Throughout my career, whenever I faced a difficult decision, I relied on two sources of strength. One was the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country” and the other was the wisdom and example of Paderewski. I relied on these two resources to see me through a half dozen crises during my career. I will cite only three.
IJP Guides ELR #1: Pentagon
The first was in 1952 when I was reprimanded by the Secretary of the Army. He admonished me for teaching unapproved doctrine at the infantry school. While his allegation was true, I made it clear that my after-hours unofficial voluntary PROFIT-Times sessions were mind-stretching exercises. These were intended to get students to think ahead on how we might use ground-launched atomic weapons and armed helicopters in future battles.
Nevertheless, the Secretary felt that I was violating instructions. I was crushed at having been reprimanded and thought my career was finished. However, relying upon the West Point motto and Kosciuszko’s example which merged perfectly, I decided to lick my wounds and carry on. My grandmother, although aging but mentally sharp, agreed. Within 3 years the incident blew over and the reprimand, which was oral and not a matter of record, was forgotten. I was glad I did not resign.
IJP Guides ELR #2: SALT
A second serious crisis occurred in 1978-1979. As Chief Strategic Arms Negotiator, I became convinced that the SALT II Treaty we were about to sign with the Soviets was unequal and unverifiable. Although the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the treaty would be a “modest but useful step,” I felt that we could not take two successive steps across a chasm. Instead, we would fall to the bottom of the chasm, endangering U.S. national security.
As I agonized over what to do, I once again fell back on my twin resources, the West Point motto and Paderewski’s example. The answer which emerged was that I should go with my dilemma to Secretary of State Vance. In December 1978, he asked me not to criticize President Carter publicly so long as the treaty was being negotiated. He asked me to continue negotiations to see if we could arrive at an equitable treaty by the projected signing date, June 15, 1979. He added that if, when President Carter signed the treaty, I was still unhappy with it, I should then resign from the U.S. Army.
Following the West Point motto, I was convinced that the honorable course of action was to be loyal to the president and not leak my feelings to the press. I believe that Paderewski would have adopted the same course of action. After I resigned I felt free to criticize the treaty and lead a group which convinced the Senate not to ratify it. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, President Carter withdrew the SALT II Treaty from consideration by the Senate.