Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation July 22-23, 2002
- Robert Schulzinger, Chairman
- Meena Bose [Ad Hoc Consultant]
- Diane Shaver Clemens
- Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
- Warren Kimball
- W. Roger Louis
- Brenda Gayle Plummer
Office of the Historian
- Marc Susser, Historian
- Nina Howland
- Rita Baker
- Ted Keefer
- Monica Belmonte
- Erin Mahan
- Myra Burton
- Dave Nickles
- Evan Duncan
- David Patterson
- Vicki Futscher
- Doug Selvage
- David Geyer
- Jim Siekmeier
- Steve Glenn
- Luke Smith
- David Goldman
- James Van Hook
- David Herschler
- Laurie Van Hook
- Susan Holly
- Gloria Walker
Bureau of Administration
- Peter Sheils, Deputy Director, A/RPS/IPS
- Brian Dowling, A/RPS/IPS
- William Garland, A/RPS/IPS
- Frank Golino, A/RPS/IPS
- Harmon Kirby, A/RPS/IPS
- Richard Morefield, A/RPS/IPS
- Nicholas Murphy, A/RPS/IPS
- Margaret Peppe, A/RPS/IPS
- Keidth White, A/RPS/IPS
Information Security Oversight Office
- J. William Leonard, Director
National Archives and Records Administration
- Howard Lowell, Deputy Assistant Archivist for Records Services, Washington, D.C.
- David Kepley, Operations Staff, Office of Records Services, Washington, D.C.
- David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
- Don McIlwain, Initial Processing and Declassification Division
- Marvin Russell, Special Access and FOIA Staff
- Jeanne Schauble, Initial Processing and Declassification Division
- Nancy Smith, Office of Presidential Libraries
Central Intelligence Agency
- Patricia P, FRUS Coordinator
- Michael Warner, History Staff
- Information Review Officers
- Bruce Craig, National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History
OPEN SESSION, July 22
Approval of the Record of the March 2002 Meeting and Other Business
The open session was convened at 1:35 p.m. by Chairman Robert Schulzinger, who introduced new member Diane Clemens of the University of California at Berkeley. The record of the March 2002 meeting was approved.
Report by the Historian
Marc Susser began his report by noting that the last Foreign Relations volume covering the Kennedy administration and the first volume covering the Nixon administration were released in March. HO expected to release two volumes in August and three more by the end of the year.
He continued his report:
In May, after months of negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CIA was signed on access, research, and declassification review of CIA documents. So far that MOU was working well.
A reorganization of the office was in progress. David Patterson will continue to serve as General Editor, and David Herschler has filled the new position of Deputy Historian. HO had advertised for two more historians, and Susser hoped that the positions would be filled by fall.
Research at the Ford Library was continuing, and he and David Herschler had gone to the Carter Library in June for initial discussions about future research there.
Also in June Susser, Dave Geyer, and Doug Selvage went to Moscow to discuss a joint U.S.-Russian project to publish foreign policy documents for the detente years. An MOU had been signed with the Russian Foreign Ministry. Plans included one or two volumes covering 1969-1972 and 1972-1976, the first of which might be published by late 2003.
HO was planning to hold a conference when the retrospective Foreign Relations volume on Guatemala, 1952-1954, was published in early 2003.
The proceedings of last April's conference of international editors of diplomatic documents had been distributed. The next conference was scheduled to be held in Australia in 2003. HO was still planning to pursue a project that had been started at that conference, an update to a guide to the availability of foreign diplomatic archives, which had been set aside after September 11.
The staff of the Diplomacy Center was working on a 9/11 commemorative exhibit, and planning for the Center was proceeding.
The floor was then opened to questions. Lisa Hoffman asked about staffing, and was told that HO's long-term goal was to have 18 historians in 3 divisions. The continuing problem with publishing Foreign Relations volumes was the time required for declassification of documents by other agencies. The planning schedule envisioned 1-1-1/2 years for compiling a volume, but declassification requires at least 1 year and occasionally many more and publishing another 9-12 months.
Schulzinger asked about progress toward the 30-year goal and when the Foreign Relations series might reach it. Susser replied that it was too soon to predict with a staff that was so new. After a year or so, he could make a prediction. David Patterson told the Committee that he was very serious about enforcing deadlines and was optimistic that the first volume for 1976 would appear by 2005. If HO followed the schedule, it would be close to the 30-year line by then, especially if the declassification schedule could be speeded up. Schulzinger said that it sounded like HO might approach its goal within 3 years and he asked that it regularly update its plan and status report.
Warren Kimball said that he was glad to see "a point of light in the tunnel." He, however, was less optimistic and saw a lot of "wiggle room" in the schedule. The Committee had approved the reform program under the assumption that there would be fewer print volumes and greater public access to the records. He expected that a greater reliance on electronic compilations would eliminate that 1-year waiting period between declassification and publication. So far, there were no electronic publications to be compared with print volumes, but he still expected that e-publications would save time. Living as he did in South Carolina, Kimball appreciated wider access through the Web and believed that modern technology could reduce delays in access. He saw no progress toward organization of Foreign Relations volumes by theme rather than bilateral relations, which required more volumes. Patterson commented that two e-publications were completed and were being declassified, a third was ready to be referred for declassification, and 12 more were scheduled for the 1969-1976 period.. Kimball persisted that he would prefer to see fewer print volumes and more e-publications on the schedule. Herschler pointed out that a number of e-publications were, in fact, already listed on the schedule.
Susser pointed out that the Perkins chart included target completion dates. In some areas, the series would be ahead of the 30-year mark: one volume for 1980 would be out in February 2006. A brief discussion of the status of individual volumes and the renewal of the Committee's charter followed.
Transfer of the Department of State's Electronic Records to NARA
Schulzinger called on Margaret Peppe of the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) for a report on the transfer of State's electronic records to NARA. Peppe was pleased to report significant progress since the last meeting: 89 percent of the 1973 cables had been reviewed and found releasable, and a two-tier review of 1974 documents had begun in February, including 144 cubic feet of non-telegraphic records ("P" reels) and 18 cubic feet of "bulky" files. She said that they were moving very fast with this review, faster with the 1974 documents than with 1973, partly because of new procedures. For example, they were now pre-sorting material before beginning the review, as well as reviewing the records by regional Bureaus.
Peppe noted that there was due in part to the requirement for the Department to search for additional names related to the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, a slight delay in the completion of security testing and approval of the technical security plan, and an additional search/review required in support of Kyl-Lott. The new target date for the transfer is August. On the other hand, there had been progress in scheduling the Subject TAGS used to sort and locate information in SAS. NARA staff came to the State Department and worked on a pilot project. Before the project can move forward, a prototype for the separation of permanent and temporary telegrams must be completed. The hope is to have this done by the end of the year. IPS was also looking into simplifying the use of TAGS in SAS by reducing their number.
Schulzinger thanked Peppe and asked Howard Lowell, Deputy Assistant Archivist for Records Services, Washington, D.C., to report from NARA's perspective. Lowell said that NARA had been receiving IPS reports and was very pleased with the progress. NARA was working on its Archival Access Database (AAD) for access to and processing of the Department's database of records and tests were going well. He noted that this will be NARA's first time making electronic records available over the Internet and that NARA's staff was working on how to help researchers use the new tool. Schulzinger asked how the State Department transferred documents to NARA. Peppe told him that the electronic data would be transferred on a CD.
Brian Dowling of IPS then reported on the Department's declassification program, beginning with the Nazi War Crimes Project, which had been completed. After looking at 6.5 million documents in 2,600 boxes, IPS found 8,400 relevant documents, which were reviewed for declassification. The Interagency Working Group proposed, however, that the Department should search an additional 60,000 names in addition to the 2,300 previously submitted. IPS agreed to conduct a search on the 2,300-name list but judged that a search for the 60,000 names would not be productive. The 26 additional boxes of documents produced by the search had to be reviewed for relevance and a small percentage of the documents were declassified. He believed that the Nazi War Crimes Project was now completed. The Japanese Imperial War Crimes Project involves 1,100 boxes of documents, with progress proceeding smoothly and on a timely basis.
IPS has other projects, including a large number of equity referrals. The Committee was given a quarterly report on systematic review but he pointed out that special projects occasionally take priority in processing the work because of special requirements levied by the Department.
The State Department has reviewed 58 million pages, Dowling reported, and has 12.5 million pages which need to be reviewed before April 17, 2003. The average is 44 million pages per year. Progress slows in the summer, when many reviewers (WAEs) are on vacation. He said that he was certain that IPS would be on schedule by 2006. Kimball expressed his concern over the diversion of IPS resources for special projects. He was also concerned that the reviewers have to review documents for a second or third time to satisfy additional requirements levied after the initial review.
Concerning the diversion of resources from systematic review to special projects, Kimball asked if the Committee should take a position on setting up the Public Interest Declassification Board, which was authorized by Congress in 2000 for the purpose of setting priorities among special declassification projects.
Schulzinger pointed out that the Committee's Annual Reports have mentioned that, and he offered to write a letter to the Secretary of State and the appropriate Senate and House Committees on Government Reform endorsing the Board.
Schulzinger concluded by complimenting the Department on the great progress that has been made in the declassification of historical records, as well as the ongoing cooperation between NARA and State on the transfer of the electronic records database. He hoped that by the September meeting, the transfer will have taken place.
In response to his question, Kimball was told that NARA would need 4-6 months after delivery to make the records available to the public. Jeanne Schauble (NARA) also pointed out that the Department of Energy would review the records before they were made public. The review for "records of concern" was also part of the archival processing necessary before the records were available on the Internet.
Bose asked if the Committee could help to speed the Kyl-Lott review and was assured by both Schauble and Nancy Smith (NARA) that NARA will be diligent in ensuring a timely review by DOE.
Patterson asked Peppe about the printouts that were being made from the Department's "P" Files, the microfilm of Department records that are in the SAS database. Peppe reported that the paper would be transferred to NARA after declassification review, but the microfilm is the official record. There is an electronic index to the microfilm that will also be transferred to NARA.
Schulzinger pointed out that there will be two indexes: one for the microfilm and one for the electronic files. David Langbart (NARA) explained that the "central files" of the Department of State in this period will consist of the following elements:
- The electronic index to the "P" microfilm,
- The "P" microfilm of hard-copy documents,
- The electronic file of telegrams found in SAS,
- The "bulky" files, and
- Top Secret telegrams that have been printed out on paper.
In addition, there are the decentralized paper Lot Files. NARA staff will develop finding aids to assist researchers in using all of these records.
Hoffman, after reviewing Dowling's report on systematic declassification review, pointed out that it appeared that by 2006 systematic review may fall behind. While Dowling did not necessarily agree, he admitted that the pace of review depends on resources and delays caused by special projects and Kyl-Lott reviews. He predicted that IPS would begin again to make significant progress after the Japanese War Crimes project was completed.
Schulzinger and Kimball commented that Congress should be informed that these projects are delaying systematic review under EO 12958. Smith agreed that as long as Congress is mandating special reviews, it should provide more funding to agencies. Kimball pointed out that the Public Interest Declassification Board, discussed earlier, would be helpful by taking resources into account when setting priorities for special declassification projects.
CLOSED SESSION, July 22
Declassification Guidelines for the Nixon and Ford Presidential Libraries and Their Application at NARA
Schulzinger began by summarizing the morning subcommittee meeting on declassification guidelines. At this session Peter Sheils (IPS) announced that State, in a reversal of its previous policy, has decided to participate in the CIA's Remote Archives Capture (RAC) program, whereby classified records are digitally scanned and reviewed by the appropriate agencies electronically. Richard Morefield (IPS) gave the Committee a demonstration of the State Archiving System (SAS), with which IPS reviewers are electronically reviewing and declassifying State cables. William Garland (IPS) gave a brief overview of the review process at IPS, including the training process for new reviewers, all of whom are retired Foreign Service officers.
Following Schulzinger's summation of the morning meeting, Sheils noted that State will soon be sending a team to the Carter Library to do a pilot project for the RAC, and another team to do on-site review of a relatively uncomplicated collection (Mrs. Carter's travel files). Sheils underscored the success of the SAS review program: State cables for 1973 are now available and accessible online. When the 1973-1976 batch is complete, 26 million pages of cables will be available online. He also mentioned that State guidelines are "iterative." They are updated incrementally and informally as world conditions warrant.
Schulzinger reminded those present that there are still State cables from this period unavailable in electronic form, such as microfiche and cables with garbled text. He urged that users at NARA be made aware of this fact. David Geyer added that NODIS (no distribution) cables are not included in the system. David Langbart said that review of records during the Subject TAGS Appraisal Pilot Project indicated that NODIS telegrams are present in SAS.
Garland pointed out that an advantage of the State review is that State has understandings with the military services that they can act on each other's equities.
Schulzinger voiced the Committee's concern that the State review is consistent "across the board." Morefield answered that the SAS system addresses this issue. Previously, a multiple-address State cable (copies having ended up in multiple locations 30 years later) would be reviewed by multiple reviewers. Inconsistent review decisions would then be a real concern. But with the electronic system, each cable is reviewed only once (in a two-tiered review).
Hoffman asked if the SAS system takes into account the so-called "dirty words." Morefield answered that it did. Key indicators for the equities of various agencies can be put in the system, which then scans the cables and highlights those terms in red.
Kimball expressed concern that Kyl-Lott would cause declassification delays. Sheils and Morefield explained that State has some latitude in its review, and that the mere presence of a "dirty word" cautions the reviewer to take special care, but does not constitute an automatic denial.
Jeanne Schauble and Nancy Smith cautioned that Kyl-Lott is the unknown variable in declassification review. They said the Department of Energy (DOE) re-classified some records at NARA, even some which have been in the open files for years. Also, since DOE has no particular deadline for its review, Kyl-Lott may make it difficult for NARA to meet its review deadline under E.O. 12958.
Marvin Russell (NARA) confirmed rumors that DOE reviewers at NARA have reclassified as RD/FRD (restricted data/formerly restricted data) declassified documents published in Foreign Relations volumes. Schulzinger said the public must know about this, and asked Susser to mention it at the Committee meeting in September, to put the issue on the record. Kimball suggested that Kenneth Stein of DOE, who had spoken to the Committee at a previous meeting, be asked to return.
Gayle Plummer asked if updated State guidance was forthcoming for the Carter Library. Smith answered that it was not. For the older libraries, systematic review has already taken place. For Carter and beyond, State will send teams to the Presidential Libraries to review the records (as opposed to providing guidance for the archivists to do the review). Smith noted that the NSC also recently agreed to participate in the RAC program. With the additions of State and NSC, Smith said all major agencies are now "on board."
Status of Government Declassification Efforts and Revision of Executive Order 12958
Schulzinger introduced Bill Leonard, the new Director of the Information Security Oversight Office. Leonard expressed his appreciation for all he had learned from the earlier session. He recognized that declassification is low in the order of priorities for most administrations, and he was interested in a continuing dialogue to make people care about it. His motivation for taking his job was to influence the front end of the process, classification, recognizing that effort in this direction would pay off at the back end of the process, declassification. The frustration was that classification is a product of the industrial, and not the information age, and the formula required updating. In the 21st century, he observed, how well information was shared and leveraged was a source of power. The events of September 11 put the focus on the importance of information-sharing; facilitating it through improved technology will help the declassification end of the process.
Leonard recognized the impediments to declassification. Despite the best intentions, the government is in an era of managing scarcity, which will not improve in the near future for federal agencies. Issues of declassification do not make the cut in the welter of other priorities, so available resources need to be focused. At the top of the list is a revision of Executive Order 12958. He had few specifics to report on this. An inter-agency working group, the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC), has met, but at this point, the only consensus is for another extension of the executive order, which will expire in April 2003. Beyond this, there is general support in the group for the idea of declassification. Still to be resolved is whether and how the executive order will be changed. The EO could be changed through an amendment, or with the issuance of a new EO, both of which have pros and cons. Leonard thought it would be a significant accomplishment if two successive administrations, Bush and Clinton, endorsed automatic declassification, so as to institutionalize it. The upcoming April 2003 deadline for renewing the existing EO was useful since it spurred everyone to work faster. It would also help if there was a consensus at the PCC level (Deputy Assistant Secretary level), which would facilitate getting the EO to the President. The goal was to keep changes to a minimum.
Nicholas Murphy (IPS), State Department representative to the PCC, added that if any substantive change were to be made to the EO, it should be to restore the concept of presumption of harm caused by the unauthorized release of foreign government information, which had been included in EO 12356. Murphy maintained that this did not mean a foreign government veto on release of U.S. records, but it was important that 25-year automatic declassification not release foreign government information that could do demonstrable harm.
Leonard commented that the problem was that one person's form was another's substance, and he preferred to keep changes to the executive order to a minimum by extending it.
Hoffman asked where the impetus for change originated. Leonard responded that the upcoming expiration date was a factor, as was the political and security environment today. On changes, the challenge for the agencies was whether they were willing to fight for their principles if the inter-agency group disagreed.
Schulzinger thanked Leonard for the update and looked forward to a report at the next meeting in September. Leonard said he hoped there would be a formal package to present by then.
Kimball returned to the question of the release of foreign government material and Murphy's desire to see a clause relating to it in the new EO. Kimball asked if it would be helpful to the Secretary of State if the Committee had input in any Departmental request concerning the new EO.
David Geyer (HO) asked Murphy how foreign government information was defined. Would such a definition extend beyond documents originated by a foreign government? Kimball cautioned that foreign government information could easily be construed in such a manner that its inclusion in the new EO could become grounds to deny the release of many Foreign Relations documents.
Murphy replied that he meant documents "originated" by a foreign government. Kimball pointed out that this was a reversion to the wording of EO 12356, which was unacceptable.
Patterson asked what role other public interest groups played in the formulation of the new EO. Leonard replied that the Committee, for one, could certainly play a role by helping to sensitize the Department of State and other agencies to the issues involved in the new EO.
Kimball asked Leonard if it were in his purview to make nominations to the Public Interest Declassification Board. Leonard replied that, with the exception of the General Counsel's office, no one in the Bush White House has shown a specific interest in the area of declassification, with the exception of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. He also thought it would be helpful to his office if the Department of State endorsed moving forward in establishing the Board.
Schulzinger brought up the question of "records of concern," those which are being reviewed at NARA because they refer to "infrastructure" or "identity theft." Leonard commented that he was not familiar with the specifics of the issue, but he noted that "transparency" had been the norm in the past in areas such as controlling the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. Now, however, attention had to be paid to how transnational groups could use records. Schulzinger concluded by expressing the Committee's concern about the implications of "records of concern" for foreign policy documents.
Schulzinger thanked Leonard for coming and adjourned the session for the day.
CLOSED SESSION, July 23
The CIA and the Foreign Relations Series
Schulzinger introduced the topics that would be discussed: the new MOU with the CIA, the joint Committee-Historical Review Panel (HRP) meeting in June, and the role of the joint State Department-CIA historian.
Susser reported again that a new MOU was signed on May 10, 2002, superseding the interim MOU signed in December 2001. During the months of negotiations, both parties gained a better understanding of each other's needs, and the MOU ensured that CIA will meet HO's statutory requirement for access. Under the agreement, the CIA must process HO's requests in accordance with the law, and CIA will receive the entire manuscript of all Foreign Relations volumes to review.
The CIA commented that it was important for the Agency to see the entire manuscript so that the documents with CIA equity can be reviewed in the context of all the documents in the volume. The new MOU is an improvement because, among other things, it clarifies that the entire compilation is declassified at the time of the formal verification session, which may be preceded by pre-verification meetings to clear up problems or questions. CIA emphasized that the new MOU underscores the uniqueness of HO's access to CIA information, which requires that all HO staff sign a secrecy agreement, similar to the one CIA employees sign. It is important now to move from the theoretical to the practical, to work together to effectively implement the MOU.
Schulzinger reported on the joint Committee-HRP meeting held in June, which he, Kimball, and Louis attended. There were two session; the first one on the two access guides that had been submitted to CIA. Both committees endorsed the preparation of access guides. The CIA expressed concerns that an access guide might contain too much editorializing, which would give researchers too much information about files in sensitive collections. That first session also considered what kinds of CIA records might be most useful and appropriate for Foreign Relations volumes. The Agency and HO would work together to balance access, disclosure, and protection of sources and methods. During the second day, a range of topics, including resource constraints, was discussed. The Committee expressed hope that the Joint Historian will help make the MOU work even more effectively.
Kimball summarized the three Committee members' opinion that HO's job is to do history; the CIA's is to guard security. He commented that HO is not in the business of digging out operational details, but in finding the documents necessary to produce a compilation that illuminates foreign policymaking, and he believed that CIA's Information Review Officers (IROs) need to be more pro-active in helping State historians find such materials. He noted that access guides would create more FOIA requests, and CIA commented that more FOIA requests are a resource issue.
In conclusion, Louis emphasized that the HRP was enthusiastic about the access guides, which Schulzinger seconded, commenting that the Committee had reviewed access guides and would continue to do so. CIA asked the Committee if the joint meeting had been worthwhile and if it should be repeated. Schulzinger said yes, but hoped that it would be possible to coordinate meeting times to cut down on the number of trips Committee members made to Washington.
Schulzinger turned to a new topic, and asked Susser about the status of the inter-agency High Level Panel (HLP). Susser had nothing new to report. Schulzinger said that the role of the HLP was discussed in the meeting with the HRP, and some questions emerged: When should a covert action be acknowledged, what documents can be released, and how often should the HLP meet? He was concerned that if the HLP did not meet for long periods of time, the institutional memory would fade, slowing the process. Kimball agreed.
Schulzinger next recalled that at a previous meeting, the Committee had discussed the use of non-documentary evidence in Foreign Relations volumes. All agreed that although there might be benefits, there are advantages to sticking to documentary records.
Hoffman asked if the process laid out in the MOU for access for HO staff to operational documents was working. Susser explained that the copies of the most sensitive documents will be kept at the CIA; if a State historian decides to include them in a Foreign Relations volume, the documents will be reviewed for declassification. CIA emphasized that the Agency must keep custody of all copies of certain records. State historians can readily consult the documents by contacting the IROs.
Herschler recounted the long process of negotiation that produced the MOU, which seems to be working well. It is important to realize flexibility is built into the MOU. Laurie Van Hook pointed out that as State historians get to know the CIA files better, it will be easier for HO and the CIA to implement the MOU. Kimball said that there will certainly be problems implementing the MOU and suggested keeping track of those problems, and how they are solved. CIA agreed.
In response to Plummer's question, CIA explained the system for dealing with the 60-day review period. During the 60 days, the IROs review the manuscripts to see how CIA documents relate to non-CIA documents. Plummer asked when the HLP becomes involved. CIA explained that HLP documents are identified during the manuscript review. After those documents are flagged, the review of the other documents continues. Patterson commented that it is fairly easy to identify HLP documents, and he has instructed HO historians to flag the issues early in the manuscript compilation process. Keefer agreed, pointing out that the MOU requires flagging HLP documents early in the process. He also commented that the issue statements prepared for the HLP must be cleared through many levels of bureaucracy in the Department.
CIA pointed out that it is difficult to arrange for the HLP to meet. Keefer said that in general the HLP works best if it does not meet frequently. The staff work pushes the paper through the bureaucracy, and the outcome is the same as if the HLP had met: acknowledgement of a covert activity.
There was some discussion of agency representatives to the HLP: Assistant Secretary of State Boucher for the State Department; the Director of Intelligence for the NSC. The CIA representative has not yet been determined.
Schulzinger said that the Committee wanted more information about the secrecy agreement, about which CIA had given a mini-briefing at the joint session in June. Susser explained that the standard secrecy agreement would not have worked for HO and the Committee. Lawyers on both sides (State and CIA), therefore, had crafted an agreement appropriate for Foreign Relations ; he reiterated that the text was not identical to the standard agreement.
Luke Smith raised the impact of the MOU on the compilation of Foreign Relations volumes. He thought the agreement would not present a problem for most volumes; for others, like his on the Bay of Pigs, it was difficult to imagine how the work could be done. Smith maintained that the compiler would, like Joint Historian James Van Hook, have to work at the CIA. Kimball commented that in special cases the Agency should be able to find working space for the compiler.
Retrospective Foreign Relations Volumes
Schulzinger opened the session on retrospective volumes by introducing the CIA representatives and asking Susser to report on HO's progress in this area.
Susser reported that work on the retrospective volumes was progressing. The first retrospective volume on Guatemala has already gone through CIA review under the new MOU. The second volume on the Intelligence Establishment, 1950-1955, compiled by Patterson and Michael Warner of the CIA History Staff has now entered the declassification pipeline, and HO will soon submit a manuscript for the Congo volume (1960-1968). James Van Hook, the joint historian, has begun work on a retrospective volume on Iran.
Van Hook reported on his research on the Iran volume, 1951-1954. He has made use of classified State materials and DI, DO, and DCI materials at CIA. The volume, he said, will place Mossadegh's overthrow in the context of the growing U.S. involvement in Iranian domestic affairs at the beginning of the 1950s. In response to a question from Schulzinger, CIA stated that the Iran volume should help scholars understand the relative importance of Kermit Roosevelt and the impact of the change in administration in Washington, especially at CIA and State, on U.S. policy toward Iran.
Louis offered commentary on Van Hook's presentation based on his own research experiences. Louis used British documents on Iran that have been opened, and he was also invited by the Iranian Government, along with several other Western scholars, to come to Iran to discuss the origins of Mossadegh's overthrow. No issue in Iranian public life, he said, is more "obsessional" than this event, and Iranians would take the publication of such a documentary volume as a sign of good will.
When asked about Van Hook's presentation, Louis replied that everything Van Hook had said was already in the public record, but release and publication of the relevant documents would reveal new, important details. Prompted by Kimball, Louis discussed potential difficulties with the publication and release of the Iran volume.
Kimball recounted that HO had made at least two efforts to promote a joint U.S.-British project on Iran, including one through the British Foreign Office. Kimball suggested to Van Hook that he might want to consult with those who had been involved in that project. A number of memoirs on the Iranian operation, Louis noted, had already been published in Britain.
Louis summarized the subcommittee's discussion of HO's retrospective volumes. There are currently four in progress: development of the intelligence community, 1950-1955 (done), Guatemala (moving forward), Iran (being researched), and Congo (being reviewed in HO).
Schulzinger asked if the intelligence community material will continue after the 1950-1955 volume is completed. Patterson replied that HO has the documents for 1956-1960 and can move forward after resolution of outstanding issues on access to PFIAB records. The Foreign Relations series already has material on the organization of the intelligence community in volumes covering the post-1960 years.
Kimball emphasized to CIA that the Committee is interested in additional retrospective compilations rather than whole volumes, short compilations to fill gaps in the historical record on intelligence operations that furthered foreign policy goals. The problem is trying to make choices, and those in the CIA with knowledge of the files can help identify issues.
CIA stated that they did not want a volume of case studies that failed to put the operations into context. They would want to be consulted in the planning process. The intelligence community overviews like the forthcoming 1950-1955 volume are crucial because they tell the Washington story of foreign policy planning. Kimball said those volumes provide a good road map but that more entrance and exit ramps were needed.
Hoffman commented that the Committee needs to consider the purpose of retrospectives. They are necessary when the published account in previous volumes was incomplete, like Iran and Guatemala, but regarding other stories that were not told, the question should be asked: was it because of lack of access or because the activities were not significant to foreign policy within the definition of the Foreign Relations statute? The Foreign Relations series should not seek to document every covert operation.
Schulzinger said that the subcommittee on retrospective volumes should continue, with one element being planning of future volumes. He and/or James Van Hook could talk to Philip Zelikow, who was very interested in the issue when he was on the Committee.
CIA stated that Van Hook as joint historian had been a good addition at CIA, and that he brought a different perspective. He will also facilitate access for HO historians to CIA records. CIA commented that the war on terrorism has absorbed a lot of time in offices throughout the Agency. Although CIA cannot match HO person for person on Foreign Relations activities, CIA understands the need for increased effort, particularly with the new MOU.
Schulzinger stated that he hoped Van Hook would be joint historian for a long time because the experience gained would be a strong asset to navigating the system for all Foreign Relations volumes. He thanked the CIA for attending the meeting.
The session went off the record for staff comments, and at 11:30 a.m. the Committee went into executive session.