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Truman's Proposed Messages Regarding the Relief of MacArthur

Editor's Note: The following content is a transcription of a period document or a collection of period statistics. It may be incomplete, inaccurate, or biased. The reader may not wish to take the content as factual.

10 Apr 1951

ww2dbasePROPOSED MESSAGE FROM GENERAL MARSHALL TO SECRETARY PACE

This message is in three parts.

Part I. It is desired that you deliver in person, preferably at the Embassy, the following message to General MacArthur at 1000 hours, Thursday, Tokyo time. If on Thursday morning it appears that President's message cannot be delivered at that hour, you should send a flash message to the Secretary of Defense in order to control the release in Washington of the President's directive and statement:

Order to General MacArthur


"I deeply regret that it becomes my duty as President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States military forces to replace you as Supreme Commander Allied Powers; Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command; Commander-in-Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U. S. Army, Far East.

"You will turn over your commands, effective at once, to Lt. General Matthew B. Ridgway. You are authorized to have issued such orders as necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you select.

"My reasons for your replacement, which will be made public concurrently with the delivery to you of the foregoing order, will be communicated to you by Secretary Pace.

Statement by the President


"With deep regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States Government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties. In view of the specific responsibilities imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States and the added responsibility which has been entrusted to me by the United Nations, I have concluded decided that I must make a change of command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of his command and have designated Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as his successor.

"Full and vigorous debate on matters of national policy is a vital element in the constitutional system of our free democracy. It is fundamental, however, that military commanders on active duty must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and Constitution. In time of crisis, this consideration is particularly compelling.

"General MacArthur's place in history as one of our greatest commanders is fully established. The nation owes him a debt of gratitude for the distinguished and exceptional service which he has rendered his country in posts of great responsibility. For that reason I repeat my regret at the necessity for the action I feel compelled to take in his case."

Part II. Here delivered in person and confidentially the following message order to General Ridgway prior to your leaving Korea as indicated in Part III following.

"The President has decided to relieve General MacArthur and appoint you as his successor as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers; Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command; Commander-in-Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U.S.Army, Far East.

"It is realized that your presence in Korea in the immediate future is highly important, but we are sure you can make the proper distribution of your time until you can turn over active command of the Eighth Army to its new commander. For this purpose, Lt. General James A. Van Fleet is enroute to report to you for such duties as you may direct."

Signed Marshall


Part III: Leave Hull in Korea with arrangements for him to deliver orders to Ridgway immediately following your delivery of orders to General MacArthur. Department of State desires that you deliver to General Ridgway, at time his orders are delivered to him, the copies of Mr. Foster Dulles' speeches which were furnished to you prior to leaving Washington.




PROPOSED ORDER TO GENERAL MacARTHUR TO BE SIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT

I deeply regret that it becomes my duty as President and Commander in Chief of the United States military forces to replace you as Supreme Cmomander, Allied Powers; Commander in Chief, United Nations Command; Commander in Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U. S. Army, Far East.

You will turn over your commands, effective at once, to Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway. You are authorized to have issued such orders as are necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you select.

My reasons for your replacement, which will be made public concurrently with the delivery to you of the foregoing order, will be communicated to you by Secretary Pace and are contained in the next following message,

[Signed] Harry Truman






PROPOSED STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

With deep regret I have concluded that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is unable to give his wholehearted support to the policies of the United States Government and of the United Nations in matters pertaining to his official duties. In view of the specific responsibilities imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States and the added responsibility which has been entrusted to me by the United Nations, I have decided that I must make a change of command in the Far East. I have, therefore, relieved General MacArthur of his commands and have designated Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway as his successor.

Full and vigorous debate on matters of national poilcy is a vital element in the constitutional system of our free democracy. It is fundamental, however, that military commanders must be governed by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our laws and Constitution. In time of crisis, this consideration is particularly compelling.

General MacArthur's place in history as one of our greatest commanders is fully established. The nation owes him a debt of gratitude for the distinguished and exceptional service which he has rendered his country in posts of great responsibility. For that reason I repeat my regret at the necessity for the action I feel compelled to take in his case.

[Signed] HST





PROPOSED ORDER TO LT. GEN. MATTHEW B. RIDGWAY

The President has decided to relieve General MacArthur and appoint you as his successor as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers; Commander in Chief, United Nations Command; Commander in Chief, Far East; and Commanding General, U. S. Army, Far East.

It is realized that your presence in Korea in the immediate future is highly important, but we are sure you can make the proper distribution to your time until you can turn over active command of the Eighth Army to its new commander. For this purpose, Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet is enroute to report to you for such duties as you may direct.

[Signed] HST

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Source(s):
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Added By:
C. Peter Chen

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