Chapter 2: “The Chance For Peace”


When Eisenhower entered the White House, he immediately confronted a host of far-flung cold war crises, flashpoints, and hot spots. Among others, he had to deal with ever-present tensions in Germany (especially in Berlin), uncertainty over control of Iran’s oil fields, the undefined status of Austria and Taiwan, the communist-led rebellion against French colonialism in Vietnam, and, above all, the increasingly unpopular war in Korea.  But the new president was determined to do more than merely react to old and new cracks in the wall of containment.  He wanted to forge an overall cold war strategy that he could implement proactively, a strategy that would give him control over events before they became crises.

From the outset, Eisenhower counted on psychological warfare as an important part of his strategy.  While still a candidate, he had been intrigued by a report he received on a conference on psychological warfare held in May, 1952, at Princeton.  The conferees concluded that “political (psychological) warfare, properly employed, can win World War III for us without recourse to arms.”  They urged “a more dynamic and positive policy of ultimate liberation” of the eastern European nations, and they saw the key to success in effective techniques of salesmanship and advertising.  The leading figure at the conference was C.D. Jackson, an editorial executive with the Luce magazine empire, who urged “a political warfare offensive” aimed at the Soviet satellite states.  After reading the report of the conference, Eisenhower wrote to Jackson:  “This seems to me to be of the utmost significance.…Can I count on it that you people are now going to go ahead and develop an actual plan?”  When he became president, he made Jackson his assistant for psychological warfare.[1]

Jackson would soon be busy mounting the kind of campaign his conference had proposed.  Just a few weeks after taking office, Eisenhower was impressed by a letter from Charles E. (“Electric Charlie”) Wilson, president of the General Electric Company, urging him to broadcast a message of peace to the people of the world, including the people of the Soviet Union.  With the U.S. finally speaking from a position of strength, Wilson proposed, a message of peace could help undermine the Soviet leaders and force them to go along with a U.S. plan, regardless of its content.  At about the same time, Vice President Nixon suggested to the National Security Council (NSC) "some kind of sensational offer on the disarmament side," which the Soviet Union would surely reject, yielding a U.S. gain in world opinion.  Secretary of State Dulles thought the idea merited "earnest thought," and national security aide Harold Stassen warned of a coming Soviet peace offensive that would make a dramatic U.S. move all the more imperative.[2]  

A few days later, the president wrote to Wilson:  “I know that some dramatic act is necessary, and I am having Foster Dulles study the matter at once.”  He directed Dulles to “go ahead with your suggestion that C. D. Jackson and Emmet Hughes, together with Chip Bohlen and Paul Nitze, work up a general outline of the proposed message.”[3]  Jackson and his aide Hughes certainly understood that their work would be part of a psychological warfare campaign aimed at undermining Soviet power.

 “Psychological Exploitation Of This Event”

The project took a dramatic turn on March 4, 1953, when news reached the White House that the Soviet leader, Josef Stalin, lay dying.  Jackson told his staff that Stalin’s fatal illness should not be treated as a diplomatic problem:  "It's a military theater and the problem is simply to scare the daylights out of the enemy by telling them there's so much chaos in the communist world that they won't have any bullets to shoot by next week."  He suggested to NSC staff director Robert Cutler that a small task force begin planning to exploit the situation before “giving the enemy time to pull himself together.…Shouldn’t we do everything possible to overload the enemy at precise moment when he is least capable of bearing his normal load?…Our task is to perpetuate the confusion as long as possible.”  A political offensive, he concluded with his typical optimism, might “further opportunities, which, skillfully exploited, might advance to the real disintegration of the Soviet empire.”  At the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), staffer William J. Morgan suggested that “our secret goal” should be to “promote chaos within the USSR.”[4]

The president generally supported this approach.  He told the NSC that he wanted to reach out to the Russian people and leaders, “to see if we can’t somehow crack the Iron Curtain and thaw out the Cold War.”  The NSC officially called for “psychological exploitation of this event,” and Jackson, heading a special working group within the PSB, was charged with developing a plan.  The response to Wilson’s peace idea would be folded into the psychological warfare campaign.[5]

Jackson, declaring that “now was the time to open a general political warfare offensive,” set Walt Rostow to work drafting a presidential message.  Rostow hoped to “contribute to difficulties in the stable disposition of Stalin’s power.”  Affirming legitimate Russian security interest in Europe would encourage Russian nationalists among the leadership and weaken communist ideologues: “If the American objective was to act in ways which maximized the chance of benign internal changes [in the Soviet leadership]—an objective we recommended—U.S. actions [following Stalin’s death] should not be threatening.”[6]

Nevertheless, Rostow’s first draft of the speech drew a sharp line between the American pursuit of security, through arms control and a free Europe, and the Soviet pursuit of security through military control of European territories.  As Robert Ivie summarizes the draft’s message: “This was the moment at which the new Soviet leadership would reveal its intentions, one way or the other, either by taking specific steps to secure European liberty or by continuing to rule by force and intimidation.  There was no third way and thus no third option of mutual accommodation.”  The substantive center of the message was based on the report of the 1952 Princeton conference, which Rostow had largely authored.  It called for the foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to meet and negotiate on arms control, ending the Korean war, and reunifying Germany.  Rostow wanted to “immediately confront the [Soviet] regime with a major policy decision of the first order of magnitude and help reveal its inner constitution and conflicts.”[7] 

The call for German unification would also be understood as a call to remove East Germany from Soviet domination, which would promote the forces of resistance throughout eastern Europe.  In western Europe it would “solidify the Free World” by assuring U.S. allies of their patron’s peaceful intentions.  It also promised underdeveloped nations more economic aid as the fruit of arms reductions.  As Rostow explained:  “Nothing could help us more in solidifying those [underdeveloped] areas within the Free World than a belief (a) that the United States sincerely sought peace; and (b) that the scale of our contribution to their economic development hinged on success in effectively reducing and controlling armaments.”[8] 

 If these purposes are to be fulfilled,” Rostow stressed, “it is essential that the initiative have serious diplomatic substance, and be developed with full professional diplomatic skill, even if the chances of immediate success in negotiation are rated nil.”  The overall image had to be one of “straight-face high seriousness,” and genuine desire to resolve differences, not mere propaganda.  Otherwise the speech would sound like mere propaganda and thus lose its propaganda value.[9]

The president could hardly have misunderstood the goals of Jackson’s PSB group.  On March 10, Hughes summarized those goals quite succinctly for him in a memo:  to “exploit all stresses and strains within the Soviet system…to seize the political initiative, to get and keep the Soviets on the defensive,” before the new leadership could “compose itself.”  When the Soviets rejected the call for four-power talks, Hughes continued, the U.S. would score a propaganda victory by appearing as the spurned peacemaker.  If it were unexpectedly accepted, the U.S. could “press our case on a variety of points—from Germany to Korea—against an opponent who has not had time to collect his wits.”[10] Throughout the speechwriting process, there was little discussion of possible Soviet responses, because that question was largely irrelevant to the psychological warfare aims of the peace message.

The Diplomatic Context

The new administration’s overriding foreign policy goal was the rapid formation of a formal pro-U.S. military alliance in western Europe, the European Defense Community (EDC).  Without collective security, Eisenhower wrote to Alfred Gruenther, there would be “only chaos in the world and eventual distress and worse for us.”  Failure to create the EDC would be “cataclysmic.”[11]

Dulles agreed, continually reminding his colleagues of his worst fear:  If the European allies saw the possibility of any negotiated relaxation of cold war tensions, they might see less need to support the EDC.  So he insisted on putting off negotiations on any issue, and particularly on Germany, until the EDC was secured.  “If an attempt were made to create German unity by some other vehicle than the EDC,” he said, “then certainly the EDC would be finished.”  Conversely, once the EDC was in place Germany could not be reunified as a neutral nation.  When Eisenhower and his aides spoke of wanting a reunified Germany, they meant it only as part of a rearmed western Europe that would be a magnet drawing the eastern European nations out of the Soviet orbit.  They were firmly opposed to a reunified and politically neutral Germany.[12]

Dulles feared that any kind of serious disarmament proposal might upset the delicate diplomacy needed to secure the EDC.  So he told the NSC that on disarmament "the position which the United States would take at the forthcoming UN General Assembly on this subject would be in the nature of a temporizing position."  He added "it would be good propaganda at least to continue these discussions," but he made it clear that the discussions must have no substance that might hint of U.S.-Soviet rapprochement.[13] 


At the same time, though, as Eisenhower often stressed, the alliance was also imperiled by western European fears of nuclear war.  He told his cabinet on March 6 that “it’s cold comfort to a guy pushing up daisies, after his country’s been overrun, to know that someone’s going to bomb the Kremlin.  This whole idea that the bomb is a cheap way to solve things is awfully wrong.”  The next day he assured Dulles privately that what British leaders “really want to know is that we are not starting a war.”  A few days later he told the NSC that “the European governments supported EDC but were afraid to approve it because they feared their people.”  To mollify those people, the U.S. would claim to support German reunification but offer only proposals that the Soviets were sure to turn down.  Rostow and Jackson, well aware of all these concerns, prepared a speech that would sound conciliatory yet offer only proposals likely to be rejected. [14]

State Department planners shared the PSB’s goals.  Charles Bohlen wrote that “the Department of State is urgently examining the possibility of some initiative [to] confront the new leadership with a new situation regarding decisions not previously made under Stalin.”  Dulles insisted that the U.S. should keep up various kinds of pressure to “force the collapse of the Kremlin regime,” or at least turn it into “a coalition for defense only.”[15]

However, State disagreed with the PSB tactics.  The diplomats feared that putting too much pressure on the Kremlin leadership might consolidate rather than splinter the new leadership.  “We can well afford to give the internal stresses of the Soviet system time to become acute,” one memo suggested. “In the meanwhile, nothing is better calculated to increase Soviet nervous strain than studied American silence.”  State planners especially opposed any proposal for a foreign ministers’ meeting, which would cause unpredictable complications with European allies and “have a very slowing-down effect on the EDC.”[16]

As Klaus Larres points out, Dulles’ State Department advisors were uncertain exactly what position to take because the direction of U.S. policy was so unclear.  This gave them another incentive to temporize:  they hesitated to endorse a step whose consequences they could not predict, much less control.  But the idea that the administration “had embarked on a peace policy in order to achieve a thaw and a general détente in the cold war does not seem to have even remotely crossed their minds.”[17]

This was clear at the NSC meeting of March 11.  Jackson touted Rostow’s draft as the centerpiece of a "Proposed Plan for a Psychological Warfare Offensive" that would “exploit Stalin’s death to the limit of psychological usefulness.…We are, as he put it, ready to shoot.”  The main weapon would be the call for four-power negotiations, which would speed up European ratification of the EDC, the prerequisite to any actual talks.  As Rostow summarized it:  “Jackson’s appreciation was not that a negotiation was likely to succeed, but, rather, that it might unite the Free World around a position which would make EDC a necessary and logical step, not negatively to oppose the USSR but positively to move towards a European settlement which would meet underlying American, German, French, and other interests.”[18]

Dulles interrupted Jackson to offer a slightly different view.  “He agreed that the opening gun should be a speech by the President” and that the main goal was to promote eastern European nationalism “as the means of breaking down the Stalinist structure."  He recognized, too, that eventually some negotiating process would be unavoidable and that it could serve U.S. interests.  But he wanted no images of flexibility or conciliation from the U.S yet:

In our attempt to destroy the unity of the Soviet orbit we must not jeopardize the unity of our own coalition.…The Soviet was now involved in a family funeral, and it might be best to wait until the corpse was buried and the mourners gone off to their homes to read the will, before we begin our campaign to create discord in the family.  If we moved precipitately we might very well enhance Soviet family loyalty and disrupt the free world’s [loyalty].[19]

The debate, then, was not over goals or strategy, but only over timing.

Eisenhower himself stood somewhere in between the two views on timing, though the issue was not very crucial to him (as his later careless vacillation on it showed).  The most important thing was not when such a meeting was held, but how it was planned.  Earlier that day he had told Emmet Hughes that he was “not too keen on any 4-power meeting unless we have some pretty clear objectives.”  So his speech must include “some pretty clear proposals.”[20]  Without an agreed agenda of specific issues, he often asserted, the Soviets would turn any talks into a propaganda forum. 

As an experienced war commander, Eisenhower knew that defense was as important as attack.  He agreed with Jackson that a dramatic speech making a serious offer to negotiate could be a valuable symbolic gesture, reassuring the European public and thus spurring the EDC.  But he deferred to Dulles’ defensive concern that a foreign ministers’ meeting would appear too conciliatory and thus harm the EDC.  The fundamental axiom was “do no harm”:  The search for peace must not jeopardize U.S. national security.  So he ended the Jackson-Dulles debate with a compromise:

We do need something dramatic to rally the peoples of the world around some idea, some hope, of a better future.  A four-power conference would not do it, but the President might say that he would be ready and willing to meet with anyone anywhere from the Soviet Union provided the basis for the meeting was honest and practical.[21]

The Lubell Plan

Eisenhower’s decision on the four-power meeting was tossed out almost parenthetically at an NSC meeting, where he shifted the focus of the speech to an idea he had received from pollster Samuel Lubell:  He should speak about "our determination to raise the general standard of living throughout the world" by suggesting immediate limits on arms spending, with the savings to go toward increased consumer goods.[22]

Explaining the idea he called “butter over guns,” Lubell acknowledged that the Soviets would probably reject it.  But he insisted that his plan still “would have an enormous psychological impact on the whole world.”  And “however they decided, [it] would sharpen any division that exists in the Kremlin.”  A higher living standard in the communist bloc was the key to getting the Soviet leaders to “loosen their grip” on the satellites and on their own people.  The alternative was a spiraling arms race that could make it impossible “to keep our cherished American ways.”  By monitoring compliance and fixing the percentage of each nation’s economy that could be devoted to armaments, he contended, his plan would give the U.S. early warning of increased military mobilization in the Soviet Union.  This would allow the U.S. to respond gradually, avoiding a rushed last-minute mobilization that would shock the free market economy.  Lubell also stressed the need to unveil his plan at a “dramatic moment,” in conjunction with broader peace proposals.[23] 

Eisenhower was drawn to Lubell’s plan because it combined psychological warfare gains with practical benefits for the U.S.  “[Lubell’s] idea comes at an opportune moment, not only by reason of Stalin’s death, but because we here have been earnestly seeking for a dramatic approach to this whole question of peace and disarmament,” he wrote to Bernard Baruch.  It was a concrete idea that could "rally the peoples of the world around some idea, some hope, of a better future," he told the NSC.  It would also serve, as well as any other proposal, Rostow’s goal of testing and discomfiting the new Soviet leadership.  Thus it might win a crucial round in the psychological warfare campaign.  Eisenhower's only concern was to fix the guns-to-butter ratio and make it enforceable.  [24] 

Administration officials pondered a proposal to allow only 5% of steel production for armaments. Dulles called the formula obviously “a phony, because our production is so much bigger than theirs -- and they would know it was a phony.”  Any plan to limit military expenditures to a fixed percentage of total production would help the U.S.; starting from a much higher base than the Soviet Union, it would always be allowed a much larger military budget.  Perhaps the plan appealed to Eisenhower most strongly because it could improve military mobilization.  Mobilization had always been Eisenhower’s forte as an officer.  Lubell was suggesting a way to give the Western alliance a mobilization advantage while reducing military expenditures.[25] 

The brief NSC discussion on March 11 focused on the prospect of embarrassing communist governments, which could provide few consumer goods for their people.  "Secretary Dulles expressed great interest in this idea of the president’s,” citing “the enormous difficulty experienced by the Soviet Union in keeping its satellites from participating in the Marshall plan.  Certainly, the President replied, the economic incentive would have terrific attraction in Russia if it could be got over to the ordinary people."  The NSC concluded by discussing “for some time the question of how and when, and in what forum, the President should make his address.…The President stated his own belief that the question of when and how his speech was to be delivered was almost as important as its content.”  Since the main goal was to create an image of the U.S. presenting a new proposal for peace, the specifics of the proposal were not so crucial.[26]

Throughout the genesis of the speech there was virtually no discussion of its domestic impact.  When Jackson summarized for Dulles his psychological warfare plan, he identified “our own people” as the fifth among five target audiences but said nothing about it.  Dulles did remind the NSC that the administration needed to “satisfy American opinion that no attempt to cause the Soviet to change its spots had been left unexplored.”  But no one ever raised the idea that the American people might want to be reassured of their leaders’ peaceful intent.[27] 

Hughes Takes Over

The body of Rostow’s new draft of March 11 dropped the call for a foreign ministers’ meeting, which Eisenhower had vetoed.  But it retained all the other substantive points of the first draft, and it took a harsher tone, demanding that the Soviet Union take steps to bring “real peace” in Korea and Indo-China as “the indispensable evidence of its sincerity.”[28]  Rostow, missing the president’s concern for a concrete application of Lubell’s idea, instead promoted Jackson’s favorite theme, a vague but aggressive appeal for the liberation of eastern Europe.

No one involved in preparing the speech rejected the basic themes and aims of Rostow’s work.  But some wanted more effective wording.  “It doesn’t say anything,” Dulles told Emmet Hughes, asking him to write a new version.[29]  The next day Hughes asked Dulles and Jackson:  “Is our appeal aimed at satellites to stir their defection -- or directly to Moscow with some more concrete purpose in mind?”  He understood that the “concrete purpose” would be “to crowd [Malenkov] with tough decisions and negotiation,” but he wanted the speech primarily to “hold out biggest possible carrot to [the satellites].”[30] 

Setting out to write a speech that would achieve both goals, Hughes produced a draft titled “The Chance for Peace.”  It incorporated all the substantive points in the Rostow draft but noticeably downplayed the call for the Soviet Union to join the U.S. in a global partnership.  Instead it added harsh words indicting the Soviets for cruelty and barbarism in their satellites, while the U.S. wanted only a “golden age” of freedom.  The negotiated settlements Hughes proposed amounted to the liberation of eastern Europe as Dulles and Jackson envisaged it, as well as concessions to U.S. demands in Asia that no Soviet leadership was likely to accept.  Lubell’s “butter over guns” theme still received relatively few words, though Hughes did pen a first version of the speech’s most famous line:  “Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired signifies -- in the final sense -- a theft from those who hunger and thirst and are not fed.”[31]

On March 16 Hughes presented his draft to Eisenhower.  In his memoir, Ordeal of Power, Hughes recorded and interpreted the conversation of that “memorable day” in florid, melodramatic prose.  “The President was dreaming a quite splendid—and sensible—dream,” Hughes wrote, depicting a president forcefully advancing this new dream of world peace against his secretary of state’s many “technical or tactical objections.”  His account has been a chief prooftext for historians who assert that Eisenhower sincerely wanted to ease cold war tensions and move the world toward peace.[32] 

Eisenhower himself later told an interviewer that Hughes’ memoir had little value:  “He asked with some feeling, why would one want to read such a book as that?  Hughes wasn’t there.  He didn’t know what was going on.  He didn’t know any more about it than my grandson.”  However, if Hughes’ diary is to be believed, he did know something about what was going on because he had an extensive conversation with the president about the speech.  Yet the image of the peace-seeking visionary in Hughes’ published memoir is not supported by his own diary entry, nor by any other evidence. The president suggested nothing to Hughes that would have the practical effect of resolving any cold war conflicts.[33]

According to Hughes’ diary, he told the president:  “It has not been decided whether we should be or are making a serious overture in all this -- or simply making propaganda.”[34]  The president replied that he wanted no “tired of indictments of the Soviet regime” or “slick sophisticated propaganda devices.” Rather, he wanted specific proposals for the “butter, bread, clothes, hospitals, schools” that could come from reduced arms expenditures.  Perhaps Lubell’s proposal sounded like a fresh and exciting “surge of resolve” to Hughes, since he had not been at the March 11 NSC meeting.  But nothing was really new here.  Eisenhower was essentially just explaining to Hughes the Lubell idea, as he understood it. 

When Hughes objected that the State Department was happy to have a good propaganda speech but quite hesitant about “making a serious overture,” Eisenhower responded petulantly that he wanted to “make a serious bid for peace”—just as Jackson and Rostow had been urging all along.  But he would not present his speech at the UN, where “you no sooner give the speech than the Russians are back debating you.”  Evidently he wanted a setting that would safeguard him from any direct exchange with the enemy.  He lamented:  “What is in almost everyone’s heart is peace, you want so much to do something -- and then you wonder if there really is anything you can do by words or promises.”  Apparently the president understood that he would offer nothing but words and promises.[35]

A summary of Hughes’ conversation with Dulles the same day corroborates part of this diary account (and nowhere contradicts it).  The president had ruled out the UN venue and stressed “concrete proposals,” Hughes said, such as “cutting armaments to 5%, getting armies out of this country or that country, free elections in this country or that country.”  Dulles wondered out loud whether Eisenhower had changed his mind and was now considering proposing a foreign ministers’ meeting.  Hughes saw good reason for Dulles’ “caution in reacting to such surges of presidential resolve; they were prone to arise suddenly and somewhat surprisingly.”[36]

Eisenhower did suggest to Hughes a few offers that appeared to be conciliatory but would actually call for “obviously impossible concessions” from the Soviets, as Stephen Ambrose notes.  His only other substantive point was to delete the sharp anti-Soviet rhetoric and insist more explicitly on calling the plan a “serious bid for peace.”  Some historians have seen this new emphasis on the label as a response to the speech delivered by Malenkov the day before, declaring the Soviet Union willing to resolve its conflicts with the U.S. peacefully.  But Eisenhower had decided on a psychological warfare gesture, offering words and promises that sounded like a “serious bid for peace,” well before Malenkov’s speech.  In his conversation with Hughes, he suggested no change in the basic cold war stance that had shaped all the drafts of the speech, for they expressed his own views rather precisely.  He never admitted the possibility that the new Soviet leadership might be willing to make real compromises to ease cold war tensions.”[37]

Apparently Hughes did not come away from the meeting with any clear impression of a president single-mindedly devoted to peace.  The next day he drafted a memo asking: 

“I.  Major Question:  Do we wish at this time to negotiate directly with the Soviets? 

1.  Only the answer to this meets the question:  is a Presidential declaration at this time meant:

            (a.) To wage political warfare or

            (b.) To invite political settlement?[38]

Hughes received no clear answer to his question, because everyone involved in the process understood that the speech was intended to achieve both goals simultaneously.  No one except Hughes saw any need to choose between the two. 

At a March 17 meeting, the president recapitulated his main points of the day before.  “I’d like us to prepare a speech,” he added, “just ASSUMING that Malenkov was a reasonable man with whom we had some differences to iron out -- we may know he isn’t -- but let’s start with that assumption and talk accordingly.”  Hughes apparently saw this as evidence of the president’s new direction, his “splendid dream” of peace.  Jackson saw it as overly pacific, a “kind of Boy Scout, PTA approach to the Russians.”  But Eisenhower was no Boy Scout.  A few moments earlier, when he mused, “if only you could trust that bastard Malenkov,” he and all the others seemed to agree that this “if” was impossible.[39]

On March 20, Eisenhower sent Jackson a copy of an anonymous memo advising a “total program for peace” that would demonstrate a unified administration foreign policy.  “When you have time will you please talk to me about it?”  The next day Eisenhower and Jackson held an off-the-record meeting.  Jackson’s idea of his role was certainly no secret.  Just three days later, in a public speech to the Advertising Council, he stressed that everyone in the government must participate in the psychological warfare campaign to exploit Stalin’s death, concluding:  “Our purpose [is] to prevent Malenkov from becoming a new high priest.  If successful, disintegration will follow -- not today, maybe years from now, but inevitably.”  Eisenhower surely knew that he was asking an expert in psychological warfare to orchestrate his “total program for peace.”[40] 

Redrafting The Speech

Hughes still found himself “in fog of confusion.”  He focused on “cutting out acid material on satellites, centering more on the disarmament point, spelling out material benefits to all peoples of the latter.”  But the redraft was still a staunchly anticommunist document, culminating in a peremptory challenge to the Soviets to prove their peaceful intent by deeds.[41]  Hughes’ draft pleased the president because it included some specific applications of Lubell’s idea.  But Eisenhower showed little interest in the details of the proposals. 

Two small additions that the president called for were quite telling.  First, he wanted “some strong mention of the fact that we are going to go RIGHT AHEAD rearming until it’s clear we no longer have to.”  Then he added as a fundamental U.S. precept that peace could never come through armaments, but only through justice.  He wanted it clearly understood that he was seriously concerned about genuine peace yet still unrelentingly waging the cold war.  He approved Hughes’ work because it effectively seemed to say both things at once.  And he still saw no contradiction between the two.[42]  

Hughes had to find words that would be acceptable to all in the upper echelon of the administration, which meant words that would effectively achieve all of the speech’s many goals.  He solved the problem when he recognized (perhaps unconsciously) that all of the goals involved choices between mutually exclusive alternatives.  The speech aimed to force the new Soviet Union leaders to make hard choices on some concrete issues before they were ready to do so.  For this purpose it hardly mattered what the issues were, as long as they required immediate decisions.  A second goal was to scotch the possibility of western European neutrality by establishing an absolute dichotomy between U.S. and Soviet intentions.  A third goal was to calm European fears by presenting the U.S. as a harbinger of hopes for peace, starkly contrasted with the communist peril that would lead only to war.

The same contrast of hope for peace versus fear of war would also help to draw the eastern European satellites out of Soviet orbit.  Eastern Europe would be offered a choice between an equitable freedom and the injustice of slavery.  Finally, the speech was meant to bring underdeveloped areas firmly within the “free world” orbit by offering them a choice:  economic aid as the fruit of arms reductions, or continuing poverty due to Soviet militarism. 

Hughes wove all these dichotomies together into a single dichotomy of two divergent roads.  The U.S. road would lead to peace, justice, freedom, prosperity, and hope, while the Soviet road could lead only to war, injustice, slavery, poverty, and fear.  As in Eisenhower's inaugural address, all the dichotomies were melded into an overarching dualism, yielding a single choice that the whole world must make.  This would be the fundamental structure of the speech.  There would still be some fine tuning to respond to the many specific concerns and objections of administration officials.  But all these tensions about specific language (which have received the bulk of attention in scholarship on the “Chance” speech) reflected a debate over tactics, not fundamental goals.

A few days before the speech was given, Eisenhower suggested a sentence affirming U.S. willingness to “‘meet half way’ any pacific gestures.” But he offered the idea only for the purpose of “conciliating” Winston Churchill, who wanted a softer U.S. line in response to the Soviet peace offensive.  Hughes, after consulting with Smith, Nitze, and Mathews in the State Department, added a restatement of U.S. readiness to “welcome sincerely any basic change in [Soviet] conduct.”  This was another way of saying that the Soviets, not the U.S., would have to do the conciliating.  Hughes told the president that this was “the maximum of ‘softening’ that can be done without…converting it into a weak declaration.”  The president raised no objection.[43]

Indeed, in last minute conversations about the text, Eisenhower told Hughes that it should put all the onus on the Soviets, demanding “some ACTS, ANY acts that show a desire to be nice boys…as evidence of sincerity.”  The kind of steps he suggested would clearly redound to U.S. advantage: “The Austrian treaty -- the PWs -- they don’t need any damn conferences to do those things -- all they got to do is DO them.… THEN we can go ahead to the big things.”  The day before he delivered the speech, he suggested that it make the most stringent demand of all:  “THE FULL INDEPENDENCE of East Europe.”[44]  In return for such drastic concessions, the president would offer only promises of unspecified future reciprocation.

The Speech As Delivered

The final product of this long speechwriting process, “The Chance for Peace,” was delivered on April 16, 1953 to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.  Often said to be Eisenhower's greatest speech,[45] it established his image as a president sincerely dedicated to reducing cold war tensions and advancing the cause of peace.  It also set the tone for much of his cold war policy, as well as rhetoric, for the next eight years.  Many historians who have written about the speech have concluded that Eisenhower sincerely wanted peace.[46]  Others have found the speech mere propaganda.[47]  The debate is understandable, because the peace speech was intended to accomplish both goals, and no one in the administration (except Hughes) saw any need to choose between the two.  Eisenhower could call it quite sincerely “a serious bid for peace” while consciously intending it to be a weapon of psychological and political warfare.  He was not contradicting himself.  He was convinced that a serious bid for peace would be a most effective maneuver in the cold war.

The final version of the text began:  “In this spring of 1953 the free world weighs one question above all others: the chances for a just peace for all peoples.”  Already, the peace / war dichotomy was identified with the choice between justice and injustice.  Immediately, it added the hope / fear dichotomy, identifying hope with the war’s end in 1945 and fear with the present:  “The eight years that have passed have seen that hope waver, grow dim, and almost die.  And the shadow of fear again has darkly lengthened across the world.”  This change was explained with Hughes’ elegant (if deceptive) simplicity:  “The nations of the world divided to follow two distinct roads.  The United States and our valued friends, the other free nations, chose one road.  The leaders of the Soviet Union chose another.” 

The U.S. road was marked by peace, cooperation, “just relations and honest understanding…This way was to control and to reduce armaments.  This way was to allow all nations to devote their energies and resources to the great and good tasks of healing the war's wounds, of clothing and feeding and housing the needy, of perfecting a just political life, of enjoying the fruits of their own toil.  The Soviet government held a vastly different vision of the future.”  By this point, with only about one-eighth of the text completed, all of the essential choices had been laid out.  The rest was pretty much predictable filling in of the blanks. 

The Soviets’ choice, Eisenhower complained, had compelled the U.S. and its allies “in self-defense to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments…capable of inflicting instant and terrible punishment.”  By the speech’s logic, the “free world” had to hope that the new Soviet leaders would reverse the past and choose the road of peace.  Much of the speech was devoted to detailed enumeration of the concrete ways in which they might do so:  “We care only for sincerity of peaceful purpose attested by deeds.”

But the deeds the text demanded amounted to Soviet capitulation on every significant contested issue.  It called for an end to all communist movements in Korea, Indochina, and Malaya, referring to that as the achievement of “a peace that is true and total.”  It demanded that Germany be unified and a full participant in the EDC.  It called for “a broader European community, conducive to the free movement of persons, of trade, and of ideas” and offered to include eastern Europe in the Marshall Plan.)  If the Soviet Union would not allow the nations of Eastern Europe “the free choice of their own form of government,” the text asked, “where then is the concrete evidence of the Soviet Union's concern for peace?”  In effect, Eisenhower was making a rollback of Soviet power in eastern Europe the precondition for easing cold war tensions.[48] 

A decade letter Eisenhower acknowledged that in 1953 he had “but little hope” that the proposals he offered would be acceptable to the new Soviet leaders.[49]  He did not mention, though, what he also knew at the time:  for purposes of psychological warfare, it hardly mattered how those leaders responded.  In fact rejected proposals might well yield a greater victory in the psychological warfare campaign, while forestalling negotiations that the U.S. was not ready for anyway.  All of the specific deeds Eisenhower called for would clarify and solidify the boundary between the two power blocs, making neutralism impossible.  Nations not allied with the Soviet Union would be, by definition, within the “free world” led by the U.S.  “As progress in all these areas strengthens world trust,” the text promised, “we could proceed concurrently with the next great work—the reduction of the burden of armaments now weighing upon the world.  To this end we would welcome and enter into the most solemn agreements.”  Administration officials would consistently interpret this to mean that the Soviet concessions would have to precede any disarmament talks.  The U.S. would negotiate only when its sphere of influence was secure from any shrinkage or weakening. 

Hughes understood his boss’ penchant for religious language, and he used it sparingly but powerfully to underscore the political message.  An unending arms race, with its “life of perpetual fear and tension” would leave “humanity hanging from a cross of iron,” he wrote.[50]  The implication was clearly that the Soviets were the modern-day Roman crucifiers, and the U.S. and its allies the modern-day Christ figures.  Throughout the speech, images of light were associated with the U.S. and its hope for peace, while darkness represented the Soviet Union as well as the prevailing fear of war.  Since the Soviets were held wholly responsible for the fear, they were the bearers of darkness—an appropriate image for those cast as crucifiers of the true faith.  The two roads thus became the paths of the godly and the ungodly, playing upon the apocalyptic imagery of a Last Judgment.  The world had a final “precarious chance to turn the black tide of events.  If we failed to strive to seize this chance, the judgment of future ages will be harsh and just.” 

If the Soviets turned from their evil ways, though, they would foster “the rebirth of trust among nations.”  “We are ready,” the text pledged, “to strive to redeem the near-lost hopes of our day.”  Rebirth and redemption would come only when the crucifiers adopted the faith of the crucified.  The sign of that redemption would be disarmament, “the next great work.”  And on that subject “the formula matters less than the faith.”  The economic fruits of disarmament, disbursed to underdeveloped lands, would “assist all peoples to know the blessings of productive freedom.”  This proposal, the text concluded, came from “our firm faith that God created man to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the earth and of their own toil.”  Its acceptance by the Soviet leaders would lead to a paradisaical “golden age of freedom and of peace.”[51]  The speech was built upon the same Manichaean dualism that underlay all cold war discourse in the U.S.  It made that dualism immutable, enshrining cold war discourse in an aura of eternal, sacred truth. 

The Many Meanings Of Peace

There was nothing new about a cold war president stepping up the pressure while declaring his fervent desire for world peace.  Harry Truman had been doing it for years.  But in Truman’s rhetoric (especially in the last years of his presidency) the only route to peace was a military buildup large enough to deter Soviet aggression and thus head off World War III.  “The Chance for Peace” mentioned U.S. military strength only in passing.  What made headlines around the world (even in Pravda) was the one important new element in the “Chance” speech:  Eisenhower's professed commitment to disarmament and easing global tensions through mutual concessions.  The “Chance” speech made hope for reconciliation with the Soviet Union a legitimate aspiration in mainstream U.S. discourse.  But what did the speaker mean by peace?  How was its meaning reshaped by the text of the speech and its public reception?  

Eisenhower hoped to reap cold war advantage by drawing on the rhetorical tradition of Wilsonian liberal internationalism.  He announced as his goal “a just and lasting peace…founded upon decent trust and cooperative effort … just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.”  By the logic of the speech, though, and of all Eisenhower's discourse, this kind of global peace was impossible as long as any nations remained outside the liberal democratic capitalist system.  “A just and lasting peace” meant “a world in which all peoples can be productive and prosperous.”  For Eisenhower this meant, by definition, a democratic capitalist world, a global corporate commonwealth.  Privately, Eisenhower did occasionally speak about a day when the Soviet Union and China would be transformed into capitalist democracies. 

But he had no hope that the Soviet Union or China, as presently constituted, could ever enter the corporate commonwealth.  Given his desire to counter the Soviet “peace offensive” and allay allied fears of war, he could hardly call for the imminent demise of the communist system.  So his words assumed that the division between the two geopolitical blocs would continue for the foreseeable future.  Just a week later he would begin to speak publicly of the need to plan for the “long haul.”  So he could not offer a Wilsonian vision of peace for the whole world.  Wilsonian rhetoric could apply only to the “free world,” the only realm in which peace was possible. 

This left the him with two usable understandings of peace.  He could speak of peace in a future world where the Soviet Union continued as the “other” but was shorn of its influence upon all other countries (except China, which was, by omission, tacitly ceded to the Soviet sphere).  The new Soviet leaders would agree to cease competing for political and economic control everywhere along their border, and throughout the world.  The “free world” would then have an enemy but face no real threat. This invulnerability promised a kind of stability the world had never known.  Stability in the “free world” would be synonymous with world stability, which would mean, in turn, world peace.[52] 

Yet the logic of the speech assumed a second meaning of peace.  Starting from the premise that (in Lubell’s words) “what America stands for and what peace requires are identical,“ Eisenhower had to posit that the U.S., and by extension the “free world,” were inherently peaceful and, simply by living according to their own system, were already at peace.  The insistent claim that the U.S. was at peace was not a conclusion based on evidence.  It was simply a tautological restatement of the initial premise:  All good outcomes stemmed from U.S. policies and all bad outcomes from Soviet policies.  Therefore, he implied, if the Soviet Union refused to negotiate peace on America’s terms, the Soviets alone would bear all responsibility for all the negative consequences of a continuing global cold war.[53]

When linked with the assumption that the communist threat would endure for the foreseeable future, this view yielded an obvious corollary:  the U.S. and the “free world” were at peace but under siege and in mortal danger.  So Eisenhower could say that “the peace and defense of Western Europe imperatively demands the unity of purpose and action made possible by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, embracing a European Defense Community.”  NATO and the EDC were justified not as steps toward a peace to be achieved, but as instruments to maintain an already existing peace.  And they would be necessary, according to the speech’s logic, as long as there were nations outside the “free world” system.  “Aggression in Korea and in southeast Asia are threats to the whole free community”—i.e., the peaceful community—which would have to “guard vigilantly against the domination ever again of any part of the world by a single, unbridled aggressive power.” 

In his inaugural address, Eisenhower had defined peace as “the practice and fulfillment of our whole faith.”  Now he was spelling out the implications of that definition.  But he was doing so by employing three understandings of peace that were all mutually exclusive.  One foresaw the expansion of the American way throughout the world.  A second assumed the Iron Curtain as the limit to that expansion, but it foresaw a day when communist nations still existed but no longer posed a threat.  A third denied that such a day could ever come.  It implied that peace meant not expanding, but perpetually defending, the borders of the “free world.”  All of these meanings of peace were employed at various points in the “Chance” speech. 

Eisenhower was never committed to only one meaning of peace because he would not give up the other meanings;  they all remained in tension with each other.  He had long been using the term in these different ways on different occasions for different purposes; he was still doing so.[54]  Out of this conceptual confusion came, quite unwittingly, a new notion of peace that did mask, and went some way toward resolving, the contradictions:  peace as apocalypse management.

Negotiations And The Meaning Of Peace

The apocalypse management paradigm stood out most clearly when the president spoke about the need for negotiated settlements between the enemies.  To achieve its psychological warfare aims, the “Chance” speech had to insist on a process of negotiation.  Each of the three meanings of peace it employed pointed to negotiation as the only route to peace.  It couched its offer in the language of Wilsonian liberal internationalism:  reasonable people would compose their differences through discussion and compromise, in a spirit of “mutual trust and mutual aid…decent trust and cooperative effort", rather than fighting and killing.[55]

Yet the speech’s psywar aims also demanded an image of peace as a dramatic verbal contest.  This made the speech itself an example of and a vital step in the process.  It ruled out substantive U.S. compromises or concessions, because they would suggest that U.S. policies might have been unfair or excessively selfish.  Nothing in the “Chance” speech, or in Eisenhower’s private words, could suggest any willingness to meet the enemy half way.  Rather, it was a ritual pronouncement that enacted the fundamentals of cold war discourse.  It left no doubt that all moves toward peace would have to unfold within the cold war worldview, thereby legitimating and reinforcing cold war values.  So it told the U.S. public that it was not only legitimate but desirable to want peace, as long as peace meant a new way of waging cold war—cautiously and defensively negotiating narrow agreements with a cunning adversary across the bargaining table.  Skillful negotiators would make sure that the “free world” always gained advantage at the enemy’s expense, thus constantly expanding the “free world’s” scope of power and control.  

However, the president's words clearly implied that the U.S. would not try to destroy the foe completely.  “Liberation” or “rollback” would stop at the Soviet and Chinese borders.  There would always be an enemy on the other side of the Iron Curtain—and therefore on the other side of the negotiating table.  This implication translated Eisenhower’s Augustinian assumptions into his geopolitical discourse.  The Soviet Union was the geopolitical manifestation of selfishness.  Like the selfish impulse in human nature, it had to be accepted as a permanent fact of life.  But any change on the “free world” side of the Iron Curtain not under U.S. control would still be defined as aggression and hence a first step toward a war that could well destroy the “American way of life.”  Peace now meant maintaining a barrier strong enough to prevent such change.  Negotiated agreements would a create a world divided into two perfectly balanced power blocs, a world so perfectly stable that it would be, in effect, static. 

The negotiating table became a microcosm of the entire world.  The enemies would be forced to interact verbally, yet remain quite separate, each protecting itself from the other.  Therefore, peace meant invulnerability through untouchability, as two parallel sets of actions unfolded simultaneously on separate sides of the Iron Curtain.  The permanent absence of relationship would itself be the firmest guarantee that the enemy could do no harm.  Each side would seek to safeguard itself and gain advantage over the other in negotiations, agreeing merely to small limitations in its military capability and to refrain from using that capability against the other.  At most this might lead to reciprocal, exquisitely balanced restrictions on arsenals and behaviors, so that neither side could move militarily against the other.  

Indeed peace, as the “Chance” speech depicted it, would freeze all geopolitical movement by affording total U.S. control of every apocalyptic threat, the bomb and the international economy as well as the communists.  All three would be expertly managed and held in check by the national security managers:[56]  men (it was hardly imaginable they might be women) with well-trained, logical, carefully calculating minds; men who understood the enemy, the geopolitical world, and the subtleties of the bargaining table; men who could predict with high rational precision the outcomes of innumerable possible courses of action far into the future; men who could finely calibrate the many modes of global balance needed to manage and contain every apocalyptic peril.  Apocalypse management would insure that the U.S. would risk no losses; the chance for peace would not be left to chance.

In this new understanding of peace, endless apocalypse management would be both the means to and the new definition of victory.  Of course this formula for victory in the cold war was equally the formula for a keeping the peace.  The more cold war victories the U.S. won, the closer the world would come to peace—and vice versa. And it would all be done primarily through an adroit blend of public and private, threatening and promising, words.  So it made perfect sense to call psychological warfare maneuvers serious efforts for peace.  Within this new paradigm, the U.S. could pursue peace only by continuing some form of war.  So there could be neither total war nor total peace. The nation would have to remain in the situation that Eisenhower described to Congress just two weeks after the “Chance” speech:  “these years neither of total war nor total peace.” [57] 

Within his paradigm, it was quite logical that he went on to lay all the blame on Soviet conduct.  If total peace meant discourse from a position of invulnerable security, Soviet concessions were the only route to peace.  If the Soviet leaders rejected the president’s offers—as he assumed they would—he could claim quite sincerely that they were rejecting the necessary foundations of a peaceful world.  Two days after the “Chance” speech, he had Dulles make a hard-line speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, warning that the chance for peace “must always remain obscure” because the new Soviet leaders “accept no guidance from the moral law.”  The president's doubt that the Soviets would accept his gesture of peace “became a self-fulfilling prophecy once he gave Dulles license to give his speech,” as Richard Immerman says.[58] 

However, Eisenhower's own speech did far more to make his prediction of continuing insecurity a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Once peace was equated with “the American way,” there could be total peace only when “the American way” prevailed throughout the world.  That was now the definition not only of peace and victory, but also of national security.  Yet the assumption of Soviet rejection and permanent enmity offered no hope for the peace that would also mean victory and security.  The very way that the “Chance” speech spoke about security predicted a continuing state of national insecurity.

 “A Mine Of Positive Propaganda”

The world’s response to the “Chance” speech was of vital concern to the administration.  A memo “based upon a consensus of [State] Department thinking,” began:  “President Eisenhower's speech of April 16, designed to seize the political and psychological initiative from the USSR.”  It went on to quote Dulles’ speech of April 18:  “The President's speech has thrown back the so-called Soviet ‘peace offensive’ and turned it into a ‘peace defensive.’”  Of course this had been only one of the speech’s many aims.  Diplomats in the Soviet Union were advised to press the speech’s original aim:  “Output to the USSR should continue to use materials designed to exploit the situation created by the death of Stalin and the transfer of power in the USSR to new hands.  Encouragement of whatever divisive forces may emerge in the new Soviet power set-up should, however, be promoted without stridency.”[59] 

Eisenhower cautioned Churchill against any “precipitate initiatives…[which] might have the effect of giving the Soviets an easy way out of the position in which I think they are now placed.”  Jackson made the point more strongly to Dulles:  “If they show any indication of reaching for any of the easier carrots that have been dangled, our tactic should be to keep up the pressure before the world by tying in each forward step with the next one which we will say must be taken by the Russians.”[60]

Llewellyn White of the State Department's International Press Service told his staff “to plan a closely integrated campaign employing all our media and running well into FY54, such as we have never tackled.  We have not had since the inception of the Marshall Plan such a mine of positive propaganda material.”  Of course the propaganda and psychological warfare bonanza could be mined only if it was not acknowledged publicly.  Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith gave State officials around the world the official line:  “President's speech not repeat not gambit of psychological warfare.  It is sincere, moral presentation (which incidentally takes psychological initiative).” [61]

Relatively little attention was given to shaping domestic response.  Nevertheless all domestic news media were alerted that the “Chance” speech would be the administration’s first major foreign policy statement, and the speech received headline treatment.[62]  Press reaction echoed the speech itself, recapitulating its goals and its rhetorical paradigm.  Virtually every story was framed against the backdrop of the Soviet “peace offensive” and the fear that it might be giving the Soviets a significant new advantage in the cold war.  The dominant tone of the press reporting was summed up in the headlines: 

·                 “Ike Challenges the Russians; Prove You Want Peace, He Asks”

·                 “President's Challenge to Russia”; “Ike Demands Deeds, Not Words”

·                 “Ike Starts All-Out Drive for Peace; Campaign Puts ‘Heat’ On Russia

·                 “Eisenhower Challenges Soviet Union To Back Peace Proposal With Action”

·                 “Initiative to U.S.—Test for Kremlin”

·                 “Eisenhower Said to Force Hand of Kremlin on Peace."[63] 

In the days following the speech, White House operatives openly encouraged more of the same, with marked success.  Front-page follow-up stories bore headlines such as, “Eisenhower Bid to Russia Start of All-Out ‘Peace Drive,’ White House Says” and “Envoys Rallied For Drive; Told to Spread Eisenhower's Views Everywhere.”[64]

 Editorial praise of the speech amounted to a national sigh of relief that “America, through its President, has reasserted its role of leadership in the world.”  All reports agreed that it was now squarely up to the Kremlin to choose either war or peace:  “Officials Hope Speech Moves Reds to Peace — No Certainty, However, Soviet Attitude Will Continue.”  Many journalists asserted that Eisenhower had promised to meet the Soviets half-way.  For example, Anne O’Hare McCormick began her summary of the speech:  “If the new Soviet leadership desires an end to the tension in which all men live we will meet you halfway, Mr. Eisenhower said in effect to the Russians.”  Yet the press showed virtually no interest in what concessions the U.S. might make in the future.  Nor did they note the absence of specific U.S. concessions in the speech.  The stories assumed that no concessions were in order, since (in U.S. News & World Report’s words) “today’s upset world is of Russia’s making, not U.S. making.”  Virtually all reports echoed Eisenhower's insistence that the Kremlin would have to prove itself with deeds, not words.[65]

A few publications, like Time, found the speech most important not as a cold war riposte but as “a new, determined attempt by the U.S. to define its own nature and its purposes … It successfully projected into a divided world the universal philosophy of the U.S.”  Eisenhower had expressed “the deep desire of the American people for peace,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized.  He had “given the sacred word ‘peace’ an American definition,” Life concluded.[66]  

No news organ questioned, explored, nor even spelled out, that definition.  By framing it in terms of a cold war showdown, the press reports also replicated and disseminated the speech’s crucial innovation:  peace now meant a world not united, but divided, with the U.S. side firmly dominant.  As the Atlanta Constitution put it, “The lines are clearly drawn.”  To the editors of the Washington Post, the speech had called for "the retirement of Soviet Russia to its legitimate frontiers.” The New York Times offered a map that made the point in stark visual terms.  It summarized Eisenhower's proposed Soviet concessions and connected each to a place where the communist bloc met what the map labeled “countries associated with Western Defense Plans.”  The reader could quickly see that the speech did indeed call for an absolute demarcation of the bipolar world on terms favorable to the U.S.  As Life editorialized:  “Peace and freedom must have the same boundaries”—boundaries that would have to remain fixed and inviolable.[67]

A few analysts, like the AP’s John Hightower, raised the possibility that “the speech laid down terms so tough they might discourage the Kremlin” from pursuing any settlement.  But Times columnist McCormick said explicitly what was implicit in the whole corpus of press reports:  the Soviet response to the speech mattered little, if at all:  “It is evident that President Eisenhower has rallied the free world behind him at a critical moment.  He has given it hope, courage and new confidence in the future.  This is in some ways a greater achievement than if his challenge to Soviet power is accepted.”[68]

Underscoring the doubts about Soviet desire for peace, journalists also stressed Eisenhower’s assurance that the U.S. would keep up a strong military stance.  Dulles’ testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 17 earned a lead story in the New York Times with the headline:  “Dulles Bids Soviet Cooperate Or Face Vast West Arming.”  The theme of firmness was particularly stressed in articles reporting on the positive reaction from Congress.  Thus the overall picture was a speech that balanced conciliation with firmness. “It succeeded in pleasing almost everybody,” Life editorialized.  “The tender-minded could relish his eloquence about disarmament,” while “professional cold warriors” would be “delighted that he had seized the initiative from Moscow.” “In terms that neither threatened nor appeased,” said Life, “he took the play away from the Russians and put their new leadership on the spot.”[69]

Virtually every aspect of this reporting served to reaffirm and celebrate the enduring truth of the prevailing cold war discourse.  So it could not be presented as a major shift in U.S. policy.  In fact, though, the “Chance” speech unveiled apocalypse management for the first time as the nation’s cold war goal.  Like all important political speeches, it legitimated and crystallized the prevailing modes of discourse and then dispersed those modes back into the public realm, with their validity not merely reconfirmed and reinforced but subtly transformed.  It would be wrong to credit this one speech with creating the change single-handedly.  Still, the speech did set the administration's discourse, and eventually public discourse, on a new track.  The press coverage joined with the speech text itself to plant the seed of this fundamental change.

Eisenhower and his aides would refer to this speech often in future public pronouncements.  Its wide popularity encouraged them to point to it proudly as an official statement of administration policy and a proof of the president's commitment to peace.  Every such statement enhanced its prestige and its influence.  Several top-secret policy documents would cite it in the coming months, particularly in framing policy on disarmament.  The administration’s most secret policies would in fact be guided by the ideal of apocalypse management—not as a way of easing cold war tensions, but as a way to define and achieve the goal of its cold war efforts.  Forged as a rhetorical means to cold war ends, this ideal would become an end in itself, shaping U.S. foreign policy throughout the Eisenhower presidency.

Notes to Chapter 2

[1] Minutes and Abbott Washburn to Eisenhower, undated, both in C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 83, “Princeton Meeting (1)”; Eisenhower to Jackson, 8/22/52, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 83 “Princeton Meeting (1).”  According to Herbert Parmet, Jackson feared that an excessively hard-line stance would alienate U.S. allies and world opinion:  Eisenhower and the American Crusades, 196-197.  Eisenhower had first worked with Jackson on psychological warfare during World War II.  For Eisenhower's early interest in psychological warfare, see GE, 73-74 and, during the 1952 campaign, GE, 285.

[2] Wilson to Eisenhower, 2/16/53, AWF, Administration Series, Box 41, “Wilson, Charles E. (GE)”; NSC, 2/18/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.2: 1108.  Sherman Adams told Wilson that he had read his letter to the president, who “seemed very much impressed” and indicated “that he intended to do something about it”:  Adams to Wilson, 2/25/53, Eisenhower, Dwight D.: Records as President, Central Files - Official File, Box 687, “Peace.”

[3] Eisenhower to Wilson, 2/21/53, AWF, Administration Series, Box 41, “Wilson, Charles E. (GE)”; John Foster Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda, Box 1, “White House Correspondence (5)” (a handwritten note on this memo, apparently added in the Sate Department, reads:  “Chas Wilson memo”).

[4] Hughes Diary, 3/6/53, Emmet John Hughes Papers, Box 1, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University; Jackson to Cutler, 3/4/53, AWF, Administration Series, Box 29, “Psychological Warfare”; William J. Morgan to H.S. Craig, 3/4/53, White House Office Central Files, NSC Staff Papers, PSB Central Files Series, Box 8.  See Brands, Cold Warriors, 122. 

[5] AWF, DDE Diaries Series, Box 3, “Dec. 52 - July 53 (3)”; NSC, 3/4/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1091-94.  Harold Stassen suggests that this was a way to “shift the play” to Jackson and away from Dulles, who urged a “wait and see” stance: Stassen and Houts, Eisenhower, 157, 161.  Privately, Dulles objected to the message because he “felt that we were using an unfair propaganda advantage.…It sounded like we were hoping for the death of Stalin, which he did not think was very Christian”: Telephone Conversation, Dulles to Hagerty, Cutler, and Lodge, 3/4/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Chronological Series, Box 1, “March 1-16, 1953 (telephone calls).”  But Eisenhower overruled Dulles.  At a press conference on March 5, Eisenhower gave a rather vague and qualified assurance that he would “meet anybody, anywhere, where I thought there was the slightest chance of doing any good”:  Press Conference, 4/5/53,  PPP, 1953, 69-70, 82. 

[6] Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 103; A Message to the Soviet Government and the Russian Peoples, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 104, “Stalin’s Death (3),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 84-87. See also untitled undated memo in Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (3),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 87-90.  Rostow’s purposes were elaborated more fully in a CENIS memo to the CIA, 3/5/53, C.D. Jackson Records, Box 6, “Rostow, Walter W. (4).”

[7] Robert L. Ivie, “Dwight D. Eisenhower's ‘Chance for Peace,”; Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 39.

[8] CENIS memo to the CIA, 3/5/53, C.D. Jackson Records, Box 6, “Rostow, Walter W. (4)”; untitled undated memo in Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (3),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 90.

[9] Untitled undated memo in Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (3),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin,pp. 89, 90 (emphasis  in original).  See Appleby, “Eisenhower and Arms Control,” 74:  “To Jackson, substantive proposals made the best propaganda.”  Another draft message, apparently written about the same time by George Morgan, Jackson’s aide at PSB, dealt only with encouraging formal and informal contacts between U.S. and Soviet officials.  The author suggested that it “might be woven into peace speech” and stressed that “statement should subtly convey doubt as to authority and duration of new regime”:  Suggested Presidential Broadcast To The USSR, undated, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (3).”

[10] Emmet J. Hughes, Memorandum for the President, 3/10/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1114.

[11] Eisenhower to Gruenther, 2/14/53, cited in Duchin, “The ‘Agonizing Reappraisal,’” 203; Ninkovich, Germany and the United States, 103.

[12] NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1123; Ninkovich, Germany and the United States, 94, 98, 102-3; Schwartz, America’s Germany, 283.  See also Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, 121, 149 and Steininger, “John Foster Dulles, the European Defense Community, and the German Question.”

[13] NSC, 2/18/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.2: 1108. 

[14] Hughes Diary, 3/6/53; Memorandum of Conversation, 3/7/55, John Foster Dulles Papers, Chronological Series, Box 1, “March 1-16, 1953 (telephone calls)”; NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1123; Ninkovich, Germany and the United States,  99.

[15] Bohlen, Memorandum on Stalin’s Death, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1111; Nitze to Dulles, 4/2/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Draft Presidential Speeches, Box 1, “President’s Speech April 1953 (1).”

[16] Hughes, Memorandum for the President, 3/10/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1114; Bohlen to Hughes, 3/9/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (4).” See also Smith to Morgan, 3/10/53, C.D. Jackson Records, Box 1, “PSB Plans…Stalin’s Death.” George Kennan might have presented a different view in the State Department, but he was being frozen out of the decision-making process: Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 106-107.  Hughes’ memo for Eisenhower portrayed PSB and State as totally opposed, with the latter view “plainly stronger” (Hughes Diary, 3/10/53); he failed to note the extensive agreement on general aims. 

[17] Larres, “Eisenhower and the First Forty Days After Stalin’s Death,” 444.  This is in line with Larres’ overall finding that “in general, Stalin’s death made hardly any impact on the thinking of the experts in the United States” (437).

[18] NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1124, 1118, 1119; Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 39, 89; ibid., 109-110.  Paper Presented by W. W. Rostow, 5/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1182, provides a useful contemporary summary of Jackson’s and Dulles’ positions; cf. Jackson to Dulles, 3/10/53, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 104, “Stalin’s Death (3).

[19] NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1122, 1120; cf. FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1180, 1182.

[20] Hughes Diary, 3/11/53.

[21] NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1122.  Eisenhower was only reiterating the assurances he had already given publicly at press conferences, that he would “meet anybody, anywhere, where I thought there was the slightest chance of doing any good”; see n. 5 above. 

[22] Memorandum of NSC Meeting, NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1122-1123.

[23] Lubell to Baruch, 3/7/53, Ann Whitman File, AWF, Administration Series, Box 25, “Lubell, Samuel.”  Lubell later recalled to Sherman Adams that the main goals of his proposal were “to widen whatever cleavage exists inside the Kremlin on this issue [and] put the Soviet regime on the defensive before its own people” for not raising living standards:  Lubell to Adams, 2/1/55, WHCF, Official File, Box 688, “137A  Disarmament 1955.”

[24] Eisenhower to Baruch, 3/10/53, AWF, DDE Diaries Series, Box 3, “December 1952-July 1953 (3)”; NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1122.

[25] Hughes Diary, 3/17/53. Eisenhower believed that the U.S. was bound in any event to do what Lubell’s plan called for.  Under democratic capitalism the state was compelled to allow the workers’ standard of living to rise, he said, in order to sustain public support for its policies.  Thus the state could devote only a limited portion of national wealth to the military if it wanted to sustain its military.  Communism imposed no such constraints on the level of military spending.  So the plan would call for more disruptive changes in the Soviet Union than in the U.S.:  NSC, 3/31/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.1: 268.

[26] NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1124. 

[27] Jackson to Dulles, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 104 “Stalin’s Death (3)” (across the head of this memo Jackson scrawled cryptically “Place for psych exploitation” and “Electric Charlie’s letter”); NSC, 3/11/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1122.    When Rostow redrafted the speech, he added a “tail piece” addressed to the American people: “A Message to the Soviet Government and the Russian Peoples, Redraft - 3/11/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Draft Presidential Speeches, Box 1, “Chance for Peace (3),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 92-93.  It pledged to “press on with the building of military, political, and economic strength,” and asked for domestic support of the administration’s security policies—including, implicitly, tax increases and budget deficits.  The peace speech would be used to maintain support for the cold war, to foster public support for maintaining high levels of military and foreign aid spending, and to mollify the most extreme cold warriors.  The “tail piece” was never used.

[28] Rostow saw the reference to the wars in Asia as the significant innovation in the redraft:  Europe After Stalin, 108 and Notes on the Origin of the Presidents Speech, 5/16/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 8: 1180. See Ivie, “Republic of Fear,” 11.

[29] Hughes Diary, 3/13/53.  Walter Bedell Smith revealed to Hughes one of State’s main motives for going along with the idea of a presidential speech:  it would preempt Churchill, who wanted to make such a speech “to project himself as leader and shaper of policy”:  Hughes Diary, 3/13/53. 

[30] Rostow, Europe After Stalin, 53; Hughes Diary, 3/15/53; Robert Matteson, “1955—A Watershed Year in the History of U.S. Disarmament Policy,” Nuclear History Project, Box 12, NSA.

[31] Outline, 3/14/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (4)”;  The Chance for Peace, 3/16/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Draft Presidential Speeches, Box 1, “Chance for Peace (3).”  See Ivie’s analysis, “Republic of Fear,” 12.

[32] Hughes, Ordeal of Power, 106-107.

[33] Matteson, “1955—A Watershed Year in the History of U.S. Disarmament Policy,” Nuclear History Project, Box 12, 86-87,  NSA; Hughes Diary, 3/16/53.  Years later Eisenhower pointed out to Hughes the “misconception” that shaped Hughes’ account:  Hughes thought that the president and Dulles worked independently and were at odds with each other.  “I seriously object,” Eisenhower told him:  Eisenhower to Hughes, 10/31/59, AWF, Administration Series, Box 22, “Hughes, Emmet 1958-59.”  Rostow also notes the need for caution in relying on the account in Ordeal and regrets that he was unable to see the Hughes diary:  Europe After Stalin, 183. Judging from its style, the diary was apparently written with a future published memoir in mind.  However it seems congruent with the documentary record on the Chance speech at all points, and I have accepted it at face value throughout the present chapter.

[34] Hughes Diary, 3/16/53.

[35] Hughes Diary, 3/16/53; Hughes, Ordeal of Power, 106.

[36] Memorandum of Conversation, 4/16/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Chronological Series, Box 1, “March 1-17, 1953 (telephone calls),” published in Rostow, Europe After Stalin,p. 56.  Perhaps Eisenhower was reacting to a second letter from Lubell:  Lubell to Baruch, 3/15/53, with cover letter Baruch to Eisenhower, 3/15/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (4).”  Lubell advised that “a global figure of the estimated cost of all defense and war preparations could be cited [in the speech] along with the suggestion of how much good would result if these expenditures of resources and energies were cut by one-fourth to one-half immediately and still more in the future.  We could spell out in some detail the constructive things that could be accomplished with these resources.”  Lubell went on to spell out the kind of verification plan that would afford maximum advantage for U.S. intelligence gathering.  He admitted that the Soviet leaders were unlikely to accept such a plan, but suggested that proposing it would still be beneficial because “this plan is designed to test” those leaders.

[37] Ambrose, Eisenhower, 96.  On the Malenkov speech and the Soviet "peace offensive," see Chernus, "Meanings of Peace,” and Larres, “Eisenhower and the First Forty Days.”

[38] Hughes Memo, 3/17/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15 “Chance for Peace (3)” (emphasis in original).  

[39] For Discussion, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (3)”; Hughes Diary, 3/17/53.  See Hughes, Ordeal of Power, 106-107.  Hughes’ assumption that it had to be either a serious offer or propaganda may explain why, in his memoir, he put Eisenhower squarely in the former camp and Dulles in the latter.  He was not the only one confused.  As late as April 1, Charles Bohlen was still wondering whether the speech was intended as propaganda or a serious proposal:  Bohlen to O’Connor, O’Connor, 4/1/53, John Foster Dulles Papers, Draft Presidential Speeches, Box 1, “President’s Speech April 1953 (1).”

[40] Eisenhower to C.D. Jackson, 3/20/53, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 50, “Eisenhower Correspondence 1953 (3)”; Speech Text, 3/23/53, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 100, “Speeches, Texts, 1953 (6).”  Jackson’s drafts are in C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 100, “Stalin’s Death (2)” and John Foster Dulles Papers, Draft Presidential Speeches, Box 1, “Chance for Peace (3).”

[41] The Chance for Peace, 3/18/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (2)”; Hughes Diary, 3/17/53, 3/1853, 3/21/53.  On March 18 Eisenhower received a letter from Winston Churchill, who relayed the view of Marshall Tito that the new Soviet leaders were cautious and that there might be some division among them (see FRUS, 1952-54, 9: 2026).  The next day Eisenhower wrote to Churchill, “I am much interested in what you say about Tito,” but he elaborated no further:  Eisenhower to Churchill, 4/19/53, PDDE, 14: 112.  It is certainly possible that Eisenhower was so interested because he had decided to make a major speech in hopes of exacerbating the divisions emerging in the Kremlin.

[42] Hughes Diary, 4/6/53, 4/7/53, 4/10/53, 4/12/53.  At a cabinet meeting on March 27, Eisenhower asked Hughes to reinsert an offer to meet with Soviet leaders and Wilson’s idea of exchanging radio broadcasts.  Hughes ignored him (deferring to State Department concerns), and Eisenhower never again mentioned the points:  Hughes Diary, 3/27/53. As Peter Lyon notes, the drafting of the speech became "essentially a staff procedure":  Eisenhower, 565.

[43] Hughes diary, 4/11/53; Eisenhower to Churchill, 4/6/53, PDDE, 14: 154 and n. 1; Hughes to Eisenhower and Milton Eisenhower, 4/11/53, Emmet J. Hughes Papers, Box 1, "Eisenhower, Dwight D., 1953 (2),” Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University; The Chance for Peace, 4/12/53, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 104,, “Stalin’s Death (1).”   When Dulles told Hughes to make the questions to the Soviets at the end of the speech tougher, the latter complied, and Eisenhower apparently made no comment on the changes:  Hughes Diary, 3/28/53.  Throughout the speechwriting process, Dulles was most concerned not about its general tone but about its language on specific diplomatic issues, especially the ongoing negotiations in Korea and their potential impact on China and Indochina policy.  On these issues his differences with the president were more tactical than substantive, and Dulles did not always take the harder line; see, e.g., Memorandum by the Secretary of State, 4/3/53, FRUS 1952-1954, 15: 857.

[44] Hughes Diary, 4/12/53, 4/15/53. 

[45] Observers as disparate as Adams (Firsthand Report, 97) and Cook (The Declassified Eisenhower, 179) have agreed on this.  The text is printed in PPP, 1953, 179-188.

[46] See, e.g., Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 159-160; Ambrose, Eisenhower, 96; Larson, “Crisis Prevention and The Austrian State Treaty,” 36-38.  All these writers attribute the harsher passages of the speech to Dulles' influence over a more conciliatory president, following the view in Hughes’ memoir.

[47] Cook (Declassified Eisenhower, 179, 181) calls the speech "the opening gun of the post-Stalin phase of the Cold War…the top side of political warfare" (the under side being covert operations).  Lyon finds it "a superior example of Cold War propaganda":  Eisenhower, 533.  See similar assessments in Dallek, The American Style of Foreign Policy, 194; Wicker, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 23-24; Garthoff, Assessing the Adversary, 7. 

[48] This has been noted by Immerman, “Trust in the Lord,” 40; LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 148; Osgood, “Form Before Substance,” 425.  The final written version of the text called on the Soviet Union to give the eastern European nations “the right to associate freely with other nations in a world-wide community of law.”  This clearly implied that these nations would be tied to western Europe economically and politically.  In delivering the speech Eisenhower omitted this phrase:  As Actually Delivered, AWF, Speech Series, Box 3, “Speech 4/16/53, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Reading Copy.”  The New York Times (4/17/53, 5) suggested that it was omitted “because he feared that he would be running over his allotted broadcast time.”  This seems unlikely, since Eisenhower made numerous minor changes throughout  the speech as he delivered it, and several were (like this one) clearly designed to mitigate the truculent tone.  In the very next paragraph, for example, he omitted a demand that any disarmament proposals “be made firmly effective by stringent UN control and inspection.”

[49] Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, 148.  A few weeks after the “Chance” speech, a high-level Executive Committee on the Regulation of Armaments (RAC) urged that no disarmament talks should begin until the "free world" bloc had been solidified and all its boundaries securely fixed.  The RAC report "recognize[d] that certain affirmative action to avoid the appearance of intransigence and rigidity may be forced on the United States,” not only by “the Soviet overtures in the disarmament field" but also by the “Chance” speech.  But it held out the speech as a model for such affirmative action because its disarmament proposals were vague and noncommittal:  Memorandum by the Executive Committee on Regulation of Armaments to the Executive Secretary of the NSC, 5/26/53, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.2: 1164, 1167, 1168.

[50] The March 28 draft had humanity “nailed upon” a cross of iron.

[51] In some printed and typed versions the speech was titled “The Golden Age of Peace.” 

[52] Just a week later, speaking at the same podium, Eisenhower told a Republican Women’s conference that the “Chance” speech “was not an isolated incident,” but part of an ongoing program to achieve “peace from a position of strength, security, and unity in the free world”:  Remarks at the Luncheon of the Republican Women's Spring Conference, 4/24/53, PPP, 1953, 214, 216.

[53] Lubell to Baruch, 3/15/53, Bryce Harlow Papers, Acc. 67-56, Box 15, “Chance for Peace (4).” See Dallek, The American Style of Foreign Policy, 194.

[54] For Eisenhower's various and often contradictory uses of peace in his pre-presidential years, see GE, especially 55ff, 93ff, 205ff, 261ff, 276ff.  

[55] General Eisenhower’s early post-war speeches had often described peace as substituting the conference table for the battlefield.  See, e.g., GE, 94, 136.

[56] On the idea of the National Security Manager (NSM), see Barnet, The Roots of War.

[57] Special Message to Congress, 4/30/53, PPP, 1953, 226.  For the same locution in the 1952 campaign, see GE, 271.

[58] Immerman, John Foster Dulles, 55.

[59]  Department of State Infoguide Bulletin 342, 4/22/53, WHCF, Confidential File, Subject Series, Box 65, “Russia—Stalin’s Death (1).”  

60 Eisenhower to Churchill, 4/25/53, PDDE, 14: 181-182; Jackson to Dulles, 4/16/53, C.D. Jackson Records, Box 4, “Dulles, J.F.”

[61] White to State International Press Services, Program Division Memorandum No. 5, 4/15/53, WHCF, Confidential File, Subject Series, Box 65, “Russia—Stalin’s Death (1)”; Department of State Infoguide Bulletin 338, 4/16/53, WHCF, Confidential File, Subject Series, Box 65, “Russia—Stalin’s Death (1).”  C. D. Jackson told his aide George Morgan that in “merchandising” the speech they must stress that it was “not psychological warfare”:  Jackson to Morgan, 4/11/53, C.D. Jackson Papers, Box 104, “Stalin’s Death (1). State told the U.S. embassy in Moscow to dismiss "any implication [from the Soviets]…that the speech is intended largely as a psychological warfare”:  State to Soviet Embassy, 4/15/53, FRUS 1952-1954, 8: 1147.

[62] It was not, however, the lead story in every newspaper.  In the San Francisco Chronicle, for example, although it got a headline on page 1, it was placed beneath an even larger headline that read:  “State Opens Big Drive on Prostitution.” 

[63] San Francisco Chronicle, 4/17/53, 1; U.S. News & World Report, 4/24/53, 12; Newsweek, 4/27/53, 27; Denver Post, 4/17/53, 1; Christian Science Monitor, 4/16/53, 1; NYT, 4/19/53, IV: 1.   

[64] SLPD, 4/17/53, 1; NYT, 4/18/53, 1

[65] SLPD, 4/17/53, 1C; NYT, 4/18/53, 8; U.S. News & World Report , 4/24/54, 113.  A Life editorial (4/27/53, 40) noted that “no bargaining points were given away in advance,” but it heartily approved, because “there is virtually no scope for serious concessions on our side.”

[66] Time , 4/27/53, 23; SLPD, 4/17/53, 2C; Life, 4/27, 40. 

[67] Atlanta Constitution quoted in SLPD, 4/17/53, 1C;  Washington Post, 4/17/53, p. 26; NYT, 4/119/53, IV: 1; Life , 4/27/53, 40.

[68] SLPD, 4/17/53, 1C; NYT, 4/18/53, 18. Life (4/27/53, 40) warned of the dangers of “relaxed tensions” with Kipling’s doggerel:  “When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer / That is the time of peril, the time of the Truce of the Bear.”   The San Francisco Chronicle (4/17/53, 16) editorialized that Eisenhower's demands called for “a massive change of heart” in the Kremlin, which was unlikely.  But the demands were so obviously in the right that the speech would “goad them to some degree of progress” toward peace.

[69] NYT, 4/18/53, 1; Life, 4/27/53, 40, 35.