National Affairs: Westward Bound

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Dwight Eisenhower's most poignantly sad moment of the week came not as he listened to the returns on election night, but as he stood bareheaded on a hill in Arlington National Cemetery and heard the melancholy strains of taps pierce the soft autumn air.

The last salute was sounding for an old and good friend, Captain Everett ("Swede") Hazlett, U.S.N. (ret.), who died last week of cancer. A high school chum of Ike's back in Abilene, Swede spent many an hour at the Belle Springs Creamery playing penny-ante poker with Night Foreman Eisenhower during the long, lonely night shift. It was Hazlett who persuaded Ike to try for a military career, helped him cram for his Annapolis-West Point competitive exam. (Ike went to West Point because he was too old for Annapolis.) At his old friend's funeral, the President clenched his face in an immobile mask to hold back tears. When taps died away, he stepped forward and gently kissed Hazlett's widow. Then, with downcast eyes, he marched silently back to his waiting limousine.

Toward week's end Ike boarded Columbine III for a trip to Seattle for an address this week to a meeting of the 18-nation Colombo Plan organization, set up by the British Commonwealth in 1950 to foster economic development in Asia. On the way, he stopped off in Ohio for a spell of duckhunting as the guest of his good friend and former Treasury Secretary, Cleveland Millionaire George Magoffin Humphrey. Arriving at Toledo, which had gone overwhelmingly Democratic three days earlier, Ike found an airport crowd of 2,500 waiting in 42° chill to show him that no matter how Toledans voted, they still like Ike. As the crowd started cheering and clapping, the President looked surprised for an instant, then broke into a grin and doffed his hat. Quipped an onlooker: "He should have good hunting. Since Tuesday we've had a lot of lame ducks around here."

Host Humphrey had a limousine waiting at the airport to whisk Ike to the 1,200-acre preserve of the exclusive (ten members) Cedar Point Gun Club on a marshy shore of Lake Erie's Maumee Bay. The afternoon was discouragingly sunny and windy. "Too bright," said Humphrey. "On days like this the ducks fly high. A cloudy, gloomy day would be better." But Ike, hunting from an aluminum punt with Club Manager Cornelius Mominee as his guide and duck caller, quickly bagged his legal daily limit of four birds, all mallards. His shotgun: a short-barreled, 20-gauge Winchester.

Ike spent the night at the club's austerely furnished, dingy white lodge. Next morning he shot four more ducks, then took off to spend a weekend with his lawyer brother Edgar in Tacoma, Wash. On the agenda, if the leaky grey skies cleared up: a golf game. Odds-on to win: elder brother Edgar, who shoots in the low 70s, this year won the Pacific Northwest Seniors Golf championship.