The Decision to Return
G ENERAL EISENHOWER HAD every reason to believe that his NATO job would be very temporary. His Pentagon meeting with Senator Taft and the visit to France of Henry Cabot Lodge in September had left little doubt in the General's mind that, under the proper conditions and with appropriate assurances, he would enter the contest for the Republican party's Presidential nomination. From late 1951 until the following spring, the SHAPE commander was a cautious non-politician in full command of his strategy.
There were, of course, the usual visits to his headquarters from politicians looking for personal gain from an Eisenhower campaign and possible Presidency. Such solicitations could be warded off by pleading that he was too preoccupied with his important duties even to consider any other responsibility, or by conveniently citing from paragraph 18 of Army Regulations No. 600-10, which forbade active solicitation for elective office by members of the Regular Army. Then, too, there was a steady flow of mail either asking for him to run or even congratulating him for allegedly having agreed to become a candidate. One American magazine even offered him $40,000 simply to reveal whether he was a Republican.1
If Eisenhower's ambivalence seemed to reflect the disposition of a highly cautious and troubled man who had difficulty making a decision, those closest to the General were at least aware of the considerations being weighed in his mind. Together they portray a man whose concept of duty and patriotism were inseparable from the best interests of his own career. His caution, he never doubted, was for the protection of the