Dwight D. Eisenhower


For Ike, Shangri-La would become Camp David because of his need to elevate the purpose of the retreat, I believe.  I could find no explanation for the name change other than he felt the past image was a portrayal of secrecy and clandestine meetings at a secret place.  Shangri-La was characterized as a party place for an exclusive group of men.  Giving the camp his grandson’s name was a gamble considering how other legislators and the public might react. Some believe it was presumptuous of the president and others thought it took advantage of the popularity he earned in wartime. But it didn’t create any backlash, though, because of his popularity with both parties, independents and the American people.

For the president, the new name didn’t have connotations that could do harm to him, his family or country. And it fit the character of Dwight David Eisenhower, a prim and proper West Pointer who was committed to serve his country with honor and integrity. President Eisenhower renamed Shangri-La Camp David but the official title for the mountain base remained the Naval Support Facility at Thurmont.