November 30, 1959

NEIL HOSLER McELROY: Washington, 1 – US President Dwight D. Eisenhower has accepted the resignation of Secretary of Defense Neil Hosler McElroy and replaced him with his deputy secretary, Thomas Gates. In his letter of resignation, McElroy cited «personal reasons,» though he did not elaborate on the details. Gates has lengthy experience in the department, where he has served since last June. From 1953 to 1957 he served as undersecretary of the navy and later as secretary, before moving to the post of head the defense department. McElroy is expected to reassume his post as head of a major soap manufacturing industry, which he held before joining the Department of Defense. He had previously told Congress he would ask for funds to keep bomber aircraft on continual alert, letting it be understood that this was necessary to close the «missile gap» between the United States and the Soviet Union within the next three years. He had not specified the amount of funding that would be required. He said the Soviets were ahead of the US in terms of its arsenal of intercontinental missiles but the two countries were equal in long-range missiles.

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