Rusk, Dean


1975 TLS by the JFK-LBJ Secretary of State while University of Georgia Professor of Law


Autograph ID: 6764
Condition: Very Good, pencil & pen dockets top right
Description: “(1909-1994) Georgia-born US Secretary of State 1961-69 (JFK-LBJ), the joint 2nd-longest serving Secretary of State behind Cordell Hull, tied with William Seward. US Army officer in the China-Burma-India Theater, joined the State Department in Feb. 1945 and worked for the office of United Nations Affairs. He became Deputy Under Secretary of State in 1949, Asst. Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs in 1950 and played an influential part in the US decision to become involved in the Korean War and in Japan’s postwar compensation for victorious countries. Rockefeller Foundation trustee 1950-61; in 1952 he became Foundation president. On Dec. 12, 1960, President-elect Kennedy nominated him as Secretary of State, sworn in Jan. 21, 1961. As Secretary, he believed in military action to combat communism. Despite private misgivings about the Bay of Pigs invasion, he remained noncommittal during Executive Council meetings leading up to the attack and never opposed it outright. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he supported diplomatic efforts. Early in his tenure, he had strong doubts about intervention in Vietnam but later his vigorous public defense of US actions in the Vietnam War made him a frequent target of anti-war protests. Rusk drew the ire of supporters of Israel after he stated his belief that the USS Liberty incident was a deliberate attack on the ship, rather than an accident. Shortly after JFK’s assassination, Rusk offered his resignation to Lyndon Johnson who retained him as the Secretary throughout his administration. After French President de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO in Feb. 1966 and ordered all US military forces to leave France, LBJ asked Rusk to seek clarification from de Gaulle whether the bodies of buried American soldiers must leave France as well; DeGaulle did not respond. Rusk received the Sylvanus Thayer Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969. Following his retirement, he taught international law at the University of Georgia Law School 1970-84.

TLS on 11 x 8 ½ University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia letterhead, April 15 1975, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College. The former Secretary of State thanks General Smith for the fine hospitality afforded him at the AWC, he enjoyed the visit and “was greatly stimulated by it.” Regarding a video tape for the Oral History Program, Ruck has no objections to lending it to other service schools or serious civilian scholars but would prefer to have a look at it before agreeing to have it generally available to the public. He adds: “Things have moved very fast in the world, and I would have to consider to what extent it [the video] has been taken over by events.”

DeWITT C. SMITH, JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”
Type: Letter

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