Correspondence: The Duke vs. The Gipper

The Duke vs. The Gipper

Onscreen, John Wayne was a blunt talker and straight shooter. "Duke," who died in 1979, was also good at firing off angry letters to friends, including Ronald Reagan. In November 1977 Wayne blistered Reagan for a fund-raising letter that the Duke considered full of false statements about the Panama Canal treaties. "I'll show you point by God damn point where you are misinforming people," wrote Wayne, who supported the agreement to cede U.S. control of the canal to Panama. If Reagan persisted in making "erroneous remarks," Wayne continued, "someone will publicize your letter to prove that you are not as thorough...

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