*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a suburb of Phoenix.
HAVE WE FORGOTTEN?
I was a senior in high school and did a current affairs report about this matter....We Americans always proclaim, WE WILL NEVER FORGET....we do forget. I chance to think that this section of our American History is not even mentioned in schools and colleges. Chief
Truman Relieves M'Arthur of All His Posts; Finds Him Unable to Back U.S.-U.N. Policies; Ridgway Named to Far Eastern Commands
Van Fleet Is Named to Command 8th Army in Drastic Shift
VIOLATIONS ARE CITED
White House Statement Quotes Directives and Implies Breaches
By W. H. Lawrence
Special to The New York Times
News Stuns Tokyo; MacArthur Is Silent
Washington, Wednesday, April 11 - President Truman early today relieved General of the Army Douglas MacArthur of all his commands in the Far East and appointed Lieut. Gen. Mathew B. Ridgway as his successor.
The President said he had relieved General MacArthur "with deep regret" because he had concluded that the Far Eastern commander "is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States Government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties."
General MacArthur, in a message to House Minority Leader Joseph W. Martin Jr. Of Massachusetts, made public by Mr. Martin last Thursday, had publicly challenged the President's foreign policy, urging that the United States concentrate on Asia instead of Europe and use Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Formosa-based troops to open a second front on the mainland of China.
The change in command is effective at once. General Ridgway, who has been in command of the Eighth Army in Korea since the death in December of Gen. Walton H. Walker, assumes all of General MacArthur's titles - Supreme Commander, United Nations Forces in Korea, Supreme Commander for Allied Powers, Japan, Commander-in-Chief, Far East, and Commanding General U.S. Army, Far East.
Commanded in Greece
The Eighth Army command will pass to Lieut. Gen. James A. Van Fleet whose most recent important command was as head of the American military mission in Greece, when that country was repelling a Communist-directed guerilla attack under the Truman Doctrine.
In ousting General MacArthur for his public disagreement with American policy designed to localize the Atlantic war, the President said:
"Full and vigorous debate on matters of national policy is a vital element in the Constitutional system of our free democracy.
"It is fundamental, however, that military commanders must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and Constitution. In time of crisis this consideration is particularly compelling.
"General MacArthur's place in history as one of our greatest commanders is fully established. The nation owes him a debt of gratitude for the distinguished and exceptional service which he has rendered his country in posts of great responsibility. For that reason, I repeat my regret at the necessity for the action I feel compelled to take in this case."
The White House made the announcement of the relieving of General MacArthur at a hastily summoned press conference at 1 A.M. White House Press Secretary Joseph Short said that the announcement had been timed to coincide with delivery of the order to General MacArthur from the President which was dispatched over regular Army telecommunication. The hour in Tokyo was 3 P.M. Wednesday.
General MacArthur was told by the President to turn over all his commands at once to General Ridgway. The President added authority for General MacArthur "to have issued such orders as are necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you select." The General has not been in the United States for approximately fifteen years.
The order to General Ridgway to assume General MacArthur's commands was signed by Defense Secretary George C. Marshall, who added:
"It is realized that your presence in Korea in the immediate future is highly important, but we are sure you can make the proper distribution of your time until you can turn over active command of the Eighth Army to its new commander. For this purpose, Lieut. Gen. James A. Van Fleet is en route to report to you for such duties as you may direct."
In making public the order relieving General MacArthur, the White House also released secret documents that had been sent as instructions to General MacArthur and that, it was indicated, the General had violated, leading to his dismissal.
The secret classification on these documents was removed by direction of the President in order that the public might be given the background leading to the President's action.
The first, under date of Dec. 6, 1950, and sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to General MacArthur and all other United States Army commanders, said that the President had directed, among other things, the following:
"No speech, press release or other public statement concerning foreign policy should be released until it has received clearance from the Department of State.
"No speech, press release or other public statement concerning military policy should be released until it has received clearance from the Department of Defense.
"In addition to the copies submitted to the Department of State or Defense for clearance, advance copies of speeches and press releases concerning foreign policy or military policy should be submitted to the White House for information.
"The purpose of this memorandum is not to curtail the flow of information to the American people, but rather to insure that the information made public is accurate and fully in accord with the policies of the United States Government."
Another Directive Cited
That same document included another Presidential directive to Defense Secretary Marshall and Secretary of State Dean Acheson. The President told them that all officials overseas, including both military commanders and diplomatic representatives, should exercise "extreme caution" in all their public statements, should clear all except routine statements with their departments and should "refrain from direct communication on military or foreign policy with newspapers, magazines, or other publicity media in the United States.
General MacArthur had, of course, violated this directive several times since it was issued.
The second document in the White House dossier dated March 20 and addressed to General MacArthur from the Joint Chiefs of Staff advised him that the State Department was planning a Presidential announcement in the near future that the United Nations was prepared to discuss conditions of settlement in Korea now that the bulk of South Korea had been cleared of aggressors.
"Strong United Nations feeling persists that further diplomatic efforts toward settlement should be made before any advance with major forces north of the Thirty-eighth Parallel," the March 20 directive said.
"Time will be required to determine diplomatic reactions and permit new negotiations that may develop. Recognizing that [the Thirty-eighth] Parallel has no military significance, State [Department] has asked J.C.S. (Joint Chiefs of Staff) what authority you should have to permit sufficient freedom of action for next few weeks to provide security for United Nations forces and maintain contact with enemy. Your recommendation desired."
MacArthur Statement on Korea
The next document in the White House release was the text of General MacArthur's statement on Korea as it appeared in The New York Times of March 25. The implication was obvious that the only source the White House had for this declaration was The Times and that it had not arrived by cable from General MacArthur in advance as his military superiors had directed. It was in that statement that the general reported that South Korea had been substantially cleared of all organized Communist forces, that the enemy was suffering heavily from United Nations action and that General MacArthur announced his readiness to confer at any time with the enemy commander-in-chief in the field "in an earnest effort to find any military means whereby the realization of the political objectives of the United Nations in Korea, to which no nation may justly take exception, might be accomplished without further bloodshed."
On March 24 the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a message marked "Personal for MacArthur" told the Far Eastern Commander that Mr. Truman had again called his attention to the Dec. 6 directive for advance clearance of statements bearing on foreign or military policy. Referring to the general's most recent statement, the Joint Chiefs of Staff added that "any further statements by you must be coordinated as prescribed" in the December instructions.
"The President has also directed that in the event Communist military leaders request an armistice in the field you immediately report that fact to the J.C.S. for instructions," the March 24 instruction said.
The next document dated Jan. 4 also addressed from the Joint Chiefs to General MacArthur said that the problem of arming additional Republic of Korea troops was under consideration. It detailed the problems of armament, supplies, and shortages. The J.C.S. said that it appeared that the South Korean forces could be increased by from 200,000 to 300,000 men armed with rifles, automatic rifles, carbines and submachine guns.
The message added, however, that if these troops were organized into new divisions they would be relatively ineffective due to lack of artillery and other supporting weapons. The Joint Chiefs added, therefore, that it was probable that only about 75,000 more South Koreans can be effectively utilized immediately," with an ultimate build-up to 100,000.
General Asked for Comment
This message asked General MacArthur for his comments and recommendations as to how many additional South Korean troops could be employed profitably, how long it would take to organize and train them, whether they should be added to existing divisions or added to new ones, and "other points in connection with current problems."
General MacArthur's answer dated Jan. 6 was interrupted by Mr. Short to reporters as a recommendation against the arming of additional South Koreans.
The White House press release gave the general's answer in full. Noting the shortage of available arms from the United States, General MacArthur suggested "it is possible that the over-all interests of the United States will be better served by making these weapons available to increase the security of Japan, rather than arming additional R.O.K. forces."
"In view of the probable restricted size of the battlefield in which we may operate in the near future, and the high priority of N.P.R.J. (National Police Reserve of Japan) requirements; the value of attempting to organize, train and arm additional R.O.K. forces in the immediate future appears questionable," said General MacArthur in his Jan. 6 message.
"It is considered that the short-range requirements can best be met by utilizing available man-power to replace losses in existing R.O.K. units rather than creating new organizations. The long-range requirements for or desirability of arming additional R.O.K. pers. [personnel] appears to be dependent primarily upon determination of the future U.S. Mil. [military] position with respect to both the Korean campaign and the generally critical situation in the Far East."
The Final Document
The Final Document was General MacArthur's letter to Republican Leader Martin. In parentheses the White House noted that this statement of foreign and military policy had been obtained from the Congressional Record of April 5, 1951 although it was dated March 20, 1951 and had not come to the White House for review between the date of its writing and the time Representative Martin chose to make it public.
The implication was more than clear that this was the letter in which General MacArthur wrote himself out of a job.
There had been no indication when the White House closed up for the day at about 6 P.M. yesterday that any announcement was impending.
The only development that could be said to give a hint of the President's attitude was the abrupt cancellation of an appointment arranged by Erie Cocke Jr., American Legion commander, with Mr. Truman.
The interview was called off as soon as Mr. Cocke announced publicly his strong support of General MacArthur's proposal to use Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Formosa-based troops to open a second front against the Chinese Communists on the mainland of China. Mr. Cocke also backed the Far Eastern commander's demand for authority to bomb Communist bases in Manchuria.
The White House stood on its dignity in discussing the Cocke incident; Joseph Short, Presidential Press Secretary, said that the Legion head had telephoned yesterday, reporting that he had just returned from Rome "and wanted to see the President before making any statement to the press."
"A couple of hours later there appeared on the news tickers interviews by Mr. Cocke in which he informed reporters what he was going to tell the President," Mr. Short added. "At that point, it seemed unnecessary for him to have the appointment. The appointment was canceled."
But Mr. Short's statements left an area of doubt as to whether Mr. Cocke was being left off the White House calling list because he had backed General MacArthur's policy or simply because he had offended the President by talking in advance of an appointment he had requested. He had accompanied the request with the voluntary statement that he wanted to see the President before he made any statements.