THE MICMGAP'11' DAILY
TUESDAY, Nvvr MBER 8, 1956
PAGE TEN THE I~ilCHIGAN DAILY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6,1956
Sponsored by the Young Democrats and Students for Stevenson
AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR STEVENSON ON
"I am Jetermine) that
American shall have all available facts
concerning my personal condition . . .
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER, FEBRUARY 29, 1956
WE FULLY ENDORSE President Eisenhower's candid statement.
We agree that all available facts must be considered before any of
us can vote with intelligence and confidence.
That is why we' urge you, Governor Stevenson, to reconsider your
decision that you "will not make an issue of the President's health."
We respect the considerations that prompted your decision. We ad-
mire you for not discussing this issue, even though it might have been
to your political advantage to do so.
But we feel that the Presidency is of such vital importance to the
nation and to the world that there are certain facts the public must
consider, before choosing its President for the next four years.
The silent debate continues
This week, President Eisenhower's doctors made their final examination.
They agreed that he gave "every appearance of being in excellent
Nevertheless, the question of the President's health remains a para-
mount, if an unpublicized issue.
It is a silent debate . . . because neither you, Governor Stevenson,
nor the President's party have wished to discuss the subject.
But for the independent voter, the question is far from settled.
There is deep doubt that the President's doctors can predict four
years ahead. There is profound uncertainty that an examination of his
present condition can in any way certify his future health.
Consider the experience of the past
Our best guide to the future is the experience of the past.
That is the principle followed by insurance companies, who draw
on information from the past to compute the life expectancies of all
men. It is the principle used by great corporations to determine retire-
ment policies. It is a major principle of the United States Army as well.
That is the principle the public must consider. The evidence of the
past must be weighed against the opinion of the President's physicians
. . . and here is what the evidence of the past tells us.
Most men with heart trouble are not insurable
The "Medical Underwriting Manual" of one of our largest insurance
companies states: . . . most individuals with proven coronary artery
disease are uninsurable."
Moreover, as reported in the Washington Daily News,, Oct. 10,
1956, fifty insurance companies were asked if they would insure a man
of 66 who had suffered a coronary thrombosis.
Of 28 who gave an opinion, 23 companies said they would not. The
remaining five companies said they might, but only on a "substandard
basis" . . . "at an extremely high extra rate."
Most healthy men over 65 retire from full-time work
Life Insurance tables set the average male life expectancy at 67.4 years.
Our Social Security and Business systems show that 65 is the normal
retirement age-even for men in good health.
President Eisenhower is now 66. In addition, he has suffered two
severe attacks of recurrent illnesses in nine months.
Where most average men can lead a normal and active life even in
full or partial retirement, President Eisenhower's case is different.
He is not an average man of 66. His strength and stamina have
been seriously impaired.
He does not hold an average job. His Chief Executive position is
the most demanding in the world.
Most major corporations retire executives at age 65
Here are the retirement policies of some of our large companies. On his
age alone, President Eisenhower would not qualify for an executive
position with any of them.
The mortality rate on Ileitis victims is three times
The standard insurance manual, "Risk Appraisal," terms Ileitis "Serious.
According to this manual, insurance charges for Ileitis victims are
based on a mortality rate three times above the normal rate.
As to disability insurance for Ileitis victims, the manual flatly
states, "No. Positively no."
The evidence of the past is conclusive
In summary, the evidence of the past shows conclusively that a man of
66 who has been stricken with heart trouble and Ileitis;
* . . would not be eligible for a full-time corporate position.
.. . would not be considered insurable by most insurance companies.
. . .would not be physically qualified for a commission in the U.S.
Shall Vice-President Nixon assume Presidential powers?
For all these reasons we are concerned about the President's health. We
are concerned for fear he may be stricken again and thus be unable to
fulfill the duties of his office.
We are concerned about the Constitutional crisis that would arise
in such an emergency. For there is no provision or precedent for the
delegation of Presidential powers during a President's disablement.
Finally, we are deeply concerned for fear the powers of the Presi-
dent may pass to Vice-President Nixon.
For these reasons, Governor Stevenson-and for the reasons ex-
pressed by Walter Lippmann below-we urge you to reconsider your
decision not to "make an issue of the President's health."
Walter Lippmann, distinguished political authority, says:
"The discussion of these things is a horrid duty"
"The discussion of these things is a horrid duty. But it is a
duty imposed upon public men and upon the press by the
President's decision to seek another term, despite his age and
his serious illnesses.
"To.refrain from the discussion, not to try to inform the dis-
cussion, not to lead it and to enlighten it, would be to engage
in a sentimental conspiracy of silence."
From an article in the
Washington, D.C., Post and Times Herald, July 12, 1956
General Electric Co.-65
Cities Service Oil Co.-65
E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.-65 Standard Oil of Indiana-65
Johnson & Johnson-65
American Telephone &
There are exceptions, of course. And there are many who feel that
these retirement policies are unwise.
Yet such policies are common ones. And while they do penalize
some, they also protect others by freeing them from business pressure
which might shorten their lives.
Under the circumstances, is it wise to install in the most taxing
job on earth-for four more years-a man already beyond the age
when most men retire from full-time work . .. a man who has already
suffered two major illnesses?
The Army will not commission men with heart trouble or ileitis
Army Regulation 40-105, which prescribes "Standard of Physical
Examinations. for Commission" in the U.S. Army, specifically lists as
"non-acceptable . . . defects such as . . . electrocardiographic evidence
of myocardial infarction." It also lists Ileitis as "non-acceptable."
Committee for the
* A representative committee of distinguished political scientists, historians, and authors-each prominent in public and political affairs *