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Rusk W, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:05 - "Vietnam's Vietnam" article (read aloud)

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Partial Transcript: That is why, let's begin with this second paragraph.

Segment Synopsis: Richard Rusk reads Stephen J. Morris' article in the Atlantic, "Vietnam's Vietnam." The article appeared in the magazine in January 1985.

00:25:25 - Rusk's analysis of "Vietnam's Vietnam"

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Partial Transcript: I found this article extraordinarily interesting and well done. It had a very solid factual basis.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk responds to the article, discussing particularly the issues of Cambodia and Laos in the Vietnam War.

Keywords: Cambodia; China Burma India Theater; French Indochina; Ho Chi Minh; International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos; Laos; Laos Accords; Norodom Sihanouk; North Vietnamese; Sisavang Vatthana; Sisavang Vong; Southeast Asia Treaty Organization; Thai independence; Viet Cong; Vietnam; Vietnam War; Wan Waithayakon; World War II

00:45:45 - Government leaders during the Vietnam War

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Partial Transcript: I wondered whether, when you were talking about [Michael Joseph] Mansfield and his about-face on Southeast Asia--pick up your train of thoughts. I find it curious that they did not come to you and say--and try to persuade you, first of all, as to their point of view before they went public and caused--When you go public, then you suddenly have your ego out in front, and they take a position, and they are suddenly rallying the forces around and it becomes a confrontation.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk describes his relationships with certain Congressional officials during the Vietnam War, further exploring the issues of American bipartisanship and policy-making.

Keywords: American bipartisanship; American foreign policy; Barry Goldwater; Bill Colby; Brooks Hays; Cuban Missile Crisis; Dean Acheson; Edmund Burke; Elbert Thomas; Frank Church; George Kennan; George Marshall; George Shultz; Gulf of Tonkin; Henry Kissinger; House Foreign Affairs Committee; Lyndon B. Johnson; Mike Mansfield; Nikita Khrushchev; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Organization of American States; Star Wars; U.S. foreign policy; Warren Cohen; Wayne Morse; William Borah; World War II; bipartisanship; collective security; foreign policy; international policy

01:04:45 - Seniority system in the Senate

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Partial Transcript: Does the seniority system in the Senate produce senility among some chairmen? For example, [Theodore Francis] Green, now in his nineties--Was he capable of running that--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses some of the Senators who he felt exhibited inappropriate behavior, due to the seniority system allowing senators to remain in office for many years.

Keywords: George Aiken; Presidential power; Queen Frederica of Hanover; U.S. Congress; U.S. President; U.S. Senate; executive power

01:09:23 - George Romney

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Partial Transcript: You had some problems with notable private citizens who went abroad. Remember George Romney? He, at one point, went to Vietnam and he came out with a very famous remark that got quoted for months all over the country.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on the remarks of Republican politician George W. Romney, who claimed to have been "brainwashed" and coerced to support the Vietnam War.

Keywords: Jesse Jackson; The Logan Act; The Romney family; Vietnam War; war; war propaganda

01:11:16 - Conversations in the White House

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Partial Transcript: This may be a harebrained idea, but what if the chairmen and ranking members of the two foreign affairs committees were invited to NSC [National Security Council] meetings of importance--crucial NSC meetings--to sit in on this information?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the manner in which Presidents and senators interacted, recommending a "bull session" for bipartisan Congressional leadership to engage the President outside of the Oval Office.

Keywords: National Security Council; Oval Office; Presidential power; Queen Victoria; U.S. President; U.S. Presidential power; William E. Gladstone; William Fulbright; executive power

01:13:49 - American foreign affairs

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Partial Transcript: Well the last question and your answer relate to this whole problem of how do we reestablish a broad-based consensus for American foreign affairs. And you answered in terms of a new generation.

Keywords: Carl Hayden; Harry S. Truman; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; Parks Rusk; Richard B. Russell, Jr.; Senate Armed Services Committee; U.S. Congress; U.S. international relations; international affairs

01:17:19 - Televised committee hearings, Congress

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Partial Transcript: Let's get into the question of the effect of TV on committee hearings and on this larger question.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the influence of television on Senate committee hearings, creating a "distortion" of the events and the reactions of the Senators. He further discusses his perceptions of the passivity of Congress.

Keywords: 1967 Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Alexander Haig; Arthur Vandenberg; Ellsworth Bunker; George Marshall; Harry S. Truman; John F. Kennedy; John J. Rooney; Juan Bosch; Lyndon B. Johnson; Organization of American States; Rafael Trujillo; Senate Foreign Relations Committee; U.S. Constitution; U.S. congressional system; U.S. government; United Nations; William Fulbright; foreign affairs; international affairs; media and politics