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1419Papers May Clarify Eisenhower Viewpoints

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  • Greg Cannon
    Feb 2, 2006

      Papers May Clarify Eisenhower Viewpoints

      Friday February 3, 2006 3:01 AM


      Associated Press Writer

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Archivists released documents
      from Dwight Eisenhower's administration that
      historians say could help refine their understanding
      of the president's positions on national security and
      civil rights.

      The Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan.,
      announced Thursday the release of 40,000 pages of
      previously classified documents on subjects including
      J. Edgar Hoover's domestic intelligence operation,
      construction of the Berlin Wall and Middle East

      Chester Pach, an Ohio University professor who
      authored ``Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower,'' said
      historians have many unanswered questions about the
      president, including his role in planning the failed
      1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

      ``There are always gaps, I think, in our knowledge of
      a presidency,'' Pach said.

      The library also recently released 7,000 pages
      specifically related to the Eisenhower
      administration's civil rights policy.

      The two-term Republican led the country from 1953 to
      1961, during which the first two civil rights acts
      since Reconstruction were passed and the president
      used National Guard troops to uphold the Supreme
      Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling in Little
      Rock, Ark.

      Despite that, Eisenhower has not been widely viewed as
      a strong civil rights advocate.

      ``Eisenhower's often criticized for not being more
      forthcoming on civil rights,'' said Fred Greenstein, a
      professor emeritus at Princeton University whose book
      ``The Hidden Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader''
      helped change perceptions of the politician. ``We may
      learn that there are quite different stories.''

      The civil rights papers acquired by the library were
      among the collection of Maxwell Rabb, associate
      counsel and secretary to the cabinet in the Eisenhower

      Karl Weissenbach, the library's assistant director and
      supervisory archivist, said they largely pertain to
      black and Jewish issues, with a small number of
      documents related to Native American relations.


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