Preserving "A Fair Chance For a Free People" - Karl E. Mundt

Behind the Slat Door

The story of the stenographer, who eavesdropped behind a slat door at the Wake Island conference of President Truman and General MacAuthur and, unknown to MacArthur, took notes on the parley came as a shock to most Americans.1

The fact that the stenographer was the private secretary of roving Ambassador Philip C. Jessup, friend of Owen Lattimore, and co-architect of our disastrous Far-Eastern policy doesn"t make the story any more palatable. The whole affair smacks too much of the totalitarian technique of intrigue. 1

Over a period of years the New Deal-Fair Deal regime has foisted a number of foreign techniques on the American people. Take the matter of secrecy. Our government was built on the theory of "no secret agreement". The Yalta treaty is a classic example of how the will of the Republic was thwarted until it was too late to repair the disastrous effects of the commitments. 1

Slat Door

Little publicity has been given to the fact that it was the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the Republican 80th Congress that finally smoked the details of the Yalta treaty out of the State Department. 1

In the spring of 1945 President Roosevelt signed the Yalta agreement, but never revealed the details. President Truman, likewise, put the terms of the treaty under lock and key. 1

Two years later, in the spring of 1947, Dean Acheson, then Under-Secretary of State, came up to Capitol Hill to request more money for foreign aid. At once the Republican members of the Foreign Affairs Committee asked the Under-Secretary to release the terms of Yalta . He coldly refused, turning on the lowly legislators a look that was typically Achesonian. To quote Gratiano in "the Merchant of Venice" he was:

"'Dress'd in an opinion of wisdom, gravity, and profound conceit, As who should say, 'I am Sir Oracle,

And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark,'" 1

But the Congressmen were obdurate. "No terms " No money." After two weeks of deadlock Mr. Acheson capitulated and the terms of Yalta were released. 1

Likewise the Wedemeyer report on conditions in the Far East was suppressed for several years. At a recent Senate investigation General Wedemeyer declared that if his 1947 recommendation " that a guardianship be established over Manchuria " had been followed "we would have precluded the disaster that we are now experiencing in that part of the world, and Manchuria would not now be a satellite of the Soviet." 1

"I was told to keep quiet and I did, "said General Wedemeyer, "but I just couldn't understand why the entire thing wasn't made available to the American people and if not to them to their representatives in Congress." 1

One stern fact stands out " had the Yalta treaty and the Wedemeyer report not been kept secret, we might have avoided the conflict in Korea . 1

President Truman, by his indiscriminate "firings", has followed a pattern set by world dictators such as Stalin and Hitler who used the "purge" technique to eliminate ranking military officers who dared to criticize. General MacArthur is the most outstanding example of the Truman "purge" technique, but he was not the only one. 1

Outspoken criticism of Truman policy (which has not been proven infallible) appears to be the sure way for sudden dismissal or near compulsory retirement for ranking U.S. military officers the record shows. Among them are: Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Lt. Gen. Earle Partridge, Admiral Louis Denfeld, Captain John G. Crommelin, Lt. Gen. Walter Hanna, Brig. Gen. Luther Sweester and Lt. William H. Evans. 1

Behind the slat door of Wake Island or behind the panel doors of the State Department " what does it matter? Intrigue, secrecy and the "purge" have no part in the American pattern. 1

  1. Mundt, Mary. "Behind the Slat Door." Essay. Karl E. Mundt Archives.
  2. Mary Mundt With Two Ladies. Mundt Archives, Madison, SD Card #69-55F
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