February 25th, 2008

Chris Keeley

A note from Bill Watts about Eisenhower's Farewell Address

Bob: As a matter of historical note, a bit of background on Eisenhower's farewell address.
This story was told to me by Malcolm (Mac) Moos, for whom I worked at the Ford Foundation. Mac was instrumental in my resigning from the Foreign Service in 1965, to go to FF.
About a week or ten days before Ike was scheduled to deliver his farewell message, he called Mac in and instructed him to create a final statement "that will last." Mac, Ike's chief speech writer, duly went to work and delivered his text a few days later to Ann Whitman, Ike's secretary and personal assistant.
Normally, Mac told me, Ike would quickly summon him into his office to go over any draft, and "tear it to pieces."
This time -- nothing. Days went by, and no summons from Ike.
Finally, the day before delivery date, Ann called and said "the Boss (the term she always used) wants to see you." Mac went in, and Ike handed Mac the draft, big smile on his face, and said "I like it."
Much later, Mac showed me a copy of the speech, and there was exactly one correction in the whole text!
Mac was obviously flabbergasted, and delighted.
Mac had in his study a framed Herblock cartoon, signed both by Ike and Herblock: a sketch of Ike sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, Mac standing in the middle of the room, with the walls all turned into mirrors, showing just the two men, with their relections surrounding them. The caption: "Ike meets with his brain trust."
If you want to pass this tidbit along to any on your list, please feel free to do so.
We're delightfully happy here in Cuernavaca -- 80 degrees and completely sunny!
All best to you both, Bill
William Watts