UGA Libraries Logo

Rusk OOO, Kenneth W. Thompson, Part 2, 1985 January

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:01:20 - Bermuda Conference / Dean Rusk v. Reinhold Niebuhr

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The other thing that I think I ought to say is--because I think this tells the whole Vietnam story in a way.

Segment Synopsis: Thompson recalls discussing the Vietnam War with Dean Rusk at a Carnegie Endowment conference in Bermuda. Thompson talks about a meeting in which Dean Rusk and Reinhold Niebuhr debated international relations theories including realism, collective security, and power projection.

Keywords: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Columbia University; George Marshall; Rockefeller Foundation; Towards the Theory of International Politics; Union Seminary; academics; national interest

00:09:53 - Command decision-making

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Got a question about command decision-making and guys like my dad...

Segment Synopsis: Thompson discusses Dean Rusk's desire to care for humanity and considers whether the mounting deaths in Vietnam increased his commitment to the war. Thompson and Richard Rusk talk about Rusk's loyalty to the president and the to law.

Keywords: George Ball; George Kennan; SEATO; audience costs; ethics; foreign policy; military policy; morals; politics; prospect theory; restrained foreign policy

00:19:20 - American power / Dorothy Fosdick

Play segment

Partial Transcript: My dad was a good negotiator?

Segment Synopsis: Thompson discusses Rusk's overestimation of American power during the Vietnam War. He comments on foreign policy expert Dorothy Fosdick, and her criticism of Dean Rusk. Thompson says that despite Secretary Rusk's competence, he may have seemed less effective because he had to deal with exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Keywords: Warren Cohen; attrition; balance of power

00:24:35 - Rusk's supporters at Rockefeller / Rusk and the State Department

Play segment

Partial Transcript: ...your father had a small platoon of people around him at the Rockefeller Foundation, who would fight at the drop of a hat if he were attacked.

Segment Synopsis: Thompson mentions that at the Rockefeller Foundation, Rusk had a cadre of ardent defenders; however, at the State Department, Rusk acted as a defender for the president. Thompson talks about how Rusk viewed the responsibilities of his office as Secretary of State.

Keywords: George Marshall; leadership; restraint

00:31:59 - Dean Rusk's confidence and creativity

Play segment

Partial Transcript: He didn't fit the conventional role.

Segment Synopsis: Thompson talks about Rusk's reputation for moral courage rather than scholarship. He says that Rusk was well-read but preferred to explore new ideas. Thompson also talks about inaccurate media portrayals of Dean Rusk.

Keywords: Halberstam; Rockefeller; The best and the Brightest; grants; research

00:37:26 - Comparing Dean Rusk and Winston Churchill

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You wrote a book about Churchill and dedicated it to my dad.

Segment Synopsis: Thompson explains that Dean Rusk was in office in a very unlucky and complicated political time. He talks about the breakdown of U.S. containment policy and about Rusk's theory on peripheral conflicts. Thompson discusses how to develop wise foreign policy and brings into discussion Churchill's thoughts on negotiation.

Keywords: Neibuhr; Vietnam; communism; containment; democracy; international relations; theorists; universality