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Rusk MM, Interview with Dean Rusk, February 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:04 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is oral history is a taping of Dean Rusk.

Segment Synopsis: Richard Rusk introduces the subject and the other interviewers of the oral history tape with Dean Rusk. Dean Rusk introduces his colleague, Bill Bundy who also makes contributions to the interview.

Keywords: Dean Rusk; Richard Rusk; Vietnam; William Bundy

00:00:44 - The US and Southeast Asia

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Partial Transcript: I think we might start by going back to the Truman administration because every story has some beginnings.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about US policies on Southeast Asia especially Indochina. Because there was a NATO treaty with the countries in the Atlantic ocean, the US, being a two ocean power, wanted to create a similar treaty with nations along the Pacific Ocean. The US did not want to ally with one specific nation in the region, but it would not support French Colonialism in Indochina. President Truman did not have any interest in the region and he did not declare the US' position on Indochina.

Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; Australia; Harry S Truman; Indochina; Japan; Korean War; NATO; New Zealand; Pacific Ocean; Philippines; SEATO pact; Southeast Asia

00:12:19 - Geneva Accords

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Partial Transcript: But then the situation changed in the fifties, during the Eisenhower administration.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk and Bundy talk about the Geneva Accords which was convened to talk about Vietnam. They share why the US did not sign the accords, and they talk about the problems and the situations surrounding the conference. Rusk also talks about the difference between Truman's administration and Eisenhower's administration in relation to Southeast Asian Affairs.

Keywords: CIA; Dienbienphu; Dwight D Eisenhower; Geneva Accords; John Foster Dulles; National Security Council; Ngo Dinh Diem; SEATO; Vietnam; communism

00:20:17 - SEATO Treaty

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Partial Transcript: Yes. One thing that impressed me about the conclusion of the Southeast Asia treaty, during the sixties I looked back into the process by which that treaty was concluded, and that is the rather casual way in which we concluded that treaty

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the casual conclusion of the Southeast Asia treaty. He talks about what the treaty entails and how it had affected the United States' conduct in the region.

Keywords: Cuban Missile Crisis; Kennedy; Khruschev; NATO treaty; Rio treaty; SEATO; Senate; Southeast Asia treaty

00:24:06 - Vietnam and the Geneva Accords

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Partial Transcript: Pop, may I interrupt you?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk and Bundy later talk about what happened after the Geneva Accords such as the elections in Vietnam that were suppposed to take place, and Ho Chi Minh's goal to take over the weaker South Vietnam. They talk about the accords themselves and if the US lived up to them. Rusk and Bundy later talk about the benefits the North Vietnamese got from the Geneva Accords.

Keywords: Chou En-lai; Eisenhower; Geneva Accords; Ho Chi Minh; Kennedy; North Vietnam; Pentagon Papers; SEATO; South Vietnam; Vietcong insurgency; elections

00:33:00 - US- French relations

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Partial Transcript: If we could back up for just a minute, Pop.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk and Bundy talk about the United States' relations with the French during this time. The French were not satisfied with the outcome of the Geneva Accords because they thought the US let Ho Chi Minh win. Some of the French resented the presence of the US during these discussions, but they did sign on to the SEATO Treaty. Bundy and Rusk speculate about France's decision to sign the Southeast Asia Treaty.

Keywords: Geneva Accords; North Vietnam; SEATO; South Vietnam

00:39:58 - Affairs in Laos / Laos Accords

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Partial Transcript: On the day before Kennedy's inauguration, President Eisenhower invited him in to meet with him.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk and Bundy talk about US policy in Laos. Laos at the time was the center of the action in Southeast Asia. They also talk about the Laos Accords and the success, the failures, and their opinions on the accords.

Keywords: Bob McNamara; Chris Herter; Clark Clifford; Eisenhower; Hanoi; Kennedy; Luang Prabang; Pathet Lao; Souvanna Phouma; Winthrop Brown; airlift; funeral

00:50:44 - Laos Accords and Vietnam policy

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Partial Transcript: Let me come to what I think was an important element of this, Dean, as far as Vietnam policy was concerned.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk and Bundy talk about the Laos Accords and its affects on Vietnam. Rusk shares how he was not sure whether the accords would work. Rusk shares a story of how Averell Harriman failed to make sure that the language in the treaty translated to mean the same thing in different languages such as: Russian, French, and Laotian. They talk about the consequences of the failure of the Laos Accord.

Keywords: Averell Harriman; Bangkok; Geneva Conference; Hanoi; International Control Commission; Laos; Laos Accords; Pentagon Papers; Phoumi Nosavan; Vietnam