Milton Eisenhower, Adviser to Presidents, Dies : Headed Colleges, Served as Diplomat and Civil Servant

Associated Press

Milton S. Eisenhower, a diplomat, civil servant, educator and adviser to several Presidents, including his brother, Dwight, died Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 85.

He had been suffering a variety of ailments and was hospitalized for five days before his death, Sue Hart, a hospital spokeswoman, said.

Eisenhower began a long career of government service in the Agriculture Department in 1926.

During World War II, he directed the relocation of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast, a policy that he later regretted as an “inhuman mistake,” and the resettlement of refugees in North Africa after the Allied invasion in 1942.


Negotiated With Castro

He helped President Harry S. Truman reorganize the Agriculture Department and negotiated for President John F. Kennedy with Fidel Castro to swap 500 tractors for 1,214 prisoners taken in the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Lyndon B. Johnson chose him to head a commission to study the causes of violence in the nation in 1968.

During the Eisenhower Administration, Milton Eisenhower undertook a 20,000-mile fact-finding tour of 10 Latin American nations as the President’s personal representative.

“I think I would rather take Milton’s views than those of anyone else,” Dwight D. Eisenhower said when he was President. “He’s a unique brother. He’s got the respect of all the older ones.”


Milton Eisenhower, the youngest of seven brothers, served as a sounding board for the President and called theirs “a perfect relationship.”

“I didn’t work for him at the White House,” he said in an interview last September. “I asked the right questions for him to clarify his own thinking.”

Scholarly Pursuits

Milton Stover Eisenhower was born Sept. 15, 1899, in Abilene, Kan., the son of David and Ida Stover Eisenhower. A bout of scarlet fever at age 4 left his frame less rugged than his athletic brother Dwight’s, and he turned to scholarly pursuits.

He was graduated from Kansas State College in 1924 and briefly worked as an assistant professor of journalism.

In 1926, Kansas State College President William M. Jardine was named agriculture secretary, and Eisenhower became his assistant.

In 1927, he married Helen Eakin, who died in 1954. They had two children, who survive him.

He later became one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s top trouble-shooters and was borrowed by several agencies to solve administrative snarls.


Eisenhower left the government in 1943 to become president of Kansas State University. He was named president of Penn State University in 1950 and served twice as president of Johns Hopkins University, in 1956-67 and again in 1971-72.