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Ike criticizes JFK on the Bay of Pogs
Eisenhower, Dwight D.

Ike unloads a stinging critique of Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs
Eisenhower, Dwight - three page LS, “Ike” Feb. 16, 1963 on personal stationary from Palm Desert, CA to Lewis Strauss, Ike’s Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. The heart of the letter and the longest section relates to the apparent payment of ransom for survivors of the “Bay of Pigs fiasco”. In part: “While the Administration has tried to avoid any admission of a blunder in that unhappy incident, the fact that it twice tried to arrange through allegedly private sources for the ransom ….. shows not only that it had a very definite responsibility in the matter but is trying to remove this very sensitive item from memory of the public.” In a sarcastic reference to his successor he adds: “The Frontiersmen not only operate roughly, they do so on the theory that the hand is quicker than the eye.”

This remarkable letter, rich in content, touches on several other topics including the future of atomic energy: “I have no doubt that some day the cost [of nuclear power] will be competitive with coal and water power”; the politically controversial Dixon-Yates contract for a power plant contract: “I think the Supreme Court blundered in reversing that decision on [a] technicality”; some of the contradictions in JFK’s speeches “from the late 1950’s to the very present that are contradictory one with the other”; an attack by JFK on Strauss -- “The statement he made ….is taken by you I am sure as a definite compliment.”; the difficulty of vacationing when people know he winters in Palm Desert “there are more excuses than you can imagine for me some place to ‘say a few words.’ The letter has some inconsequential staple holes but is in excellent condition. One of the finest political letters from Eisenhower to be found and rarely seen criticism of another president’s foreign policy. (Forbes collection)