Partial Transcript: Maybe I can get you to explain exactly what you did for my father while serving on his transition team.
Segment Synopsis: Swank talks about the transition period surrounding Rusk's appointment as secretary of state and also talks about staffing Rusk's office. He mentions the odd order of Kennedy's appointments and compares Rusk's access to the White House with that of other officials.
Keywords: Chester Bliss Bowles; Department of State; JFK
Partial Transcript: How did my dad respond to this process of bypassing him and setting up back-channel contacts between people like Chester Bowles and the Kennedy White House?
Segment Synopsis: Swank describes Rusk as stoic, determined, and loyal to the president. He recalls the stress Rusk underwent when informing Chester Bliss Bowles that he would have to step down as Undersecretary of State, and he contrasts Rusk's relationships with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
Keywords: Department of State; JFK; LBJ; administration
Partial Transcript: During those few weeks of the transition period, watching my dad operate and setting up for that job...
Segment Synopsis: Swank talks about his impression of Rusk as canny and insightful and tells an anecdote about the new State Department office. Swank describes his duties in the State Department, which included coordinating Rusk's travel, correspondence, and intelligence. He characterizes Rusk as a reserved and intelligent gentleman and talks about Rusk's work and leisure habits.
Keywords: George Ball; schedule; staffing
Partial Transcript: You said he's not the most communicative of men.
Segment Synopsis: Swank comments on Rusk's tendency to ignore official correspondences he did not want to act on or communicating openly with his staff, but describes him as decisive and judicious. He comments on Rusk's avoidance of profanity or anger.
Keywords: character; integrity; reticence; staffers
Partial Transcript: You say, and I've heard this said, that he was good with the so-called "little people"...
Segment Synopsis: Swank says Rusk's office functioned like a family and mentions Rusk's dedication to his work. He mentions several trips on which he accompanied Rusk, including trips to New York, Rusk's childhood home, and Seattle. Swank talks about Rusk's wife, Virginia Foisie Rusk, who was skilled at hosting receptions.
Keywords: Cherokee County; Waldorf Astoria; diplomacy; diplomatic community
Partial Transcript: You were commenting on my dad's annual trips to the United Nations...
Segment Synopsis: Swank talks about Rusks sensitivity to other countries' diplomatic concerns and about his relationships with other foreign ministers. Swank discusses Rusk's role in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also talks about Rusk's public image and his willingness to take heat on behalf of the presidents he served.
Keywords: JFK; Johnson; Kennedy; Lord Home; RFK; blockade; persona
Dean Rusk Oral History Collection
Rusk NNN NNN
Emory "Coby" Coblentz Swank interviewed by Richard Rusk
RICHARD RUSK: This is an interview with Mr. Emory Coby Swank, a career ForeignService officer who spent many years in China back in the late 1940s; also served as special assistant to Secretary of State Dean Rusk from 1961 through '63; also served on Dean Rusk's transition team from November 1960 through February of 1961; and then became special assistant in March of that year; and various assignments after leaving my dad as his special assistant. Maybe I can get you to explain exactly what you did for my father while serving on his transition team.
SWANK: Yes. I was assigned to your father when he first came to the Department00:01:00after his appointment as Secretary of State had been announced by President Kennedy. I don't recall the exact date, but I think it was sort of late. It would be after, of course, the elections: late November, early December. He came into the Department and was assigned an office as Secretary of State designate, as I recall, on the first floor of the present State Department building. And he had, of course at that point, virtually no staff. So I was assigned to him from the secretariat, which is the organization in the Department, as you probably know, that staffs the senior officials of the Department. I was at that time working with Walter [David] Stoessel, [Jr.], your father's first personal assistant. And in any case, I was designated to go down and to staff the 00:02:00incoming Secretary to the degree that he needed it. And what I would do, of course, would be to receive, from the secretariat, staff studies. All of the bureaus in any transition, you know, are extremely concerned as to what the policy of a new administration is going to be, particularly when it is a change of party, as it was in this case. So, I remember having to approach your father with all sorts of such proposals whether he would agree to attend a CENTO [Central Treaty Organization] meeting, and other things of that sort, which, because he was not yet Secretary of State, he had a great deal of trouble in fielding. And I think at that point too he had, of course, not developed the relationship with the White House or talked sufficiently with the President so early. The new administration had not even taken office, you see. So it was a 00:03:00difficult time for him, and it was a bit difficult for me because I just simply had to inform the bothered assistant secretaries of state, many of whom were leaving office anyway, but people down the line who, of course, would remain in the new administration, that Mr. Rusk simply could not make any decisions.
RICHARD RUSK: Right. Well it must have been a difficult time for him because helost fifteen pounds in about two weeks' time. (laughter)
SWANK: Well I can believe it, because, you know, it was a transition period. Andof course, Chester [Bliss] Bowles, I believe his nomination as Under Secretary had been announced before that of Dean Rusk. Or perhaps it wasn't that. I don't think it was that. I think it was the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.
RICHARD RUSK: My dad just slipped a note into--
SWANK: We're talking about the transition period and I was saying what adifficult time it was. You said he'd lost quite a lot of weight. And I was then recalling that in the odd way that President Kennedy had, he'd nominated G. 00:04:00Mennen ["Soapy"] Williams as Assistant Secretary for African Affairs before he nominated Dean Rusk. And then, of course, Chet Bowles was nominated Under Secretary and was, I guess, very important in the transition too. I think that he sort of took the first lead in the personnel side of things.
RICHARD RUSK: Chester Bowles did?
SWANK: Yes, Chester Bowles. Because staffing the Department was--He had aenormous number of contacts. Of course so did your father. But in any event, that was the setup, and I always felt that it was a particularly difficult transition for your father because he did not have the entree to the Kennedys for that matter, you know, and that whole White House group to the degree that other people did.
RICHARD RUSK: Interesting.
SWANK: Yes. You see. And so I've always thought it was a great temptation forpeople to make end runs to the Kennedys. I remember John Kenneth Galbraith, for 00:05:00example, when appointed ambassador to India, would fire off cables directly to the President, you know. And making end runs around the Department of State because of personal contact and rapport and so forth and so on.
RICHARD RUSK: That's interesting.
SWANK: I think this sort of thing bedeviled your father the whole time in theKennedy administration.
RICHARD RUSK: Uh, huh. And it started right there during the transition?
SWANK: Yes. I'm sure so.
RICHARD RUSK: How did my dad respond to this process of bypassing him andsetting up back-channel contacts between people like Chester Bowles and the Kennedy White House?
SWANK: I think with characteristic stoicism. And I think that he felt that itwas his job to be very loyal to the President, and if this is what the President wanted then he would, in effect, tolerate it. There is a very strong sense of 00:06:00loyalty in your father, and a very great respect for the office of the Presidency, as you know from the articles that he has written in Foreign Affairs about that. And I think that reflected his convictions, because your father is not a man who pretends. On the contrary, he is one of the most sincere and honest persons whom I have ever met.
RICHARD RUSK: Plus he had a high regard and personal affection for ChesterBowles, trusted him, and thought that even if Bowles had perhaps become excessively involved in selecting new people for the Department of State, or recommending new people, my dad was more or less willing to go along with that.
SWANK: Yes. And anticipating a point in time now, one of the most agonizing00:07:00weekends that I believe that your father ever spent--and I think he might confirm this to you. Perhaps he has--was when later on he was commissioned by the White House to inform Chester Bowles that he must step down as Under Secretary. That was a job which the White House gave to your father. And I know that it was an agonizing decision. It occurred, as I recall, over a weekend when there were not very many people in the Department. And I know that this was one of the most difficult tasks that he felt that he had ever been given. He did not discuss it in those terms with me. But one could just perceive that this was the case.
RICHARD RUSK: You bet. How did he respond to the enormity of this appointment?Did he soon take it in stride and get on with the job?
SWANK: Oh yes.
RICHARD RUSK: Or did he spend a certain amount of time really struggling with00:08:00the responsibilities?
SWANK: If he did it was a very private struggle, because his "plate," as he wasfond of saying, became very full very quickly. And so he did not really, I think, in the whole time that I was with him, have adequate time to reflect on things. No Secretary of State does, but your father, while modest, is also a man of great courage and perseverance and determination and loyalty. So quite quickly he took hold, you know, and was in the center of things. I know that that period of time must have been for him, you know. After all, he was moving back to Washington, which he knew rather well, into a milieu in which he did know a lot of the principal players, or former principal players. He had such 00:09:00good relationships with John [J.] McCloy and Dean [Gooderham] Acheson, and so forth. But the whole Kennedy, the younger Kennedy group was not a group with which he had been associated. And that was very much of a clique. And I think one of the problems that he had in the Kennedy administration was that he was never really as personally close to the President as he then became, I'm sure, with Lyndon Johnson. I've never asked him what he felt about either person. I know he had great loyalty to President Kennedy and admired him and respected him, so there was no problem in that. But it was that often, I think, one had the feling that they were, well, that they are very different people. And I don't know to what degree your father feels that he ever developed a really 00:10:00close personal relationship with him.
RICHARD RUSK: He calls it a close official relationship.
SWANK: A close official relationship.
RICHARD RUSK: Not a close personal one.
SWANK: I would suspect that that was probably what it was. He would certainlyknow. And being modest, he would not try to make more of it than it was.
RICHARD RUSK: During those few weeks of the transition period, watching my dadoperate and setting up for that job, did you get the impression that he was, in fact, the man for that job and fully capable of handling that position?
SWANK: Oh, I had no sense at all about his capacity. I think that your father isa man who grows on persons as he begins to discuss affairs, that is, official business. And one could not help but be impressed by his quick grasp, his understanding, and his canniness. He is not at all Machiavellian, you know, like 00:11:00Henry [Alfred] Kissinger, not at all that sort of operator. But he is canny and, I think, has insights into human behavior which fitted him for this job. And of course the State Department building was at that time quite new itself. And as I recall, I think he was the first Secretary to move into that office.
RICHARD RUSK: That's right.
SWANK: And of course all of those who were on his staff up there and around hisimmediate office, the rugs were so new that they were still losing quantities of this rather cream colored fuzz that comes off the rug. And you could tell anybody who was on the seventh floor by the fuzz around their shoes in the early days. That's one of our favorites. (laughter)
RICHARD RUSK: I'll be durned! Fuzz, huh? You could call it something else.00:12:00
SWANK: Well, whatever you call that fluff that comes off the rug. Fluff is whatyou call it.
RICHARD RUSK: That's interesting. Shall we go from there to your position asSpecial Assistant?
SWANK: Yes. You'd want to know something.
RICHARD RUSK: How about just briefly describe the nature of your duties asSpecial Assistant to my father.
SWANK: Yes. Essentially, my job was, when he traveled overseas, to coordinatewith security and political and geographical bureaus, etc., his itinerary, and with foreign embassies to a degree, although most of the contacts with them were carried on by the bureau concerned. And then, as far as domestic appointments were concerned, that was Phyllis [D.] Bernau. But my job was to staff him in the sense of official and unofficial paper, informational paper, action paper, papers listing options for this or that course of action. In other words, to 00:13:00staff the paper, all of his correspondence, as it were, through him. In other words, the first thing in the morning I would go in with a special intelligence product produced by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available, I think--I don't know what the practice is now, but then it was an extremely limited distribution, top secret, of course, and containing material from all sorts of sources which were not necessarily identified in this very compressed thing. The President had access, and McGeorge Bundy, the director of national security at the White House, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense [Robert Strange] McNamara, and so on: just for the top officials.
RICHARD RUSK: What kind of boss was Dean Rusk for you?
SWANK: Well, he was a wonderful person to work for. As you know, he is not the00:14:00most communicative man in the world, and a man of great reserve, so there was never any idle chatter. He never had time for idle chatter. But he was very gracious to his staff, very gentlemanly, very thoughtful when he had time to think about us. He didn't have too much time to think about us. He was from pillar to post, you know, all the time with, as you know, such a heavy schedule that it took--I had an assistant who worked with me just in staffing his paper because it was more time than just one person could give. His hours were, of course, so very long. It's not that he got in so terribly early in the morning. As I recall, he got in at a decent time in the morning. But he would stay until very late at night. I never knew whether this was that he was an evening person instead of a morning person or what it was. But my metabolism was always the 00:15:00other way. I've always been a morning person. And I would have come in earlier than he did and then left a little earlier too, I think, if I could. But I think that he felt that the end of the day, particularly after months into his administration of the Department, he found when he wasn't committed to go to elaborate dinners or receptions, which he did try to avoid to the maximum degree, or to give a speech, when he didn't have those commitments, he typically would have a couple of drinks in his office with George [Wildman] Ball or with some other people as soon as the heavy business of the day had been got out of. And I think that is when he really relaxed and when he did have a time, maybe, to sit down and assess what he was doing as Secretary of State and discuss 00:16:00options with people like George Ball.
RICHARD RUSK: I've heard it said that my dad and so many of these men in thesetop positions are more operational in character than reflective.
SWANK: They have to be.
RICHARD RUSK: They have to be. However, at the end of the day, after-work drinksmight have been the time that he had time for reflection.
SWANK: Well I hope so. Certainly he had time for relaxation, which I think isconducive to reflection. And he and George Ball hit it off very well--At least that was certainly my impression--and had a very close relationship. And I think this was a time of day when they felt that they could see each other and compare notes as to what was going on. But it was a very frequent occurrence to have them sit together over a drink in the Secretary's office, you know, sometime in the period between six thirty and eight thirty, on into nine thirty. Often he tried to get away at nine. 00:17:00
RICHARD RUSK: You said he's not the most communicative of men. Other of hiscolleagues have also talked about this degree of reticence that's part of his nature. Now did it complicate your job? Did it make things more difficult for you?
SWANK: Well sometimes I didn't know what his real attitude would be tosomething. But I rapidly perceived that when he didn't want to act on a piece of paper, he would just let it sit in his in-box. And periodically I would go through and bring out all of these old staff studies that he'd never acted on, or other things, just so he would tell me what to do about them. This is the housekeeping, the efficiency touch. And sometimes he'd say, "No, just leave it there." So when he didn't want to make a decision, as I remember his saying, he said, "Inaction is also a decision." That was one of his favorite observations 00:18:00on life in the Department of State. If you don't act on something, that in itself is an action. Inaction is action.
RICHARD RUSK: It must have been maddening for some of his colleagues, ratherthan be given a flat "no" in response, to have these papers sit in his letter box like that.
SWANK: He could be very decisive, you know. It's just that there were somethings he, for one reason or another, did not want to act on. He didn't think the timing, perhaps, was good. And I certainly respected his judgment. When I mentioned this, this was one of the things that periodically I had to do. And I don't know--you know, you hate to bring things up to somebody who perhaps doesn't want to make a decision. But that was my job. And he was never difficult with me. I don't think he ever said a cross word to anybody. And as you know, he's the most unprofane man in the world. I think "gosh" or "dickens" is about the only profanity I've ever--and that's not profanity. In this, by the way, he 00:19:00was in marked contrast to many of the people in the White House with whom he was working. [He was n]ot an indecisive man. But these would often, maybe, be studies about this or that, or something else. He would just keep them there. And I was never quite clear in my own mind why he did not want to act on them, or why he just didn't hand them to me and say, "I don't intend to act on this." And then I would have sent it back to the--But this was just a little quirk of his operating style, and I would not exaggerate its importance.
RICHARD RUSK: While you were involved in the procedural end of his job to agreat extent, any other quirks or aspects of his administrative style that are distinctive and that you'd care to comment on?
SWANK: Well, he was always by and large a very easy person to staff and a man of00:20:00enormously even temperament. He kept what must have been his anger and frustration very much under control, unlike some of his successors, at least from tales that I have heard. So we really do not have anecdotes in which he, you know, such as there are about Kissinger, that he was really tearing his staff apart and throwing things, exploding in tantrums and all of this sort of thing. I don't see how people could put up with it. We didn't have any of that. Your father is a gentleman and a scholar and he's a very rare, rare personality in that respect. So that those of us who staffed him, I think, never had any serious problems of any sort. Sometimes I wondered if we could have helped him 00:21:00in ways--I suppose he would have told us had we not been doing things the way he wanted us to do them. At least I would hope he would be that open and candid with us. And I assume--I don't know how many different people staffed him over a period of years. You must have a list of eight--four, five, six people.
RICHARD RUSK: At least eight.
SWANK: At least eight, Including the other assistants. For example, Walt [WalterLeon] Cutler was working with me, and then Bill [William Edgar] Knepper toward the end. They are still In the service. So there were any number of people that you could sort of confirm this. But I think all of us felt that we were extremely fortunate to be able to work for a man of your father's integrity. I 00:22:00suppose if one had to mention, besides Intelligence, one word which I think your father really embodies completely, it is the word "integrity." And that is really, I think, an important quality for people to have.
RICHARD RUSK: Good point.
SWANK: Where we could go from there: Traveling with him was--well, you know, heliked to have his scotch on the rocks when he could at a time, but I never saw him with too much. RR - Let me break In on one point. You say, and I've heard this said, that he was good with the so-called "little people:" the security men, the secretaries.
SWANK: Oh yes, always. Gus [Peleuses] and others. Herb Bennington. Is ItBennington or Pennington?
RICHARD RUSK: Bert Bennington.
SWANK: Bert Bennington.
RICHARD RUSK: They all have terrific stories about him. Do you have any stories00:23:00or any anecdotes along those lines that might reflect that?
SWANK: No. No, I don't. I guess--he is very good with, well, "little people," ifyou want to put it that way, because he's a kind person.
RICHARD RUSK: That was Gus's description of his role, and I used it. But youpeople form an absolutely indispensable function to a fellow like that.
SWANK: Oh yeah. We function very much as a family. It was an office very free ofbickering and jealousies and so forth. And I think that this was due to the fact that probably the Secretary wouldn't have tolerated them, but that certainly he did not promote them in any way. But those occasions were so rare that I could count them on one hand. So here was a man who was really totally committed to his job, not that he neglected his family. I'm sure he didn't, (laughter) But 00:24:00you saw very little of him.
RICHARD RUSK: Well, I'm sure he did.
SWANK: Well, he did yeah. I mean you saw very little of him.
RICHARD RUSK: That's why I'm writing this book. I want to find out who my dadis. And I must say it's a fascinating experience.
SWANK: Well he is, of course, a man very much dedicated to his work, anintellectual in the very good sense of that word. And so it was for me an enormous pleasure and honor, I felt, to work with him. Trips with him: I went on his first Asian trip. Well, when he met [Jawarharlal] Nehru and was in Bangkok with him for a SEATO [Southeast Asia Treaty Organization] meeting. I know that was one of the first trips. I'll never forget the sweltering Bangkok heat that we had there. And I was in Pakistan with him, and then Geneva, of course, for the negotiations on Laos. We were there for quite a period of time. And then, of 00:25:00course, every year Phyllis and I would go up to New York with him.
RICHARD RUSK: To the United Nations?
SWANK: Yes. And he had a suite in the Waldorf Astoria. And we would share thesuite with him and work out his schedule. He, of course, had to meet with foreign minister after foreign minister at that point. Well, he had really, I don't know when he reflected on the direction that policy should take because he was involved with all of the nitty-gritty of being Secretary of State: the protocol, the necessity to see foreign ministers who really didn't interest him, the necessity of being gracious when he didn't feel gracious and things were troubling him. And some Secretaries of State since he was in the office, I 00:26:00believe, have tried to cast aside that role. I always thought that he was less comfortable in speech making than some Secretaries of State. And I remember working with public affairs very much, in the early years in particular. And of course there was this, "The Winds of Freedom," which he wrote, which was sort of put together by Ernest [K. Lindley]--I forget his last name--who was with Newsweek for quite a while, who was on his staff. But in any case, then I would travel with him. I'll never forget one of the more interesting trips that I made with him personally was his first trip to Atlanta after he became Secretary of State. We went down there in the spring. It was my first trip to Atlanta. We went down there in the spring, and the dogwood was in bloom. And I remember that one of the young men who met us--He had some other things to do, the Secretary--drove me out past the small country home where Dean Rusk had been born. 00:27:00
RICHARD RUSK: That would have been in Cherokee County.
SWANK: Yes. That's right. We drove up there that day. I had some free time. Inever had very much free time when I was traveling with the Secretary. But I did that afternoon, and I'll never forget driving past there. In any case, he made a major speech that night. I was with him in Houston; I was with him in Los Angeles; went with him to Seattle and there met your mother's family, your grandparents. And I remember we had a delightful dinner of fresh salmon at one of the seafood restaurants. The place was closed In, though. We couldn't see any of the mountains. I've been back to Seattle since and have now seen them. But in any case--so I did a lot of traveling with him, domestic as well as abroad. He, 00:28:00of course, utilized that time. These were working trips, so he worked on the way. And I would take along some materials. Or he'd be working on a speech up to the last minute.
RICHARD RUSK: What about my mother [Virginia Foisie Rusk]? Did you have anycontacts with her, and could you comment on her job?
SWANK: Well, yes indeed. And she, of course, was so loyal to your father andtook on her own the enormous chore of attending all of these diplomatic receptions with the more than a hundred missions. There must be considerably more than a hundred missions in Washington. They all have National Days and give receptions, of course, or at least they did then. And I think that your mother would do that for him. And she was working with Connie [Dunaway], I think. Connie was sort of her secretary, at least--no, I guess she was working with someone else, but I think Connie for a time too. But in any case, she played a 00:29:00very definite role as Madame Secretary of State in her efforts with the diplomatic community and in goodness knows how many other ways.
RICHARD RUSK: You were commenting on my dad's annual trips to the United Nations--
END OF SIDE 1
BEGINNING OF SIDE 2
SWANK: --one of these briefing papers in two or three minutes. And he becamevery deft and very direct about it. I always thought that he was really an enormously gracious person in his meetings with people from other countries. And I don't think that he ever had in him any instinctual feeling of superiority or anything of that sort. He, I think, comprehended the point of view which the other one was coming in. And this sort of sensitivity and understanding of other 00:30:00nations' problems and where they are coming from, not every Secretary of State has. I can think, for example, I don't think it was notably present in Secretary [John Foster] Dulles. But he would really have a pressing schedule of these meetings with other foreign ministers. Now some were obviously more important than others. And he and Lord [Alec Douglas-]Home, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was excellent, their relationship. I recall that in particular, and naturally that meeting, because British and American interests touched on so many different parts of the world, that meeting, of course, would be infinitely more important than--
RICHARD RUSK: Right.
SWANK: And I think he would relish a meeting of that sort. At the time, of00:31:00course, I was with him during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And this, of course, was one of the star periods of the Kennedy administration. And your father was very much in the center of things. Although he was not communicating to his staff about it, it was held very closely. The small group of people who were involved in this, Robert [Francis] Kennedy, George Ball, etc. You know, Adlai [Ewing] Stevenson [III] didn't know very much about it until the very end of the thing. But I always thought that he handled himself really nobly throughout that period. I was not sitting in on the meetings, though; I can't give you their flavor. But I know that I held a scrap of paper for a very long time in which at their crucial meeting of decision he had written down on a small piece of note 00:32:00paper what he thought our policy should be, which is what we in fact did do.
RICHARD RUSK: He recommended the blockade?
SWANK: Yes. I saved that piece of paper for him, and you may find it among hissouvenirs unless somebody threw it away. Because I said, you know, you may never write a book, but this is a memento of really a historic occasion and I think you should save it. And since he did not throw it away right then, maybe he did.
SWANK: --the whole time that I was with him when he was infuriated. He may havebeen, but one could not describe any reaction that he had. You know how people are quick and you can tell right away they're just infuriated. I cannot say that I ever recall his being infuriated. I don't think it was his fault. I don't know whether he could have dedicated more to other people. But he wanted--I know he 00:33:00had his priorities right. His first priority was to serve the President. And there was no mistaking the priorities. But perhaps maybe he allowed himself to accept too many other things. You know that the Secretary of State has a public image. Imagery takes a great deal of time, as one will witness in the [Ronald Wilson] Reagan White House, for example, (laughter) It takes most of the time of the Reagan White House just polishing and creating the President's image. In fact, that's what it is, the administration, it seems to me, or the White House. But your father didn't care very much about that. And, of course, I have heard it said--And I wasn't with him in the Lyndon Johnson years. But he took a good deal of the flack aimed at Lyndon Johnson. He took it for him and accepted all sorts of forums and, you know, speaking platforms, which I am sure must have 00:34:00been a very difficult time for him. I have never really talked with him about that. But I do remember one time when I came home from some assignment. I think it was that I came in from Laos and I was going out to Moscow, and I saw him in that interval. This would have been 1967. And he said, you know, he told me or he commented to me, he said, "Things in so many respects are going well. Look what has happened in Indonesia, for example. A communist subversion has been put down. Look at the positive events in Europe. NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] is strong, and so forth. And," he said, "if only we could get this morass of Vietnam behind us and concentrate on something else." And I know that 00:35:00he must have had considerable regrets in a way that his last years as Secretary were so taken up in the morass of Vietnam. They really couldn't get talks with the Soviets started on arms control, which I know was something that he was personally very much interested in. That was no go. So it was a very disappointing time for him.
RICHARD RUSK: You bet. You bet. I've heard many favorable and flattering thingsabout my dad as Secretary, but I feel obliged to ask the other question: What would you say were his major shortcomings in office?
SWANK: I told your father that he had some shortcom--I was kidding him. I said,I'm going to tell him all your shortcomings, when I was talking with him just now.
RICHARD RUSK: Okay.
SWANK: Well, I would say that his star does not shine in public relations. This00:36:00is not his--His image, I think, was something that bothered him. He once told me, he said, "I look like somebody who came out of a pool hall." (laughter) He was referring to his bald head.
RICHARD RUSK: I'll be durned. Do you think it bothered him?
SWANK: --and I think--Well, I don't know. I don't think he was a vain man. He'snot a vain man at all. But I guess we all have a certain vanity, a certain amount of vanity. But I do not think that he was as good a public speaker, or really cared for that very much. And so he had to sort of force himself into that. I would say that that was a minor shortcoming. Perhaps he didn't pay enough attention to image.
RICHARD RUSK: Yeah. And in that sense, image can be important. Because if youdon't pay attention to that, it takes away from the degree of influence you can have.
SWANK: That's right. This is right. But it was part of what he would say is00:37:00"quackery," you know. It just wasn't in him to pay attention to image.
RICHARD RUSK: Carl [Thomas] Rowan said the same thing. He was here briefly, andhe said he had enormous respect for my dad. He wished he was a little bit less bland and a little but more flamboyant, for those same reasons.
SWANK: Yes. Well, of course, Carl was working in public affairs and wasendeavoring, like Bill--Was it Bill Manning? No, Tom Manning, I guess.
RICHARD RUSK: Robert [Joseph Manning].
SWANK: Robert Manning. I'll get it right in a minute. My memory--Bob Manning. Weall were a little concerned about that aspect.
RICHARD RUSK: Did you ever go to him and say, "Look, you are coming across a bittoo bland. Why don't you try to spiff things up?"
SWANK: I never told him that he was bland, but I would--you know, he escheweddrama. I think this was it. I mean, I don't know that I pay enough attention to 00:38:00my image here in this job. But I am a more dramatic speaker than your father is. It's just in you or it's not in you. And I don't think that your father has much of a sense of drama or a sense of the theatrical.
RICHARD RUSK: Interesting.
SWANK: And yet, that's what public appearances are, you know?
RICHARD RUSK: Interesting. Anything further? Say that again. Say that again.
SWANK: I say I don't know whether he could have managed his time moreefficiently than he did. There we were, Phyliss Bernau and I, chasing him around the clock, you know. Every day was a commitment, commitment. Everybody wants the Secretary for this or for that. And while we did try to protect him, he really, in a way, didn't want to be protected. He felt that It was his responsibility to do all of these things.
RICHARD RUSK: And yet, George [Catlett] Marshall, during World War II as ArmyChief of Staff, ran the war effort on an eight-hour day. He'd go home at five o'clock every day.
SWANK: Well, yes this--and oh, by the way, I must say that your father, if he00:39:00mentioned it to me once or to other people, he must have done it twenty times [although he's not a repetitive man] his great admiration for George Marshall. I don't think I've ever heard him speak with as much admiration about anyone. I feel that he must have been--in some sense, your father idolized him.
RICHARD RUSK: He did.
SWANK: Now I don't quite know why or what their relationship was. But in anycase, George Marshall also way a very, very reserved person.
RICHARD RUSK: Do you think he tried to model himself after Marshall in ways--
SWANK: To a degree I think that he did.
RICHARD RUSK: --that simply did not fit my dad's own character and personality?
SWANK: Perhaps. Perhaps. I don't know. I think your father has a great naturalreserve, though, don't you?
RICHARD RUSK: Yes, indeed. Very much.
SWANK: No I don't think that was--I don't think that he was theatrical enough toimitate Marshall, if I can put it that way. 00:40:00
RICHARD RUSK: Good point.
SWANK: But he had the greatest respect for Marshall and Marshall's manner ofconducting himself in office.
RICHARD RUSK: Do you have any additional comments or further remarks?
SWANK: Yes. Well, as you can see, I am a great admirer of your father. And Iguess the only comment I can say is that time, in that hectic schedule that he had, never seemed to permit intimacies with his staff, which I think all of us would have greatly valued and which I regret very much we didn't have, you know. There simply was not a time for it. And then I think too that your father is not a man who gets on an intimate basis with people very easily. He has a very nice touch with people of all ranks and dispositions, and so forth, but he is a very private man. I am amazed he's letting you write this book.
RICHARD RUSK: (laughter) That's funny! So am I. (laughter) So am I. And I want00:41:00to thank you for a lovely interview, and I've enjoyed every minute of it
SWANK: Well, it went a little beyond your expectations, I think, in length AndI'm sorry if I went on to no avail on some things. But I have certainly enjoyed talking with you, and I appreciate your asking me to contribute to this. I'm delighted to do it.
END OF SIDE 2