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Rusk UUU, Dean Rusk interviewed by Richard Rusk, Thomas Schoenbaum, and Tom Ganschow, 1985 May

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Famine and poverty in China during wartime

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Partial Transcript: --Students to be very careful to make the judgment of how poor do you have to judge people to be before you think they are desperate.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk remarks on the ability of the Chinese people to survive famine and other trials, and discusses the severe food shortages that existed in Western China during WWII.

Keywords: China: Century of Revolution; Ed Price; Eskimos; Japan; State Department Foreign Service; Theodore White; eggs

00:05:15 - Characteristics of the Chinese villagers and soldiers

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Partial Transcript: This is Part 5 in the series of five interviews with Dean Rusk on China policy and Professor Tom Ganschow is doing the interviewing.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the villages he visited in China, saying that the villagers were not all that concerned with national politics and more concerned with their families and their farms. He also discusses some of the characteristics of the Chinese soldiers in contrast to the American soldiers and talks about the ways in which he instructed the American soldiers to treat the Chinese.

Keywords: CBI; Cherokee County, Georgia; Chiang Kai-shek; Vietnam; Woodrow Wilson; Yangtze river; taxicab

00:17:46 - U.S.-China relations during the Vietnam War and Cultural Revolution

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Partial Transcript: Did the Chinese offer any assistance at all in trying to mediate the end of the Vietnam War, Professor Rusk?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk says that during the rule of Mao Tse-tung, China had no interest in a peaceful settlement with Vietnam. He also discusses the "Cultural Revolution" under Mao in China, saying that it was a serious setback for the Chinese people and it was extremely difficult for the U.S. to have a relationship with China during this time.

Keywords: Ambassadors; Chen Yi; Geneva Conference; Secretary of State; United Nations

00:24:08 - Feelings toward the Chinese

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Partial Transcript: This is a question, and I ask it trying to get your response to the difference between what you would see: some people refer to certain people as hard-liners.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the sympathy he felt towards the Chinese people who were trying to modernize and improve their country under the regime of Mao Tse-tung, saying that deep down most members of the human race have the same concerns.

Keywords: General Stilwell; Mao Tse-Tung; Richard Rusk; The Family of Man; cultural differences; linguistic differences; tradition

00:27:48 - Relations between Taiwan and China

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Partial Transcript: In 1968 you finished your years as Secretary--wasn't it in '68?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk describes Taiwan's belief that it could go back and take over mainland China as being "purely fanciful." He believes that Taiwan placed a strong burden on the U.S. by thinking that they would have U.S. support in this matter.

Keywords: China Lobby; Henry Kissinger; James Reston; Peking, China; Richard Nixon; Scottie Reston; Senator Eugene McCarthy; William Pierce Rogers

00:33:18 - Progress in China: contributing factors?

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Partial Transcript: Speaking of good jobs, Tom let me interject with a question you might have later. But it seems to me that China has made enormous progress under their communist system of government.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the progress that China has made since WWII, saying that he does not contribute their successes to their communist government. He states that it was normal for China to pull itself together after the destruction of WWII, no matter what their governmental structure was.

Keywords: Deng Xiaoping; Mao Tse-tung; Peking, China; education; public health; transportation; warlords

00:38:37 - Thoughts on Chinese leaders

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Partial Transcript: If you think back to the years that you've been involved in China, as Secretary of State, were there certain persons--I'd like to mention some persons, some individual leaders of China and maybe you could respond. Either have you met these people or at least what are your reactions?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses his thoughts on several Chinese leaders: Mao Tse-tung, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Chiang Kai-shek. He recalls meeting Deng Xiaoping and Chiang Kai-shek in person on separate occasions.

Keywords: Atlanta, Georgia; Chester Nimitz; Douglas MacArthur; General Joesph Stilwell; Japan; Peking, China; Taiwan

00:47:33 - Satisfactions and regrets regarding China / Chinese involvement in Korea

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Partial Transcript: As you look back to your long relationship with China, you know, as a student, as a member of Stilwell's staff, as Assistant Secretary of State, as Secretary of State, what gives you the most satisfaction with respect to your relationship with China?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the things that gave him the most satisfaction in regards to U.S. relations with China, and the things that he regrets the most. He says that the fact that we have never had a war with China is a great success, and that he regrets that Mao Tse-tung came to power and made the U.S. China's number one enemy. He also discusses China's involvement in the Korean War, saying that China's losses in Korea is what later curbed its involvement in the Vietnam War.

Keywords: Deng Xiaoping; General Douglas MacArthur; Hong Kong; Mao Tse-tung; Peking, China; Taiwan

00:59:40 - Historical knowledge in the State Department

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Partial Transcript: Finally, I'd like to ask: It's always been my experiences with the scholar-diplomat program in the State Department, and I've been involved a couple of times with that, in which they've invited me to come to the State Department and I've been able to sit down and see how it works and see how the China desk works.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk says that he believes that when working for the State Department, it helps to understand the background and history of the nation that you are dealing, but that those things are not necessarily critical for the job.

Keywords: American Law; Chinese Law; Rockefeller Foundation; cultural differences

01:02:38 - Relationship with the Soviet Union

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Partial Transcript: I'm terribly concerned--and this will be my last question. I'm terribly concerned with the possibility that the United States might think in terms of rearming China or modernizing the military.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses the United States relationship with the Soviet Union, and explains that it is important not to "play the China card" when dealing with the Soviet Union (note: recorded in 1985, before Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991). He also talks about China's relationship with the Soviet Union, and says that the Soviet Union would have issues if they were to go to war with such a large country.

Keywords: Afghanistan; Defense Department; Henry Kissinger; James G. Snyder; Moscow, Russia

01:07:57 - Relationship with Andrei Gromyko / Discussion with Chiang Kai-shek

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Partial Transcript: Few Secretaries of States have had--few leaders of our nation--and that should be on the record. Not just simply this label of hard-liner. You see what I'm saying.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk describes his relationship with Andrei Gromyko, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Soviet Union. Rusk also talks about his final talk with Chiang Kai-shek, in which they discussed the lack of a possibility of U.S. aid to Taiwan in the event of an attempt to take over mainland China.

Keywords: Peking, China; nuclear bombs; nuclear war; pragmatism