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Rusk EEEEEE, Martin Hillenbrand, 1986 February 21

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:03 - Soviet ultimatums over Berlin

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Partial Transcript: --86 interview with the Honorable Martin Hillenbrand, former ambassador to West Germany and active in the Berlin Crisis from 1961 to 1963, and perhaps before.

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand talks about two ultimatums that the Soviet Union gave concerning Berlin. He focuses mainly on the one given in 1961 that set a six month deadline to demilitarize Berlin. Hillenbrand examines the possible motivations behind this ultimatum.

Keywords: Bay of Bigs; Cold War; GDR; German Democratic Republic; Kennedy Administration; Nikita Khruschev; Vienna Summit

00:08:38 - June 1961 meeting about Berlin

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Partial Transcript: On June 15th, Mike Mansfield made his free city speech, and that was wildly interpreted as a trial balloon.

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand talks about a 1961 meeting that included President Kennedy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and himself. He shares some of the meeting's content, which focused on how to solve the problems in Berlin. He also briefly talks about Senator Mike Mansfield's speech about Berlin and the views of French leaders on negotiations with the Soviet Union.

Keywords: Berlin Task Force; NATO; Principles Paper

00:13:59 - U.S. motivation to open preliminary negotiations with the Soviet Union

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Partial Transcript: And so the decision--that sounds to me typical of Dean Rusk's personality--the kind of exploratory talks to find a basis for negotiations...

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand speaks about the U.S. decision to begin exploratory talks about Berlin with the Soviet Union. He talks about the motivations behind this decision, including the influence of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson.

Keywords: Ambassadorial Group; Camp David; Cold War; United Nations; nuclear weapons

00:21:44 - Contingency plans for Berlin

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Partial Transcript: Now, what was the feeling--of course, when the wall went up, what--was there any serious consideration of doing...

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand discusses U.S. contingency plans to address possible Soviet actions in Berlin, like illegal military displays and interference with Western air, ground, and barge access.

Keywords: Autobahn; Berlin Wall; Cold War; Four Power Agreement on Berlin

00:30:25 - Possibility of nuclear escalation / Motivation of the Soviet Union to enter negotiations with the U.S.

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Partial Transcript: Let's see, oh, I wanted to ask about Bobby Kennedy at one point made a well publicized statement...

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand talks about the possibility of the situation in Berlin motivating the use of nuclear weapons. Later, he discusses the possible reasons behind the USSR agreement to begin negotiations with the U.S.

Keywords: NATO; arms race; atomic bomb; flexible response

00:37:46 - Berlin exploratory meetings between Dean Rusk and Soviet Minister Andrei Gromyko

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Partial Transcript: That was the interesting thing.

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand talks about the meetings between Rusk and Gromyko to find a basis for negotiations about Berlin. He also speaks briefly about the relationship between the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Keywords: Cold War; GDR; German Democratic Republic; Principles Paper; Soviet Union; delaying diplomacy; politburo

00:46:46 - Potential for military confrontations during the Berlin Crisis

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Partial Transcript: Did you--were you at any time fear any--did you interpret fear that there was imminent action on the horizon?

Segment Synopsis: Hillenbrand talks about different incidents that could have led to military confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He focuses on the Soviet attempt to close the air corridors in 1962.

Keywords: Berlin Wall; Berlin air corridor height restriction; Cold War; USSR