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Rusk NNNN, Benjamin Read, Part 1, 1985 August

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:23 - Effects of Rusk's personality on the office

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Partial Transcript: Last time we talked about my dad's tendency toward reticence...

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about how Rusk's personality affected the State Department, mentioning his reticence and loyalty to the presidents he served. He compares Rusk with George Marshall and notes Rusk's willingness to work extensive, strange hours to solve a problem. Read briefly mentions a Johnson-era government efficiency study.

Keywords: Heineman Report; administration; cabinet; character

00:11:16 - Innovations and integration at the State Department

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Partial Transcript: How about talking some more in a more general way about my dad's administrative capabilities...

Segment Synopsis: Read discusses some of Rusk's lasting impacts on the State Department, including creating an official dissent channel for Foreign Service Officers, counteracting Jim Crow laws in public venues in New York and Washington, and establishing an affirmative action program to recruit female and minority Officers. He talks about Secretaries of State Vance and Muskie (both of whom served under President Carter) in relation to Rusk's policies. Read also discusses the failed bill that was proposed in 1965 by Representative Wayne Hays, which would have placed nearly all employees in the State Department, the Agency for International Development and the U.S. Information Agency in a unitary Foreign Service department.

Keywords: Averell Harriman; Bill Crockett; Foreign Service; Mennen Williams; Soapy Williams; administration; ambassadors; appointments; integration; management; race

00:21:01 - "The crush of daily responsibilities"

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Partial Transcript: How was he with personnel?

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about Rusk's daily responsibilities and the overwhelming amount of information, meetings, congressional testimonies, travel, and press relations he had to keep up with. He notes that there was little time in Rusk's daily schedule for substantive and long-term analysis but notes that Rusk would hold supplemental weekend meetings. Read talks about the difficulty of delegating from Rusk's position.

Keywords: USAID; USIA; assistant secretaries

00:30:59 - Rusk at the end of his term

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Partial Transcript: What happened at the end?

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about the toll Vietnam took on Secretary Rusk and comments on Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker and the Dominican Crisis. Read mentions Rusk's health problems and talks about Secretaries Vance and Muskie, who served in the position after Rusk.

Keywords: crises; fatigue

00:38:27 - Rusk's relationships with Congress and the press

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Partial Transcript: This was a strong card for Dean Rusk, his abilities to relate to the Congress and communicate with people on both sides of the House...

Segment Synopsis: Read says Rusk's knowledge, integrity, and decorum helped him interact with Congress effectively, particularly during the Vietnam War and the televised Fulbright hearings, which changed the public narrative about U.S. military success in Vietnam. In contrast, he notes that Rusk was not forthcoming with the press, and he lists several of Rusk's press secretaries.

Keywords: Everett Dirksen; Richard B. Russell; William Hightower

00:46:24 - Secretary Rusk's work with diplomats

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Partial Transcript: What about Dean Rusk's sense of professionalism and his dealings with other diplomats?

Segment Synopsis: Read discusses foreign diplomats' perceptions of Secretary Rusk. He talks about the possibility for miscommunication between representatives and mentions Rusk and the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's relationship. Read also extols Rusk's dictation skills, giving an example from the Cyprus crisis.

Keywords: McGeorge Bundy; NATO; Turkey; USSR; cables; communications; diplomacy; foreign relations

00:55:38 - Rusk's involvement in arms control

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Partial Transcript: ...going to mention arms control, because the period of your father's tenure in office he was so associated with Vietnam...

Segment Synopsis: Read discusses Rusk's influence on the Test Ban Treaty and the Arms Control Disarmament Agency. He calls the lack of a ban on Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicles (MIRVS) a missed opportunity for the Rusk administration. Read briefly mentions setting up a farewell soiree for Rusk at the end of his term.

Keywords: Adrian Fisher; Bill Foster; Butch Fisher; Johnson; LBJ; William Foster; nonproliferation; warheads