Jim Newton, soon to debut as an op-ed columnist for the L.A. Times, writes in this week's New Yorker about the discovery of some long-lost papers that change what is known about President Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 speech warning of the rise of an American "military-industrial complex." Newton has a biography of Eisenhower coming out soon. From the magazine, which hits Monday:
At first, the library did not know what it had. As archivists began to go through the papers, however, they discovered a trove of drafts, memos, and research materials that had long been missing from the record of one of the twentieth century’s most important speeches. For fifty years, Americans have regarded Eisenhower’s Farewell Address with a mixture of awe and bewilderment. Speaking three nights before the end of his Presidency, in 1961, Eisenhower warned of a “scientific-technological élite” that would dominate public policy, and of a “military-industrial complex” that would claim “our toil, resources, and livelihood.”
In the decades since, Eisenhower’s warning has seemed prescient....
The Moos papers make clear that the address, far from being an afterthought, was among the most deliberate speeches of Eisenhower’s Presidency. Regarded in his day as inarticulate and detached, Eisenhower in these papers is fully engaged, grappling with the language of the text and the radical questions that it raised.
Also this: "Had Moos vacationed in Florida rather than in Minnesota, the documents might have disintegrated. Instead, the memos and drafts survived, snug in a boathouse corner, rejoining history just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of Eisenhower’s address."