Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Dean Rusk

Dean Rusk

Overview

David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

. Rusk is the second-longest serving U.S. Secretary of State of all time, behind only Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull was an American politician from the U.S. state of Tennessee. He is best known as the longest-serving Secretary of State, holding the position for 11 years in the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during much of World War II...

.

Dean Rusk was born in a rural district of Cherokee County, Georgia
Cherokee County, Georgia
As of the census of 2000, there were 141,903 people, 49,495 households, and 39,200 families residing in the county. The population density was 335 people per square mile . There were 51,937 housing units at an average density of 123 per square mile...

, the son of Robert Hugh and Frances Elizabeth (Clotfelter) Rusk.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Dean Rusk'
Start a new discussion about 'Dean Rusk'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia

David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

. Rusk is the second-longest serving U.S. Secretary of State of all time, behind only Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull was an American politician from the U.S. state of Tennessee. He is best known as the longest-serving Secretary of State, holding the position for 11 years in the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during much of World War II...

.

Childhood and education


Dean Rusk was born in a rural district of Cherokee County, Georgia
Cherokee County, Georgia
As of the census of 2000, there were 141,903 people, 49,495 households, and 39,200 families residing in the county. The population density was 335 people per square mile . There were 51,937 housing units at an average density of 123 per square mile...

, the son of Robert Hugh and Frances Elizabeth (Clotfelter) Rusk. He was educated in Atlanta's public schools
Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools is a school district based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. APS is run by the Atlanta Board of Education with interim superintendent Erroll Davis...

, graduated from Boys High School
Boys High School
Boys High School is an historic and architecturally notable public school building in the Bedford–Stuyvesant, neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It is regarded as "one of Brooklyn's finest buildings.-Architecture:...

 in 1925, and spent two years working for an Atlanta lawyer before working his way through Davidson College
Davidson College
Davidson College is a private liberal arts college in Davidson, North Carolina. The college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine, although it has recently dropped to 11th in U.S. News...

. Rusk was coached in football by William "Monk" Younger and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order
Kappa Alpha Order
Kappa Alpha Order is a social fraternity and fraternal order. Kappa Alpha Order has 124 active chapters, 3 provisional chapters, and 2 commissions...

 Sigma chapter, becoming a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Reserve Officers' Training Corps
Reserve Officers' Training Corps
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a college-based, officer commissioning program, predominantly in the United States. It is designed as a college elective that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.The U.S...

 battalion. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1931. While studying in England as a Rhodes Scholar
Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...

 at St. John's College, Oxford, he received the Cecil Peace Prize in 1933.

Rusk taught at Mills College
Mills College
Mills College is an independent liberal arts women's college founded in 1852 that offers bachelor's degrees to women and graduate degrees and certificates to women and men. Located in Oakland, California, Mills was the first women's college west of the Rockies. The institution was initially founded...

 in Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 from 1934 to 1949 and earned a law degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. He married Virginia Foisie (October 5, 1915 – February 24, 1996) on June 9, 1937 and they had three children.

Career prior to 1961


During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 he joined the infantry as a reserve captain, and served as a staff officer in the China Burma India Theater
China Burma India Theater of World War II
China Burma India Theater was the name used by the United States Army for its forces operating in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces in China, Burma, and India during World War II...

. At war's end he was a colonel, decorated with the Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

 with Oak Leaf Cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

.

He returned to America to work briefly for the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 in Washington. He joined the Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 in February 1945, and worked for the office of United Nations Affairs. In the same year, he suggested splitting Korea
Division of Korea
The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship...

 into spheres of U.S. and of Soviet influence at the 38th parallel north
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

. He was made Deputy Under Secretary of State in 1949. He was made Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs in 1950 and played an influential part in the US decision to become involved in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and also in Japan's postwar compensation for victorious countries, such as the Rusk documents
Rusk documents
The Rusk documents are the official diplomatic correspondence sent by Dean Rusk, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, to Yang You Chan , the South Korean ambassador to the U.S. The documents show the negotiating position of the U.S. State Department at the time...

. However he was a cautious diplomat
Diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

 and always sought international support.

Rusk was a Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a prominent philanthropic organization and private foundation based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The preeminent institution established by the six-generation Rockefeller family, it was founded by John D. Rockefeller , along with his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr...

 trustee
Trustee
Trustee is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another...

 from 1950 to 1961. In 1952 he succeeded Chester L. Barnard as president of the Foundation.

Secretary of State


On December 12, 1960, Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 President-elect John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 appointed Rusk Secretary of State. According to historian and former Special Assistant to President Kennedy Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr. was an American historian and social critic whose work explored the American liberalism of political leaders including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Schlesinger served as special assistant and "court historian"...

, Rusk was not Kennedy's first choice, but rather the "lowest common denominator", as Kennedy's first choice, J. William Fulbright
J. William Fulbright
James William Fulbright was a United States Senator representing Arkansas from 1945 to 1975.Fulbright was a Southern Democrat and a staunch multilateralist who supported the creation of the United Nations and the longest serving chairman in the history of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee...

, proved too controversial. Rusk was sworn in in January, 1961.

As Secretary of State he believed in the use of military action to combat Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

. Despite private misgivings about the Bay of Pigs invasion, he remained noncommittal during the Executive Council meetings leading up to the attack and never opposed it outright. During the Cuban missile crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 he supported diplomatic efforts. Early in his tenure, he had strong doubts about US intervention in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, but later his vigorous public defense of US actions in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 made him a frequent target of anti-war protests. Outside of his work against communism, he continued his Rockefeller Foundation ideas of aid to developing nations and also supported low tariffs to encourage world trade. Rusk also drew the ire of supporters of Israel after he let it be known that he believed the USS Liberty incident
USS Liberty incident
The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, , by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members , wounded 170 crew members, and...

 was a deliberate attack on the ship, rather than an accident.

As he recalled in his autobiography, As I Saw It, Rusk did not have a good relationship with President Kennedy. The president was often irritated by Rusk's reticence in advisory sessions and felt that the State Department was "like a bowl of jelly" and that it "never comes up with any new ideas." Special Consul to the President Ted Sorensen
Ted Sorensen
Theodore Chaikin "Ted" Sorensen was an American presidential advisor, lawyer and writer, best known as President John F. Kennedy’s special counsel, adviser and legendary speechwriter. President Kennedy once called him his “intellectual blood bank.”-Early life:Sorensen was born in Nebraska, the son...

 believed that Kennedy, being well versed and practiced in foreign affairs, acted as his own Secretary of State. Sorensen also noted that the president often expressed impatience with Rusk and felt him under prepared for emergency meetings and crises. Rusk repeatedly offered his resignation, but it was never accepted. Rumors of Rusk's dismissal leading up to the 1964 election abounded prior to President Kennedy's trip to Dallas in 1963. Shortly after Kennedy was assassinated
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

, Rusk offered his resignation to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

. However, Johnson refused Rusk's resignation and retained him as the Secretary of State throughout his administration.

Rusk also planned to offer his resignation in the summer of 1967 because "his daughter planned to marry a black classmate at Stanford University, and he could not impose such a political burden on the president." He decided not to resign after talking first to Robert S. McNamara and Lyndon Johnson.

When Johnson died in 1973, Rusk eulogized
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

 the former President when he lay in state
Lying in state
Lying in state is a term used to describe the tradition in which a coffin is placed on view to allow the public at large to pay their respects to the deceased. It traditionally takes place in the principal government building of a country or city...

.

After President of France Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 withdrew France from the common NATO military command in February 1966 and ordered all American military forces to leave France, President Johnson asked Rusk to seek further clarification from President de Gaulle by asking whether the bodies of buried American soldiers must leave France as well. Rusk recorded in his autobiography that de Gaulle did not respond when asked, "Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France's cemeteries?"

Rusk again offered to resign in 1967, after it became known that his daughter, Peggy, planned to marry Guy Smith, "a black Georgetown grad working at NASA. (Johnson didn't accept it.)" In fact, the Richmond News Leader stated that it found the wedding offensive, further saying that "anything which diminishes [Rusk's] personal acceptability is an affair of state".http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,943987,00.html A year after his daughter's wedding, Rusk was invited to join the faculty of the University of Georgia Law School, only to have his appointment denounced by Roy Harris, an ally of Governor George Wallace
George Wallace
George Corley Wallace, Jr. was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter and Stephan Lesher, he ran for U.S...

 and a member of the university's board of regents, who stated that his opposition was because of Peggy Rusk's interracial marriage. The university nonetheless appointed Rusk to the position.

Retirement


Rusk received both the Sylvanus Thayer Award
Sylvanus Thayer Award
The Sylvanus Thayer Award is an award that is given each year by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sylvanus Thayer was the fifth superintendent of that academy and in honor of his achievements, the award was created...

 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 in 1969.

Following his retirement, he taught international law at the University of Georgia School of Law
University of Georgia School of Law
The University of Georgia School of Law is a graduate school of the University of Georgia. Founded in 1859 and located in Athens, Georgia, USA, Georgia Law was formerly known as the Lumpkin School of Law. The Law School is the second oldest of the University's schools and colleges. The University...

 in Athens, Georgia
Athens, Georgia
Athens-Clarke County is a consolidated city–county in U.S. state of Georgia, in the northeastern part of the state, comprising the former City of Athens proper and Clarke County. The University of Georgia is located in this college town and is responsible for the initial growth of the city...

 (1970–1984). He died in Athens on December 20, 1994. He and his wife are buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia. His Granddaughter Monica Maghini lives in Vermont with her son Daniel and daughter Dylan.

Rusk Eating House, the first women’s eating house at Davidson College, was founded in 1977 and is named in his honor. The Dean Rusk International Studies Program at Davidson College is also named in his honor.

Dean Rusk Middle School
Dean Rusk Middle School
Dean Rusk Middle School is a public school in Canton, Georgia, for students in grades 7-8. It was named in honor of Dean Rusk, who served as secretary of state under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson....

, located in Canton, Georgia, was named in his honor, as was Dean Rusk Hall on the campus of the University of Georgia.

External links