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Overview

While President, Dwight D. Eisenhower used his cabinet fully. On January 12, 1953, at a rare preinauguration cabinet meeting, Eisenhower pledged to make the cabinet "a policy body," and throughout his presidency Eisenhower relied on his cabinet as a vital component of his policy-making machinery. To ensure the smooth operation of this policy council, Eisenhower instituted a cabinet secretariat with a wide range of responsibilities: arranging agenda items, working with the executive departments to prepare background papers, and keeping the record of cabinet business. This collection includes minutes of cabinet meetings, official correspondence and memoranda, copies of discussion papers, department reports, the "Record of Actions" (a summary of the decisions Eisenhower approved at each meeting), the "Action Status Reports" (analyses of the implementation of cabinet decisions), and related papers of the President_s staff. But these papers are far more than a mere record of cabinet business. They offer a documentary basis for understanding and evaluating Eisenhower_s political leadership: his organizational strategies, his methods of reaching important policy decisions, his efforts to reconcile the conservative and moderate wings within the Republican party, his daily working procedures, his delegation of authority and reliance on "government by committee"_in short, Eisenhower_s leadership style.

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