April 2000

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, April 10-11, 2000



Approval of the Minutes of the December 1999 Meeting

The meeting convened at 1:40 p.m. Warren Kimball as Acting Chairman explained Chairman Michael Hogan's absence and asked for approval of the December 1999 minutes. Robert Schulzinger moved to adopt; Anne Van Camp seconded, and the minutes were approved without change. Kimball commented that Hogan had recently been appointed Dean of Humanities at Ohio State University and, before turning to the Executive Secretary's report, thanked Michael Schaller for agreeing to attend this meeting even though his term on the Committee had expired.

Report by the Executive Secretary

Executive Secretary William Slany began his report by commenting on the briefing material. He reported that one volume had been released this year and more will come. He mentioned that the schedule for compiling volumes that was in the briefing package was a working document, and he asked that discussion on this subject be put off until the next day. He explained that David Patterson had compiled the schedule for purposes of describing resources needed for a reorganized Office and filling vacancies, and it was not really intended to be the actual action plan for compiling Foreign Relations in the future.

Office Reorganization

Slany said there were two reasons for the reorganization: to outline how the Office will work in the future and to provide justification to hire more historians. In addition, the previous organization did not meet the Department's personnel standards for supervisory responsibilities. He asked that the Committee postpone comments until they received a briefing on Tuesday from Betsy Murphy of the Public Affairs Bureau Executive Office. The staff is scheduled to have this briefing on Wednesday.

"Hall of Diplomacy"

Slany said that a major step had been taken since the last Committee meeting. The Exhibit Hall, current location of the exhibit, was essentially inaccessible to the public and not large enough to house a complete museum-quality exhibit. In the course of renovation of the main State Department building, a space much larger and more accessible to the public inside the 21st Street entrance would likely be earmarked for the Museum. One proposed budget called for $6-7 million for the exhibit, which would remain under the wing of the Historian's Office for the foreseeable time and would require new HO staff to manage the museum. Demolition of the space in Old State is scheduled to begin in October 2000, with a completion date in 2003.

International Conference of Diplomatic Editors

Slany said that complications with the merger of USIA into the Department made it impossible to hold the conference this year. Current planning calls for a conference in April or May 2001, and he hoped that the group can be greatly expanded beyond the approximately 20 European and Commonwealth participants who attended previous conferences to include diplomatic editors and other representatives from other continents. He expected that an expanded conference would serve as a vehicle to gather information on access to diplomatic archives in other countries.

Russian-American Project

The Department has been approached by the Russian Foreign Ministry to do a sequel to the first Russian-American History published in 1980. Slany was not sure how eager the Department is to pursue this project. Although the Office of the Historian has already gathered approximately 2,000 documents, Slany doubted whether the Office could take on this project. It was not a high priority project for the Department, although the question of access to Russian archives by outside scholars was an important issue.

New Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

Richard Boucher has been identified as James Rubin's likely successor. Boucher is familiar with the issues facing the Advisory Committee from his previous service in the Bureau of Public Affairs. He would like to meet briefly with the Committee before they leave.

General Discussion

Concerning the discussion on the Russian-American project, Steve Aftergood mentioned that Russia and Israel had carried out an exchange of approximately 500 documents in Russian, Hebrew, and English. Kimball commented that he had some experience with a similar effort, in which the former Soviet Government attempted to work with Western academics. Kimball remarked that the Soviets were quick to come up with World War II documents from Russian archives, but they had been previously vetted by a Russian archivist. The project floundered, he said, when the academics asked to see the original archival documents. On the basis of this experience as well as what he knew of the proposal, Kimball was reluctant to support U.S. Government participation in a project pre-edited by Russian archivists. Kimball then asked whether the Committee had an opinion on whether the Historian's Office should expend any resources on the project; he clearly stated his own opinion that the Office should not. Van Camp thought the project might be worthwhile as part of the Foreign Relations series but doubted this was what the Russian Government intended.

Schulzinger asked whether resources from the Historian's Office would be expended on the museum project. Slany reported that he had seen a budget proposal for three additional staff dedicated to the museum. Schulzinger recalled the Committee's position that the Foreign Relations series must remain the Office's first priority and reiterated that the resources currently dedicated to the series should not be diverted to the museum. Slany explained that the museum had been formally placed under his wing but effectively taken out of his hands. Others outside of the PA Bureau had come up with plans for fund-raising and space for the museum; a committee of former Secretaries of State had also been established to advise on the project. The Historian's Office has offered its own advice and may, in the future, contribute more to the substance of the exhibits. So far, however, Office resources have not been impacted.

Kimball said that Michael Miller of NARA had been scheduled to report on electronic records of the State Department at the National Archives. Although his report was no longer on the agenda, Miller would attend the demonstration later in the afternoon. Kimball asked if the members of the subcommittee on electronic records had anything to add. Mackaman remembered that the full Committee had wanted to address these important issues with an Archives representative. Mackaman and Kimball both expressed disappointment that no one was available to address their concerns. Mackaman thought that Miller would not only report on the status of consultation and budget but also explain the delay in setting up a prototype on State records. Herschler reiterated that Miller was prepared to talk to the Committee during the afternoon demonstration.

Report of the Subcommittee on the Kissinger Papers and PFIAB Records

Henry Kissinger's Papers at the Library of Congress. Kimball then turned to a discussion of the Kissinger Papers at the Library of Congress. Schulzinger reported that a subcommittee met with HO historians and Nancy Smith, Gary Stern, and David Langbart of the National Archives to consider the status of research in the Kissinger Papers, including, in particular, the transcripts of telephone conversations. Peter Rodman, Kissinger's representative, has reviewed many of the records tabbed by HO historians. To date, HO has received about 2,000 pages of transcripts; approximately 5 percent of that has been excised for information of a personal nature. HO is currently reviewing the material to determine if there is a pattern to the excisions that threatened the integrity of the historical record. In considering what advice to give, the Committee needed this assessment of whether the deletions are legitimately personal. After completing this task, HO should communicate immediately, and on a regular basis, with either Kissinger or Rodman; this communication should be done as part of the process rather than waiting until the end. Schulzinger also reported that there may be some slippage in notification on declassification between the National Archives and the Library of Congress. He thought a list of documents available at the Archives should be forwarded to facilitate declassification at the Library.

Philip Zelikow said he was sorry he had been unable to attend the subcommittee meeting. He had reviewed the briefing material, however, and was troubled by the Department of State's letter responding to the Archivist; he asked for an explanation. Slany said that his part of the Department had responded, but others within the Department had not. Zelikow asked if Slany was saying that Assistant Secretary Rubin was not authorized to respond for the Secretary. Slany said no, but there could be other responses. Rubin had thought it important enough to send the letter to Carlin to try to keep the dialogue going. Zelikow asked for clarification. Slany said that HO historians were the only ones who had access right now and within a couple of years would have gone through the bulk of the Kissinger telcons as well as a reasonable amount of the paper records. This would go a long way to completing the review of all the Kissinger telcons sought by NARA.

Slany explained that in 1980 the Department of Justice had ruled that the Department of State would review the Kissinger materials and in 1981 the State Department prepared a plan to accomplish this review, known as the Muskie plan. Slany argued that a group of HO historians would have more success than a group of new reviewers. Zelikow asked "what success?," noting that Rubin's letter said HO would not complete its review for another 2-3 years. Slany said that the alternative would be a new review panel, perhaps headed by Frank Machak.

Schulzinger pointed out that the subcommittee had addressed two different questions: 1) what would speed up the Foreign Relations process and 2) who in the Department would be best to review the Kissinger materials. He noted that the HO historians have expertise in this matter and he argued that they should be the group to do this review because another group would not have the same expertise. How to do this while producing the quickest possible Foreign Relations volumes was a separate question. Kimball stated his belief that this process would produce the fastest public access to the Kissinger material and therefore HO historians are already the leading edge in achieving this. Herschler pointed out that under the original 1980 ruling, the Department would have reviewed only Kissinger's Secretary of State telcons, not the earlier material. Now the HO historians are reviewing a more comprehensive set of records.

Zelikow noted that there were two issues: First, who does the review at the Department of State, but this is separate from the Department's response to NARA. Why not have the response agree to reconstruct the panel with HO doing the review. Rubin's letter seems to be saying that the Department is happy with the way things are. Kimball said that he read it as cautious optimism while awaiting more information. Schulzinger agreed and said that HO historians had to come to some conclusions as to what had been excised and then ask for more. Zelikow asked if HO historians could bring back copies from the Library of Congress. David Geyer said no, they cannot even make a list of the documents requested. Zelikow declared that this was unsatisfactory and recommended calling their bluff. Regarding the letter to Carlin, he pointed out that it will be hard to complain later if it is ineffective.

Mackaman stated that during the subcommittee meeting, he heard that HO does not yet have enough information so it was impossible at this time for the Committee to be happy or unhappy with the situation. Emphasizing that the Committee and HO do not want to risk the access the historians have now, Mackaman suggested seeing whether the Committee could work with Kissinger's agent, Rodman, after a critical mass of material has been evaluated. He noted the separate question of whether Foreign Relations should be used as a vehicle to leverage public access to the Kissinger material. HO was now getting responses from Rodman and it would be premature to act.

Zelikow said his experience had been that the historians were not happy and that there were long delays. Schulzinger noted that HO only recently began receiving material from the Library of Congress, so have only begun to review it. He thought Rodman's excisions (using one category--personal) were of more concern and might warrant a re-review. Zelikow contended that he was not quibbling about Rodman's excisions, but arguing that the whole system and the premise on which it was based were flawed: Kissinger did not have the right to keep this material at the Library of Congress; the records should be at the National Archives. But the Department's letter confirms that now that Kissinger is playing the game, let the situation stand. Mackaman said no, the Committee is waiting for more information. Zelikow asked, based on the excisions? Kimball noted that the question of whether this is the appropriate record-keeping system had not been addressed by the Committee.

Kimball then defined Zelikow's concerns: access to the Kissinger telcons was the issue and the Committee did not have a chance to examine it. The Department's letter to NARA would make it worse. Kissinger had set up an inappropriate system of access to his papers. Mackaman suggested that the Committee already agreed to all that. Zelikow stated that Kissinger established a plan and was now forcing the Department of State to play by his rules.

Kimball asked if it was necessary to change the agenda of the meeting to deal with Zelikow's concerns or could the issue wait until the July meeting. Zelikow responded that such a delay would only produce more data on the nature and scope of Rodman's deletions, not resolve the central issue. Kimball asked Zelikow if waiting until July would be a fatal delay. Zelikow stated that the fatal move was to send the letter in the first instance and not to have agreed with NARA to present a united front to Kissinger.

Kimball asked other Committee members how they felt.

Schulzinger stated that there was a full agenda, the subcommittee had recommended that HO make contact with Kissinger's agent Rodman, and suggested that another subcommittee could examine the issue again in July. Kimball suggested that the Rubin letter to Carlin did not pass "the smell test" and did nothing to help public access to the Kissinger records or improve HO's access. Mackaman suggested that it was impossible to separate "the smell" from practicalities.

Zelikow stated that the Department should change its position. This was not a marginal issue and he wanted the Committee to go on record on it. Kimball said he wanted more information, that he was uncomfortable deciding on the issue without it.

Aftergood stated that there was an initiative from NARA on the table and wondered if the door was closing and if steps could be taken to keep it open. Kimball suggested that NARA would hear of the concern expressed at this meeting. Zelikow countered that NARA would not be able to "carry the water" without the State Department. Kimball agreed that Zelikow should share his views with the Committee, but he doubted whether a couple of month's delay would matter much.

Gary Stern, NARA's Legal Counsel, stated that the National Security Archive had not yet filed a lawsuit; that NARA was not seeking to remove Kissinger's records from the Library of Congress; that NARA was just trying to open them to the public as quickly as possible without slowing Foreign Relations down. Stern promised that NARA would work with the Committee. Zelikow stated that if the issue was moot, there was no need to discuss it further, but Stern suggested that there was more to discuss.

Records of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Schulzinger next reported on the impasse with the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). He referred to the correspondence with PFIAB in which Chairman Rudman and the Board's Executive Secretary Deitering accused the Historian's Office of violating the terms of the memorandum of understanding on the use of PFIAB records for Foreign Relations and demanded the return of the records. Schulzinger stated that these PFIAB documents are for the Foreign Relations series. The subcommittee asked Chairman Hogan (in absentia) to talk to Rudman and Deitering to convince them to end the suspension of Foreign Relations historians' access to PFIAB records as well as their refusal to review the records for declassification. The subcommittee hoped that by the July meeting the controversy with PFIAB would be resolved. Kimball suggested that the Committee was concerned about access to PFIAB records--as well as their declassification--and would pursue it in the hopes of creating an atmosphere more conducive to compromise.

In response to Aftergood's question about the precipitating event for PFFIAB's action, Kimball replied that it involved process and not substance.

Zelikow asked what PFIAB's legal justification was not to declassify any records. Schulzinger suggested that they claimed their records were deliberative rather than policy records. Zelikow asked if the position of the Historian was that the deliberative exception had no merit. Slany responded that he would like to assert that, but that the State Department lawyers would not allow it and he did not know how to convince them to oppose PFIAB. Schulzinger commented that PFIAB would do what the President told them to do. Kimball suggested that the Committee discuss strategy in executive session.

William Ferragero of the National Security Archive, standing in for William Burr, asked about a related issue, CIA's decision to deny release of the President's Daily Brief. Zelikow stated that CIA was taking this stand on principle. Kimball added that the CIA had prevailed on the issue in the Interagency Security Appeals Panel (ISCAP) and he was not sure what recourse the Department or the Committee had. Zelikow suggested that the ISCAP decision related to the Executive Order, not to the Foreign Relations statute, and therefore the issue was not dead. Slany assured everyone that the issue would be pursued. Kimball added that the Committee was totally opposed to the CIA's position.

The public session portion of the meeting was adjourned.


Public Access to the Department of State Historical Electronic Records: Demonstration of State Web Site

Margaret Grafeld, Director of A/RPS, greeted the Committee and welcomed them to SA-2. Steve Lauderdale demonstrated the prototype Web site for declassified State telegrams, 1973-1975, which is being hosted by the Government Printing Office. He commented on the GPO's expertise in the field of Internet publishing. Grafeld and Lauderdale discussed the State Archiving System (SAS) and the development of a module designed to support on-line declassification review by the IPS reviewers. After a question-and-answer session, the meeting was adjourned.


The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series

Kimball convened the morning session at 9:05 a.m. The initial agenda item was the CIA and the Foreign Relations series. Kimball began by introducing the CIA's Foreign Relations Coordinator Robert Leggett and Gregory Moulton, Chief of the CIA's Office of Information Management. Chief Historian Gerald Haines joined the meeting later.

[The discussion with CIA officials is not part of the public record.]

Future of the Foreign Relations Series

When the meeting reconvened at 10:40 a.m., Chairman Kimball said that he intended to conclude the meeting by 11:30.

Slany said that the budget problems of the PA Bureau had slowed the implementation of test electronic publication of Foreign Relations. Nothing was on the GPO website; the briefing package had contained a diskette with an abbreviated Web publication. He expected to have more of a test in time for the July meeting, as well as information about Foreign Relations publications on the Internet. Patterson reported that he had contacted the Library of Congress about Internet publications. He had received no return calls until Friday, but expected to confer with them in a week.

Slany expected the budget situation to be resolved in the weeks ahead. Another project that had been cancelled because of budget shortages was the proposed subvention to the Ford Presidential Library for an archivist to process materials on a priority basis for Foreign Relations. (PA was already paying $100,000 for assistance with the Nixon Papers.) Kimball would seek the Committee's input during the closed session.

Patterson began his report on the two prototype Core and Framework volumes by outlining progress made during the past 2 1/2 months. He expected to have documents to show the Committee at the July meeting. He had decided to involve the whole Office in the project, with a team working on each volume. These would be letterpress editions.

Keefer and a team of four were working on the Cold War volume that was intended to cover October 1971 through June 1972. While the culminating event was the May 1972 Summit, the impact of other events (outreach to China, the India-Pakistan War, Ostpolitik, the Middle East, and the Vietnam War) would be covered. Team members were enthusiastic and committed, meeting weekly to report on progress. Research was completed in many areas: the Nixon and Kissinger papers and telephone conversations, and the State Department Central Files. Lot files, NSC files, and other agencies' files would follow. Use of the Nixon tapes would be a big issue.

The Intellectual Framework volume was an experiment in progress. Paul Claussen and David Herschler led a team of ten. The emphasis was not on formulation of policy or bureaucratic conflicts. It was not intended to be a collection of public statements like the American Foreign Policy volumes. Nor was it to be key speeches and statements by principal persons: "greatest policy hits." Instead, the volume would describe the intellectual assumptions and themes of President Nixon and his foreign policy team.

Patterson stated that the themes for the volume would be drawn from classified and unclassified sources, Nixon's public statements, press conferences of key officials, and the background briefings of Nixon and Kissinger. Few of Kissinger's background briefings appear to be available. None have been found in the Nixon Papers at Archives II, yet Kissinger frequently mentions them in his memoirs. The classified material in the Nixon Papers is being researched through specific assignments to individual historians. This volume is a unique, one-of-a-kind production, very different from prior volumes. David Humphrey's materials on the organization and management of the Nixon administration formed a nucleus for this project, and the bibliography he compiled covered primary and secondary materials on Nixon and Kissinger. Team members read various selections, reported verbally and in writing, and moved into various other fields of research, attempting to locate documents relevant to the basic themes. The Nixon tapes will be a major challenge. For instance, there are at least 60 references to "linkage," but almost none to "triangulation." An archive has been prepared in the office for deposit of materials.

Patterson listed the preliminary themes as being:

  1. Nixon/Kissinger geopolitical view of the world versus ideology;
  2. what Nixon and Kissinger thought was important/not important;
  3. Nixon Doctrine;
  4. New Economic Policy;
  5. linkage;
  6. triangulation;
  7. secrecy/control;
  8. attitudes toward nuclear weapons;
  9. attitudes toward the United Nations and international organizations;
  10. attitudes toward the developing world and foreign assistance.

The team is in the preliminary stage of research, trying to find needles in haystacks. It is difficult to find materials since there are no boxes and files labeled with the above specific concepts. There may not be enough significant documents to justify a standard volume; as an illustration, Patterson mentioned having approximately 100 significant documents amounting to perhaps 400 pages, although the total documents might be only 50. It will depend on the results of the research.

In reporting on the Cold War volume, Keefer stated that the term Soviet Union is being used as a shorthand way of referring to the volume on which his group is working. It is a Cold War volume, and will be one in a series. The anticipated series will provide the materials giving the essence of the Cold War.

Paul Claussen, in reporting on the Intellectual Framework volume, agreed that the volume was a quest for needles in haystacks. Every effort is being made to be inductive and open-minded. It will not be an American Foreign Policy volume. Kissinger briefings, Executive testimony, and correspondence with heads of government will be principal sources. The resulting access guide should be helpful to those using this volume.

David Herschler reported that the essential components have already been collected from the Nixon materials. The documents to be used will highlight the highest level of thinking in the Nixon administration. The final product may not be only documents; there may be a considerable number of editorial notes. The purpose is to focus on broad thinking. He stated that the team does not know how well it is going to work. It is a challenge and one that will have to be worked out.

Schulzinger responded very positively to Patterson's report, stating "I like what I hear." He had two suggestions: 1) HO might include writings of administration figures written before they took office; and 2) HO might circulate a list of topics to experts outside the office for comment, thus initiating "a conversation with the larger historical community." Hoffman asked if there would be overlap between the two volumes. Keefer agreed that overlap was definitely a problem to be worked out. More general documents would probably go in the core volumes. Patterson indicated that he was not opposed to printing a document twice. Kimball also noted that there will be some framework issues that are impossible to explain without details.

Van Camp also expressed her pleasure at Patterson's report; regarding the framework volume, she asked whether secondary and memoir literature will be included. Patterson observed that memoir literature was something to consider for access guides. Trying to provide a list of scholarly articles, however, might be rather time-consuming. Mackaman echoed Schulzinger's and Van Camp's comments on Patterson's report, calling the prototype volumes "an exciting prospect." He added that Patterson might consider a report to the Committee next year evaluating the experience in compiling this volume.

The meeting then went off the record for staff comments.


Committee Members

  • Warren F. Kimball, Acting Chairman
  • B. Vincent Davis
  • Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
  • Frank H. Mackaman
  • Michael R. Schaller
  • Robert D. Schulzinger
  • Anne Van Camp
  • Philip Zelikow
  • William Slany, Executive Secretary

Office of the Historian

  • William Slany, Director
  • Rita Baker
  • Paul Claussen
  • Evan Duncan
  • Vicki Futscher
  • David Geyer
  • David Goldman
  • David Herschler
  • Joe Hilts
  • Susan Holly
  • Nina Howland
  • David Humphrey
  • Ted Keefer
  • Doug Keene
  • David Patterson
  • Sidney Ploss
  • Kent Sieg
  • Luke Smith
  • Donna Thompson
  • Gloria Walker
  • Susan Weetman

Bureau of Administration

  • Margaret Grafeld, A/RPS
  • Steve Lauderdale, A/RPS/IPS/AAS
  • Peter Sheils, A/RPS/IPS

National Archives and Records Administration

  • Margaret Hawkins, Life Cycle Management Division
  • David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
  • Marty McGann, Office of the General Counsel
  • Don McIlwaine, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
  • Gary Stern, General Counsel

Central Intelligence Agency

  • Gerald Haines, Chief, History Staff
  • Robert Leggett, Foreign Relations Coordinator, Office of Information Management
  • Greg Moulton, Chief, Office of Information Management, Information Review Group


  • Steve Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists
  • William Ferragero, National Security Archive