Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Montage of images and link description. MacArthur Imagemap: linked to kids and home
The Film and More
Imagemap(text links below) of menu items
The American Experience
The Film & More
Interview Transcripts | Bibliography | Primary Sources

Letter from AMVETS

April 11, 1951

The Honorable Harry S. Truman
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

AMVETS support your painful decision to relieve General Douglas MacArthur of his command on obvious grounds of repeated insubordination in violation of basic American principles governing civil vs military authority.

AMVETS recognize, and believe the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize, that the issue here is not whether General MacArthur is right or wrong or whether administration policies are right or wrong. The issue clearly and simply is whether the ultimate civil authority of the United States can tolerate, no matter what the motives, actions in contempt of constitutional lines of authority. Any lessening of civil power over military power must inevitably lead away from democracy.

AMVETS are keenly aware of General MacArthur's greatness and his immense contributions to his country as a military leader. But constitutional principles are greater than any one individual.

We know your decision demanded coverage because of the many emotional factors involved. We believe you had no other choice.

We hope, however, that you will speedily re-enunciate and re-affirm our over-all and long-range policies in the Far East to help unify America and to stabilize political opinion throughout the world. We pledge you our continued support as Commander in Chief in the prosecution of the Korean war while praying for the success of your efforts to achieve peace.

Sincerely yours,

Harold Russell
National Commander

Back to Primary Sources | next letter (supporting Truman)