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Rusk WWW, Dean Rusk interviewed by Richard Rusk and Thomas Schoenbaum, Part 1, May 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:09 - Suez Crisis of 1956

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Partial Transcript: This is May 1985, and we're interviewing Dean Rusk.

Segment Synopsis: Schoenbaum gives a synopsis of the Suez Crisis, in which Egypt's President Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal which was an important trade route for European oil supply. Schoenbaum also discusses the international reaction to this event. Rusk analyzes President Eisenhower's strong-handed response to the crisis and the criticism he received. Rusk also briefly discusses a proposed study to examine the relationship between illness and political decision-making.

Keywords: Article 51; Egypt; England; France; Israeli commerce; John Foster Dulles; Jordan; NATO; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Operation Kadesh; Sinai War; Syria; UAR; United Arab Republic; United Nations; United Nations Charter; Uniting for Peace resolution; resolution 377 A

00:07:13 - John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State

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Partial Transcript: Do you think he regretted--he must've regretted the weakening of the NATO alliance.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses Dulles's approach to carrying out the office of Secretary of State and its effect on his relationship with British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, and thus, on the Suez Crisis.

Keywords: Japanese Peace Treaty; NATO; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Sir Oliver Franks; Suez Canal; Yoshida Letter; common law adversarial system

00:12:17 - Middle East foreign policy during the Kennedy Administration

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Partial Transcript: Moving on to the Kennedy administration.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk discusses U.S. relations with Middle Eastern countries during Kennedy's presidency, focusing largely on Israel and Egypt.

Keywords: Abba Eban; Food for Peace program; Gamal Abdel Nasser; Hawk missiles; Imperialism; Israeli territorial expansion; Middle East foreign policy; Near East; Near East foreign policy; United Nations; United States foreign policy; deterrence; neutrality

00:19:42 - U.S. relations with Israel

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Partial Transcript: Pop, did John Kennedy agree with your concept that neutrality was, I guess, maybe something in our interest?

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk analyzes U.S. relations with Israel, discussing U.S. weapon sales to Israel, military cooperation, and Israeli political and military decision-making.

Keywords: June War; Middle East; Near East; SEATO; Six-Day War; Southeast Asia Treaty Organization; Third World; UN; United Nations; United States foreign affairs; anti-Semitism; foreign affairs; joint strategic planning; retaliatory strike

00:27:25 - Palestinian refugees

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Partial Transcript: Now, another policy initiative that turned out again not to be successful, unfortunately, was the refugee issue in the United Nations in 1961.

Segment Synopsis: Dean Rusk talks about the problem of the Palestinian refugees and a failed 1961 Carnegie Foundation initiative to identify areas for refugee relocation and to work out their acceptance by Israel.

Keywords: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Joseph Esrey Johnson; Palestine War; Six-Day War; United Nations; displacement; refugee camps; resettlement

00:31:47 - North Yemen Civil War

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Partial Transcript: At this time too, you testified in Congress numerous times about the Near East, and you opposed the cut-off of aid to Nasser's Egypt.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses popular support versus government animosity for the United States in Egypt. He talks about regional alliances and security concerns during the royalist war in Yemen.

Keywords: Egypt; Nasser; Saudi Arabia; foreign policy

00:36:22 - The Six-Day War

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Partial Transcript: Now, coming up to the months preceding the June '67 war, on the Arab side they stepped up their Holy War propaganda against Israel.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk chronicles events leading up to and during the Six-Day War, including Nasser's movement of troops in the Sinai, the closure of the Strait of Tiran, and the removal of UN troops, which United States Secretary General Thant did unilaterally, according to Rusk. He explains that these actions threatened the U.S. commitment to Israel and led to a security dilemma.

Keywords: Arab; Arab-Israeli War; Soviet Union; United Nations; joint Arab command

00:41:39 - U.S. foreign policy and Arab-Israeli tensions

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Partial Transcript: Did Suez play a role?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about several factors that made it difficult for the U.S. to consider intervening and reopening the Strait of Tiran. He describes how the Six-Day War began, and mentions the first use of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. hotline as well as the devolution of U.S. relations with Arab states.

Keywords: Abba Eban; Arab; Bobby Kennedy; Egypt; Israel; LBJ; Lyndon Johnson; McNamara; Nasser; Soviet Union

00:49:55 - Israel's advance / Preventive self-defense / The "hotline"

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Partial Transcript: On the first day of the Israeli operations, Prime Minister [Levi] Eshkol went on Israeli radio and said that Israel had no territorial ambitions.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk says that Soviet conditions delayed a ceasefire, contributing to the successful Israeli advance against Arab interests including the Suez Canal, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Rusk talks about the legality, utility, and doctrine of preventive first-strikes, and he discusses proxy action and hotline conversations between the US and USSR.

Keywords: Article 51; Egypt; Jordan; King Hussein; Middle East; Nasser; Syria

00:56:03 - Resolution 242

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Partial Transcript: Pop, to what extent did American policy, perhaps in unintentional ways, exacerbate and otherwise encourage this period of escalation on the Arab side?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about Arab feelings toward the creation of Israel. He discusses the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which laid groundwork for a permanent peace in Israel. He mentions purposeful inclusion of ambiguities to leave space for later negotiations, but says these could lead to difficult decisions for future policymakers. Rusk comments on religious tensions in Jerusalem.

Keywords: Arthur Goldberg; Jerusalem; West Bank; religion; territories