Dean Rusk, Secretary of State

4 Short American Stories

President John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when Charles DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.  DeGaulle said he wanted all U.S. military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded, “Does that include those who are buried here?”
DeGaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.


When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ’empire building’ by George Bush. Powell answered by saying, “Over the , the United States has sent many of its fine young men and into great peril to for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”

You could have heard a pin drop.


Then there was a conference in France where a number of international , included in which both French and American, were taking part. During a break one of the French came back into the room saying “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from seawater each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have? “

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.

At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks, but a French admiral suddenly complained – “where as Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.” He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?”

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied  “Maybe it’s because The Brits, Canadians, and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.”

You could have heard a pin drop.


AND… this “Bonus” Story fits right in with those above…

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. , an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his in his carry on.

“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.  Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France
previously.  “Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”

The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!”

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. “Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find any damn Frenchmen to show it to.”  

You could have heard a pin drop.


As Americans who run this site, we are not embarrassed to feel proud of these statements… especially at a time when a former president and other politicians were inclined to apologize for our country’s prior actions… it’s a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our great country in the past.



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