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Rusk RRR, Carl Rowan, Part 1, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:19 - Rusk's relationship with the press

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Partial Transcript: Interview with Carl Rowan concerns his reflections on Dean Rusk, some personal anecdotes, and his observations on my dad and his relations with the press.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses how the press corps viewed Dean Rusk. He also talks about how Rusk would prepare himself for meetings with the press in the early 1960's.

Keywords: Foreign Service; State Department; Vietnam War; White House press corps; diplomatic relations; journalism; journalist; press confrerences

00:04:30 - Media representations of government officials

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Partial Transcript: I told you about his pulling up the ice chest and sitting on it from Geneva halfway back to New York to play poker?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan gives several anecdotes about Rusk to illustrate the levels of trustworthiness of the media. He also emphasizes the importance for government officials to have a friendly relationship with the press.

Keywords: Andrei Andreevich Gromyko; Jack Anderson; John F. Kennedy; New York Herald Tribune; Senator Eugene McCarthy; Washington Post; White House press corps; disarmament

00:10:41 - Vietnam War credibility gap

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Partial Transcript: You said my dad had good relations with the press.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses the proposed credibility gap between what President Johnson told the American people about the Vietnam War and what actual U.S. policies and intentions were. He also briefly talks about Rusk's transparency with the press in his position as Secretary of State.

Keywords: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; Johnson Administration; MACV; Military Assitance Command, Vietnam; Robert Strange McNamara; Secretary of State; Southeast Asia Resolution; White House press corps; media relations; media transparency; no wider war; press conferences

00:18:21 - News leaks

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Partial Transcript: You know I'll tell you a story about leaks.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan tells a story about leaking information for President Kennedy to counteract misleading Soviet press.

Keywords: AP; Andrei Gromyko; Associated Press; Cold War; Kennedy Administration; LIMDIS; Marguerite Higgins; NODIS; Peter Irvin Lisagor; Soviet Union; State Department

00:24:43 - Press coverage of Vietnam War

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Partial Transcript: I've got a question about the Tet Offensive.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses the press's role in and effect on the Vietnam War. He also talks about the changing tide of American public opinion throughout the war.

Keywords: Johnson Administration; Lyndon B. Johnson; Peter Braestrup; UN; USIA; United Nations; United States Information Agency; Walt Rostow; domino theory; media representation; war media

00:31:39 - Critique of Rusk as Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: Give me a critique of Dean Rusk as you experienced him as an employee of the Department of State.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses the strengths and weaknesses of Dean Rusk as Secretary of State. He talks about the political context during which Rusk joined office.

Keywords: Bay of Pigs; Berlin Crisis; Berlin Wall; Bobby Kennedy; Cold War; Cuban Missile Crisis; JFK; Kennedy Administration; McGeorge Bundy; President John F. Kennedy; Robert F. Kennedy; Soviet Union; State Department; USIA; United States Intelligence Agency

00:37:20 - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: You know and I don't know if you know it, but when I went into the State Department in 1961...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about being the first African American to reach the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. He shares how he obtained the position and the influence that Rusk had on his early career.

Keywords: Ebony Magazine; Edward Murrow; JFK; John F. Kennedy; Kennedy Administration; Minneapolis Tribune; Richard Nixon; Rose Bowl; Senator Thomas Joseph Dodd; diversity

00:42:32 - Rusk as an administrator / USIA relationship with State Department

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Partial Transcript: Well, how was my dad as an administrator?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan critiques Rusk in terms of his administrative abilities. Later, Rowan talks about the relationship between his position in the USIA and the State Department, focusing on problems and their eventual resolutions.

Keywords: Foreign Service; George Ball; JFK; Kennedy Administration; President John F. Kennedy; United States Intelligence Agency; Vietnam War

00:47:36 - Diversity in the Foreign Service

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Partial Transcript: While you're on the subject of South Africa, what about my dad as far as civil rights?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses attempts to diversify the American Foreign Service. Rowan also talks briefly about his appointment as Ambassador to Finland.

Keywords: Chester Boles; Jim Crow Laws; Protocol Department; Secretary of State; State Department; William Crockett; diversity; governmental integration; racial integration

00:53:00 - Rusk Family's interracial relations

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Partial Transcript: Do you got any personal anecdotes about my dad as far as Civil Rights is concerned?

Segment Synopsis: Richard Rusk and Rowan discuss the Rusk family's views on race. They also talk about different actions that illustrated these views, focusing on Richard Rusk's sister's interracial marriage and his mother's relationship with new embassies.

Keywords: African Americans; National Day; State Department; Vietnam War; Washington embassies; diplomatic corps; integration; interracial marriage; racism

00:58:14 - Rusk's shortcomings

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Partial Transcript: Can you think of anything--any aspect of my dad's performance as Secretary of any aspect of his personality that did not measure up...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses Rusk's flaws, focusing on Rusk's views on the Vietnam War and behavior with the press. He also talks about Rusk's status as a Southerner.

Keywords: Harvard University; Johnson Administration; Lyndon B. Johnson; Secretary of State; Southern politicians; White House press corps; political elitism