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Rusk P, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:01:03 - Church Committee / Planned assassination of Fidel Castro by CIA / 303 Committee

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Partial Transcript: I gather both from reading through your testimony in 1974 and '75 regarding these hearings and these intelligence issues, and also based on what you have told me personally, that a lot of what was disclosed in '74 and '75 came as a real surprise, a real shock to you. Why was that the case?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about his surprise upon hearing the 1975 Church Committee's findings on the planned assassinations of foreign leaders (Fidel Castro) and non-consensual wiretapping. He explains the workings of the interdepartmental covert actions oversight group, the "303 committee" in the context of being surprised he had not know about the assassination plans when he was in office.

Keywords: 303 committee; 40 committee; CIA; Central Intelligence Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Fidel Castro; Frank Church Committee; Llewellyn Thompson; Muskie congressional hearings; National Security Agency; National Security Council; Robert Kennedy; Special Group; Thomas L. Hughes; U. Alexis Johnson; U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; assassination of Fidel Castro; covert actions oversight group

00:04:25 - American propaganda abroad

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Partial Transcript: It was in that committee, for example, that Bobby Kennedy once strongly recommended that we get American businessmen abroad to organize themselves to be able to produce pro-American demonstrations as an antidote to the anti-American demonstrations that were popping up here and there.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on suggestions made by 303 Committee members and informal attendees, including one suggestion made by Robert Kennedy to stage pro-American demonstrations in foreign countries with American businessmen as a foil to those anti-American protests ongoing within the countries.

Keywords: CIA; Central Intelligence Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; John F. Kennedy; Joint Atomic Energy Committee; Robert Kennedy

00:07:25 - National Security Council

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Partial Transcript: Could you differentiate between the National Security Council and the National Security Agency?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains the difference between the National Security Council and the National Security Agency.

Keywords: 303 Committee; Abraham Lincoln; Bob McNamara; C. Douglas Dillon; Harry S. Truman; Lyndon B. Johnson; National Security Administration; National Security Council; U.S. intelligence activities; communications intelligence; foreign defense policy; intelligence oversight

00:13:39 - Intelligence through "overt channels"

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Partial Transcript: You often have made the comment that ninety percent of intelligence is obtained though overt channels.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the methods of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in obtaining information.

Keywords: Allen Welsh Dulles; Central Intelligence Agency; Earl Warren Commission; John F. Kennedy; Warren Commission; assassination of John F. Kennedy; military intelligence; public domain; secret intelligence

00:16:58 - Multinational corporations and Latin American elections

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Partial Transcript: You made a reference to Bobby Kennedy's suggestion that American business overseas possibly get involved in sponsoring public demonstrations on behalf of the United States.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk comments on the influence of the American government and multinational corporations in determining governmental leadership within countries of Central and South America. He names the United Fruit Company and the International Telephone & Telegraph as two of these companies. He further discusses the issues at the heart of the intersection of business and tragedy, namely within post-World War II economies such as Japan and Germany.

Keywords: Berlin Crisis; Berlin Wall; Chile; IT&T; International Telephone & Telegraph; Salvador Allende; United Fruit Company; World War II; banana republic; crop diversification; diversification; environmental history; environmental politics; global agriculture; monoculture; monopolies

00:21:02 - Balancing privacy concerns with national security

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Partial Transcript: I have a somewhat guarded view about what might be called extreme purism in the field of civil rights, where public order and the survival of the state may be involved.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on the necessity of private surveillance, remembering times he relied upon the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He also discusses his own concerns of being wiretapped, and the resignation of Otto Otepka.

Keywords: Dwight D. Eisenhower; George C. Marshall; John F. Kennedy; John Locke; Joseph McCarthy; Lee Harvey Oswald; Leo Ernest Durocher; Muskie congressional hearing; Otto Otepka; Reed Ervine; Senate Judiciary Committee; Strom Thurmond; Thomas J. Dodd; Thomas Jefferson; assassination of John F. Kennedy; military intelligence; political paranoia; private intelligence; private surveillance; wiretapping

00:43:34 - Motives of those who leak classified information

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Partial Transcript: Why do people leak? Why do lower-level, middle-level, upper-level bureaucrats leak information that's sensitive?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk speculates on the motives of those who leak private information.

Keywords: Cuban Missile Crisis; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; bureaucracy; information leaks; intelligence leaks; political leaks; privacy leaks; private intelligence

00:50:28 - U.S. intelligence information

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Partial Transcript: My first questions are just going to deal about intelligence in general: just the process of intelligence gathering and etc., so that all comes as a block.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk describes his own interactions with military and CIA intelligence during his time as Secretary of State.

Keywords: Associated Press; Bureau of Intelligence and Research; CIA; Central Intelligence Agency; DIA; Defense Intelligence Agency; INR; New York Times; Secretary of State; U.S. intelligence; United Press International; White House intelligence; counterintelligence; covert action; intellligence

00:56:47 - Directors of Central Intelligence

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Partial Transcript: Some directors of the CIA have complained that they never got to see the President very much, particularly McCone and I guess Helms, too. Did you spend much time with DCIs?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the role of the Directors of Central Intelligence in deliberating with the President on decisions such as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Keywords: Central Intelligence Agency; Harry S. Truman; John A. McCone; John F. Kennedy; Korean War; Lyndon B. Johnson; National Security Council; Richard Helms; invasion of South Korea

00:58:29 - Predicting the future as an intelligence agent

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Partial Transcript: If I can ask a related question here, Loch, about this popular comment that part of the problem with intelligence is that intelligence analysts are not prophets.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the temptation as an analyst to create a list of predictions, so as to increase the likelihood that one prediction may be correct.

Keywords: Bay of Pigs; CIA analysts; Central Intelligence Agency; Pearl Harbor; Pearl Harbor Day; Richard Geary Rusk; Roberts Commission of Investigation; military intelligence

01:02:02 - Relationship between CIA intelligence and government policy

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Partial Transcript: Did you have a sense which was more important during your years, human source intelligence or the technical intelligence?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on the balance of human source intelligence and technical intelligence within the Central Intelligence Agency, suggesting that CIA analysts often confuse intelligence for policy recommendations. Further, he discusses the influence of government policy on CIA intelligence gathering.

Keywords: National Security Agency; National Security Council; Richard Helms; Richard Nixon; Robert P. Patterson; The Bay of Pigs; espionage; monitoring; satellite photography

01:08:28 - Westmoreland vs. CBS

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Partial Transcript: Now this may be outside of what we want to discuss today, but of course when you talk about intelligence distortion that brings you to the Vietnam War.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the Westmoreland vs. CBS lawsuit, defending William Westmoreland and the tradition of "false official statements" fostered by time spent at West Point. He further defends the order of battle used, suggesting that Westmoreland did not need to relay information to people such as Senator James Fullbright, Senator Church, or even Jane Fonda.

Keywords: Central Intelligence Agency; DCIs; Defense Intelligence Agency; Director of Central Intelligence; Frank Church; James W. Fullbright; Jane Fonda; Secretary of Defense; U.S. intelligence; Vietnam War; Vietnam War protests; West Point; William Westmoreland; censorship; war-time propaganda

01:13:32 - Central and Defense Intelligence Agencies

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Partial Transcript: Now another thing that one has to keep an eye on, particularly in military intelligence but also to some extent in CIA, intelligence tends to concentrate on the worst case, the worst case.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses what he believes to be the tendency of central and defense intelligence analysts to suggest the "worst case" scenario. He also talks about the CIA and their diplomacy overseas.

Keywords: Carl Vinson; Richard B. Russell; U.S. central intelligence; U.S. defense intelligence; U.S. diplomacy; U.S. intelligence; diplomatic reporting; military intelligence; national intelligence

01:17:13 - Tension between ambassadors and CIA agents

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Partial Transcript: This really raises the last question I had on this particular subject.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the relationship between foreign ambassadors and CIA agents, and the difficulty of correcting "bad habits" developed during the reign of Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles as Directer of Central Intelligence and Secretary of State, respectively.

Keywords: Allen Dulles; Church Committee; John Foster Dulles; John J. McCloy; Lewis W. Douglas; Robert A. Lovett; Rockefeller Foundation

01:20:51 - Informal National Security Council meetings

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Partial Transcript: The Katzenbach Commission brought a formal stop to that relationship between the CIA and many foundations, as I recall, in '67. Do you remember when that conversation took place?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the informal National Security Council meetings held in the White House during his time as Secretary of State. Further, he discusses instances in which he vetoed a number of proposed covert actions.

Keywords: Bill D. Moyers; David Bruce; McGeorge Bundy; National Security Council; New York Times; Nicholas de Belleville Katzenbach Commission; Robert McNamara; Vietnam War; Walt Whitman Rostow; Washington Post; Wyatt Thomas Johnson

01:27:23 - Covert activity and propoganda

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Partial Transcript: One of the things we do in a covert way is to have propaganda dispensed around the world through secret channels. And my question would be: Is there really a need for that when we have a rather robust USIA?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the various uses of U.S. propaganda planted in foreign countries by the Central Intelligence Agency and United States Information Agency. Further, he defends the use of covert operations in lieu of war and speculates on the danger of keeping certain information from the President to protect them.

Keywords: 303 committee; Central Intelligence Agency; Cyrus R. Vance; Dwight D. Eisenhower; John F. Kennedy; Radio Free Europe; Radio Liberty; Robert Kennedy; Robert McNamara; Secretary of State Seward; Southern Baptists; U.S. Roman Catholicism; U.S. diplomacy in the Vatican; U.S. propaganda; United States Information Agency; William Henry Seward; black operations; global propaganda

01:34:31 - Political assassinations

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Partial Transcript: Are there conditions in which assassination might be a useful part of our--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about the use of political assassinations by the United States.

Keywords: Adolf Hitler; German Nazi party; Nazi party; The Holocaust; World War II; counterintelligence; global policy; international affairs