Who's Been Counting My Fish?*

Eisenhower Fishing

                                                                                Photos courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Library

The Quotable Quotes of Dwight D. Eisenhower

Yes, of course they would be used. In any combat where these things can be used on strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes, I see no reason why they shouldn't be used just exactly as you would use a bullet or anything else.

On whether small atomic weapons would be used if war broke out in the Far East. Press conference March 16, 1954.

We are in the era of the thermonuclear bomb that can obliterate cities and can be delivered across continents. With such weapons, war has become, not just tragic, but preposterous.

Republican National Convention, August 23, 1956.

I do not believe that any political campaign justifies the declaration of a moratorium on ordinary common sense.

Denouncing Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson's promise to end the military draft and begin a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. Campaign speech, 1956.

Don't worry Jim, if that question comes up, I'll just confuse them.

To Press Secretary Jim Hagerty who pleaded with Eisenhower not to answer any press conference questions about the delicate Formosan Strait crisis, March 23, 1955. (Eisenhower was, indeed, asked if using atomic weapons on China was an option. He delivered a long, confusing reply which was effectively indecipherable.)

Each of them thinks of himself as intensely patriotic; but it does not take the average member long to conclude that his first duty to his country is to get himself reelected. This subconcious conviction leads to a capacity for rationalization that is almost unbelievable.

Referring to congressmen in a letter to friend, Everett "Swede" Hazlett, July 22, 1957.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

From the Chance for Peace address delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953. (Regarded as one of the finest speeches of Eisenhower's presidency.)

The first order of business is the elimination of the annual deficit.

State of the Union Address, Feb. 2, 1953. (Eisenhower balanced the budget three out of the eight years he was in office.)

Ike and de Gaulle, GettysburgThe only hope is to produce a new and inspirational leader - and I do not mean one that is 6 ft. 5 and who considers himself to be, by some miraculous biological and transmigrative process, the offspring of Clemenceau and Jeanne d'Arc.

On how Charles De Gaulle is not the answer to the French problem in Vietnam. In a letter to NATO commander, Gen. Al Gruenther, April 26, 1954.

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.

Introducing the domino theory, that if Vietnam fell to communism, the rest of Southeast Asia would soon follow. Press conference, April 7, 1954.

I can't imagine any set of circumstances that would ever induce me to send Federal troops into a Federal Court and into any area to enforce the orders of a Federal Court, because I believe that the common sense of America will never require it.

Press conference, July 17. 1957, two months before sending U. S. troops to Little Rock to enforce the desegregation of Central High.

Who's been counting my fish?

An angry inquiry referring to a Denver newspaper headline accusing Eisenhower of keeping more trout than the legal limit during a vacation in Colorado. 1952

I really believe that nothing will be so effective in combating his particular kind of troublemaking as to ignore him. This he cannot stand.

Referring to Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Diary entry, April 1, 1953.

There is in our affairs at home, a middle way between untrammeled freedom of the individual and the demands for the welfare of the whole nation. This way must avoid government by bureaucracy as carefully as it avoids neglect of the helpless.

State of the Union Address, Feb. 2, 1953

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex.

Farewell Address, Jan. 17, 1961

Listen Monty, I live here. I have nothing to say about the matter.

Responding to Montgomery's comment, "Lee and Meade should have been sacked," during a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. June 1957.

If you give me a week, I might think of one.
Eisenhower and Nixon

Response to reporter's question of whether the president could give an example of a major idea of Vice President Nixon's that was adopted by the administration. Press conference, August 24, 1960, during Nixon's presidential campaign.


Dick, I could kick myself everytime some jackass brings up that god damn "give me a week" business.

Phone conversation with Nixon, 1966 (From Nixon Memoirs)

Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

To Prime Minister Macmillan on radio - TV broadcast in London, August 31, 1959

I would like to resign.

To his secretary after the administration's denial that the Soviets had shot down a U-2 spy plane was proven a lie by Khrushchev's announcement that the U-2's pilot, Francis Gary Powers, had been captured alive. Secretary Ann Whitman diary entry, May 9, 1960.

The next time you see one of those squirrels go near my putting green, take a gun and shoot it!

To his valet, Sgt. Moaney, in frustration over the White House squirrels who buried acorns in his new putting green. (from Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West, Chief Usher of the White House.)


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