Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, October 15-16, 2001
OPEN SESSION, October 15
Approval of the Record of the June 2001 Meeting and Other Business
Chairman Robert Schulzinger called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. and asked for the approval of the minutes of the June meeting. After some discussion, the Committee amended and then voted to approve the minutes.
Executive Secretary Marc Susser next reported on the activities of the Office since the last meeting:
The staff is increasing: four historians have been hired; two scheduled to start the following week were introduced, one of whom is slated to serve as the joint State-CIA historian. A person has also been hired for the Declassification Coordination Division. Two interns have been hired to work on the Nixon tapes for the Foreign Relations series, and two more will be coming on board. Space has become a problem, and the office is being reconfigured to accommodate more people. An off-site session at Coolfont in West Virginia had been held to orient new personnel.
Four Foreign Relations volumes have been published this year, and two more were expected by the end of the year: including the last Kennedy volume and the first Nixon volume.
Teams have begun research at the Ford Library. Susser and David Herschler had gone to the Library in June to lay the groundwork for HO research. Two teams have already been to Ann Arbor, with another to follow at the end of the month. All had copied material of general interest.
Talks were in progress with the National Archives about more efficient use of the Nixon tapes.
Policy-related research included a chronology on counter-terrorism, and the ongoing Interagency Working Group on war crimes. A special classified research project also is planned, for which contract historians will be hired.
The State Department is still proceeding with planning for the U.S. Diplomacy Center and Museum.
Gayle Plummer asked about relations between HO and the Diplomacy Center. She was told that HO's role was advisory, pending the hiring of a full-time curator and a full-time staff. The Museum would be under the aegis of the Bureau of Public Affairs.
Schulzinger asked about implementation of the Foreign Relations statute. Susser reported that the Hill was interested in the status of the series and its ability to reach the 30-year line. The next State authorization bill would require an annual report from the Secretary to Congress on the progress of the series. With more staff, funds, and resources, Susser thought the office was on the right track to reach the law's target. Warren Kimball asked about coordinating a State Department annual report with that of the Advisory Committee. Susser replied that the reports could be coordinated, and that the Committee's report could be broader and more detailed.
Kimball then asked whether Susser could provide the Committee with a "wiring diagram" of the office. This would also be useful to new employees.
Report of the Subcommittee on the Declassification of State Department Records and the Transfer to the National Archives of Electronic Records
Schulzinger then turned to Lisa Hoffman for the report of the subcommittee on the transfer to NARA of State electronic records and public access to those records.
Hoffman began the report by stating that the subcommittee was pleased that the progress it had hoped for in June had been made. State's Office of IRM Programs and Services (IPS) had sent the 10,000 electronic cable sample to NARA. NARA was now testing this sample. Schulzinger recalled that NARA officials at the last meeting had asked Committee members to provide names of potential researchers who could evaluate the prototype user interface of NARA's public access system. In order to determine the most appropriate researchers to contact for this task, Kimball asked what was in this sample. Celeste Houser-Jackson (IPS) replied that the documents were generally non-substantive. To have the 10,000-document sample produced quickly, IPS had concentrated on cables of an administrative nature. Kimball suggested that maybe graduate student evaluators might then be more appropriate. Schulzinger asked for a demonstration of NARA's public access system by the next Committee meeting. Celeste Houser-Jackson commented that IPS and NARA had begun productive discussions regarding the development of a SAS disposition schedule based on TAGS for records from 1977 onward. She also reported that since the electronic records review was in its early stages, that it would be difficult to determine a schedule of when the review of annual record groups would be completed.
David Patterson asked if HO could have a timetable as to when and where State historians could do research of these electronic records. A discussion followed as to how HO could have access to these records if they were going to be transferred to NARA. Houser-Jackson commented that the records will be transferred to NARA in blocs of one year after they were reviewed--i.e. when the 1973 bloc was finished, it will be transferred to NARA. Michael Miller of NARA noted that NARA was still working on plans and a timetable for making these records available once they were transferred, including the withdrawn documents. Patterson asked if NARA would get a full set of these records. Miller replied yes, after the declassification review. David Herschler asked whether IPS would retain electronic copies at the Department so that HO historians could search them here. Houser-Jackson said that IPS would keep them until they were processed at NARA. David Langbart (NARA) pointed out that if the State Department kept the records they would remain subject to FOIA.
Kimball inquired as to the disposition of Top Secret records. Peter Sheils (IPS) commented that the Top Secret documents had been removed from the State Archiving System (SAS), as the SAS is a Secret high system. It was noted that the costs associated with maintaining a large database at a Top Secret secure level was very costly given the small volume of TS documents within the system. Sheils stated that the Top Secret documents had been printed out in hard copy and were reviewed for classification purposes and potential downgrading and transfer to the National Archives. Schulzinger expressed concern that in the future if State records are available electronically that formerly Top Secret documents also be available electronically. Kimball asked if NARA was comfortable with just getting hard copy of the Top Secret documents. Langbart said that earlier the Department had indicated that the Top Secret would be stored in a stand-alone system and would be transferred to the National Archives electronically. Schulzinger asked about the reintegration into the public access system of documents that are declassified in the future. State and NARA will work to ensure that electronic integration occurs.
Kimball asked when the process of making the records available at NARA would be completed. Miller responded that the 1973 bloc should be done in 4-6 months after transfer. Kimball asked if someone from HO was part of IPS's planning process and stressed that there should be liaison with HO.
Schulzinger then asked Brian Dowling of IPS for his report on State's declassification effort. After a brief discussion on staffing, Dowling went over two reports he had given the Committee: one was an overview and the other was a picture of what IPS did on a month-by-month basis. He noted that other projects, such as the one on the Nazi War Crimes records and the Japanese War Crimes records, diverted IPS resources. Dowling said that review of the State Department's electronic records was now underway and 47 percent of the 1973 record bloc had been reviewed.
Dowling said that he could not give the Committee page counts for other-agency referrals but IPS had completed most of the Army referrals. He mentioned another problem for IPS: the State Department was in the process of taking over a large collection of USIA documents, which has not yet been inventoried. Although only approximately 10 percent of the documents are classified, it is "a very unique collection." It includes such documents as USIA Director Charles Wick's "Z-grams" and tape recordings, the latter including his extensive, almost daily, notations and observations. Martin Manning was the USIA archivist who had assembled this miscellaneous collection of USIA materials. Schulzinger recalled that Manning had spoken to the Committee at a previous meeting.
Langbart noted that the items that Manning collected were files from various USIA organizations. Manning took records and materials that other USIA people and offices no longer wanted. He did not go through the proper recordkeeping process, for example, with the USIA General Counsel's files.
Dowling passed out a quantitative status report on declassification efforts to the Committee members. He noted that IPS had reviewed 44,625 electronic records and 176,000 pages of USIA documents using State and DOE review standards. The staff had also screened 1.2 million pages at Newington to determine their relevancy for the Nazi War Crimes project.
Examining Dowling's written report, Schulzinger noted that the number of pages exempted under the Kyl Amendment this month was 1,800 pages, more than last year. He commented that the 1,800 pages had in effect been reclassified. He stressed that the Committee members needed "Q" clearances to examine this material.
Kimball asked if IPS knew whether INR records were being properly scheduled. Dowling said that there is a SCIF at Newington that contains many INR records, but that they have not been reviewed. At present, the priority is to review documents for the war crimes project.
Kimball asked if all INR records had been scheduled; Langbart answered "no." Kimball asked if NARA had appropriate access to INR records. Langbart said that when the State Department submits a schedule, access has not been a problem. He noted that when Margaret Peppe, the Department's records officer, submits schedules for the INR records, NARA should have good access. Kimball asked if NARA could provide the Committee with a report on what INR records have not been scheduled. Langbart said that NARA was preparing a comprehensive report for the Department. Kimball asked if the Committee could receive a copy of that report. Langbart said that would be up to Michael Miller to make a decision on this.
Plummer asked Dowling about the distinction in his report between referrals and referral notifications. Dowling explained that referrals are documents sent from the State Department to other agencies while referral notifications are the reverse, from other agencies to State.
Hoffman asked about the 95 percent "done" figure on one page of the report, and a different percent on another. Sheils explained that the different figures come from using different years as base points. Hoffman noted that the report stated that 10 million pages had been done, that is screened for relevancy, for the war crimes project, but questioned the figure of 20 million pages yet to be done. Dowling said that IPS was using estimates concerning the war crimes project; the exact figures were unknown. He added that the largest part of the 20 million pages will come from the electronic SAS (State Archiving System) review.
Sheils noted that, after the test case of reviewing 10,000 documents, the problem in dealing with electronic records for 1973 is that 45 percent of the documents are classified, including the formerly unclassified but restricted designation, limited official use. Although the reviewers were getting better, Sheils explained that it was important to get the process right now since electronic records were becoming increasingly important.
Schulzinger asked if the 400,000 pages of INR records constituted the entire set. Langbart replied that the amount was not even near the totality of INR records. He further reported that NARA had already accessioned some INR files; and that the 400,000 were primarily sensitive compartmented information.
Schulzinger asked if the Department could provide declassification guidelines to the Presidential libraries. Sheils noted that this had been done. Schulzinger thought that it might be helpful to coordinate the process with HO. Susser reported that officials at the Ford Library had raised some concern about the lack of suitable guidelines for the Ford administration documentation. Nancy Smith of NARA stated that the figures cited above from the Presidential libraries did not include State equities. There was a level of material, she said, that the State guidelines do not address. When Kimball asked what she meant, Smith replied that NARA had not received guidelines for the Carter presidency, partly due to the proliferation of intelligence materials. Smith reported that NARA had suggested a trip to the Carter Library but that it was now too late in the year to address State equities under E.O. 12958. Although guidelines had been in place at other Presidential libraries for years, Smith explained that NARA would only conduct a review if the guidelines allowed sufficient authority to declassify enough material.
Schulzinger said that the Committee was primarily interested in two kinds of records: 1) those already used in Foreign Relations, and 2) those relevant to Foreign Relations volumes currently under research. Schulzinger then reiterated that IPS should consult with HO in the preparation of declassification guidelines. Kimball commented that he considered the problem serious and would like to receive a progress report in the future.
CLOSED SESSION, October 15
Status of the State Department Review of Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records
Susser, who is the Department of State representative on the Interagency Working Group on Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Acts, explained the focus of the IWG. Its mandate is to ensure the declassification of all U.S. Government records if they relate to war crimes and war criminals. At this time, the public members of the IWG are focused on Japanese wartime records, which were seized after the war and returned in the 1950s. The members want to know how the return of records came about with no guarantee of future access, with no list of the records returned, and with no copy made. After some research, HO and IWG staff had discovered the chronology of events:
Brian Dowling then reported on State Department declassification of the records gathered under the provisions of the Acts. He explained the process: relevant documents are selected from a box; then relevant pages are selected from those documents; those pages are captured in a computer for declassification review; the pages are "out-processed"; and IWG auditors review selected declassification decisions. Finally, the declassified documents are hand-carried to the National Archives and Records Administration.
Beginning in December 2000, Dowling reported, Department of State reviewers examined 2,601 boxes of documents; of the 8,398 documents deemed relevant, 41,501 pages were reviewed. Of the 12.4 million pages reviewed in all, 218,000 documents were declassified. The IWG auditors reviewed 4,500 pages. The only remaining task is declassification review and out-processing of 3-4,000 pages. He confidently predicted that the declassification of the Nazi war crimes records would be completed by the end of October 2001.
The review of Japanese war crimes documents has just begun. Of the 247 boxes examined so far, 221 relevant documents (718 pages) have been identified. Not all State documents have yet been delivered to Newington where the review is taking place.
Schulzinger asked what the declassification issues were in the Nazi war crimes documents. Dowling and Susser explained that all the excised documents dated from 1997 and beyond and concerned the inter-governmental negotiations on restitution and compensation for slave labor.
Plummer asked if the IWG would approach the Japanese Government to request access to the records that were returned in the 1950s. Susser explained that the IWG first wanted to determine the facts surrounding the return of the records, and then planned to hire a historian based in Japan who would search the Japanese archives to determine the accessibility of any disputed records. Some of the public members of the IWG would like the State Department to approach the Japanese Government to gain access.
New Initiatives at the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff and the Ford Library
Susser stated that HO has agreed upon a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nixon Project, providing subventions for two full-time staff to assist HO historians in their research. HO is also working on an arrangement with the Nixon Project that would permit HO historians to make more efficient use of the tapes.
Susser, along with David Herschler, visited the Ford Library in June to tour the facilities and to discuss usage arrangements with Dennis Daellenbach. The staff at the Library were very helpful, both in making arrangements with HO and during two subsequent research trips by HO staff. HO is currently negotiating an MOU with the Ford Library to provide a subvention for one part-time staff person to assist Foreign Relations compilers.
Nancy Smith reported on recent developments at the Nixon Project and the Ford Library. Declassification review at the Nixon Project is ongoing under E.O. 12958; barring a change in the executive order, the Nixon Project will meet the 30-year deadline next year. She noted that the NSC historical files for the Nixon period, transferred to the Nixon Project, are currently under final review at NSC. Many HO historians, she noted, had previously made use of these files. The Nixon Project has also completed review of two Foreign Relations volumes for conformity to the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA).
Foreign Relations historians, Smith stated, have been researching in Nixon-era materials at the Ford Library, especially Ford's memcons and daily diary. The Ford Library, she noted, has been working with HO to arrange a subvention for a part-time archivist so that more senior staff could devote their time to working with HO historians when they visit for research. Smith also asked for HO's assistance in encouraging State's Office of IRM Program Services (IPS) to arrange more visits by State declassification reviewers to the Ford Library. Susser said that HO would follow up on Smith's request and raise it with IPS.
Schulzinger praised the Ford Library for being pro-active with regard to declassification. The staff at the Library, he added, has been very helpful. He had two questions. First, 6 months ago, the Committee was told that the HO was paying the Nixon Project staff to listen to the tapes. As the Committee understood it, it was not clear that the HO was getting its money's worth. What came of that project?
The problem, Herschler replied, had been that the staff at the Nixon Project had not been putting in the full amount of hours paid for by HO under its subvention. This gap will diminish, however, as an increasing number of historians want to do research in tapes. Herschler also noted that the Nixon Project would soon be getting a second, much-needed copier for HO use.
Schulzinger's second question concerned access to Henry Kissinger's telcons. Susser stated that IPS is reviewing the telcons from Kissinger's years as Secretary of State to determine which are related to official government business (and are thus subject to declassification) and which are personal.
In response to a question, Nancy Smith noted that the Nixon Project is currently reviewing the question of whether Kissinger's telcons from his years as National Security Adviser are subject to the provisions of PRMPA and should therefore be deposited at the Nixon Project.
Meena Bose asked what assistance the Ford Library is requesting. Susser replied that the Library staff has requested a subvention for one archivist so that senior staff could devote extra time to assisting HO researchers.
In response to a question from Bose about declassification at Presidential libraries and the role of IPS, Schulzinger said that the Ford Library is seeking issue-specific guidelines from State for the Ford period so that it could undertake more declassification on its own and reserve more complicated declassification issues for State Department declassifiers. The declassification guidelines, Schulzinger explained, differed across Presidential administrations in terms of specificity and with regard to particular issues. For the Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy period, the guidelines were very detailed. For subsequent administrations, they are less so.
Patterson asked Smith about the state of declassified textual records at the Nixon Project. Smith stated that about 100,000 documents were declassified and that the staff at the State Department and NARA were using E.O. 12958 to review the documents. She said she invited government agencies to help with the review.
Regarding the Nixon tapes, Smith said their declassification status was more complicated, but other agencies--officials were helping to review the transcripts. The declassification would be finished by 2003.
Herschler asked about plans for a new executive order to supplement or replace E.O. 12958. Would the 25-year rule become a 40-year rule? Smith said she had not heard any talk about such a change. There have been discussions, she said, about "tweaking" E.O. 12958, but she did not feel comfortable talking about the different possibilities. In time of war, she noted, it is unlikely that an executive order would provide for a more liberal declassification policy.
Kimball asked how Steve Garfinkel's retirement as head of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) will affect the rate of the review process. Smith responded that it would not have much effect on the process.
Kimball noted that someone needed to impress upon the relevant government officials concerned with the proposed changes to E.O. 12958. It was important to impress upon government officials the importance of historians and the public knowing what the government was doing 30 years ago. Schulzinger suggested that perhaps the Committee should speak to Garfinkel.
Herschler stated that for the first time since the Foreign Relations statute was passed in 1991, HO has begun to conduct team research, in particular at the Ford Library. Kimball voiced his strong approval of this development.
The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.
CLOSED SESSION, October 16
The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series
The meeting was called to order by Schulzinger who stated that the June meeting between the CIA and the Advisory Committee was one of the best conversations they have had with regard to progress and cooperation. He felt that both sides want thorough, accurate volumes that they can be proud of. He then introduced members of the Advisory Committee and the Agency staff.
Susser stated that the recent problems between State and CIA concerning Foreign Relations stemmed from the evolution of foreign policy, with CIA activities and diplomacy becoming more intertwined in recent years. The CIA has become critical of the process of compiling and declassifying volumes, and he voiced concerns about the resolution of differences between HO and CIA. He mentioned the four packages of documents that were scheduled to be returned but have not been. He also stated that the draft MOU sent to HO by the CIA was now being reviewed with State's lawyers. Susser reported that he was told there could be no new business until a new MOU was in place and he was certain that this would be an obstacle to the preparation of volumes. Regarding the joint historian position, HO thought that the proposed MOU had language that contradicted an exchange of letters and an agreement with the CIA about the position. Susser voiced his concerns about problems with access and delays in declassification.
The CIA explained that the draft MOU had been submitted because the current process of handling intelligence documentation was "broken and flawed." The DCI had told them to address these problems before "normal business resumes." They also stated that the DCI was committed to participating with the State Department in the compilation and publication of Foreign Relations volumes.
A CIA representative said that at a September 25 meeting, State and CIA had discussed the idea of an interim MOU to allow for a working arrangement pending conclusion of a formal MOU. The CIA is still waiting for a response from HO on such an interim MOU, he said. They agreed that the intertwining of diplomatic and intelligence records raised difficulties with identification and adequate review of intelligence equities, but believed that the new MOU would help. The CIA also stated that 25-30 people have been detailed to support the counter-terrorism initiatives at the CIA. They will work to maintain the current level of commitment but stressed that a quick resolution of a new MOU was necessary.
CIA emphasized that the CIA leadership had decided that everything stems from the new MOU. They also suggested that the new joint historian become familiar with State records and then work at the CIA as a State historian. Once there, he could begin the CIA clearance process, which would take approximately 6 months. The clearance process will certify and build on State approved clearances and thus would not contradict the provisions agreed between the two agencies.
Schulzinger asked what the Advisory Committee could do to help. He mentioned that at the June meeting, the CIA reported that the four packages of documents were almost ready to be returned. The Committee had expected the documents would be back by October so they would not have to consider the release of a partial volume. He said that they had reviewed the draft MOU yesterday; much of it codified current practice, but they had concerns that the MOU altered the way in which the Foreign Relations series is published and released to the public and curbed the authority of historians compiling the volumes and the authority of the Advisory Committee to offer advice.
Schulzinger continued his comments about the joint State/CIA historian by expressing his wish to see a historian in the position as soon as possible. He felt the joint historian could "loosen the Gordian knot" of tensions between the Agency and HO, and the process should benefit from the ability to use clearances certified by State. In a discussion of the necessity for a separate CIA clearance for the joint historian, CIA regretted any miscommunication; the Agency had never deviated from its position that the joint historian must be cleared by the CIA as well as State.
Kimball explained that the Committee had not discussed the proposed MOU and could only express initial reactions. He reminded CIA that the Secretary of State would not approve any MOU without the Committee's approval. He wished to take the CIA's version home for study and promised that he and other members would not make it public. He added that the Committee was comfortable with CIA's desire to codify Foreign Relations procedures.
The CIA expressed a preference to share a joint CIA/State draft MOU with the Committee and with the CIA's own Historical Review Panel, rather than the CIA draft that was on the table now. CIA was awaiting HO's response to the MOU. Kimball replied that State and CIA had different relationships with their respective advisory committees and he thought it should be State's decision how to work with its own advisory committee.
Hoffman brought up the four packages of documents still at the CIA. She observed that those packages were, in effect, being held hostage. The CIA reiterated that CIA first needed an interim MOU before normal business could resume given the various concerns that have arisen over the last year. Concerning the four packages, the DCI had signed the issue statements, and the documents in the packages had been reviewed.
Susser and Herschler reiterated that the packages were still being held up. The CIA pointed out that other agencies were involved in some of the cases and that CIA was not the agency holding up final review decisions on the documents. Susan Weetman clarified that some agencies would not review specific documents until the CIA gave its decision. Herschler said that HO could not proceed with the volumes in question until CIA returned the documents. The CIA pointed out that the publishing process could proceed up to a certain point until final declassification decisions were made.
Plummer asked for clarification about an interim MOU. The CIA reiterated that they were under instructions not to proceed with business as usual until an interim MOU was agreed upon. At the September 25 meeting between CIA and HO, the latter had agreed to come up with interim guidelines in order to proceed with the four delayed packages.
Kimball summarized the discussion so far by stating that business as usual between CIA and HO would not proceed until an interim MOU was reached. Herschler stated HO's position on what had been agreed to at the September 25 meeting: HO had agreed to look at the CIA draft MOU and pull out those points that pertained to maintaining the security of the documents. HO did not agree at that meeting to address all the principles set forth in the CIA draft. CIA agreed that, at this time, neither side should get bogged down in details.
Schulzinger said that, nonetheless, he wanted to mention that one distinction in the MOU is the publication of Foreign Relations and the handling of sensitive information (i.e., paper flow). The MOU both codifies and alters procedures for the handling of information. This is the area that would be the easiest for the CIA and HO to agree on for an interim MOU and would go a long way to deal with the volumes already in the publication pipeline. The danger of making relations worse is that the issue of final publication can contaminate the easier issues of access to and handling of information, which appears to be the case regarding the four packages HO is waiting for the CIA to return. Schulzinger is concerned, therefore, that one issue is held hostage to another. It appears that the CIA wants an interim agreement so that the two agencies can work together, but an alternative bargaining position that nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to would present a large problem.
The CIA stated that issues in the MOU need to be clarified (e.g., regarding the HLP and the Secretary of State's authority). But the CIA wants to conclude an interim agreement that would be mainly process-related but include caveats for formal negotiation of a new MOU. When the CIA receives HO's proposal for an interim agreement, CIA will review it and respond.
Kimball said that, like Schulzinger, he regrets the "sea change" the MOU envisions, but he wanted to talk about process. It takes time to negotiate an interim agreement. The CIA and HO and the Committee have issues on which we all agree. He wanted to know if the draft MOU is the CIA's final position. He asks because he wants to respond quickly to fundamental issues of concern.
The CIA stated that everything bounded in the MOU draft reflected CIA concerns. There were no outlying concerns that had not been included. These concerns had been reinforced by CIA/HO conversations about FOIA releases, secrecy agreements, and access to a manuscript for a comparative/contextual analysis. Agreement at the September 25 meeting was that HO would draft an interim agreement to which CIA would respond.
Hoffman agreed that the MOU had to be renegotiated because the two sides stood so far apart, but she had no confidence that an interim, and later a final, agreement could be concluded quickly. Hoffman referred to page 12 of the June minutes in which the Committee recommended publishing a volume on the web with a disclaimer. She thought HO might need to proceed with this in order to comply with its statutory responsibility.
The CIA stated that this proposal came up the last time regarding the 1967 Vietnam volume. The CIA would have to review the language for a disclaimer statement. Renegotiating an MOU would not be slower than negotiating language for a disclaimer statement.
Schulzinger said that the Committee and HO could not lose sight of its duty to the reading public to publish Foreign Relations volumes. It would be scandalous if the public did not have access to material. We had to look for ways to speed access--the web, a new MOU, secondary literature, or memoirs. The process cannot stop. HO, the CSI, and others at the CIA engage in these matters all the time; the Committee can only give guidance.
Louis stated that the CIA had been candid regarding its expectations, and he wanted to emphasize the Committee's statutory duty with equal candor. The omission of documents in a publication could be flagged with a blank page.
Patterson said there appeared to be some confusion over the proposed interim procedural paper. The CIA had earlier stated that an interim procedural paper would not require any preconditions and could be easily agreed to. But later in response to a question from Herschler seeking clarification that the interim procedures would meet four specific concerns and not deal with principles in the draft MOU, the CIA seemed to be telling State that the interim procedures would cover "all" areas of concern. Patterson said that the 1992 MOU produced no complaints until this year, but now the CIA seemed to be saying a "sea change" had occurred. Why not take the 1992 MOU and add to/revise it for the interim agreement?
Kimball wanted to add to Patterson's remarks. The 1992 MOU had worked for almost 10 years. He wanted to know what in that agreement had broken down. The problems with the Indonesia volume were not a HO discrepancy, but HO had revised its contract with GPO to address that concern.
The CIA reiterated that a new MOU was required as part of the necessary confidence-building between HO and CIA. They still awaited HO's draft interim agreement. Susser said that he would have a response to the CIA interim draft by the end of day. (This was done.)
The CIA said that the breakdown in the process had occurred in the past year, but that CIA wanted to look forward. HO has plans to move Foreign Relations in new directions. The CIA understands that and thinks, therefore, it is a good time to renegotiate the MOU in order to address concerns that might grow out of new directions in the areas of e-pubs, new technology, supplements, access guides, and classroom use. These new directions have to continue to protect CIA concerns about sources and methods.
Kimball agreed that Foreign Relations was looking to new directions, but the proposed new MOU did not address these new directions. He reiterated the proposition that negotiation stem from the 1992 agreement, as Patterson suggested, and in the process the CIA concerns would remain protected.
Susser agreed for the need to protect sources and methods and he understood the CIA's concerns about new directions, but emphasized that anything involving new directions/technology would go through the same vetting process. New directions merely meant using already declassified documents in new ways; he cannot understand why the CIA is concerned.
Schulzinger said that the new MOU provides for repeating stages in the process with the end result that publication would be further delayed in violation of the law's 30-year provision. The Committee was appointed by the Secretary of State to facilitate the process of publication and its members have to do that.
The CIA responded that the focus cannot be just on the material and individual documents. The release of a volume has a context and an external environment, which was why the NSC needed to have a more explicit role. Schulzinger commented that that proposition required a different law than the current one, which gives the State Department final authority for the series.
Bose understood the CIA's concern but raised the volume on Vietnam 1967, which was ready for publication, pending the return of 3 documents from CIA. Renegotiating the MOU might be in the best interest of both agencies, but if it cannot be done expeditiously then releasing the rest of the volume might be necessary.
The CIA stated that over time, ambiguities in the process had emerged and the new proposed MOU addressed them. If a new law was needed, others would have to take care of that. Kimball commented that ambiguities do not make a system "broken." The CIA was making it difficult to work with them under the threat of "blackmail." The CIA responded that its leadership needed confidence in the process.
Kimball agreed but pointed out that stopping the process until State agrees to the CIA's wishes is counterproductive. It gives the appearance of holding the four packages hostage. The Committee would be willing to vote unanimously to proceed in good faith for negotiating a new MOU, but it was not unreasonable to expect the four packages be returned to show the CIA's good faith. Both sides should get on with the process by showing good faith.
The CIA restated the position that when an interim agreement is reached, they would move ahead with the four packages and full negotiations for a new MOU.
Kimball stated that the Committee would be involved at some level in the negotiations for the interim and final agreements in order to provide its statutory guidance to the Secretary of State. The CIA agreed that the Committee could review the interim agreement and stated that they would like to give a draft agreement to both agencies' advisory committees after the two sides are closer together on agreement.
Schulzinger concluded by saying that the Committee could be involved even if they were not meeting in person.
Future of the Foreign Relations Series
Schulzinger called the meeting to order after a short break. After a brief discussion, the Committee agreed to work out the dates for the spring and summer meetings by e-mail over the next week.
Schulzinger asked Kimball to deliver the report for the subcommittee on the future of the Foreign Relations series. Kimball outlined an arrangement that HO was tentatively considering for an academic institution to possibly do some of the transcribing of the open Nixon tapes. Kimball noted that the HO was still exploring the feasibility of such a project and that Marc Susser would report to the committee on what it had learned at the December meeting.
Kimball reported that HO was still assessing the effort to produce e-pubs. Currently the plan for the series is to produce 15 e-pub volumes and HO expects that production costs for these will prove reasonable. Kimball noted also that the subcommittee had a useful discussion at the meeting on how these volumes will be edited, but that nothing definite had been worked out yet.
Kimball also noted that access and declassification at the NSA has been good, but that DOD's record, while better than in the past, still needs improvement. HO reported that DOD hasn't been as timely responding to declassification requests as it would like. However, at present HO doesn't have much material pending with DOD. Schulzinger added that HO needed to make better use of DOD material. He noted that he had recently received a letter from a user of the 1961-1963 volume on national security policy who complained that there was important DOD documentation missing.
Kimball asked HO to look into getting "Q" clearances for all the Committee members, since DOE is now so critical to the whole declassification process. Susser said he would check into what documentation was needed.
Kimball asked about the status of the retrospective volumes on Guatemala and Iran in the 1950s. Holly indicated that there was some material of concern in the Guatemala volume. It was also pointed out that the CIA may have found some new material on Iran. The Committee agreed to have a subcommittee at the December meeting discuss the status of both retrospective volumes and the volume on the Congo during the early 1960s. Kimball also reported that Patterson had divided the volume on the organization of the intelligence establishment from 1950 through 1955. The first volume will cover up to 1955.
Kimball asked that the Committee members review HO's current production plan for the series. After a brief discussion, the Committee agreed to discuss the plan in more detail in December.
Schulzinger asked if anyone on the Committee wanted to address the concerns raised by the CIA earlier about e-pubs and access guides. After some discussion, the Committee surmised that the CIA's real concern is that the e-pubs and access guides could make it easier for the public to file FOIAs. Kimball commented that the access guides could be general rather than specific to each volume. Patterson agreed that a compiler could extend an access guide to cover an area rather than just a volume.
In response to Hoffman's question, Susser said that the next step on an interim MOU will be that HO will give the CIA remedies for each of their concerns. He emphasized that this is the State Department's publication, and we cannot let CIA take over the series.
Schulzinger commented that HO will either get the four packages or not. He was disappointed that so little progress has been made since the June meeting.
Kimball suggested that Schulzinger as Committee Chairman should write a letter to Susser recommending that HO proceed to publish the volumes impacted by the four packages. Susser pointed out that CIA has not yet responded to the State Department's letter to the DCI. He plans to send a draft of an interim MOU to CIA this afternoon. Keefer stated his belief that the issue must be resolved or Foreign Relations will change drastically.
Susser speculated about next steps. Kimball said that HO should negotiate by choosing reasonable issues to raise.
The meeting then went off the record for staff comments and the executive session.