Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, December 13-14, 1999
Open Session, December 13
Approval of the Minutes of the September 1999 Meeting
Chairman Michael Hogan convened the meeting at 9 a.m. As the first order of business, he requested that a phrase on page 8 of the record for the September 1999 meeting be changed to "but was moving forward at a slow pace." With that change, the minutes were moved, seconded, and approved.
Hogan introduced Dr. Lisa Cobbs Hoffman of San Diego State University. Hoffman's specialization is in American Foreign Relations. She joins the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation as an At Large member.
Report by the Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary, William Slany, had distributed a written report prior to the start of the session. He stated that it should be referred to when an agenda item was reached during the forthcoming discussions. Slany also made a brief oral report. David Patterson and Ted Keefer were managing the process for filling three vacancies in the Historian's Office. Patterson stated that two individuals had been identified. It was necessary to continue to use the S/S-EX office to assist in the process because the new PA Executive Office was just being organized and was not yet able to provide the support required for hiring people from outside the Department. One of the individuals would be a Division Chief and one would be entry level. The positions now go to OPM to be posted, which will be delayed slightly while the financial arrangements are worked out with OPM for placing the openings on the OPM Web site. The vacancy on which Keefer was working was well advanced.
Hogan asked how long it would be after posting before the people would be hired. Patterson answered it could be another 6 months or more before they could be on board. Keefer stated that the Office is waiting to see if the third individual accepts an offer of employment.
Hogan asked about the status of the other three vacancies. Slany said that it is necessary to hire outside the Department, which means identifying people, then having them go through a lengthy security clearance procedure before they can be hired. There is also an indication of an unacknowledged "freeze," which is limiting posting the vacancies. He is working on having the unstated restrictions lifted so three more people can be hired.
Slany also reported on various actions taken in response to Committee recommendations at its September meeting. The declassification review of the volume on Foreign Economic Policy during the Nixon administration had been expedited so that it could provide the first test of the Nixon Project procedures on dealing with papers covered by the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA). The issue would be taken up later in the session. With respect to the Kissinger papers at the Library of Congress, Slany had written to Dr. Kissinger, as the Committee had recommended, asking for his help in expediting the review for personal and private information in his papers at the Library. Dr. Kissinger had replied promptly and affirmatively and designated Dr. Peter Rodman (Head of the Nixon Institute) to be his reviewer of his papers at the LC. Rodman had already reviewed a substantial body of the records identified by Foreign Relations historians who will report on the results later in the meeting. The Committee's request for a communication to the CIA leadership regarding the High-Level Panel (HLP) has resulted in a letter from Assistant Secretary Rubin to the CIA Executive Director requesting the convening of a Panel meeting to discuss the problems currently facing the Panel. The NSC was taking the lead in convening a Panel meeting but none was expected before January.
With respect to the Committee's concerns about the future of the Foreign Relations series and electronic publications, Slany said that he expected comments about the Foreign Relations plan at the appropriate place on the agenda as well as a report on the potential for electronic publication of future Foreign Relations volumes. There would also be a statement by the CIA Deputy General Counsel regarding the status of PDBs and Peter Sheils of IPS would talk about INR documents.
Presentation by Lois Herrmann of the Bureau of Public Affairs and Martin Manning of the Bureau of Public Diplomacy
Hogan introduced Lois Herrmann and Martin Manning, formerly of USIA and now with the Bureau of Public Affairs and the Bureau of Public Diplomacy. Herrmann explained that since the October 1, 1999, merger of USIA and the Department of State, the former director of the Voice of America, Evelyn Lieberman, was the new Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy. The new bureau also supervises the overseas exchange programs which involved 23,000 people per year.
Herrmann said that USIA brought advanced information technology, exchange programs, countless NGO connections, and broadcasting experience to the Department. However, the Voice of America remained a quasi-independent agency. She explained that prior to its demise, USIA had produced a commemorative book on the agency's 46-year history which included a chronology of highlights, anecdotes/oral histories, and excerpts of speeches by its directors. She also said that the Public Diplomacy Historical Collection will continue to be housed at the old USIA offices. She introduced Martin Manning who oversees the collection.
Manning explained that the collection had been started in 1962 by Edward R. Murrow, who had been interested in historical material for his speeches, and included materials dating back to 1917. Manning then described the holdings found in the collection which covered three main areas: USIA publications which were not distributed in the US, information on the educational exchange programs, and documentary materials on the performing arts programs. He distributed a detailed listing of the collection.
Manning said that two other collections of USIA materials existed outside of his collection. Materials on the International Art program (1954-81) in 286 boxes are housed at the Smithsonian Archives. The second collection of 45 file cabinets is housed with Senator Fulbright's personal papers at the University of Arkansas/Fayetteville.
Hogan asked about the classification status of the papers and Manning responded that it was virtually all declassified and that additional declassified material had been retired to the National Archives, with the exception of the records of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs which were sent to the Fulbright Papers in the Library at the University of Arkansas. Schulzinger asked if the materials were unique; Manning said they were and that the guide to the collection was available on the Internet.
Hogan asked Manning how many researchers used his collection in Washington and how many used the collection at Arkansas. Manning said that he received 10-15 queries per week and that researchers could visit the reading room by appointment. He thought that the librarian at Arkansas received about two telephone queries and one visitor per month. He often received queries in Washington from overseas posts about previous expositions and events, implying that they were the primary users of the Washington collection. Schaller interjected that he had used the collection. Hogan asked if it was widely known, and everyone agreed that it was not.
Slany asked Manning what he envisioned for the future of his collection in Washington. Manning suggested that there were a number of options proposed. The Broadcasting Board of Governors in the International Broadcasting Bureau has offered to take over the collection. It could remain as an adjunct to the Department of State Library as a special collection or it could become part of the Office of the Historian.
Marty McGann of NARA observed that there was growing interest in cultural policy among researchers, and USIA's Record Group 306 and Department of State Lot Files on cultural affairs were being increasingly used at the National Archives.
Vince Davis asked Manning about the Carter documentation on the reorganization of USIA. Manning explained that until 1982 there was no professional records management staff at USIA. When he came to the agency in 1978, it was a case of either taking possession of documents or losing them. He chose to take them and saved some of the record. Davis asked Manning about the records of the U.S. Advisory Commission during the Carter administration. Manning did not have them, but did have a copy of the final report.
Schaller asked if the records would fall under Department of State rules for retirement and transfer to the National Archives now that State and USIA had merged. David Langbart of NARA suggested that Manning has perhaps overstated the lack of records management during the Carter years and thought the move of USIA to 1776 Pennsylvania Avenue was the real culprit in destroying records. Langbart suggested that Manning had provided a valuable service in saving those records and stated that since the 1980s USIA had been far more active in saving and retiring its records. Langbart explained, however, that Manning's effort had interfered with the proper retirement and transfer of USIA records to the National Archives. He suggested that there was a tendency of agencies and individuals "to cherry pick" the best collections and either retain them for agency use or allow them to go to other depositories. Langbart added that it was crucially important for the current records of the USIA-State merger to be eventually retired to the National Archives.
Hogan asked what was happening to Manning's collection. Langbart responded that Manning was holding them. Paul Claussen stated that he was a regular user of USIA records for his Foreign Relations work and had found the collections at Suitland a treasure trove for which Foreign Relations could mostly only leave markers. Hogan asked if Claussen found much material before the 1980s. Claussen responded that what he found were mostly country and region specific documents. He noted that the USIA and State records management functions had merged and USIA declassifiers were working with State declassifiers at Suitland. David Goldman added that State and ACDA's functions have also merged, but there are problems at the Records Center because ACDA officials are reluctant to release ACDA records to State Department records managers.
Robert Schulzinger asked if all these records should go to the National Archives. Manning demurred, maintaining that some of them were working files. The documentation on U.S. participation in international expositions would be needed by Commerce once that agency gains responsibility for international expositions and world's fairs, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors was interested in the USIA collection as well. He would resist breaking up the collection, which he believed was unique.
Slany emphasized that this was a unique collection and that its usefulness might be lost or reduced if it were altered or broken up in the process of being accessioned at the National Archives. But it was an uncomfortable situation for archivists and historians. If the records were to be retained as a distinct collection, special accessibility and a commitment to preserve them were necessary. Hoffman believed that most potential users interested in the subject would think of the National Archives as the place to go rather than USIA. Manning again stressed that the main users were overseas posts. Researchers were welcome, but they were not the priority users.
Hogan asked how far back the records went, and Manning responded that they went back 50 years, even to World War II. Hogan suggested that when the Department of State requires historical information its historians have to work with records that have been retired to the National Archives, implying that Manning could also access records there. Hogan was also worried that the collection would be split up if it was not preserved in an accessible location. Hogan suggested that his concern derived from his belief that information policy was one of the new important areas that diplomatic historians were exploring. He hoped to see more coverage of the issue in future Foreign Relations volumes.
Patterson described the 1961-1963 Foreign Relations compilation on information policy, which drew heavily on USIA records focusing on the role of its most dynamic director, Edward R. Murrow. Hogan asked if the research for this compilation would have been as productive if the collection had been broken up. There was some discussion of the value of keeping the collection together, either at the National Archives or at State, and of informing researchers and the public of the existence of the collection.
Hogan then stated that the Committee should take a position. Manning was the former Archivist of USIA and some of the agency's records were transferred to the Archives and some were retained by Manning, who believed they would be broken up if he did not keep them. Langbart again stressed that Manning's efforts, no matter how well meaning, were interfering with the orderly transfer of USIA's records to the National Archives. Manning responded that the working files on U.S. participation in international expositions should go to Commerce if and when State transferred responsibility for that function. The rest of the collection should remain intact. Hogan asked if Manning would remain with State; Manning replied that he was already with State, in the Office of International Information Programs in the Bureau of Public Diplomacy. He preferred that the historical collection stay with State and that an agreement with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which was interested in the USIA historical collection (which includes U.S. international broadcasting and VOA files), be worked out. Hogan then suggested that the Committee should strongly endorse that Manning and the USIA historical collection remain at State and that the records be treated in the normal way, that is transferred to the National Archives through the records management process. The Committee agreed and asked Slany to see if the Committee's resolution and recommendation could be carried out under the aegis of the Bureau of Public Affairs.
Discussion of Electronic Records: Public Access and Transfer to NARA
After a short break, Hogan asked Anne Van Camp to report on the results of the brief meeting of the subcommittee on electronic records, which was held early that morning.
Van Camp began by suggesting that since this issue of electronic records and their efficient, orderly, and timely transfer to the Archives was a very important one, the agenda for the next meeting should include a more in-depth and comprehensive discussion by the whole Committee. She reported that she and Frank Mackaman had met with NARA and IPS officers to get an update on the process of transferring the 1973-1975 electronic cable files from State to NARA. She was reassured that the process was moving along and that NARA was devoting a large amount of time and resources to developing a system, but it would be 18 months before an accessioning and access system would be ready.
She next discussed the "bridging process" that IPS is working out to allow continuous access to the files for both State historians and the general public. IPS is working with the Government Printing Office to create a database of the electronic texts of the 1973-1975 cables. As the cables are declassified, those deemed of interest to the public will be mounted on the GPO Web site with full text search capabilities. The material will be available but she cautioned that the records on the Internet will not be complete, but a selection of documents.
Hogan asked what selection principles were used to select the documents. Van Camp told him that the selection criteria varied depending on the officers who reviewed and declassified the documents. Mackaman agreed that this had been discussed, but he was reassured because it was obvious that the full record would not be compromised in any way. All the records would be transferred to NARA; IPS was simply trying to select the most useful and valuable records for public dissemination, guided by records schedules and NARA guidelines. Up to 60 percent of the documentation would be posted by State on this Web site.
Peter Sheils of IPS explained that the reviewers will select cables for the State interim Web site according to NARA-approved disposition schedules as they had applied to paper central files. Those items not selected for placement on the Web site would be items exempt from release under the E.O. or which, according to NARA's disposition schedules, do not have a permanent historical value. This latter group includes the kinds of documents that were not retained in the paper central files previously transferred to NARA. What will appear on State's interim Web site will be the same kind of historically important records that for previous years had been publicly available through the central files. Based on previous calculations done by NARA in conjunction with its disposition schedules for paper files, the historically-important material constitutes 60 percent of the entire body of State communications. This will be placed on the interim Web site. However, State will be transferring the entire body of communications to NARA once NARA is able to receive it.
Van Camp expressed her concern that the public knows that what is posted on the Internet is a selection of the full declassified record. Mackaman repeated that the figure of 60 percent will rise the longer the "bridge" between State and NARA is necessary. Hogan asked how long that might be, and Sheils reported that NARA has begun working on the issue very intensively. Hogan then introduced Michael Miller from the National Archives, who is acting for Michael Kurtz on the electronic records issue.
In finishing her report Van Camp noted that the SAS will be continually available within the State Department; HO historians will still have access to the full record. Sheils noted that the State Archiving System (SAS) is the ongoing system for all State cables, and HO should have on-line access to the system.
Sheils reported that Miller was working with Steve Lauderdale to analyze the transfer of records from State to NARA. Miller's team was working to develop an infrastructure to provide access to all of NARA's records. Mackaman repeated Van Camp's opening comment that the issue of electronic records was important enough that the entire Committee should talk about it at the next meeting. The IPS managers of the process should have as much feedback as possible, and he felt that the GPO site that IPS has set up could provide valuable information and experience for HO electronic publications.
Patterson pointed out that there were already two historians who need access to 1973-1975 cables on SAS, and in 1-2 years all the compilers will need "ready access" to these records. Slany noted that he was in communication with Margaret Grafeld on acquiring access to SAS in the PA/HO office and was working on resolving the technical difficulties.
Sheils finished his report by responding to some questions that Warren Kimball had raised at the last Committee meeting. He reported, concerning DOD and Army records, that IPS is working more closely with the Department of Defense and its components by sending State reviewers to DOD sites to review State equities.
On INR records, he said that there are about 500,000 pages (187 cubic feet) of INR records covered under the Executive Order and IPS is reviewing retirement manifests to identify which lots include post-1975 records and which are pre-1975 records and must be reviewed. There are about 155 cubic feet of documents in exempt file series, and Sheils passed around copies of correspondence from NSC with approval of the exemptions from E.O. review. Also IPS is reviewing previously exempted material at College Park.
Comments by the Committee. Schulzinger thought State and IPS were "doing great" on declassifying and making electronic records available. Hogan agreed and asked if the INR records are scheduled for accession to NARA. Sheils said that all INR records are scheduled, but Kimball had been concerned that IPS had not seen some INR records. Langbart stated that not all records of INR are covered by approved schedules. Sheils asked for details. Hogan asked Sheils and Langbart to meet to iron out these differences and report at the next meeting if there were any INR records that had not been reviewed and scheduled for accession by NARA.
Report by Michael Miller and Martha Morphy, NARA. Van Camp asked Mike Miller to talk about the timeline for release of electronic records. Miller said that they are currently working on a detailed analysis of what needs to be done and currently plan an incremental release. The "access rollout will be incremental," first to the research center at NARA, then the rest of the building at NARA, then the outside world. Martha Morphy added that the prototype will be ready by December 2000 and they will bring in outsiders to look at the results. She reminded the Committee that NARA has to plan for documents from all agencies, not just those from State.
Slany asked her about specific requirements for searches. She responded that they were still working on this and will look at this issue in the prototype. Miller said they would like to find a tool to search all types of files, but feel they will have to find a middle ground for all. Morphy said it was important to pick formats that will allow NARA to move records to new technologies as they are developed.
Review Procedures at NARA Under the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA)
The discussion then turned to the question of review procedures for documents proposed for publication in Foreign Relations that are subject to the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA). Slany noted that the Committee had asked HO to expedite the process of getting the relevant material to the Nixon Project for review under PRMPA. He indicated that the proposed Foreign Relations volume on foreign economic policy was at the Nixon Project for review but that review would require decisions on behalf of the Nixon Estate by Nixon Library Director John Taylor. Slany had started a correspondence with Taylor but no response had yet been received. The Nixon Project could act on that part of the prospective volume that did not involve President Nixon but needed Taylor's participation to complete the work.
Comments by Nancy Smith and Karl Weissenbach. Nancy Smith of NARA and Karl Weissenbach of the Nixon Project then explained the procedures that would govern review of material from the Nixon Project selected for use in Foreign Relations. When a body of material was ready for review, a Federal Register notice would notify 41 individuals that they could review any documents that concerned them. In the past there had been few instances of objections lodged and no litigation since 1987. Smith outlined the categories of material from the Nixon Project that would have to go through the review process; these categories had been agreed upon at a meeting of representatives from NARA and PA/HO on October 6: 1) entire documents used in Foreign Relations; 2) documents quoted in an editorial note or in footnotes; 3) summaries of documents contained in an editorial note or in the footnotes; 4) any transcriptions or summaries from, or descriptions of, conversations contained on Nixon White House Tapes and any mention that specific tapes exist.
Herschler noted that the Nixon Estate could object to a tape release on any grounds. Smith explained that any person lodging a formal objection writes out a claim that goes to the Presidential Materials Review Board, but NARA sought to work out objections informally first. The formal route was a time-consuming one, and they did everything they could to avoid it. Slany asked how well the 41 individuals were briefed on the procedure. Weissenbach stated that they notified each individual by letter of the prospective opening and told them to let NARA know in 30 days if they wanted to see any documents. Most people were not concerned. The main people concerned were Henry Kissinger and the Nixon Estate. Smith explained that the Nixon Estate could see anything but others could review only documents they generated or were involved in. Weissenbach noted that, except for the Nixon Estate, only living individuals (not their heirs) had a right to object.
Zelikow expressed curiosity about why the Watergate Congress gave Nixon such extensive rights in his papers. Smith responded that it reflected Congressional concern over the constitutional issues involved in the act that seized his papers. Smith and Zelikow then discussed the 1978 act governing Presidential papers that followed the 1974 act (PRMPA) and the differences in the treatment of the Reagan papers under the former with the treatment of the Nixon papers under the latter.
Hogan then asked Slany about the status of referring documents to the Nixon Project for review under PRMPA. Slany and Herschler responded that the volume on foreign economic policy, 1969-1972, for which the declassification was mostly done, was at the Nixon Project. Slany pointed out that documents from the Nixon Project that were quoted or summarized in annotation in the prospective volume had been referred to the Nixon Project, which will coordinate their declassification review with the intention of releasing publicly their full texts when the volume itself was published. Slany observed that this procedure would open up an entirely new and unprecedented channel of declassification review for the Foreign Relations series. The early results of this new factor in the Foreign Relations declassification process were awaited with great interest. Smith explained that as far as the tapes were concerned the Estate would review only the summaries and excerpts, not the full recordings of the conversations. Slany stated that he expected the level of anxiety of the 41 Nixon people would dissipate once they saw the process in action. Smith observed that only a handful, particularly two, had raised real issues in the past. In response to Hogan's question as to whether tapes of conversations would be released out of order, Smith said no, since the Estate would review only the summaries and excerpts prepared by Foreign Relations compilers, not the full conversations.
Zelikow then asked about the results thus far of the review at the Library of Congress of the Kissinger telcons selected by State historians for Foreign Relations. Patterson indicated that some compilers had received the telcons for 1969 that they had identified and requested. In some cases the copies had deletions. Keefer speculated that most deletions were probably criticisms of individuals. In a general discussion about the significance of the deletions there were staff fears that the significance of the deletions would be difficult to determine inasmuch as the LC access procedures prevented historians from taking notes or otherwise being able to know what the original full documents had contained. The Advisory Committee was troubled by the reports. Slany outlined two possible options: 1) renegotiate HO's terms of access to the Kissinger papers at LC; or 2) see if access would be beneficially effected by the comprehensive disposition of the Kissinger papers at LC being sought by NARA. Zelikow stated that the handling of the Kissinger papers in a way that frustrated the 1991 law governing Foreign Relations might be a proper issue whose examination could justify a general review of status of the Kissinger collection at LC. Zelikow asked Slany to provide the essential documentation bearing on the transfer of the Kissinger papers to LC. Returning to the Nixon tapes, he expressed concern that in theory there was a danger that privacy protection might be invoked to withhold material of substantive significance. Smith agreed that this was a concern, that it could happen. Zelikow saw a potential clash between PRMPA and the 1991 law and he wanted to be sure that the equities in the 1991 law were protected. Smith responded that it was highly unlikely that such a clash would occur in practice. The documents of interest to Foreign Relations are not the kind that concern the 41 individuals, and when problems occurred the whole emphasis was on working them out informally.
The Committee adjourned at noon for lunch.
Closed Session, December 13
The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series: Status of the High-Level Panel and Problems of Declassification
Comments by Robert Leggett. Leggett began the CIA discussion by giving CIA's perspective on what has been happening recently with the Foreign Relations series. Leggett stated that he has been the Agency's focal point for the Foreign Relations process for the last 2-3 years, and during that time he believes CIA and State have moved toward a more professional relationship. He stated that the DCI's statement on declassification of May 1998 in which Foreign Relations was given top priority remains in effect. Leggett then introduced to the Committee Tom Benjamin (Deputy General Counsel and the new CIA representative to the High-Level Panel), Greg Moulton, and Gerry Haines.
Next, Leggett gave an overview of developments during the past 6 months. He said that he has worked hard to make the Foreign Relaitons process work better, but he knows that the process can be controversial. Several key Agency policies have evolved or been clarified from the Foreign Relations process. A recent meeting at State between HO staff and key CIA officials may not have resolved many issues, but it did help to clarify what the issues were. He said that one of the most interesting points to come out of the meeting was a sense that Foreign Relations needed to be better balanced in its coverage of intelligence issues-that is, the series should include more on intelligence analyses and not focus just on covert actions. He said that he believed the High-Level Panel process was working, and that it was the best way to reach agreement on the toughest issues. He agreed that the process needed to be streamlined and shortened, but it was the best method currently available. He said that Foreign Relations will be a major topic of discussion at the January 20-21 meeting of CIA's Historical Review Panel. He stated that CIA and State are working on a joint paper regarding Foreign Relations and the High-Level Panel to be presented at the meeting.
Comments by Thomas Benjamin. Leggett then turned the discussion over to Benjamin, who explained that he is the DCI's new representative to the High-Level Panel (HLP). He said that at State's request the Panel would try to meet within the next few weeks to talk about the HLP process and how to improve it. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Benjamin explained that he had been appointed Deputy General Counsel last April and assigned responsibilities as the CIA's representative to the HLP in September 1999. Since that time the focus has been on Chile. He said that the CIA should have the issue statement and revised declassification guidelines for Chile ready very soon. He explained that the CIA and several other agencies were working on an NSC directive regarding Chile, and while the directive covers a time period later than that in the Foreign Relations volume (1962-1975), he wants to make sure that the Foreign Relations declassification guidelines are as broad as those being used to declassify documents under the NSC directive. He said that he is looking at the Foreign Relations guidelines in tandem with the NSC guidelines.
Benjamin stated that the CIA will release the following information regarding Chile:
- CIA will acknowledge all covert actions concerning Chile that were conducted between 1962 and 1975;
- CIA will acknowledge a station in Santiago during this period;
- CIA will release aggregate budgets for covert actions after reviewing proposals from State and CIA historians.
Benjamin said that the General Counsel's office has determined that releasing aggregate budget numbers for the covert actions will not impair CIA's ability to protect the overall intelligence budget. He said that CIA and HO will need to work out the details as to what these aggregate numbers would be, but the CIA has taken a new step in agreeing to acknowledge the numbers. He said that the release of budget numbers for other covert actions will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Hogan asked whether the numbers would be broken down into the particular parts of the covert action. Benjamin said that the CIA is not willing to reveal specifics such as how much was spent on various programs, as that would reveal too much information regarding sources and methods. David Geyer asked if the numbers could be broken down by key political event xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Mackaman asked Benjamin to explain what he meant by a case-by-case basis. Benjamin stated that the CIA no longer asserts a per se objection that the aggregate budget figure for a particular historical covert action program cannot be released. However, whether this number can be released for any particular action, must be determined on a case-by-case basis.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Benjamin also said that the presence of the CIA in a particular country must be decided on a case-by-case basis. He said that there might be instances where the presence of CIA agents in a particular country at a particular time can be acknowledged xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Benjamin said the High-Level Panel will meet next month to discuss what can be done to improve the HLP process.
Benjamin then discussed the availability of the President's Daily Briefs (PDBs) in the Foreign Relations series. He reminded the Committee that a recent determination by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), made at the urging of the DCI, had exempted PDB's from declassification review. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx. The ISCAP's decision was to deny in full the declassification and release of any PDBs, including those intended for inclusion in Foreign Relations compilations. Benjamin suggested relying on similar alternative sources, such as the more widely-circulated National Intelligence Daily (NID), for which declassification problems could be more easily handled.
Comments by Greg Moulton. Moulton next discussed the current process for declassification in the Office of Information Management. Moulton characterized his job as overseeing OIM's efforts in transmitting documents around the CIA for purposes of declassification, in preparing the release to State, and in conducting the quality assurance review before the release. He noted that he is attempting to document declassification guidelines. He expected these guidelines to be utilized on an ongoing basis and to be applied in a consistent fashion. He reiterated Benjamin's earlier statements of the CIA position on the issue of PDBs. He noted that on another issue, the so-called "friendly allies," CIA's attitude had moderated and become more flexible with regard to release. However, he listed areas on which no documentation could be released. In response to a request from Zelikow, Moulton indicated that the guidelines would be presented to the Advisory Committee leadership. He responded to a concern from Kimball with an assurance to notify the State historians and the Advisory Committee of the cases and specific exclusions from this list as they developed. Moulton also suggested searching for alternative documents to those exempted from declassification on the basis of the list.
General Discussion. In response to general comments on the declassification of covert actions, Hoffman then questioned why the CIA would be willing to acknowledge an operation but not the involvement of CIA officers in it. Benjamin responded that while this policy had been in effect in the past, the CIA had moved to consider this issue on a case-by-case basis. In fact, in more recent instances, the involvement of CIA personnel could be acknowledged while the presence of a station or a particular operation could not. He explained that acknowledgements of the latter--especially with inclusion in the volume of agreed boilerplate language on covert activities in general--would imply that the CIA as the executive agent for a covert action maintained a presence in the given country.
Kimball then raised two issues. He cited the need to get past the CIA's own interpretation of the value of their intelligence products. He described the CIA's identification of the importance of intelligence as reductionist, vague, and inadequate in terms of meeting the statute. He also expressed regret over the whole idea of issue statements for the HLP. He believed that these statements were now used as the first and only resort for declassification instead of as a last result, as had been envisioned when the HLP was established.
Schulzinger raised two matters that were mentioned in Slany's draft paper for the CIA Historical Review Panel: 1) that State historians are having problems in getting copies of CIA documents; and 2) what is the status of the proposed joint State/CIA appointment of an archivist/historian? As Haines was prepared to address these issues, it was decided to defer this discussion until the discussion of declassification issues was concluded.
Zelikow noted that with respect to the PDBs, CIA tends to write institutionally to the President, and such documentation is essential for the Foreign Relations series. He raised three questions concerning the CIA determination to withhold in full from Foreign Relations volumes the substance of PDBs: 1) what is the legal authority for blanket categorical refusal to declassify all PDBs in any way regardless of specific content?; 2) Is CIA adopting the same guidelines for NIDs? If so, on what basis; if not, what is the difference between the PDBs and NIDs?; and 3) How does this policy relate to the INR Morning Summaries?
Hogan stated that, according to Benjamin, the DCI's policy on PDBs was affirmed by an ISCAP determination. He asked which agencies serve on the ISCAP. Benjamin stated that ISCAP is chaired by Justice, with State, CIA, DOD, NARA, and NSC constituting the panel. In response to a question from Hogan, Benjamin explained that only an agency head could appeal a decision by the ISCAP and that such appeals go to the President. But there was no public appeal. Kimball noted wryly that under the E.O. 12958 of April 1995, the Information Security Policy Appeal Council (ISPAC ), which has never been convened, was supposed to monitor major declassification issues.
Hogan thanked Benjamin, Moulton, and Leggett for their participation in the meeting. Kimball reiterated that the bottom line for the Committee was the release of documents to the public.
The Committee then took a 10-minute recess.
The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series: Access to CIA Records
Comments by Gerald Haines. At the request of the Committee, Haines remained to report on two relevant issues. The first was the access of State historians to Directorate of Operations (DO) records. Haines noted that the process was under revision due to the increasing sensitivity DO had placed upon its records. While State historians could see any files they requested, they would not be permitted to take copies of them back to their work spaces at the State Department. Haines did note, however, that the policy was yet to be cast in concrete.
Herschler explained that the utilization of the 201 files was indeed a separate issue, one which was based on their actual and real sensitivity. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. He noted that this matter had come up during the State-CIA seminar last week; the participants agreed that documentation found in 201 files covering the Johnson and Nixon period was important. In spite of this apparent utility to the series, however, Haines pointed out that the opinion of CIA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) was that to give copies of these documents to HO historians could make them no longer eligible for an ops file exemption. Haines pledged to work out an arrangement to locate alternative documentary sources for State historians to use in lieu of the documents from the 201 files, wherever possible. Therefore, he insisted, the question was one of use and not of access. He rhetorically inquired whether State historians would be willing to accept full access to these files without the retention of copies that they made from them.
In response, Keefer and Hoffman questioned the feasibility of utilizing documents within a compilation without having actual copies of the documents themselves. Haines replied that although the compilers would not have the documents in their possession initially, in fact the selected documents would be reviewed for declassification if a compiler determined that it was essential to their compilation. Herschler demurred that without actual copies of the documents the selection process would be an awkward one -- that these documents should be used within the context of the full collected record. While Haines empathized, he nevertheless reiterated that this remained the policy of the DO. He surmised that the DO had become more sensitive about its records and thus was more aggressive in protecting them.
In addressing other difficulties regarding access, Slany raised the assertion made by the CIA History Staff at the previous week's seminar that they themselves did not have full access to their agency's finding aids. Haines, pointing out that managing an historical staff was much like "herding cats", strongly disagreed with this formulation of the History Staff's comments. He did concede, however, that his staff's own requests had been placed "on the back burners." He believed that the degree of access problems encountered was dependent upon personal relationships worked out on an individual basis between compilers and members of his staff.
Haines also reported on a second issue: additional support at CIA History Staff for the Foreign Relations project. He rejected the notion raised by State that more CIA resources be assigned to a more proactive support for the project. Haines was optimistic about the proposed detail of a designated member of the Foreign Relations staff to the CIA to be jointly funded by State and CIA. The State detailee's assignment it would be to facilitate Foreign Relations research in CIA files. Haines noted that a letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary James Foley had been received at CIA in August. He had forwarded his endorsement of the proposal to the Office of the General Counsel in September. After two months, the OGC had vetted successfully the offer and the Agency had accepted it. By the end of the week, a letter would be transmitted to the prospective applicant. Haines said he had been keeping the individual personally informed of the process on a continuous basis. He added that DO would grant the individual full access to all files provided the individual passed a polygraph examination. His only concern was that in the event that the individual turned down the position, no other candidate had been identified to fill it.
Returning to the initial issue, Hogan asked Haines if he thought a resolution from the Committee would be of assistance. Haines suggested that in fact some form of pressure from the Committee could help. Accordingly, Schulzinger proposed that Slany write a letter to the DCI (or some appropriate CIA official) describing the difficulties State historians encountered in preparing Foreign Relations manuscripts without retaining copies of DO-controlled documents and stating unequivocally that this situation would make it impossible for State historians to comply with the 1991 statute. Hogan then suggested that perhaps access to 201 files could be given up in order to ameliorate DO's attitude with respect to other records. Herschler responded that this proposal would only be workable if State or CIA historians were able to locate the same documents in other, less sensitive files. After all, he added, it was not vitally important that a document from a 201 file be used when the same document could be found elsewhere.
At Hogan's request, the Committee formally approved the transmittal of the letter. Kimball stressed that the letter should refer to the materials that State historians would receive from DO strictly as working copies. While Haines again underscored that DO might worry about a loss of the ops file exemption for the documents once they left CIA auspices, Herschler countered that in fact the documents would remain protected since they could still be denied under an appropriate FOIA exemption.
Future of the Foreign Relations Series: Developing Electronic Publications
Hogan turned to Kimball for a report by the subcommittee on electronic publications. Kimball said that the subcommittee had been unable to meet due to a lack of funding because of the extended deadlock over the government's 2000 budget. Slany explained that, in spite of the inability of the subcommittee to meet, the Historian's Office had made progress in developing plans for the publication of the Foreign Relations series in electronic form. Planning so far has addressed several basic issues, including: 1) whether the documents would be presented as images or text; 2) what sort of effective search mechanisms could be developed for the electronic versions of Foreign Relations--methods that would not escalate the cost of the series or bog down its staff; and 3) whether the research and editing techniques for electronic publication of Foreign Relations would be conducted in the same manner as for print volumes or would new strategies have to be developed. Slany foresaw all Foreign Relations volumes being published first on the Internet as electronic editions as soon as the basic declassification review was complete. The volumes would be amplified and corrected with additional documents found, additional documents declassified, and changes made in response to comments from users. Eventually printed volumes could be prepared on the basis of the updated e-version. How many e-volumes would become printed volumes would depend on resources and the recommendations of the Advisory Committee--among other factors.
Slany reported that the Office had, since the last Committee meeting, asked a commercial information technology firm to prepare some examples of what E-versions of Foreign Relations might look like under various circumstances, asked the Government Printing Office (GPO) to prepare an optically scanned model of a representative group of FRUS documents, and visited the Miller Center at the University of Virginia and its Presidential Recording project to see current application of electronic publication. Vicki Futscher reported that the Office was working closely with Michael Sharpston and his associates, who will produce under contract small model e-publications of Foreign Relations, based on criteria provided by the Office. The contractor will explore the possible high and low ends of the e-publication spectrum from simple facsimile plus basic searchable lists to a version that combines digitized text with facsimiles and offers the broadest search possibilities..
Slany regretted that Sharpston's report, which he circulated to the Committee, was preliminary and that delays at the GPO left the Office without the results of its test. He said that Office intended to seek further advice elsewhere, such as the Smithsonian Institution. Patterson explained that the GPO had provided some sample document images in the form of PDF files. If this image-based system is used, the Office will need to devise an indexing system for the documents, perhaps along the lines of a purport list, including issues/subjects, names of personalities, and names of countries, as well as such other basic information as date, document type, addressee/recipient, and file source. Patterson reported that a delegation from HO had visited the State FOIA site to see how they put documents on the Internet. He also suggested that Committee members comment on a progress report detailing HO planning for an Internet publication that was included in their briefing package for the meeting.
Zelikow began the Committee discussion with a description and analysis of both the Sharpston models and the electronic publications report prepared by Rita Baker which he praised for its careful addressing of the main issues in preparing electronic version of Foreign Relations. He pointed out that the Sharpston test demonstrated that optical scanning created an ugly, error-filled text that would be extremely expensive and time consuming to correct and confirmed what the Miller Center had itself determined--that electronic image publication was the reasonable and efficient direction to go. He then made a point-by-point review of "Rita's Plan" and its decision that the first stage of electronic publication of Foreign Relations be an image publication rather than a text publication. Zelikow reviewed the pros and cons of electronically published Foreign Relations based either on images or optically scanned text. Although a database might be preferable because of the superior searching capabilities, such a system, he said, would be time consuming and carry a high price tag. The scanning of the texts of documents into a database required the use of an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner and subsequent extensive editorial review to provide a usable, searchable text. Based on the samples provided in the Sharpston models, the initial result of optical scanning, even with state-of-the-art equipment and operators, was usually "mangled junk." The output was recognizable as the original document but required word-by-word editorial review and correction before a clean text became available. Zelikow suggested that the Foreign Relations project could save much time and expense by the adoption of an image-based system, which would allow the users see the original documents including whatever marginalia they bore. Adequate search mechanisms could be developed for the image publication. Zelikow proposed that the Office compilers could generate a "template" of information to search, possibly on the basis of the Tags/Terms system of indexing. Zelikow urged the Committee to support an image-based system as the model involving the least additional effort and expense.
Mackaman noted that an image-based system, for instance using PDF files, would require more space and take more time to download than a text-based system. Zelikow replied that the National Security Archive has developed an electronic publication model for its products along the same lines as he was recommending for Foreign Relations. The Historical Office might have to buy a server, but the equipment would not cost as much as the costs of correcting and editing scanned digitized text. Zelikow thought "Rita's Paper" offered a powerful way to publish in electronic form the expanded Foreign Relations series, substituting for the older effort to broaden the series with microfiche supplements.
The Committee's attention was drawn to the Department's ongoing efforts to place its telegrams from the 1970s on the Internet and the possibility of linking Foreign Relations e-pubs to the Department's site or eventually to NARA's site, which will include many agencies' documents. Zelikow noted that the computerization of the White House files was nowhere near the State Department's level; almost all White House documents, except E-mails, were hard copy. Futscher pointed out that the current IPS Internet project is only a temporary bridge until NARA is ready to post the documents on the Internet permanently.
Van Camp urged that the Historian's Office needed to consult and maintain liaison with Department of State information management experts on electronic dissemination of documents rather than have to start anew. She noted that there were also other options. HO could have someone type the documents and then convert the paper text to electronic text. Zelikow pointed out that quality assurance was essential, and Kimball agreed.
Schulzinger said that he had a question regarding the reference on page 2 of Rita's Plan to the possibility that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would require that all documents on government web sites be available as text. What did this mean? Geyer responded that this was so they could be converted to braille. Schulzinger asked if this meant documents would have to be OCR-scanned, even if the most efficient system would be images. Zelikow said that they would still have to be transferred into braille. Futscher said no, this could be done from text. There was no consensus as to what the near or long term effects of the ADA might be.
Slany said he wanted to bring up a question for the Committee. If the Office adopts e-publication for Foreign Relations, compiling would have to be done in a different manner and order. E-publication would come first, then the print volume. Documents intended for e-publication could not be marked or written on by compilers in the course of preparing manuscripts. E-publication would include those documents which in a print volume would only be described, summarized, or quoted in footnotes and editorial notes. This in general would mean that the Internet version of Foreign Relations volumes would be 4 or 5 times larger than current print volumes. E-publication of Foreign Relations could also be published on the Internet before selected documents in a difficult declassification dispute were ready for publication.
Hogan stated that all of us know that Foreign Relations will change, and that it would be a major change. Above all it would mean a big increase in the amount of documents published. He was not afraid to call it a document dump. Zelikow argued against a "document dump," noting that compilers would be tempted to dump 500 documents on the Internet instead of selecting 200, i.e., a data dump. He said that while electronic Foreign Relations would have no footnotes as such, it could still prioritize, by establishing two levels of documents (primary and secondary) and connecting them with hyperlinks. Hogan commented that he personally was in favor of more documents rather than fewer.
Herschler noted that there would have to be a balance, and emphasized the problem in getting documents declassified in a reasonable time. He pointed out that Foreign Relations could not be a document dump because of the declassification issue.
Kimball referred to Van Camp's argument for using the Department's expertise. He said that it was absurd for the Committee to discuss the details of E-publication. It should get reports and get more information! One example was hyperlinks, which meant different things to different people. There was also the problem of how much a dwindling Office staff could do. Therefore, the Committee needed to get information.
Van Camp reiterated that the Committee needed to urge that an electronic Foreign Relations meet established standards and needed to see what others were doing. Zelikow said he agreed that they needed to learn more, but pointed out that the key point was what they wanted done and that they knew that now. Hogan asked who the Committee could talk to, and Zelikow noted that the Smithsonian was one possibility.
Van Camp said that if the documents were going to NARA, the Committee and HO needed to talk to NARA officials; and she emphasized the need for coordination. Mackaman said he was a fan of avoiding paralysis by analysis, and noted that NARA has been avoiding this issue. He advocated forgetting the obstacles and trying to just do it.
Hogan commented that the Committee had heard both sides, and asked what was the solution. Kimball said that the Committee had given suggestions to the Historian's Office, now let them run with the ball. He noted that HO knew the fiscal restrictions, and especially the personnel problem. Hogan asked if the Committee was going to go to the experts or let HO do it, to which Kimball responded: "both."
Davis reiterated Van Camp's warning regarding standards. Van Camp said she would never go to NARA as a model. Mackaman referred to the meeting he had with Steve Lauderdale, who was in the same business and had given this much thought. Mackaman noted that if there are many different standards, you should use your own agency.
Hogan asked Slany if the Committee could have an expanded example of what an Internet version of Foreign Relations would look like within 3 months, to which Slany replied yes. Van Camp noted that no one wanted a data dump, and Hogan agreed, but he wanted more documents available. He asked again if the Committee could have something substantial on the future electronic publication of Foreign Relations at the next meeting and Slany agreed.
Kimball noted that "Rita's Plan" recommended an image-based publication and he assumed that this would be the way Foreign Relations will go. There was a short discussion about ways to compile a sample, and Hogan suggested moving to the next item on the agenda.
Future of the Foreign Relations Series: Reports by Compilers
Kent Sieg indicated that he would trace for the Committee the steps involved in the compilation of the Foreign Relations series, including the process, the results, and lessons learned. In his 4 years since joining the office he had compiled three volumes on Vietnam. His goal was to produce comprehensive and definitive compilations with breadth and depth. He described each of several major steps involved, including research, selection, annotation, and declassification. He felt that selection was governed by three principles: the historical importance of a document (who wrote it, who read it at the time); the constraints of physical space in the series; and ease of public availability. He described the range of sources, including Presidential papers, Department of State central files and lot files, military records, National Security Agency intercepts, and materials in the Library of Congress. Sieg said that he was frustrated by the declassification process. Other small projects and work on the Office Web site were interruptions. The three volumes he compiled involved 1,200 documents, with five times that number summarized in annotation.
Sieg described his coverage of two dozen third-party negotiations relating to Vietnam; the civil side of the war (pacification, currency exchange, constitutional development, U.S. intervention in South Vietnamese politics); Congressional debates; discussion at the United Nations, starting late in 1967; the U.S. effort to bring about peace talks, including covert actions; and a portrait of President Johnson as more sophisticated, concerned, and in charge. Sieg described lessons learned: the need for stricter managerial controls, professional development, incentives, and rewards. He urged that the staff be brought into the decision-making process through discussion in working groups. He felt that resources should be used more efficiently, that "group grope was a failure," and that supplementary volumes lacked context. There should be a definite commitment on hiring. Recent proposals for Core, Crisis, and Context volumes were merely conceptual; all areas of the world should be covered.
David Goldman indicated that because of his work on the Dayton and Nazi Gold projects, he had spent only 1-1/2 years on Foreign Relations during the first Nixon administration. He had worked on such issues as the ratification of the seabed arms control treaty, the Geneva Conference, Nixon's November 1969 decision to forswear biological weapons and maintain only defensive chemical weapons, and the Convention of 1972. He dealt with compliance issues, and how the United States responded to a host of Soviet multilateral arms control issues after the 1971 Party Congress. These issues did not have the glamorous appeal of SALT, but were important. They illustrate how detente and the inclusion of smaller nations played out on a day-to-day basis.
Goldman indicated that Office efforts to reorganize the Foreign Relations series would have an impact on his work. His original compilation was planned to be one-fourth to one-third of a traditional volume. During the past summer, the scope was expanded to cover a much broader period of time, and he had had to rearrange his material accordingly. By September, it had been decided that his compilation would be one of the first electronic publications and would be expanded to cover additional subjects. He wanted the Committee to be aware of the effect the process of reorganizing the series was having on some compilers.
Joe Hilts, who had joined the Office in September after 15 years of experience as a Foreign Service Officer in Africa, was working on a Foreign Relatioins volume covering Africa for the period 1969-1976. Major themes included the Cold War, problems with the Chinese and Russians, conflict with the French, and not wanting to interfere in any country's internal affairs. In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, and Somalia, there were lots of Chinese and Russians. The United States put $12 million into Ethiopia for a listening base, then pulled back. Haile Selassie was not happy with that, and made personal visits to Nixon. In Somalia, a coup moved to the left: they used their shops to transport goods to North Vietnam; foreign aid was cut off. Nigeria was Hilts' first assignment in 1976. The Nigerians felt the United States shouldn't have supported the Biafrans, which made the conflict go on longer. Arms were sent in under cover of relief shipments. Nixon's advisers tried to get him to go for the Biafrans; the war ended and the Nigerians asked the United States to stay out.
Hogan thanked the three compilers for their comments and adjourned the meeting at 4:45 p.m.
Closed Session, December 14
Continued Discussion of the Future of the Foreign Relations Series
Hogan opened the day's meeting at 9 a.m. by saying that discussion would be resumed on the future of the Foreign Relations series. He asked Kimball to report.
Kimball asked what the Committee thought of the proposed reforms in the Foreign Relations series, adding that there had already been much informal discussion. He proposed to use the 10 questions in his paper to get the discussion going. He added that the biggest issue for discussion is to get an idea of what the Committee thinks the core volumes should be. He noted that the HO was going to begin to compile a core volume in January and that this could be important for understanding the problems of these core volumes. As far as the order of publication, he said that everything will start as an electronic publication (e-pub) and documents for the published volumes would be selected later. Since the electronic publication will come first, priorities will be different from letter publications. How is research done? What is meant by a core volume?
Hoffman asked if the core volumes will all eventually be print volumes after being published electronically. Slany said not necessarily. Hoffman noted that the core volumes will get the money and resources first. Slany agreed, saying that available resources might only go far enough to release the e-pubs on the Internet rather than extend to the publication of some or all of any proposed print volumes.
Keefer noted that Soviet Union, China, Middle East, and Economic Policy are examples of core volumes, and that Vietnam and Chile are examples of crisis volumes. Context volumes, he said, tend to be about friendly countries and the Third World. Kimball said that he was concerned about the Soviet Union volume; he said it should be a Cold War volume, and that HO was still too geographic rather than theme related.
Schulzinger summarized the plan for dealing with core volumes, then, as being that the staff would begin work on a volume in January so that the Committee could take a look at it at its next meeting. He asked if the Committee should advise on what the subject of the prototype volume should be and when it should be due. He asked if it could be ready by March. David Goldman said it could be ready by March 2001. Kimball stated that the time issue was dependent on the subject matter chosen. Schulzinger suggested that the time period could be shortened by using material already compiled, on Detente, for example. Geyer replied that such a compilation had not been done. Schulzinger said that he thought arms control had already been done, but that in any case he urged the Office to "do something--you have a body of material available. If you do detente, you may get the foundations, the intellectual framework." Goldman said that there would be a waste of labor to do it that way.
Zelikow said that that the relationship between what will be put into the print volumes and how electronic publications would be used is being confused, that one had been grafted on to the other almost without thinking of the ramifications. Davis said that the e-pubs and the volumes should not be done according to what is convenient to the Committee or to HO, but according to what would be valuable for users. Mackaman stated that the print volumes are not the first priority, that the print volumes are not responsive to getting the material to the users.
Goldman asked how a Cold War volume would be put together. With the old Foreign Relations format, the structure of the research was dictated by the structure of the records. The files are arranged by country or topic, but there are no folders labeled Cold War. Mackaman noted that the technology will be a factor, and Schaller said that part of the new structure would be research guidelines.
Mackaman argued that e-pubs cannot be done on the back of the print volumes. As for research strategy, he said "you figure it out, do the research, and adapt the structure, without deciding the end product." Mackaman said that he would not do letterpress volumes because e-pubs can be done more expeditiously, with less annotation and more documents. Hogan agreed that e-pubs will have faster publication. Kimball argued that the future of letterpress volumes of selected documents, which will be related to specific themes, is important. The discussion continued regarding the merits of both electronic and letterpress publication: what are the relative advantages, when is the choice between the two made, what are the selection criteria, and what area and what issues would be covered.
As far as e-publication allowing earlier access to the documents, Kimball explained the multiple agency declassification process, especially that NSC has to be the last agency to which documents are referred for declassification. The current sequential declassification process might make it difficult to make a partial collection available as an e-publication.
Herschler stated that declassification of more documents, as envisaged in e-publication, should not take appreciably more time, but that HO would have to work with the agencies in a different way. Kimball offered that the declassification problem could be solved, but that it would require a clear recommendation from Slany. He then asked the Committee if it believed that the declassification issue would affect the way HO compiles.
Zelikow expressed his confusion over the discussion, asking the Committee, "Didn't we decide this issue last year." As he recalled it, the Committee had already reviewed HO's plan for 90 volumes and broadly endorsed their moving ahead. Keefer agreed, asking that the Committee admit that fact, especially since HO had been working under that premise for the past 6 months. Zelikow suggested that the Committee clarify what they were trying to decide with the current discussion. Kimball repeated Schulzinger's suggestion that HO should put together a sample core volume and see how the process works was right on target.
Patterson commented that he found much of the discussion the previous day and particularly in the present discussion about the new Foreign Relations series rather "amazing". He reviewed the plans for developing a "modernized" series, especially the relationship between print and electronic publications, which extended back for two years. Keefer-Humphrey had developed a comprehensive plan, and Sieg-Geyer had refined it. Other staff historians had also made contributions. Patterson continued that he had summarized this process in a paper for the briefing package for the Advisory Committee's September 1999 meeting. He thought that the Committee had endorsed the Sieg-Geyer plan but had heard different things about it. Could the Committee clarify its position? He also said that he had developed another paper for the Committee providing five options for electronic publications, only one of which (the example of Chile) was put forward as a possible e-publication first, followed by a print volumes if the subject was important. He was in favor of electronic publications, but the process in transition from letterpress had to be carefully worked out.
At that point, Hogan interrupted the discussion to review what the Committee had thus far agreed upon. The Committee had agreed yesterday that in the future Foreign Relations would be published electronically. He reminded the Committee of its previous agreement to the Sieg-Geyer plan for the scope of the series. Kimball argued that it was understood that the Sieg-Geyer plan was not "written in stone." Schulzinger repeated that the Committee was now recommending that HO produce a prototype volume for the Committee to review at its next meeting, or if necessary, a later meeting.
Mackaman asked if HO, when it launches new volumes, thinks in terms of doing an e-publication first, to which Geyer and Keefer responded, "Yes, but how do we do it, practically." Keefer went on, noting that the research phase is a substantial part of the Foreign Relations process and the records are arranged by topics and countries. Mackaman qualified his statement, noting that he wasn't suggesting that at the end of each day the historian pick the six best documents to put on the Web.
Hogan noted that a long time goes by between meetings, so the Committee should agree that when they returned for their next meeting, HO would have a clear scheme of how the new Foreign Relations series would look and proceed. Kimball agreed that by the next meeting HO should be able to have clear, but not final, recommendations on how to proceed. David Humphrey asked whether the Committee was suggesting that HO produce a prototype by the next meeting, noting that the Office would not even have a group of people to work on it before January. Kimball said that he was talking about producing a sample e-publication on-line. Schulzinger indicated that he wanted to see sample documents. Hogan asked, "what about a sample volume?"
Kimball asked the Committee and HO how long it would take for a team to put together a sample compilation on detente and how big it should be. In response, Geyer asked the Committee what lessons it was trying to learn. He added that one historian is likely to produce a better volume in a comparable amount of time than a team of historians. Schulzinger said, with exasperation, "Just do it, but don't take two years."
Keefer noted that the China volume was not structured like a topical volume and included coverage of many issues. In response, Mackaman asked if HO would have done their research on the China volume differently if it had been an e-publication, to which Keefer responded, "Not appreciably so."
Zelikow asked if the Committee agreed on the Sieg-Geyer plan, that e-publications fit within that plan, and that HO will pick one compilation to turn into a model e-publication which could be either 3 or 30 documents long. Hogan responded that Zelikow's points summarized his own position exactly.
After a break, Hogan asked the Committee to assess where it stands. It was clear that the Committee had agreed that e-publication of Foreign Relations would in the future come first. He noted that they had several documents before them that spoke to the issues under discussion (the action plan, Kimball's mission statement) and that these should remain the foundation. If HO staff decides to innovate in any way, these changes should be addressed to the Committee. With that said, he felt that the Committee should get back to the issues of prototypes and time frames. He felt that the Committee would like to see something on e-publications and noted that Van Camp had some material she could bring in next time to show that e-publications would not differ that much from letterpress. Hogan stressed that the Committee needed to know when the transition to the new series would be done, that it needed a timetable in order to have confidence in the process.
Schulzinger reiterated his request for a prototype on Detente, but said he would be satisfied with something tangible by the next meeting, be it several pages of a volume or a progress report. He asked only that HO start right now. Kimball asked whether by next meeting Schulzinger meant March or April, claiming that the date made a big difference. Patterson opined that what the Committee was requesting involved two phases: First, defining the topic and second, putting together a prototype. He suggested that Kimball submit a report by the end of January to answer the first question and that the Committee decide if that scheme seemed valid. Schulzinger added that the Committee would be glad to read any reports.
Kimball claimed that, upon reflection, the questions in the report that he submitted to the Committee are best addressed to the compilers and noted that taking 2-3 months to put together a prototype would not effectively answer them.
Mackaman asked whether the remainder of the staff would continue their compiling work while the initial team was working on the prototype volume. Hogan responded that compilers will finish the volumes they are working on and will then move on to volumes to be researched under new guidelines. Referring to the proposed prototype volume, he asked whether it was realistic for the Committee to be able to expect to see some results from the research to be undertaken on the volume by the time of the next meeting.
Humphrey expressed skepticism that anything worth considering could be produced in that limited amount of time, even if a team concept were adopted. With that reservation in mind, Hogan suggested that perhaps a sample of the emerging compilation could be put forward in stages for the Committee's consideration, with an initial submission in February and an update in June.
Kimball expressed the hope that the experience with the prototype volume would help to answer some of the questions that had arisen with regard to substance and approach. Zelikow asked what would be different about the research and compilation contemplated by the Committee under a revised approach to producing Foreign Relations.
Mackaman responded that if the presumption was that an electronic publication was the initial priority, compilers would have to take more documents seriously earlier in the compilation process, they would organize the compilation with minimal annotation, and they would factor in a purport system as outlined in the e-publication model discussed the previous day.
Reverting to the question of what could reasonably be expected from the team working on the prototype volume, Geyer suggested that it would be realistic to expect a progress report at the next meeting and a sample for the Committee to consider at its June meeting.
Slany agreed to provide a plan for the completion of the volumes currently being compiled by the next meeting so that it will be clear that the entire staff will be working under a new concept for the series by the end of the next calendar year.
Mackaman asked for an evaluation of staff requirements by the next meeting. Hogan observed that HO has provided regular reports to the Committee on this issue and he added that the committee had made its views on the urgency of providing additional staff known to the PA bureau leadership. His expectation was that HO would have three new historians on board by summer and a total of six new historians working by the end of the next calendar year.
Hogan asked at that point for staff comments. Keefer responded that he was astonished that the Committee had decided to recommend that henceforth the series would be Internet first and only then letter press. He add that in view of the sweeping changes being proposed, the staff should be consulted in order to factor in their experience and perspective.
Hoffman indicated that she felt that it was important to continue letterpress publication. She also expressed concern about the apparent rank ordering of scheduled volumes. She noted that most third world relationships, including Latin America, were relegated to the category defined as context volumes, and she was concerned that this implied a reduced emphasis within the series and solely electronic publication for context volumes. Hogan assured Hoffman that the Committee would continue to support publication of letterpress volumes.
The Committee went into executive session at 11:20 a.m.
- Michael Hogan, Chairman
- B. Vincent Davis
- Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
- Warren F. Kimball
- Frank H. Mackaman
- Michael R. Schaller
- Robert D. Schulzinger
- Anne Van Camp
- Philip Zelikow
- William Slany, Executive Secretary
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian
- William Slany, Director
- Rita Baker
- Paul Claussen
- Vicki Futscher
- David Geyer
- David Goldman
- David Herschler
- Joe Hilts
- Susan Holly
- Nina Howland
- David Humphrey
- Ted Keefer
- Dan Lawler
- David Patterson
- Kent Sieg
- Luke Smith
- Donna Thompson
- Gloria Walker
- Susan Weetman
Bureau of Public Affairs
- Lois Herrmann, PA/SCP
Bureau of Public Diplomacy
- Martin Manning, Office of International Information Programs
Bureau of Administration
- Steve Lauderdale, A/RPS/IPS/AAS
- Nina Noring, A/RPS/IPS/CR/IR
- Peter Sheils, A/RPS/IPS
National Archives and Records Administration
- Michael Carlson, Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division
- Theodore Haigler, Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division
- Margaret Hawkins, Life Cycle Management Division
- Michael Hussey, Textual Archives Services Division
- David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
- Marty McGann, Office of the General Counsel
- Don McIlwaine, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
- David Mengel, Nixon Presidential Materials Project
- Michael Miller, Director, Modern Records Program
- Martha Morphy, Information Resources Policy and Projects Division
- Marvin Russell, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
- Nancy Smith, Office of Presidential Libraries
- Karl Weissenbach, Director, Nixon Presidential Materials Project
Central Intelligence Agency
- Thomas Benjamin, Deputy General Counsel
- 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