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Rusk JJJJJJ, Dean Rusk interviewed by Richard Geary Rusk and Thomas Schoenbaum, Part 1, 1986 April

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:04 - Effects of President Kennedy's background on his presidency

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Partial Transcript: We're talking today with Dean Rusk about John Kennedy.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about President Kennedy's upbringing and the effects it had on his knowledge base, policy, and attitude as president.

Keywords: Boston Irish; JFK; LBJ; President Lyndon Johnson

00:04:16 - President Kennedy's preparedness for the presidency

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Partial Transcript: Was he well-prepared for the presidency?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk considers how prepared President Kennedy was for the presidency. He focuses on Kennedy's navy experience, intellect, and lack of administrative background.

Keywords: U.S. Navy; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War II

00:12:25 - President Kennedy's leadership

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Partial Transcript: You add those three things together, Pop, the force of his intellect and insatiable curiosity, his wanting to get into everything...

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses President Kennedy's leadership, evaluating his level of involvement in running the executive branch. He also talks briefly about the missile gap that Kennedy campaigned on.

Keywords: Article II of the U.S. Constitution; Bay of Pigs; Cook County, Illinois; Soviet Union; nuclear war

00:20:38 - Reports of President Kennedy's dissatisfaction with Dean Rusk and the State Department

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Partial Transcript: He did take you to task for not exercising to its fullest extent your authority, I believe.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about accounts by Special Assistant Arthur Schlesinger that President Kennedy was dissatisfied with Rusk and the State Department. Rusk considers the context and veracity of these reports.

Keywords: A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House ; Secretary of State; U.S. Congress; United Nations

00:27:48 - President Kennedy's courage

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever read Profiles in Courage?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the courage that President Kennedy showed, sharing examples from the Berlin Crisis, Cuban Missile Crisis, and trade negotiations with China.

Keywords: Berlin ultimatums; Cold War; John F. Kennedy's inaugural address; Soviet Union; presidential election of 1960

00:32:11 - President Kennedy's use of language / Support for Adlai Stevenson in the 1960 presidential election

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Partial Transcript: What about his language?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the extent to which President Kennedy used expletives or coarse language. Later, he shares the reasons that he supported Stevenson over Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election.

Keywords: Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.; Nixon Administration; White House Counsel Theodore Sorensen; White House transcripts; nuclear weapons

00:39:11 - Dean Rusk's suitability as President Kennedy's Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: McGeorge Bundy was asked by Kennedy whether or not you would be a suitable Secretary of State for John Kennedy.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses his suitability to be President Kennedy's Secretary of State. He focuses the discussion on their differences and similarities.

Keywords: Adlai Stevenson; State Department; bipartisanship

00:43:58 - Personal response to the assassination of President Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: Can we ask about your reaction to his assassination?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the assassination of President Kennedy and its personal effect on himself and other government officials.

Keywords: Jacqueline Kennedy; Lee Harvey Oswald; President Charles de Gaulle; President Franklin Roosevelt

00:49:42 - Global effects of the assassination of President Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: There was continuity and the business of the government went ahead.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the personal and political effects of President Kennedy's death on a global scale. He discusses changing U.S. policies and shares various anecdotes about global response to the assassination.

Keywords: Food for Peace; President Charles de Gaulle; Third World; less developed countries; mutualism; underdeveloped countries

00:56:11 - Emotional moments for President Kennedy

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Partial Transcript: These are kind of short questions.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk shares various memories of President Kennedy's most emotional moments, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and a visit from Indonesian President Sukarno.

Keywords: Cold War; Nuclear Test Ban Treaty