Stevens May Resign If He Does Not Receive Public Support
Angry At McCarthy
Say Army Secretary Also Troubled Over Possible Effect On Moral Among
WASHINGTON (AP)- Secretary of the Army Stevens was reported
today to be seeking a public expression of support from President Eisenhower
in his dealings with Sen. McCarthy (R-Wis), and to be prepared to resign if
he doesn't get it.
Sources close to Stevens said the Army secretary had been in touch with top
White House aides, and had told them he would insist on one of the two following
courses of action:
1. A statement from the President that Eisenhower agrees with Stevens that
he did not "capitulate" during yesterday's secret session with McCarthy
on the question of calling Army officers for testimony in McCarthy's inquiry
into what he calls the Army's "coddling of Communists."
2. Agreement from the President that Stevens can say in a statement that Eisenhower
is in full agreement with the secretary's position.
Stevens was reported to be angry and indignant over some phases of his go-round
Further, he was said to be troubled over the possible effect on Army morale.
The secretary sent to his office early and launched into a series of conferences
with top advisers.
One high Army officer told a reporter: "I would not be surprised at anything
Sources close to the secretary said it was Stevens' understanding that agreement
was reached in his conference yesterday with Republican members of McCarthy's
sub-committee that any Army officers called before the subcommittee in the future
would be accorded respect.
He was said to be angry that the memorandum of agreement, read by Sen. Mundt
(R-Sd) after the session, omitted any reference to this and to feel it left
him in an untenable position.
The memo said it had been agreed that (A) the subcommittee should be given
the names of all those involved in the honorable discharge of an officer McCarthy
calls a 'Fifth Amendment Communist," and (B) these officers shall be available
This was widely interpreted as a capitulation by Stevens since earlier her
had directed two officers disregard subpoenas from McCarthy.
Sourches at the Capitol said it was argued to Stevens in the closed door session
with the subcommittee members that he had put himself in the position of defying
Further, it was argued that irreparable damage might be done to the Republican
party and to the Eisenhower administration if Stevens and McCarthy had a hammer-and-tongs
session before a nation-wide TV audience.
Stevens was scheduled to appear before the committee today and major TV networks
had arranged telecasts. This session was called off when the agreement was reached.
Pentagon reporters were given to understand that senior Army officers had been
urging Stevens to put his side of the case on the record, primarily to bolster
morale in the Army.
These officers told Stevens that the rank and file of the Army knew only what
they had read in the newspapers or heard over the radio and that the line taken
by virtually all publications was that Stevens had yielded to McCarthy.
At the White House presidential press secretary James C. Hagerty said in response
to questions that Stevens had telephoned him at home last night to discuss the
new paper stories.
Hagerty said Stevens, also conferred by telephone with "several other
members" of the White House staff.
He declined to name the other members and would not shed any light on the nature
of the conversations.
Asked whether Stevens had asked for an appointment with the President, Hagerty
"I do not know of any formal request at this time."
A reporter told Hagerty that Eisenhower himself obviously was fully informed
by this time of the terms of the agreement which Stevens and McCarthy reached
Asked whether the President was satisfied with the agreement, Hagerty replied:
"I haven't any comment on that situation at all- and I'll add- at this
Asked about reports that Stevens might resign, Hagerty said:
"There is no resignation here- of course not."
Asked then whether Stevens had asked advice of anyone on whether he should
resign, Hagerty said "there has been no mention of resignation" so
far as he knew.
Hagerty repeated three or four items what he said yesterday- that the President
had no advance knowledge of the Stevens-McCarthy agreement.
The following information described as Stevens's view of the secret capitol
meeting, was disclosed by an informed source:
1. Stevens did not know the memo of understanding would specifically emphasize
that two Army officers, whom Stevens ordered not to testify, would be made available
This souce said Stevens had not read the memo before it was given to newsmen.
2. McCarthy and Sens. Mundt, Dirksen (R-Il) and Potter (R-Mich) reportedly
urged Stevens to enter into the agreement in order to prevent a major split
in the Republican party.
3. The four senators and Stevens had agreed no details of yesterday's meeting
beyond those contained in the memorandum of understanding would be disclosed.
Stevens, though described as surprised at the actual language of the memorandum,
reportedly decided to keep his own silence on details of the meeting despite
his feeling that the statement did not give an accurate picture.
Nevertheless, in view of the situation, the Army Secretary was reporting to
be considering the advisability of holding a news conference to publicize his
understanding of the results of the conference.
Stevens was described as shocked that his agreeing to McCarthy's demands was
considered a defeat for him and a victory for the senator. At a showdown meeting
yesterday attended by the two principals and the other Republican members of
McCarthy's sub-committee, an agreement was reached that McCarthy might question
all Army personnel involved in the Peress matter.
Stevens earlier had ordered two officers to disregard subcommittee subpoenas
and the Army had ignored McCarthy's call for the names persons involved.