Seven Days in May (1964) Movie Script

Lyman lovers!
Give me a hand! Give me a hand!
Come on, break it up! Hey, break it up!
Push him in.
When it comes to jurisdictional strikes
like this...
...the administration's job is quite clear.
The 0-day cooling off period
will be observed.
And if industry is so hell bent
to invoke Taft-Hartley...
...any support they get from me
will have to get flogged out.
Underline and exclamation point.
How many men involved there?
By next Tuesday, they figure the entire
industry from San Diego to Seattle.
I'm not through yet.
You stick one more thing in me, Horace,
and I'll take up faith healing.
You've been at it an hour.
Your pressure's risen three points
for every letter you've dictated.
Your predecessors would go to the clinic.
My predecessors didn't have a riot
going on outside the White House.
They were at least sufficiently popular
to get their faces on stamps.
"Gallup Poll."
Twenty-nine percent of the people
of the United States approve of what I do.
Twenty-nine percent.
When that thing reaches
stroke proportions, put it out as a bulletin.
It's probably the one thing
that'll make Labor Management...
...and the Pentagon join hands
and declare a national holiday.
When did you have your last vacation?
When I was six months old,
back in Cleveland, Ohio.
I believe it. Don't forget
the CIA appointment at 2:00.
Phone Liberman.
Tell him to meet me here.
Assuming I'll be alive after lunch.
The White House physician makes
no such assumption.
Your blood pressure's up again,
and I don't like it one little bit.
Now this is an order.
Not just medical advice.
You're to go away for at least two weeks.
Two weeks?
And you can have damn few phone calls.
How about a compromise, Horace?
I'll take a quick swim in my pool.
Can I squeeze that in, Paul?
People from West Virginia are waiting for
the crowning of the Rhododendron Queen.
Have the Secretary of the Interior handle it.
How are you, Horace?
What's new in fee splitting?
That's quite a mob scene you got outside.
Why in God's name do
we elect a man president...
...and then try to see how fast
we can kill him?
The Vice-President showed a vast amount
of discretion over valor... go goodwilling when he did.
Pity you didn't join him, Jordie.
I envy Mr. Gianelli his Chianti
and Italian sunshine.
My own diet for the next several days
will be crow and bitters.
- Goodbye, Horace.
- Doctor.
Come on, Ray. You can watch me
do the Lyman crawl.
Thank you.
In a half hour I'm due at a meeting
with the illustrious Senator Prentice.
To hear him tell it,
you're a third-grade idiot with clay arches.
But the Chair of the Joint Chiefs... General James Mattoon Scott,
who'll be in front of the committees...
...he is the reincarnation of Washington
who could walk on that water.
That Gallup Poll shake you up?
Well, let's say I've felt more popular
in my time.
Don't get your nanny up.
You knew there'd be some dislocations.
You can't gear a country's economy
for war for 20 years...
...then slam on the brakes
and expect the transition... go like grease through a goose.
Doesn't work out like that.
Think of how the psychology of the thing
has been screwed up from the outset.
We've been hating the Russians
for a quarter of a century.
Suddenly we sign a treaty saying
in two months...
...they're to dismantle their bombs,
we're to dismantle ours...
...and we all ride to a peaceful glory.
The country will probably live as if peace
were just as big a threat as war.
Damn it, Ray.
We could have had our paradise.
Yes, by God, we could have had
full employment...
...whopping gross national product...
...nice, cushy feeling that we got a bomb
for every one of theirs.
But as sure as God made the State
of Georgia, there'd have come one day...
...when they'd have blown us up,
or we'd have blown them up.
And the good doctor worries
about my blood pressure.
You know who that gentleman is
with the black box?
There are five.
You know that one of them sits
outside my bedroom at night?
You know what he carries in that box?
The codes.
The codes by which I, Jordan Lyman...
...can give the order sending us
into a nuclear war.
Instead of my blood pressure...
...I think Horace should worry
about my sanity.
You want to know something, Jordie?
Riots and unemployment notwithstanding,
you're an exceptionally fine president.
But 25-year friendship aside,
the day may yet come...
...when the name Jordan Lyman
and "sanity" will come out as one word.
Mention that to General James Scott
when he's up in front of you this morning.
I hear you.
And try tea sometime, too, huh?
I'll give it a taste now and then.
I personally visited the President.
I presented him with a documented case
listing the reasons for concern.
Three weeks before the treaty
was ratified...
...three of us sat in this same committee
and urged its re-evaluation.
Only last week in Pravda...
Excuse me, General. Sorry to interrupt.
As I understand it... feel the signing of this pact
has been detrimental to our security.
If my colleague from Georgia
could confine his comments...
...not only to appropriate business
at hand...
...but to observe some of the basic rules
of parliamentary procedure.
In my boorish way, I'm only suggesting
that if you two gentlemen...
...continue to work from a script
with cues and stage directions...
...these proceedings take on all the dignity
of a very bad Gilbert and Sullivan.
Senator, I'd like to hear
what General Scott has to say.
- Thank you.
- So would I.
The audience has spoken, General,
and I beg forgiveness.
I'll make the point again, Senator.
I think signing a nuclear disarmament pact
with the Soviet Union...
...and at worst
an insupportable negligence.
We've stayed alive because we built up
an arsenal and we've kept the peace...
...because we've dealt with an enemy
who knew we would use that arsenal.
Now we're asked to believe
that a piece of paper...
...will take the place of missile sites
and Polaris submarines...
...and that an enemy who hasn't honored
one solemn treaty in its existence...
...will now, for our convenience,
do precisely that.
I have strong doubts.
Hear! That's what I say...
Senator Prentice,
if you would indulge me, sir.
If you would indulge me for a moment, sir.
From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff I would welcome and respect...
...any judgement having to do specifically
with military considerations...
...but insofar as his political attitudes
are concerned...
...these, I'm sure we could dispense with.
Senator, we're talking about the survival
of the United States.
Is my uniform a disqualification
in that area?
I presume, General,
that an alternative to the treaty...
...that would meet with your approval
would be continuing to build bombs.
Bigger bombs, better bombs, more bombs.
Until at some given instant,
a trigger-happy idiot presses the button...
...and we all go down the drain
waving the American flag.
I'd prefer that to a Pearl Harbor,
when we went down the drain...
I did not address the Senator.
I was talking to the witness.
I'm suggesting there hasn't been
a piece of paper written... the history of mankind that could
serve as a deterrent to a Pearl Harbor.
I wonder why we haven't learned
that lesson by now.
Every 20 years or so we have
to pick ourselves up bleeding...
...and pay for that mistake.
I might add, Senator...
...those mistakes are delivered to us COD
by peace-loving men...
...and bought and paid for
with the lives of other men.
Men in uniform.
Have we ever forgotten to thank you?
I wasn't soliciting your appreciation,
Senator Clark, only your memory.
With all due respect, Senator, might I elicit
one small admission on your part?
That the State of the Union is such
that the current administration...
Thank you.
Well, they listened,
but I'm not sure they heard.
Your testimony was the most effective
defense of a position I've ever heard.
Coming from you, Jiggs,
that's fulsome praise indeed.
That forces me to invite you for a drink,
in the name of gratitude.
In the name of military protocol,
you force me to accept.
- Your first appointment is at 2:00, General.
- Thank you.
Incidentally, Jiggs.
The alert on Sunday, nobody from the Hill.
No congressmen.
This one must be deep and dark,
straight down the line.
I noticed that nobody from Congress
was on the list.
Hello, Colonel. Hot poop
from all around the globe.
All properly decoded in 4.0 fashion,
and respectively submitted... yours truly,
Lieutenant Junior Grade Dorsey Grayson.
Give this one a reading.
"Last call annual Preakness pool."
Top secret code, too.
"$10 already deposited with Murdock.
"Give lengths your pick will win.
"Deadline: 17:00, Saturday.
Post time: 1:00, Sunday, 18 May."
Scott, where'd this come from?
General Scott's aid, you know,
Colonel Murdock.
He gave me that message
at 07:25 this morning.
Did you get that name, Colonel?
General Scott.
Yeah, I'm so disillusioned,
I could sit down and cry.
My hero turns out to be a bookie.
Say, who'd this go to?
Nothing but the cream.
Commander Vandenburg,
Missile Center, California.
Strategic Air Command, Omaha.
Vice-Admiral Farley C. Barnswell,
Commanding Sixth League, Gibraltar.
St. Pat, Pearl Harbor and...
...Commander First Airborne Corps Unit,
United States Army, Fort Bragg, sir.
They must have a sure thing.
Colonel, look at this.
Barnswell doesn't think so.
Just proves that sometimes even
an admiral can't cough up $10 for a bet.
Hiya, Jiggs.
How are you, Mutt?
Just fine. Good to see you.
You look great. Where are you stationed?
I haven't given a straight answer to that
in four months.
But with your clearance, you know already.
Hell, you probably got me my orders.
I'm Exec of ECOMCON, Jiggs.
Yes. Site Y.
Don't blame me for your orders.
Come on in.
You live at the base at Site Y?
Nobody could live at that hellhole.
It's bad enough when the old man
keeps me there four or five days at a time.
Mabel and I have a house in El Paso.
I'll give you the number. If you ever get
down that way, we can open a bottle.
Listen, I have to go to a party tonight.
If you're free it might be fun for you.
Jiggs, I'd love to but I just can't.
How long will you stay?
Just till the old man briefs Scott.
I think you know him. Colonel Broderick?
Good officer, don't you think?
For certain armies.
The kind that goose step.
You don't find a happy medium
in this man's army.
That's for sure.
Say, how many men are there
in your outfit now?
Are you up to strength yet?
Sure we are. We got the full t.o.
A hundred officers, 3,600 enlisted.
The last of them came in six weeks ago.
You know, it's funny.
We seem to spend more time training
for seizure than for prevention.
Like the Commies already had the stuff
and we had to get it back.
- Colonel Henderson?
- Yes.
Colonel Broderick's waiting for you.
The sergeant at the desk will show you
where to go.
Jiggs, it's wonderful seeing you.
When you get to El Paso,
that's the number. You call.
You bet I will.
And, Mutt, stop growing, will you?
Casey, I hope you didn't discuss
Sunday's alert with Colonel Henderson.
I needn't remind you that it's top secret.
If you needn't remind me,
why do you bring it up?
I see no reason for humor.
I made a note of it, or was it to place a bet
on the Preakness pool with General Scott?
How did you find out about that?
Well, you got Grayson all lathered up
about racehorses.
That kid better learn to keep
his mouth shut.
Don't jump the kid.
How was he to know
the nation's security...
...rests on Admiral Barnswell's
parting with $10?
That was the General's personal business.
What are you getting so hot about?
You're right. It's not important.
Operator, have you got a listing
You don't? Thank you very much.
ECOMCON and horse racing.
What the hell's going on here?
Can you explain why the good General
walks into a Senate hearing... he's St. George
and the administration's a dragon?
Simmer down, Paul.
I mean it. Your boss did everything
but draw a sword.
They asked, he answered.
You guys are getting sensitive.
Little too sensitive if you ask me.
- Good evening, Senator.
- Good evening, Colonel.
It's as simple as this.
The President trusts Russia.
The American people don't.
They don't believe the Russians
will take the bombs apart on July 1...
...and neither do I.
Senator, do you think that the President's
position is so unreasonable?
If Russia reneges or cheats,
we'd find out immediately.
The deal is off. There'd be no danger.
Now, doesn't that make sense?
Let's hear the view of someone
more knowledgeable... to the Soviet Union's capacity
to destroy us. Colonel Casey?
As a military officer,
I steer clear of politics.
Let's forget that you're a military officer.
You also happen to be a citizen.
Well, then I'll have to take the Fifth.
Colonel, do you like the treaty
or don't you?
Oh, Senator. Pardon me.
I want you to meet
the Indian Ambassador's wife.
Just a moment.
We're discussing the treaty.
I want you to hear
the Pentagon's viewpoint.
Go ahead, Colonel.
The treaty isn't viewed very favorably.
Neither are income taxes,
but we pay them.
But you make me think that fruit salad
on your chest is for neutrality...
...evasiveness and fence-straddling.
On the contrary, they're standard awards...
...for cocktail courage
and dinner-table heroism.
I thought you'd invented them.
Excuse me, Paul.
Ellie. I didn't know you were back in town.
You never looked.
You surprised me tonight, Colonel Casey.
The voice of reason coming out
of a military man?
I've got a lot of hidden talents.
Oh, I suspected that right along.
Ever since my ex-lover introduced us.
And how is the staunch General Scott?
And his lovely wife?
He keeps busy.
So I read. There's a sizeable portion
of the citizenry...
...who says that he's the savior
of the western world.
He does his job, Ellie.
Well, take care of him, Jiggs.
See that he rests on the seventh day.
I'll try.
That marvelous military stoicism.
The iron mask.
Is that for quenching a torch
or washing a wound?
Well, let me put it to you this way,
Jiggs, darling.
What the hell business is it of yours?
- I want that.
- No, you don't.
Now, you listen to me.
Now, what is it? Is it just Scott?
It's Scott. It's that and everything.
It's my whole damned life.
You're not the first dame to ever wind up
on the bottom of the deck.
It happens every day. What matters is
how a person lives with it.
Stop playing the part
of the anguished drunk...
...digging olives out of martinis and
boring everybody with tragic stories.
You know, sober, Ellie, you're a bright,
beautiful dame.
Good to have around.
Will you drive me home, Jiggs?
Whenever you say.
I'll get my coat.
Good night, Stew.
Thank you for a very nice party.
Thanks for coming, Senator.
Pleasure having you.
I hope you forgive
my little outburst tonight.
It's a combination of deep concerns
and dry martinis. A dangerous combo.
I've been reamed by experts, Senator.
Grey Thunderbird.
I was simply trying to get you to say
what I happen to know you believe in.
You work for the one man
who commands confidence...
...and could possibly lead us
out of this mess.
You just remember:
There are plenty of us up on the Hill
who stand right alongside of you.
We've all got to stay on the alert
these days, Casey.
Specially on Sunday, right?
Thank you.
There you are.
Something's come up. I've got to drive out
to Fort Myer to see the General.
May I call a cab for you?
No, thank you. I'll manage.
I'm sorry, Ellie, but this is very important.
All right, Jiggs, but just in case
someone forgets to mention it...'re a great crutch.
It's too bad you're only available
20 minutes at a time.
You can't tell. Sometimes the country
can spare me for a whole evening.
Give me a rain check, I'll prove it.
Tuck it somewhere safe
where you won't forget it.
Good night, Ellie.
Good night, Jiggs.
- Hi, Jack.
- Hi, Jiggs.
Colonel Broderick's with him.
Well, well, well.
If it isn't my favorite jarhead himself,
Jiggs Casey.
Hello, Broderick. I thought you'd be
in Okinawa, or maybe worse.
Not me, Casey boy, not me.
Still protecting the great unwashed?
I thought you'd be
a civil liberties lawyer by now.
You might make it yet.
By the way, Casey, my boy,
I hear you're doing a fine job... Director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Hello, Jiggs.
- Good morning, sir.
How was the party last night?
Well, you missed a good one.
Anyone there I know?
Paul Girard from the White House and
Senator Prentice were the ranking guests.
There must have been a hassle
over the treaty.
There was, sir.
- Prentice uphold our side all right?
- He was pretty candid.
Also quite complimentary about you.
By the way, Ellie Holbrook was there.
Nice seeing her again.
- Let's get on with it, Jiggs.
- Yes, sir.
These are from January's All Red Alert, sir.
Pearl Harbor, 12 minutes
after the threat warning.
Twelve minutes and over 80 percent
of the fleet sitting there like overfed ducks.
Wright Field, 22 minutes into the alert.
This one really gives me an ache in the gut.
Half of those aircraft aren't even scrambled
let alone off the ground.
Over Mount Thunder.
- The President's in the middle helicopter.
- Right out in the open.
Thirty-four minutes into the alert.
Canned sound indicates possibility
of hostile action by the Soviet Union.
There are 30 more shots, sir.
Each one of them more fouled up
than the others.
Let's hope Sunday's alert
will be different, sir.
It damn well better be.
Wouldn't it help
if you changed your mind...
About what, Jiggs?
Inviting the congressional people
to observe the alert.
It wouldn't hurt us if a congressman
or a senator...
...saw how effectively we can work
when we have to.
Nobody from the Hill is
to know a thing about this.
Yes, sir.
9:20, sir. They're waiting for you
in the conference room.
I've even persuaded the President
to come down without the press.
- No newspapermen?
- None.
Get to bed late, sir?
Got to bed too early.
Slept from 8:00 to 8:00. Too much sleep.
I may never wake up.
Stay close, Jiggs.
I'll want to see you after this meeting.
Colonel Murdock said you've heard
about our Preakness pool.
Yes, sir.
I'd appreciate it if you'd keep it to yourself.
All I want is the right horse.
Admiral Barnswell's reply. I'd appreciate it
if you'd keep that in confidence, too.
Of course, sir.
I see the Navy wasn't here today.
Admiral Palmer couldn't make it.
We'll brief him later.
Speaking of the Navy, that reminds me.
That young J.G. In All Service Radio.
Grayson, sir?
He's a bit of a gossip, isn't he?
He means well.
Well, I'm off to New York
and the AVO Convention.
If you get a chance, listen in.
I'd like to know what you think.
- Certainly, sir. Good luck.
- Thank you.
Hey, Colonel, get a load of this.
What is it, Grayson?
A transfer.
Pearl Harbor?
Yes, I think I got some kind
of guardian angel around here.
Good old Pearl Harbor.
By the way, Barnswell was the only one
to poop out of the Chairman's racing form.
All the others came through
with their IOUs.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard me
in my nightly newscasts.
You know where I stand.
I'm not a lover of communists, socialists,
or intellectual bleeding hearts.
I happen to have only one interest...
... and that is symbolized by the red,
white and blue of our glorious flag.
Now I'm going to give you the one man...
... who not only speaks for that flag,
but has fought for it with distinction...
... and now represents it with honor.
Four-star general, winner of
the Congressional Medal of Honor...
... and two Distinguished Service Crosses,
a hero of war...
... a stalwart protector of the peace.
Ladies and gentlemen...
... the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
General James Mattoon Scott!
We want Scott! We want Scott!
Ladies and gentlemen,
members of the American Veterans Order.
I would like to thank Mr. MacPherson
for his most laudatory comments.
You're very generous, Harold.
Perhaps patriotism is old-fashioned.
Perhaps love of country is outdated.
Perhaps even a minute degree of sentiment
to one's motherland is considered pass.
But God help us,
and God help our country...
... if the cynics, the one-worlders,
the intellectual dilettantes...
... ever persuade us that these things
have passed us by...
... because, ladies and gentlemen...
... patriotism, loyalty, sentiment,
they are the United States of America!
In my lifetime, I have seen 1,000 ways
a man can die.
And I know that in this country,
we have a perverse habit of forgetting...
Operator, would you connect me
with the White House?
The President's expecting you, Colonel.
The study, second door on the right.
All I can tell you, pal,
is this better be damned important.
- How are you, Colonel Casey?
- Mr. President.
- Please, sit down.
- Thank you, sir.
Ever been up here before, Colonel?
No, sir. It's a big room.
Too big for living and too small
for conventions.
- You want a drink, Colonel?
- Yes, sir. Scotch, please.
- Fine. I'll keep you company.
- Thank you.
- How about you, Paul?
- No, no, thanks.
And now, Colonel,
that matter of national security.
Mr. President, have you ever heard
of a military unit known as ECOMCON?
I'm sorry. E-C-O-M-C-O-N. ECOMCON.
What does it mean?
I'm not sure, sir.
In formal military abbreviations... could stand for Emergency
Communications Control, but...
I've never heard anything like that.
- Have you, Paul?
- No, I haven't.
Mr. President, have you ever authorized...
...the formation of any type of secret unit,
regardless of it's name...
...that has something to do with preserving
the security of things like...
...television, telephone or radio?
No, I haven't.
Do you know of
any secret Army installation, sir...
...that's been set up somewhere
near El Paso recently?
The answer is no again.
Sir, this is something very difficult
for me because... concerns a superior officer
whom I admire and respect.
Let's get on with it, Colonel, huh?
Yes, sir.
Yesterday I learned from a friend of mine,
Colonel Henderson...
...that he's the exec officer of ECOMCON.
His commanding officer is
an Army colonel named John Broderick.
They're both from Signal Corps,
which indicates communications.
They've had 100 officers
and 3,600 men training secretly... a desert base near El Paso
for six weeks or so.
Well, then Henderson said
an odd thing to me, sir.
Something that, well,
I can't shake quite loose of.
He said they were spending more time
training for seizing than for preventing.
Who set up this outfit?
Henderson and Broderick
reported directly to General Scott..., I assume General Scott did, sir.
You assume? You work directly
under General Scott, don't you?
Yes, sir, but, well, I guess I'd been
cut out for some security reason.
Go ahead, Colonel.
Mr. President, this is
General Hardesty's writing.
I know it pretty well.
That paper came from
the Joint Chiefs' meeting room.
I can't make much out of this scrawl.
"Airlift ECOMCON 40 K 212s
at Site Y by 07:00 Sunday.
"Chi, New York, LA, Utah."
K 212s?
Air Force jet transports, sir.
What do you make of it?
They're obviously scheduled to lift
this command out of Site Y...
...that's the base near El Paso,
before the alert, Sunday...
...and take those troops to Chicago, LA,
New York and Utah.
Why Utah?
The phone company has big relay facilities
for its long lines there.
Precisely what are you leading up to?
I'm not certain, Mr. President, but...
Well, let me tell you the other things
that have happened the past two days.
General Scott has a kind of pool
going on the Preakness race...
...which runs on Sunday.
He sent messages to every important
field commander...
...talking about getting their bets
in on time.
Admiral Barnswell was the only one
who sent in a "no bet" message.
Your General Scott's interest in horses
isn't classified, Colonel.
I don't think those messages had anything
to do with horses, sir.
I think it was some kind of code.
That's a fair-sized assumption.
General Scott wanted those messages
kept under wraps.
- Under wraps?
- Yes, sir.
A J.G. Who decoded those messages
is being shipped out to Hawaii.
There are other things, Mr. President.
Last night at a party
at Stewart Dillard's house...
- You were there, Paul.
- Yes.
Senator Prentice indicated to me
a knowledge of the alert.
No one on the Hill is supposed
to know about it.
Senator Prentice knows.
And General Scott knows that he knows.
- That's quite an assumption.
- How do you know?
The General lied.
He said he was in bed last night at 8:00.
I went to his quarters
after the party because...
...I was concerned that Senator Prentice
had found out about the alert.
He wasn't in bed. He was with Prentice
who arrived at his house at 11:45.
And that's all?
Well, Congress recessed yesterday.
Vice-President Gianelli is in Italy
on a goodwill tour.
This Sunday, you'll be
at an underground command post...
...on Mount Thunder, completely alone.
You won't even have press people
in attendance.
That's true.
General Scott asked that I come alone.
All right, Colonel.
Let's sum it up, shall we?
You're suggesting what?
I'm not sure, Mr. President,
just some possibilities...
...what we call "capabilities"
in military intelligence.
You got something against
the English language?
No, sir.
Then speak it plainly if you will.
I'm suggesting there's a military plot
to take over the government.
This may occur sometime
this coming Sunday.
You realize you could be broken out
of the Service for what you've said?
I've thought about the consequences.
I've been a Marine for 18 years.
Comment, Paul?
With all due respect to Jiggs,
it's just incredible...
...that a secret base could've been
constructed without our hearing about it.
Sir, when you think of the people
and the supplies involved...
Frankly, sir, it doesn't seem logical.
It can be checked out, though.
Yes, I'll call Bill Condon
at the Bureau of Budget. Right now.
I know what Scott's attitude is
on the treaty. What's yours?
I agree with General Scott, sir.
I think we're being played for suckers.
I think it's your business. Yours and
the Senate. You did it and they agreed.
I don't see how we in the military
can question it.
I mean, we can question it
but we can't fight it.
We shouldn't, anyway.
- Jiggs? Isn't that what they call you?
- Yes, sir.
So you stand by the Constitution, Jiggs?
I never thought of it just like that,
Mr. President.
But that's what we've got,
and I guess it's worked pretty well so far.
I sure don't want to be the one to say
we ought to change it.
Neither do I.
Do you have any bright ideas
on what else I can do?
No, sir, not a one. I'm just a buck passer.
I remember what Harry Truman said:
"Inside this room, the buck stops."
Thanks for coming to see me, Colonel.
Yes, sir.
I'd appreciate it if you'd call my secretary
in the morning.
Tell her where you'll be.
- Thanks for coming.
- That's all right, sir. It was...
A pleasure, Colonel?
To get it out of my gut, yes, sir.
I don't know whether you believe this,
but I hope I'm wrong.
Colonel, I hope you're wrong, too.
Good night, sir.
- Good night, Jiggs.
- Good night, Paul.
It is, huh?
Okay, Bill. Thank you.
Condon says there's never been
any money cleared for anything called...
...ECOMCON or whatever it is.
So your conclusion is negative?
My conclusion is that my friend,
Colonel Casey... one Marine with a hell
of an imagination.
You know something, Paul?
I'm not about to disregard his story.
But, Mr. President...
Of course, if it's true, we've only got
four full days left before Sunday.
We'll have to come up
with a list of men I can trust.
I can't move very far without the head
of the White House Secret Service.
And Chris Todd. He has the best mind
in the government.
And can keep his mouth shut.
And get Ray Clark.
With all due respect to Colonel Casey,
let me give you my unequivocal reaction.
To believe any fraction of it, you have
to believe in this ECOMCON business.
Nobody's heard of it before.
Not you, Mr. President. Not Girard.
Not even Bill Condon
who should've heard of it.
What makes you think it does exist?
We have only, and again,
my apologies, Colonel Casey...
...your conjecture. No supportable facts.
What about the Hardesty note?
That refers to it and to a Site Y.
That could easily mean another place.
These military games.
The multiplicity of our secret bases
confuses ourselves more than the Soviets.
Army Intelligence was asked
to run a security check on...
...Colonel Broderick almost two years ago.
There's no question that the man's views
are more than just extreme.
They border on out-and-out fascism!
- Again, that's suspect, but not evidence.
- Exactly.
- Colonel Casey.
- Yes, sir.
What about this communications setup
at Mount Thunder?
Whoever controls it, controls
the communications across the country.
Rubbish. If I went into court
as Scott's counsel...
...l'd move to quash the indictment...
...and we'd be out of the courtroom
in 10 minutes.
I'm only offering presumption of evidence.
The Navy being left out
of the JCS meetings...
...the Hardesty note,
this business of the jet transports...
Forgive me, Mr. President...
...but as for flying troops
to the big cities in an alert...
...that seems to me not only logical
but prudent.
Obviously, if the Russians struck,
we'd need disciplined troops... the metropolitan areas to keep order
and prevent complete breakdown.
And if I may say so, the conversion
of a wagering pool on the Preakness...
...into a code for some sinister plot
to seize the government...
...seems to me suggestive of rather lurid
deductive powers to say the very least.
Mr. Secretary, you saw Scott's
performance on television last night.
That was no apolitical military officer.
That was a dedicated politician.
We've always known that, Senator...
...but that's no proof of this military junta
you're suggesting.
Gentlemen, gentlemen.
We've pretty much exhausted
the information as well as ourselves.
I don't know if the evidence is
as damning as it seems.
I do know it's sufficiently damning... proceed as if there were more
than a few grains of truth in it.
So the following is the plan of procedure:
Chris will stay here to coordinate things.
Art's job is to keep tabs on
the Joint Chiefs that were mentioned.
You'll have to have men available,
men you trust... handle any situation that comes up.
I want you to go to El Paso.
Take the phone number from Colonel Casey
of his friend there.
You're to find that base...
...if it means crawling underground
until you hit a tunnel.
But you're to find that base if it exists.
I don't like sending you down there, Ray.
- Lf there were anyone else I could trust...
- Forget it, Jordie.
Outside of getting parity
for Georgia cotton...
...I haven't accomplished a lot
for this country. Maybe this is my chance.
- Paul?
- Yes, sir.
This is a note you're to take
to Admiral Barnswell in Gibraltar.
I want you to get his reply in writing.
In a court of law,
your word wouldn't count for much...
...against that of Barnswell's or Scott's.
Mr. President, it's Wednesday evening.
My feeling is that next week at this time
we'll all be laughing about this.
I hope you're right.
- Colonel Casey?
- Yes, sir.
You'll have the thankless job of informer.
Keep your eye on General Scott.
Keep us informed as to whom he talks to,
whom he hears from, where he goes.
Find out everything you can about him.
Yes, sir.
I think that does it, gentlemen.
It strikes me you're taking
all the necessary steps save one.
Chris, I hope you're quite correct
in your assumption...
...that we're all panicky idiots.
But if you are incorrect in that judgement...
...we're in for a week
of unadulterated nightmare.
Good evening, sir.
Working late, Jiggs?
Just checking out some final touches
so there won't be any foul-ups on the alert.
Some problems in Texas?
No, sir. No problems.
I'm glad everything goes well.
I called you after I got back
from New York.
About 4:00. They said you'd already gone.
Well, as you can see, not so.
How was the big city, General?
You know these conventions.
A rat race, luncheons, dinners...
If I ate one more piece of chicken,
I'm afraid...
Did you hear the speech?
Yes, sir.
Now, there's a carefully chosen word.
You wouldn't be holding something back,
would you?
That commentator who introduced you,
he struck me as being a little overripe.
He is. But he provides a platform
for stating my position.
I merely use him. I don't have to like him
or trust him.
I see.
Do you see?
This country's in trouble, Jiggs,
deep trouble.
Now, there are two ways
we can handle this.
We can sit here on our duffs and...
...ask for divine guidance and hope for it.
Or we can...
Or we can what, Jiggs?
What would your advice be?
We're a nation of laws, of rules.
We're military men so we've taken an oath
to uphold the Constitution.
The democratic way.
Yes, sir. The democratic way.
Do your duty and, as you put it,
ask for divine guidance.
You're right, Jiggs.
You're absolutely right.
You know, Jiggs, you've been working
too hard on this damned alert.
You look tired.
Why don't you take the rest
of the week off?
Duck down to White Sulphur Springs
and blow yourself to a good time.
I couldn't. There are too many details
on the alert.
Murdock will handle it.
I should be with you at Mount Thunder
on Sunday.
And you will be.
Check back on the job Sunday morning
and we'll pick it up together.
In the meantime,
you've got a three-day pass. Enjoy it.
- When do you think I ought to leave, sir?
- Right now.
Yes, sir.
Have a good time, Jiggs.
Thank you, sir.
Paul Girard get off all right?
Still skeptical, but he's on his way
to Gibraltar.
Some fellows have all the luck.
Me, I get to go to Texas.
It's enough to make a man
want to quit politics.
It's Mutt Henderson's home phone.
... Flight 543 for Dallas and El Paso...
- Well, that's me.
- Good luck, Senator.
Oh, incidentally, Jiggs.
I'm told that a Miss Eleanor Holbrook,
you know her...
I'm told she knows more
about General Scott...
...than his wife knows about him
or the Air Force.
Could be.
In fact, she may know enough about him
to put some ammo in our guns.
You catch my meaning?
I'm not sure I want to catch your meaning.
Just because General Scott
booted you out...
...and told you to take a vacation,
that don't mean you'll take a vacation.
I think you should see this Miss Holbrook.
If she's got something on Scott,
we want it.
There are all sorts of ways of protecting
the President of the United States.
Take care of yourself, Senator.
You, too, Colonel.
Isn't that MacPherson, the commentator?
That's General Scott's car.
Buddy, you've just been impressed
into the Secret Service.
Harold MacPherson
and General James Scott.
There's a pair to draw to.
Good morning, General.
This is Jordan Lyman.
Good morning.
We're both early birds today.
General, to come right to the point.
I'm not going to participate in the alert.
Frankly, I'm tired out.
I've decided to go to my place at Blue Lake
and fish for a few days.
You'll forgive me, sir,
but I must say I don't like it.
As Commander in Chief,
orders can only be given by you.
Mr. President, I don't think
the Russians will be very impressed... an alert that takes place
while you go fishing.
Suppose you let me be
thejudge of that, General.
I'm afraid my decision is final.
Of course. It's up to you, sir.
When do you expect to go to Blue Lake?
Late Friday, probably.
I envy you. Good luck with the fish.
- Goodbye, General.
- Goodbye, Mr. President.
Hold my calls.
Colonel Broderick, please.
What's that, Mrs. Henderson?
I'm an old friend of his.
I'm real anxious to see him.
Clark, ma'am. Ray Clark.
I know it's restricted,
but I thought perhaps if I could talk to him.
What's that?
I didn't quite hear you.
Would you say that again?
Well, is there any way I could get
a message to him?
Would you be good enough
to just tell him that Ray Clark called?
Thank you very much, Mrs. Henderson.
Fill her up?
No thanks, honey. Just check my oil.
Hey, you mind?
Not at all. Tell me,
could you turn that down some?
Oh, sure, honey.
Hey, Charlie, turn it down.
- Do you rent space in that thing?
- Oh, you.
You want to dance?
No, thank you, honey.
I just had a hernia operation.
You are funny.
I was sort of hoping you were in the Army.
Charlie heard there was a new base
being put up here.
That's why he bought the place.
You see any soldiers?
How long has the base been here?
Who knows?
You know Charlie, he's always decorating
this place. He has a talent for that.
And on Saturday night,
he puts out a huge sign.
It says, "Big Party."
And he doubles his drinks, too.
And I don't water them none, either.
You wonder what the country's coming to.
All those boys sitting up in the desert,
never seeing no girls.
Well, they might as well be in stir.
How far is the base from here?
About 50 miles or so.
You hear the planes coming in and out
all the time, but don't see any pilots.
Not so much as one single pilot.
What's the matter?
Don't they drink in the Air Force?
How would I get in there?
Oh, lots of luck.
You can't even see the place.
There's just a road over leading to the left
and then nothing.
I was telling Charlie.
We ought to drive up there sometime
with a couple of kegs of beer for the boys...
...and tell them where it's from.
You know, leave cards or something.
I'm glad we can offer you some real
Mediterranean weather, Mr. Girard.
Thank you, Admiral.
Instead of that dirty stuff they have
in the Atlantic.
- Care for a cigar?
- No, thanks.
Admiral, I understand you're not much
of a betting man.
That depends on the game.
What is your pleasure?
Poker, roulette, what?
No, those are house games.
I don't much care for the odds.
What about horse racing?
On occasion. Depends on the race,
sometimes the weather.
- And the horse does make the difference.
- Well, that's true.
What about the Preakness?
Have you got anything good going there?
I only bet on sure things.
You're a very lucky sailor.
That's exactly what I've got for you.
A sure thing.
What is the bet, Mr. Girard?
There are members of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff who are involved in treason.
We know who they are,
and the essence of the plan.
And from you,
I want a signed statement indicating...
...when you first heard of this operation
and your complicity in this entire matter.
Frankly, I wish I had more time.
I wish you did, too, Admiral.
Unfortunately, you don't.
I'm looking for a very pretty girl
named Eleanor Holbrook.
Come in.
Thank you.
You're a long way from the barracks.
I was in the neighborhood.
A fact?
A lie. I just thought the country
could spare me for an evening.
- I wondered how you were.
- I'm fine, Jiggs.
- Would you like a martini?
- That sounds great.
Very nice.
Yes, that's right.
- You've never been here before.
- No, not even close.
Thank you.
What is it, Jiggs?
You have something on your mind.
Well, hasn't your mother
ever told you about Marines?
Well, I know all about this Marine.
Never a wasted moment
or a thrown-away day.
What do you want?
Well, you invited me.
Remember? A rain check handed out
the night of the party.
Oh, yes. Good for one visit, anytime.
Here I am.
What shall we talk about?
Nuclear disarmament, high cost of living,
ladies' fashions?
Or should we fall back on the familiar item
of conversation, gentleman Jim Scott?
Well, this must come as a shock to you,
but I lock up the office now and then.
You're a beautiful woman.
Don't tell me after all this time
you're making a pass, Jiggs.
The window's open.
You could always scream.
Is this when I scream?
You want to scream?
That's a rather unfair question.
I'm a little vulnerable now.
Particularly when it concerns an old friend
I happen to like.
Do me a favor.
Don't complicate my life right now.
I just got over a very bad burn.
Would you like another martini?
Perhaps we should talk about...
It's funny. It doesn't feel like an iron mask.
You're a fraud, Jiggs.
Hey, how about dinner someplace?
You might even talk me into wheeling you
around a dance floor.
No. I'll fix something for us here.
Did you know that I'm a swinging cook?
Sounds like I've got myself a good deal.
You might have, Jiggs. A very good deal.
I'll make you two promises:
A very good steak, medium rare,
and the truth, which is very rare.
And it's in writing?
Thank God. Now when can you get back?
Trans Ocean, Flight 42 out of Madrid.
Good. I'll see you for breakfast.
Someone I knew 1,000 years ago.
It's funny, I can't even remember his name.
Scott, James Mattoon Scott,
General in the United States Air Force.
Doesn't ring a bell.
Why does a girl keep a photograph
of a man she doesn't even remember?
I can't imagine.
That's an easy way to get rid of a ghost.
It works wonders.
No symptoms remaining?
None that I'm aware of.
If I find that I'm kidding myself,
I know where to go for help.
There's an easy test.
Bring it out in the open, look at it,
talk about it, see if it hurts.
I don't know what's to be gained
by hurting...
...but if you think it's right...
I think it's right.
I was in love with him.
I found...
...excitement in his strength.
I didn't mind about the backstreet angle...
...sneaking time together,
stolen moments from his wife.
Eleanor Holbrook, the emancipated woman.
Go on.
I don't know. I don't know
when it changed.
But I began to realize
that he really never felt anything.
Each move was calculated.
He's a very careful man, your general.
I don't believe he ever took a chance
in his life...
...or ever really felt anything,
any real emotion.
He was so sure of me
that he could even write letters.
A careful man doesn't incriminate himself
in writing.
That's where you're wrong.
If he's sure enough, he can do anything...
...anything to amuse himself.
I kept them.
I told myself that I'd use them
against him for revenge.
At least, Jiggs...
...he was right about me in that respect.
I was pretty low, but not that low.
Is that what you wanted?
Does that prove anything to you?
- I'm sorry, Ellie.
- No.
You said to bring it out in the open.
Now it is.
- We go from here, all right?
- Sure.
I'll go and repair the damages
and get back to that steak.
Don't go away.
You know, it's a funny thing, Jiggs.
I'm not surprised at Scott.
But do you know what does cut?
The fact that he sent you.
And the fact that you came.
I need these, Ellie.
The reason doesn't matter.
And trying to soften me up
with a little preliminary lovemaking...
That was dirty pool, Jiggs.
You didn't come here to salvage me.
You came here to salvage his good name.
If I could tell you why I had to do this,
you'd understand.
I was a stupid, impressionable female...
...who let an Air Force general use her
like his personal airplane.
I don't rate any applause, God knows.
But you...
Scott didn't want to dirty his hands
collecting those letters...
...but Colonel Casey is always ready
to clean up the General's privy.
The man on the right, that's Murdock,
General Scott's aide.
On the left, that's Colonel Broderick.
He commands the base at Site Y.
I don't know who the other man is.
So the rabbit laid bait for the fox.
If I'd gone up to Blue Lake,
they'd have tried to kidnap me.
I have no doubt of that at all.
I'll make the following admission,
Colonel Casey.
Any doubts I may have had have been
properly placed in the wastebasket.
Good man, Chris.
Your group did a great job
this morning, Art.
- It's appreciated.
- Thank you, sir.
I can bring out another point
that's made in that film.
Scott had to dispatch Colonel Broderick
all the way from El Paso...
...on a job that any investigator
could've done.
This must mean, in terms of numbers,
he's no better off than we are.
That's good solid evidence, right there.
And gentlemen,
Paul Girard should be here very shortly.
This stuff you unearthed, Colonel Casey,
is dynamite.
Very revealing of General Scott's
extracurricular love life.
Any taste of victory we have
in our mouths... due in no small measure
to your efforts.
The taste I've got in my mouth,
Mr. Secretary, is unmentionable.
I can understand that feeling, Colonel.
But when you deal with a jackal
like your general...
This is a full Air Force general.
Six times wounded.
Wearing half the medals he deserves.
Whatever he is, he's no jackal.
My God, the sensitivity of our warriors.
Did I step on your old school tie?
You're just like a lot of civilians.
After every armistice you want
to put us away in mothballs.
When it comes to dying,
you want to put us in a uniform!
That's enough!
I'm sorry, sir.
You have every right to resent
what you were forced to do.
It was a dirty, thankless job.
Its necessity doesn't make it
more palatable.
I appreciate how you feel,
and deeply appreciate what you've done.
I could never bring myself to use
any of this against Scott.
Suppose it comes down to bare knuckles.
Chris, I'm not prepared
to answer that just now.
Thank God, I don't have to.
For the first time,
I'd say we were on top of it.
Mr. President.
Paul Girard is dead.
Oh, my God!
His plane crashed in the mountains
outside of Madrid.
Any effects?
The wreckage was strewn out
for a couple of miles.
Nothing left of anybody.
You've got to give out
some kind of statement.
- Can I draft one for you?
- What?
About his being away.
Say he was abroad on a vacation.
Don't say any more than that.
I've had two close friends in my life.
I mean, really close.
One was Paul Girard.
The other is Ray Clark.
One of them helped me become president.
This one helped me to remain president.
I've cost Paul Girard his life.
What about Ray Clark? Where is he?
Where in God's name is he?
Now look here, Prentice.
Don't you jolly me, boy.
I'm 24 hours stuck in this oven.
You heard me right, boy.
When I get out of here, you better be ready
with a long list of answers.
You heard me right, boy.
You heard me right.
Yes, Senator.
I agree, sir.
By all means, Senator.
Very well, sir.
Prentice assures me your committee
was notified of the existence of this base.
You were vacationing someplace
off in Georgia...
...getting a change of scene or something.
You better get yourself a change of story
because that don't cut any ice.
I've been doing no vacationing
since Congress has been in session.
There is no record of any ECOMCON base...
...or any designation like it.
Why don't you have yourself a drink
and finish your dinner?
I'll show you around our base
a little later on.
We're mighty proud of it.
I'd like to take that tour right now.
That won't be possible, Senator,
that won't be possible.
But I'll see you later.
We'll look around when it's cooler.
Jordie, boy.
Right now, short of
a Confederate miracle...'re going to be walking in a parade
with both your legs cut off.
I'm not going to make matters worse
by getting drunk on the job.
Keep on working.
I will talk with the Consul.
- Are you the American Consul?
- Yes, I'm from the embassy.
- I'm Captain Ortega.
- Henry Whitney.
We are collecting the effects,
but there really isn't very much.
As I told them over the phone, there were
only two American nationals on board.
Mrs. Agnes Buchanan
from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
And a Mr. Paul Girard.
His destination was Washington.
There was no address
on the passenger manifest.
Did you find any effects of the Americans?
Anything at all?
Nothing yet, seor.
Senator Clark?
I'm Colonel Henderson,
Colonel Broderick's adjutant.
I didn't think Colonel Broderick
had an adjutant, just a bartender.
I don't understand, sir.
Well, it's just that you're so hospitable
around here.
I got a message yesterday
that you'd call my home.
I didn't connect you with the message
until I found out you were here.
I'm sorry about your having
to stay in your room.
Frankly, I don't understand it,
but the orders were quite specific.
I'll just have to live with it.
As to the call, I was really phoning
for a mutual friend of ours, Jiggs Casey.
Mutt, isn't it?
That's what they call me.
How do you know Jiggs?
He has been up before our committee
a number of times...
...and he's done some favors for me
on occasion.
Could I get you a drink?
Those part of your orders, Colonel?
I don't understand.
To get me snoggered?
No, sir. I just...
These bottles have been coming in
every hour on the hour.
Doesn't that seem a little odd to you?
I mean, keeping me cooped up in here
with a flow of bourbon!
- I don't know what you're saying.
- What do you know?
About what?
Would you sit down and hear me out?
I guess so.
I want to preface this
with an assurance to you.
My mind is sound, even though I've been
cooped up here for a day and a night.
Do you trust Jiggs Casey?
You name it, he can have it, sir. Why?
If he told you something,
would you believe him?
I would, indeed.
All right, then. Check this one out.
When you told Jiggs about ECOMCON
last Monday...
...he'd never heard of it before.
That's funny.
There was a moment, just one moment.
How did you know about
my seeing Jiggs on Monday?
He told me.
He told some other people, too.
He'd never heard of it before.
After you left, Jiggs went over
all the JCS orders for the last year.
There was no record of ECOMCON
or anything like it.
Impossible. Colonel Broderick goes to
Washington all the time to brief the brass.
Not all of the brass.
Not President Lyman, not me.
A very selective briefing.
All you've got to know is this:
The government of the United States is
at the top of the Washington Monument...
...tipping right and left, ready to fall
and break up on the pavement.
Just a handful of men can prevent that.
And you're one of them.
Now you listen to me, Mutt.
I'll tell you the damnedest story
you ever heard.
You're relieved. I'm taking the civilian
in my custody. Go back to the barracks.
Senator Clark.
Post 10.
Give me Colonel Broderick's office.
I'm sorry, but I have orders that the civilian
is not to leave the base.
I'm countermanding those orders,
and escorting the civilian into town.
Sir, I don't know.
Colonel Broderick said that...
Throw the keys over here.
Eject that cartridge belt,
and throw it down on the ground.
You stay put right here.
I'll phone the White House.
When this is over, you can take off
your girdle and have yourself a good cry.
Say, have you got a dime
to stop a revolution with?
Ma'am, did you see a real tall soldier
with a funny hat waiting right here?
Could your men have been mistaken, Art?
Not a chance, sir.
The gate guard was too positive.
It was Henderson all right.
Brought into the Fort Myer stockade,
10:30 this morning.
Rode in the back of an Army sedan
under guard. Now held incommunicado.
Okay, Arthur. Thank you.
At least he's alive.
Admiral Barnswell, sir.
Admiral Barnswell, this is the President.
Well, sir, he came aboard a few days ago...
...he passed on your personal greetings,
and that's about the size of it, sir.
Frankly, no, Mr. President.
He gave me nothing to sign.
I'm sorry, sir. I can only recount to you
the situation as it occurred.
I signed no paper.
He took nothing with him.
Well, if anything happens
to revitalize your memory, Admiral...
...l'd appreciate a phone call.
It's now 2:20 on a Saturday afternoon.
At 2:20 tomorrow afternoon...
...somebody will have thrown a switch
at Mount Thunder...
...General James Scott will be
on all three television networks...
...explaining to the United States people
why this crucifixion is an act of faith.
What would you call this?
Sponge-throwing time?
Mr. President, what are you waiting for?
Fire Scott, Hardesty, Dieffenbach, Riley.
Sedition, pure and simple.
Close down Mount Thunder.
Declare a state of martial law.
And then where do I stand?
A lunatic. A paranoiac.
A screaming wild man
with nothing to back him up...
...because his proof is scattered
over a mountain...
...disappeared in an airport, or it's all part
of delirium tremens of a dipso senator.
Would you allow me to strike
that last idiotic remark?
There's no need, Jordie.
It's just what the Congress would say.
But you do have one last alternative.
And that is?
To use these letters
that Casey got from the girl.
When you get to the bottom of the barrel,
where we are now, you use expedients.
Hit the network cutoff.
Network cutoff.
Now, one more time. Position A.
Site G. Pope Field.
- Position B.
- ECOMCON force. Site Y.
- Position C.
- Site X. Mount Thunder, C.P.
Good, good.
Let's hear it.
Barney Rutkowski, Air Defense.
He's screaming bloody murder about those
12 troop carriers dispatched to El Paso.
Says they're checked for El Paso
and then lost on the radar screen.
Wants to know where they went and why.
He also wants to know why 30 more
are at Bragg with the same destination.
- What did you tell him?
- I told him it was classified and to forget it.
Well, that ought to do it.
He's a hard-nosed book player
with a radar screen at his bed.
If I know him, he's not going to stop here.
He'll go right up to the President.
Go ahead, Barney.
One of my controllers was watching
a flight of troop carriers Wednesday...
... heading for El Paso.
They turned northwest
and dropped off our radar screens.
We tried to find out about it
through channels...
... and all we get is the big stall.
There's some kind of a secret base
out there...
... and I think I should have been
notified of it.
Keep going, General.
Thirty more transports were due at this
classified place at 7:00 a.m. Tomorrow.
Now I learn it's been moved up
to 23:00 tonight.
I want all those aircraft grounded.
You're to give the order
that they're to stand down.
That's been authorized by the President,
can be verified by calling the White House.
Do you understand that?
I guess I do, sir.
I want you available.
Phone in and let this office know
where you are.
Yes, sir.
The next step should be
to your liking, Chris.
- Esther?
- Yes, sir.
Call the Pentagon.
Tell General Scott
I want to see him right away.
I think it's time we faced the enemy,
Mr. President.
He's not the enemy.
Scott, the Joint Chiefs...
...even the very emotional, very illogical
lunatic fringe, they're not the enemy.
The enemy is an age.
A nuclear age.
It happens to have killed man's faith
in his ability... influence what happens to him.
And out of this comes a sickness.
A sickness of frustration.
A feeling of impotence,
helplessness, weakness.
And from this, this desperation...
...we look for a champion
in red, white and blue.
Every now and then
a man on a white horse rides by...
...and we appoint him to be
our personal god for the duration.
For some men it was a Senator McCarthy.
For others it was a General Walker.
Now it's a General Scott.
- Yes?
- General Scott is here, sir.
Send him in, please.
Good evening, Mr. President.
Sit down, General.
I'm glad you decided to call off
that fishing trip.
Don't bother about that.
We don't need it tonight.
We aren't going to have an alert tomorrow.
I beg your pardon, Mr. President.
You wish the alert cancelled?
I do. I intend to cancel it.
May I ask why?
Certain facts have come to my attention.
I won't waste time detailing them all now.
I'll simply say that
I want your resignation tonight...
...and those of Generals Hardesty,
Riley and Dieffenbach as well.
Either you are joking,
or you have taken leave of your senses.
I know of no reason why I should remove
my name from the active list voluntarily.
Or, for that matter,
any of the other Joint Chiefs.
You could give me the reasons, General.
But if you want me to itemize them,
I shall be glad to do so.
Please do.
You have used, without my authority...
...substantial sums from
the Joint Chiefs' Contingency Fund... establish a base, and train
a special unit of troops whose purpose...
...and even whose existence,
was kept secret from me...
...from officials of the Bureau of the Budget
and members of the Congress.
And the name of the unit?
You know that unit.
It's designation is ECOMCON.
I'm afraid your memory fails you,
Mr. President.
You gave me verbal authorization
for the base and the unit.
As I recall, we covered many items
that day.
Perhaps you didn't pay much attention.
I assumed you'd inform
the Director of the Budget.
What was the date of that meeting,
I can't recall exactly, but it was right here
in this office. Last November, I believe.
You have a record of the date and subject?
Certainly, Mr. President, in my office.
If you want,
I'll get it from the Pentagon now.
That won't be necessary, General.
No, it won't be necessary.
Colonel Murdock, my aide, is outside.
He sat in on the meeting.
He will substantiate my memorandum
as to the date and the discussion.
- I'll ask him in.
- That won't be necessary either, General.
You kept a member of the US Senate
forcibly detained at this base...
...and he will so testify.
That would be?
That would be Senator Raymond Clark,
the senior senator from Georgia.
I wasn't aware that Senator Clark
had ever visited the base.
He will also testify as to the collusion...
...between the commander of the base
and Senator Prentice of California...
...who with yourself and a handful of others
knew of the existence of the base.
Any other charges?
Would you like them
in chronological order?
The selection of a commanding officer
for a secret base...
...who is openly contemptuous
of civilian authority...
...and who's made statements that come
close to violation of the sedition laws.
I never discuss politics with my officers,
but I do demand the highest competence.
Colonel Broderick is an excellent officer
with a fine combat record.
And an interesting travel record,
you might add.
What was he doing on a motor boat
cruising around my island at Blue Lake?
Don't tell me that's my imagination
because I've got him on film.
What about the kidnapping and detention
of Colonel Henderson at the airport today?
I know about that case.
Colonel Henderson struck an enlisted man
and left his post.
He's now being held for disciplinary action.
Incommunicado, you might add.
So that he doesn't tell what he knows.
And then there are the wagering activities
of yours, General...
...particularly a betting pool
on the Preakness.
Come now, Mr. President.
Or perhaps more aptly classified,
your personal and private code.
It covers your plan
for the military overthrow...
...of the United States Government.
I presume, Mr. President,
you're prepared to back up that charge.
I am prepared to brand you
for what you are, General.
A strutting egoist
with a Napoleonic power complex.
And an out-and-out traitor!
I know you think
I'm a weak sister, General...
...but when it comes to my oath of office
and defending the Constitution...
I know how to salute a flag.
You don't know the democratic processes
it represents.
Don't you presume to take on that job,
Mr. President...
...because you're not qualified.
Your action in the past year
has bordered on criminal negligence.
The treaty with the Russians is a violation
of any concept of security.
You're not a weak sister, Mr. President.
You're a criminally weak sister.
If you will talk about your oath of office,
I'm here to tell you face to face:
You violated that oath by stripping
the country's muscles...
...when you played upon the fear
of the people...
...and told them they could remove
that fear by the stroke of a pen.
Then when this nation rejected you
and began militantly to oppose you... violated that oath by not resigning
and turning the country over... someone who'd represent the people.
And that would be
General James Mattoon Scott, wouldn't it?
I don't know whether to laugh
at such megalomania, or simply cry.
James Mattoon Scott hasn't the slightest
interest in his own glorification...
...but he does have a concern
about the survival of this country.
Then, by God, run for office!
You have a such a fervid, passionate,
evangelical affection for your country.
Why in God's name don't you have faith... the system of government
you're so hell-bent to protect?
You say I've duped the people.
I've bilked them. I've misled them.
I've stripped them naked
and made them defenseless.
You accuse me of having lost their faith...
...and deliberately and criminally
shut my ears to the national voice?
I do.
Where the hell have you heard that voice?
In freight elevators?
In dark alleys? In secret places
in the dead of night?
How did that voice seep into a locked room
full of conspirators?
That's not where you hear the voice
of the people. Not in this republic.
You want to defend
the United States of America?
Then defend it with the tools it supplies
you with, it's Constitution.
You ask for a mandate, General,
from a ballot box.
You don't steal it after midnight
when the country has it's back turned.
Are you serious, Mr. President?
Are you honest-to-God serious?
I could walk out of here tonight...
...and offer myself as candidate
for the presidency...
...and by tomorrow, I'd be at that desk...
...with precisely the mandate
you hold so dear.
And what's more, you know it, I know it,
and the country knows it.
Don't say I'd have seized an office
tomorrow without the benefit of support.
If you had the guts to call for a show
of hands, you'd be on an airplane to Ohio.
You can ask for and get
your show of hands.
Wait a year and nine months
for an election.
By then, I don't think there'll be
an electorate, let alone an election.
I think we'll be sitting in our own rubble.
A minimum of 100 million dead.
And on the gravestone we can carve:
"They died for Jordan Lyman's
concept of peace."
Did it ever occur to you that...
...if you took over this government
by force... wouldn't have to wait
a year and nine months for the funeral?
If the Soviet Union saw our government
taken over by a military dictatorship... long would it take them
to break the treaty?
Possibly even attack us?
I think perhaps a question of days,
perhaps hours...
...certainly weeks.
I want your resignation, General.
I want it tonight. I'm expecting it.
Along with the other members of the Joint
Chiefs who are involved in this treason.
I'll tell you quite unequivocally...
...l'll not tell the reason
for your resignation.
If that were ever made public,
this country would go down the drain.
- Will you resign, General?
- I will not resign.
I can demand your resignation,
as you well know.
Demand and be damned.
I will not resign voluntarily.
Nor will any of the others.
But what I will do is take this issue
to the people.
I'll demand a public platform.
Then we'll see which one of us
the United States will follow.
Anything else...
...Mr. President?
I've called a press conference
for tomorrow.
I'll announce that I've asked for
all of your resignations.
I'll use as a reason...
...our differences over the treaty.
Without proof,
you couldn't possibly say otherwise.
You simply wouldn't dare.
I'm going to fight you.
I'm sorry, Jiggs.
Return them to Miss Holbrook.
This will be delivered at:00 tonight
on all major networks.
I'll be taping it in one hour.
This is strong stuff, General.
Thank you, General.
Are you sure that he won't use this
press conference to make any accusations?
He'll use this press conference to support
a position that is totally indefensible.
General, if he accuses us of sedition,
whether he has the proof or not...
...this could be a sticky business.
Jordan Lyman is finished... matter what he says during his press
conference, no matter what he does after.
An educated guess is that within a week
there'll be a move for impeachment.
That's it, gentlemen.
You're welcome to stay here and watch
on television. I'll be at the studio.
Colonel Murdock will be in touch with me
if I'm needed.
Good day.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the President of the United States.
All right, gentlemen. Let's begin.
The Gallup Poll of last week
indicated what appears to be...
... a very universal rejection
of your entire political philosophy.
The nuclear treaty with the Soviets.
Would you comment on that?
Insofar as the treaty is concerned...
... my reasons for asking that it be ratified
have been stated and re-stated.
We have reached a point on this earth...
Excuse mejust a moment, gentlemen.
Jordie, you better talk to this fellow.
This is Henry Whitney
from our embassy in Madrid.
He brought this.
I'm the only one who's read that paper.
Nobody knows I'm here.
Delay the press conference for a half hour.
You are never to disclose or even hint at
the existence of this paper, Mr. Whitney.
I emphasize the word "never."
- Ray, have this Photostatted.
- Yes, sir.
Colonel Casey, see that Scott
and the others get copies right away.
Yes, sir.
That's a signed statement
from Admiral Barnswell.
You're a night crawler, Colonel.
A peddler. You sell information.
Are you sufficiently up on your Bible
to know who Judas was?
I suggest you read that letter, sir.
It's from the President.
I asked you a question.
Are you ordering me to answer, sir?
I am.
Yes, I know who Judas was.
He was a man I worked for and admired...
...until he disgraced the four stars
on his uniform.
Mr. President, for the past 48 hours...
... there has been considerable scuttlebutt
concerning the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
There have been rumors that there is to be
some sort of mass resignation.
Would you care to comment on that, sir?
I'll answer that, but I'd like to preface
with a few other comments.
In a democracy...
... once the president and the Senate,
as responsible authorities...
... make a decision, then debate
and opposition among the military...
... who have opposed this treaty
from the outset, must come to an end.
This is the way in war.
So it also must be in the councils
of government here in Washington.
I have had no choice...
... but to ask for the resignation
of General James Scott.
At the same time, I have asked
for the resignations of three other officers:
General Hardesty and
General Dieffenbach...
... the Chiefs of Staff
of the Air Force and Army...
... and General Riley,
Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Yes, I've already heard. He told me so.
General, I'll be right out.
General, all hell's broken loose.
General, he's asked them to resign.
Hardesty, Dieffenbach, Riley and yourself.
Riley called here. He tried to reach you.
Somehow Lyman got a hold
of Barnswell's statement.
It implicated all of us.
Names, dates, the works.
Jim, what are we going to do?
When do we tape?
You got my speech, didn't you?
Yes, but when this came out minutes ago,
the five network vice-presidents called me.
Do I get on the air or don't I?
We've gone along with you all the way,
but for God's sake, we're in jeopardy now.
The last thing we want is publicity.
Shut up, Prentice.
General, it's out of my hands now.
What will you do?
Go to Mount Thunder and cut in
on the television networks.
- He's asked for your...
- He won't get them!
Dieffenbach, Riley and Hardesty are made
of sterner stuff than you.
- General, be realistic.
- Go to hell!
I can comment on that to this extent.
Americans, traditionally and historically,
have given vent to their views.
On the day that this government
does anything arbitrarily...
... to stifle those views,
it will have to change form.
It will cease to be a democracy.
And I can state quite frankly
that this day will not come.
Gentlemen, the papersjust handed me...
... are the resignations...
... of Generals Hardesty, Riley,
and Dieffenbach.
I'll repeat that, gentlemen.
These three officers havejust officially
tendered their resignations.
Their statements will be made public
after this conference.
Before we have any further questions...
... may I insert these comments?
The point of this treaty, as I've reiterated
on a number of occasions...
... is that in every true sense...
... we force ourselves gradually
to step away from an offensive posture.
I'm sorry, sir.
Where to, sir?
Take me home.
Your General's just been shot down.
Were those the bullets?
They might have been, but they weren't.
- Ellie.
- Yes?
Another rain check?
Tuck it somewhere safe,
where you won't forget.
There has been abroad in this land
in recent months...
...a whisper that we have somehow
lost our greatness...
...that we do not have the strength
to win without war...
...the struggles for liberty
throughout the world.
This is slander...
...because our country is strong...
...strong enough to be a peacemaker.
It is proud. Proud enough to be patient.
The whisperers, the detractors,
the violent men are wrong.
We will remain strong and proud,
peaceful and patient...
...and we will see a day
when on this earth...
...all men will walk out
of the long tunnels of tyranny...
...into the bright sunshine of freedom.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was
the President of the United States.