Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, June 23-24, 1997
Open Session, June 23
The meeting was called to order at 9:12 a.m. by Chairman Warren Kimball. He introduced Philip Zelikow of Harvard University as a new member replacing Melvyn Leffler. He said that another new member, Michael Glennon, could not be present because his clearance was not yet completed. The minutes of the March meeting were considered and approved as drafted. Kimball then turned to Executive Secretary William Slany for his report.
Report by the Executive Secretary
Slany began by emphasizing that the Foreign Relations series has achieved a great deal toward accomplishing the goals set out in the 1991 legislation. Fifty volumes have been published in 4? years, largely eliminating the backlog that existed in 1992. He noted that the office expects to publish 8-12 volumes this year. However, the Office was experiencing difficulties in continuing that record of publication success because of declassification problems. In part this was owing to the fact that compilers were profiting from expanded access to documentary collections to include a wider range of documents in their compilations. Documenting the intelligence aspect of foreign policy posed a particular problem. Slany pointed to the question of how much intelligence-related documentation was necessary and proper to include in the series, and he noted that the compilers in the office were not sure that they were finding all of the documentation on intelligence issues they needed to prepare credible compilations. Tied in with the questions of access to and selection of intelligence materials was the overarching question of the impact on the series of the declassification disputes which have arisen over intelligence related issues.
The upshot of these declassification problems, Slany stated, is that declassification of Foreign Relations volumes is currently at a near standstill. Unless there are breakthroughs on the clearance front, the Office will not be able to clear any volumes this year for publication next year. Publication of the series will essential halt. These declassification problems, Slany noted, are the reasons why the Office is unlikely to progress further toward meeting the mandated 30-year line for publication of Foreign Relations volumes. Slany asked the Advisory Committee for advice on how much documentation on intelligence issues to include in the compilations and how to deal with the declassification problems.
Slany turned to another problem. The Office is called on occasionally to provide advice and analytical support for the Department on key historical issues such as the Bosnia peace process and the Nazi gold project. It posed a management problem to meet these legitimate needs of the Department without adversely impacting on the production of the Foreign Relations series. Slany observed that he had balanced these competing pressures for staff time largely by using support recruited from the ranks of present and former Foreign Service officers. He was not certain that this system would continue to meet the Department's requirements for historical research, and he noted that the two projects he had cited had also involved 3-5 members of the permanent Office staff. Slany said that he did not want to ask the Department for additional resources only to be instructed to use existing resources at the expense of the Foreign Relations series. On this question Slany also turned to the Advisory Committee for advice.
Kimball took up the questions posed by Slany and asked Committee members for their reactions.
Schulzinger recalled that Bennett Freeman had referred at the March meeting to the creation of an "historical swat team." Nothing to his knowledge had been done to implement this concept. He asked whether a timetable had been established for the creation of such a team. Slany responded that the issue was "up in the air." The reorganization of the Public Affairs Bureau to incorporate USIA and the public affairs components of AID and ACDA has to be completed by August. Slany said that he had been assured that the Historian's Office would not be substantially affected by the reorganization, but it was not clear that there was support within the bureau for the creation of an additional historical studies unit. He asked if the Committee wanted to take a position on this issue.
Schulzinger felt that the Committee should take a stand, but it should be a stand on a proposal. No proposal was evident now that Freeman had left the bureau. Van Camp asked how much staff time was currently being devoted to historical studies projects. Slany responded that three staff members were currently engaged, and added that as many as five had been involved in the recent past.
Hogan asked whether the office would continue to be asked to respond to requests for historical studies without additional resources. Slany said that he did not feel the Office would necessarily be heavily impacted if outside support would continue to be provided. Hogan asked whether the office had done this type of research for the Department in the past. Slany confirmed that the Office was formerly divided by function to meet these needs. Tucker asked whether the staff of the Office wanted to deal with historical studies as well as Foreign Relations. Slany responded that he couldn't speak for the staff, but he noted that in many instances people with specialized knowledge in the office were best able to deal with research questions growing out of the knowledge gleaned from work on Foreign Relations compilations. Kimball asked Slany if he wanted outside Foreign Service specialists or trained historians. Slany said that the Office had a proposal calling for both. He wanted a nucleus of staff who could deal with historical studies, but wanted to avoid involving the majority of the staff who should remain focused on the Foreign Relations series.
Zelikow said that he had talked to Richard Holbrooke and Tom Donilon, both of whom were pleased with the work the Historian's Office had done on the Bosnia peace accords. Neither had indicated that they envisioned long-term historical research requirements that the Office would have to meet. Zelikow posed the question of whether the Office should exploit the receptive climate at the top of the Department for the type of historical research the Office could do to expand its capability to perform a larger research role. The Office could propose to do operational histories, like the command histories done by the military services, or it could limit itself to responding to requests. He thought the office should decide which type of program it wanted and make a proposal accordingly.
Kimball agreed, noting that it would be hard for the Advisory Committee to respond unless there was a proposal. Hogan said that the Advisory Committee's mandate relates to the Foreign Relations series. Other matters concern the Committee insofar as they affect the series. Tucker asked about the status of microfiche supplements, noting the recommendation against going ahead with the microfiche supplement to the intelligence volume. Did this limit access to these materials? How costly would such a supplement be? Slany responded that for HO, this was a tradeoff. These materials are supplementary, even tertiary. The production cost would be $5-6,000 and it would require staff time for editing and distribution. It was hard to calculate the complete cost. The alternative was to make sure the documents are accessible in some locations instead of producing 500 copies. He noted that these materials are essentially administrative history; the Committee's interest is primarily in other aspects of the intelligence record. He felt that the time would be better spent working on something else, such as Indonesia in 1957-1958.
Zelikow said he wanted to bring up two other issues in the report. Had reports been filed with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee? Slany said that so far they had not been. Zelikow thought this would be an important political opportunity-a report by the Secretary of State to be made public. He noted that there are congressional committee members who are interested in this, and argued that this could be an "action-forcing" event expressing the Committee's concerns.
Slany commented that HO was waiting for the new administration to take over in PA. There may be discussion of the subject at Jamie Rubin's confirmation hearing. It was better to deal with things in sequence: 1) the Advisory Committee's annual report; 2) Rubin's confirmation; and 3) a report to Congress.
Zelikow said that his other point involved the inclusion of intelligence material in Foreign Relations volumes. He thought this subject could be discussed most fruitfully in relation to individual volumes. Kimball responded that the CIA argued that HO historians were making different kinds of requests, and that given the state of CIA's records, as CIA personnel themselves depicted it, HO needed general guidelines. He noted that the Advisory Committee does deal with individual volumes and would do so later that day.
Report by the General Editor
David Patterson said that before beginning his report on the Foreign Relations series, he wanted to touch on a few things that had been raised. With its current resources, HO would not meet the 30-year line but hoped to come close. As far as policy research was concerned, HO has well-trained historians who can do the research if projects are not too demanding of resources. HO did get outside contract help for the Bosnia and Nazi gold projects, but it can handle short term requests such as a recent request for information related to NATO expansion. Another recent request was for background information for the current economic summit. HO had studies of previous economic summits along with other information, and Paul Claussen spent a week pulling it together. When a Deputy Assistant Secretary in PA asked for information by 2 p.m. that day on the creation of USIA and on the separation of the Bureau of Cultural and Educational Exchange from the State Department in the late 1970s, HO was able to provide it.
Regarding the intelligence microfiche, Patterson noted that the microfiche supplement was cited in the volume. HO can't gauge the demand, but every previous microfiche supplement had sold out, partly because they sold at such a good price. On the other hand, the poor quality of many of the documents could make reproduction a problem.
Patterson then began his report on the Foreign Relations series. He noted that HO had released the 1964-1968 Arms Control volume and the 1961-1963 Cuban Missile Crisis volume and hoped to release the Bay of Pigs volume any day. The Cuba volumes were a nice pair, and the office was hoping for scholarly reviews. There should be an additional five volumes and one microfiche supplement released by the end of the year. The last Kennedy volume has been compiled. 29 of the 34 Johnson volumes have been compiled and all but one will be compiled by the end of the year. Research on the Nixon volumes has begun. Eight volumes have been started and three more will be started in the next month or two.
Patterson said that HO has gained access to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board records, and David Humphrey has been using these. Only three HO historians, Patterson, Humphrey, and Herschler, have access to these records, so they will have to do research for other compilers. He noted that the PFIAB records have information on the Liberty and the Pueblo incidents.
Patterson said he had been reviewing as much as possible. He had reviewed the last Kennedy volume and the 1964-1968 Dominican Republic volume. The latter made heavy use of the Johnson tapes and make clear that Johnson micromanaged the 1965 crisis. This volume also used the Ball and Mann telephone conversations and shows the variety of sources that HO is using. He is currently reviewing the first Nixon volume, which deals with financial and monetary affairs. He has been looking at this volume very carefully because it is the first Nixon volume, because of its extensive use of Treasury records, and because it is Bruce Duncombe's first volume.
Status of Compiling the Nixon Volumes
Comments by David Patterson. Patterson stated that the most important thing for HO as it moves into the Nixon period is adequate personnel. He thought HO had adequate resources to at least come close to meeting the publication deadlines, although there will inevitably be some slippage. HO is hiring two outside historians, one of whom should be arriving soon, and is getting a Presidential Management Intern. HO also hopes to get one more Foreign Service officer who has a Ph.D. this fall. He noted that Susan Holly is working on Guatemala for a retrospective volume.
Comments by David Herschler. Herschler said that he did not have much to report. More and more staff are working on the Nixon volumes and things seem to be working well at the Nixon project. There seems to be adequate NARA staff and resources for this. HO's major problem is with the Nixon tapes, access to which has been complicated by the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA). An agreement signed by HO, NARA, and the Nixon Estate provides for access by HO historians to the sanitized tape log. The Advisory Committee has a copy of the agreement. The log is essential for compilers to get a handle on the 4,000 hours of tape recordings. The agreement calls for a 30-day waiting period to see if the log contains personal information but this is almost over. Herschler said that a few HO historians are poised to begin work on the log as soon as it is available. He noted that HO was still at the final stage of negotiating access to the tapes.
Kimball asked whether the question of simultaneous review had been resolved. Herschler responded that it had been pretty well resolved.
Comments by Nancy Smith. Smith said NARA was working actively on completion of the tape agreement. She noted that both NARA and State had serious concerns but would go with a more general agreement now with the understanding that certain specific issues might come up later.
Kimball asked if there were questions that the Advisory Committee should address. Herschler and Smith said not now.
Tucker asked whether there was any basis for the newspaper reports that the Nixon materials would be sent to California and if so, whether this was inevitable and when it would happen. Smith replied that the records are not going to California now. It may be that in the future, NARA will take over the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, but the records will not go there unless and until this happens. Construction would be necessary at Yorba Linda before the records could be moved there.
Patterson said that HO was still working on access to the Kissinger papers. He noted that Kissinger was making it very difficult by insisting upon letters from the Secretary of State and the National Security Adviser stating that the research is essential for national security. Slany said the State Department lawyers do not want the Secretary to write such a letter because they are worried about establishing a precedent. HO needs to do research on the transfer of the Kissinger papers to the Library of Congress.
The Committee took a coffee break and reconvened at 10:40 a.m.
Reorganization of the Department's Bureau of Information Management and Public Access to the Department's Historical Records
Comments by Margaret Grafeld. Margaret Grafeld gave a "follow-up" briefing on the IM reorganization and initiatives. She began by passing out copies of a March 25, 1997, letter from Warren Kimball to Patrick Kennedy, Acting Under Secretary for Management, requesting information regarding the IM reorganization, and Kennedy's June 17 response. Grafeld stated that the IM reorganization involved 100 programs worldwide having an annual budget of $100 million and involving 1,500 people. She stated that although responding to document requests from the Congress and the courts is IM's number one priority, number two is compliance with the E.O. 12958 mandate to provide public access to the Department's historical records.
Grafeld noted that the reorganization has resulted in a better relationship between the State Department and NARA. In fact, it could be called an enhanced "partnership." The key players in IPS now working on Advisory Committee issues are: Ken Rossman, Tony Dalsimer (who is leaving IM), David Walker (the declassification program director), Sophia Sluzar (responsible for overseeing the Foreign Relations IPS program), Nina Noring (IPS Foreign Relations liaison), and Morris Draper (who will be chairing two ISOO working groups and will compile declassification guidelines for NARA). Kimball stated that he had received reports from the National Archives commending the State Department's declassification effort.
Grafeld reported that Joseph Lake will be leaving IM and Andrew Winter will be the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Management. She noted that Acting Under Secretary Kennedy has renewed his support for the reorganization. Grafeld asked if the Committee could at its next meeting set aside 2 hours for her to take them on a tour of the Office of IRM Programs and Services--including the electronic records, the connection to the World Wide Web, and the virtual reading room.
Comments by Kenneth Rossman. Rossman reported on the progress of the Department's E.O. 12958 declassification plan. He distributed two charts: one covering files in Department of State custody, and one covering files not in Department of State custody (see attachments). Regarding files in State custody, Rossman stated that the Department has completed its review of the Central Files through the year 1973 (not including the electronic records) and the Lot Files through the year 1975. The Post Files through the year 1975 are 13.5 percent complete. The files of Bureaus with special guidelines (L, INR, DS, and OIG) have not yet been reviewed, but the guidelines have been drafted.
Regarding files not in State custody, Rossman reported that the Department's review of documents at Archives II is 33 percent complete. The Department has not yet reviewed the documents located at the Presidential Libraries; however, training teams have visited the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy libraries, and visits to the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford libraries are planned. Rossman stated that there are an estimated 5 million pages containing Department equities to be reviewed at the Library of Congress and other institutions. He noted that it is difficult to estimate the number of documents located at other government agencies (including the CIA, Energy, DOD) which contain State equities. Rossman indicated that the Department has asked for an exemption for records reviewed and withdrawn under the previous E.O. 12356. ISOO is currently reviewing this exemption request.
Rossman stated that they are currently conducting training for the Presidential Libraries working on the Remote Archives Capture (RAC) program. They are also working on review guidelines in order that the Department may delegate authority for other agencies to review State equities. Rossman indicated that the Department plans on meeting the April 2000 mandate.
General Discussion. Kimball asked for more information regarding the exemption for documents previously reviewed under E.O. 12356. Grafeld answered that IPS wants to have an opportunity to look at all the documents once before going back and looking at material previously reviewed under the earlier E.O.'s. Nancy Smith noted that ISOO had sent a letter to Sandy Berger on exemptions claimed by agencies under the new Executive Order. She said that the agencies will be contacted once Berger has responded and that NARA hoped to establish a dialogue before Berger submits his recommendations to the President.
Tucker asked if the Remote Archives Capture (RAC) Project, and use of agency guidelines, had succeeded in reducing the declassification workload. Grafeld answered that both had already helped to eliminate overhead and avoid unnecessary costs. Tucker said that, without guidelines, the archivists at the Presidential libraries lack the confidence to declassify materials; she added that the Kennedy Library has been doing better in this regard. Kimball interrupted, noting that the subject will be addressed by Schulzinger in his upcoming report.
Zelikow asked if NARA had information on the status of declassification at other agencies. Kurtz did not think so. Ethel Theis of ISOO explained that the agencies did not have to supply such information under the E.O. Kimball wondered if the agencies had to report on progress toward the declassification milestones set in the E.O. Theis said that the agencies did not have to furnish information on plans for declassification. Zelikow stated that the lack of progress in the declassification of Department of Defense records, particularly from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), was little short of scandalous. He wanted to know how to get information on what DOD was doing in this regard. Kimball said that the issue was outside the Committee's purview. Theis added, however, that ISOO was planning to review the implementation of the E.O. in OSD records next month. Zelikow suggested that the failure to declassify OSD records had a negative impact on the Foreign Relations series, particularly the volumes on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kimball said that there were two issues relating to OSD records: access for HO historians and declassification under the E.O. The two issues were on different tracks and should not be connected.
Comments by Michael Kurtz. In response to Van Camp's question about the situation with regard to electronic records, Kurtz said that NARA met four times with Grafeld, Rossman, et al., and had begun to work on most of the outstanding problems. Kurtz explained that NARA and State had formed a joint working group on electronic records that would address such issues as processing, preservation, and access. He considered it a precedent-setting effort. Although the project has just started, NARA is developing an automated database with a powerful search engine. The database would include both telegraphic and written communications from State. Kurtz said that he expected to have more to report by the next Advisory Committee meeting.
Kurtz said that NARA had declassified 180 million pages under the E.O.; State has contributed a lot to this effort. In the processing of State records, the central files are the top priority, followed by Post and Lot Files, which will take longer. Kurtz explained that NARA had received a lot of records from the agencies; NARA needed to set priorities, particularly in line with researcher interest. NARA is also in the midst of a second phase in its plans to reorganize, adopting a more team-based approach. Kurtz reported that David Langbart, previously responsible for appraising State records, will assume the same responsibility for files at the CIA. Langbart is now training several archivists to appraise State records.
Kimball asked if Kurtz had been encouraged to do more declassification studies by Senator Moynihan and if this suggested that Congress might be taking steps to turn an outline of a bill on declassification into legislation. Kurtz thought so. Kimball wondered if the Advisory Committee would have an opportunity to comment on any legislative proposals. Kurtz considered the proposal a good idea and said that he would talk to Steve Garfinckel.
Comments by Rich Warshaw. Warshaw reported on declassification at the CIA, describing the division between the Agency's programs for automatic declassification and for systematic review, and the CSI program to review documentation for Foreign Relations and other projects. He said that the programs were closely coordinated; there is some overlap in responsibility, but CIA is trying to avoid any unnecessary duplication of effort. Although he admitted that CIA did not have impressive numbers on declassification, Warshaw explained that he was putting together an infrastructure, a "declassification factory." The Agency had already reviewed 100,000 pages; 16 million would require further detailed review at CIA and 25 million in other collections, including the RAC Project. Warshaw said that the CIA had claimed 106 million page exemption under the new Executive Order, amounting to 64 percent of its records; the Agency was awaiting the outcome of the White House review of agency exemptions. He also said that he hoped to open the "declassification factory" by October, which would increase productivity through the use of an automated review process, including on-line redaction. Warshaw concluded by commenting that CIA's goal was a truly robust program and beginning in the fall, a factory-like operation.
Van Camp asked whether a CIA unit would go out to NARA. Warshaw responded that it would, but that the goal was to copy documents and bring the document copies back to CIA's shop. Tucker asked Warshaw to clarify the relationship between paper flow and expertise. Warshaw explained how several expertises might be required to review single documents. Kimball asked Grafeld to monitor CIA's success in taking care of CIA equities in State records. Warshaw said he would be glad to provide information on CIA's progress in this area. Smith commented that ISOO's review of file exemptions would focus on the intelligence agencies first. Several Committee members expressed concern that CIA had requested file exemptions for 64 percent of its records subject to automatic declassification.
Comments by Sharon Fawcett. Fawcett opened her comments by observing that the Presidential Libraries had lots of material with State equities. She noted that there was an issue of how widespread the RAC project would become due to funding problems. The concentration at the early libraries will be on preparing for the RAC. Regarding Mel Leffler's report and his expression of concern at the conservatism at the libraries, she noted that archivists at the libraries were dealing with the highest policy documents. The libraries will do what they can, but nothing substitutes for final agency decisions when decisions can't be made at the libraries. There had been dramatic success at the Truman Library, where a review of 35,000 pages of classified documents had opened all but 3,500. Kimball wondered why 3,500 still required classification. Smith noted that some had other agency equities.
Zelikow stated that he was troubled by Leffler's report on the Department of State guidelines. He asked for a copy and expressed his skepticism about them. Kimball asked Zelikow to spend some time with Tony Dalsimer and perhaps others in Grafeld's shop on this issue. Zelikow commented further that at the Kennedy Library they felt a risk of declassifying improperly that concerned him. Fawcett stated that the big concern was oral guidance. Zelikow asked whether there were examples of problems with documents declassified by library archivists. Smith responded that there were such examples. Kimball indicated that the Committee would continue after lunch with a discussion of the issues raised in Leffler's report. Grafeld commented that State had been addressing whatever problems raised by Leffler existed.
The Committee adjourned at noon for lunch and reconvened at 1:55 p.m.
Report on Declassification of State Department Records at the Eisenhower Library
Schulzinger presented his report on declassification and opening of State Department records at the Eisenhower Library. He said that he had spent one "very worthwhile" day at the Eisenhower Presidential Library. The Library holds 500,000 classified pages of material, and archivist David Haight estimated that 80 percent of the material is unique to the Library. Over the past year, the staff of two has been working seriously on declassification, and Haight--whom Sculzinger described as "impressive, dedicated, and extraordinarily knowledgeable"--has produced two reports on how to declassify materials.
To declassify State records, Haight works with "massive" guidelines consisting of six volumes with addenda. Schulzinger said that he had read the guidelines for one hour and described the experience as "a real education." He explained that the success and drawback of the declassification program at the Eisenhower Library was that it depended on one archivist who knew the guidelines well enough to have them committed to memory; so much was dependent on his personal knowledge.
Another problem stems from the fact that there are just two people doing the declassification and they have other time constraints. For example, more than 60 percent of Haight's time was devoted to mandatory review stemming from researcher requests. Schulzinger also explained that although the Library can make hard decisions based on the guidelines, there are major areas, including NATO and relations with the UK and the Scandinavian countries, that must be referred back to Washington. Regulations require that both archivists hand carry the documents to the courier. Haight told him that the Library cannot afford a secure fax and they are hesitant to use the secure telephone because of the expense involved. Schulzinger opined that either these regulations should be changed or the Library should invest in technology.
Several departments and agencies, including the State Department, had visited the Library to assist with declassification, although others like the Department of Defense haven't visited and have no plans to do so (DOD planned to rely on the RAC Project). CIA has not been to the Library for years. Haight told Schulzinger that the agencies were "clueless" about what goes on at a Presidential Library.
Schulzinger said that while the Library's plans for declassification were sensible, the archivists were unlikely to meet the E.O. deadline because there were not enough hands to accomplish the task (and he noted that Haight has concerns about the RAC project). He also reported that the archivists claimed not to know what had been declassified through the Foreign Relations program. Haight explained that a volunteer went though the published volumes.
Kimball then opened the topic for discussion.
Sharon Fawcett, Director of the Presidential Materials Staff at NARA, said that the resource issue was a significant one since the opening of new Presidential Libraries had robbed positions from the established libraries and this prevented extensive systematic declassification review. She said that there was no possibility of additional funding or FTEs for fiscal year 1998. Even if people could be hired immediately, they would have to undertake a long period of training and..."the year 2000 would be here." She said that Michael Kurtz had provided assistance to the Eisenhower Library from NARA's declassification staff and would be doing the same for the Johnson Library and the Nixon project.
Fawcett also reported that while the guidance was good for earlier periods, it was less helpful and less detailed for later administrations. A problem arose when agencies simply wanted to extend the existing guidance, because it would not be applicable to large blocks of material. Grafeld said that she recognized that this was a problem and that Ambassador Draper was working on new guidelines.
Van Camp asked if the Committee hadn't been told that all materials were to be brought back to Washington for declassification. Fawcett explained that these were top secret documents that would be brought back from the Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman Libraries because they had no funds to pay for staff clearances.
David Geyer asked when the guidelines had been drafted, and Fawcett explained that it had been over the last 10 years. Geyer then asked if this guidance was the same as the guidance used to declassify the Central Files. Some of it was the same, Nancy Smith said, and State was drafting some newer guidance under the E.O. that was more detailed.
Schulzinger asked if the Committee had gone through the guidelines. Kimball explained that it had done so over the past 3 or 4 years. The members had been "very upset" and this review had helped to stimulate "healthy changes." Dalsimer inserted that several Committee members had attended a conference at College Park on the guidelines. Kimball said that it might be time for the Committee to look at the guidelines again and said that it should be put on the agenda to discuss. He added that the Committee may want to work with Ambassador Draper.
Draper said that his team had a different concept. He wanted guidelines that would give NARA and the Presidential Libraries discretion to declassify everything except specifically named issues which would have to be referred back, on the British Foreign Office model. He explained that these would include sensitive ongoing negotiations and Kimball asked if the Presidential libraries had been working with him. Draper explained that the process had just begun, and he wasn't sure if it was going to work yet. Fawcett added that once the documents were reviewed, they would still have to be examined by the State Department for exemptions. It would be State's responsibility to exempt or the documents would be automatically declassified.
Dalsimer said to put the matter in perspective that the Presidential Libraries hold 7 million classified pages while the Department of Defense holds 2 billion pages of classified material. AID and others have State Department guidelines and authority to declassify.
Kimball said that the Committee's main concern was that the public get more access. He then asked who was responsible for declassifying USIA documents under the new reorganization program. Nancy Smith said that she didn't know, and Kimball asked if the State Department had accepted responsibility. David Langbart interjected that USIA already had an active declassification program.
Zelikow said that he accepted Draper's comments gratefully. He said that he had dealt extensively with British documents and commented that when they release, they release in full. Kimball said that they also destroy what they don't release. Zelikow said that people trust British documents accordingly. He added that he thought Draper's conceptual approach was "really good." Kimball explained that the staff at the Presidential libraries have said that they find more detail is especially helpful. Zelikow responded that this was an old issue in management studies and one that led to more and more regulation. Kimball said that all he was suggesting was that the user had to be brought into the process.
Schulzinger said that the Eisenhower Library had mastered the process. He also said that the conceptual approach would work only if the culture was one of openness. Kimball added that it had started out that way, but that there was much pressure to provide more detail. Kimball then said that he was acting as Leffler's spokesman, and that Mel had really said what he thought in his report. Many of his observations about the Kennedy Library paralleled those of Schulzinger. Kimball asked for comments and said that copies of Leffler's report were available.
Zelikow said that as a footnote, he wanted to flag declassification of tapes as a separate issue. The Kennedy Library was lagging. Kimball said that there was no real schedule for the declassification of the tapes. Zelikow said it was HO's best source and that it was a black hole. Kimball said that he would ask for recommendations tomorrow and ask the Committee to consider whether to do the same with the Johnson Library. He explained that he had heard unverified comments that the Johnson Library was also falling behind in its declassification review. Fawcett responded that the Library's problem was that the guidelines which covered the period through 1963 were supposed to be extended through 1975. She also explained that their main priority was tape review which they would finish completely within 18 months.
Declassification of Foreign Relations Volumes
Kimball opened the classified discussion of Foreign Relations declassification issues at approximately 2:30 p.m. He warned the HO staff, however, that the Committee had an unbreakable agenda item at 4 p.m.-the presentation by the new Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of HO, James Foley-and that the afternoon session could not extend beyond that time. He then turned to Patterson.
Before beginning the discussion, Patterson asked Kimball whether he should follow the agenda and discuss the details of each of the volumes experiencing declassification problems or proceed to a more general discussion. Kimball, noting that most of those present were familiar with the details of each case, suggested that Patterson "cut to the chase." Patterson added that his discussion would lead into the presentation by Robert Leggett of the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence and HO's point-man at CIA for declassification problems. Slany noted also that Mike Warner of the CIA History Staff and Ed Cohen, records manager in the Agency's Directorate of Operations were also in attendance and planned to make presentations.
Comments by David Patterson. Patterson noted that he had met several times with Agency representatives to discuss declassification issues. One of these issues was the volume on Italy, 1964-1968, which dealt with some covert operations begun under the Kennedy administration. Patterson explained that the volume had recently been reviewed by a newly formed high-level appeal panel composed of staff from CIA, NSC, and State. Upon the panel's recommendation, HO put together an editorial note summarizing one of the two issues it wanted to include in the volume without getting into potentially objectionable details. He noted that this note was currently at CIA for clearance, but the CIA had not yet responded. He added that he was disturbed that the CIA seemed to be overly concerned about covert actions that have already been acknowledged in a previous volume.
In an effort to clarify the problem for the Committee, Slany noted that the CIA's problem with the documents summarized in the editorial note was not resistance to previously acknowledged actions, but that it felt that release of the information would reveal sources and methods and that it was the suggestion of Rand Beers, the NSC representative on the review panel, that we draft the editorial note. The CIA, however, still seems to feel that there is something unique about the way the information is being presented that could reveal sources and methods. As Slany sees it, the problem is that the CIA is not being clear about what they are trying to protect, making it difficult for HO to draft an acceptable note. He used the analogy of peeling an onion-HO attempts to peel off what they perceive as objectionable details only to find that CIA objects to some other detail. The process, therefore, is very time-consuming. He added that the Italy question is now before the National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, and there is no appeal beyond this level.
Zelikow asked who the CIA representative on the panel was, and Slany responded that their representatives change often. Bob Leggett noted that Dave Cohen is the person who makes decisions on documents such as the ones under discussion and that, as presently written, the editorial note can still reveal a high-level source. He added that the note was reviewed at the highest level possible at the Agency-the DO. Slany added that part of the problem with this case may have been the State Department's representative to the panel. Normally, State sends someone at the Assistant Secretary level, but with Tom Donilon's departure, State was represented by a lower level ad hoc group. This, Slany believed, handicapped HO's case. Overall, however, Slany felt that Beers was in favor of more disclosure and that a formula for disclosure must be found.
Patterson indicated that he believed one of the larger issues was that the CIA was reluctant to release documents dealing with covert actions that they have not officially acknowledged. He added that we should test CIA at the highest levels to see if they would release documents if the NSC is willing to acknowledge the covert action. Then CIA would review individual documents solely for sources and methods. He has met with Leggett about Africa and Southeast Asia; there has been some progress but there needs to be a policy decision to acknowledge covert activities in each instance.
Kimball asked Leggett if the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence would support a demarche to the NSC along these lines. Leggett answered affirmatively, adding that Brian Latell and Bill McNair of the DO were behind such a proposal and that Latell had indicated this at the SHAFR meeting. Leggett said that he was a little surprised that such a process had not been suggested sooner.
In commenting on how to proceed with Patterson's recommendation, Slany advised the Committee to "come to grips" with the upcoming Congressional confirmation hearings for the nominee for Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, James Rubin. He felt that these hearings could provide an excellent venue for raising the Foreign Relations declassification problems. He also recommended getting someone at the level of Secretary Albright or Under Secretary Pickering to take up the issue of having the NSC acknowledge certain covert actions. There are currently too many policy issues concerning covert actions that have not been acknowledged. Slany added that HO had already broached this suggestion to Deputy Assistant Secretary Foley and the Committee might want to do likewise.
Comments by Robert Leggett. Leggett acknowledged that while some declassification requests have been denied or documents released in redacted form, at present CIA had no delinquent referrals. Part of this success, he felt, was due to his efforts to streamline the review process and the pre-appeal meetings he has held with State historians. In updating the Committee on the status of particular Foreign Relations declassification reviews, Leggett noted that CIA had recently re-reviewed a number of controversial documents for the retrospective compilation on Guatemala and decided to release 15. Although documents are being re-reviewed and will be returned to State as soon as possible. With the Southeast Asia volume, he indicated that CIA reviewed 91 documents and had held a pre-appeal meeting with State, although not much was settled at the meeting. Also, the CIA had completed its review of the volume on Iran and returned all the documents to State. He was currently waiting to see if State would request a pre-appeal meeting. He added that the Agency was re-reviewing certain documents from the volume on Berlin; Germany. Finally, on the Africa volume, he acknowledged that the CIA was delinquent in its response to State's appeal. He had held a meeting with State historians and felt real progress was made on the Angola compilation.
In addition to his work on Foreign Relations, Leggett informed the Committee that he had recently written an article for an in-house CIA publication to educate agency personnel about the Foreign Relations series and its importance. He felt that this should improve the review process at the Agency. As for the success of the pre-appeal meetings, he was reserving judgment. He was optimistic that the new three-agency mechanism offered a workable process for official acknowledgment of covert actions.
Kimball asked why the CIA should be included on a panel created to decide the foreign policy implications of acknowledging certain covert actions, engendering a discussion between committee members and the CIA representatives over the nature of the Agency's role in making foreign policy. Kimball felt the Agency's purview was intelligence and that acknowledging covert actions as policy decisions was purely a foreign policy issue. Mike Warner of the CIA countered that although the CIA does not decide foreign policy, intelligence issues need to be included in any such decision. Slany noted that a decision for disclosure might affect intelligence liaison between two or more parties. Patterson indicated that CIA had tried, through its station chiefs, to get Ambassadors to urge State not to agree to release documents the relevant bureaus wanted released. Kimball said this was inappropriate, noting, "What business is it of theirs?" Leggett said that it makes a difference if the Department was assured the Ambassador concurred in the release.
Kimball reiterated that if CIA remains part of the policy decision process the new system would not work. Ed Cohen agreed that it was useful to reach a threshold policy decision as to whether a covert action can be acknowledged, but his agency's concern about the impact on intelligence activities and retaliation should be taken into account when reaching a decision. Kimball agreed, but said that NSC and State should decide on the policy and then let CIA have a crack at the details in the documents. If the Agency says there are intelligence considerations in a policy decision, that is different. Cohen, in supporting the need to include CIA in the panel, said that if a decision is reached to acknowledge a covert action without CIA participation, and the Agency is later asked and objects on policy grounds, that's poor staff work and decision-making; but CIA should not oppose acknowledgment on the basis of foreign policy, other than intelligence implications.
Leggett noted that the whole issue of declassification was very complex. In his own experience, having worked for a number of years on such issues as narcotics and counter-intelligence, declassification has proven more complex than both. He felt that the process could be improved by toning down the rhetoric and developing a more collegial relationship between State and the Agency. In closing, he recommended that the two offices work more closely and have regular meetings to keep each other informed. Kimball closed the discussion by noting that he and Slany were going to ask to participate in the next CIA Historical Review Panel meeting and that this should go a long way in resolving these issues.
Kimball then called on Ed Cohen, CIA's Director of Information Management.
Comments by Ed Cohen. Cohen discussed the recent controversy in the press over CIA's destruction of documents; specifically, the allegations made by a former CIA Historian that a "culture of destruction" existed at the CIA had and that most of the important records dealing with covert operations in Iran in the 1950s have been lost. Cohen recited, at length, current and previous governing regulations at the Agency to show that they had always adhered to Federal records management standards and that a "culture of destruction" had never existed. In addition, he cited examples to show that although some routine material was purged concerning Iran, 1,100 pages of the most important material was still available.
Cohen noted that with respect to 1953 documents on Iran, CIA is in the midst of a review to determine if there is any basis for allegations made in a May 29, 1997, article in The New York Times by Tim Weiner suggesting the existence of a "culture of destruction" at CIA. Preliminary findings from that review suggest that, contrary to the allegations, policies exist to preserve "adequate and proper" documentation of CIA activities. There seems to have been a clear understanding by CIA employees of what was required to be preserved and that-in fact-far more than what it is necessary to save is kept in CIA files. He noted in particular the volume of records remaining on this project is much greater than Cullather suggests. A review by a CSI historian suggests that the remaining documents contain sufficient historical information to understand the critical elements of the operation. Nevertheless, Cohen said, they tried to seek the facts about destruction of material that occurred in 1962. One officer recalled that no permanent records were destroyed in 1962, only chronological files and cable files. Chron files normally duplicated files preserved elsewhere, and records control schedules required that they be kept for only one year.
The case of cables was less clear. The records control schedule called for cables to be filed together with related files of operational documents. It appears that personnel incorrectly thought that cables were also kept in cable reference files and that cables in the division files could be disposed of. But cables on Iran were in the cable reference files as late as the 1970s, when Jack Pfeiffer of the CIA History Staff found them on microfilm and provided them to State. Then in 1994, when the Department of State asked to see the microfilm set in connection with work on Foreign Relations, CIA discovered that the microfilm set had been destroyed in accordance with the approved records control schedule.
The volume of records on Iran destroyed was between 1/2 and 1-1/2 safe drawers. The documents were not all from 1953; they spanned a period of 8 to 10 years. Temporary chron files appear to be the greatest part of what was destroyed. Records that were retained have been examined by the CIA History Staff and the DO Staff to see if they were the most significant. A CIA historian who wrote a history of the subject in 1954 was asked what sort of history could be written from the preserved documents. He concluded that the 1954 history could have been written from the surviving documents. Cohen acknowledged that a good historian would prefer having more documents rather than less, but from the point of view of a records management specialist in the federal government, the undisciplined retention of all material was not good records management.
Cohen noted that every employee must know what material can and cannot be destroyed, and there must be a component-by-component process to make clear what must be saved, linked to records control schedules, all in the light of budget reductions, downsizing, increased centralized efficiencies, and electronic record-keeping systems. Virtually everything that the DO does is now captured and saved centrally. This will insure that component decisions do not affect the integrity of DO records.
Cohen proposed a moratorium on any future weeding of files without discussions with CIA historians and NARA. He stressed that his comments were preliminary. CIA would find out what happened in the case of the Iran documents and report to NARA. CIA took the matter seriously and sought to strengthen its practices. But he found no evidence to date that a culture of destruction existed.
Hogan, recalling what Kay Oliver had pointed out before, noted that the binders containing documents were destroyed in 1962. He asked about the whereabouts of copies made from microfilm and sent to State; Harriet Schwar said she had these. He noted that the retrospective on Iran had not yet been submitted for declassification review. Cohen said his recollection was that 1? or 2 feet of documents on Iran had been destroyed in 1962, and 100 boxes of documents on Guatemala. Because the two operations were different, fewer documents were created on Iran.
Tucker pointed out that in judging what records were important to save and not to save, times have changed. What might not have seemed important in 1962 could be very important by 1966 or 1967. Narrow guidelines need to be rethought. Cohen agreed, but cited examples of documents with widely differing content, pointing out that there was a great difference between the most and least important documents. Kimball asked whether it was fair to say that the CIA had not destroyed the bulk of its important records on covert activities. Schwar observed that CIA historians had been very helpful in locating material, but she had still not been able to locate cables concerning the Congo in January 1961. Smith noted that in his work on South Asia for two volumes of Foreign Relations, not a single cable came up. To him it seemed that the DO did not want him to have cables, and it had become a question of credibility.
Warner noted that in his 5 years of experience at CIA, he had found a few cases where cables were preserved, but had not consistently found cables. Tucker asked whether the Committee could be assured that cables were now being preserved. Warner indicated that permanent electronic files existed for the past 10 or 12 years. Van Camp expressed her pleasure to learn that David Langbart was now working on CIA records at NARA. Mabon indicated that in his work on systematic declassification review, small groups of CIA cables appeared from time to time.
Report on the Retrospective Volume on Guatemala
Susan Holly reported on her work over the past four months on events in Guatemala in 1954. She had looked at CIA documents at NARA, including the materials on Guatemala recently released by CIA. She indicated that the process was not working well, and there were problems with the materials. The political documents were heavily excised; and the telegrams were heavily logistical. About 95 percent of the telegrams were incoming telegrams from the field. There were almost no outgoing telegrams containing guidance. She reviewed 418 telegrams, of which the previous compiler had selected 7. Holly felt that few of these documents were good. The published CIA history contained a list of 60 codewords; Holly had come up with another 100 codewords that were not included. Various newspaper accounts summed up what was in the documents released.
In the documents on Guatemala released to the State Department, but not released publicly, the most significant documents were denied in full. [xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]. One option for Foreign Relations coverage would be to publish nothing at all new, but refer to the documents published by CIA. A second option would be to write a history of covert operations. A third option would be to attempt to address covert operations in the context of other aspects concerning Guatemala not covered earlier, such as economic issues. Zelikow and Kimball felt that an appropriate compilation should be prepared, even if the process was difficult.
Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Foley
Slany introduced Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs James Foley, who replaced Bennett Freeman as the principal Deputy Assistant Secretary supervising the Historian's Office. Foley began by commenting that this was his first Advisory Committee meeting and remarked that he had the advantage of bringing a fresh outlook to the operations of both HO and the Committee. He wanted first to thank the Committee for its ongoing support of the Historian's Office and the Bureau of Public Affairs. Foley then noted that he had already talked with James Rubin, the President's nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, about the fact that the Foreign Relations series would probably be brought up in Rubin's confirmation hearings. Foley wanted to assure the Committee that he understands the problems (albeit not in detail) and he is committed to getting the series back on schedule to meet the congressionally-mandated 30-year line. He thought it might be useful to establish a goal and then work backwards; e.g., the year 2000 as the goal to publish the Johnson volumes.
Foley supported the idea of establishing a panel comprised of the NSC, State Department, and CIA to deal with the backlog of volumes with declassification issues and to anticipate upcoming problems that might lead to further delays. He understands the concern of the Foreign Service about hindering or damaging current Foreign Relations, but he feels committed to publishing the accurate historical record of U.S. foreign policy decisions. He believes that meeting the Congressional mandate of a 30-year line will require compromise between current foreign policy-makers and historians, and he stands ready from a managerial standpoint to support such a compromise.
Foley next raised the idea of creating a historical research unit within the Historian's Office, a discrete component to deal with current issues and requests from bureaus. He will examine this idea, which appears to have merit. He concluded by remarking that he looks forward to the challenge of dealing with these issues in the future.
Kimball said that clearance has been the fundamental problem up to now, and noted the difficulty in dealing with desk officers in the Department who operate within a 6-month timeframe, rather than 30 years. Foley agreed and mentioned the lack of interest in "This Day in Diplomacy," which he, in his capacity of Deputy Spokesman, is called on to read to reporters. He agreed that FSOs will have to be constantly reminded by himself and HO that the documents the series is considering to publish are 30 years old.
Zelikow asked about the "talker" being prepared for Rubin for his confirmation. Foley said that the bottom line is: "We have a problem and we will solve it." Zelikow suggested that Rubin be reminded of five points:
- openness about the past is affecting current events;
- there are few or no examples of lasting foreign policy damage from being too open;
- but there are many examples of damage from not being open enough (e.g., Guatemala);
- there is a legitimate success story re declassification in the Department of State; and
- failure of the Foreign Relations series is looming because of the interdepartmental battles that the State Department's Office of the Historian is waging.
Zelikow recommended that Rubin and the State Department take the offensive by noting that openness is good for foreign policy. Foley agreed that openness should be an asset and that common sense would lead one to reach the conclusion that openness is both viable and necessary for the audience of future generations.
Kimball pointed out that the declassification battles with State desk officers are small compared to those with CIA and the Defense Department, and are preventing the Foreign Relations series from fulfilling its goal of publishing a full historical record 30 years after the events. He noted that support from the State Department has been good; the problems are outside of the Department, and he hoped that Foley and the Bureau will continue to help with these battles. He hoped that the Bureau and the Committee can continue to be a team.
Zelikow remarked that Secretary of State Albright has shown that she is committed to history. Tucker agreed and commented further that a lack of openness contributes to the lack of faith in the integrity and truthfulness of the government. Foley expressed his hope that if a recommendation relating to the series is brought before Secretary Albright, who is an historian, she will support it. We will need not only a "team spirit" to accomplish this mission, but a willingness to compromise as well. Kimball hastened to assure Foley that the Committee has often compromised in the past.
Foley said that he believed that the danger of flouting the congressional mandate to publish at the 30-year line will help to focus attention on the problems of the series, which, Kimball pointed out, reside outside the Department. In conclusion, Foley hoped that by the Committee's next meeting, the proposed high-level panel to adjudicate declassification problems will be established, and the backlog of problem volumes will be on the way to being reduced.
Kimball thanked Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Foley for his comments, and adjourned the session at 4:30 p.m.
Closed Session, June 24
Kimball opened the morning's meeting at 9 a.m. by asking if there were any items that needed to be covered before there was a discussion of the inclusion of intelligence documents in the Foreign Relations volumes.
Van Camp asked that there be a report on electronic records at the next Committee meeting. Kimball agreed that this was a good idea. He then asked the HO staff for their comments, which were off-the-record. After listening to the comments, Kimball requested that HO prepare a memorandum for the next Committee meeting that would detail completely all the issues and problems the HO staff has encountered in its relationship with the CIA.
Kimball then asked the Committee how it wanted to proceed on the intelligence discussion. Slany spoke briefly about the retrospective volumes the Historian's Office is currently working on regarding the covert operations publicly acknowledged by the CIA. He said that the Historian's Office is currently working on a volume on Guatemala and that it also wanted to do another retrospective volume in conjunction with the CIA on Iran. Slany added that a third volume is also anticipated. It will be completed by a senior foreign service officer who will detail the Eisenhower administration's covert activity in Indonesia. He said there is an abundance of intelligence records within the State Department on this and other Eisenhower administration subjects. Slany then asked Foreign Service officer Doug Keene to brief the Committee on his retrospective Eisenhower volume on the organization of the intelligence community.
Report on the Retrospective Intelligence Volume for the Eisenhower Administration
Keene said that he had over 1,000 manuscript pages and many back-up files. He added that there were lots of allusions in his documents to covert operations, but that they mainly gave a good context for the Eisenhower administration's organization of the intelligence community.
Keene added that the documents include information on a number of meetings with the President about intelligence, the CIA's responsibility for guerrilla warfare, the Psychological Strategy Board, the Operations Control Board, the various CIA intelligence and operations divisions, the provision of cover for CIA agents, the Dulles and Hoover reports, and aerial intelligence, including balloons, the U-2, the SR-71, and the development of satellite imaging capability. Keene said that the State Department, especially INR, and the NSC were the primary sources for this material. He said that NARA may also prove to be a good source of documentation. He estimated that the volume is about one-half done, and that it could be finished in a reasonable amount of time.
Retrospective Foreign Relations Volumes
Zelikow asked if the 1991 law governing the Foreign Relations series has been adequately complied with in regard to the Truman volumes, especially in light of the lack of documentation regarding covert activities in Italy. He said that by all means we should proceed with the Eisenhower retrospectives but that we should also complete the record regarding Truman's covert operations in Europe (Italy), the Balkans, Soviet Union, and Egypt.
Slany said that there are hard choices to make: we can select to do major operations or we can select to do everything from the end of World War II; it's a process of picking and choosing.
Kimball said HO decided to do retrospective volumes on Guatemala, Iran, and the other CIA-acknowledged covert operations first. He said the Historian's Office has approached the production of these volumes on an ad hoc basis. Slany added that up to now no one has raised a concern with the lack of documentation on covert activities during the Truman administration. Kimball noted that it's a misunderstanding to think that Eisenhower has been the focus. The focus has been on the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Eisenhower is just beginning. We could go back to Truman, he said, but we took a liberal interpretation of the law and just went back to the volumes that have been published since the law was enacted.
Zelikow put his proposal (to do retrospective volumes on covert operations since 1945) on the table. He suggested that Egypt was perhaps even more important than Indonesia or Guatemala. Slany suggested there was another dimension: the initial volumes published for the Kennedy years occurred when HO did not have good access to covert documentation. Hogan returned to Zelikow's proposal and asked what would be involved beyond Italy. Keefer added France. Kimball asked if good documentation on this topic is already available. Zelikow thought not. Slany added that the consideration to publish retrospective volumes in itself was not enough. CIA, he added, ought to release to the National Archives those files cited in the published retrospective volumes. That is the basic principle of the Foreign Relations series. The volume is released and the records on which it is based are made available to the public.
Zelikow suggested this was the problem with the Department of Defense. There are cross-references in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Volume X, to documents that Defense has not declassified and apparently will not declassify in the near future. Zelikow added, however, that this would not have been a good reason not to publish the Cuba volume.
Kimball returned to Zelikow's proposal: does the retrospective volume program work backwards through Truman. Should it be a priority and could it be done. Zelikow said he took the law literally. He suggested working the long haul from 1945 onwards and fighting the good fight in trying to get the story of covert operations released. Patterson raised the prospect of CIA historians' possible cooperation.
Kimball expressed discomfort with the proposal. He wondered if this was an appropriate allocation of resources. He wanted more information and wished Mel Leffler were still here. He thought that maybe Truman historians and the National Security Archives should be consulted. Van Camp suggested that one needed to know the universe of documents involved in undertaking such a project. Hogan wondered if it would be that big of a job. He noted that the failure to release the Iran covert story drew the Committee's attention to the Eisenhower years. Kimball raised his concern about getting further into retrospective volumes because of the resource problem.
Tucker suggested that Tibet was another issue for a retrospective volume, but recalling her recent experience at the SHAFR conference, she questioned whether historians had not moved beyond Truman. Kimball recommended not bringing this issue to a vote until the Committee had more information.
Van Camp suggested that David Langbart in his new job at CIA could be of assistance. Zelikow noted that much of the covert operations of the 1940s were directed by the Department of State, especially before CIA was established and operating. Humphrey asked Zelikow if he was recommending more than just retrospectives on covert operations.
Zelikow said he was prepared to accept an editorial decision that covert operations should be the focus, but he just thought that the same standard as they apply to Eisenhower should also apply to the Truman administration. Kimball suggested that HO should not rewrite old volumes, that was certainly not what the law required. He suggested that the law addressed 1991 and beyond and the Advisory Committee had rather pushed the envelope when it insisted on retrospective volumes for the Eisenhower Administration.
Slany asked what the Committee thought of Keene's report and the volume he was working on. Zelikow stated he was wholly positive about it. He thought the 1945-1950 volume was very useful and helpful (better than the CIA's volume which wasn't that bad). He was all for it as it provided a good foundation for other Foreign Relations volumes. Slany suggested that HO could use senior FSOs to produce this volume, but he wanted to be certain that the Committee will insist that CIA release related documentation. Zelikow agreed that archival release was directly related to Foreign Relations releases.
Davis suggested that there was a philosophical issue here. Since World War II, State was steadily losing its primacy in foreign affairs and recalled the quip that the Secretary of State was the "Secretary of what's left." Kissinger and the Treasury Secretary divided the world and Rogers got the leavings. Rather than cleaning up past volumes, Davis suggested that HO look ahead to expanding its coverage of these new players.
Kimball suggested that HO was already doing that. He wondered what action the Committee could take. Zelikow suggested that the Committee should invite the OSD historian to explain their declassification program. Tucker asked if the Committee had ever approached other agencies. Kimball wondered if HO could obtain a statement from other agencies about their declassification programs; but Kimball feared the agencies would say they intended to reach the 25-year declassification deadline no matter what the state of their declassification program may be. Tucker suggested that the utility of such a request was that it might get Secretary of Defense Cohen to look at the issue of declassification to which he was clearly not yet engaged. Slany suggested that his experience with the Nazi Gold project made him pessimistic about Defense or military cooperation.
Kimball was not sure it would work, but he would write a letter to Cohen from the Committee. He feared he would only get eye wash in response. Davis' idea that the OSD historian was a person to talk to was met with skepticism by Slany who thought such a meeting would not be productive. Kimball agreed that the Committee should ask for a responsible person from Defense to brief them on declassification. He would be guided by Slany and Patterson's advice on whom it should be. The problem of the failure of Defense to release documents cited in Foreign Relations footnotes could be the hook for the Committee's interest. Zelikow wonder if Carlin, the Archivist of the United States, might not have some comparative information on how various agencies were doing on declassification. Kimball asked where is the Committee's brief to make these inquiries. There needs to be some State/Foreign Relations connection for the Committee to become involved. Tony Dalsimer suggested that IRWIG had this kind of information and CIA's Rich Warshaw was its chairman. Kimball wondered if we could get it. Dalsimer also thought that Defense had a policy office which coordinated overall declassification.
Delays in Publishing Foreign Relations and Standards for Compilation
Kimball then raised another issue. He felt that some of the delays in publishing Foreign Relations were not explained by external problems. Slany responded that problems over intelligence documentation complicates many volumes. HO historians sometimes feel that they have to make their own risk assessments. Lousy CIA reviews cause delays and require a complicated bureaucratic mechanism to appeal them, and in this way they can be infectious. HO needed to know from the Committee how it felt about intelligence coverage.
Patterson agreed that there were other reasons for delays: inclusion of telephone conversations and additional material which was not obtained at the time of research of the volume. He cited Treasury's review of LBJ telephone conversations on foreign economic policy and noted that it was well beyond the 60-day limit. HO did not always appeal within 60 days. He was trying to establish better monitoring and noted that although the Center for the Study of Intelligence sponsored CIA-HO meetings, they did not always result in much documentation getting released. He nonetheless believed they improved communications, represented incremental progress, and should be continued. Patterson also noted that some CIA officials have argued that documentation on covert actions will not get declassified until the White House agrees to acknowledge them, and he suggested that the NSC-State-CIA panel provided a possible mechanism by which previously unacknowledged covert operations could be publicly acknowledged. He wondered if the Committee agreed.
Kimball returned to Slany's issue of the use of intelligence material in Foreign Relations. He wondered if HO historians are working from the same book or did they have different philosophies? Patterson felt that it was difficult to say. He had seen a fair amount of intelligence material from his attendance at "pre-appeal" meetings with Robert Leggett of the CIA. Patterson felt that INR and NSC documentation on the 303 Committee was perhaps the most valuable.
Kimball responded that Patterson was not being responsive to his question. He was asking if all HO researchers were using the same set of standards, or if not, is that a problem? Patterson replied that if there appears to be a problem, the he would "invite" the Committee to look at intelligence documents selected by compilers for specific volume. He welcomed any additional review of compilations before publication as a constructive measure that could improve the series. Noting that he believed that HO was doing a good job, Zelikow suggested that intelligence documentation which formed an important part of the national policy decisions is key and is evident in much of the White House documentation selected. The Cuba volumes for JFK are full of intelligence material and rightly so. Berlin, which was a huge intelligence center, has only modest coverage, but Berlin intelligence was very different from and less significant than Cuban intelligence operations. Zelikow felt HO was making the right choices.
Schulzinger felt there were two ways to promote consistency of research. For the general editor to set a standard or to ask the individual historians to provide guidelines. Dan Lawler suggested that Division Chiefs were already providing good guidance on intelligence material: cover the policy considerations and decisions and avoid operational detail.
Patterson suggested that it was hard to judge. He used letters for access to CIA records as one measure. He reviewed these letters before they were sent to CIA to make sure they were as specific and comprehensive as possible. Hogan wondered if there really was a problem. Slany felt that there was and suggested that the problem was that 8 or 6 documents denied on covert operations tended to make the volume incomplete in the Committee's view. He suggested that the Committee would look askance at an HO decision to publish without them. Hogan asked if Slany was raising a different issue. Slany suggested that there were different standards for different individuals. One was not always able to decide what should be in volumes, but even without much of this documentation they were still good volumes. Schulzinger confessed he was puzzled. Wasn't the fact that the documents were selected an indication that they were good documents?
Tucker warned against self-censorship and suggested that the Committee could only provide general guidelines. Kimball suggested that Humphrey's guidelines on the inclusion of intelligence materials was a good starting point and the Committee should endorse them. Patterson interjected that he had endorsed the Humphrey "principles" on the coverage of intelligence issues and had circulated them to HO historians as basic guidance. Zelikow asked if Committee members could not look at specific volumes, and Patterson expressed willingness to consider this. Kimball suggested that the Committee had always insisted that they deal with generalities and not become experts on individual volumes. With this the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 a.m. to go into executive session.
Addition/Correction to March Minutes
On page 15:
Harriet Schwar explained the history of the two volumes on the Congo, since she had worked on both of them. She informed the Committee that the Congo compilation in the 1958-1960 Africa volume, covering the 1960 part of the crisis, was done before HO had access to CIA materials. No documentation concerning CIA efforts to assassinate Lumumba was found in the Eisenhower Library or other sources available to HO at the time. Therefore a little material drawn from the Church Committee report was included in this volume, with citations to the report to call it to the attention of researchers. The volume was far along in the publication process by the time HO obtained access to CIA files. The documents at CIA included some of the documents quoted in the Church Committee report. They supported but did not add to the material in the report. HO decided against holding up the volume, and a statement to this effect was added to the preface. The 1961-1963 Congo Crisis volume contained some documents from CIA records, including some from a CIA collection of copies of documents the Agency had given to the Church Committee. These documents supported the Church Committee's conclusion that, in spite of CIA efforts in the fall of 1960 to assassinate Lumumba, the CIA had no direct involvement in Lumumba's death in January 1961. An editorial note to this effect was included in the volume. [xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx.] One CIA document was not declassified.
- Warren F. Kimball, Chairman
- B. Vincent Davis
- Michael Hogan
- Michael R. Schaller
- Robert D. Schulzinger
- Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
- Anne Van Camp
- Philip Zelikow
- William Z. Slany, Executive Secretary
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian
- William Z. Slany, Director
- Rita Baker
- Denver Brunsman
- Paul Claussen
- Bruce Duncombe
- Vicki Futscher
- David Geyer
- David Goldman
- David Herschler
- Susan Holly
- Nina Howland
- David Humphrey
- Donna Hung
- Edward Keefer
- Doug Keene
- Dan Lawler
- Gabrielle Mallon
- Tangarene Martinez
- David Patterson
- Sidney Ploss
- Harriet Schwar
- Luke Smith
- Shirley Taylor
- Gloria Walker
- Susan Weetman
- Carolyn Yee
Bureau of Public Affairs
- James Foley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of Administration
- Margaret Grafeld, A/IM/IPS
- Ken Rossman, A/IM/IPS/PP
- Tony Dalsimer, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- Morris Draper, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- David Mabon, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- Sophia Sluzar, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- David Walker, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
National Archives and Records Administration
- Michael Kurtz, Assistant Archivist for Records Service
- Mark Conrad, Center for Electronic Records
- Sharon Fawcett, Office of Presidential Libraries
- Margaret Kukis, Military Appraisal Staff
- David Langbart, Military Appraisal Staff
- Marty McGann, Archivist, Textual Reference Branch
- Don McIlwaine, Declassification and Initial Processing Division
- Jeanne Schauble, Declassification and Initial Processing Division
- Nancy K. Smith, Office of the General Counsel
Central Intelligence Agency
- Ed Cohen, Director of Information Management, Directorate of Operations
- Robert Leggett, Center for the Study of Intelligence
- Mike Warner, Deputy Historian
- Rich Warshaw, Chief, Records Declassification Program
Information Security Oversight Office
- Ethel Theis