TRUMAN FIRES INSUBORDINATE MacARTHUR
With all American forces in full retreat , some of the military decisions made by MacArthur
were accused of accelerating the crisis. American losses, particularly marines, reached the unacceptable
range. The U.S. retreat was humiliating. The conversation now turned to total evacuation of our forces.
General Ridgway assumed more and more responsibility in decision making. The U.S., during a lull in
the fighting, announced that negotiations might be possible with both sides separated by the 38th parallel.
As usual MacArthur rejected the idea of a negotiated settlement. He continued to irritate Ridgway, however
so far Ridgway had kept it to himself. MacArthur continued to make statements that were contrary to
not only Ridgway but to the official position of Washington, and specifically Truman. The arrogant MacArthur
had derailed the U.S. initiative with his "routine communiqué", which was actually
a dare for China to continue the war. The Pentagon received his message, which infuriated many high
ranking officials. Acheson said that MacArthur had "shot his mouth off" for the last time.
The next morning Truman awakened to the news of MacArthur's "sabotage". At that moment he
could no longer tolerate his insubordination. Truman had considered firing MacArthur many times previous
to this, but this was the last straw. Actually the order of Dec. 6 which MacArthur had disobeyed was
explicit enough to warrant court-martial proceedings. MacArthur's statements were causing consternation
in Washington as was his insulting personal letter to Ridgway. His advice letter to the House of Representatives
again infuriated everyone. The British Government called the letter the "most dangerous" of
an "apparently unending series of indiscretions". They claimed it was another irresponsible
statement without the authorization of the U.S. or any U.N. member government. The Foreign Secretary
complained that MacArthur wanted a war with China, and his leadership could no longer be tolerated.
On Apr. 6 a meeting was held with Truman to determine how to get rid of MacArthur. Truman insisted "I'm
going to fire the son of a bitch right now". MacArthur was ordered to turnover his command at once
to Lt. General Ridgway. General Bradley warned Truman that if MacArthur heard about the orders before
they reached him officially he might resign with an arrogant flair. Truman exclaimed "The son of
a bitch isn't going to resign on me, I want him fired". MacArthur's dismissal was announced on
late night radio: