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Lunching with MacArthur


William Stern of Fargo and Warren Magnuson of Moorhead were good friends and were together in Asia when the supreme commander of the allied forces was relieved of his post during the Korean War. The official story says Gen. Douglas MacArthur learned of his dismissal while having lunch with visitors on April 11, 1951.

Stern and Magnuson were the two guests at that lunch; as Magnuson remembered it, the general learned President Truman was giving him the boot while they were still in the room, but Stern said they’d already left when the bad news came. Either way, a mass of reporters pressured the two men for MacArthur’s reaction.

“That afternoon was like a nightmare,” Stern later said. “Wire service reporters hounded Magnuson and me wherever we went.”

Source: Jonathan Knutson, The Forum, 09/18/1999

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm