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Rusk X, Interview with Dean Rusk, circa 1985

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Experience in China-Burma-India Theatre

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Partial Transcript: --Dean Rusk about his years as a Deputy Chief of War Plans for General [Joseph Warren] Stilwell and the CBI [China-Burma-India] theatre. Pop, General Stilwell wore about five different hats over there: commanding general of the U.S. Army and CBI; commanding general of the U.S. Air Force; and all the related outfits that went with the air effort--supply army and engineers' ordinance, medical, etc.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his experiences within the China-Burma-India Theatre during World War II, and how those experiences allowed him a unique perspective as President of the Rockefeller Foundation and Secretary of State.

Keywords: American Lend-Lease Program; Assam; Brahmaputra River; CBI Theatre; Chiang Kai-shek; China-Burma-India Theatre; Claire Lee Chennault; Cold War; Communism; Communist China; Douglas C-54 Skymaster; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Frank Doren; Frank Merrill; Franklin Roosevelt; Geneva Conference; George C. Marshall; Harry S. Truman; Joseph Stilwell; Lord Louis Mountbatten; Myitkyina; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Operations Division of the War Department; Rockefeller Foundation; Southeast Asia Treaty Organization; U.S. Air Force; U.S. Army; World War II; World War II cables; World War II intelligence; cable exchanges; collective security; intelligence; military control; war logistics; war plans

00:15:44 - Indian culture and cooperation

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Partial Transcript: You made an effort to learn one of the dialects of India, apparently, Urdu, and you took it for a while and you dropped it because someone told you that really that was a British staff language more so than a--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his efforts during World War II to become immersed in Indian culture, including learning Urdu and reading books about the country's history. Further, he talks about his experiences cooperating with Indian soldiers and leaders.

Keywords: Brahmin; CBI patch; China-Burma-India Theatre; Garwhal Rifles; General Slim; General William Slim; Gurkhas; Indian independence movement; J.M. Sanders; Mike Sanders; Office of Strategic Services; Sikh; The Viscount Slim; Urdu; William Slim; World War II; cultural communication

00:22:10 - Colonialism and education

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Partial Transcript: British colonialism: I know you didn't care much for it as a philosophical concept, but how about out there in CBI where you had a chance to see the effects of British colonialism upon people there? How did it strike you there?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the nuances of British imperialism on the Indian, including the effects of imperialism on education. He further explores the adverse effects, such as the growth of the caste system.

Keywords: African colonialism; British Empire; Dutch Indo-China; Gymkana Club; Imperial Civil Service; Indian Civil Service; Indian caste system; Indian education; caste system; education; education and imperialism; imperialism

00:25:31 - Social dynamics between military troops and staff

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Partial Transcript: The problems of relationships between general staff and staff people in general and troops of the field--

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the issue of corruption within the China-Burma-Indian Theatre during World War II. He discusses his experiences during the war as part of the Theatre, including flying in small planes during bad storms.

Keywords: China-Burma-India Theatre; Douglas DC-3; General Joseph Stilwell; Joseph Stilwell; Merrill's Marauders; Opium Wars; Wa; Wa people; World War II; government corruption; opium trade; war crimes

00:32:03 - Malaria and illnesses among soldiers

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Partial Transcript: Talking about personal illnesses in CBI.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his experience with dysentery during World War II, and speaks on the issue of malaria among soldiers.

Keywords: antimalarial medication; dysentery; infectious disease; soldiers and malaria; war and disease

00:33:37 - The Burma Road, Japanese Empire

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Partial Transcript: --up the Burma Road.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the various tribes of northern Burma, and their interactions with American soldiers and workers constructing the Burma Road.

Keywords: All-Asia Co-prosperity Sphere; Kachins; Karens

00:36:37 - Authority during World War II

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Partial Transcript: Stilwell was out in the bush quite a bit, was serving in the front lines or up close to the front lines with his various efforts and undoubtedly a lot of staff responsibility fell upon you. You mentioned earlier that you personally authorized an airdrop to Vietnam in his absence. Can you give some other examples of things that you personally had responsibility for in the absence of Stilwell? Or given his willingness to delegate things to you, just how much responsibility did you have over there?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his role in World War II, as deputy chief of staff to General Stilwell acting in Stilwell's absence, regarding the transportation of goods to Chang Kai-chek in China.

Keywords: Alcan Highway; Burma; Burma Road; Chester W. Nimitz; Douglas MacArthur; Galahad; General Joseph Stilwell; General Stilwell; Joseph Stilwell; Lord Louis Mountbatten; Merrill's Marauders; Myitkyina; Twentieth General Hospital; World War II

00:45:28 - Joseph Stilwell, Indian independence

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Partial Transcript: Did you like Stilwell?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his relationship with General Joseph Stilwell, speculating on Stilwell's opinion of an India independent of British rule.

Keywords: Albert Wedemeyer; Dean Acheson; General Dan Sultan; General Stillwell; George Marshall; Gordon Seagrave; Gordon Stifler Seagrave; Harry S. Truman; Kachins; Karins; Robert Lovett; Shans; William Steen Gaud

00:52:14 - Post-World War II

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Partial Transcript: Pop, I've got a general question about World War II.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his general thoughts and feelings immediately following the end of World War II.

Keywords: George Marshall; Quakers; U.S. and peace; United Nations Charter; World War II; peace; totalitarianism; war; world peace

00:56:13 - Foreshadowing the Cold War

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Partial Transcript: When you were back there in CBI and in the '40s, how prescient were you in seeing the cold war tendencies that were about to unfold there, beginning in '45, really? I know there was probably a great deal of hope on our side that we would be able to cooperate in the post-world war with the Soviets and FDR personally thought he could work things out with Joe Stalin.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks on his experiences navigating post-war cooperation with Soviet Russian officials, and his hopes that the U.S. and Soviet Russia could have avoided the tensions of the Cold War.

Keywords: Cold War; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Greek Guerrilla Affair; Greek-Turkish Aid Program; James F. Byrnes; Joseph Stalin; Soviet Russia; U.N Security Council; USSR; V-J Day; Victory in Japan Day; World War II

00:58:44 - Combat experience

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Partial Transcript: At CBI did you ever volunteer for combat, and the second part to that question would be did the lack of combat experience hamper your efforts or understanding of the things you had to do there as a G-3 for Joe Stilwell.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses his experience with combat going into World War II as part of the China-India-Burma Theater, including psychological effects of remaining in the field.

Keywords: China-Burma-India Theater; General Stilwell; Jack Foisie; Joseph Stilwell; Merrill's Marauders; Mills College; Pearl Harbor; Thirtieth Infantry; Virginia Foisie Rusk; Virginia Rusk; World War II; combat morale; family; insurance; life at home; life on home front; psychology of war; the home front; war

01:10:20 - Personal value of World War II, relationships

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Partial Transcript: Then, did the CBI experience and the World War II experience as a whole affect you as a person: your goals, your values, your plans for the future? Did it have a dramatic influence on you?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk speaks about his personal growth leading up to and during World War II, explaining how his experience in the China-Burma-India Theater affected him. He further discusses his interactions with various significant figures of World War II, including Lord Louis Mountbatten and Chiang Kai-shek.

Keywords: Benito Mussolini; Bill Slim; British India; British colonialism; British railways in India; Burma Railways; Chester W. Nimitz; Chiang Kai-shek; China Hands; China-Burma-India Theater; Chindits; Claire Lee Chennault; Clement Attlee; Cold War; Communism; Communist China; Cordell Hull; Douglas MacArthur; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Edwina Mountbatten; Eric Sevareid; Fascism; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Franklin Roosevelt; General Stilwell; George Marshall; Governor-General of India; Henry L. Stimson; Herbert Hoover; Japanese invasion of Manchuria; Japanese military; John Paton Davies; John S. Service; Joseph Stalin; Joseph Stilwell; Karl von Clausewitz; League of Nations; Lord Louis Mountbatten; Madame Chiang Kai-shek; Mei-ling Soong Chiang Kai-shek; Merrill's Marauders; Myanmar Railways; New Delhi; Normandy; Omar Bradley; Orde Wingate; Pearl Harbor; Peking Union Medical College; Potsdam Conference; Red Fort; Rockefeller Foundation; Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Soviet Ru; colonialism; imperialism; infrastructure; mail service; movement of war supplies; seizure of Myitkyina

01:36:20 - Emotional response to war

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Partial Transcript: --about the degree of callousness that men think they some times have to effect in war situations just to harden themselves against the brutality and the suffering, Pop, as contrasting Omar Bradley and Patton at one point.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the psychology of military decision-making and response to combat loss, and talks more on the experiences of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II.

Keywords: Bill Slim; C-46; Chiang Kai-shek; China and Burma; China-Burma-India Theater; Claire Lee Chennault; Douglas C-46; Douglas DC-3; Douglas MacArthur; General MacArthur; General Slim; General Stilwell; Joseph Stilwell; Omar Bradley; The Hump; William Slim; World War II; military psychology; war psychology