The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 2, 1977 · Page 172
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 172

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 2, 1977
Page 172
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The great love ot Kay's life was Lt. Col. Richard Roberts Arnold, who was killed in Tunisia in 1943. Above, Arnold as a West Point graduate in 1932. married her. That's what I did. I was really in love with Mollie. Still am." Mollie Butcher accuses her husband of "always protecting Ike. He alwavs has and he always will." she contends. But Butcher insists that the Eisenhower-Summersby relationship was no "great love affair." "The guy she was truly in love with," he maintains, "was this colonel Arnold. Everybody including Ike knew it. Ike even gave them his villa outside of Algiers so they could be together and make wedding plans. "The colonel was a very handsome fellow, a West Pointer, and after spending time with Kay he joined his regiment. I think he'd been up at the front less than a week when he went inspecting in a marked mine area with a captain friend of his. The captain stumbled and set off a trip-wire. He was wounded and Kay's fiance killed. Ike breaks the news "I got the news a few days later, and I told Ike, but it was Ike who broke it with great tenderness to Kay. She took it hysterically. She threw an Irish tantrum. She had the feeling it was ail Ike's fault, that he had set the colonel up. But Ike had nothing to do with Dick Arnold's death. Dick had already been assigned to the regiment. And the regiment was up there and all. "But Kay had a terrible time. She had divorced her husband, this fellow named Summersby who was out in India somewhere. She had lost the man she wanted to have as a husband. She was really fit to be tied. Ike nursed her through a rough period. He sent her out to his villa, something we called 'Sailor's Delight.' He had her ride his General Marshall around. He had great respect for him. But I think he suggested that it might be better if General Eisenhower's letter about divorcing his wife be taken out of General Eisenhower's file I think that's true. I have always thought that was true." Thus, there is much credibility to the belief that Ike at one time planned to divorce his Mamie and marry Kay. Captain Butcher, who retired and lives the life of the landed gentry with his lovely wife Mollie in Santa Barbara, Cal., describes Ike's romance with Kay Summersby as "a diversion, a long diversion, which lasted three years." Butcher knew Kay Summersby well. Both were members of Eisenhower's wartime overseas family. "If Ike had really been in love with her," he says, "if Ike had really wanted to marry her, then he would've gotten a divorce and that the yen was not reciprocated. In short, his ardor and desire for her were far greater than hers for him. A Connecticut matron who served with Kay as an ambulance driver in London is currently the executrix of her estate. She does not wish to be identified. She was frank enough, however, to describe Past Forgetting as "nonsense" and to say, "I doubt if Kay was ever in love with Eisenhower. Admiration, respect, fondness. I'm sure she showed him all of those. But love. I doubt it. She was deeply and passionately in love with Dick Arnold. After he died, the passion went out of her." In World War II, the officer who was closest to Eisenhower was Capt. Harry C. Butcher, his Naval aide. Butcher, a vice president of the Columbia Broadcasting System in Washington, DC, was one of Ike's oldest and dearest friends. When Ike was assigned to London, he asked the then Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Ernest King, to let him have "Butch," a reserve officer in the Navy, as his aide. Butcher's book King agreed, and for the next three years Butcher served as Ike's shadow. His book. My Three Years With Eisenhower, based on his personal diary, is regarded as one of the most accurate and revealing accounts of General Eisenhower's life from the summer of 1942 until Germany's surrender in 1945. Toward the end of World War II, the rumor was widely circulated in Washington that Ike had fallen in love with his driver, Kay Summersby, and that Butcher had fallen in love with Mollie Ford, who ran the information desk at the Red Cross Club in Algiers. The rumor held that both men planned to divorce their wives and marry their newfound loves. Butcher did exactly that, but Ike, in the face of pressure, chickened out. He wrote a letter to Gen. George Marshall, according to what President Truman told writer Merle Miller, "saying that he wanted to come back to the United States and divorce Mrs. Eisenhower so that he could marry this Englishwoman. "Marshall wrote him back a letter," Truman recalled, "the like of which I never did see. He said that if he... if Eisenhower even came close to doing such a thing, he'd not only bust him out of the Army, he'd see to it that never for the rest of his life would he be able to draw a peaceful breath . . . and that if he ever again mentioned a thing like that, he'd see to it that the rest of his life was a living hell." Truman then told Miller: "One of the last things I did as President, I got those letters from his file in the Pentagon and I destroyed them." Several weeks ago I asked Margaret Truman Daniel, President Truman's daughter, if that story about her father and Ike and General Marshall was true. "I think it was," she said. "My father wasn't the kind of man who ordered stallions out there. He was thoughtful, gentle, kind. He told her she was very necessary, that he had a lot of work for her to do. He told her that King George VI was coming to North Africa, and he needed her to drive him and the King. Ike really restored her morale." 'A yearning' but Butcher concedes that Ike had "a yearning" for Kay Summersby, "but there were never any circumstances," he asserts, "in the ti me that I was with General Eisenhower and I was with him almost everywhere that he could have maintained a sexual relationship with her. He was alwavs working, always protected, alwavs being watched. He had no time for fooling around. And as I say, if he really loved her enough for marriage, then he would have done what I did." Mollie Butcher, who met Kay Summersby in Algiers in 1943, recalls clearly that Ike was deeply in love with Kay. "Ike had a tremendous crush on Kay," she asserts, "and Butch knows he did. too. But Butch always tries to cover up for him. Ike was very much in love with Kay, and Kay was really sort of indifferent to it. I never thought she loved him; certainly she didn't love him the way she loved Dick Arnold. But there's no denying Ike was infatuated with her. He was really crazy about her. "And jealous, too. I remember when we all went back to England to prepare for the invasion. Red Mueller, I believe he was a broadcaster for NBC, started giving the big rush to Kay. Not that he was really interested in her as a person. He wanted to get close to a news source. Ike was really burned up about that. He gave her such a bad time about Mueller that at one point Kay said to Ike. 'Why are you so jealous when you have nothing to be jealous about?' 'One-sided affair' "Kay was a decent, honest, forthright woman. She was not flirtatious. My own personal belief is that after her beau died, she became incapable of feeling too strongly about anyone else, and that included Ike. I always thought that was how she felt, that her relationship with Ike was pretty much a one-sided affair. "After all, he made her his driver, his secretary, his confidante. He arranged to have her commissioned a second lieutenant in the WAC's in the American Army while she remained a British subject. She was with him when he met most of the world leaders, Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt, King George, all the Allied generals. He sent her on trips to the States, to Russia, to Germany. No matter what Butch says, she was much more than a diversion." Kathleen McCarthy-Morrogh was born in 1908 on the island of Inish Beg, not far from County Cork, Ireland. Her father was a retired army officer. She had three sisters and one brother. In the early 1930's she moved to London, worked as a bit player in British films mmmx If Ah ' rf V -JON - - il 0 -jf- Eisenhower's closest male friend in the war was his aide, Capt. Harry Butcher, shown here in Santa Barbara, Cal., with his wife Mollie. Butcher did what Eisenhower feared to do. He got divorced from his wife and in 7946 married the girl he fell in love with overseas, Mollie Ford, a U.S. Red Cross worker.

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