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Interview with Dean Rusk, Part 2, August 15, 1980

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - The Byrnes Affair

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Partial Transcript: I believe you wanted to start by saying something about the Byrnes affair during the Truman administration.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk begins by reading and explaining the first sentence in article two of the Constitution. He connects this sentence with the relationship between President Truman and his secretary of state, James Byrnes, and the eventual departure of Byrnes from his position. He briefly talks about how this event didn't impact President Truman's relationship with Senator Russell. Rusk explains Russell's working relationship as a Senator with the new Secretary of State, George Marshall.

Keywords: Armed Services Committee; George Marshall; Richard B. Russell; Secretary of State

00:05:58 - Truman Doctrine

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Partial Transcript: Well then, uh, after World War Two...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk mentions that President Truman never called his foreign policy strategy the "Truman Doctrine," rather this phrase was fabricated by the media. He discusses Truman's response to the Greece and Turkey Crises and how it was not supposed to be universally applied. Rusk explains Richard B. Russell's opinion on economic and military aid for Greece and Turkey. He talks about the relationship between George Kennan and Dean Acheson.

Keywords: Containment; Dean Acheson; George Kennan; Greece Crisis; Military Aid; Paul Nitze; Soviet Union; Turkey Crisis

00:13:36 - Relief of General MacArthur

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Partial Transcript: After the Korean War... Did you want to say something about MacArthur hearings at all?

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the order to relieve General MacArthur and the events and people that influenced President Truman's decision to relieve MacArthur. He talks about meeting with Truman to discuss further actions over suspicions that MacArthur was going to resign with a smear against the president. He mentions Truman's concern about the challenge of the constitutional authority of the president by MacArthur.

Keywords: Blair House; Chicago Tribune; Congressional Investigation; General Bradley; Hero's Welcome; Omar Bradley

00:19:32 - MacArthur Hearing

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Partial Transcript: Now um.. so uh.. preparations for a congressional hearing began right as...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the Truman administration's view of the investigative hearing over the firing of General MacArthur, including Sen. Russell's role as chairman of the investigation. He explains why Truman didn't fear the investigation. He talks about the decision to have open hearings during the investigation, along with some classified information that became public as a result.

Keywords: Armed Forces Committee; International Affairs Committee; Open Hearings; Richard B. Russell

00:24:21 - Integration of the Army

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Partial Transcript: Turning just briefly to domestic affairs under Truman...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk mentions his work on integrating the armed forces as a special assistant to the Secretary of War, Robert Patterson in 1946. Rusk discusses concerns that the armed forces had during integration, but also why it was easier to integrate the military than in other parts of society.

Keywords: 1946; A. Phillip Randolph; Brown vs. Board of Education; Hugo Black; Robert Patterson; Supreme Court; WWII

00:30:04 - The Bay of Pigs

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Partial Transcript: Um, are we ready to start to go into the...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the Bay of Pigs and why it ended badly. He talks about his regret in not helping President Kennedy with his decision, and how miscommunication led to the incident. He talks about why Kennedy didn't invade Cuba and what the administration learned from it.

Keywords: Allen Dulles; Bobby Kennedy; John F. Kennedy; Joint Chiefs of Staff; Maxwell Taylor; Richard B. Russell; Richard Bissell; Robert McNamara

00:41:19 - Cuban Missile Crisis

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Partial Transcript: Well, we've been suggesting a, um um, sequel to the...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains the administrations decision making to handle the Cuban Missile Crisis, including using ExCOMM to investigate different strategies. He mentions the military power that was collected in and around Florida and comments on his "eye to eye" statement. Rusk discusses Senator Russell's advice to deal with the Cuban situation and why it wasn't followed. He talks about the fear that the Soviet Union would retaliate because of US action against Cuba.

Keywords: Bay of Pigs; Berlin; Cold War; Dean Acheson; EXCOMM; Executive Committee of the National Security Council; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; NATO; Nikita Khrushchev; OAS; Organization of American States; Richard B. Russell; Robert McNamara; USSR

00:53:46 - Robert McNamara

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Partial Transcript: Uh, talking more about McNamara , um, Russell maintained...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains the culture in Washington D.C. between military leaders and congress and McNamara's determination to take back control of the Department of Defense. He discusses McNamara's efforts in the State Department and how his control over the DoD was crucial in keeping military spending in check.

Keywords: Budgeting; Clark Clifford; George Marshall; Richard B. Russell; Whiz Kids

00:58:48 - Berlin Crisis / Congo Crisis

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Partial Transcript: Another main crises, I guess, would be over Berlin.

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains the United States' position regarding Berlin under the Kennedy Administration. Rusk explains the United Nations decision to back a unified Congo. He talks Senator Russell's fear that the UN was being manipulated by the Soviet Union.

Keywords: Andrei Gromyko; Dean Acheson; East Germany; George McGhee; John F. Kennedy; Nikita Khrushchev; USSR

01:07:53 - Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 / Hierarchy of Congress

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Partial Transcript: One of the last things, uh, in the Kennedy years, uh, before he was...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains Senator Russell's vote against the Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and talks about his influence in the Senate. Rusk explains the structure of Congress during his time as Secretary of State and how it changed.

Keywords: Everett Dirksen; Hubert Humphrey; Richard B. Russell; Robert Kerr; Sam Rayburn

01:12:34 - Senator Russell's Influence in the Senate

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I have not said, uh, anything about domestic affairs...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains Senator Russell's influence in Washington D.C. He discusses political integrity and the approval process for foreign aid. Rusk talks about Russell's tendency to decline invites from foreign embassies and diplomats and the power dynamic between Senator Russell and Senator Kennedy.

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Armed Services Committee; Carl Hayden; Political Integrity; Ted Kennedy

01:23:06 - Dominican Republic Affair

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Partial Transcript: Well then, lets go on with Johnson

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses President Johnson's reliance on Senator Russell during the Dominican Civil War and describes their relationship when they were in the Senate together. He explains why William "Tap" Bennett was chosen to be ambassador for the Dominican Republic. He talks about two separate phases of the conflict in the Dominican and the resolution that took place.

Keywords: Castro; James William Fulbright; Juan Bosch; OAS; Rafael Trujillo; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; William Bennett

01:31:39 - Laos/Vietnam under Johnson

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Partial Transcript: Well, i guess, the next thing is Vietnam

Segment Synopsis: Rusk discusses the influences and thought process behind the International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos as a way to avoid unnecessary war. He talks about North Vietnam's actions that rendered the agreement useless and how this outcome influenced President Kennedy's attitude toward Southeast Asia. He mentions Senator Russell's opinion on the involvement in Southeast Asia.

Keywords: Eisenhower; International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos; Laos Accords; North Vietnam; South Vietnam

01:36:39 - Vietnam under Johnson

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Partial Transcript: What did the state department think about...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains President Johnson's decision to send troops to Southeast Asia and the role that collective security played. He discusses why there hadn't been a formal declaration of war after World War II and the events that led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Rusk explains how lack of military communication and harsh public opinion influenced the United States government to leave Vietnam.

Keywords: Big Story; Creighton Abrams; General Wheeler; Lyndon B. Johnson; Peter Braestrup; Tet Offensive; USS New Jersey; William Westmoreland

01:51:31 - Foreign Relations / Ending Questions

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Partial Transcript: Um, the closing of the harbor at Haiphong...

Segment Synopsis: Rusk explains why the State Department never tried to close the North Vietnam's main port, Haiphong. He discusses the United States' frustration over their allies not being reliable in treaties or collective security. He talks about the impact the war had on President Johnson. Rusk describes the events that led up to him being offered the job as Secretary of State.

Keywords: Collective Security; Dean Acheson; Haiphong; John F. Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; Ngo Dinh Diem; Ngo Dinh Nhu; Richard B. Russell; Robert McNamara; South Vietnam; Southeast Asia Treaty