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Rusk I, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Becoming President of the Rockefeller Foundation

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Partial Transcript: Maybe we could start by asking what specific discussions you had leading up to your appointment, and who were the people primarily responsible for your appointment, and why were you interested, and why were they interested in you?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the events leading up to his election as president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Keywords: Alger Hiss; Carnegie Endowment; Chester Barnard; Civil Service; Flora M. Rhind; John D. Rockefeller III; John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; John Foster Dulles; John J. McCloy; John Sloan Dickey; Mills College; Robert Lovett; The Rockefeller Foundation; Truman Administration; U.S. State Department; Warren Cohen; government jobs

00:10:28 - Reorganization of the Rockefeller Foundation

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Partial Transcript: Organization-wise, you came into the office in New York. I know roughly how it was organized. They had apparently several divisions, primarily up until that time, and I guess you continued it. They were concerned primarily with medicine and health.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the process of reorganizing the Rockefeller Foundation to account for the growing interest in agricultural philanthropy (the "Green Revolution") and to place more responsibility on Rockefeller Trustees.

Keywords: Division of Agriculture; Rockefeller Trustees; The Green Revolution; grants

00:14:32 - Rockefeller Foundation dockets and conference discussions

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Partial Transcript: How did you get the paperwork? Did you actually give them proposals to review or--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the docket conferences he had with other Rockefeller Trustees and particular experiences reviewing the dockets.

Keywords: Belknap and Webb; Chauncey Belknap; Fordham University; Lincoln Center; Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

00:19:03 - Funding for the arts

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Partial Transcript: You said that during your years, the Foundation moved into the arts.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the Rockefeller Foundation's movement toward preservation of the arts, and his own relationship with the arts from his time at Oxford University.

Keywords: Davidson College; Louisville Symphony Orchestra; Oxford College; artists; creativity; fine arts; funding; funding for the arts; grants; liberal arts

00:24:58 - From art preservation to interpretation

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Partial Transcript: I noticed that one of the books said that you switched from the emphasis on preservation to an emphasis on interpretation in the arts. Was that a conscious move?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the shift from art preservation to interpretation within the Rockefeller Foundation grants.

Keywords: Columbia University; Davidson College; Madrid art; Museo Nacional del Prado; Prado; Spanish art; art interpretation; art preservation; art restoration

00:27:23 - Temptation to influence proposals

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Partial Transcript: One of the besetting sins in the foundation world is the temptation to play God: the notion that just because there is money behind it that your ideas are important.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the temptation for officers within The Rockefeller Foundation to attempt to influence incoming proposals to benefit themselves or their interests. Further, he discusses the liquidation of the General Education Board.

Keywords: Benjamin Mays; Davidson College; Fisk University; General Education Board; Morehouse College; Princeton University; Robert Goheen; The Rockefeller Foundation; Tulane University; Tuskegee University; Vanderbilt University

00:31:20 - Rockefeller Foundation gifts and post-graduate fellowships

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Partial Transcript: We made a substantial grant to a Japanese university and about a year later we discovered that nothing had happened.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about particular Rockefeller Foundation gifts and grants that were not fully utilized by their recipients. He also talks about the post-graduate fellowships given through the Rockefeller Foundation.

Keywords: Latin America; Peking Union Medical College; Rockefeller Foundation fellowships; The Rockefeller Foundation; malaria; post-graduate fellowships; yellow fever

00:36:44 - Rusk's role in the Rockefeller Foundation

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Partial Transcript: How did you personally spend your time, and what percentage?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his role in the Rockefeller Foundation and the process of seeking the best recipients for their grants.

Keywords: Flora Rhind; Lindsley Kimball; The Rockefeller Foundation; United Negro College Fund; administration; grant writing; grants; nonprofit administration; nonprofits; philanthropy

00:39:45 - Rockefeller Foundation offices and expenditures

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Partial Transcript: Where were the offices located?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the location of the Rockefeller Foundation and the daily workings of the officers, including perks that accompanied the work. He also discusses the Foundation's considerations to move out of Manhattan and into the country, and the relationship between Washington, D.C., and the Foundation.

Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; Democratic party; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Ford Foundation; John F. Kennedy; New York Central railway; New York commuters; RCA Building; The Herald Tribune; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; Time-Life-Fortune Building; Washington, D.C.; commuters; commuting; national politics; nonprofits; philanthropies; state politics

00:46:43 - John Foster Dulles and China policy

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Partial Transcript: Although there was one thing that was done on my own initiative which you fellows might want to take a look at.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his interactions with John Foster Dulles, including the letter he gave John Foster Dulles on Dulles' hundredth day in office and their negotiation on a change in foreign policy with China. Rusk also talks about President Kennedy's tendency to be more cautious than people perceived him to be.

Keywords: 1960s; Adlai Stevenson; Chester Bowles; China policy; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Herman Talmadge; John F. Kennedy; John Foster Dulles; Phyllis Bernau; Phyllis Macomber; Senate Foreign Relations Committee; U.S. foreign policy; United Nations; Walter George; William Rogers; domestic policy; foreign policy; press relations; two-China policy

00:55:31 - The Aswan Dam

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Partial Transcript: Sometimes these would turn on the issues of the day.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the negotiations between John Foster Dulles and Eugene Black, president of the World Bank, regarding the building of the Aswan Dam, a project that was later spearheaded by Russia.

Keywords: Aswan Dam; Eugene Black; John Foster Dulles; World Bank; dam construction; environmental issues

00:57:06 - The Elihu Root Lectures

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Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the Elihu Root lectures that became published in an article published in the journal Foreign Affairs, and how that may have affected Kennedy's consideration of him for Secretary of State.

Keywords: Foreign Affairs; John F. Kennedy; Secretary of State; Theodore Sorensen