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Rusk HHH, Lucius D. Battle, 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:11 - Special Assistant to Secretaries of State / Dean Acheson's 1950 Press Club speech

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Segment Synopsis: Battle talks about his personal and working relationships with Secretaries of State Dean Acheson and Dean Rusk. He discusses Dean Acheson's controversial Press Club speech on Korea, which Acheson improvised after writing several unsuitable drafts. Battle says that both public and congressional opinions were in favor of the war, but that they reversed once prospects became bleak.

Keywords: Far East; Korean War; State Department; perimeter; public opinion

00:11:39 - Dean Rusk's appointment / The big mistake of the Korean War

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Partial Transcript: You say you knew Dean Acheson quite well.

Segment Synopsis: Battle talks about Dean Rusk's appointment as Secretary of State and about traveling with Dean Acheson. He says that after the surprising success of the Battle of Inchon in 1950, the Joint Chiefs wrote a telegram extending a great deal of discretionary power to General MacArthur. Battle expresses regret at not speaking out against MacArthur's power more forcefully.

Keywords: Averell Harriman; Douglas MacArthur; Present at the Creation; Truman Library

00:22:39 - John Foster Dulles / Southeast Asian policy / Dean Acheson's criticism of Dean Rusk

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Partial Transcript: Well, the next real involvement where I ran into your father...

Segment Synopsis: Battle critiques Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, saying he frequently changed his positions and goals. Battle mentions foreign policy with respect to French Indochina and talks about Dean Acheson and Dean Rusk's disagreement over Vietnam. He describes the Secretary of State's responsibilities to the president and to the department.

Keywords: France; Japanese Peace Treaty; State Department; Vietnam; bipartisanship; bureaucracy; colonialism; leadership; organization

00:32:54 - The aging Dean Acheson / Personality differences between Dean Acheson and Dean Rusk

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Partial Transcript: --at my house at a dinner party we gave, with Stu Symington, and Townsend Hoopes and various others present...

Segment Synopsis: Battle explains that Dean Acheson became more prone to arguments and more politically conservative with age. Battle describes Secretary Acheson as generally more trusting and open than Secretary Rusk, who was more cautious in sharing information and less volatile toward staff. Battle shares how these differences in personality affected his job and the organization of the department.

Keywords: Executive Secretary; NATO; Vietnam; Westmoreland; communication; criticism; right

00:41:26 - Acheson, Rusk, and the White House / Managing Assistant Secretaries

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Partial Transcript: Those were differences in individual personalities as applied to the ruining of a very large department in a very different time and with a very different White House.

Segment Synopsis: Battle compares how Secretary Acheson and Secretary Rusk viewed communications with White House staff, mentioning specific instances involving General Vaughn and Richard Goodwin. Battle comments on Harlan Cleveland, Chet Bowles, and other State Department officials who caused organizational problems. Battle shares his efforts to remedy uncertainty and disorganization in the Department.

Keywords: Kennedy; McGeorge Bundy; Truman; correspondence; delegation; interagency; leadership; policy

00:55:23 - Role of the Secretary of State / Dissenting views

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall instances when he did crack the whip?

Segment Synopsis: Battle comments that Acheson saw both advising the president and running the Department of State as crucial parts of his job, whereas Rusk considered foreign policy advising as his primary role. Battle recalls feeling overloaded in his job, and says that more information from Dean Rusk could have helped him. Battle mentions Rusk's distaste for dissent against Vietnam and his tendency to become more hawkish than he intended.

Keywords: Arab-Israeli conflict; Cyprus Crisis; George Ball; Southeast Asia; UN; delegation; leadership