President Eisenhower's last White House press conference Jan 18 was a cheerful affair, with the President in a relaxed and smiling mood.
A newsman asked him: "How much of a role do you plan to play in the effort to strengthen the Republican Party, and can you tell us whether this role will be nearly as active for example as Mr. Truman's in his own Party? You mentioned making a lot of speeches."
Eisenhower: "I won't make any comparisons, I'll just say this. I'm now, I think for the fourth time, supposedly going to retire, and I feel that the Republican Party is necessary to the country. I believe in its general policies, and if the leaders of that policy, of that Party, want me for any service in which I can be helpful, and by that I would assume that you are talking about consultation from time to time and not any truly active thing, I will be available. I wouldn't be around trying to lecture them, but I should like to converse with them if they want me to."
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Background: President Eisenhower's last White House press conference Jan 18 was a cheerful affair, with the President in a relaxed and smiling mood. Speaking to the scores of assembled newsman - many of whom have reported his words to the world for the past eight years - he repeated his disappointment at having failed to give the world a solid assurance of peace. Now, he said, it was up to Mr. Kennedy to stand firm against the Communists and yet keep alive the chances for peace.
After accusing Soviet Premier of continuing to be intransigent and unreasonable, he raised his arms in that famous Ike salute and was gone.