Galbraith, JK.



Nitze, Paul H

Tucker, R.


Interview with


Q: What was General MacArthur's attitude to the administration in Washington?

A: He considered that the President and everybody around the President were in fact traitors to the United States, and he was unambiguous in his thought of that. He thought they should have reacearlier and more forcibly and done a lot othings different than they did do, and so he could not abide them. And when he asked me to help him I said I - he wanted me to run the South Korean economy for him, and said, "Well in order to that I, I can't do it one, just myself, I've got to have a team." And he said, "Well that's all right but what kind of a team do you want?" And I said, "Well I want to have at least one member of the team back in Washington to keep me advised as to what the policy developments, the economic policy developments with respect to the Far East are in Washington as we've got make our economic programme compatible with American policy with respect to the Far East. And I can't do that unless I can have somebody there who can keep me alert as to what's going on, what's about to happen, otherwise I'll make big mistakes." And MacArthur said, "They're all a bunch of traitors and I won't have anybody on my staff have anything to do with anybody in Washington." So I told him, "Well thank you very much for having given me this offer but I think I cannot do it."

Q: MacArthur's dismissal, and Truman's attitude towards MacArthur initially and after the Inchon advance, then as he moved wanting to threaten Communist China. How complex were Truman's attitudes towards MacArthur?

A: Well Truman didn't like to quarrel with his generals. He was somewhat timid about it. He didn't feel great confidence in his ability- training and abilities with respect to the conduct of high policy and particularly military policy. He was a little shy - in that regard. So that MacArthur gave him a real problem, I thought too much of a problem. I thought if, what he ought to do is to just lay down the law, and tell MacArthur that this is what we're going to do and this is what we're not going to do, and not argue with him. But that wasn't Truman's approach and so he wanted to talk to MacArthur. And the secretary who kept all the minutes of that discussion happened to be my secretary. She was roped in for this job and so she told me, so I was one of the few people who know exactly what had gone on in that discussion. I forget her name now, she was a great girl.

Q: What did go on in that discussion, sir?

A: Truman was timid, wanted MacArthur to just say that he was going to support whatever the Presidential decisions were, but that wasn't MacArthur's style. He wasn't - he didn't want to support the President at all, and made it clear that he didn't want to support him and wasn't going to support him and that he thought he, MacArthur, would be a better President than Truman was. And might consider running for the Presidency himself.

Q: Tell me about his sacking.

A: I thought Truman was - acted slowly and didn't sack him soon enough. But - We did - break the codes of, of a number of countries and in particular the Spanish and the Portuguese and so we were reading their messages that came back from Tokyo describing their conversations with MacArthur, and for some reason or other he was very fond of the Portuguese and Spanish Ambassadors and was very frank with them. And from his, from listening in on his discussion with them as they reported it back, it was pretty clear what kind of a man he was and what he had in mind, and it wasn't good. So from that we really knew pretty well that he was disloyal to the President, tended to be disloyal, and intended to run for Presidency himself.

Q: For the sake of our viewers, what did he have in mind as far as the way he wanted to carry out the Korean War?

A: Well he'd done what he wanted to do with the Inchon landing which was a complete success, and - so the question at issue was how far north did he want to go, and he certainly wanted to go up to the Yalu. - And he didn't take seriously the threats that the Chinese might intervene. What's more he hoped that they might intervene, and that that would give us an opportunity to go to war with the Chinese whom he hated. - And frankly I suspected that MacArthur and certainly some of his associates, I forget their names now, had bought real estate in Hong Kong or various other places the value of which would be greatly enhanced if the Chi-Comms were defeated and the Chi-Nats were in power. So I thought some of them were acting venally. I forget now the names of the ones that I was pretty sure were in this camp.

Q: So you have a commander in the Far East ... who wants a war with Communist China - would that perhaps be an idea worth considering? ... Was there any merit at all in his scheme?

A: I think he had in mind that one could cut of reinforcements from the main part of Russia to the Far East by dropping nuclear weapons on the Trans-Siberian railroad. And very few people knew what our nuclear stockpile was at that time, and I was one of the few who did know, and we didn't have many. And I think MacArthur thought that one or two nuclear weapons could so disrupt reinforcements from the, from Moscow region to Siberia that they couldn't reinforce positions out there, which was quite wrong and - we didn't have the weapons, we wouldn't have used 'em, they wouldn't have been effective: the whole thing was a miserable error. But I think that's what MacArthur had in mind.


Q: ... The viewer will be thinking 'I thought America was pre-eminent in nuclear weapons...'. What was the score then with the American stock pile of nuclear weapons at this time? How big was it? What could it have done?

A: Well after we used the two weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki we didn't have any more. And it would have taken us at least a year and probably two years to put together an additional nuclear weapon. And that was the most highly classified secret there was in the United States. I think there were only three people in the US Government who knew that fact. For some reason I was one of the three. There's Colonel Loper who was the secretary to the Atomic Energy commission was number two, and I think the President was number three.