UGA Libraries Logo

Rusk XXXXXX, Dean Rusk interviewed by Richard Rusk and Thomas Schoenbaum, 1986 July 31

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:01:32 - The Vietnam strategy / Declarations of war

Play segment

Partial Transcript: He [Harry Summers] says that in hindsight, the US strategy was wrong...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk comments on Vietnam War strategy, including whether the US should have held more troops in North Vietnam, declared war, or focused more on public support.

Keywords: Westmoreland; war powers

00:10:27 - China's role in the Vietnam War

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Another point that Colonel Summers makes in his book is, with relation to Vietnam...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses US-Chinese relations and the use of limited force during the Vietnam War. He considers what could have happened if China had entered the war.

Keywords: China; Korea; Southeast Asia

00:16:18 - Responding to insurgency

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Colonel Summers also in his book talks about our folly of trying to be involved in counterinsurgency...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk considers how militaries should defend against armed non-state groups, justifying US involvement based on South Vietnam's limited capability. He discusses troop numbers and the line of demarcation.

Keywords: COIN; Korea; counterinsurency; nation-building; statecraft

00:25:29 - Increasing the chance of victory

Play segment

Partial Transcript: If we had sent three American divisions, would that have done the job...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses using a picket line strategy to sweep the territory, noting that the US does not have a good strategy for addressing insurgency. He says that a lack of unified command was a problem in Vietnam, arguing that general Westmoreland should have had greater territorial and functional jurisdiction.

Keywords: CINCPAC; Grenada; bureaucratic politics; guerrilla warfare

00:32:10 - Gradual escalation

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Another question that colonel Summers raises is about gradualism...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the philosophies of gradualism and overwhelming force. He considers the feasibility of the Vietnam War and the authority of the armed forces to determine military and political objectives.

Keywords: Clausewitz; Korean War; maximum force

00:42:47 - Maintaining morale

Play segment

Partial Transcript: We had to give continuing thought to our strategic reserve...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk talks about maintaining troop morale by shortening wars and comments on the lack of Americans' support for sustained engagements. He comments on President Nixon's view of the Vietnam War.

Keywords: Korea; NATO; public opinion; strategic reserves