Editorial Note

On May 12, President Eisenhower appointed an entirely new group of generals and admirals to fill the positions of Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Matthew B. Ridgway replaced General J. Lawton Collins as Chief of Staff of the Army, Admiral Robert B. Carney was appointed Chief of Naval Operations to replace Admiral William M. Fechteler, Admiral Arthur W. Radford was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in place of General Omar N. Bradley, and General Nathan F. Twining was appointed to succeed General Hoyt S. Vandenberg as Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The appointments of Admirals Radford and Carney and of General Ridgway were to become effective on August 15, that of General Twining on June 30.

At his news conference on May 14, President Eisenhower was asked if he expected the “new Joint Chiefs of Staff to come up with different strategical concepts and different estimates of the power [Page 327] we should have?” In the course of a lengthy reply, the President stated:

“There is in all of these things a need for achieving the balance between nationalistic aspirations, the union that must be established between countries in order that their economies and standards of living may go up.

“Finally, the basic problem of how do you preserve an independent life at the same time that some of the measures that you are forced to adopt would tend to lead you toward a garrison state? We don’t want to become a garrison state. We want to remain free. Our plans, our programs, therefore, must conform to the practices of a free people, which means essentially a free economy. That is the problem that, frankly, this administration meets on, discusses, works on, every day of its life. There is no easy problem.”

Public correspondence relating to the appointments of General Ridgway and Admiral Carney to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is printed in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, pages 278–283. For the transcript of the President’s news conference on May 14, 1953, see ibid., pages 283–296.