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Rusk WW, Benjamin Read, March 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:39 - Read's introduction to the Department of State

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Partial Transcript: Why don't you just start from the beginning?

Segment Synopsis: Read describes his path to becoming Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Dean Rusk. He shares some of his duties and provides a brief history of the office. Read comments on his relationship with Dean Rusk.

Keywords: Brubeck; George Marshall; Marine Corps; State Department; communications

00:07:44 - Working under Rusk / Test Ban Treaty

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Partial Transcript: Did you ever get in trouble with my dad...?

Segment Synopsis: Read says that Rusk knew how to filter important information and deal with short term crises. He mentions President Kennedy's American University speech, recalling that the test ban proposal precipitated his living in the White House and monitoring cables for the next two weeks. Read recalls corresponding with various foreign policy experts to find answers to Dean Rusk's questions.

Keywords: Russia; Soviets; communications; private information

00:12:52 - Rusk's knack for evaluating intelligence

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Partial Transcript: It sounds like you were very involved in the procedural aspects of how my dad operated.

Segment Synopsis: Read comments on Dean Rusk's discipline and discretion in analyzing crisis information. He recalls the Gulf of Tonkin incident, commenting on Rusk's reaction and William Bundy's pre-formulated Gulf of Tonkin resolution. Read mentions Rusk's insightful interpretation of a message from the Moscow hotline.

Keywords: CINCPAC; Johnson; Llewellyn Thompson; Russia; interception

00:20:02 - Stressful international incidents of the early 1960s

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Partial Transcript: ...other incidents I recall: one was probably in the fall of '63...

Segment Synopsis: Read talks about tensions during the blockade of Berlin, a false alarm regarding a Chinese attack on the U.S. Navy, a rogue American missile headed for Cuba, and a U.S. fighter jet that crashed in Manchuria.

Keywords: Checkpoint Charley; East Germany; Gulf of Tonkin; NMCC; Operations Center; Russia; Soviet; ballistic missiles; communications; crisis diplomacy; foreign relations; public relations

00:30:44 - Getting a read on Dean Rusk

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Partial Transcript: Let me use another line of questioning here.

Segment Synopsis: Richard Rusk and Benjamin Read contrast Dean Rusk, a reticent man with a great poker face, to former Secretaries of State including the more communicative Dean Acheson and the inconsistent Henry Kissinger. Read describes his own role as a conduit between different departments as he attempted to determine and share what Rusk was thinking. Read postulates that Rusk was secretive in order to protect his privileged relationship with the president and also as a result of his personality type.

Keywords: Bundy; Lucius Battle; Rostow; Tuesday luncheons; debriefing; information; memory