posted on Mar, 21 2004 @ 03:41 PM
By Hope Yen
posted: 02:50 pm ET
21 March 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) _ CBS President Frank Stanton was one of six private citizens secretly recruited and granted authority by President Eisenhower to run
major components of the government if a Soviet attack wiped out many American leaders.
No public announcement of the appointments was made. Their existence was confirmed by recently publicized Eisenhower administration letters.
A few weeks after the Soviets launched the first manmade satellite in 1957, shattering America's sense of security, Stanton was summoned to the White
House to see Eisenhower.
Stanton knew his friend was agonizing over how to respond to Sputnik and the terrorizing thought that permeated America: Had the Soviets gained a huge
first-strike advantage in the nuclear arms race?
But Stanton learned Eisenhower also was wrestling with how best to ensure the U.S. government could function in an emergency.
Stanton, who had no experience or ambitions in government, was taken aback when the president asked if he would be willing to oversee a federal
communications agency after such an attack.
"I was surprised and startled by the breadth of the assignment," said the 96-year-old Stanton, who lives in Boston.