The Evolution of CIA
A New President, a Better CIA, and an Old War: Eisenhower and Intelligence Reporting on Korea, 1953
Clayton D. Laurie
In both Eisenhower’s larger foreign policy focus and in the waning months of the Korean War, the Central Intelligence Agency played a larger role than it ever had before in its short life.
The ongoing war in Korea, stalemated since the summer of 1951, proved the most immediate and nettlesome problem for President Eisenhower when he took office in January 1953. As a soldier, candidate, and president, Eisenhower had supported the decision to intervene in Korea as both the necessary and right thing to do as part of the larger policy of opposing worldwide communist expansion. He sympathized with President Harry Truman’s difficult situation, especially at the time of the Chinese intervention in November 1950, and during the controversies associated with the firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the problems he faced in keeping the UN coalition together after the war bogged down. After observing events from afar, Eisenhower came to see Korea as a “sorry mess” with no obvious way out.
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