that an estimated $38.8 million had been spent in aid to the Philippines. The State and Defense Departments refused to give Symington’s subcommittee access to the whole audit.11 Sure enough, in December 1969 anti-American demonstrations occurred in the Philippines, “touched off by what the Filipinos considered insulting remarks against their country made by several United States Senators who suggested that the Philippine Government had mercenary reasons for sending soldiers to Vietnam.” Then, in January 1970, in an effort to smooth relations between the Nixon Administration and the Philippines, Vice-President Spiro Agnew attended the inauguration of Marcos and assured him that the United States would honor all commitments and that the State Department certainly did not hold the views expressed by Senators Symington and Fulbright. In the meantime, Secretary of State William Rogers insisted that there was no ill will between the State Department and the Foreign Relations Committee. However, Symington did not “play ball” with the diplomats. In an appearance on CBS Face the Nation, he accused the Marcos government of misusing funds meant to support Filipino troops in Vietnam. He denounced it as “a pretty shoddy story.” Even though the report was still classified and Symington could provide no specific facts, he accused Marcos of corruption and asked, “Who got the money?” Although the final report had been heavily sanitized by the State Department, the gist concerned “official corruption around Clark Air Force Base near Luzon and in the handling of the funds supplied for the Philippine unit.” At the same time, officials in Manila strongly denied Symington’s accusations, contending that “the Philippine contingent to Vietnam had never received any cash assistance from the United States.” What the GAO report showed, however, was that the United States had made quarterly payments to the Philippines in support of Filipino troops in Vietnam. Yet, surprisingly, the Marcos government was

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Page 150 under no obligation to account for those funds. An incredulous Symington complained, “It is almost inconceivable the U.S. Government would get itself into a position where it pays money to foreign governments, or anybody else, without requiring information on the disposition of those funds.” Not only could Symington not secure accurate information, the GAO added that its own study “had been ‘seriously hampered and delayed by the reluctance of the Departments [of State and Defense] to give us access to the documents, papers and records which’…[they] considered pertinent.”12 As a footnote to the Thailand and the Philippine questions, testimony released by Symington’s subcommittee in June 1970 revealed that the United States had indeed paid Thailand $50 million per year since 1967 for its combat divisions in South Vietnam and also increased its military assistance. Two American ambassadors first testified that Thailand actually offered its assistance, but under questioning they agreed that it was only with U.S. backing. The general consensus was that as the military presence grew in Thailand and in the Philippines (or any place else, for that matter), their economies became more dependent on U.S. aid.13 It was a sentiment that Symington shared. Since 1967 he had worried about the toll the war in Indochina exacted not only on the economy of the United States but on all countries involved. The United States was simply overextended and overcommitted. For him it was again a matter of priorities. Foreign aid agreements had to be reevaluated, and the Senate had to be privy to previous executive decisions and reassert its Constitutional rights to approve those made in the future. As long as the war in Vietnam dragged on, the economic and political repercussions of foreign commitments had to be studied. To this end, and supporting the general consensus of Symington’s subcommittee, Fulbright introduced a proposal that all foreign aid agreements must be reviewed by the Senate. Coming on the heels of this possible Senate action, Nixon announced the first troop withdrawals from Vietnam and a cancellation of immediate draft calls. He proposed that from that date forward, countries that received American military and economic aid would also have to furnish their own troops. His decision may well have been made in order to forestall any Congressional efforts to restrain the President’s decision-making power. With good reason, rather than pull back from the war, Nixon planned a major escalation.14 Hearings on American commitments abroad resumed a few days later with the explosive issue of Laos on the agenda. Symington had little hope of learning much, however, since policy makers, especially National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, flatly refused to appear before the subcommittee. At length, an exasperated Carl Marcy, Chief of Staff for the entire Foreign Relations Committee, seized the initiative and wrote a strong letter to Kissinger. He recounted the frustrations of committee members because of the lack of cooperation from Kissinger’s office. Getting to the crux of the problem, Marcy complained that Kissinger’s position “had the effect of moving the Committee one more step away from having either an influence on foreign policy decisions, or knowing the ingredients that are being put into them.” U.S. Senators wanted to be supportive and hesitated to publicly dissent for fear of damaging the peace

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Page 151 process, he wrote. But there had to be some dialogue. “It is a bit incongruous,” Marcy added, “that this Committee meets informally with visiting heads of state for an exchange of views…but does not have even an informal relationship at the same level within our own Government.”15 That, however, was the way the Administration wanted it. Marcy only voiced the total frustration and disgust felt by most of the Foreign Relations Committee members, including Stuart Symington. The Missouri Senator had repeatedly written Secretary of State Rogers, asking him to testify before his subcommittee, but even when he reluctlantly appeared, little information was forthcoming. Kissinger never even bothered to appear. What Symington may or may not have surmised was what historian Joan Hoff discovered. She reported that during the first months of the Nixon Administration, the new President was asked “how he was getting along with the State Department,” and “he pointed in the direction of the Oval Office and said: ‘There’s the State Department.’” He, along with Kissinger, “both relished covert activity and liked making unilateral decisions.” They “resented any attempt by Congress to interfere with initiatives” and “agreed that the United States could impose order and stability on the world only if the White House controlled policy by appearing conciliatory but acting tough.”16 John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s closest personal aides, wrote that the Secretary of Defense Melvin R.Laird, like Secretary of State Rogers, realized that his actions and decisions were first and foremost dictated by the White House. Nixon feared that Congressional doves would “impede” his policy on Vietnam, so in particular “a Secretary of Defense had to understand the Congress and be willing to play its games…and Laird was a consummate Congressional game-player.” This decision-making process was by no means a new development, but with the partnership of Nixon and Kissinger, plus the tacit agreement and recognition of their proper spheres by Rogers and Laird, and the cooperation of the CIA, the Senators faced a formidable foe when asserting their Constitutional prerogatives.17 Symington was not about to give up without a fight. Finally persuading Nixon to meet privately with him on October 1, he perhaps had little idea of the meticulous scenarios that Administration advisors prepared for his visit. Kissinger presented a brief for the President, reminding him that the purpose of the subcommittee was “to prepare a case against (1) ‘treaties of commitment in the defense of 42 countries,’ and (2) the elaborate worldwide network of the U.S. military installations.” He added, however, that a more important motive behind Symington’s investigation was “to implement Senate Resolution 85, which seeks to seize for the Senate powers of formulation and implementation of foreign and defense policy that are the Constitutional prerogatives of the Executive alone.” Kissinger added that the subcommittee had secured a considerable amount of sensitive and classified material, including “such things as type and locations of nuclear weapons and data on covert operations in Laos.” He noted that the Administration had taken precautions that all representatives would speak and act “with one voice through the establishment of a Task Force” that included various offices within the Administration. He reminded Nixon that Nixon himself had already decided that executive privilege would “be

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Page 152 invoked on all contingency plans,” that the CIA would “not be asked to appear before the Subcommittee with respect to its Laos activities,” and that “nuclear weapon deployment [would] not be revealed.” Only the heads of the CIA, the NSA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) would appear before the subcommittee; no other employees of these agencies would be included. In his brief, or “talking paper” for use in his conversation with Symington, Kissinger insisted that much of the information sought was “privileged” and, if circulated, could be “harmful both to our national security and to the conduct of our foreign affairs.”18 Presidential aide Bob Haldeman also expressed great trepidation about the Symington subcommittee hearings and Symington’s meeting with the President. On September 30, the day before Kissinger sent his memo, Haldeman met with Kissinger and Ehrlichman “about the Symington hearings problem, on which they had been meeting most of the day in the Situation Room.” Symington’s staff members, Walter Pincus and Roland Paul, had leaked to the press secret information they had gathered in their investigations and were “building” a “big” case against the Administration. Haldeman wrote that the question now was “how to avoid having our key people testify,” as the issue was one of executive privilege.19 Another Nixon advisor, Bryce Harlow, also prepared a memorandum for the President, but he reminded Nixon that “in Symington, we have a mixture of Legislative-Executive service on which you can usefully play this afternoon.” Because of Symington’s background, he surely would understand “the need for executive precautions—especially the need for tight security in handling highly sensitive national secrets.” Harlow advised Nixon to act “eager to cooperate” and assure Symington that he knew the Senator would understand his “personal extreme reluctance in having to order this restraint.” After all, he reasoned, Symington had faced similar situations as Air Force Secretary. Harlow advised the Chief Executive to say “frankly” that Symington might “find it necessary for one reason or another to ‘lay into me’ for this decision,” but Nixon wanted “it perfectly clear” that he had “reached this judgment not only reluctantly, but also without the slightest personal rancor or other personal considerations.” Then Harlow advised him to “explore the Vietnam troop withdrawal issue, if for no other reason than to draw out the thinking of the Symington axis at this point in time.”20 All of this preparation notwithstanding, the meeting between Symington and Nixon came to nothing; it was a fruitless conversation and the Senator continued to press for information. In December 1969 he wrote Secretary of State Rogers, again accusing him of not cooperating with the subcommittee and of over classifying documents so that subcommittee members had no access to them. The present hearings on Laos, he complained, had “degenerated into a farce” because many of the Administration officials who were called never showed up. Thus, he and the staff had concluded “that someone in your Department could be ‘playing games’ with this committee and the constitutional rights of the Congress.” Symington nevertheless assured Rogers of his personal respect and hoped that they could discuss the problems.21 Before the subcommittee hearings ended in 1974, there would be many more such

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Page 153 complaints from Symington. The Nixon appointees were not exactly known for their accessibility or their veracity. Author Richard J.Barnet observed that, with the Fulbright Resolution and the Symington hearings, the Senate had begun to assert its authority, mainly because its members were “tired of being misled by the executive.” He described Symington as a man who at one time gave the military whatever it requested but who had since “become an outspoken and effective critic.” As to the Symington hearings, Barnet said that such forums “should become a regular activity, for not only do they have some restraining effect on the Pentagon but they have an educational impact on the country” and in that capacity could “help create the climate for breaking up the military-industrial complex and shrinking the defense effort to proper size.”22 Public hearings, of course, were just what the Nixon Administration feared. What the Administration had learned, and one of the problems to which Haldeman referred in that September 30 diary entry, was that the subcommittee investigators had discovered a most explosive issue—the shocking news that the United States, and in particular the CIA, had been conducting a secret war in Laos for a very long time. The situation in Laos was complicated and far from new. During the Kennedy Administration the 1962 Geneva Accords, signed by fourteen nations and primarily negotiated by America’s ambassador-at-large, Averell Harriman, established a neutral Laos. After that, the United States could not become overtly involved in a neutral country, and so the CIA became the primary instrument of American intervention. Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk once explained that the Laotian operation was secret because Prince Souvanna Phouma wanted it to appear that North Vietnam was the only signatory that was violating the 1962 agreement and he did not want publicity surrounding “American air operations in Laos.” Rusk maintained that it was because the North Vietnamese had abused Laotian neutrality that the United States had “suspended the military clauses of the Laos Accords of 1962 and that it was perfectly appropriate for us to take action.”23 Obviously, President Nixon supported the war in Laos, but primarily because a communist takeover there would have a demoralizing effect on the Saigon government’s resolve to keep fighting, and it could possibly derail his program of Vietnamization—that is, the gradual withdrawal of American forces as more responsibility was assumed by the South Vietnamese. For his part, Kissinger was convinced that secrecy helped to prevent North Vietnam from taking all of Laos.24 In August 1969 Stuart Symington publicly announced on the floor of the Senate that the United States had “been at war in Laos for years” and that it was “time the American people knew more of the facts.” He promised a full investigation by his subcommittee and full disclosure of all “political/military agreements, understandings and commitments that have formed the policy basis for that involvement.” Reflecting his attitude toward secrecy and undue classification, Symington proclaimed: “For too long we have permitted our activities abroad to be carried on behind a cloak of secrecy—and often that secrecy veils such activities from the people in this country and their elected officials—not from the enemy.” The State Department reacted to Symington’s statement by denying that American combat troops were stationed in Laos. It

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Page 154 did admit, however, that U.S. pilots flew missions in support of Royal Laotian troops fighting North Vietnamese units.25 The hearings on the secret war in Laos, announced in September but not due to begin until mid-October, were to be held behind closed doors with representatives in Laos called to testify. The “hot topic” produced a plethora of comment in the media. First, the New York Times noted that Symington’s “phrasing was broad enough to include the Central Intelligence Agency, which, in conjunction with the Special Forces of the Army, is believed to have a considerable operation underway in support of Government forces.” On the following day a Times editorial called the Laotian involvement “disturbing” and sympathized with those who were angry at being uninformed. Congressional disenchantment had been reflected just that day in the Senate’s unanimous approval of a military authorization bill that gave Congress “the power to decide on any combat commitment” in Laos and in Thailand. That same editorial suggested that the Laotian “clandestine involvement” illustrated either the extent to which the “military establishment” made U.S. foreign policy or perhaps “that no one in the Administration [was] really in charge of that policy.” Adding to the mounting suspicions of the Senators, North Vietnam then announced that Thai troops, wearing Laotian uniforms, had been fighting in Laos and were supported by U.S. bombing. Hanoi also claimed that American advisors had planned attacks and that U.S. military equipment and Thai troops both had been smuggled into Laos.26 The government in Laos denied “that foreign troops were fighting” on behalf of the Laotian government, but a Times article, written from Vientiane (but with no byline), speculated that the announcement was simply “part of a policy to cloak United States activities in Laos in official secrecy.” About five thousand Thai troops, the article claimed, were “integrated into Laotian combat and training units,” and “several hundred United States military advisors and agents of the Central Intelligence Agency” assisted “Laotian commanders.” The U. S. Air Force reportedly flew “as many as 500 sorties a day” over Laos (code-named Barrel Roll) and the Ho Chi Minh Trail (code-named Steel Tiger). It was further estimated that at least one hundred American pilots had been shot down over Laos and captured. “The most closely guarded secret relating to United States involvement in Laos,” the article continued, was “the role of the Special Forces, organized and paid by the Americans and composed of Montagnard members of Laotian ethnic minorities.” Another shock was the announcement that military action was aided by Continental Air and Air America. These charges were quickly denied by an anonymous Administration official who claimed that there were no combat troops in Laos; but he “declined to define ‘combat troops.’” The same official also was “unable to come up with the number of Americans serving in Laos in any capacity.”27 Many Americans were shocked and angry. A dismayed Symington received a disturbing letter from Randall and Carol Ireson, both of whom had served two years in Laos with International Voluntary Services, Inc. They expressed what many Americans dreaded—the fear that Laos could become another Vietnam. “American involvement in Laos now covers intensive bombing in support of Royal Lao Government military activities” and “CIA supplied mercenary

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Page 155 guerrillas.” “Rumor has it,” they wrote, that “actual U.S. troop involvement [occurred] in the Plain of Jars area.” In response to these charges Symington replied that for the government “to deny there is fighting is a travesty, when not only the enemy but the American participants, including those who are casualties and some of their families, know the truth.” Mrs. Walter H.Stearnes from Springfield, Vermont, wrote to thank Symington for his subcommittee’s investigation into Laos. Her son had been reported shot down over Laos only a month before. He had been “marking a target for other bombers.” Then, reflecting the attitudes of other Americans, she added, “We are appalled at the duplicity of the President’s recent statements saying that we are not involved in Laos.” As if more proof were needed, “in every communication we have had regarding our son, we have been warned by the Air Force not to tell anyone of the circumstances surrounding the crash ‘for our son’s safety.’” She concluded, “we think it is the general’s [sic] and President’s safety they are talking about.” In a poignant plea she asked Symington “to bring this situation to light and to save any other boy’s [sic] lives” because then “this letter will not have been written in vain.”28 Making public the true facts about Laos proved to be a major problem for Symington’s subcommittee. Even the New York Times confirmed that “so secret are the Laos hearings…that the Symington subcommittee refused to disclose the names and the number of the witnesses it heard today.” People testifying before the subcommittee were mostly “‘working-level’ American military officers and civilians brought from Laos.” In December the controversy between Symington and the State Department became public. Symington accused the State Department of wanting “to censor the testimony past all legitimate security reasons” in order to present “a distorted and untrue picture of the Laotian situation.” The Department’s argument was, as usual, based on security grounds. Consequently, the subcommittee decided to withhold publication of the report until it could produce a more accurate version.29 Nixon’s public response to Symington’s accusations was to say that the American people were “entitled to know everything” that they could “with regard to any involvement of the United States abroad.” The President reiterated that there were no ground troops in Laos and that the United States was there strictly at the invitation of the Laotian government for the purpose of trying to uphold the Geneva Accords in spite of the presence of fifty thousand North Vietnamese troops. The Americans, the Chief Executive insisted, were only “interdicting the Ho Chi Minh Trail.” Nixon terminated questions regarding Laos at his December 9 press conference by declaring that he did not believe “the public interest would be served by any further discussions.” The Washington Star speculated that even if Senator Symington appealed to the President, based on comments made at the news conference it was unlikely that he would be “sympathetic.” Symington would have to make a public fight. The Star reported that what had emerged from the hearings to date was that the United States was “paying $150 million a year to subsidize Laotian armed forces.”30 The transcript of the hearings, having been submitted to the State and Defense Departments a month earlier, ran to 535 pages and was returned to

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Page 156 Symington heavily sanitized. Although Symington protested the degree of censorship and sent it back to them, it was returned unchanged. That same Star article suggested that Symington could hold open hearings, although most officials probably would say little of consequence, or he could accept the transcript as is. Another possibility was to challenge the Defense Department’s budget, and that was exactly what Symington did. He and Fulbright introduced a rider to the defense appropriations bill that prohibited sending combat troops to Laos and Cambodia. Tom Wicker of the New York Times wrote that once the entire Senate was informed as to the extent of U.S. involvement in Laos, “the similarity to the creeping American entry into the larger Vietnam war became obvious.” This action was intended to remind the President “of the ultimate Congressional power of the purse—seldom used, recently, except to permit rather than restrain military adventures.” To save face, the White House announced that the rider was “in line” with its own policy. There was speculation that Symington would gain supporters for an uncensored report. “After all,” Wicker wrote, “other Senators may reason, the executive branch, the Senate, the Laotians, the Russians, the Chinese, and the North Vietnamese know what is going on in Laos.” He asked: “Why shouldn’t the American taxpayer [know], who foots the bill for a large part of the action?”31 The following day a New York Times editorial agreed that “a constitutional issue of grave importance” had been raised. Little by little the war-making powers and treaty ratification powers of the Senate had been eroded by Chief Executives who had expanded their own powers. Much of the problem lay in the lack of consultation between the President and Congress. The fact that the Air Force was bombing the Ho Chi Minh Trail was well known by late 1969, but the extent of CIA involvement in Laos was news to most Senators. If nothing else emerged from the Symington hearings, the subcommittee would have done its work. With the rider to the appropriations bill, the Senate would reestablish “a valuable precedent in restoring a form of Congressional oversight that [was] the country’s best guarantee against another Vietnam.” Supporting the piece in the Times was an article published in the Far Eastern Economic Review by Arnold Abrams entitled “Washington’s Dilemma.” Abrams pointed out that implicit in the demands of Symington’s subcommittee, and reflected in the passage of recent resolutions by the Senate, was a call for “a reassessment of the US role by top administration policymakers, including President Nixon.” There had not been serious rethinking of American foreign policy by the Administration, nor would there be. Abrams doubted that any public information on Laos would be forthcoming. But his article made very clear the extent of U.S. involvement, militarily and economically, including the roles played by other agencies such as Air America and Continental Air Services, the CIA, and the Agency for International Development (AID). He also highlighted the fact that American mercenaries, ex-Green Berets, were in Laos and involved in covert military action. Abrams pointed out that the losers in all of this covert action were the American people who had no clue as to what was going on in Southeast Asia. There was also another aspect to Abrams’ article. He speculated that a few Senators, especially Stuart Symington, may have known about the military action in Laos for some time. According to one unnamed

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Page 157 official, the subcommittee hearings were a sham—“a gimmick”—that the oversight committees had been fully briefed on all of the Laotian activities. Supposedly, this official claimed that “some senators’ goals…were to arouse unwarrented [sic] public concern and capitalise [sic] on it.”32 That official was not the only one to make the same criticism and accusation. Thomas Powers, the official biographer of Richard Helms, DCI, wrote that there was evidence that Symington had been fully briefed on the “secret war” in Laos since 1966. In fact, Powers claimed that Helms told him that Symington personally visited with Ted Schackley, the CIA station chief in Laos during the period of July 1966 until December 1968. Powers said Symington invited Schackley to testify before the Armed Services Committee in October 1967 and after his testimony declared “the Laotian program is a sensible way to fight a war. The CIA was spending in a year…what the U.S. Army was spending in a day in Vietnam.” Not surprisingly, former director Helms spoke out in a 1981 interview on the same topic. “Even though that activity became later known as the ‘secret war,’ I have rarely come across any greater nonsense than that.” Helms charged that all Congressional committees to which the DCI reported “knew about our activities in Laos from the very first day. They had to appropriate the money for it.” As to Symington, “he knew far better that it was not a ‘secret war.’” He reiterated the fact that “CIA activities in Laos in the sixties and seventies were well known a) to key people in the administration, and b) to key members of Congress.” Helms admitted that the Laotian operation was “major” for the agency. It required close cooperation between the agency, the ambassador and military attaches who worked out of the U.S. embassy, the Meo tribes, Air America, and the United States Army. He thought all had done “a superb job.”33 Those who charged that Symington had long known and approved of CIA-directed operations in Laos were correct. Indeed, until he changed his views on the war in Vietnam, his attitude toward the CIA was quite protective. As a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, an ex-officio member of the Appropriations Committee, and, since 1966 the Central Intelligence Subcommittee, Symington frequently had access to all available classified material. During discussions about the CIA, Symington tended to acknowledge the lack of accurate information about the agency’s activities but he rationalized that due to the very nature of its covert activities, some secrecy was necessary. The men in the field had to be protected and brought back alive if possible. Originally, only subcommittees of the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees served to oversee CIA activities and recommend funding. These oversight committees often were at the mercy of the DCI. As early as 1956, therefore, a few Senators began pushing for more oversight of the CIA. Symington voted against that measure. In 1960, with the CIA under increasing criticism, he publicly defended and supported DCI Allen Dulles and the agency even though they, too, had their problems and disagreements during the Eisenhower Administration. Symington denied that the CIA was responsible for the removal of Mohammed Mossedegh in Iran in 1953 and Dr. Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala (for which the American ambassador there took the credit). In fact, he said that it was impossible to have

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Page 158 “overt answers from a covert operational agency such as the CIA.” During the 1962 confirmation hearings for John McCone, several Senators spoke against his nomination, not on a personal level but in hopes of reorganizing the CIA and establishing more Congressional control of the agency. At the time Senator Symington disagreed with his colleagues and supported McCone.34 Symington also defended the CIA in 1964 from charges that it made policy and reiterated that because of its involvement in covert activities, the agency could not “and should not respond to charges leveled against it.” He even complimented both Dulles and McCone on their briefings and reassured the public that there had “never been any occasion to question, for one moment, the complete integrity and competence of the CIA representatives in question.” Symington urged both officials in Washington and citizens throughout the country “to accept a more realistic attitude toward what might be called casualties of intelligence operations in the cold war.” There was no other choice as long as the Soviets continued their “basic and relentless campaign of Communist espionage and subversion on a world-wide front.”35 As late as 1966 Symington assured his Senate colleagues that on a recent trip to Southeast Asia he checked with CIA field representatives and ambassadors in all countries he visited and, without fail, they all considered CIA programs to be “fully coordinated with U.S. policy.” He insisted at the time that they were competent men of great integrity. Symington believed “the American public should be proud of this organization and its people.” They served the interests of the United States “with unstinting devotion.” Later that year, when Fulbright again proposed that the Foreign Relations Committee be allowed to join in overseeing the CIA, Georgia’s Richard Russell warned him against “muscling in.” Supporting Russell’s dictum, Symington informed Fulbright that his trip to Southeast Asia in January 1966, and his more recent one in April of that same year, convinced him that the CIA did not set policy and that all ambassadors were “entirely satisfied with the functions of the Central Intelligence Agency.” In Symington’s view, intelligence simply could not be “open,” and there was no need for public discussion of “delicate material.” In fact, Symington likened criticism of the CIA “to shooting fish in a barrel, because the nature of the work of the CIA means it cannot defend itself.” Whether or not the Senators agreed, he said, they must do their “best to protect them [the CIA] in the war in which we are relative neophytes, and the Communists are the masters and experts, in the hidden war which goes along with intelligence and counterintelligence.”36 Even given Symington’s long history of support for CIA operations, the question that cannot be confidently answered is how much Symington really knew about activities in Laos. Clearly he had access to a considerable amount of classified material, and yet the State and Defense Departments and the White House remained coy. If Symington knew all there was to know, why deny him information? What did he personally have to gain? He was no longer a contender for President. Did his dovish views on Vietnam encourage more exposure of Administration policies to ensure U.S. withdrawal? There is no question that he was particularly worried about foreign policy overcommitments abroad. Did these concerns become entangled with his realization that, indeed, Senate powers had been eroded by the numerous executive agreements his

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Page 159 subcommittee had been investigating? After all, the CIA had become a significant component in the hearings. Were he and other Senators on the oversight committees deceived by the DCIs? Agents of the CIA were masters at saying as little as possible, often leaving Congress to believe the unofficial critics of the CIA and dubious about its own official word. Powerful chairmen could decide what classified information to share, and the whole intelligence community (CIA, State and Defense Departments) monitored all classified information, deciding what could be released and how “sanitized” it should be. Moreover, legislators were often afraid to publicly speak out against the Agency. In the final analysis, the CIA was supported by taxpayer funds appropriated by Congress, but it seldom had to defend specifics for its budget. Many Congressmen preferred not to know CIA activities, but by the time of the 1973 hearings on Laos, Symington described the CIA as “The King’s Men” and “The President’s Army.”37 In February 1970, after the hearings concerning the Philippines, Thailand, and, especially Laos, Symington wrote Secretary of State Rogers. In his letter he accused Nixon Administration officials of presenting a distorted picture of events in Southeast Asia. He complained about their “official line,” which described “a war where the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao initiate and do everything and the United States does nothing.” That, Symington insisted, was a gross misstatement of fact. The Laotian war, he claimed, was “costing American lives and many hundreds of millions of dollars.” If there were any possibility of additional military involvement in Laos, before it became another Vietnam it should be openly and truthfully discussed with the American people. The Geneva Accords had not worked; the United States had violated that agreement; and now it should relinquish the charade. “However meritorious were the original reasons for non-disclosure—time and our growing military activities have long since made them irrelevant.” The transcripts of the hearings by his subcommittee contained “both the factual material on the extent of our involvement and the rationale for the past policy of secrecy. Together they present an honest picture.” Symington then strongly urged the Administration to cease its “policy of non-disclosure.” That was not likely to happen. In fact, on February 11 President Nixon announced his refusal to release “anything more than a heavily censored version” of the subcommittee report.38 The following day a North Vietnamese offensive began in Laos, and Nixon ordered B-52 strikes in support of Laotian troops. That assault was one more indication of an escalation of total war being waged in Southeast Asia. An irate Symington pointed out that Congress and the American people were totally dependent on news media reports for information regarding these developments. If these reports were true, the U.S. role in Laos was escalating at an alarming rate. Symington warned the Administration that hiding U.S. activities in Laos could lead to problems for Nixon similar to those that had plagued Johnson before him. In support of Symington’s accusations, staff member Walter Pincus complained in a February 18 memo that all of the media coverage was “a clear indication that Administration spokesmen unofficially [were] disclosing to journalists portions of the factual material that the same Administration” refused to let Symington’s subcommittee “publish in a complete, and thus more

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Page 160 accurate, form.” Members of the subcommittee, he observed, were prohibited from “frankly” discussing it and, consequently, Pincus believed that this kept the Senators from meeting “their own responsibilities.”39 Symington could not have agreed more. In several statements issued during the last week of February 1970 and in numerous public speeches he took issue with the Administration over the public’s right to know the extent of any war in which U.S. armed services were engaged and taxpayers’ dollars were being spent. He challenged the extreme secrecy and censorship of the State Department on the same grounds. There were too many other domestic problems that needed attention but were being ignored because of continuing involvement in Indochina: small businesses were failing due to rising interest rates; educational needs and inner city housing were left unattended; the budget had to be balanced if the integrity of the dollar were to be maintained against inflation; and air and water pollution had to be controlled and reduced. In his public speeches he reminded audiences that only a few months before, even President Nixon had said that the people had the right to know all the facts. Other Senators jumped into the fray. Charles Mathias, Jr. (R-MD), accused the Administration of “subverting the will of Congress by the American military involvement in Laos”; Javits called for the repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, hopefully removing the instrument behind which the Administration hid its activities. Fulbright added that it was imperative that the full testimony given before Symington’s subcommittee be disclosed in its entirety at least before the Senate and, hopefully, the public. Symington complained that he had “never seen anything like this before in all [his] years in Government.” He noted that, in bypassing the Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department obviously showed “some form of contempt for the Senate.” Letters went unanswered “for many weeks.” Four months had passed since testimony ended on Laos, but still there was no report. Information had been kept from him when he was in Laos just as it was kept from him at home. At issue was “a question as to whether or not the Senate of the United States, under the ‘advice and consent’ clause, does or does not have anything to do with foreign policy.”40 Apparently, the Administration decided not to recognize the Constitutional rights of the Senate because it simply refused to allow U.S. Ambassador to Laos G.McMurtrie Godley to appear before the subcommittee. Sarcastically, Symington remarked that he could understand why the Administration would not want Godley to testify. After all, Godley “was not only directly supervising the extensive military and nonmilitary activities of the various U.S. intelligence agencies in that country, but was also directing the time, place, and nature of all other U.S. military activities against North Laos.” Godley, a key witness, had initially agreed to appear in July 1970 but only if one copy of the transcript were made and all tapes were destroyed. Subsequently, the State Department withdrew that offer, explaining only that the “time was inopportune” and that “the military situation would not permit the Ambassador’s return” from his duties at the embassy in Laos.41 Even though the Administration continued to cling to its policy of secrecy, Symington was making points. The President’s position was being eroded by the constant rhetorical battering. Then, adding to the Administration’s cup of woes,

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Page 161 on March 6 the New York Times published a report describing the base at Long Cheng in Laos. Two journalists had wandered around for two hours before being discovered by CIA operatives. They saw exGreen Berets employed by the CIA, a town newly built by the CIA, small but well-equipped airfields, U.S. pilots and planes (Air America and Continental Air), bombers, U.S. reconnaissance planes, and 3 Jolly Green Giant helicopters whose crews wore USAF uniforms. Furthermore, the Times reported, a U.S. plane took off approximately every minute from this base. From the few people with whom they were able to talk, the reporters estimated that about twelve pilots were shot down in Laos each month. In response to this report, Symington reported that a $100 billion had “gone down the drain in Vietnam” and he would “get out, especially as it may well be that we’ll get into another Vietnam” in Laos. “You can say we don’t want it, but the pattern is clear and its [sic] quite comparable to the point of similarity of, say, 1964.” Laos, he warned, “is the first undisclosed war that we’ve ever had in the history of our country.”42 The public reports and bitter criticisms led the Nixon Administration to produce a set of distorted figures regarding casualties suffered by the United States in Laos. The government contended that since 1969 only one Army captain and six civilians had been killed. Symington pounced on those figures. The report obviously excluded the numbers of pilots and airmen downed and lost—“the much greater casualties in the air.” He also claimed that the Administration ignored the many casualties suffered by “civilians” employed by the International Voluntary Services, who were under contract to AID and Air America. He again accused Ambassador Godley of becoming “the American ‘proconsul’ in Laos, directing all of our military and intelligence activities there as well as diplomatic.” A St. Louis radio editorial agreed with Symington’s criticisms. The commentator admitted that Nixon’s “carefully-worded” statement aroused suspicions rather than allayed them. “The people of Missouri and the entire nation” should “be grateful” to Symington because the nation needed “his persistence and expertise to break the wall of secrecy that could be hiding another tragic mistake in national policy.”43 As more and more articles provided a clear indictment of involvement in Laos, Symington relentlessly called for the Administration and the State Department to furnish the American people the truth. Instead of providing facts, in April the President expanded the war into yet a third country—Cambodia. Military action was launched after a military coup by Premier Lon Nol, whose pro-American government was immediately recognized by the United States. On May 5 a large number of Senators, led by Fulbright, accused Nixon of usurping “the war-making powers of Congress.” The day before, the country had watched in horror as students on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio were shot and killed by National Guard troops as they protested the latest action of the Nixon Administration.44 In an attempt to quell criticism on Capitol Hill, the President invited both the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees to the White House for a briefing on Cambodia. Symington was unimpressed by what he heard there. The Times reported that the lone dissenting voice was that of Stuart Symington, who told the Senate that Nixon had done “little to lessen” his “apprehension.”

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Page 162 He hoped, however, that the Administration meant what it said—that the action would last only six to eight weeks. “Finally,” Symington declared, “as the casualty list grows, the dangers resulting from our numerous foreign commitments become ever more clear.” In an unmistakable threat, he warned, “if these timetables are not met, then the Congress should consider how it might effectively and constructively carry out its various constitutional responsibilities, not the least of which is the power of the purse.” Symington did not want in any way to jeopardize the Administration’s right to implement foreign policy, but governing was a matter of balance and the Constitution was quite clear as to this balance. “The Constitution does not give the President discretion to act alone if a possible threat to our national security is not so immediate as to preclude a few days of congressional consideration.” Congress had often surrendered its Constitutional powers in the interest of “national security,” but he said the situation in Cambodia posed no such threat. Moreover, he lamented, the Administration’s “pride” in “secrecy illustrates precisely how much the original allocation of the war power has been twisted and distorted.” He then called for the passage of the CooperChurch Amendment, which would cut off all military aid to Cambodia by June 30, 1970. “The President’s unilateral decision must be balanced, and balanced immediately, by a firm and clear expression of the will of Congress.” Even though the debacle of Vietnam was the fault of several Administrations, both Democratic and Republican, it was time, he said, to admit past mistakes, “to commit ourselves to seeing that they are rapidly corrected, so we will be able to pull back from the brink of the most serious domestic political crisis to have endangered this Republic since the Civil War.”45 It had all been too much for the Senate. Disillusioned with the war in Vietnam, the Administration’s policy on Cambodia, the shock of Kent State, and the hearings of Symington’s subcommittee, the Senate passed the Cooper-Church Amendment. Many Senators voted for the amendment in hopes that their critical momentum could be sustained in curbing the 1971 military authorization bill that came before the Senate in July. In discussing the military authorization bill, Symington argued that the Senators were incapable of acting on the bill because they lacked all of the facts. He pointed out that commitments seemed to run the gamut, from simply promising a country that the United States would come to its aid, to “extensive military assistance,” to the use of American bases and military personnel, to joint military exercises. “With still others, relations are deepened through clandestine agreements that permit us to store nuclear weapons on the land of the country in question, a policy which greatly increases chances for nuclear war.” Congress needed to reassess all commitments and agreements, paying particular attention to the military clauses. The primary commitment of the government should be to the American people. To honor all the commitments made, he charged, “would bankrupt the Nation; and in the end, therefore, do irreparable harm to our own national security.” The nation’s security depended “not only on our physical capacity to destroy an enemy, but also on a viable economy and the faith of the people in their government.” Fulbright agreed and added that if the Senate did not take action now, “I think it will be extremely difficult for us ever to regain control of the

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Page 163 appropriating process of our Government.” Senator Frank Church asked the pivotal question: “What role shall we play in the world at large?”46 In answering that very question, the Senate decided to restrict the powers of the executive branch of government. Consequently, debate began on the repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and on the McGovernHatfield Amendment, targeting December 31, 1971, for all American troops to withdraw from Southeast Asia. Symington charged that the Tonkin Gulf Resolution had allowed the President and his representatives to enter into executive agreements when no formal treaty existed, forcing the taxpayers to expend millions of dollars to honor those agreements. The McGovern-Hatfield Amendment, he added, would spur the peace talks in Paris and, most important “give the Senate an opportunity to exercise its rightful role in the formulation of foreign policy—to share with the President the responsibility for a plan to bring about the orderly end to direct American military involvement in Southeast Asia.” To strengthen his argument, Symington’s Subcommittee on Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad chose this moment to release information showing that the United States had funded not only Thai and Philippine troops in Vietnam but also South Korean troops at the cost of $1 billion over the past five years. The Korean subsidy, Symington charged, was yet another example of how “the people of the United States were deceived as to the degree of commitment on the part of others to fight the war in Vietnam.”47 Almost as if the Administration were in collusion with the Senators (albeit unintentionally), in November President Nixon expanded the bombing of North Vietnam. The Senators were furious! An irate Symington complained to his colleagues that neither the Armed Services Committee nor the Foreign Relations Committee had been informed of this latest action. At the same time, in an appearance on Face the Nation, Senator Fulbright accused the Defense Department of making and directing foreign policy, especially in Southeast Asia. In fact, he charged, the State Department was secondary to Defense, especially to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Symington agreed, and to underscore his disgust over this new military action (and, perhaps, his rebellion) he refused to submit to the State and Defense Departments his preliminary report to the entire Foreign Relations Committee. The report from the SSACA subcommittee stated that “although the Constitution makes the President Commander-in-Chief and gives him authority to negotiate treaties and nominate Ambassadors, his role is not that of sole determination of foreign policy, but of conducting foreign policy.” The report focused on the Senate’s role in the formulation of foreign policy but noted that it could fulfill its constitutional responsibilities only if it were fully informed. The Administration had refused to cooperate. It overclassified information to cover up, kept secrets, either withheld or dissembled facts, and engaged in outright deception.48 To prove the report quite correct, in December the Administration again demonstrated its indifference to the Senators’ opinions by directing military aid to Cambodia without the consent of Congress. Symington could not believe it. He insisted that this most recent arrogant executive action “should not be construed as a commitment to come to the defense of Cambodia,” but he feared

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Page 164 that, as with past Administrations, this latest commitment would be perceived that way and that the United States would be engaged in another quagmire. Economic commitments to Vietnam had proved to be “open ended,” and there was reason to believe that Cambodia would follow the same path. He admonished the Administration to change its policies of overclassification, which only engendered suspicion. The subcommittee’s experience had heightened not only an awareness of “the breadth of government secrecy, but also in many instances the illogical nature of its application.”49 Nothing changed at this point. Symington remained a critic and foe of the Nixon Administration, and as he struggled with it over the wars in Southeast Asia and its insistence on extreme secrecy; he also paused to fight for a final term in the Senate. In the political arena as early as 1969, Republicans coined a description of liberal Democrats targeted for the 1970 elections—“Radiclibs.” The description was intended to appeal to the “silent majority,” especially blue collar workers and people in the suburbs. The term was supposed to identify anyone who wanted to get out of Vietnam at any cost and reduce the military budget, who was “soft” on crime, and who voted for liberal domestic programs. Stuart Symington was one of the “Radiclib” Senators targeted to be unseated. In fact, many of his friends in organized labor warned him that his liberal votes would be used against him in the coming election. Walter Pincus advised him to make the most of his vast experience in both the executive and legislative branches of government. He should show that he was opposed not only to Vietnam but also to Republican policies in all of Southeast Asia—and that he was doing something about it. Symington easily won the Democratic primary against “four political unknowns.” However, he was about to enter the toughest race yet of his career against the Republican nominee, John C.Danforth, heir to the Ralston-Purina cereal fortune, a lawyer and an Episcopal minister.50 By October both candidates were on the campaign trail. In Hannibal, Missouri, Symington was described by a reporter for the New York Times as “still handsome at 69 years of age, still so slim that he wears suit jackets with no vents, confidant almost to he point of cockiness, the picture of a man for whom success is a habit.” He was running a typical incumbent’s race, stressing past accomplishments and the $20.5 billion in federal funds he had secured for Missouri. Danforth had trouble finding an issue, his views being similar to Symington’s on Vietnam, but he publicly stated that he would not oppose the President. Even a visit to Kansas City in late October by President Nixon on behalf of Danforth did little to help him. Although Danforth was described as “lively, personable,” and deserving “a bright future in public life,” the time was not right for him. In this election Missourians saw Senator Symington as “a more useful figure on Capitol Hill.”51 Symington was fighting for his political life in what became a very close election. Stuart Symington, Jr., recalled it as the dirtiest campaign with which his father had ever been associated. Danforth bragged that he had “taken on the giant” and that he would “beat the giant.” On one occasion he even called Symington’s record “a disgrace,” although he never did that again. He did, however, bring up the issue of age—comparing his own thirty-four years to

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Page 165 Symington’s sixty-nine. Danforth’s last meager attempt at an issue was to announce that he would have voted against the McGovern-Hatfield Amendment because it was “an anti-President” amendment. He also spent about $1 million during the last two weeks of the campaign. One ad showed Nixon’s enthusiasm for him and another reminded the voters that Symington would be seventy-five at the end of his fourth term and implied that most Congressmen retired before then. Symington never mentioned Danforth’s name, a typical campaign strategy for him. Both candidates had done “some fancy political footwork” to get to the center of politics—Symington from a hawk to a dove and now a critic of Pentagon spending, and Danforth from a dove to a staunch supporter of Nixon’s Vietnamization program. The outcome was close. With the St. Louis PostDispatch endorsement and a reliance on his past record, Symington won the election, but by only seven thousand votes.52 Stuart Symington’s political position had changed radically during his twelve years in the U.S. Senate. He was no longer a staunch supporter of the Pentagon who accepted without question the word of the military. He had come to see a larger picture and to question his own—and his Senate colleagues’—Constitutional position in the making of foreign policy. He had also come to see the Soviet Union not as the implacable enemy of his Cold War years but as a potential ally in ensuring a safer world through arms reductions and arms limitations. Symington realized that the United States could only assume a limited responsibility for peace in the world, that it neither could nor should attempt to right all the world’s wrongs. During his last term as the senior Senator from Missouri, he would have many opportunities to assert these views. NOTES 1. William C.Berman, William Fulbright and the Vietnam War: The Dissent of a Political Realist (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1988), 105. The committee members were Symington as chairman, Mike Mansfield (D-MT), J.William Fulbright (D-AR), John Sparkman (D-AL), George D.Aiken (R-VT), John Sherman Cooper (R-KY), and Jacob Javits (R-NY). Sparkman was the only member who had not been critical of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. John W.Finney, “Senators to Sift Foreign Policies,” New York Times (NYT), 4 February 1969, 24:1. 2. Seymour M.Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House (New York: Summit Books, 1983), fn on 197. From the start the activities of Walter Pincus and Roland Paul were carefully scrutinized by the Nixon Administration. Their interviews were “closely monitored by Kissinger and the National Security Council” and were recorded on tape. 3. JC to SS, 17 February 1969, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2195 US Security and Commitments Abroad (USSandCA) General Corr. 1969–1973, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP); Flora Lewis, “The Education of a Senator,” The Atlantic, December 1971, 63; William P.Lineberry, The United States in World Affairs, 1970 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972), 34–35; Rhodri JeffreysJones, The CIA and American Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 178–179. 4. Lewis, 63; Berman, 112.

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Page 166 5. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (13 March 1969), vol. 115, pt. 5, 6422; ibid., (8 August 1969), vol. 115, pt. 17, 23080–23082; Noam Chomsky, “Introduction,” Open Secret: The Kissinger-Nixon Doctrine in Asia, ed. Virginia Brodine and Mark Selden (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 5; statements of SS, 18 August 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2231 U.S. Security…Thailand, 1969– 1973, SSP. 6. “2 Senators View U.S.-Thai Accord,” NYT, 20 August 1969, 14:1; “Secret Thai Agreement,” NYT, 24 August 1969, 58:6; “Hearings To Be Held On Disputed Aid Plan,” Ibid. 7. WP to SS, 3 September 1969, Press Release No. 71, 17 December 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2231 U.S. Security…Thailand, 1969–1973, SSP. 8. SS to Sec. of State Rogers, 4 October 1969, memoranda from Staff to SS, letters to SS, November 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 2223–2234, f. 2224 U.S. Security… Philippines, 1969, SSP. 9. John W.Finney, “Manila War Role Is Issue in Capital,” NYT, 13 October 1969, 15:1. 10. Robert B.Semple, Jr., “U.S. Paid 39-Million to the Philippines for a Vietnam Unit,” NYT, 19 November 1969, 1:3. 11. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (23 October 1969), vol. 115, pt. 23, 31267; ibid., (26 November 1969), vol. 115, pt. 27, 35948; Comptroller General of the U.S. to SS, 19 February 1970, 21 March 1970, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2225 U.S. Security…Philippines, 1970–1973, SSP. 12. Philip Shabecoff, “Anti-U.S. Feelings up in Philippines,” NYT, 11 December 1969, 17:1; James M. Naughton, “Agnew Arrives in Vietnam for a One-Day Visit,” NYT, 1 January 1970, 4:3; John W.Finney, “Misuse Of Funds In Manila Hinted,” NYT, 16 March 1970, 9:1; “Manila Aides Rebut Symington’s Charge,” NYT, 20 March 1970, 2:5; John W.Finney, “Manila Troop Aid By U.S. Is Verified,” NYT, 26 March 1970, 9:1; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (25 March 1970), vol. 16, pt. 7, 9259–9260. 13. John W.Finney, “U.S. Pays Thailand 50-Million a Year for Vietnam Aid,” NYT, 8 June 1970, 1:8, 3:1. 14. Stephen E.Ambrose, Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962–1972 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 299–300; Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Viking Press, 1983), 593–594. 15. CM to HK, 23 September 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 2131, f. 2133, SSP. 16. Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 150, 157. 17. John Ehrlichman, Witness to Power: The Nixon Years (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982), 94; Berman, 105–106; Jeffreys-Jones, 178. 18. HK to RN, 1 October 1969, “Talking Points for President’s Use in Meeting with Senator Symington, October 1,” Nixon Presidential Materials Project, WHCF, Fed. Gov’t. (FG) Box 20, f. Ex FG 36–9–1 Sen. Com.—For. Rel.—Subcommittees [1969], Nixon Project, National Archives, College Park, MD. 19. H.R.Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994), 91–92. 20. BH to RN, 1 October 1969, Nixon Presidential Materials Project, WHCF, Fed. Gov’t. (FG) Box 20, f. Ex FG 36–9–1 Sen. Com.—For. Rel.—Subcommittees [1969], Nixon Project. 21. SS to WR, 13 December 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2195 U.S. Security, General Cor., 1969–1973, SSP. 22. Richard J.Barnet, The Economy of Death (New York: Atheneum, 1969), 176–177. 23. Theodore C.Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 647–648; Fred Branfman, “The President’s Secret Army: A Case Study—The CIA in Laos, 1962–

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Page 167 1972,” in The CIA File, Robert L.Borosage and John Marks ed. (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976), 47, 68; Dean Rusk, interview 3 by Paige E.Mulhollen, 2 January 1970, oral history project, AC 74–245, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (LBJL), 16–17. 24. Berman, 116; Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979), 450– 451. 25. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (19 September 1969), vol. 115, pt. 19, 26314; Statement by SS, 19 September 1969, For. Rel. Box 4017, f. 2202–2221, f. 2211 U.S. Security, Laos: Clips, Releases, Statements 1969–1970, SSP; John W.Finney, “Senators Survey Depth of U.S. Role in Laos Struggle,” NYT, 20 September 1969, 1:5. 26. Finney; “A ‘Vietnam’ in Laos?,” NYT, 21 September 1969, IV, 14:2; Tillman Durdin, “Hanoi Denounces U. S. Withdrawal of 35,000 As Trick,” NYT, 22 September 1969, 1:8. 27. “Laos Denies U.S. Has Combat Role,” NYT, 23 September 1969, 9:1; “U.S. Operations Increasing,” Ibid.; “U.S. Position Unchanged,” Ibid. 28. Iresons to SS, 1 October 1969, Mrs. WHS to SS, 21 October 1969, For. Rel. f. 2213–2222, f. 2213 U.S. Security, Laos: General Corr., 1969–1970, SSP; “Symington Is Critical,” NYT, 20 October 1969, 3:2. 29. Tad Szulc, “2 Senate Critics Voice Confidence in Nixon on War,” NYT, 21 October 1969, 1:1, 6:4. 30. Tom Wicker, “In the Nation: America’s Other War,” NYT, 4 December 1969, 52:3; “Transcript of the President’s News Conference on Foreign and Domestic Affairs,” NYT, 9 December 1969, 16:5; “Laos Transcript Stirs Row,” Washington Star, 12 December 1969, For. Rel. Com. Box 2202–2212, f. 2211 Laos, SSP. 31. Tom Wicker, “In the Nation: The Senate Takes a Stand,” NYT, 21 December 1969, IV, 15:4. 32. “No More Vietnams,” NYT, 22 December 1969, 32:1; Arnold Abrams, “Washington’s Dilemma,” Far Eastern Economic Review, 1 January 1970, 17–19, For. Rel. Com f. 2202–2212, f. 2211R.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements 1969–1970, SSP. 33. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA (New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1979), 178–179; Richard Helms, interview by Ted Gittinger, 16 September 1981, 6, 18–19, Ac 82–42, oral history project, LBJL. 34. Morton H.Halperin, National Security Policy-Making: Analyses, Cases, and Proposals (Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1975), 174; Congress, Senate, 84th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (11 April 1956), vol. 102, pt. 5, 6053, 6068; Dulles to SS, 16 May 1960, Selected Correspondence and Related Material: 1960 (Sp-Z) Box 91, f. Symington, Stuart 1960, Allen W.Dulles Papers, Seeley G.Mudd Library, Princeton University; John A.McCone, interview by Joe B.Frantz, 19 August 1970, oral history project, AC 74–150, LBJL; Congress, Senate, 87th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (29 January 1962), vol. 108, pt. 1, 1063–1084 (complete discussion), 1329 (final vote). 35. Statement by SS, no date other than 1964, Alphabetical Corr. 1964, Box A-E, f. C, SSP. 36. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (14 January 1966), vol. 112, pt. 1, 256; ibid., (16 May 1966), vol. 112, pt. 8, 10618, 10622–10623; ibid., (2 June 1966), vol. 112, pt. 9, 12072; ibid., (14 July 1966), vol. 112, pt. 12, 15697. 37. Fred Branfman, 46, 74. 38. SS to WR, 3 February 1970, MS, F956, 144-B, Series 48, 48:17, Box 6, f. 1, J. William Fulbright Papers, Special Collections Division, University Library, University of

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Page 168 Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; Richard Halloran, “Nixon and Senators at Odds on Laos Transcript,” NYT, 12 February 1970, 4:3. 39. Ambrose, 335; Louis A.Fanning, Betrayal in Vietnam (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1976), 52; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (16 February 1970), vol. 116, pt. 3, 3352–3353; WP to SS, 18 February 1970, For. Rel. Com f. 2213–2222, f. 2222 US Security, Laos: Official Corr., 1970, SSP. 40. Statements by SS, 18–20 February 1970, For. Rel. f. 2202–2212 U.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements, 1969–1970, SSP; John W. Finney, “Senators Assail Policy Of Nixon On War In Laos,” NYT, 26 February 1970, 1:8; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (25 February 1970), vol. 116, pt. 4, 4856–4857, (27 February 1970), 5207; ibid., (3 March 1970), vol. 116, pt. 5, 5622. 41. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (6 March 1970), vol. 116, pt. 5, 6290; statement by SS, 6 March 1970, For. Rel. f. 2213–2222, f. 2216 U.S. Security, Laos: Official Corr., 1970, SSP; Richard Halloran, “U.S. Will Release Information on Laos,” NYT, 6 March 1970, 3:1–3. 42. T.D.Allman, “Secret U.S.-Run Base Deep in Laos Seems Placid,” NYT, 6 March 1970, 3:1–4; interview with John Dancy, NBC Network, WRC-TV, 8 March 1970, For. Rel. f. 2202–2212, f. 2211 U.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements, 1969–1970, SSP. 43. John W.Finney, “Premier of Laos Agrees to Accept Enemy’s Note: U.S., Reacting to Senate Critics, to List Losses in Area Separately,” NYT, 10 March 1970, 1:7; “The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth,” 19 March 1970, KMOX Radio 1120, St. Louis, MO, For. Rel. Com. Box 2202–2212, f. 2211 U.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements, 1969–1970, SSP. 44. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (5 May 1970), vol. 116, pt. 11, 14102; John W.Finney, “President Assailed By Fulbright Panel,” NYT, 5 May 1970, 1:7; “Nixon Promises to Quit Cambodia in 3 to 7 Weeks,” NYT, 6 May 1970, 1:8. 45. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (25 May 1970), vol. 116, pt. 13, 16876– 16877. 46. John W.Finney, “President Hails Cambodia Drive, Calls on Hanoi for Serious Talk; Senate Passes War Powers Curb,” NYT, 1 July 1970, 1:5; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (28 July 1970), vol. 116, pt. 19, 26216–26224. 47. John W.Finney, “Katzenbach, Who Termed Tonkin Resolution ‘Equivalent’ of Declaration of War, Now Backs Its Repeal,” NYT, 29 July 1970, 11:8; Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (1 September 1970), vol. 116, pt. 23, 30663–30664; Richard Halloran, “Korea’s Vietnam Troops Cost U.S. $1-Billion,” NYT, 13 September 1970, 3:5. 48. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (23 November 1970), vol. 116, pt. 28, 38437; J.William Fulbright, Face the Nation, Vol. 13, 29 November 1970 (New York: Information Systems, 1972); Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970), 21 December 1970; Memorandum to SS, 9 December 1970, For. Rel. Box 4017, f. 2194 US Security, Report 1970– 1971, SSP. 49. Congress, Senate, 91st Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (21 December 1970), vol. 116, pt. 32, 43002–43003; Press release, 21 December 1970, For. Rel. Box 4017, f. 2193 U.S. Security, Releases, 1969–1971, SSP. 50. Rowland Evans, Jr., and Robert D.Novak, Nixon in the White House: The Frustration of Power (New York: Random House, 1971), 328, fn 328; Andrew J. Biemiller to SS, 3 December 1969, AFL, AFL-CIO, The Department of Legislation,

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Page 169 1906–1978, Collection I, II. Congressional Correspondence Box 69, f. 72 Symington, Stuart, The George Meany Memorial Archives; WP to SS, 23 April 1970, For. Rel. Com. Box 2192–2201, f. 2199, SSP; “Symington Renominated,” NYT, 5 August 1970, 24:4; Fred W.Lindecke, “Danforth Nominated, Will Face Symington,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5 August 1970, 1:4–5. 51. R.W.Apple, Jr., “Symington Confident of Success in Heavily Democratic Missouri,” NYT, 6 October 1970, 22:1; “Struggle for the Senate,” NYT, 26 October 1970, 36:2. 52. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis; Fred W. Lindecke, “Danforth Lagging as the Giant-Killer,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1 November 1970, D 1:2–6; Fred W.Lindecke, “Senator Symington Defeats Danforth,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3 November 1970, B2:3; B.Drummond Ayres, Jr., “Symington Wins 4th Senate Term,” NYT, 3 November 1970, 35:1.

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Page 171 Chapter 10 The Final Term in the Senate Stuart Symington entered the 92nd Congress in 1971 to serve his last term as the senior Senator from Missouri. They were six turbulent years. He witnessed détente with the Soviet Union, the ignominious resignation of President Richard M.Nixon, bitter student protests, the final withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, the collapse of the Saigon regime, an oil embargo and shortage, and spiraling inflation. Amid these historic events his Subcommittee on Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad continued to meet and to reevaluate U.S. foreign policy and the relationship of the Senate to that policy and to the executive branch of government. The subcommittee continued to experience the same lack of cooperation from both the State and Defense Departments as it had during the 91st Congress. To counteract Symington’s assertion of over commitment, the Nixon Administration assumed the offensive, warning against U.S. “under involvement” in the world. The White House intimated that anyone who agreed with Symington and most of the other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was not only “unpatriotic” but also involved in “treasonable activities.” Foreign Relations Committee Chairman J.William Fulbright countered with a suggestion that this was merely the Administration’s way of undercutting the work of Symington’s subcommittee. Besides, it was the Administration that refused to open any kind of dialogue with the Senators by declining to appear before the various committees, while relying on the press as its forum to criticize.1 Symington cut no slack. He accused the Administration of single-handedly deciding foreign policy “at the expense of the people and their elected representatives in Congress.” He deemed the policy decisions made solely in the White House as “most disturbing.” What had emerged was “the unique and unprecedented authoritative role of Presidential Advisor and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger,” who had become “the most powerful man in the Nixon administration next to the President himself.” Although he was involved in all aspects of foreign affairs, Kissinger continued to refuse to appear before Congress. In this way he and his staff avoided “any accountability” whatsoever to Congress. In fact, with no communication between “the actual architect of

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Page 172 our foreign policy” and the Foreign Relations Committee, Kissinger effectively denied the Senate its Constitutional role of advice and consent. His actions created a decline in the prestige and position of the Secretary of State, William Rogers. After all, he was the official Cabinet member and, Symington remarked harshly, inside the Beltway Rogers was “laughed at”—he was “Secretary of State in title only.”2 Symington’s comments had been intended as a criticism not of the Secretary but of Kissinger and the President for blatantly allowing such an embarrassing situation to exist. Although at times Symington had criticized Rogers because of the State Department’s reluctance to comply with his subcommittee’s various requests, he still viewed Rogers as a personal friend and a man of deep integrity. What grieved him was the fact that people were openly laughing at Rogers’ obvious lack of power and influence. In responding to Symington’s Senate speech, the White House went into its damage-control mode. Rogers asked the President to “move on it quickly.” Kissinger informed Rogers that in light of Symington’s attack they needed to work out a statement that would show their unity. Of course, all of this was great fodder for the newspapers. John Finney reported in the New York Times that Fulbright had “seconded” Symington’s remarks and that Symington’s statements represented the views of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee that was frustrated because of Kissinger’s refusal to testify. Nixon himself accused Symington “of taking ‘a cheap shof’” at Rogers. In his view the Missouri Senator “was playing a traditional capital ‘game’ of trying to divide the President from his Secretary of State and the President’s national security advisor.” Fulbright went on the offensive, introducing legislation that would require members of the Executive staff to appear before the committees, even though they could refuse to answer particular questions. The bill obviously was directed toward Kissinger, “whom Senator Fulbright described as ‘the principal architect of our war policy in Indochina.’”3 On March 7 Finney wrote another extensive article in which he discussed the seemingly frivolous flap—this one entitled “Who’s on First, and What Does the Coach Say?” Finney made the point that Symington’s accusation targeted fundamental questions about the formulation of foreign policy and how the decisionmaking power should be divided between the legislative and executive branches of government. The question was which man was more powerful, Kissinger or Rogers, but that really led to the “more basic question of whether it [was] necessarily good to concentrate foreign policy powers in a White House office” that answered only to the President. In a commentary on life in Washington, Finney declared that the controversy brought about by Symington’s remarks “was an illuminating example of how such basic issues can be uncovered not by grand design but because of the vanities, friendships and frustrations of proud personalities in the capital.” Indeed, Symington was “one of the prouder men in the Senate.” He could not sit idly by and watch as his friend Rogers was publicly humiliated without exposing the true perpetrator of this ridiculous situation. Perhaps, he reasoned, if he said publicly what most Washington bureaucrats and members of Congress already acknowledged in private, it would force the Administration to either admit Kissinger’s

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Page 173 tremendous power or at least to temper it. Maybe it would even force the Administration to delegate more authority to the Secretary of State.4 That was unlikely. As a result of the ongoing battle among Symington, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Nixon Administration, certain key aides made accusations that the Foreign Relations Committee “leaked” information to the press. However, it was the White House and Kissinger in particular who knew quite well how to use the press for its political advantage, especially in “leaking” information. Kissinger, in fact, became the darling of the press corps, but he also became even more suspect by Congress and especially by Stuart Symington. According to the Nation magazine, “the Administration is forever implying that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee…engages in ‘leaks,’” but the “truth is that the Administration itself, at the highest level, slips items to favored recipients whenever it sees some political advantage in doing so.” The magazine was especially supportive of Symington, remarking that “wise politicians” should “avoid tangling with Mr. Symington: he deals in facts, and for that reason his words carry weight in the Senate.” Symington was deeply offended by the accusations, and he in turn accused the Administration of criticizing the media only when the views reported were different from its own. In another Senate speech he explained that “the right of the public to independent information about Government action [was] superior to the desire of Government officials to protect their policies.”5 A perfect example of the validity of Symington’s criticisms came with the release and publication of the Pentagon Papers in June 1971. The Justice Department sought an injunction against the New York Times to prohibit making the papers public but lost the case. This action of the Nixon Administration against the newspaper galvanized Congress into action. Even the House of Representatives, usually more sympathetic than the Senate to the Administration, formally requested that Henry Kissinger appear before its Foreign Operations and Government Information Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee to discuss classification. At the same time Symington’s subcommittee called on Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to provide all pertinent materials related to the Pentagon Papers. The Senators were especially interested in whether or not the executive branch had exceeded its Constitutional powers. Many of the previous problems with the White House, Symington believed, had been due to excessive secrecy and overclassification, and he wanted to pursue those issues with the Secretary but Laird refused to appear.6 Hardly had the issue of the Pentagon Papers hit the newspapers before Symington announced that he would request a complete investigation that would include the history of American involvement in Southeast Asia, “so that future generations may profit from this sad experience.” The next day he introduced Senate Resolution 140, which sought funds to study U.S. policy in Southeast Asia, with a complete report to be presented to the Senate no later than June 30, 1973. A staff member warned Symington that because of the furor over the Pentagon Papers, “the investigation should proceed quietly at this time and avoid the appearance of being a quick move to take advantage of the current publicity.” Symington, rarely one to mince words, was quoted as saying, “It’s

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Page 174 been obvious to us for years that the executive department has been taking advantage—as it is today—in classifying in order to cover up various matters they do not want people to know.”7 Symington’s next move was to commission two members of the subcommittee’s staff, James G.Lowenstein and Richard M.Moose, to visit Southeast Asia and present their own report on the war to the Senate. On the eve of their departure Symington wrote a letter to Secretary Laird protesting his department’s order that a Defense Department employee accompany or even precede Moose and Lowenstein on their travels. Symington was convinced that this would “inhibit” the investigation and raise “serious and fundamental questions as to the attitude of the Department of Defense toward the Committee as well as the Congress as a whole.” He added that “such a method of operation could lead to the inference that the Department has something to conceal from the members of the Legislative Branch,” although with a degree of sarcasm, he hastened to say he was certain that “this [was] not the case.”8 Perhaps anticipating the subcommittee’s final report on American involvement in Southeast Asia, the Nixon White House for the first time admitted in May 1971 to be engaging in B-52 raids over northern Laos. These raids had apparently been ongoing for about two years. Symington insisted on more hearings concerning Laos. He criticized the military for both its approaches to Congress and its endless requests for additional appropriations. He also accused the Administration of lying about the expenditures in Laos—expenses that far exceeded the original $52 million estimate. The subcommittee was still especially interested in covert involvement, plus reports of increasing numbers of Chinese troops in northern Laos, but before the investigation could begin the Administration admitted that Thai “volunteers” were operating in Laos yet claimed that this violated no legislation. Symington disagreed, noting that the Fulbright Amendment, introduced and passed in 1970, prohibited the use of mercenaries. He pointed out that U.S. support for Laos had reached nearly $350 million and included support for the Thai troops. These troops, he observed, had been introduced to supplant the Meo tribesmen who had been decimated by the war.9 The State Department defended the use of Thai forces in Laos on the grounds that they had been introduced before the passage of the Fulbright Amendment. At the close of the secret hearings on Laos held in the spring of 1971, Symington announced his hope of a speedy declassification of the information to allow the public to learn the truth about the Laotian situation. He warned the Administration that if it attempted to “slant” the report to a particular point of view, he and his staff would reconsider what additional information they should release. One reason he made the threat was that he firmly believed that the intent of the Fulbright Amendment had been undermined and hence involvement in Laos had grown. In a Senate speech he asked why else the Administration would have gone to such lengths to hide its activities. “The Executive Branch clearly understood the intent of Congress in passing the laws in question,” but it “was determined to find a way to circumvent the will of the Congress; and under the cover of secrecy, they succeeded.” Symington proposed that the President should report every ninety days on how the

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Page 175 Administration was spending money allocated for Laos. The purpose of his proposal, of course, was to control the funds spent and to illustrate to the executive branch that it could not “continue to prosecute this war with the premise that the will of the Congress counts for nothing.” It could not assume that “any commitment…or risk taken regardless of the Congress” would necessarily be supported.10 Unhappily, Symington’s latest attacks on the Administration were not well timed. President Nixon was enjoying a spurt of popularity as a result of his program of Vietnamization, scheduled troop withdrawals, and the promised end of the draft. As long as Nixon de-escalated American involvement in Vietnam, it seemed most Senators were reluctant to question “what he did in the ‘invisible’ sector of the conflict.” In July 1971 the press once again announced increased American military activity in Laos. Symington renewed his attack and questioned American goals in Laos. Who exactly assumed responsibility for the new activity—the State Department, the Defense Department, or the military and the CIA? He reiterated his stand: “Only through some control of the funds it appropriates” could Congress have “any real knowledge of, or exercise any restraint on, this dangerous situation.” Symington acknowledged that the Secretary of Defense was finally scheduled to appear before the Armed Services Committee to discuss Laos but doubted that he would be any more forthcoming on this occasion than in the past. The “President’s men,” Symington said, were like “people operating not only without the approval of Congress, but also without its knowledge.”11 He was right. The final Moose-Lowenstein report, a combination of observations made during their several trips and information developed during the subcommittee’s secret sessions on Laos, was issued in August 1971. Though heavily sanitized by both the State and Defense Departments, the report concluded that the war in Laos was a losing proposition. It had been conducted from and by the embassy in Vientiane, and it had used American troops to train regular and irregular troops. The report also confirmed Chinese involvement and the support of Thai troops by the CIA. AID, which surreptitiously employed CIA agents, supported not only the CIA but also the military assistance programs and the Department of Defense. Not surprisingly, the report concluded, the war in Laos was part of the government’s overall military strategy for the war in Vietnam.12 Because of the Administration’s circumvention of Congress and its continued involvement in Laos, Symington remained intent on restricting funding for the war there. His staff assured him that once the GAO wrote its report on funding for Laos and reported the difficulty it was having in securing accurate information from the White House, Symington’s amendment to restrict funding by making the Administration accountable for the funding would gain even more credibility. Symington again reiterated that the larger question was whether Congress wanted to exercise “its authorizing and appropriating power in an informed manner” or “give a blank check to the Executive Branch to spend unlimited amounts in Laos with little or no accountability?” If the latter were the case, then what was the point of being a Senator? In a compromise measure, a modified version of Symington’s amendment, finally passed in October, raised

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Page 176 the ceiling on aid to Laos to $350 million. The Senate approved it by an overwhelming vote of 67 to 11. A United Press International (UPI) release reported that Symington agreed to the compromise bill when he realized that he lacked the votes for his original proposal. He rationalized that “the dollar figure was not as important as the principle of Congressional control over the war.” UPI argued that Symington’s amendment would have its desired effect in preventing an escalation of the war in Laos. It also represented “the first attempt by Congress to control the CIA’s role in the conflict—a role that now had been acknowledged by the Nixon Administration.”13 Temporarily, at least, the Senators seemed to be “on a roll.” On October 14 they passed a resolution, cosponsored by Symington and Senator Clifford P. Case (R-NJ), limiting military aid for Cambodia to $250 million. Nixon had requested $341 million. The New York Times reported that the Case-Symington Amendment was partly a result of “the disclosure that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had recommended a longrange program that by 1977 would bring military aid to Cambodia to $500 million, roughly double that now being spent.” Symington, supported by many other Senators, expressed fear that the same kind of commitment would be extended to Cambodia that had been extended to Vietnam. The newspaper, however, criticized the Senators for not going far enough. An editorial recommended an end to all military requests and to any involvement in Southeast Asia,; but it was not that simple, apparently, as debate in the Senate was intense. Legislators who favored the measure shared the same fears expressed by Symington and Case. In reference to the Thai mercenaries in Laos, Symington spoke for many of his colleagues when he expressed concern that the President intended “to create and support a military bastion in Thailand, which country is not a part of Indochina, with plans to stay there indefinitely.” He hoped that the cap would also close the “loopholes” that allowed the transfer of funds from the Defense Department into covert activities or anything else it decided to finance without the approval of Congress.14 As debate raged over U.S. aid and involvement in Cambodia, two events occurred in October 1971 that caused Symington and his supporters grave concern. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee learned that the House Foreign Affairs Committee had authorized two of its staff members to travel to Cambodia. Fulbright responded by suggesting to Symington that because the Administration still refused to provide information on its activities in Cambodia, Moose and Lowenstein should leave for Southeast Asia as soon as possible to conduct their own firsthand investigation. Another blow to the Committee was the defeat of the Cooper-Church Amendment. As proposed by John Sherman Cooper (R-KY) and Frank Church (D-ID), the amendment would have brought American participation in Cambodia to an end by effectively cutting off all military funds. Encouraged by the failure of the amendment, in November the Nixon Administration began to attack the spate of legislation that had been recently proposed to curb the powers of the executive branch. Symington, however, announced that he, for one, would not be “sandbagged by any heavy onslaught against the decisions of the Senate.” Once again he criticized both the enormous costs of the wars as well as the added expenditures that would be needed to restore “some form of reasonable economic stability” to the Asian

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Page 177 countries that the United States had helped to destroy. He announced that he was convinced that 1972 would be “the ‘year of decision,’ i.e., the year in which …we either do or do not establish a position for the Senate with respect to the formulation and conduct of foreign policy.” In a letter to Arkansas Senator John McClellan, no doubt trying to persuade McClellan to his cause, he complained that a continuation of foreign aid on a “business as usual” basis only encouraged the executive branch to bypass committees.15 The Senators continued to hotly debate foreign aid and military assistance. Symington’s subcommittee turned to the role of the CIA in foreign affairs. Earlier in the year, in February 1971, Symington asked his staff to inquire into the nature of the briefings the CIA supposedly provided to the Armed Services, Appropriations, and Foreign Relations Committees. It was a somewhat odd request because the Missouri Senator served on all three committees. He had been a longtime supporter of CIA covert activities remaining secret, but now he was suspicious of CIA activities in Southeast Asia, either because of the problems with the Administration or because the briefings left too much unsaid. The problems with the CIA had also become intertwined with the questions his subcommittee had wrestled with; namely, who made and conducted foreign policy, and how much influence did the CIA exert? Were its appropriations properly designated, or was this another instance in which the Administration bypassed the appropriate committees? He wrote DCI Richard Helms asking him to define the relationships that existed between the CIA and the Senate committees. Symington also requested a definition of specific areas of responsibility, including “the question of the duplication of activity in the overseas intelligence community and of secrecy in the conduct of foreign policy in a democracy.” Finally, he asked that a liaison officer be appointed to his staff and that security clearances be issued for all of his staff members.16 The problem was complicated. Even though in theory the CIA was responsible to two committees in the House and two in the Senate, in reality questions were seldom asked. In fact, Senator John Stennis, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, held no meeting on the CIA during 1971 and 1972, which meant no briefings and no oversight. His hawkish attitude was that Congress should simply close its eyes and concentrate on protecting the agency. Symington disagreed; he had completely reversed his previous attitude toward the CIA. He requested from Stennis a meeting to discuss the relationship of the CIA to the Senate so that there was no confusion, especially in light of the Laotian situation. He explained that even when the DCI did appear before the committees, he read a prepared statement and answered few questions. When Symington complained that there was hardly any substantive information divulged, the executive branch defended its response by saying that he had not asked the right questions. Symington retorted that it was not possible to ask significant questions when no one knew what was going on. He reiterated these points on the floor of the Senate, where he directed his criticisms, albeit indirectly, to National Security Advisor Kissinger and DCI Helms, both of whom hid behind “executive privilege.” During October and November 1971, Symington continued to practically beg Stennis to investigate the entire intelligence apparatus, but he had no success.17

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Page 178 The White House announced in November that it had reorganized the intelligence community to make it more streamlined and responsive. Symington took little solace from the change, noting that the latest “reorganization” merely placed the CIA more completely under the control of the White House and, hence, further isolated from Congressional oversight. He publicly announced that he had written Stennis requesting a meeting on the subject. Then, reflecting his complete frustration, he proposed S. Res. 192, recommending the creation of the Select Committee on the Coordination of United States Government Activities Abroad, consisting of three members, each appointed from the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Services Committee. This committee would be responsible for monitoring CIA activities from classified information and accurate reports. Unfortunately, the resolution was defeated.18 Symington’s staff was then asked by Fulbright to pursue all avenues that would “continue the momentum engendered by Senator Symington’s success in drawing Senate and public attention to the role of intelligence in policy formulation,” the “lack of meaningful Congressional oversight of intelligence operations, and the problem of duplication and mismanagement within the U.S. intelligence community.” Finally, the Senators, under the leadership of Case, resorted to their one avenue of control—they cut off funds for CIA covert activities in Laos and Cambodia. At last, as Symington had wanted, the Senate was regaining at least minimal control over foreign policy.19 In January 1972, after a trip to Indochina, the Missouri Senator became more convinced than ever that as long as the United States supported the government of South Vietnam, a peace settlement was most likely out of the question. If this were indeed the case, what would happen to American soldiers in North Vietnamese prisons and those missing in action? He was extremely concerned. Just one year earlier he had sponsored a joint resolution that declared a “National Week of Concern for Prisoners of War/Missing in Action.” He spoke for most Americans when he confirmed that “the grief and anxiety of the immediate families of Americans missing in action and held prisoners is the grief and anxiety of the Nation as a whole.” Following his most recent trip to Southeast Asia, he introduced a bill authorizing the President to declare a National Week of Concern for Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, and to honor them with a national day of prayer. The Administration, however, exploited the POW situation. Kissinger, speaking to families of POWs, told them that the Senate’s rejection of the foreign aid authorization bill during the previous fall was responsible for the breakdown in negotiations between the United States and the North Vietnam. Symington denounced Kissinger’s accusation as “ridiculous.” Three days later, when Bob Haldeman said on the NBC Today Show that the Senate critics of the President’s peace initiatives were actually “aiding and abetting the enemy for partisan reasons,” Symington was furious. He exclaimed that Haldeman’s words were “a powerful whip to still even the most reasoned voices of dissent.” Then he pointed out that those remarks were “in complete disregard of the dearly held values America rightfully attache[d] to free and open discussion…a declaration which pose[d] a grave threat to the American political process.” Senator Fulbright shared his colleague’s frustration. Calling once again on Kissinger to appear before the Foreign

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Page 179 Relations Committee, he said, “I doubt very much” that “the Founding Fathers contemplated that the Executive and Legislative branches should exchange views on foreign policy by reading press accounts.” James W.Dean III, counsel to the President, responded to Symington’s and Fulbright’s requests by stating that Kissinger’s position on the President’s immediate staff prohibited such a visit.20 As if in collusion with Symington, events in South Vietnam forced the President to make fateful decisions. On March 30 North Vietnam launched a tremendous spring offensive, surprising the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Nixon immediately ordered increased bombing on North Vietnam and in mid-April extended the bombing to Hanoi and Haiphong. The President could not allow his program of Vietnamization to appear a failure, nor could he risk the impression of simply abandoning the South Vietnamese government. When Secretary of Defense Laird defended the expanded bombing program on the grounds that American troops had to be defended, Symington retorted that if Vietnamization had been as successful as the Administration claimed, it was difficult to understand why Hanoi and Haiphong had to be bombed. In fact, in his opinion, although the bombing was destroying the ecology of the country, it certainly was not ending the war. Symington could not imagine that U.S. national security was threatened in the least. To him the bombing was senseless and wasteful. The killing continued for no reason that he could fathom while the United States threw billions of dollars down that seemingly bottomless drain. Victory was not possible. He asked, “What does the Christian religion stand for if it does not stand for love and for the value of a human life?” Symington’s recommendation was to admit that the war had been a mistake and to leave Vietnam as quickly as possible. When, he wondered, would this Administration recognize the futility of the war? The North Vietnamese would never surrender; the United States could provide all the military hardware it wanted to South Vietnam, but it could not give it “heart.” Peace was not “at hand” as the President and his National Security Advisor asserted. The war had to end.21 However, it did not end. During 1972 the war dragged on—in Vietnam and also in Laos. As it did so, Symington’s subcommittee became increasingly concerned with the relationship among AID, the CIA, and the Department of Defense in Laos. Symington suspected (correctly) that AID served as a cover for CIA personnel and worked to ensure the success of CIA-sponsored programs. He accused the Administration of distorting the functions of its own agencies. “AID was never intended to be the administering agent for military assistance programs,” and the CIA was never intended to “be engaged in maintaining paramilitary forces or in caring for and feeding paramilitary dependents.” As far as Symington was concerned, “there has been a pattern of official deviousness,” and “the Executive Branch proceeded from one deception to another without regard for the role of the Congress or for the right of the public to be informed.”22 It seemed to him that the Administration could not be stopped from pursuing its aims and by any means possible. There were times that Congress seemed impotent in relation to the White House.

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Page 180 Another circumvention Symington and his subcommittee fretted about was the continuing presence of Thai troops in Laos, especially since the earlier Fulbright Amendment prohibited the use of foreign troops as mercenaries. The Administration’s position was that the Thais were volunteers, invited to participate by the Laotian government and serving under Lao command, but when Symington staff members Dick Moose and Jim Lowenstein traveled to Indochina in the spring of 1972, they found that most of the Thai “volunteers” were actually not there by choice. They also learned that monies used to pay the Thai troops came from CIA officials. Unfortunately, they concluded that even an amendment more specific than the Fulbright Amendment would probably change nothing. Symington agreed, convinced that the Administration would find a way around any restrictions Congress put in place. He soon learned how right he was. The Administration already had instructed the U.S. embassy in Vientiane to disregard the economic ceiling and other prohibitions on aid in Laos that Congress had specified. That directive, Symington observed, was “but one more illustration that the constitutional system of checks and balances envisioned by the Founding Fathers no longer exist[ed] in fact.”23 Frustrated and angry, Symington published an article in World on August 29 taking to task the Nixon White House for its secrecy and deviousness. “A perversion of the processes of government has been going on,” he wrote, “a perversion inimical to our democratic system and to the nation’s future.” He then presented a brief history of American involvement in Laos, relating its importance to the domino theory and to the Vietnam War. Symington concluded by condemning the war in Laos as “furtive and secret,” an experience that would “perhaps teach us all a lesson about the dangers of creeping involvements, hidden from the Congress and the public, that make a mockery of our governmental processes.”24 Just four months after the publication of his article, Senator Symington was devastated by the death of his wife, Eve, on December 24, 1972. She was sixty-nine years old.25 Because of all the fond memories of their life in a Georgetown home, he vacated the residence and moved to an apartment in the Watergate complex. Just weeks after Symington laid his wife to rest, Henry Kissinger and Le Due Tho signed a peace accord that to all intents and purposes brought the American war in Vietnam to a close. It did not, however, settle Nixon’s problems with Congress nor with Symington and his subcommittee. At a subcommittee hearing in February 1973, Symington finally had the chance to question Secretary of State Rogers about the exact financial commitments made in the effort to end the war. As usual, the response was vague. In written questions for the Secretary, Symington asked if once again the Administration had bypassed Congress. Had the United States bought peace, and if so, at what price? Because of the ambiguities involved with the final settlement, Symington assumed there were certain commitments that would have to be honored in the rebuilding of both North and South Vietnam, so he proposed that Moose and Lowenstein make yet another trip to Southeast Asia during the spring of 1973. The Senator wanted to know the exact nature of those commitments. To assist him in gathering precise information, he also asked that the two staff members be allowed to visit Hanoi. Senator Case

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Page 181 supported his colleague’s request and suggested that they also visit prisons in South Vietnam to check on political prisoners. The State Department, not surprisingly, nixed the North Vietnam visit, explaining that “such a request could be misunderstood by the North Vietnamese authorities, and could reduce the effectiveness of the efforts we are taking to impress upon them the seriousness with which we regard violations of the agreement.”26 Moose and Lowenstein did, nevertheless, make a comprehensive trip to Southeast Asia on behalf of the subcommittee. In their final report concerning political prisoners being held by Saigon, Moose reported that there existed no due process or respect for rights of individuals. This, he claimed, was “characteristic of the entire South Vietnamese political process.” When the two staff members questioned embassy personnel about it, their hypocritical response was that the United States could not tell another nation which nationals it could arrest. Moose argued to the contrary, however, saying: “We spent years and millions of dollars urging the South Vietnamese to pursue a vigorous ‘Phoenix Program’ designed to identify, arrest or otherwise ‘neutralize’ (e.g., kill) suspected Viet Cong.” Symington agreed that the United States had indeed pursued a vigorous program in “persuading” foreign governments to do what it desired. “It is a fact that for over ten years in Vietnam we tried to create a government,” he declared. “We seem to never learn that you cannot kill an idea with a bullet.” By spring 1973 Symington wanted no more support for American military involvement in Southeast Asia—it definitely was money down the drain. On June 29 he had an opportunity to vote for another Fulbright Amendment to the military assistance bill that prohibited just such support.27 Yet again, the Nixon Administration found ways to circumvent Congress. Even after the signing of the 1973 peace accords, the nagging problem of Cambodia refused to disappear. During the spring of that year Symington’s subcommittee was constantly plagued with stories of involvement in the war and cover-ups as well as falsification of official military reports by the U.S. embassy in Vientiane. He and the members of the subcommittee once more questioned whether the Constitution was being ignored. According to the MooseLowenstein report, the United States was more heavily involved in an air war in Cambodia than had previously been thought. To make matters worse, these air attacks were often directed at population centers with very few restrictions; 80 percent of the sorties were aimed against the Khmer insurgents and not the North Vietnamese operating in Cambodia. Symington was convinced that the war in Cambodia was a civil war and the United States should not be involved. In his view Cambodia represented “the beginning of another wasteful and immoral episode, one which has nothing to do with the security of the United States, one which finds us dropping bags of rice to some Cambodians and five-hundred-pound bombs on others.” It made no sense to him to destroy a country and then dedicate resources for its rehabilitation. To the contrary, it seemed “incredible.” Even worse, he said, the “raids were giving the United States ‘a bad name’ for ‘bombing the heck out of a little nation.’” Without the advice and consent of Congress, he claimed, these hostilities were illegal. Therefore, Congress should order them terminated. Finally, in May 1973, the Senate

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Page 182 Appropriations Committee did just that. It unanimously voted to cut off all funds for bombing in Cambodia.28 Despite that action, Symington continued to berate the Nixon Administration for its illegal and invalid reasons to justify the American presence in Cambodia. Part of his argument stemmed from the fact that he and Fulbright had begun to receive letters from former servicemen validating the reports of falsified bombing documents designed to cover up illegal raids. Perhaps the most damning criticism was an order issued to American pilots to fulfill their quotas by dropping bombs indiscriminately, even on civilian populations. Many servicemen felt that the war simply enhanced the careers of the command staff. By July, under pressure from Congress and the media, the White House finally admitted that bombing raids over Cambodia started as early as 1969. This confession came only after former Air Force Major Hal M.Knight testified before Symington’s subcommittee that he and other pilots “deliberately falsified highly classified reports made after missions to prevent any official recording of the Cambodian bombings.” Knight reported that his superior officer had warned him that “the object of the falsification was to keep the facts from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” Other pilots testifying before Symington’s subcommittee admitted that they also destroyed any evidence about which targets had been hit. Another item exposed was the fact that defense personnel had left blank bombing statistics that implied there had been no bombing sorties and submitted “erroneous information.” Those actions, in his view, proved “either that Secretary Rogers didn’t know what was going on, or that he was intentionally misleading the Committee.” Symington could see no reason to keep the proof classified “unless we [were] to become parties to a cover-up,—horrible word!”29 In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 1973, Secretary Laird and Army General Earle Wheeler denied any falsification of bombing records. Dick Moose privately informed Symington that he suspected General Alexander Haig had handled the Cambodian bombings, because Moose had seen target charts in Haig’s office. Moose was convinced that General Haig was “an excellent staff officer and he would never have left such important details to others.” As far as secrecy was concerned, he was confident “that the White House was fully knowledgeable as to the cover-up.” Symington became even more concerned that the funds for the bombing raids had been secured under false pretenses. It was also apparent that the Defense Department had falsified casualty records, listing those that had occurred in Cambodia—mainly Green Berets—as part of their statistics for Vietnam. Symington, more certain than ever, was convinced that the situation in Cambodia was hopeless and that all American troops should be withdrawn. “Above all,” he declared, “the administration should acknowledge that the situation which it precipitated in Cambodia is now beyond repair and should avoid running the risk of [another] new involvement in pursuit of a lost cause.”30 For the Nixon Administration, however, Cambodia was the least of the problems. News of the Watergate break-in of the Democratic Party offices and the subsequent cover-up by the Administration blared in the headlines and, with it, the accusation of CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal. Because of the

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Page 183 possible involvement of the CIA, the Armed Services Committee became entangled with the Watergate affair as a CIA oversight committee. As of January 1973 Symington had become acting chairman of the Armed Services Committee while John Stennis recovered from an assassination attempt. Supposedly, the CIA had provided disguises and equipment used to burglarize the office of the psychiatrist who treated Daniel Ellsberg, the man responsible for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. It was also charged that the CIA had prepared two personality files on Ellsberg to discredit him—both solicited by the White House. At committee hearings Symington declared that “the question before us in these hearings is whether or not it is proper for the employees of one of our most important government agencies to assume that instructions from a building called the ‘White House’ need not be within the law.” On May 14, CIA Deputy Director Vernon Walters testified before Symington and the Armed Services Committee, admitting that Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and John Dean had approached him shortly after the break-in at the Watergate and through their requests compromised the CIA. He also stated that the White House told the FBI to cease their investigation of the break-in because it could endanger a CIA operation currently taking place. Walters checked with CIA personnel, found no operation that would be compromised, and naively reported back that the FBI could proceed with its Watergate investigation. When Dean suggested that the CIA pay bail and the salaries of people arrested in the Watergate affair, Walters refused to involve the agency. After Walters presented eleven memoranda of conversations he had had with White House personnel, Symington stated that it was “even more difficult” for him to believe that the President “knew nothing about White House attempts to use the Central Intelligence Agency to cover up the Watergate affair.”31 Haldeman stubbornly denied the accusation and defended the President. The New York Times, however, reported that Haldeman supposedly told someone in the CIA that the President’s “wish” was for the CIA to prevent the FBI investigation. Symington soon announced that Walters’ documents also revealed other Administration plans to gather domestic intelligence on American citizens. He refused to release the text of the testimony but did add that Patrick Gray, then head of the FBI, informed Nixon that “the Watergate case could not be covered up.” In an appearance on Face the Nation, Symington claimed that the Armed Services Committee hearings not only would support his Foreign Relations subcommittee discoveries but would also “show the people the dangers of secrecy, as well as the dangers of trying to blanket everything with the two words—national security.”32 As a result of Symington’s hearings, especially those involving the newly nominated DCI, William E.Colby, journalist Tim Weiner wrote: “The golden age was over. The skeletons were beginning to tumble into the open. The Congress had to face the fact that it was ignorant of the CIA.” For his part, Symington grilled Colby at his confirmation hearing for more than two hours, but he reluctantly concluded that he probably would support his nomination. One interesting item that Colby divulged during testimony was that several covert operations “were ordered by a special security council committee known

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Page 184 as the ‘40 committee’ and presently headed by Henry A.Kissinger, the President’s national security advisor” and Secretary of State designee. Symington accused the CIA of becoming “the king’s men, the President’s army,” actually diverting the agency from what should be its “primary focus of foreign intelligence gathering.” Colby assured the members of the Armed Services Committee that under his leadership the CIA would limit itself to specified foreign duties. When questioned about the political pacification in South Vietnam known as the Phoenix Program, he denied that it was really an “assassination program,” claiming that its intention was merely to find communist guerrillas.33 The hearings were all but over when new concerns surfaced about Colby. Symington received hints that Colby himself might have been involved with the Watergate affair. To determine whether or not this was indeed the case, he directed his committee general counsel, R.James Woolsey, to find out what he could. Colby’s confirmation was temporarily delayed, and Symington explained that it was because of “actions not primarily incident to intelligence.” Stennis, recovered and back in the Senate as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, then ordered a full-scale investigation of CIA activities. Symington cheered, adding that it was just such ignorance on the part of the Senators that allowed the CIA operations in Laos. Eventually Symington defended Colby and the agency, but he also promised to be as open about the CIA as possible, including making public its annual budget.34 Between late 1973 and mid-1974, Symington was forced to curtail his activities a bit due to poor health. In November 1973, at the age of seventy-two, he had prostate surgery, and in June 1974 he had hernia surgery. Because of these physical setbacks, he was unable to be as active as he had been in the past. His decision not to run for another term in the Senate also contributed to his reduced level of activity. Regardless, many of the same problems concerned him. He enthusiastically continued hearings on U.S. involvement in Cambodia and promised full disclosure of American activities. He supported Senator Edward Kennedy’s amendment to limit foreign aid to Vietnam and Senator William Proxmire’s amendment, which criticized the Defense Department for its persistent overspending of funds allocated for Indochina while expecting Congress to simply acquiesce and appropriate additional funds. Symington even introduced an amendment to set personnel ceilings in Indochina, with a gradual reduction to phase out all American involvement, civilian and military, but, even though the Foreign Relations Committee voted to support it, most Senators disagreed.35 Exposures of CIA involvement in covert actions continued to make headlines. The overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, with International Telephone and Telegraph as well as the CIA linked to that development, prompted Symington to issue several statements to the effect that the appropriate committees had been neither informed nor briefed on these covert activities. He called for joint oversight of the CIA by the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee because as matters currently stood, CIA operatives were responsible only to the ambassadors in their particular countries. The ambassadors reported only to the State Department, which was supposed to

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Page 185 report to the Armed Services Committee, which then left the Foreign Relations Committee in the dark. Cooperation, he argued, was the key to effective oversight. Symington noted in December 1974 that the CIA did not have “good supervision, or review by the Congress.” In fact, it had “no real review at all.” In an attempt to remedy that situation, he sponsored S.R. 5, the “Federal Government-in-the-Sunshine Act,” which would have opened the activities of all government agencies and congressional committees to the public. In addition, he opposed the [John] Tower-Stennis Amendment, which would have placed all intelligencegathering agencies under the auspices of the Department of Defense. Symington reasoned that even though the CIA had many faults, it remained the only civilian intelligence agency. The Tower-Stennis Amendment failed 31 to 63.36 Stuart Symington had learned a great many things about his own government as a result of his subcommittee’s various hearings as well as from media inquiries into the activities of the Nixon White House. Whereas he once had defended the military and the CIA with a passion, he was forced to acknowledge that both should be carefully monitored by appropriate Congressional committees. Decisions could not be left totally to the White House or to the military. Only through its watchdog committees could Congress reconstitute its advice and consent responsibilities. Symington firmly believed that, as a U.S. Senator, he was obligated to serve in that capacity and that he represented the people of all the states. He felt deeply that it was his responsibility to make public as much information as possible in order to provide the people with all the facts. Stuart Symington retained his firm belief and abiding faith that with the proper information and constitutional balance, American democracy would prevail and U.S. national security would not be compromised. NOTES 1. Interview with J.William Fulbright, 28 February 1971, Face the Nation, Vol. 14 (b) (New York: Information Systems, 1972), 60–67. 2. Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (2 March 1971), vol. 117, pt. 4, 4499– 4503. 3. H.R.Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994), 253–254; John Finney, “Symington Protests Kissinger’s Power,” New York Times (NYT), 3 March 1971, 3:5; “Nixon Accuses Symington of ‘Cheap Shot’ at Rogers,” NYT, 5 March 1971, 13:1. 4. John Finney, “Who’s on First, and What Does the Coach Say?” NYT, 7 March 1971, IV 1:4–IV 2:1. 5. Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 150; “Editorials,” The Nation, 29 March 1971, 387–388; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (15 April 1971), vol. 117, pt. 8, 10474–10475. Kissinger wrote later in The White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979) 453–455, that “Symington had behaved honorably” in that he would not release classified information without the permission of the State and Defense Departments. 6. William S.Moorhead to HK, 21 June 1971, WHCF, Subject Files, FE Fed Govt, FE 14–1, Access to Records, 4/1/71–12/31/72, Box 21, Nixon Project, College Park. 7. Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (17 June 1971), vol. 117, pt. 16, 20444– 20445; ibid., (18 June 1971), 20790; Walter Pincus to Carl Marcy, 21

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Page 186 June 1971, For. Rel., Box 4017, f. 2155–2166, f. 2163 S. Res. 140, 1971, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, University of Missouri—Columbia, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP); Lacey Fosburgh, “Appeals Court Getting The Times Case Today: Reactions Focus on Security Rules,” NYT, 21 June 1971, 1:7. 8. SS to ML, 2 April 1971, For. Rel. Box 4017 f. 2192–2201, f. 2200 U.S. Security, Official Corr. 1971–1972, SSP. 9. Roland A.Paul, “Laos: Anatomy of an American Involvement,” Foreign Affairs: An American Quarterly Review, April 1971, 533–547; SS to Harvard Faculty Club, 28 May 1971, For. Rel. f. 2202–2212, f. 2212 U.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements, 1971–1972, SSP; John W.Finney, “U.S. Acknowledges Use of B-52’s for Raids over Northern Laos,” NYT, 4 May 1971, 10:4; John W.Finney, “Symington Seeks Secret Session on U.S. Laos Role,” NYT, 29 May 1971, 4:5; Finney, “Two Senators Assail U.S. on Laos War,” NYT, 7 June 1971, 5:4; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (8 June 1971), vol. 117, pt. 14, 18647. 10. John Finney, “U.S. Defends Support of Thai Troops in Laos,” NYT, 8 June 1971, 11:1; “How to Fight a War While Nobody’s Looking,” NYT, 13 June 1971, IV 3:7–IV 4:1; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (15 June 1971), vol. 117, pt. 15, 19792–19794. 11. Staff to SS, 28 June 1971, For. Rel. Com. Box 2213–2222, f. 2217 Laos, SSP; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (7 July 1971), vol. 117, pt. 18, 23726; ibid., (8 July 1971), 24028– 24029; ibid., (12 July 1971), pt. 19, 24480; ibid., (21 July 1971), pt. 20, 26347–26350. 12. Laos: April 1971, A Staff Report Prepared for the Use of the Subcommittee on U.S. Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1971), also known as the Moose-Lowenstein report, SSP. 13. Memorandum, 4 August 1971, For. Rel. Com. F. 2131–2137, f. 2134 Cor. W/Staff Jun.-Dec. 1971, SSP; statement by SS, For. Rel. Com. F. 2213–2222, f. 2217 U.S. Security, Laos: Official Corr., 1971, SSP; the President to the Secretaries of State and Defense, 30 August 1971, WHCF, Subj. Files Fed. Govt. (FG), Box 20 f. Ex FG 36–9 Sen. Com.—For. Rel., Nixon Project; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (4 October 1971), vol. 117, pt. 26, 34681–34700; UPI release, 4 October 1971, For. Rel. Com. F. 2202–2212, f. 2212 U.S. Security, Laos: Clipps, Releases, Statements, 1971–1972, SSP. 14. John W.Finney, “Senate Unit Votes $250-Million Limit on Cambodian Aid,” NYT, 14 October 1971, 1:1; “The Common Denominator,” NYT, 16 October 1971, 30:1; Congress, Senate, 92nd Congress, 1st sess., Congressional Record (19 October 1971), vol. 117, pt. 28, 36623–36624, 36626; ibid., (28 October 1971), vol. 117, pt. 29, 38010–38012. 15. JWF to SS, 20 October 1971, Series 48, For. Rel. Com 48:3 Com. Administration, 1971–1974, Box 18, J. William Fulbright, Special Collections, Mullins Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; John W. Finney, “Senate, 47 to 44, Kills Fund Curb on Vietnam War,” NYT, 29 October 1971, 1:5, 12:1; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (10 November 1971), vol. 117, pt. 31, 40283; JWF to SS, 6 December 1971, SS to JWF, 6 December 1971, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017 f. 2223–2234, f. 2232 U. S. Security, Thailand Trip, SSP; SS to JM, 14 December 1971, 121B Foreign Relations, Sen. Symington 1971, John L.McClellan Collection, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR. 16. SS to RH, 9 March 1971, WHCF, Subj. Files Fed. Gov’t. (FG), Box 20, f. Ex FG 36–9, Sen. Com.—For. Rel. [2 of 3, 1971], Nixon Project.

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Page 187 17. David Wise, “Covert Operations Abroad: An Overview,” The CIA File, ed. Robert L.Borosage and John Marks (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976), 19; Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, The CIA and American Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 185; SS to JS, 7 July 1971, 12 October 1971, 6 November 1971, Armed Services Com., Box 6098, f. 1775, Box 6099, f. 1775 Corr. W/Chair & Staff 1971, SSP; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (7 July 1971), vol. 117, pt. 18, 23675–23676. 18. Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (10 November 1971), vol. 117, pt. 31, 40283–40284; ibid., (13 November 1971), 41050; ibid., (23 November 1971), vol. 117, pt. 33, 42923– 42932. 19. Moose and Lowenstein to JWF, 3 December 1971, For. Rel. Com. Box 2131–2137, f. 2134 U.S. Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, SSP; Jeffreys-Jones, 185; Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1990), 129. 20. Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (26 January 1971), vol. 117, pt. 1, 579; ibid., (23 March 1971), vol. 117, pt. 6, 7351; SS to Mike Mansfield, 7 February 1972, Series 48, For. Rel. Com., 48:17 Viet Nam, General Materials, 1970–1974, Box 46, Fulbright Papers; JWF to HK, 10 February 1972, JWD to JWF, 28 February 1972, WHCF, Subj. Files Federal Gov’t. (FG), Box 20, f. ExFG 36–9 Sen. Com.—For. Rel. [3 of 3, 1972–1974], Nixon Project. 21. Stephen E.Ambrose, Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician 1962–1972, Vol. 2 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 527–530; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (13 April 1972), vol. 118, pt. 10, 12613; ibid., (19 April 1972), vol. 118, pt. 11, 13332; ibid., 5 May 1972), vol. 118, pt. 13, 16108; ibid. (16 May 1972), vol. 118, pt. 14, 17563; ibid. (13 June 1972), vol. 118, pt. 16, 20615; John W.Finney, “Laird Says Raids Can Go on If Foe Keeps Up Invasion,” NYT, 19 April 1972, 1:8; Stuart Symington, “The Longest War,” NYT, 28 December 1972, 31:5. 22. Press release on AID in Laos, 13 April 1972, For. Rel. f. 2213–2222, f. 2218 U.S. Security, Laos: Official Corr., 1972–1973; AID Activities in Laos (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972), SSP. 23. DM and JL to SS, 29 June 1972, For. Rel. Com. Box 2213–2222, f. 2218; SS to Stennis, 18 August 1972, Armed Services Com. Box 6099, f. 1776 Corr. W/Chair & Staff 1972, SSP. 24. Stuart Symington, “Laos: The Furtive War,” World, 29 August 1972. 25. “Mrs. Stuart Symington Is Dead; Wife of Senator from Missouri,” NYT, 25 December 1972, 20:1. 26. Questions and statements prepared by SS and Staff for Sec. Rogers, 20 February 1973, For. Rel. Com. F. 2138–2146, f. 2139 Cor. W/Staff Feb. 1973, SSP; SS to JWF, 2 March 1973, Series 48, 48:3, Box 18, f. 3, Fulbright Papers; CC to JWF, 21 March 1973, Series 48, For. Rel. Com., 48:3, Box 18, f. Com. Admin., 1971–1974, Fulbright Papers; Assistant Sec. of St. Marshall Green to SS, 16 March 1973, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017, f. 2223–2234, f. 2226 U.S. Security, Southeast Asia, Moose/Lowenstein Trip, 1973, SSP. 27. DM to CC, 3 May 1973, For. Rel. Com. Box 4017 f. 2223–2234, f. 2226 U.S. Security, Southeast Asia, Moose/Lowenstein Trip, 1973, SSP; Speech by SS, 29 October 1973, Joint Atomic Energy Comm. F. 1973–1974 Military Applications Subcommittee, SSP. By 1974 even Henry Kissinger supported Symington’s premise that the U.S. could not “transform the domestic structure of all countries” or else it would find itself “massively involved in every country in the world, and then many of the concerns expressed by Senator Symington and Senator Church of a constant American involvement everywhere [would] come to the fore again.” Henry A.Kissinger, American Foreign Policy (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 1974), 210; Congress,

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Page 188 Senate, 93rd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (29 June 1973), vol. 119, pt. 17, 22325. 28. William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), 275–277, 288; U.S. Air Operations in Cambodia: April 1973 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 29 April 1973), For. Rel. Com. Box 4017 f. 2226–2234, f. 2226 U.S. Security, Southeast Asia, Moose/Lowenstein Trip, 1973, press release, 27 April, 1973, SSP; John W.Finney, “U.S. Data on Cambodia Raids Show Shift to a Support Role,” NYT, 28 April 1973, 3:5; Bernard Gwertzman, “Rogers Defends Cambodia Raids,” NYT, 1 May 1973, 1:1, 11:1; Congress, Senate, 93rd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (3 May 1973), vol. 119, pt. 11, 14139–14141; ibid., (29 May 1973), vol. 119, pt. 13, 17126; John W.Finney, “Senate Panel Votes, 24–0, to Bar Cambodian Raids,” NYT, 16 May 1973, 1:2. 29. Letters to JWF and SS, Sen. Harold E.Hughes to SS, 18 July 1973, SS to HEH, 19 July 1973, Armed Ser., Com Box 6788, f. 1802 Bombing (Cambodia, etc.) 1967–1973, SSP; Seymour M.Hersh, “U.S. Confirms Pre-1970 Raids on Cambodia,” NYT, 17 July 1973, 1:1. 30. Seymour M.Hersh, “Laird and Wheeler Deny Knowing of False Bomb Reports,” NYT, 19 July 1973, 1:1; Moose to SS, 24 July 1973, Armed Ser. Com. Box 6788, f. 1802 Bombing (Cambodia, etc.) 1967–1973, SSP; “Symington Doubts Validity of Raid Fund,” NYT, 24 July 1973, 1:6; Seymour M.Hersh, “Hughes Urges Senate to Resist Pressure to Extend Bombing,” NYT, 28 July 1973, 2:1; Congress, Senate, 93rd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (3 August 1973), vol. 119, pt. 22, 28017–28018. 31. Statement by SS and press release, 11 May 1973, Armed Ser. Com. Box 6098, f. 1781, SSP; Stephen E. Ambrose, Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973–1990 Vol. 3 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), 144; Marjorie Hunter, “Ruckelhaus Says F.B.I. Tape File, including the Data on Ellsberg, Was Found in Ehrlichman Safe,” NYT, 15 May 1973, 1:5; Marjorie Hunter, “Dean Tied to Plea to C.I.A. to Help Watergate Group,” NYT, 1:6; Marjorie Hunter, “Symington Cites New Data by C.I.A.,” NYT, 17 May 1973, 19:8. 32. Ambrose, Nixon, Vol. 3, 147; Marjorie Hunter, “C.I.A. Memo Said to Quote Haldeman on Nixon ‘Wish’ to Halt F.B.I. Fund Study,” NYT, 22 May 1973, 1:8, 28:4; Marjorie Hunter, “Report Brands Watergate a Low in Election Tactics,” NYT, 28 May 1973, 1:2. 33. Weiner, 133, 135; John W.Finney, “Nixon Plans to Speak Out on Watergate after End of the Current Hearings,” NYT, 3 July 1973, 1:6, 9:1. 34. SS to RMN, 5 July 1973, William E.Timmons to SS, 9 July 1973, WHCF, Subject Files, FE Fed. Govt, FE 14–1 Access to Records, Box 21, Nixon Project; SS to JS, 17 July 1973, Woolsey to SS, 17 July 1973, 23 July 1973, Armed Services Com., Box 6098, f. 1782, Corr. W/Chair & Staff 1973, SSP; Bernard Gwertzman, “Senate Calls Critics to Inquiry on Colby,” NYT, 20 July 1973, 5:1; “Stennis Plans C.I.A. Charter Review,” NYT, 21 July 1973, 3:1; Bernard Gwertzman, “Senate Backs Colby as C.I.A. Head and Indicates More Scrutiny of Agency,” 2 August 1973, 23:1. 35. “Notes on People,” NYT, 27 November 1973, 26:4, 5 June 1974, 49:5; Congress, Senate, 93rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (27 March 1974), vol. 120, pt. 7, 8392–8394; ibid. (6 May 1974), vol. 120, pt. 10, 13247–13248; ibid., (11 June 1974), vol. 120, pt. 14, 18630; ibid., (20 August 1974), vol. 120, pt. 22, 29180; statement, 6 May 1974, Armed Services Com., Box 6099, f. 1786 Corr w/Chair & Staff 1974, SSP; Moose to SS 12 August 1974, For. Rel. Com. Box 2147–2154, f. 2148, SS to John Sparkman, 9 December 1974, For. Rel. Com. Box 2105–2114, f. 2111, SSP. 36. Seymour M.Hersh, “Senate Staff Report on Chile Accuses Helms and 3 of Contempt,” NYT, 17 September 1974, 10:4; “President Publicly Backs Clandestine C.I.A.

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Page 189 Activity,” Ibid., 17 September 1974, 1:1; Seymour M.Hersh, “Senators Order Inquiry on Chile,” NYT, 18 September 1974, 5:1; Congress, Senate, 93rd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (2 October 1974), vol. 120, pt. 25, 33481–33482, 33489–33490; Seymour M.Hersh, “Proxmire to Seek Inquiry on C.I.A. over Role in U.S.,” NYT, 23 December 1974, 1:8; Congress, Senate, 94th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (30 January 1975), vol. 121, pt. 2, 1895; ibid., 2nd sess., (13 May 1976), vol. 122, pt. 11, 13998–14001; ibid., (19 May 1976), vol. 122, pt. 12, 14661, 14665.

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Page 191 Chapter 11 Conclusion As Stuart Symington ended his final years in the Senate, it was clear that he had evolved from a Cold Warrior to a practical politician and statesman. Many of his ideas had changed dramatically. From an early advocate of the “big bomber” and a critic of the “missile gap,” he metamorphosed into an opponent of the Vietnam War who believed that the United States could not successfully serve as the world’s policeman. Probably his most surprising reversal, at least given his Cold War rhetoric and his burning passion for the U.S. Air Force, was in the area of arms control and disarmament. In August 1965 President Johnson appointed Symington to attend the eighteen-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. That same year the Missouri Senator voted for a test ban treaty and was soon calling for closer relations with his old nemesis, the Soviet Union. He reasoned that as long as Americans encouraged “suspicion and distrust” between the superpowers, very little in the way of understanding could be achieved. “What,” he asked, was “the purpose of our diplomacy?” In answering his own question, he remarked that it should provide an opportunity to sit down, agree to disagree, and then find a common thread to prevent a nuclear holocaust.1 In 1967 Symington also supported the Non-Proliferation Treaty and was appointed as one of four U.S. representatives to the Twenty-third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Later he encouraged the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT) talks, hoping that the arms race could be slowed and eventually halted. Symington also believed that both the United States and the Soviet Union should completely halt the development of antiballistic missile systems as a first step in disarmament. The arms race was much too costly for either country, and neither economy could indefinitely sustain it. When the Nixon Administration insisted in 1972 on continuing to test new weapons systems, offering the excuse that the Soviets were also testing, the Senator accused the Republicans of using “scare” tactics.2 What a change in twenty years! Senator Symington had become a believer in “the school of minimum deterrence.” On many occasions he stated that nuclear weapons posed a monstrous threat to all of humanity and that only a few of these weapons of mass destruction were needed to ensure deterrence. He was constantly concerned about the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency,

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Page 192 believing passionately in its aims and in the importance of its nonpartisan independence. As SALT II was discussed in Congress during 1973 and 1974, Symington vowed that he would oppose any language indicating that the United States insisted on superiority as opposed to parity with the USSR, and he warned repeatedly of the consequences of any nuclear exchange. Time after time, from the Kennedy Administration forward, he proclaimed that the United States was already ahead in numbers of nuclear weapons and was likely to remain so. In fact, he believed that all weapons systems should be included in any agreement reached with the Russians. In October 1974, when he was again an American delegate to the United Nations, he cautioned about the frightening number of U.S. nuclear weapons and called for “a collective effort by nuclear and non-nuclear powers to curb the spread of nuclear weapons” because “one miscalculation, one terrorist activity, one paranoic leader could set the spark to a worldwide nuclear holocaust.” Symington viewed his membership on the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy as an opportunity to emphasize its position on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. He publicly supported a speech delivered by a Soviet delegate to the United Nations that warned of the environmental effects of nuclear testing and underscored his praise of the speech as a hope that both nations, working together, could halt the spread of nuclear weapons. In October 1975 Symington went so far as to introduce an unsuccessful amendment designed to bar future American aid to countries developing nuclear programs. Nuclear proliferation was unacceptable.3 Thus the Cold Warrior had made a transition. Although national security remained a concern, once détente became a matter of fact and arms control was underway, his focus changed. His new goal was to solve major domestic problems. The value of the dollar was in jeopardy, and inner-city issues had to be addressed—two major cities in Symington’s own state, St. Louis and Kansas City, attested to this need. He realized that the world had changed since 1945 and was convinced that the United States no longer had to carry the major responsibilities for Europe or Japan. In his opinion it was time to establish national security priorities because not all threats were of the same consequence or importance. He also came to the conclusion that the Pentagon and the CIA must be accountable to the American people. Above all, a balance between the executive and legislative branches of government had to be reestablished. As a responsible Senator who represented the people of Missouri and, as far as he was concerned, all Americans, Stuart Symington refused to rubber-stamp military and national security programs simply because they were proposed by the Pentagon or by the President. When he announced in 1975 that he would not seek reelection the following year, he commented that he was “tired of having old men in Government passing laws that force young men to do battle in causes that are not essential to the United States.”4 Although foreign relations occupied much of Symington’s time, interest, and energy, his twenty-four years of service in the Senate encompassed many activities. He served on the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, the Agriculture and Forestry Committee, the Joint Committee on Construction of a Building for Museum of History and Technology for the Smithsonian

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Page 193 Institution, the Joint Economic Committee, the Public Works Committee, and the Government Operations Committee. His most significant committee assignments, by far, were the ones associated with national security—the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Services Committee. Probably his most important specific assignment as a U.S. Senator, of course, was as chairman of the Subcommittee on United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad. The information gathered from those extensive hearings prodded Congress to insist on its Constitutional right to oversee treaties and executive agreements— eventually prompting the enactment of the War Powers Act, signed into law in November 1973. He also exposed the CIA, which seemed responsible to no one and was itself conducting foreign policy. Because of his public criticism of secrecy within the State and Defense Departments, the DCIs began to be scrutinized more closely by the appropriate Congressional oversight committees. In addition, and as a result of Symington’s hearings, foreign aid was dispensed more discriminately as he made the point that buying friends was not always in the interest of the United States, particularly if the populace did not support its own government’s policies. Through his discussions of foreign aid, he forced many Senators to realize that the way to control the executive branch was by controlling the purse strings, and he showed them that the Senate had abandoned its responsibility to advise and consent under the Constitution. Stuart Symington made a valuable contribution in reestablishing that Constitutional balance. Only two potential scandals touched Symington’s long career. In 1976, after he had left the Senate (he resigned early in order to provide his successor, John Danforth, with more seniority), he was accused of protecting Richard Helms, the former DCI, who was called to testify in 1973 about covert activities in Chile. Symington denied any “collusion” with Helms and pointed out that Symington himself had been the one to insist on a public hearing and not a hearing in executive session. He guaranteed that had he suspected any impropriety he would have turned the evidence over to the Justice Department. At the time he noted that in all of his thirty-one years in public service, this was the first time that his integrity had been questioned. “I have only one thing to leave my children…and that’s my good name.” The only other potential scandal implicated Symington in a $500 bribe from a Korean agent, Tongsun Park. Although the investigation extended from 1977 into 1978, Symington faced no threat of indictment and ultimately was exonerated.5 Stuart Symington’s departure from the Senate in the fall of 1976 elicited glowing compliments from his colleagues who praised his leadership, his knowledge, and his integrity. Many of them had known him since 1946 when he served in the appointive positions during the Truman Administration. Senator John Stennis of Mississippi spoke of Symington’s knowledge of foreign policy, having served many years with him on the Armed Services Committee. Even Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), a colleague with whom he frequently disagreed, recognized his work as Secretary of the Air Force and his vast knowledge on a variety of subjects. The “happy warrior” Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) referred to Symington as a statesman and “as a constant source of strength, guidance, of wisdom, of judgment but, best of all and above

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Page 194 all, of friendship.” Senator John McClellan (D-AR) reminded his colleagues of Symington’s important role in the Army-McCarthy hearings, showing him “to be a tower of strength during this trying period,” helping “to transform what could have been a bleak experience for the American people into a renaissance of faith in our democratic institutions.” New York Senator Jacob Javits described him as “a shatterer of images” and as “a lover of life,” a man who fought for what he believed in, regardless of the foe. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) lauded Symington for his efforts in securing greater veteran benefits and social security for the elderly. Senator James Eastland (D-MS) claimed that his “greatest contributions have been in the areas of defense and foreign policy,” that he “recognized the significance of atomic technology for peace as well as defense, and has long called for effective control over nuclear materials.”6 Many of Symington’s colleagues spoke of his extensive contributions to the American people. President Gerald Ford assured Symington that “the people of the United States, the citizens of the State of Missouri and those who have been privileged to serve with you in the Senate are indebted to you for your years of distinguished public service—a career marked with the wisdom, honor and integrity of a great statesman.” And Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller wrote that Symington’s service to his country had “been marked by a broadness of vision which placed the national interest above narrower considerations, a long view particularly apparent in [his] valuable contributions to American foreign and military policy.”7 In 1978 Symington married Ann Hemingway Watson, related by marriage to one of the founders of International Business Machines. She was fifty-nine and he was seventy-seven. They had been introduced at a golf tournament by Bob and Dolores Hope. During his retirement Symington loved to play golf and went to his club for companionship. The new Mrs. Symington “made sure he was active.” Symington also served with Clark Clifford as a vice-chairman and a director of First American Bankshares and as President of the National Cathedral Association in Washington. He died in his sleep at his home in New Canaan, Connecticut, December 14, 1988. He was eighty-seven years old.8 Stuart Symington served his country with distinction. Although privileged, he was a decent, sophisticated, urbane man who developed a social conscience, especially regarding African Americans and organized labor. He approached problems with a businessman’s outlook—the bottom line was always “affordability” and practicality. Symington was not particularly intellectual or cerebral. Perhaps because of that, he sought expert advice on many issues and was always prepared. He managed to maintain a variety of friendships, both liberal and conservative, both Northern and Southern, indicating that he was able to separate his partisanship from his personal and social life. Symington was tenacious and very competitive—in sports, in defense of the Air Force as its Secretary, and in his views of national security. He was absolutely a man of his time. Although his early Cold War rhetoric seemed extreme, he managed to avoid the McCarthy pitfall of seeing subversion from within even as he never doubted that it threatened from without. He, like so many other Americans of his era, believed in a monolithic communism that was determined to conquer the world and destroy the American way of life. The war in Vietnam and its

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Page 195 concomitant involvements and revelations spurred Symington into reevaluating his nation’s and his own priorities. Whereas the Cold Warrior once envisioned a frightful world that pitted absolute good against absolute evil, he came to realize that a strictly bipolar world simply did not exist—nuclear weapons proliferation, the arms race, nationalism, and each nation’s economic ability redefined national interests. As a U.S. Senator he had the courage to change his positions and to publicly speak out about his worldview vis-àvis the Soviet Union and the United States, the ability of the country to sustain its involvement around the world, and his insistence on the Constitutional relationship of the executive and legislative branches of government. In his search for national security, Stuart Symington brought dignity and reason to his elected office. NOTES 1. Congress, Senate, 89th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (17 August 1975), vol. 111, pt. 14, 20600; ibid., (1 October 1965), vol. 111, pt. 19, 25844; statement by SS, February 1967, For. Rel. Com. F. 2122– 2130, f. 2123 Cor. W/Staff Jan.–Feb. 1967, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts, Stuart Symington Papers (SSP), Columbia, MO. 2. Memorandum, 1968, For. Rel. Com. Box 2105–2114, f. 2106, SSP; Congress, Senate 90th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (21 June 1968), vol. 114, pt. 14, 18206–18208, 18213, 18538; LBJ to SS, 3 July 1968, WHCF, Name File, Box 688, f. Stuart Symington (Sen.) 1/1/68, LBJL; SS to Carl Marcy, 13 September WHCF, Box 688, Executive IT 47–8/A, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (LBJL); Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (16 March 1971), vol. 117, pt. 5, 6630–6631; John W.Finney, “Symington Backs Soviet on ABM Freeze,” New York Times (NYT), 30 March 1971, 3:4; Bernard Gwertzman, “Senators Indicate Support at Arms-Accord Hearing,” NYT, 20 June 1972, 3:1; Bernard Gwertzman, “Laird Would Kill Pacts If Congress Barred Arms Fund,” NYT, 21 June 1972, 1:1; Bernard Gwertzman, “Fulbright and Laird Clash at Hearing on Arms Limitation Accords,” NYT, 22 June 1972, 10:4. 3. Morton A.Kaplan, “The Impact of SALT I (and Potentially SALT II) on the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Balance,” Contrasting Approaches to Strategic Arms Control, ed. Robert L.Pfaltzgraff, Jr. (Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1974), 73; memorandum to SS, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament 15 May 1973, For. Rel. Com. F. 2138–2146, f. 2141 Cor. W/Staff May–Sept. 1973, SSP; Congress, Senate, 92nd Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (11 August 1972), vol. 118, pt. 21 27943, 28050; Kathleen Teltsch, “Symington, at U.N., Offers U.S. Plan to Curb Spread of A-Arms,” NYT, 22 October 1974, 6:1; “U.S. Discusses Disarmament Issues in U.N. General Assembly Debate,” Department of State Bulletin, 20 January 1975, 72–76; Congress, Senate, 94th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (23 July 1975), vol. 121, pt. 19, 24292; ibid., (28 July 1975), vol. 121, pt. 20, 25402. 4. “Symington, 73, Says He Will Not Seek Senate Re-election,” NYT, 23 April 1975, 85:4. 5. Nicholas M.Horrock, “Symington Denies ‘Collusion’ in 1973 to Protect Helms,” NYT, 24 January 1976, 1:4; Richard Halloran, “Ex-Congressman Is Depicted in Park Indictment as Agent of Korea,” NYT, 7 September 1977, 8:3; “Investigators Say McClellan Admitted an Unreported Tongsun Park Gift,” NYT, 20 June 1978, II 7:1. 6. Congress, Senate, 94th Cong., 2nd sess., Congressional Record (30 September 1976), vol. 122, pt. 26, 33778–33793.

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Page 196 7. Ibid. 8. Stuart Symington, Jr., interview by author, 8 October 1994, St. Louis; “Notes on People,” NYT, 13 April 1978, III 2:4; Eric Pace, “Stuart Symington, 4-Term Senator Who Ran for President, Dies at 87,” NYT, 15 December 1988, IV 26:1; Robert Koenig and Jo Mannies, “Stuart Symington Dead at Age 87,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 15 December 1988, 1:5; all of page E 1 is devoted to Symington, with an editorial on E 2:1, 2; Robert L. Koenig, “Sen. Symington Eulogized as Man of Great Integrity,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 18 December 1988, D 13:5, 6.

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Page 197 Selected Bibliography MANUSCRIPT AND ARCHIVAL MATERIALS Dwight David Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kansas Dwight David Eisenhower Papers Pre-Presidential Central Files: President’s Personal File L.Arthur Minnich Series Office of the Staff Secretary Files White House Central Files Ann Whitman File Jacqueline Cochran Papers Alfred M.Gruenther Papers T.Keith Glennan, Diary Bryce N.Harlow Records 1953–1961 Lauris Norstad Papers Mullins Library, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas James William Fulbright Papers The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texas Lyndon B.Johnson Papers Congressional File United States Senate 1949–1961 Vice Presidential Papers 1961–1963 Confidential File National Security File Office Files of Mike Manatos White House Press Office Files: Press Secretary’s News Conference White House Central Files

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Page 198 Oral Histories Clark M.Clifford Richard Helms Carl M.Marcy John A.McCone Dean Rusk John C.Stennis Stuart Symington John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts Oral Histories Stanley R.Fike James Meredith James W.Symington Stuart Symington Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. W.A.Harriman Papers George Meany Memorial Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland George Meany Papers National Archives Annex II, College Park, Maryland Records of the Office of the Secretary of War, Office, Assistant Secretary of War for Air Richard M.Nixon Papers, Nixon Presidential Materials Project White House Central Files White House Special Files: Staff Member and Office Files Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas John L.McClellan Papers Princeton University Archives, Seeley G.Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, New Jersey Allen W.Dulles Papers John Foster Dulles Papers Arthur Krock Papers Arthur Krock Black Notebook: Memoranda Adlai E.Stevenson Papers Oral Histories General Nathan F.Twining

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Page 199 Harry S.Truman Library, Independence, Missouri Harry S.Truman Papers Official File President’s Secretary’s File White House Central Files Post-Presidential Files Stuart Symington Papers Oral Histories Tom L.Evans Stanley R.Fike Thomas K.Finletter Durward W.Gilmore Roswell L.Gilpatric Marx Leva Wilfred J.McNeil John W.Snyder Harold C.Stuart W.Stuart Symington Eugene M.Zuckert University of Missouri-Columbia, Joint Collection of the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the State Historical Society of Missouri William Stuart Symington Papers GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS Atomic Energy Act of 1946. Statutes at Large. Vol. 60 (1947). The Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1949. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948. The Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1950. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949. The Budget of the United States Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1951. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950. U.S., Congressional Record. Vols. 97–122. U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States. 1947–1954. U.S. Congress, Senate, Armed Services Committee. National Defense Establishment. Unification of Armed Services: Hearings on Senate Report No.758. 80th Cong., 1st Sess., 18 March–3 April 1947. UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS Green, Murray. “Stuart Symington and the B-36.” Ph.D., The American University, 1960. Zelman, Walter Arnold. “Senate Dissent and the Vietnam War, 1964–1968.” Ph.D., University of California— Los Angeles, 1971.

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Page 200 INTERVIEWS BY AUTHOR Dison, Jack, USAPR. 1 November 1993. Fulbright, Senator J.William. 22 July 1992. Symington, James W. 6 June 1996. Symington, Stuart, Jr. 8 October 1994. BOOKS (Primary) Acheson, Dean. Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1969. Adams, Sherman. Firsthand Report: The Story of the Eisenhower Administration. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961. Alsop, Joseph, and Stewart Alsop. The Reporter’s Trade. New York: Reynal & Company, 1958.. Bradlee, Benjamin. Conversations with Kennedy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975. Bradley, David. No Place to Hide 1946/1984. Hanover: University Press of New England, 1948, reprint 1983. CBS News. Face the Nation: The Collected Transcripts from the CBS Radio and Television Broadcasts. Vols. 1– 20. New York: Information Systems, 1972, 1974, 1976–1978. Clay, Lucius D. Decision in Germany. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1950. Clifford, Clark, with Richard Holbrooke. Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991. Ehrlichman, John. Witness to Power: The Nixon Years. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1982. Eisenhower, Dwight D. Mandate for Change, 1953–1956: The White House Years. Vol. 1. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1963. ———. Waging Peace, 1956–1961: The White House Years. Vol. 2. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965. Forrestal, James. The Forrestal Diaries, ed. Walter Millis with the collaboration of E.S. Duffield. New York: Viking Press, 1951. Graham, Katherine. Personal History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Haldeman, H.R. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994. Kissinger, Henry A. American Foreign Policy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1974. ———. The White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979. Krock, Arthur. Memoirs: Sixty Years on the Firing Line. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968. Lilienthal, David E. The Atomic Energy Years, 1945–1950. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. McNamara, Robert S. The Essence of Security: Reflections in Office. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. McPherson, Harry. A Political Education. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972. Pearson, Drew. Diaries, 1949–1959, ed. Tyler Abell. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974. Rayburn, Sam. Speak, Mister Speaker, ed. H.D.Dulaney, Edward Hoke Phillips, MacPhelan. Bonham, Texas: Sam Rayburn Foundation, 1978. Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

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Page 201 Sorensen, Theodore C. Kennedy. New York: Harper & Row, 1965. Stone, I.F. A Nonconformist History of Our Times: The Haunted Fifties 1953–1963. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1989. Symington, James W. The Stately Game. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1971. Truman, Harry S. Strictly Personal and Confidential: The Letters Harry Truman Never Mailed, ed. Monte M. Poem. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1982. ———. Years of Trial and Hope. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956. Truman, Margaret. Bess W. Truman. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986. Von Karman, Theodore. The Wind and Beyond: Theodore von Karman, Pioneer in Aviation and Pathfinder in Space. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1967. BOOKS (Secondary) Abels, Jules. The Truman Scandals. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1956. Aliano, Richard. American Defense Policy from Eisenhower to Kennedy: The Politics of Changing Military Requirements, 1957–1961. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1975. Allen, Robert S., and William V.Shannon. The Truman Merry-Go-Round. New York: Vanguard Press, Inc., 1950. Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower: The President. Vol. 2. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. ———. Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962–1972. Vol. 2. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989. ———. Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973–1990. Vol.3. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. Baral, Jaya Krishna. The Pentagon and the Making of US Foreign Policy: A Case Study of Vietnam, 1960– 1968 . New Delhi: Radiant Publishers, 1978. Barnet, Richard J. The Economy of Death. New York: Atheneum, 1969. Berman, William C. William Fulbright and the Vietnam War: The Dissent of a Political Realist. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1988. Beschloss, Michael R. The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960–1963. New York: Edward Burlingame Books, 1991. ———. Mayday: The U-2 Affair. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. Borosage, Robert L. and John Marks, eds. The CIA File. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976. Bottome, Edgar M. The Balance of Terror: Nuclear Weapons and the Illusion of Security, 1945–1985. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986. ———. The Missile Gap: A Study of the Formulation of Military and Political Policy. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971. Breckinridge, Scott D. The CIA and the U.S. Intelligence System. Boulder: Westview Press, 1986. Brinkley, Douglas. Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953–71. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. Brodie, Fawn M. Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1981. Bundy, McGeorge. Danger and Survival. New York: Random House, 1988. Burrows, William E. Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security. New York: Random House, 1986. Caro, Robert A. The Years ofLyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

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Page 202 Clarfield, Gerard H., and William M.Wiecek. Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940–1980. New York: Harper & Row, 1984. Collier, Peter, and David Horowitz. The Kennedys: An American Drama. New York: Summit Books, 1984. Dallek, Robert. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. ———. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Darling, Arthur B. The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to 1950. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990. Divine, Robert A. Blowing on the Wind: The Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1954–1960. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. ———. Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections, 1952–1960. New York: New View Viewpoints, 1974. ———. The Johnson Years. Vol. Two: Vietnam, the Environment, and Science. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987. Donovan, Robert J. Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1949–1953. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982. Dunar, Andrew J. The Truman Scandals and the Politics of Morality. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984. Emerson Electric Company. Emerson Electric Company: A Century of Manufacturing, 1890–1990. St. Louis: Emerson Electric Co., 1989. Etzold, Thomas H., and John Lewis Gaddis, eds. Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945–1950. New York: Columbia University Press, 1978. Evans, Rowland, Jr., and Robert D.Novak. Nixon in the White House: The Frustration of Power. New York: Random House, 1971. Feis, Herbert. From Trust to Terror: The Onset of the Cold War, 1945–1950. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1970. Foot, Rosemary. The Wrong War: American Policy and the Dimensions of the Korean Conflict, 1950–1953. Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, ed. Robert J.Art and Robert Jervis. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. Fried, Richard M. Men Against McCarthy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976. Fuchs, Lawrence H. John F.Kennedy and American Catholicism. New York: Meredith Press, 1967. Futrell, Robert Frank. Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine. Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force, 1907–1960. Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1989. Gaddis, John Lewis. The Long Peace; Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. Gibbons, William C. The United States Government and the Vietnam War. Part 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. ———. The United States Government and the Vietnam War. Part 3. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988. ———. The United States Government and the Vietnam War. Part 4. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Goldberg, Alfred, ed. A History of the United States Air Force, 1907–1957. Princeton: D.Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1957. Griffith, Robert. The Politics of Fear: Joseph R.McCarthy and the Senate. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970.

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Page 203 Halperin, Morton H. National Security Policy-Making: Analyses, Cases, and Proposals. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1975. Hammond, Paul Y. Cold War and Détente: The American Foreign Policy Process since 1945, ed. John Morton Blum. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1975. Herken, Gregg. Counsels of War. New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1985. ———. The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War, 1945–1950. New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1980. Hersh, Seymour M. The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House. New York: Summit Books, 1983. Hewlett, Richard G., and Jack M.Holl. Atoms for Peace and War, 1953–1961: Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. Hoff, Joan. Nixon Reconsidered. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1994. Hoopes, Townsend. The Devil and John Foster Dulles. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1973. ———.with Douglas Brinkley. Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. Isaacson, Walter, and Evan Thomas. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made—Acheson, Bohlen, Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, McCloy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986. Jacobson, Harold Karan, and Eric Stein. Diplomats, Scientists, and Politicians: The United States and the Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966. Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. The CIA and American Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989. Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking Press, 1983. Kaufman, Richard F. The McNamara Strategy. New York: Harper & Row, 1964. Kearns, Doris. Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. Krock, Arthur. The Consent of the Governed and Other Deceits. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971. LaFeber, Walter. America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945–1971. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1972. LaFeber, Walter, ed. The Dynamics of World Power: A Documentary History of United States Foreign Policy 1945–1973. Arthur M.Schlesinger, Jr., gen. ed. Vol. 2. Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. New York: Chelsea House Publishers and McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973. Leffler, Melvyn P. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford Nuclear Age Series, ed. Martin Sherwin. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992. Lineberry, William P. The United States in World Affairs, 1970. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972. MacNeil, Neil. Dirksen: Portrait of a Public Man. New York: World Publishing Company, 1970. Martin, John Bartlow. Adlai Stevenson and the World: The Life ofAdlai E.Stevenson. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977. Martin, Ralph G., and Ed Plant. Front Runner, Dark Horse. New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1968. May, Ernest R., ed. American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993.

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Page 204 McCoy, Donald R., and Richard T.Ruetten. Quest and Response: Minority Rights and the Truman Administraton. Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 1973. McCullough, David. Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1985. Merry, Robert W. Taking on the World: Joseph and Stewart Alsop—Guardians of the American Century. New York: Viking/Penguin Group, 1996. Miller, Merle. Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1980. Millett, Allan R. and Peter Maslowski. For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America. New York: Free Press, 1984. Morgan, Edward P. “The Missouri Compromise—Stuart Symington.” In Candidates 1960: Behind the Headlines in the Presidential Race, ed. Eric Sevareid. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959. Olson, James S., and Randy Roberts. Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 1945 to 1990. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991. Oshinsky, David. A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy. New York: Free Press, 1983. Paige, Glenn D. The Korean Decision (June 24–30, 1950). New York: Free Press, 1968. Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Jr., ed. Contrasting Approaches to Strategic Arms Control. Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company, 1974. Powers, Thomas. The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA. New York: Alfred A.Knopf, 1979. Prados, John. Keeper of the Keys: A History of the National Security Council from Truman to Bush. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991. ———. The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence Analysis & Russian Military Strength. New York: Dial Press, 1982. Rogow, Arnold A. James Forrestal: A Study of Personality, Politics, and Policy. New York: Macmillan Company, 1963. Rovere, Richard. “He Was in Some Meaningful Sense Aberrant.” In Joseph R. McCarthy, ed. Allen J.Matusow. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970. Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978. ———. History of American Presidential Elections, 1789–1968. Vol. 4. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971. Schwarz, Jordan A. The Speculator: Bernard M.Baruch in Washington, 1917–1965. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981. Seaborg, Glenn T., with Benjamin S.Loeb. Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. Shawcross, William. Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979. Shlaim, Avi. The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949: A Study in Crisis Decision-Making. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Siff, Ezra Y. Why the Senate Slept: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the Beginning of America’s Vietnam War. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 1999. Stebbins, Richard P. The United States in World Affairs, 1956. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957. Steinberg, Alfred. Sam Johnson’s Boy: A Close-Up of the President from Texas. New York: Macmillan Company, 1968. Stueck, William Whitney, Jr. The Road to Confrontation: American Policy towrd China and Korea, 1947–1950. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981. Summers, Harry G., Jr. Vietnam War Almanac. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985.

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Page 205 Trachtenberg, Marc. History and Strategy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991. Weiner, Tim. Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1990. Wellman, Paul I. Stuart Symington: Portrait of a Man with a Mission. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1960. White, Theodore H. The Making of the President, 1960. New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1961. Wolamin, Thomas R. Presidential Advisory Commissions: Truman to Nixon. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975. Yergin, Daniel. Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. York, Herbert F. Race to Oblivion: A Participant’s View of the Arms Race. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970. Zaroulis, Nancy, and Gerald Sullivan. Who Spoke Up? American Protest Against the War in Vietnam, 1963– 1975. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1984. MAGAZINES American Political Science Review The Atlantic Aviation Week Aviation Week & Space Technology Business Week Congressional Digest The Department of State Bulletin Foreign Affairs: An American Quarterly Review Fortune Harper’s Life The Nation New Republic Newsweek The Reporter The Saturday Evening Post Saturday Review This Week Time United States News U.S. News and World Report Vital Speeches of the Day World NEWSPAPERS AND NEWSLETTERS Chicago Daily News Evening Bulletin Forum (Philadelphia) Executives’ Club News (Chicago) Los Angeles Times New York Times St. Louis Globe-Democrat St. Louis Post-Dispatch Straight from the Shoulder

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Page 207 Index Acheson, Dean, 3, 33, 44, 48; 1960 presidential election, 106 Aeronautical and Space Sciences Senate Committee, 93 Air Force Academy, 22 Air National Guard Program, 11 Air Power Hearings, 77–80 Air Reserve Program, 11 Alsop, Joseph, 33, 60, 87; 1960 presidential election, 110 Alsop, Stewart, 33, 60, 64, 87 Americans for Democratic Action, 106 Arnold, General H.H., 15, 22 Atomic Energy Act (1946), 28 Atomic Energy Commission, control of atomic weapons, 27 Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 15, 30–31, 36 Bomber Gap and Missile Gap, 59–60 Bridges, Styles, 47; European defense tour, 61–62; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 86, 87 Cambodia, 161–162, 163–164 Central Intelligence Agency, 2, 3, 4; accountability, 192, 193; covert activities, 183–185; creation of, 17, 33; Laos, 153, 154, 156, 157–159, 161, 179–180; missile gap figures, 90–93; Moose-Lowenstein Report, 175, 176; policy, 147, 151, 152; role in foreign affairs, 177; information, 95, 104, 145; Watergate, 182–183 China, 30 Clark, Joseph S., and Vietnam, 135, 146 Clay, General Lucius, 15; Berlin Blockade, 30–31 Clifford, Clark, 2, 16, 28; Army-McCarthy Hearings, 66, 67, 85; 1960 presidential election, 107, 109–111; Secretary of Defense, 136–137, 194; Symington’s views, 134; trip to Vietnam, 133 Colonial Radio Corporation, 6 Cooper-Church Amendment, 162 Danforth, John C, 1970 senatorial campaign, 164–165 Democratic Advisory Council, 103 Department of Defense, 13; Air Power Hearings, 78, 79; budget cuts, 57; Cambodia, 182, 184; Laos, 155–156, 158, 163, 171, 174, 179; National Military Establishment, 17; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 87; provisions, 17, 49;

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refusal of audit, 149; reorganization, 93–94; “Surrender Study,” 89; Symington critical of budget restraints, 69–70; Vietnam, 132, 134, 138, 139, 142 n. 14 Disarmament Subcommittee, 71

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Page 208 Department of State, 15, 29; Bolivian tin controversy, 47–48; Laos, 153–156, 158, 160, 163, 171–172, 174; Middle East, 83; Moose-Lowenstein Report, 174–175, 181, 184–185; Nixon’s view, 151; Philippines, 148, 149; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 87; Thailand, 147; Vietnam, 134, 137, 138, 142 n.14. Dirksen, Everett, 66, 72 n.1, 125 Domino theory, 123–125 Dulles, Allen (Director of Central Intelligence), missile gap controversy, 90–93; Preparedness Committee hearings, 87; U-2 information, 95, 104, 157 Dulles, John Foster (Secretary of State), 61, 62, 79, 85; on Sputnik, 88 Eberstadt, Ferdinand, and the Eberstadt Report, 13 Ehrlichman, John, 151, 152; Watergate, 183 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 3; aid for Europe, 46, 48; Air Power Hearings, 77, 79, 80, 81; budget, 56, 58–59, 62; Defense reorganization, 93–94; Marshall and McCarthy, 64, 65, 67; Middle East, 83–85; missile gap, 90, 112, 113; “Open Skies” proposal, 71; 1952 presidential election, 52; 1956 presidential election, 82; 1960 presidential election, 105, 108; Quemoy and Matsu, 68; Sputnik, 86, 88; “Surrender Study,” 89; U-2 crisis, 95; unification of the armed services, 13, 17, 26, 28, 32, 33, 34; U.S. military strength, 69 Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company, 2, 6–8; 1938 Army’s Ordnance Department, 8; gun turrets, 8, 9; strike, 7 Egypt, 83–85 Fike, Stanley R., 49; 1956 presidential election, 81; 1960 presidential election, 108 Finletter, Thomas, K., Air Policy (Finletter) Commission, 23, 24, 60, 80 Forrestal, James V., 2, 3, 8; Berlin Blockade, 30, 31, 32, 83; budget, 23–24, 25, 26; role and missions, 27–28; Secretary of the Navy, 9; unification of the armed services, 12, 13, 14, 16–17, 18 n.5 Fulbright, J.William, 3, 41, 46, 47; appointment of Symington to Subcommittee on Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad (SSACA), 145;

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appointment of Symington to Subcommittee on Central Intelligence, 145; bombing in North Vietnam, 163; calls for withdrawal from Vietnam, 130–131, 137, 138; Cambodia, 182; foreign aid agreements, 150; foreign aid and India, 117; Foreign Assistance Act, 128; Fulbright Amendment, 174, 176, 178–179; Laos, 160–161; oversight of CIA, 158; Philippines, 149; Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 111, 112; Thailand, 147; U-2 incident, 96 Gavin, General James M., Air Power Hearings, 79–80 Gilpatrick, Roswell L., 22, 60, 63 Glennan, Dr. T.Keith, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 93 Goldwater, Barry M., 55, 124; tribute to Symington, 193 Gruenther, General Alfred M., 48 Haldeman, Robert, on Nixon’s meeting with Symington, 152, 153, 178; Watergate, 183 Harriman, Averell, 41; India, 117; Laos, 153; 1956 presidential election, 106 Helms, Richard, Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), 157, 177, 193 Hope, Bob, 3, 31; and Dolores, 194 Humphrey, Hubert H., 51; Middle East, 83; 1960 presidential election, 104, 106, 107, 108; 1968 presidential election, 140; tribute to Symington, 193 India, 117–118 Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 35, 91–93 Jackson, Henry M., 55, 57; boycott of McCarthy, 65, 78, 85; Governmental Operations Committee, 64; nuclear

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Page 209 testing, 114; 1960 presidential election, 109; Vietnam, 63 Javits, Jacob, Foreign Relations Committee, 111; Laos, 160; tribute to Symington, 194; Vietnam, 136 Johnson, Louis A., Secretary of Defense, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 48 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 3, 4, 12; appointment of Symington to Senate Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, 93; 1952 campaign for Symington, 51; limited bombing and decision not to seek another term, 139; McCarthy, 66, 71, 80; Minority Whip, 55; Preparedness Committee, 86, 87, 88; 1956 presidential election, 81; 1960 presidential election, 104–105, 106, 108–110, 111, 118, 123; reaction to criticism, 130; relationship with Symington, 131, 132, 140; as Representative, 24–25; as Senator, 35, 47; targets, 126, 129; Tonkin Gulf incident and Resolution, 124–125; Vietnam, 124, 146 Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), 11, 12, 13; buildup of all armed services, 23; Cambodia, 176; NSC 100, 45; nuclear test ban, 116; policy, 131, 133, 134, 139, 147; reorganization, 94; Truman Doctrine, 29, 35; Vietnam and the Tonkin Gulf incident, 124 Kem, James P., 49, 50, 51 Kennedy, John F., 3, 55; arms control, 113; Governmental Operations Committee, 64; missile gap, 112; nuclear testing, 113–114; Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 115–116, 118; 1960 presidential election, 104, 106, 107, 108–111; Tuesday Evening Informal Round Table, 103; Vietnam, 62, 63 Kenney, General George, and unification of the armed services, 14, 26 Khrushchev, Nikita, 79, 82; nuclear test ban proposal, 113; tour of the U.S. and U-2 incident, 95, 105 Kissinger, Henry, Laos, 153, 163, 171–173, 177, 178; on Nixon’s meeting with Symington, 151–152; as National Security Adviser, 150–151; peace accord, 180, 184, 185 n. 5, 187 n.27 Korean War, 43–44, 47 Krock, Arthur, 17, 26; 1960 presidential election, 111; support of Symington, 87

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Laird, Melvin, bombing of North Vietnam, 179; Cambodia, 182; Pentagon Papers, 173, 174; as Secretary of Defense, 147, 151, 163 Lanphier, Thomas G., missile gap, 90, 92, 99 n.50, 100 n.57 LeMay, General Curtis, Air Power Hearings, 77, 79; Berlin Blockade, 31; Deputy Chief of the Air Staff for Research and Development, 12 Lilienthal, David E., 3, 22, 25, 27, 32 Lowenstein, James G., first Southeast Asia visit, 174; Moose-Lowenstein Report, 175; second Southeast Asia visit, 176, 180, 181 MacArthur, General Douglas, unification of the armed services, 14 McCarthy, Joseph, 51, 52; Army-McCarthy Hearings, 65–67, 82, 83; attack on Marshall, 64; Democratic boycott of Governmental Operations Committee, 65; Voice of America (VOA) and U.S. Information Agency (USIA), 64 McClellan, John, 65, 66; foreign aid and business practices, 82; tribute to Symington, 194; Vietnam, 135–136, 177 McGovern, George, 128; Vietnam, 136 McNamara, Robert S., nuclear test ban, 115; resignation, 136; Secretary of Defense and bruhaha over missile gap, 112; Vietnam, 131, 133 Mansfield, Mike, 55; Vietnam, 135 Marshall, General George C., 3, 14–15, 41; McCarthy, 64; Secretary of Defense, 48–49 Military Unification Act, 10, 13–17 Missile Gap, 59–60, 90–93, 112–133 Moose, Richard M., first Southeast Asia visit, 174; Moose-Lowenstein Report, 175; second Southeast Asia visit, 176, 180, 181, 182

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Nasser, General Gamal Abdel, Czech military purchases, 83; Suez Canal crisis, 83–85 National Security Act (1947), 2, 10; passage and provisions, 17 National Security Council, Berlin Blockade, 30–31; NSC 68, 2, 17, 36, 41–44; NSC 1/3, 29; NSC 100, 44–45, 46; Vietnam, 134 National Security Resources Board, 2; appointment of Symington to, 36, 41–46; creation of, 17; NSC 100, 44–45 National Week of Concern for Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, 178 Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Subcommittee, 112 Nimitz, Admiral Chester A., unification of the armed services, 14 Nitze, Paul, U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff and NSC 68, 42; Strategic Bombing Survey, 17–18, 42 Nixon, Richard M., 3, 4, 87; bombing of North Vietnam, 179; Cambodia, 181–182; Laos, 153, 155, 159, 171, 172, 174–175; meeting with Symington, 151–153; Philippines, 149; 1960 presidential election, 105, 108; Thailand, 147; Vietnam policy, 145–146; Watergate, 182–183 Norstad, General Lauris, 48, 55, 104 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 44, 45, 51, 79, 139; greater role in defense, 146 NSC 68, 42–43, 43–44 NSC 100, 44–45, 46 Nuclear testing, 113–116 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, 116 Operation CROSSROADS, 12–13 Patterson, Robert, Secretary of War and unification, 10, 13, 16–17 Paul, Roland, trips abroad, 146, 152, 165 n. 2 Pearson, Drew, 9, 32, 33; Army-McCarthy Hearings, 67 Philippines, Proclamation of Independence for, 13 Phoenix Program, 181 Pincus, Walter, Green Berets, 147–148; Laos, 152, 159–160; 1970 senatorial election, 164, 165 n.2; trips abroad, 146 Preparedness Committee Hearings, 86–88 Public Affairs Subcommittee, 112 Rayburn, Sam, 24; 1956 presidential election, 81, 87; 1960 presidential election, 106 Rogers, William, 67; appearance before committees, 151, 152;

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Cambodia, 182; Laos, 159, 172, 180; Philippines, 149 Royall, Kenneth, Berlin Blockade, 31; as Secretary of War, 17; as Secretary of the Army, 20, 26, 27 Rush, Dean, Laos, 153; Secretary of State, 125, 129; Vietnam, 137–138 Russell, Richard B., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, 69, 78, 80; CIA information, 95, 96; missile gap, 112; nuclear testing, 113, 114; oversight of CIA, 158; Sputnik, 86, 89; test ban, 115; Vietnam, 131 Rustless Iron and Steel Corporation, 6 Saltonstall, Leverett, 58, 60, 78; missile gap, 90–91, 104; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 87 Senate Armed Services Committee, agreements abroad, 147, 157; appointment of Symington to, 55, 58; CIA, 177–178; nuclear testing, 113–114, 116; Vietnam, 126, 133, 163; Watergate, 183–184, 185, 193 Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreements abroad, 147; appointment of Symington to, 95; Cambodia, 176, 182–184, 185, 193; CIA, 177–178; India, 117; Laos, 160; North Vietnam, 163, 171–173; nuclear test ban, 116; oversight of CIA, 158; and Kissinger, 150–151, 157; and William Rogers, 149; Vietnam, 125–126, 128, 132, 137 Sentner, William, United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America (CIO), 7, 51; McCarthy, 66 Snyder, John, 8, 9 Spaatz, General Carl A. (“Tooey”), budget, 25; Chief of Staff of the

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Page 211 Army Air Force, 10, 15; Chief of the Air Force, 21–22 State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC), and the Truman Doctrine, 11 Stennis, John, 70; nuclear test ban, 115; commitments abroad, 129, 131; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 87; Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, 114; tribute to Symington, 193; Vietnam, 133, 147, 177–178, 183, 184 Stevens, Robert T., Secretary of the Army in the McCarthy Hearings, 65–66 Stevenson, Adlai, 51, 80; 1960 presidential election, 103, 104, 107 Sullivan, John L., Secretary of the Navy, 17–18 Symington, Emily Harrison, 5 Symington, Evelyn (Eve) Wadsworth, 6, 110, 140; death of, 180 Symington, James, 6, 49–50, 55; and McCarthy, 64; 1960 presidential election, 110–111, 139 Symington, Stuart, Jr., 6, 60; on McCarthy, 66; 1960 presidential election, 107, 108, 110–111, 139; 1970 senatorial election, 164 Symington, (Dr./Judge) William Stuart, 5 Symington, William Stuart, Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, 93; Air Power Hearings, 77–80; Assistant Secretary of War for Air, 1, 2, 10–20; atomic weapons, 26–28; B-36 bomber, 32; budget, 24–26; Department of Defense, criticism of, 69–70; European defense tour, 61; Fulbright Committee, 174; racial integration, 22–23, 32–33, 35; McCarthy, 61–63; meeting with Nixon, 151–153; missile gap, 90–93, 112–113; National Security Resources Board, 2, 36, 41–46; nuclear testing, 113–116; Preparedness Committee Hearings, 86–88; 1956 presidential election, 78, 80–82; 1960 presidential election, 103–111; Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 46–48; report on trip to Vietnam, 134; second marriage, 194; Secretary of the Air Force, 18, 21–36; 1952 senatorial election, 49–52; 1970 senatorial election, 164–165; Senate Resolution 71, 70–71; Surplus Property Board, 2, 9–10; Tuesday Evening Informal Round Table, 103; unification of the armed services, 14–17; Vice Presidential possibilities, 109–111; at Yale, 5–6 Taylor, General Maxwell, 125, 133, 136

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Taylor, J.E. (“Buck”), 49, 50–51 Tonkin Gulf Resolution, 124–125 Truman, Harry S., 3, 8, 9, 11, 12; Berlin Blockade, 30–31, 33, 35, 36, 41; budget, 23, 25; European Recovery Program, 24; integration of the armed services, 22; McCarthy, 65, 67; NSC 68, 41; NSC 100, 45–46; nuclear weapons, 27, 28; 1956 presidential election, 81; 1960 presidential election, 106, 111; Selective Service, 24; support for Taylor, 49, 50–51, 55; Truman Doctrine, 29; unification of the armed services, 13–17; Universal Military Training, 24 Twining, General Nathan, 60; Air Power Hearings, 77, 79; Sputnik, 88; Vietnam, 62 Van Alstyne, David, Van Alstyne, Noel and Company, 7, 8 Vandenberg, Hoyt S., 22, 28; Berlin Blockade, 30–31, 35, 36; testimony, 58 Vietnam, 61; assessment, 143 n.38; colonialism, 62–63; economic concern, 128–129; Ho Chi Minh, 62, 63; South Korean troops, 163; 1965–1966 trip of Symington to Vietnam, 125–126; 1967 Symington trip to Vietnam, 134; 1972 trip of Symington to Vietnam, 178; Vietnam War and LBJ, 123–140; Vietnam War and Nixon, 145–164, 171–180 Wadsworth, James W., 6, 9 War Powers Act (1973), 193 Westmoreland, General William C., 126, 238

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Page 212 Wilson, Charles, Air Power Hearings, 77–78, 79; Secretary of Defense, 56, 59, 69, 70, 80, 82 Wood, General Robert E., with Sears Roebuck and Company, 6, 7, 26 Zuckert, Eugene M., 21–22

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Page 213 About the Author LINDA McFARLAND is an historian and independent scholar. She has taught in public and private institutions in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Texas. Her major field of interest is United States Diplomatic History.

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