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Microform: The Diaries of Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953-1961

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA MF 293-320
Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London
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Full title: Microform: The Diaries of Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953-1961
Date(s): 1953-1961, 1986
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 28 reels
Name of creator(s): Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the USA, 1953-1961


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Diaries of Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953-1961, are microfilmed copies of US President Dwight David Eisenhower's diaries, 1953-1961. The original diaries were maintained by Ann C Whitman, Eisenhower's personal secretary and principal record keeper for the White House and were part of Eisenhower's personal papers, which were kept separately from the White House Official Files maintained by the permanent White House staff. The entire Ann Whitman file contains aproximately 250,000 pages of documents and records, of which the Eisenhower Diaries file accounts for about 11 percent of that total. The Eisenhower Diaries file is essentially a distillation of the Ann Whitman file and serves as a running account of Eisenhower's actions from 1953-1961. It was designed to serve as the basis for historical accounts both during and after the Eisenhower administration and provided the framework for Eisenhower's memoirs, The White House Years (Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1963-65).


Scope and content/abstract:

The Diaries of Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953-1961, consists of a varied body of microfilmed manuscripts that contain several categories of material, arranged chronologically by month and year. Diary entries and dictated correspondence are filed in folders entitled 'DDE Diary'; 'DDE Personal Diary'; or 'DDE Dictation'. The bulk of actual diary entries falls into the years 1953-1956. Another prominent category is memoranda of telephone conversations with the more detailed conversations dating prior to 1959. The largest body of material is the official White House staff memoranda, reports, correspondence, and summaries of congressional correspondence. These types of documents are found in folders labelled 'Miscellaneous', 'Goodpaster', 'Staff Memos', and after 1957, 'Staff Notes'. Herein are the memoranda of conversations, or 'memcons', prepared by Gen Andrew Jackson Goodpaster, Defense Liaison Officer and Staff Secretary to the President of the United States. From 1956 to the end of the administration, 'Toner Notes' were produced, so named for White House staff member Albert Toner, who with fellow White House Research Group member Christopher Russell, prepared daily intelligence briefings for the President. Material in the collection includes entries relating to Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy and the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg; correspondence with Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon; Prisoners of War exchanges in Korea; rapprochement between Argentina and the US; military aid to Yugoslavia; Eisenhower's 'Atoms for Peace' speech 1953; the situation in Indochina, 1954; the use of psychological warfare in the Third World; relations between the US and the People's Republic of China; France and the European Defence Community; waning British and French colonial ties; the Baghdad Pact, 1955; the Suez Crisis, 1956; US Joint Chiefs of Staff strategic planning in Europe; the Soviet invasion of Hungary, 1956; plans for mutual security arrangements with favoured nations; the Military Assistance Program; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; the African- American civil rights movement; military officer exchanges between Israel and the US; the American, British and Canadian Army Standardization Program; US Department of Defense budgetary matters; the 'Vanguard' satellite program, 1957; nuclear weapons, nuclear strategy and the US-Soviet 'missile gap'. Correspondents include HM King George V; Gen Juan Domingo Peron, president of Argentina; Senator Joseph Raymond McCarthy; Rt Hon Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill; Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India; Dr Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; Gen Douglas MacArthur; Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr; Special Assistant to the President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller; Gen Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, President of France; Rt Hon (Maurice) Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of Great Britain; Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers; (David) Dean Rusk, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, 1953-1959; Herbert Hoover, Jr, Under Secretary of State, 1954-1957; Christian Archibald Herter, Under Secretary of State, 1957-1959.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The series contains a number of different records arranged chronologically by month and year. The nature of the records kept changing over the course of the Eisenhower administration, and the titles of the file folders for each month varied considerably over the eight-year span. There is only one folder, however, that is arranged by subject: the Bricker Amendment folder, which is filed with material from Mar-Apr 1954, contains memoranda and communications dating from Apr 1953-Feb 1957. Within the Eisenhower Diaries file is a sub-section containing documents with which Eisenhower was personally involved as drafter or dictator. These folders were given the various titles 'DDE Diary'; 'DDE Personal Diary'; or 'DDE Dictation'. The 'Diary' and 'Dictation' folders contain letters as well as journal entries. These letters, Eisenhower personally dictated, are to friends, family members, public figures, and members of his administration. Another sub-series in the Eisenhower Diaries file contains records of telephone calls, monitored by his personal secretary, Ann Whitman. Memcons, or memoranda of conversations, are located in files with titles of 'Goodpaster'; 'Staff Notes'; 'Memo on Appointments'; 'Diary Staff Memos'; and 'Miscellaneous'. These files also contain staff memoranda and reports, including minutes of cabinet meetings and conferences; State Department memoranda; appointment schedules; and other incoming correspondence. For the period 1953- 1955 many of these records may be found in the 'DDE Diary' folders. Three other sets of files exists: 'Goodpaster Briefings' or simply 'Briefings'; 'Signatures'; and 'Schedules'. These categories of material are divided into folders that are arranged chronologically. The contents of each folder are arranged in reverse chronological order.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be printed off the microfilm for research purposes and are charged at the cost to the Centre. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America, Inc., 4520 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3389, USA

Finding aids:

Summary guide entry on-line at, and published detailed catalogue available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room, Robert Lester and Douglas D Newman (ed.), The Diaries of Dwight D Eisenhower, 1953-1961 (University Publications of America, Inc, Bethesda, MD, 1986)

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guide co-ordinated by Robert Lester and compiled by Douglas D Newman.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
Date of compilation: Jun 1999

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