JFKWHP-AR6668-A (crop): President Kennedy Meets with General Maxwell D. Taylor, 28 June 1961

Maxwell Taylor first joined President Kennedy’s White House staff as military adviser to the president in 1961. Mr. Taylor had previously served President Dwight D. Eisenhower as Army Chief of Staff. In this capacity, he advocated greater reliance on conventional ground forces instead of massive nuclear retaliation. After retiring from active service in 1959, Taylor went on to write an influential book The Uncertain Trumpet, which laid out his plans for building more effective and flexible conventional ground forces. President Kennedy recalled Taylor to active service in 1962 and appointed him chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Within weeks the General became a key participant in the secret ExComm meetings during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was later a major adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson on the political and military situation in Vietnam and served as ambassador to South Vietnam from 1964-1965.


1901 Born, Keytesville, Missouri

1944-1945 Commander, 101st Airborne division

1945-1949 Superintendent, US Military Academy at West Point

1953 Commander of Eighth Army and UN forces in Korea

1955 Commander in Chief, U.S. Army Far East and UN command

1955-1959 U.S. Army Chief of Staff

1961 Military representative of President Kennedy

1962-1964 Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

1964-1965 Ambassador to South Vietnam

1987 Died


The Uncertain Trumpet, 1960.
Responsibility and Response
New Dynamics in National Strategy

The Paradox of Power
Precarious Security, 1976.
Swords and Plowshares.


Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group. 2003.