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Memorandum for Mr. Harriman, Mr. Murphy, and Company from George Elsey, 1951


May 29, 1951

MEMORANDUM FOR MR. HARRIMAN, MR. MURPHY, AND COMPANY

I don't like to be a kill-joy but I wonder if we aren't a little too optimistic about the way things are going on the MacArthur row. I think we may be over-optimistic about the extent to which the public understands the President's position and sympathizes with the Administration in the firing of MacArthur. I don't see that we have any cause for joy because conservative newspapers like the Herald Tribune side with the President on this issue. The Herald Tribune's readers will always oppose the Fair Deal and all it stands for.

The Gallup Poll published on May 16th contained what I thought were some very disturbing statistics. It shows that the vote of approval for the President's action in firing MacArthur goes down steadily with the amount of formal education. Gallup tested a cross-section in "Who's Who" and found that 51% approved the President's action and 46% disapproved. However, only 25% of the general public approved and 66% disapproved.

It seems to me that we cannot afford to slack off in our constant emphasis and reiteration that MacArthur stood for war and the President stands for peace. This and this alone will sink in with the general public, while technical arguments about "civilian control" won't mean a thing to the people at large.

George Elsey


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