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Rusk 7T, Dean Rusk autobiographical sketch, Part 6, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:04 - President Harry Truman

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Partial Transcript: --going to the University of Georgia to teach international law in the law school, a friend of mine at the Harvard Law School wrote me a little letter of welcome into the profession...

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about President Truman. He tells several personal stories about Truman and gives an analysis of Truman's decision-making ability, comparing him with 1952/1956 presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.

Keywords: Harvard Law School; Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru; State Department; United Nations

00:05:54 - Handling intelligence and intelligence gaps

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Partial Transcript: By the way Richard, remind me to let you have a copy of a book review I did on a book called Our Man at the United Nations because I reflect upon the position of the person up there and his relations with a secretary of state and a president.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses how information and gaps in information are handled in the role of Secretary of State and within the intelligence community.

Keywords: Cold War; JFK; President John Kennedy; Soviet Union; credibility gap

00:12:40 - Selection as Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: I might go into a little more detail about the circumstances in which John F. Kennedy asked me to serve as Secretary of State.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk speaks about being asked to serve as Secretary of State by President-elect John Kennedy. He focuses on his conversations with Kennedy, potential other candidates, and his recommendations for other government positions.

Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; Civil Rights; Philip Graham; Rockefeller Foundation; Senator James William Fulbright; Southern Manifesto; United Nations; Washington Post

00:22:28 - Personal feelings about accepting the position of Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever have a chance to really tell him whether or not you wanted this thing?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk shares his feelings about becoming Secretary of State. He discusses the financial change and his preparation for the job. He also briefly talks about staying with President Lyndon Johnson after President John Kennedy's assassination.

Keywords: JFK; Kennedy Administration; Kennedy assassination; LBJ; Rockefeller Foundation

00:29:41 - Assassination of President John Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: At the time of the Kennedy assassination, six members of the Cabinet, including myself, were on an airplane on the way to Japan for a joint cabinet meeting with the Japanese cabinet.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk tells the events immediately following President Kennedy's assassination from his perspective.

Keywords: Johnson Administration; Kennedy Administration; LBJ; President Lyndon Johnson; White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger

00:35:10 - Adjusting to the role of Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: If I could back up just a little bit, what were your private thoughts when Kennedy offered you the position?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the adjustment to being Secretary of State. He focuses on his changing salary, busy schedule, family life, and working with the president on foreign policy.

Keywords: "New Deal resignations"; Cold War; Cuba; Kennedy Administration; President John Kennedy; Rockefeller Foundation; constitutional authority; the Bay of Pigs

00:44:58 - "U.S. National Security Policy" booklet / Philosophical dimension of policy-making

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Partial Transcript: During the Eisenhower administration, there was prepared for President Eisenhower a rather thick booklet called "U.S. National Security Policy."

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk speaks about an American policy booklet made for President Eisenhower that was edited for President Kennedy. He shares why he and President Kennedy did not approve of it. Later, Rusk discusses the moral aspect of creating and enacting policy.

Keywords: Eisenhower Administration; Kennedy Administration; Plato; moral philosophy; the State

00:52:39 - Problems the State Department faced

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Partial Transcript: The question I raised was about the time you initially talked with Kennedy in Palm Beach about the operational way of conducting foreign policy.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk considers the different types of problems the State Department faced during his time as Secretary of State, including interference from other government officials, lack of talented drafters, and problems with appointments.

Keywords: Arthur Schlesinger; Henry Kissinger; Kennedy Administration; Robert McNamara; White House staff

01:01:04 - Relationship between the role of the president and the Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: I have heard it said of Kennedy that he saw himself as being a strong executive who pretty much wanted to be his own Secretary of State.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the possibility of overlap between the role of the president and the Secretary of State. He discusses each position's responsibilities and powers.

Keywords: Department of State; Elihu Root Lectures; Executive Branch; Kennedy Administration; U.S. foreign policy

01:08:28 - Preparing to be appointed Secretary of State / Prior administrative and leadership experience

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Partial Transcript: Pop when you talked to Kennedy in Palm Beach, when he offered the position to you, did you lay any conditions...

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk speaks about his conversations with President-elect Kennedy and his security checks prior to his appointment as Secretary of State. Later, Rusk talks about his previous administrative and leadership experience, focusing on his time as president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; Aurelia Reinhardt; CBI theater; China-Burma-India theater; Kennedy Administration; Mills College; RCA; Radio Corporation of America building

01:16:48 - Transition into the Kennedy Administration / Working as president of the Rockefeller Foundation

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Partial Transcript: Didn't mean to distract you from the points you were developing that you did have a good deal of executive and administrative...

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the transition from the Eisenhower Administration into the Kennedy Administration. He focuses on his personal adjustment to the role of Secretary of State. Later, he talks about his time as the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, especially during the congressional investigations into tax-exempt corporations to see if they were supporting communism.

Keywords: Cold War; Congressman Brazilla Carroll Reece; Fidel Castro; Guggenheim Foundation; John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; President Dwight Eisenhower; Secretary of State Christian Herter; State Department budget