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Rusk BB, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:33 - Role of Secretary of State vs role of National Security Advisor

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Partial Transcript: One of the noteworthy things about the first meeting of the former Secretaries of State held in Atlanta late in 1983 was the way all four present responded to the question put by the moderator, Edwin Newman, about relations to the National Security Advisor to the President.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the different roles of the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor. The role of the Secretary of State has a lot of rules and regulations as opposed to the National Security Advisor. Rusk states his opinion that the White House Staff should not get between the President and his cabinet officer.

Keywords: Henry Kissinger; McGeorge Bundy; National Security Advisor; President; Richard Allen; Walt W. Rowstow; White House; Zibigniew Brzezinski; cabinet member

00:14:18 - Robert Kennedy and foreign policy

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Partial Transcript: One of the unusual features of the Kennedy administration was that the President's brother, Robert Kennedy, was a member of the cabinet as Attorney General and was used from time to time to carry out activities related to foreign policy.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about Bobby Kennedy and his desire to get involved in foreign policy decisions. Rusk later talks about Bobby's usefulness during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Keywords: Anatoly Dobrynin; Attorney General; Bobby Kennedy; CIA; Cuban Missile Crisis; National Security Council; Robert Kennedy

00:19:51 - Thoughts on President Kennedy's entourage

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Partial Transcript: How about some other members of President Kennedy's entourage, such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Ralph Dungan, who fancied themselves as capable of giving advice to the President on foreign policy issues?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the various relationships he had with the members of President Kennedy's entourage such as Ralph Dungan and Arthur Schlesinger.

Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; Arthur Schlesinger; Bay of Pigs; Bob McNamara; Department of State; EXCOM; East Wing; Kennedy; Ralph Dungan; Rose Garden

00:27:53 - Rivalries in the executive branch in making foreign policy decisions

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Partial Transcript: During both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, did any other members of the cabinet try to get involved in foreign affairs.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about how every department and agency of the government wants to carry out their responsibilities beyond the US' borders. Rusk explains how the coordination between the different government agencies and the State Department is very important.

Keywords: Agriculture; Commerce; David Bruce; Defense; Labor; London; President Kennedy; Secretary of State; Social Security Administration; Social Services; Treasury; Veterans Administration

00:33:51 - Partnership with Bob McNamara / Cooperation between State Department and Defense Department

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Partial Transcript: I must say that Bob McNamara and I had long talks with each other almost literally every week.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his relationship with Bob McNamara who was Secretary of Defense at the time. Rusk talks about their weekly meetings, and they would cooperate well together. Rusk later talks about the cooperation between the Defense Department and State Department.

Keywords: Bob McNamara; Christian Herter; Dean Acheson; Defense Department; Department of Defense; Department of State; Europe; General Norstad; Kennedy; Louie Johnson; Luther Hodges; NATO; Paul-Henri Spaak; Pentagon; World Bank; allies; communication; nuclear weapons

00:43:26 - Downfall of the Ludwig Erhard government in Germany

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Partial Transcript: One of the still obscure segments of history is the episode which certainly contributed to the downfall of the Erhard government in 1966.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the problem that the US had with Germany about foreign exchange. He mentions how Chancellor Erhard was invited to Lyndon B Johnson's ranch where he received the LBJ Treatment. This pressure eventually caused the downfall of Chancellor Erhard's government.

Keywords: Bundestag; Germany; Kurt Kiesinger; LBJ treatment; Ludwig Erhard; Lyndon B Johnson; NATO; armed forces; chancellor; ranch; troops

00:49:59 - State Department's diminishing role in international economic affairs / Role of American businessmen abroad

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Partial Transcript: One development that some observers of the Washington scene have noted is the progressive erosion over the last ten years or so of the responsibility for international economic affairs on the part of the State Department. Were you satisfied at your time?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about how the State Department attempted to maintain commercial attachments to foreign work done by different government agencies. Rusk later talks about American businessmen in other countries and his attitude towards them.

Keywords: Agriculture; Commerce; Labor; London; Rome; Social Security; State Department; Veterans Administration

00:56:27 - Congress and foreign policy

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Partial Transcript: I have only one other question.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks briefly about the Congress and foreign relations. He believes that the Congress is too disorganized to handle foreign relations.

Keywords: Congress; Congressmen; David Bruce; London; Oxford University; Rhodes Scholar; Senators; State Department; committee