THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Eisenhower assured of Republican nomination for US presidency

From the News Letter, August 20, 1956

Friday, 20th August 2021, 11:27 am
Thousands of delegates and professional politicians had arrived in San Francisco for the Republican Party’s National Convention, which was to meet to nominate President Dwight Eisenhower for another four-year term of office, reported the News Letter on this day in 1956. Picture:  PA Wire
Thousands of delegates and professional politicians had arrived in San Francisco for the Republican Party’s National Convention, which was to meet to nominate President Dwight Eisenhower for another four-year term of office, reported the News Letter on this day in 1956. Picture: PA Wire

Thousands of delegates and professional politicians had arrived in San Francisco for the Republican Party’s National Convention, which was to meet to nominate President Eisenhower for another four- year term of office, reported the News Letter on this day in 1956.

They expected a comparatively quiet assembly after the hectic five-day Democratic convention in Chicago which elected Adlai Stevenson and Senator Kefauver as the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates at the November elections.

President Eisenhower’s name was the only one expected to be put forward as the Republican candidate against Mr Stevenson, and was likely to be nominated “by simple acclamation” in a formal vote on Wednesday.

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It was anticipated that the choice of President Elsenhower’s running mate “may produce fireworks”, but most observers were confident that Mr Richard Nixon would be nominated again.

Even the Republican Party programme to be presented on Wednesday was unlikely to provoke any of the internal struggles which tore the Democratic convention over issues such as civil rights, noted the News Letter’s report.

It added: “Those who believe In Mr Nixon’s nomination after all the controversy that has raged over his heart in recent months, found support for their views when Californian Republicans last night settled their dispute over his renomination.

“They reached a compromise on voting procedure which seemed to assure Mr Nixon, himself a Californian, of the votes the state’s 70 delegates.

“The only open opposition to Mr Nixon within the party has come from Mr Stassen, who said last night that President Eisenhower would lose 4,620,000 votes having Mr Nixon as his running mate.”

REPUBLICANS’ PROGRAMME

The Republicans’ programme was to include the specific endorsement of the Supreme Court’s prohibition of racial segregation in schools which liberal Democrats had tried unsuccessfully to inject into their own programme the previous week.

The News Letter’s report from San Francisco added: “The remainder is expected to be made up largely of pledges to continue the present administration’s policies with increased vigour. Party spokesmen said these had brought peace, security, progress and prosperity to the United States.”

The White House Press secretary, Mr Hagerty, said in Washington that President Elsenhower would arrive at the convention on Tuesday - a day earlier than he had originally planned - to visit many of his friends who were delegates.

ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL OPERATION

Mr Martin, chairman of the Republican National Convention, discussed at a Press conference what would happen If President Eisenhower should become incapacitated after his nomination as presidential candidate but before his election.

The US president had undergone surgery on June 9, 1956, to treat a small bowel obstruction. He had suffered bouts of intestinal discomfort throughout his life, with severe symptoms in 1923 resulting in an uncomplicated appendectomy. After another episode in May 1956, his physicians diagnosed him with Crohn’s Disease.

Questions on this were spurred by press report, now denied by the White House, that the president was about to undergo another operation.

Mr Martin’s reply was that the Republican National Committee, the executive committee of the party, would in that event choose the candidate to fill Mr Eisenhower’s place, without it being necessary to have another convention.

The News Letter reported: “If a President-elect were to die after his election in November, but before his inauguration January 20, Mr Martin said, the post of President would then be filled by the electors the Electoral College.”