Secretaries of State Since WWII

This section gives information on each Secretary of State since World War II.  In addition to brief text and references, video clips on several are also included.



Dean D. Rusk -- 1961-1969

Dean Rusk, who had served previously as an Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs during the Korean War and later led the Rockefeller Foundation for ten years, was Secretary of State throughout the administrations of both John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Drawing on the lessons of the West’s failure to stop Hitler when it might have had a chance to do so, he was a firm believer in the application of military force to prevent communist expansion. He consistently opposed recognition of the People’s Republic of China, and his ardent public defense of U.S. involvement in Vietnam made him a frequent target of anti-war protests, particularly after 1965. His earlier experiences in the foundation world were reflected in his strong advocacy of international assistance and the lowering of trade barriers.

  • Rusk Dean D. As I Saw It (as told to Richard Rusk). New York: Norton, 1990.
  • Zeiler, Thomas W. Defending the American Mission Abroad Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000.