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Rusk LLLLLL, Andrew Steigman, 1986 May 6

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:03 - Steigman as staff assistant / Rusk's office management

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Partial Transcript: Andy Steigman, S-T-E-I-G-M-A-N, personal assistant to Dean Rusk from 1966 through the summer of 1968.

Segment Synopsis: Steigman, former staff assistant to Dean Rusk, explains the division of labor between himself and Ben Read, Rusk's special assistant. He says that he and Read both read everything coming in and out of Rusk's office to determine its relevance, completeness, and grammatical correctness. Steigman praises Rusk's dictation of telegrams, consideration of other employees, dedication, and organization.

Keywords: Buck Borg; Harry Schlaudeman; personal staff

00:08:48 - Rusk's conventionality and loyalty / Resistance to Vietnam within State Department

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Partial Transcript: Did you inject your own views into policy, or did my dad solicit your views in any way?

Segment Synopsis: Steigman explains that Rusk stuck to the official chain of command, only seeking policy advice from his assistant secretaries, and limiting Steigman's role to administration. Steigman mentions Rusk's loyalty to the president's policies, and comments that no one could be sure of Rusk's personal leanings. Steigman says that he opposed the Vietnam War, but felt that he should defer to superiors, and he claims that many Foreign Service Officers limited their direct involvement with Vietnam policy.

Keywords: FSO; Johnson; Vietnam; dissent

00:15:32 - Rusk's interactions with anti-war citizens

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Partial Transcript: Was my dad receptive to these dissenting views from your perspective on the Vietnam War?

Segment Synopsis: Steigman demonstrates Rusk's openness to oppositional opinions by providing an anecdote about student protesters at Rusk's house. He recalls Rusk's patience during a University of Indiana speech that was met with protest, and he talks about Rusk's planning of a speech in Brooklyn.

Keywords: Vietnam War; pacifists; student protest

00:19:43 - A "bone-tired" Rusk / Rusk with the president and the Foreign Service

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Partial Transcript: Talking about my dad's health in 1968--go ahead

Segment Synopsis: Steigman says that Dean Rusk eventually became worn down from pressure and paperwork, and speculates that the human cost of war weighed heavily on Rusk as well. Steigman considers private advice Rusk may have given to President Johnson, but says that Rusk's opinions would not have impacted Steigman's own job. Steigman claims that Rusk kept his distance from the Foreign Service.

Keywords: Clark Clifford; Johnson; Tet Offensive; administration; leadership; management

00:38:22 - Anecdotes illustrating Rusk's personality

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Partial Transcript: I have further anecdotes which don't relate to Vietnam or any of the other topics really.

Segment Synopsis: Steigman explains Rusk's preference for purposeful inaction over conflict as a means of preventing disagreeable policies. He mentions that the Department of State ignored Rusk's requests not to monitor his calls with the president, and he talks about Rusk's penchant for playing bridge.

Keywords: Mongolia; Ridgeway Knight; travel