Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sordid Telepathy of Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur with Sutherland in Brisbane during World War II

During the Pacific war, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s chief of staff, Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, had a married mistress. MacArthur, concerned about a scandal in the press, ordered Sutherland to get rid of her.
“MacArthur had told his chief of staff that after Hollandia, the round-heeled Australian captain must return to Brisbane, that under no circumstances could should cross the equator,” wrote biographer William Manchester. Sutherland secretly defied him, building a cottage for the woman on Leyte during MacArthur’s invasion of the Philippines.
MacArthur’s other subordinate officers were nervous about breaking the news to him. Telepathy, or perhaps synchronicity, solved their problem. As the woman became increasingly demanding, Dr. Roger Egeberg decided something should be done.
“The doctor crossed Santo Nino Street from the staff headquarters to the Price house and found MacArthur in a rocking chair on the veranda,” Manchester wrote. “Sitting on another chair, Egeberg tried to think how best to broach the subject. He asked perfunctorily about (MacArthur’s wife) Jean and then sat in silence, trying mental telepathy, concentrating on the cottage dweller’s name. Presently the General turned t him and asked, ‘Doc, whatever happened to that woman?’ The doctor spoke her name aloud. ‘That’s the one.’ Egeberg said, ‘She’s 10 mile down the coast. Larry just talked to her.’ The General’s jaw sagged and then set in a grim line. He said: ‘Get Sutherland!’”
The doctor did as he was told, leaving Sutherland in MacArthur’s company. On the way out, he heard MacArthur shout “You goddamned son of a bitch!” and various other choice phrases.
The woman was packed off to Brisbane, but Sutherland apparently couldn’t resist her charms. He pleased toothache as an excuse for joining her there.
“When he returned, the General’s attitude was frigid,” Manchester wrote. “Never again were they on intimate terms.”

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