Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation December 2-3, 2002
- Robert Schulzinger, Chairman
- Meena Bose [Ad Hoc Consultant]
- Diane Shaver Clemens
- Lisa Cobbs Hoffman
- Warren Kimball
- W. Roger Louis
- Frank Mackaman
Office of the Historian
- Marc Susser, Historian
- Ted Keefer
- Monica Belmonte
- Dan Lawler
- Todd Bennett
- Erin Mahan
- John Carland
- Dave Nickles
- Paul Claussen
- Douglas Selvage
- Evan Duncan
- Luke Smith
- Vicki Futscher
- Douglas Trefzger
- David Geyer
- James Van Hook
- David Goldman
- Laurie West Van Hook
- David Herschler
- Gloria Walker
- Susan Holly
- Dean Weatherhead
- Nina Howland
- Susan Weetman
Bureau of Administration
- Brian Dowling, A/RPS/IPS
- Harmon Kirby, A/RPS/IPS
- Frank Machak, DAS, A/RPS
- Dick Morefield, A/RPS/IPS
- Nick Murphy, A/RPS/IPS
- Margaret Peppe, A/RPS/IPS
- Peter Sheils, A/RPS/IPS
National Archives and Records Administration
- Linda Ebben, Information Security Oversight Office
- David Kepley, Office of Records Services, Washington, DC
- Sally Kuisel, Textual Archives Services Division
- David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
- Don McIlwain, Initial Processing and Declassification Division
- Jeanne Schauble, Initial Processing and Declassification Division
- Nancy Smith, Office of Presidential Libraries
Central Intelligence Agency
- Scott Koch, Chief, History Staff
- Patricia P., FRUS Coordinator
- Michael Warner, Deputy Chief, History Staff
- Adam Hornbuckle
- Bruce Craig, National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History
- Tena Rips
OPEN SESSION, December 2
Approval of the Record of the September 2002 Meeting
Chair Robert Schulzinger called the meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. Frank Mackaman noted that one correction to the September meeting minutes had been made. The committee then approved the minutes.
Election of Committee Chair
The committee unanimously reelected Schulzinger as chair for 2003. Schulzinger announced that 2003 would be his third and final term.
Report by the Historian
Schulzinger then called for a report by Executive Secretary and Historian Marc Susser, who noted the following activities:
- Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Richard A. Boucher has sent letters of invitation to serve on the committee to Robert McMahon (University of Florida) for SHAFR, Geoffrey Watson (Catholic University) for ASIL, and Robert Schulzinger (University of Colorado) for OAH. Two other prospective committee members remain in the security clearance pipeline--Edward Rhodes (APSA) and Margaret Hedstrom (SAA).
- HO has completed a reorganization, which required several layers of bureaucratic approval. Committee members have received a diagram reflecting these changes.
- New and returning staff members: Dean Weatherhead, Susan Weetman, and John Carland. HO representatives will attend the AHA in January 2003 in Chicago to interview prospective staff members.
- HO has released two new Foreign Relations volumes--Vietnam 1967 and Vietnam 1968--since the committee's last meeting. By the end of 2002, HO expected to publish one more volume on the Nixon administration. Meanwhile, a retrospective Foreign Relations volume on Guatemala is in declassification, with a conference being planned to coincide with its release.
- Russian diplomatic historians would arrive the following week for a second round of talks on a joint volume on detente. The two sides have already exchanged some documents.
- HO has begun producing a series of educational videos on foreign affairs for secondary school students. HO representatives attended a meeting of the National Council of the Social Studies in Phoenix.
- HO held an off-site training session in October that included joint sessions with CIA representatives about declassification and other issues.
Reorganization of the Office of the Historian
Deputy Historian David Herschler detailed HO's reorganization:
- A revised FAM entry has been prepared that furthers HO's goal of better serving the foreign policymaking needs of the Department of State. The reorganization would allow HO to maximize Foreign Relations production, refurbish policy studies, and maintain staff flexibility with a unified job classification and grading system. Except for one or two staff support personnel, all positions are now classified as historians. With these changes and a growing staff, HO can take on additional duties without sacrificing its Foreign Relations responsibilities.
- The reorganization created three Foreign Relations divisions--Asia & Americas, Middle East amp; Africa, and Europe & General--under the general editor, and two other divisions--Declassification & Publishing and Policy Studies & Outreach--under the deputy historian.
- The major purpose of the Policy Studies and Outreach Division is to help the Department of State carry out its current foreign policy agenda by completing short- and long-term policy studies for principal policymakers.
- The divisions under the general editor are almost fully staffed. The divisions under the deputy historian, however, are severely understaffed and consequently they will require a number of positions, which will take several fiscal years. In the meantime, HO planned to fulfill its dual tasks--compiling Foreign Relations and conducting policy studies and outreach--by using contract historians and asking current historians to work on multiple projects. Working on different projects enhances the professional development of HO historians.
- HO's reorganization would take time because of both the need for additional staff and the lengthy training process. HO has, however, had success in hiring several of the top young scholars in diplomatic history.
Discussion by the Committee
Schulzinger asked how far Foreign Relations was behind on the 30-year mark. Susser said that 6-7 Johnson volumes were in the pipeline. Acting General Editor Ted Keefer added that two of the seven volumes targeted for release in 2003 covered the first Nixon administration. HO needed to show a good faith effort to publish all the Nixon volumes by the end of 2006.
Warren Kimball requested that, by the next meeting, HO provide the committee with a chart showing which Foreign Relations volumes it expected to publish by the end of calendar year 2006. That year would provide a convenient benchmark for measuring the series' productivity, he argued, given the expected increases in HO staffing, and that 2006 would fall exactly 30 years after the end of the Nixon/Ford administrations.
Keefer agreed that the chart showing target dates would be a good idea, but he warned that declassification and other factors significantly slowed the publication process. Herschler added that declassification and publication usually take at least two years. Kimball then asked for two lists: one for compilation and one for declassification.
Kimball asked about several issues pertaining to particular Foreign Relations volumes. In response to a question about why reports distributed to the committee made no mention of access guides, Herschler replied that access guides were considered part of a Foreign Relations volume. Kimball also questioned whether compilation due dates had slipped. Keefer answered that any new dates more accurately reflected when historians began compilation and incorporated time spent on other projects. Generally speaking, the deadline for compiling volumes stands at 18 months.
Report by the Subcommittee on Electronic Records
Mackaman gave a report on the morning meeting of the subcommittee on electronic records. He noted three main issues:
- Overview of the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System
- The status of the transfer of State records to NARA
- Efforts by the Department of State to reach the 25-year line in transferring its documents to NARA
Mackaman noted that there has been good cooperation between NARA and IPS in the last few years thus paving the way for the transfer of State records to NARA. Mackaman reported that the subcommittee members received a demonstration that morning from David Kepley of NARA on the AAD system. The AAD is designed to make a selection of NARA's records available to the public. The system is scheduled to debut on December 17, 2002, but without any State records. The AAD will provide the public with access to over 100 million records organized in over 400 databases, which were created by over 20 federal agencies. The plan is to expand this system to over 500 databases, including State's electronic records beginning with 1973.
Mackaman stated that even though State records may be on their way to NARA, NARA must still process them and DOE must review them under Kyl-Lott prior to public release. Mackaman said that State was a little behind NARA in getting the records prepared for transfer--not only the electronic records but the microfilm records that must first be converted to paper. Mackaman stated that the 1973 records have been fully reviewed by State and the 1974 records are nearly complete. He reported that IPS might be able to have the 1974 records available for transfer at the same time as the 1973 records. In his view, one reason for the delay is that IPS must first brief the Assistant Secretaries and the Under Secretary for Management before the records can be transferred. (The lower-level managers have been involved in the process all along.) IPS hopes to have the records ready for transfer to NARA in early 2003. Mackaman stated that even after the records are transferred, there will still be a considerable amount of time before the materials are available to the public because of the DOE review. He estimated that the records would not be publicly available until 2005.
Mackaman then asked the committee for comments. The committee members stated that they would like to see the 1973 records transferred to NARA as soon as possible. They also questioned why the Assistant Secretaries and Under Secretary had to be briefed. Has such a briefing ever been necessary before? Margaret Peppe of IPS responded that the transfer of the 1973 records is unlike all previous transfers, as the records will be available on the web.
The committee asked Mackaman why he believed that the records would not be available to the public until 2005. Mackaman stated that he might be "way off" on the 2005 estimate, but that there is a lot of material that needs to be reviewed. For 1974, IPS has printed and reviewed material on 148 microfilm reels; for 1975, 198 microfilm reels; and for 1976, 193 reels will need to be processed. (Peppe explained that one microfilm reel equals approximately one cubic foot of hard copies.) Once the material is reviewed by State, it must then undergo DOE review.
Peppe explained that at the current time they do not have a concrete idea yet of how long it will take to complete the State Department review of the microfilm documents. Once the 1974 records have been processed, IPS will have a better of idea of how long it will take to process the other years. (1974 is the first year that there is microfilm to be reviewed.)
Peppe stated that putting the material on the web is a new way to release this information, and she needs to make sure that the Department's upper management is on-board and informed of what is happening. The committee asked if IPS had been unable to get the attention of upper management. Peppe said that had not been the problem. The committee asked whether the process previously had the approval of upper management. Peppe responded that no one above the bureau level has had an opportunity to take a good look at the material. She explained that it is the Department's custom and practice that whenever IPS puts special collections on its website, that the Under Secretary for P approves it along with M and the Assistant Secretary from the appropriate bureaus.
The committee asked when IPS would have the material ready for upper management to review. Peppe responded that the 1973 material is available for viewing now on the Department's classified network. Previously there had been problems with response time, but the system is working now. She stated that IPS would like to include the 1974 material in the transfer if possible.
Mackaman added that his 2005 estimate was for 1973 and 1974 records.
The committee asked the IPS representatives if they had a plan to get to the 25-year mark. Peppe replied that no plan existed yet because IPS first had to evaluate the 1974 records. Once that has been completed, IPS will be able to give the committee a transfer plan that includes the associated time frames for completing each step in the transfer process. Schulzinger added that there would be a low-key rollout so as not to crash NARA computers.
Declassification of Department of State Records
Brian Dowling of IPS said that the Nazi and Japanese War Crimes Project had been completed. The last batch of records had been sent to NARA the previous week. The project had been time-consuming: the Nazi project began in March 1999 and the Japanese project began in December 2000. For the Nazi project, 2,600 boxes were searched and 6.5 million pages read; 8,300 relevant documents were found, consisting of 41,000 pages; 75 documents were denied in full. The project took 9,000 hours and cost $364,000. The Japanese Imperial Government Records Project was easier: 1,211 boxes were searched, mostly at the MacArthur Library in Norfolk, and very little was found; 3.6 million pages were read; 662 relevant documents were found, consisting of 2,800 pages. The project took 3,500 hours and cost $137,000. The IWG asked 22 questions for the final report; 11 have been completed and 80% of the work for the other 11 has been completed. His office can now devote its resources to systematic review in 2003.
Dowling also reported that review of the "Manning Collection" of USIA historical records had been completed. Of 360 boxes, 160 went to NARA II and the rest to WNRC in Suitland for storage until future transfer to the National Archives. The boxes contained lots of information on USIA history but minimal classified information (mostly privacy issues).
Dowling noted that his office had received 238 boxes of State records for review from microfilm reels, which are difficult to view. They have reviewed 186,000 pages of hard copy documents at Newington, exempted 27 documents, and referred 197 to other agencies. He added that he did not have November statistics yet but in October, 186,000 pages were reviewed, 27 documents exempted, and 197 referrals made to other agencies. Re-reviews for Kyl-Lott amounted to 336,000 pages reviewed, 2,356 documents exempted, and 3,885 referred. He will have the fourth quarter 2002 report ready by mid-January and will send it to HO. The 2002 cumulative report will be ready in February.
Dowling also said that his office was reviewing boxes for 1976-1980 and looking at WNRC files for USIA, ACDA, and State.
When Kimball asked if there is a separate review for electronic records, Dowling noted that electronic records review is done at SA-2.
The committee recessed for a break at 2:50 p.m.
CLOSED SESSION, December 2
The committee reconvened at 3:15 p.m.
Status of Declassification Under the Kyl-Lott Amendment and Other Related Issues
Schulzinger opened discussion on DOE and the Kyl-Lott Amendment. A DOE representative had to cancel at the last minute but gave an oral report to Herschler. He said that in the past six weeks, DOE had reviewed over one million pages of documents at NARA. DOE offered to provide a written report of the review. Kimball recommended that before DOE prepare a report, HO should send DOE a copy of the September minutes, which included questions that the committee would like answered.
Schulzinger then introduced Adam Hornbuckle, an Air Force Declassification Office representative, who asked to address the committee on the Air Force's "records of concern" program. In this program, the Air Force is auditing records reviewed and declassified under E.O. 12958 and previous E.O.'s for improperly declassified and inadvertently released Air Force information pertaining to the use and development of weapons of mass destruction. Hornbuckle reported that the Air Force identified records for potential audit, including those of State, through a systematic sampling procedure based on the classification criteria of the Executive Order. After records are sampled, boxes are labeled for audit. If a researcher requests a labeled box, the Air Force reviews and delivers the box within 30 days.
Schulzinger then asked Jeanne Schauble and Nancy Smith of NARA for comments. Schauble said 1.3 million pages awaited DOE quality assurance review. After the last HAC meeting, NARA gave DOE a complete list of the backlogged records. The one million pages DOE reviewed in the last six weeks for quality assurance was the easy part. A third of a million pages still require DOE quality assurance review.
Hornbuckle noted that the Air Force is "cycling things through" more quickly, but there are naturally some complaints when records that were once available are no longer available. The Air Force labeled for review a substantial number of boxes from State's central files and is doing its best to review boxes quickly whenever researchers request them.
Mackaman asked whether once a box is screened for one researcher, it is open for all researchers. Hornbuckle said yes.
Smith said that in the world of presidential libraries, their experience with DOE and Kyl-Lott has generally been positive. Because DOE has briefed the libraries' staffs, which conduct a page-by-page review anyway, Kyl-Lott has had less effect on the declassification procedure. Some problems have arisen as a result of overlapping agency equities or obscure programs to which archivists have not yet been "read in."
Dick Morefield of IPS stated that he had been a declassifier since 1988. He wanted to mention that changing circumstances, such as September 11, might make a once non-sensitive document sensitive. Furthermore, different agencies have different programs. No matter how much training one has, it can still be difficult to determine declassification. Electronic records are something new entirely. His office had to set things up in a new way so that NARA could get documents to DOE more quickly for declassification. When it comes to declassification, he said, State is on the side of the angels.
In response to Schulzinger's query, Hornbuckle replied that Air Force reviewers had identified over 600 documents that State had inadvertently released. NARA placed withdrawal cards in the boxes. Schulzinger wondered if access to these records would require a FOIA request. Kimball thought that mandatory review might also be relevant. Schauble replied that a request for access to such information could be processed either way. Herschler asked if the Air Force had begun to review materials held in the presidential libraries. Hornbuckle said that was under consideration.
Kimball asked if some of the documents in question were already in the public domain, including in the Foreign Relations series. Hornbuckle said that Air Force reviewers might remove documents from the open files at NARA but not from a Foreign Relations volume. Schauble reiterated that until 1963 State records were subject to microfilm publication. Hornbuckle stated that the Air Force reviewed records that had been microfilmed, and photocopies of these documents received further assessment.
In response to Meena Bose's questions, Hornbuckle said that the Air Force was reviewing 17,000 boxes of State records, which might take 3-5 years. Schulzinger asked whether a researcher could contact NARA to see if a box was available. Sally Kuisel, a NARA reference archivist, said that those types of reference requests are possible if a researcher knows which box numbers are needed.
When Hornbuckle said the Air Force could review any boxes before the Foreign Relations historian received access, Herschler questioned whether an Air Force review was really necessary since Foreign Relations historians have the necessary clearances and did not normally conduct research under such conditions. Historians receive access for research and then declassification review occurs. Kimball asked if the Air Force could alert State reviewers. Susan Weetman explained that the problem was complicated, since HO does not work directly with the various armed services. Hornbuckle offered to sponsor a training session for Foreign Relations historians, which might simplify the situation. Kimball interjected that IPS should also be included.
Schulzinger summarized the issues discussed into two categories: access for the public and access for Foreign Relations historians. He had not realized that the second issue was a problem. Hornbuckle stated that it was not.
Bose asked how many "records of concern" projects were underway. After a general exchange on the subject, Schauble replied that, other than NARA, which had received some guidance from other agencies, only DOE and the Air Force were reviewing "records of concern." She explained that these two were of such scope that it was better for them to do the work themselves. Schauble was not aware of any other related projects. Morefield concurred, with the exception of very specific guidance received from the Navy on its concerns.
Schulzinger then asked Nancy Smith about the Remote Archive Capture (RAC) project. Smith reported that the project had scanned 11,000 images at the Carter Library. A special team of State reviewers had been assembled to train archivists to review presidential records for the period. Smith added, however, that NARA awaited further guidance because of the large volume of documentation from the Carter era. Kimball recalled that, until recently, State had been disinclined to cooperate with the RAC project. Smith explained that State, like most agencies, was focused on meeting its obligations under E.O. 12958.
Kimball reiterated that he would like for the next committee meeting a report on the status of research for Foreign Relations historians in the boxes affected by the Air Force "records of concern" program. Hornbuckle agreed and reiterated that it would facilitate a training session.
Revision of Executive Order 12958
Schulzinger introduced Frank Machak, Deputy Assistant Secretary (A/RPS) and Nick Murphy (IPS) to discuss revisions to E.O. 12958 on classification and declassification of national security information. Schulzinger asked when a copy of the proposed E.O. revisions would be available. Machak noted that IPS was part of an NSC working group looking at a revised E.O. After the NSC forwarded a draft to OMB, it would be circulated for comment to the affected agencies. Machak then reviewed the Department's interests and the changes he envisioned in the revised E.O. Murphy added his comments, and then a wide ranging discussion ensued on the possible implications of E.O. revisions.
Schulzinger asked Machak to send a copy of the revised E.O. draft to HO and the committee, and Machak agreed.
The session adjourned at 4:39 p.m.
CLOSED SESSION, December 3
The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series
Schulzinger called the session to order at 9:00 a.m. He suggested that the committee, HO, and CIA discuss implementation of the MOU and the possibility of a joint meeting in 2003 between the committee and members of the CIA's Historical Review Panel (HRP). He added that he had talked to HRP chair Robert Jervis about the latter.
Susser said that the MOU was working well. HO and CIA are working to clear up the backlog of volumes, and HO historians received good access for research. He praised CIA for bringing 17 people to HO's off-site training session in October, where very constructive discussions took place.
Herschler added that HO and the CIA are fully engaged six months into the new MOU and that the CIA is reviewing all outstanding volumes. Eight volumes have either been published or are in the final stages. The chart the committee received had progressed further since its distribution, but it will take up to a year to clear up the backlog. HO still had about a dozen volumes in various stages at the CIA (pre- and post-MOU).
Schulzinger then asked the CIA to make comments. The CIA explained that personnel changes included those working on Foreign Relations, but that work continued on reviewing volumes. The CIA found participation in HO's off-site training session very productive. It was a good opportunity for people on both sides who work on Foreign Relations to discuss issues. The CIA stated that the backlog of Foreign Relations volumes represents a challenge, since the HO staff significantly outnumbers the CIA reviewers; however, the CIA reported progress on a number of volumes. CIA hoped to be through the backlog of volumes by June. The problem was not a lack of good faith, but rather a lack of resources.
Schulzinger then asked the committee, HO, and CIA to discuss the backlog chart and issues pertaining to particular volumes. Kimball asked for an updated chart.
Joint Historian James Van Hook gave a report on his work since the last committee meeting. He reviewed the situation for access and research by Department historians, his own volume's work, preparations for a conference in May on the Guatemala retrospective, and his general impressions of how well the joint historian position has functioned for both sides. For one of the joint HO-CIA sessions at the October off-site, he organized a panel on historiography and intelligence. Schulzinger asked him to elaborate on the substance of the panel.
Committee members then asked Van Hook several questions about his work and access by the historians, to which he responded. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman expressed pleasure that the Joint Historian position and new procedures were working so well.
Schulzinger discussed the joint meeting with the CIA's HRP. He had spoken to Robert Jervis, who indicated that the best time to meet would be around the time of their summer meeting. That date was not yet fixed. In the past, committee meetings had been scheduled around SHAFR, which will be held June 6-8, 2003. Perhaps a joint meeting with the HRP could be scheduled before or after SHAFR.
The committee recessed for a break at 9:50 a.m.
Retrospective Foreign Relations Volumes
The committee reconvened at 10:15 a.m.
Schulzinger opened the session with a note for the record that he believed would be of interest to the CIA. He stated that during the summer he had written a letter to the Secretary of State requesting that the Information Security Policy Advisory Council (ISPAC) and the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) be implemented. Schulzinger indicated that he had, however, since received a letter from Richard Boucher indicating that such boards had been overtaken by events and that it was doubtful that either of the two boards would be appointed. Schulzinger thought that this would interest the CIA because of implications for resources available for continuing declassification. He emphasized the need for a continued systematic examination of documents for declassification, as opposed to non-systematic targeted searches that might arise and hamper the declassification process. Schulzinger added that since the ISPAC was still in the current E.O. and the PIDB in passed legislation, HO and CIA should work with the committee to prevent the possible erosion of resources needed to continue meeting declassification objectives.
Schulzinger then asked Roger Louis to report on the meeting of the subcommittee on retrospective volumes. Louis noted that the subcommittee had discussed three volumes (Guatemala, Iran, and the Congo). On Guatemala, he indicated that there was little to add from previous reports. According to Louis, the committee had looked closely at the volume's front matter and expressed the hope that this volume would, as requested by the committee, have an access guide.
With regard to the Congo volume, Louis noted that it was one of the most interesting in the retrospective series and had been underway since about 1993. He noted that it deals with all of the 1960s and contains a large number of significant documents. Louis noted that the committee had recommended that HO review the Belgian government's thousand page report on the Congo in order to determine if any of its content might be of value to the forthcoming Foreign Relations volume.
On the Iran volume, Louis applauded Van Hook's research progress and Luke Smith's supervision as well as the indication that it would be a full-size volume. Louis indicated that the committee hoped that upon its completion, Van Hook would turn to a collective retrospective on the 1940s and 1950s, with a projected cut-off date of 1960. Louis reviewed the subcommittee's discussion on the scope and content of the volume, which would review records from all geographic areas, and then asked for comments from HO and CIA. Louis concluded the discussion with the overall hope that a comprehensive volume as discussed would provide a satisfactory end to the retrospective issue. The committee agreed that, if it is feasible to write one, a declassified version of the prospectus for the collective retrospective would be beneficial.
Schulzinger asked if HO planned to put the Guatemala and Iran volumes on the web. Keefer indicated that the Guatemala volume was already earmarked to go up on the web but that the Iran volume had not been discussed since it is still in the compilation stage.
Hoffman stated that little concern existed with the post-1960 period, since those Foreign Relations volumes already deal with covert operations as needed. She emphasized the hope that a collective retrospective would bring closure to the issue.
Kimball informed the committee that the subcommittee felt so strongly about the value of a collective retrospective volume that it had requested endorsement by the full committee. The resolution, which passed unanimously, stated that the subcommittee recommended approval for a proposal of a comprehensive volume on intelligence operations in foreign policy, 1947-1960.
Bose then made agenda suggestions for the proposed joint meeting between the committee and the CIA's HRP in June 2003. Schulzinger discussed the committee members' experiences at a similar joint meeting last June.
Schulzinger thanked the CIA representatives for attending the meeting.
At 11:00 a.m. the meeting adjourned for staff comments and executive session.