|Gen Douglas MacArthur in 1930|
“He had been carefully feeding the hungry ego of the new president’s secretary of war, Patrick J. Hurley,” noted biographer William Manchester. “Seeing his chance when Hurley sent the Senate a routine communication on the Philippines, the General sent him an oleaginous missive:
‘I have just read in the local papers your letter … and I cannot refrain from expressing to you the unbounded admiration it has caused me. It is the most comprehensive and statesmanlike paper that has ever been presented with reference to this complex and perplexing problem. At one stroke, it has clarified issues which have perplexed and embarrassed statesmen for the past 30 years. If nothing else had ever been written on the subject, your treatise would be complete and absolute. It leaves nothing to be said and has brought confidence and hope out of the morass of chaos and confusion which has existed in the minds of millions of people. It is the most statesmanlike utterance that has emanated from the American Government in many decades and renews in the hearts of many of us our confirmed faith in American principles and ideals. You have done a great and courageous piece of work and I am sure that the United States intends even greater things for you in the future. Please accept my heartiest congratulations not only for yourself personally but the great nation to which we both belong.’
“For a while he heard nothing. … But the administration was giving serious thought to a successor for (Army Chief of Staff Charles P.) Summerall, who would retire in the fall of 1930, and MacArthur’s name was being discussed seriously. Hurley had at first balked, arguing that a man who ‘couldn’t hold his woman’ shouldn’t be Chief of Staff. Since then, however, MacArthur’s remarkable letter had impressed the secretary of war with its wisdom and insight.”
MacArthur got the appointment he so keenly wanted — but not, of course, without pretending that he hesitated to take the job. He only finally and reluctantly accepted the post at the urging of his dear mother, or so he said.
Source: William Manchester, “American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964”