Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, June 23-24, 1998
Open Session, June 23
Chairman Warren Kimball opened the session at 9:10 a.m. and declared that the first order of business was the approval of the minutes of the Committee's last (March 5-6) meeting. Noting the Committee's disagreement with the CIA about the minutes, Kimball said he nevertheless assumed a motion to approve the minutes on the part of the Committee members present. No one objected and the minutes were thereby approved by consensus.
Clearance of Meeting Minutes
Kimball then raised the issue of vetting the minutes to deal with candid discussion that is not classified. CIA officials (especially Ed Cohen, Director of CIA's Office of Information Management) had argued that they would have to be "politic" rather than candid in their interventions if the minutes became a matter of public record. Kimball noted that the Committee had proposed a third category of minutes (in addition to unclassified/public record and classified), i.e. unclassified but "off the public record." But he had received no response from the CIA to this proposal and the Agency was still refusing to vet the minutes of the last Committee meeting.
Kimball briefly interrupted the discussion of the minutes to introduce Frank Mackaman, a new member of the Committee who will represent the Society of American Archivists. Kimball added that Anne Van Camp, who was not present, would continue to serve on the Committee for the time being.
Executive Secretary William Slany suggested handling the issue at higher level by having a senior State Department official (such as Assistant Secretary Rubin) raise the issue with an appropriate person at CIA.
Michael Hogan asked about the implications of each of these alternatives regarding the minutes. Kimball opined that Cohen could have gotten his same points across at the last meeting in a slightly different but more "politic" way. Hogan wondered, however, whether such a perceived constraint would tend to make CIA officials less candid. He also questioned the wisdom of throwing this relatively minor issue into the same hopper with bigger problems having to do with the CIA that would have to be addressed at a higher level. Hogan suggested that the Committee simply proceed as if it did have an understanding with Cohen regarding the approval of the minutes. Kimball seconded this idea, arguing that the Committee could consider such an oral agreement to have emanated from the CIA's participation in the last meeting. The members approved this approach by consensus. Kimball added that hereafter the burden should be on the speaker to tell the Committee whether what he/she is saying is off the record (or classified) as opposed to being on the public record.
Robert Schulzinger asserted that this solution to the problem of the minutes was "okay but just okay." A thin-skinned person-which he was not-might take offense at the CIA notion that anything having to do with intelligence was in a special category and needed extra protection. Kimball remarked that the whole debate was silly; Schulzinger agreed.
Slany cautioned, however, that the CIA could become annoyed and declare that it no longer wished to deal with the Committee. This was why he had proposed the alternative of raising the issue to a higher level. Kimball replied that the Committee should keep the question on the table and ponder it further. Slany noted that CIA representatives would be attending the afternoon session of the Committee. Kimball suggested continuing this discussion over lunch and then talking directly with the CIA officials about the problem in the afternoon.
David Humphrey intervened to emphasize that other CIA people beside Cohen had the same concern about preserving the confidentiality of their statements in the Committee. Slany emphasized that the real issue was that the CIA did not want a record of its participation in the Advisory Committee. Kimball noted that the members of the CIA's own historical advisory committee were sworn to confidentiality and that the Agency in general has a bureaucratic impulse to avoid written records. Kimball obtained the consensus of the Committee to pursue the general approach he had outlined earlier. On that note, he closed the discussion of the problem of the minutes.
Report of the Executive Secretary
The Committee then turned to the next item on the agenda-the report of the Executive Secretary (Slany) on the implementation of the October 1991 Foreign Relations Statute and other matters.
Slany began by mentioning that the Committee was scheduled to meet with PA Assistant Secretary Rubin and DAS Foley during this 2-day session. He was hoping to arrange a meeting with Deputy Secretary Talbot before the latter's departure for China on June 24. Slany noted that Rubin and Foley thought it was important for the Committee to see Talbot. NSC was too seized with China to have a person come to State to meet with Committee members.
Slany went on to highlight the publication of the second Nazi Gold report a couple of weeks earlier. He believed the Nazi Gold exercise was bound to impact on the Foreign Relations series in several ways. First, it would raise the profile and credibility of PA/HO as a whole. In addition, it had led the way to new avenues for Foreign Relations research-especially the examination of decrypted intercepted messages, which became increasingly important for US foreign policymakers from World War II on. The preparation of the Nazi Gold reports had also highlighted the importance of working with historians in other U.S. Government agencies, along with the difficulty of dealing with the Department of the Treasury-which has no historians or archivists on its staff.
Kimball wondered if this lack of historical expertise in the Treasury Department could have a negative impact on the Foreign Relations series. Slany replied that General Editor David Patterson might have more to say on this question, but it was generally true that Treasury records simply sat unattended in the Treasury Building until they were transferred unceremoniously to the National Archives. Patterson added that this was a problem not only for the Nazi Gold period but also for the 1960s and 1970s. Other members of the Committee interjected that they had experienced similar problems with Treasury documents in their own scholarly research (e.g., on the Marshall Plan and Lend-Lease). Kimball asked what the Committee could try to do to improve this situation. Someone suggested inviting Assistant (?) Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers to meet with the Committee. Slany replied that this was a possibility.
Patterson reported that Bruce Duncombe made good use of Treasury records for the volumes on Nixon's foreign economic policy; some Treasury materials were also used in the corresponding volumes on the Johnson administration. He pointed out, however, that it was impossible to know if we had seen everything. Patterson also noted that some Treasury files included in the Nazi Gold project (i.e., circa 1945) still had not been transferred to the National Archives. Hogan said that he done research at the Treasury Department for his book on the Marshall Plan; Kimball said he had done similar work on Roosevelt and the Lend-Lease program. Patterson explained that the situation is especially difficult since Treasury does not have any of its own historians. Kimball suggested that the Committee might invite a Treasury official to address these issues at a future meeting.
David Langbart said that Treasury still maintains custody of a lot of records at Suitland. Researchers are free to go to Suitland, consult the relevant shelf lists, and file a FOIA request. Michael Schaller countered that the finding aids in this case are very rudimentary. Kimball also argued that it would be absurd to depend on FOIA with its attendant delays. He wondered how Treasury could possibly meet the requirements of the Executive Order. Hogan thought that Treasury would probably wait until the last minute and then quickly declassify most of the records. Nancy Smith reminded the Committee that, with the exception of Secret Service records, Treasury must do something by 2000 to meet the 25-year line. Mike Miller said that the records might still be at Suitland in 2000. If the records have not been transferred to the Archives at that time, Treasury will have to start paying for storage space, under a general policy recently mandated by the OMB. There was general agreement that this policy was a good device to force Treasury and other agencies to take action. At Kimball's prompting, the Committee also agreed to invite a Treasury official to a future meeting.
Slany commended David Goldman and Paul Claussen for their work on the Dayton History Project, the only such project ever undertaken by the Department. The Project had assembled an archive of some 10,000 pages including maps, thereby providing the documentary basis for Ambassador Holbrooke's recent book To End a War. Most of this collection will be declassified by the Department's FOIA staff; the study reporting on the project will also be released to the public. Slany commented that Holbrooke specifically cited the Historian's Office in his acknowledgements, underscoring the Department's need for a permanent research division to undertake projects on contemporary diplomatic history in the future. Slany then reported that the Department had tentatively approved a plan to recruit two employees on a term basis to conduct research but had not approved a separate division. Slany said that he would also consider adding an active Foreign Service officer to the research team.
Slany noted that historians of official diplomatic documentary publications meet periodically to discuss the state of the field. The next meeting is scheduled for Washington, DC in 2000. Slany said that the Foreign Relations series is widely recognized as a pacesetter by his colleagues. The Nazi Gold project has also served to underscore the need to revive government historical programs and to make more records available to the general public.
Slany reported on the progress of the proposed Diplomatic History museum which would expand on the collection currently displayed by the exhibit. He stated that the Secretary and the Bureau were both supportive of the project. As a result, HO has already recruited a museum expert and currently plans to hire a designer. The financial requirements of the project, however, demand funds beyond the $100,000 allocated by the Department; possibly as much as $1 million would have to be raised from outside sources. Slany said that he was not interested in the museum as a form of entertainment for tired tourists, but hoped that the museum might serve as a useful tool to make more historical records available.
Kimball wondered if SHAFR would be willing to provide some advice on the museum, especially since some members have expressed interest in promoting public history. Schulzinger thought that this proposal made sense. Mackaman underscored the necessity of recruiting someone who understands the museum side of the project. Ted Keefer, who has assumed responsibility for the project, replied that although any advice is good it only goes so far; it is necessary rather to get to work. He doubted that the museum would lead to the release of historical material: "We're not going to put declassified documents on the wall." Keefer also stressed the importance of relying on outside help, expressing concern that otherwise the drain on HO resources would impact adversely on the Foreign Relations series. Although he hoped to open the museum by 2000, Keefer doubted that this would be possible, especially since the effort would require hundreds of thousands of dollars from private contributors.
Schulzinger thought that enlisting help from SHAFR might be a good idea, but saw no need to reinvent the wheel. If HO already has the benefit of professional advice, additional support from SHAFR may not be necessary. Mackaman asked if the Committee should form a subcommittee to provide advice on the museum. Keefer thought a formal link was necessary. Kimball said, however, that the Committee should not get in the way. Mackaman agreed that it was wise to be cautious in this matter. Slany argued that it was bureaucratically unsound for HO to curtail its involvement in the project, especially since the Secretary has already expressed her interest. Such interest is an opportunity for the Office, and should not be lightly dismissed. The money ($100,000) to pay for the curator was not coming out of the Foreign Relations budget. Additional funding, on the other hand, would have to come from outside sources. Slany said that it was good for HO to stay involved in order to influence the further development of the museum. Davis asked if HO planned to form a museum division in addition to the proposed research division. Slany said that this was not the case, reiterating that the museum was supported from outside sources. Hogan said that, although the Committee might want to follow the future developments, SHAFR was not likely to speak with one voice on the museum. Philip Zelikow agreed that HO should keep its own counsel, arguing that outside advice would be "all over the map."
To expressions of concern that the museum project would take staff time and resources away from other projects, Slany responded that his objective was to get the program launched and then keep it separate. However, he wanted a project that was not simply another Washington tourist stop but had substance.
Slany then touched on personnel issues, noting the loss of one senior FSO, Bruce Duncombe, and the impending departure of another, Nick Stigliani. He indicated that the Office would seek to recruit one or more senior FSOs. HO was at its personnel ceiling level with no immediate prospects for new hires.
Report of the General Editor
Patterson then reported that three new Johnson volumes have appeared since the last Advisory Committee meeting and that the full texts were on the HO Web site. A fourth volume (on China) would be released in July after the President's visit to the PRC. Eleven Johnson volumes will then have been published, and all but 3 of the 34 Johnson volumes have been compiled. Research was proceeding on most of the Nixon volumes, and 2 volumes had been completed. He noted that due to David Geyer's efforts the office now has access to appointment books for several years for Secretary Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He also noted that expanded materials were being found on "global issues" such as narcotics control, immigration, terrorism, and human rights issues and might necessitate further chapters in volumes on the Nixon administration. Finally, he concluded that the series was running a bit behind on the 1969-1972 Nixon volumes and might not reach its 2002 deadline, especially when potential declassification issues were factored into the planning. It was important to replace departing people. We have prospects of people to hire; we just need to get them on board.
Web Site Teaching Project
James McElveen then discussed the Web site teaching project noting that it had been planned as a didactic tool. A model (not yet on line) had been provided to Committee members for an evaluation. It was thematic in organization with attention to relating documentation in the Foreign Relations series to teaching issues, such as Cuba and the Vietnam war. A small problem had arisen with PA over the name of the site that had yet to be worked out. Essentially, HO needed Committee feedback on the utility of this type of site.
Schulzinger responded that he liked the work which could increase interactivity between scholars and HO. He suggested adding secondary readings and offering interaction with "experts." Mackaman then added that HO might look at "Diplomats on Line" as an example of how the "experts" idea worked. He too endorsed the idea as did Kimball.
The Committee broke for coffee at 10:22 a.m. and reconvened at 11 a.m.
Implementation of Executive Order 12958
Peter Sheils, Office of IRM Programs and Services (IPS), distributed copies of a quarterly report "Files in Department of State Custody," which summarized the Department's declassification efforts since the last time the Committee met in March. He highlighted the fact that the State Department reviewers are declassifying 1 million pages per month, 3 times as many as he reported last time. Sheils reported that declassification training on guidelines for reviewers at the Ford library had been undertaken. Ambassador Morris Draper of State Department's former office of Historical Document Review had prepared the guidelines and NARA gave them good marks. Sheils also said the Department's reviewers have made "in roads" into declassifying the records of the Bureaus of Intelligence and Research and Diplomatic Security and have tried to instill in these bureaus principles of proper archival management. Lastly, Sheils mentioned that declassification of the Dulles papers is continuing and will likely be finished this fall.
Kimball asked if this quarterly report could be published. Sheils answered affirmatively as long as it is understood that it is a working status report. Nancy Smith added that the quarterly report needed further explanation in order not to mislead the public into thinking that the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford libraries do not have equities in the documents listed in the report. Smith said the report indicates that State has provided declassification guidance that's all.
Margaret Grafeld, Director of State Department's Office of IRM Programs and Services (IPS), said that publication of the first page of the report was okay, but that the second was more problematic. Kimball responded by saying the information on the first page should be made available to the public and that between now and the next Committee meeting something ought to be worked out and published. Page Miller suggested that she would produce a capsule version of the report after conferring with Sharon Fawcett and Nancy Smith.
Michael Miller (NARA) explained that the information on the first page should indicate that the documents have been reviewed but not declassified. Page Miller wanted to know how long it would be before the public could gain access to the documents. Ken Rossman described the review process. Kimball reiterated his belief that the public ought to know what is available for research. Grafeld added that similar information is available on the IPS web site. Marty McGann (NARA) explained that there are binders filled with information on recently acquired accessions at Archives II. Kimball said a more easily accessible update for users not able to get to the Archives still needs to be available.
Patterson asked how NARA prioritizes its review of accessions. Jeanne Schauble (NARA) explained that its first priority is to review the Central, then the Lot, and finally the Post files. However, she added, NARA tries to accommodate researchers whenever possible by processing files specifically requested by them. McGann added that once an accession has been processed that information is put into a 3-ring binder at the Archives and is available to the public. David Herschler asked if this information is a box list. McGann responded negatively; often times immediately after these boxes have been reviewed a folder list which identifies the contents of the box is not available. Nancy Smith said researchers' interests influence what gets reviewed first. David Langbart said the priority is usually to review documents from the Secretary level down.
Grafeld informed the Committee about the major reorganization of the Department's information processing services. Previously, the chief information officer had operated separately from the rest of the information management team, causing a dysfunctional interchange between the components. At present, all technical functions of the information process have been moved recently to the office of the chief information officer. The result has been the creation of a new functional bureau termed Information Management (IM). Grafeld noted that she and her staff had remained within A (Bureau of Administration), where the newest change is the creation of a new Deputy Assistant Secretary position (A/RPS) held by Frank Machak to oversee the Office of Records and Publishing Services. She added that this current structure is similar to what existed before the reorganization and that HO's relationship to the bureau would not change. However, Grafeld did note that most of IPS's resources had gone to the new bureau, an occurrence which has left her office scrambling to shore up its manpower.
Report by the Subcommittee on Electronic Records
Schulzinger began the subcommittee's report by noting that he, Kimball, Anne Van Camp, and Mackaman went to Archives II the previous day in order to examine the issue of the transfer of State electronic records to NARA. He noted that the Archives would receive from State 1.2 million records of electronic text and indices over the next year (in conjunction with another 400,000 pages of paper text that accompanied the electronic records). He described the NARA plan for dealing with these records as "the good news" but observed that significant issues still remained. NARA actually had two plans, one for the intermediate range and another for the long term. In the near future, the archivists planned to make the records accessible through CD-ROM technology. Their idea was to have the entire collection on several compact discs. Schulzinger did not find this solution wholly acceptable, since a major drawback of the CD-ROMs was that the researcher could not fully search the entire database at once. NARA's preferred plan was to have the entire collection available on-line. However, Schulzinger noted that according to Michael Kurtz this plan was not feasible at this time. The necessary hardware was not physically supportable on existing communications lines. Its cost was in the range of between $2 million to $50 million and thus prohibitive. Furthermore, significant IT security issues exist and had yet to be dealt with.
Mackaman confirmed Schulzinger's conclusions. He noted the sense of the Committee's concerns relating to the use of the CD-ROM by NARA. He pointed out that the base-line service level of this technology was insufficient for the volume and complexity of these records. He strongly recommended that Kurtz explore better options than the compact disc short of actual Internet delivery. Kimball added that Kurtz would likely find that the CD-ROM would not have widespread usage among Archives users. However, there was general agreement to support NARA's implementation of this temporary measure in lieu of any alternative means of information delivery to the public.
For additional comments on the issue, Kimball turned to Michael Miller, who introduced himself as director of NARA's Modern Records Programs. Miller raised the issue of accessibility of electronic records and the daunting task facing NARA. The Archives had received only 100,000 electronic records over a 20-year period. Now, it faced 1.3 million electronic files virtually all at once. NARA had considered a number of ways to make these records available. One method was to copy them to a tape that could be given to researchers to use on their own computers. Although this was not a superior means of information delivery, Miller noted that NARA simply lacked the ability to implement the most popular alternative, which was to put such records on-line. So the CD-ROM had come up as an interim solution, although he too admitted the difficulty of having to inter-change several CD-ROMs in order to use the database on them. He then commented on the processing of the incoming records. While recognizing State's help in completing part of the initial processing, he noted that this "tidal wave" from State was NARA's "first big test" in terms of dealing with electronic records. He concluded that NARA did not have the computational power to load 1.3 million messages on-line and provide them in a useful format to researchers. However, a major systems development was necessary, and that item was "on the table" would be a prominent part in NARA's 1999 budget. Furthermore, he assured the Committee that NARA staff would periodically revisit this issue in order to determine the best method of making these records available to the public.
Kimball responded that the Committee would do all it could to help NARA overcome these problems. Yet he added that he was "appalled" by NARA's lack of preparation for receipt of these files. He said that State had been conferring with NARA for the past two decades on the matter. It appeared now that NARA would not be able to meet the challenge posed by the sheer immensity of the task it faced. The result would be that NARA would fall well behind in making these records accessible to the public. He requested that Miller express the Committee's "deep concern" over the issue to the Archivist. Schulzinger underscored this point by noting that the State files represented only the "first batch" of what would be coming NARA's way. Since in his view virtually everything from every government agency after 1975 would include large collections of electronic files, Schulzinger cautioned that an infrastructure for the use of such records had to be developed. Otherwise, within 15 years, he warned, there would be no usable archive of post-1975 governmental records.
Miller described the issue as having been considered "critically important, but not urgent," especially when there were other more immediate issues to deal with. NARA is aware that this is a critical issue, and has been working to solve it. However, he pointed out that only in the past few years has NARA had anything specific to work with. The interim solutions they are discussing are perhaps steps on the way to full on-line capability. Kimball expressed his fear that the interim solution might become permanent-if we endorse the CD-ROM approach, will it just postpone a real solution? Miller stated that the CD-ROM will meet some of the requirements for releasing information. Mackaman added that NARA has the biggest stake in this process, because it is vital for their credibility with the Department of State.
Langbart explained that the Department of State and the Archives have been discussing transfer of the electronic records for the last 10 to 12 years. While there have been ups and downs, the two agencies are closer than ever to resolving the issue and the obstacles are surmountable. Warren Kimball commented that he felt the Department of State has done a good job. He then asked about standards for security.
Ken Rossman of the Department of State's Office of IRM Programs and Services stated that one major problem is the transfer of documents from classified to unclassified systems. The transfer of declassified documents often brings along traces of material that should not be made available to the public. This has been the source of heated debate among members of the Information Security Committee (Infosec). The National Security Agency (NSA) has taken the lead on this problem, but each agency must endorse its own solution.
Kimball asked about this problem as it relates to the Remote Archives Capture (RAC) project managed by the CIA. Rossman stated that the CIA felt they might need another level of review. Grafeld noted that the earliest systems had many problems in this regard. There existed many hoops to jump through when moving unclassified data from the classified mainframe in order to obtain certification. She suggested that we need to accept some element of "managed risk" in order to prevent this problem from becoming a "show-stopper." There is also concern by those in the intelligence community that access to large numbers of electronic records will enable people to create a "mosaic."
Kimball asked that Rossman provide a brief report on this issue at the next Committee meeting, as well as progress by NSA.
Grafeld stated that her office currently has someone from the Office of Security to assist with this issue. She was concerned that the biggest problem may be in transferring records to NARA. Nancy Smith from NARA informed the Committee that this might not be a major problem for the CIA's RAC, because they never said the documents would be made available in an electronic format. Warren Kimball asked the Committee members for their views and advice.
Miller stated that there is growing coordination on transfer issues. Michael Kurtz briefed management at NARA and got their attention on this issue. They also discussed obtaining funds in the year 2000 budget. Kimball said that Kurtz will look into this matter.
Kimball asked about progress on year 2000 compliance. Grafeld stated that the Department of State as a whole has major problems, and that they need money for the Department's archive system in order to obtain certification. They are not, however, in dire straits. Kimball stated that Kurtz also agreed to look into this matter.
The meeting then adjourned for lunch.
Closed Session, June 23
CIA Efforts To Declassify Intelligence Equities in State Records at NARA
Kimball called the Committee to order at 1:55 p.m. and introduced Rich Warshaw of the CIA. He, in turn, introduced Dennis Nourman, who oversees the on-site scanning effort at the Archives. Nourman noted that he has been overseeing the effort at the Archives for the past year and a half. At first he spent a few months reviewing the State Department records just to familiarize himself with them. Then he began focusing his efforts on non-withdrawn material. Van Camp asked for a definition of the term "non-withdrawn," to which Nourman responded that it is material that has been reviewed previously, tabbed for declassification review, but not yet processed. Ken Rossman noted that these were documents that had been withdrawn from the files under the guidelines of an earlier Executive Order. He added that most of the material was from World War II through the 1950s, but a few documents from the 1960s are also considered "non-withdrawn."
Nourman read from page 2 of a status report he distributed to the Committee. He noted that the State records are divided into two groups: withdrawn material, some of which had been withdrawn by NARA and some by State; and non-withdrawn which is scheduled to be accessioned through 2005. Moving to the third page of the handout, which further described the withdrawn material, Nourman noted that NARA had withdrawn over 1.5 million pages, of which CIA projected that 385,000 will include some CIA equity. In addition, the State Department had also withdrawn 525,000 pages, of which CIA projected 60,000 would include CIA equity. Not described in the handout was another 60,000 pages of documents that NARA was currently processing and, therefore, not available for CIA to review. Nourman believed, based on the types of documents included in this group, that the CIA would have significant equities in this material. He added, also, that an earlier estimate he had made to the Committee differed from the current estimate because NARA had not included 525,000 pages of lot files in its file database.
Kimball interrupted to ask the State Department representatives from IPS if they could explain why State had withdrawn the 525,000 pages. This prompted a discussion between NARA representatives and those from IPS in which it was learned that these pages had been withdrawn in 1994, before Rossman began his declassification efforts. Rich Warshaw indicated that Harry Cooper was supposed to have notified Rossman about these records, but had been out on leave. Rossman claimed that his office would review the 525,000 pages in question within the 50-year deadline of the previous executive order and the other material by the year 2000. Warshaw added that the Agency would like State to review the material before it did, since many of the documents have ambiguous equities.
Nourman noted that there are 54 million pages of "non-withdrawn" State records, 41.6 million of which are still in State custody. Of these pages, the CIA estimated that they would have equity in 1.73 million pages. Nourman added that these figures are similar to those the CIA had provided to the Committee earlier and that they are close to State's figures.
Nourman noted that page 5 of the handout summarized the current status of their processing effort. Of 445,000 pages of withdrawn documents, they had scanned 41,000; of the 1.73 million non-withdrawn pages, they had scanned 90,000. He added that they are currently in the midst of processing the non-withdrawn material and had scanned an additional 9,000 pages of RG 84 material not shown in the handout. Van Camp asked why, according to the handout, State records are CIA's priority over other agencies. Nourman responded that State's records usually include more CIA equities than those of other agencies and, he felt, were the most historically interesting. He noted also that since State has done such an excellent job of tabbing their files they are easier for CIA to go through. Referring back to the handout, he noted that the CIA operation at NARA includes 14 full-time-equivalent positions, of which half are involved in imaging.
Nourman noted that most of the 13.2 million pages of non-withdrawn material is unavailable to the CIA because NARA is in the midst of processing it. Of this amount, CIA was able to get through 2,121 Federal Record Center boxes of RG 84 material and scanned 90,000 pages with CIA equity. He added that another 300 boxes were slated to be processed and available to them within 2 to 3 weeks and another 200-300 should be available by September. According to his handout, 1,300 boxes should be available by mid-term. The CIA is also waiting for NARA to process 2,055 Record Center boxes of RG 59 documents. They estimated that 2,000 of these boxes have some CIA equity. Nourman also claimed that CIA is waiting for other agencies, most particularly Defense, to do what State has done; i.e., systematically review and flag items with CIA equity.
Kimball asked Marvin Russell from the National Archives how long it would take to process these 2,055 boxes, and he responded that an honest answer would be 10 years. Kimball responded by asking whether this delay would pose a compliance problem. Russell replied that it would not because the material is available for people if they request it; however, since it is not processed and not described in a finding aid they would have to know that it was there or locate it by going through the retirement forms available at the FRC.
Nourman then moved back to page 6 of his handout which described the CIA's review process at its facility near Dulles airport. He said the CIA would begin to review the pages that had been scanned by late July at a rate of 10,000 pages per month. They expected to do only limited redacting, mostly of names, sources and methods and locations. While he is not involved in the redacting process, Nourman claimed to be familiar with the general guidelines and expected that the documents would be available "on the street" very soon. In addition, his operation is developing on-site triage procedures that they could use to speed up the review process and limit the amount of material they need to scan.
Kimball asked rhetorically whether this triage procedure was intended to stop the bleeding or increase it, but then asked how far back the CIA is looking for equities. Did they, for example, go back as far as the OSS records? Nourman and Warshaw responded that while the names of OSS operatives have already been released and, therefore, are no longer of concern, they are still concerned about incidents of foreign cooperation with the OSS.
Kimball then turned to the new Committee member, Frank Mackaman and said that for his edification he wanted him to know that the Advisory Committee recommended implementing an on-site triage process some years ago but were rebuffed by the Agency directors. Warshaw noted that the directors' concern at the time was having other agencies do the triage; this, however, was not a problem if CIA people did it.
Warshaw said that he estimates that 75-95 percent of the tabbed material at the Archives can be "triaged." They will have CIA reviewers in the field doing the declassification right on site. In the future they hope there will be less and less material that needs to be sent back to the "factory" for declassification-in the future most of the information can be reviewed, redacted, and released on-site by the reviewer.
Kimball asked Warshaw if he saw any problems in what the CIA was doing that he hadn't told us about. Warshaw answered no. He stated that the quantities of documents were overwhelming, but the process was working. He also stated that the State records have a high priority because of the actions of the Committee.
Kimball then asked for questions or comments from the Committee members but received none. He commented that he was glad the CIA was making progress on State records. Warshaw responded that State has been the "squeaky wheel." Kimball responded facetiously, "Thanks for the WD-40."
Retrospective Foreign Relations Volumes on Covert Actions and Intelligence: Report by the Executive Secretary and the General Editor
Slany reported that the Historian's Office was continuing to try to determine the best way to proceed with the retrospective volumes. The Office was still discussing whether to have a single volume or many volumes covering the covert actions. He noted that Committee member Vincent Davis had reviewed the Guatemala volume on Monday. Slany stated that HO was still working with the CIA on having a joint State-CIA publication regarding Iran. He stated that they were also considering the possibility of having a joint publication with the British due to the fact that the CIA has such a small number of records on Iran. Slany stated that the Guatemala volume continues to suffer because State did the volume on its own. He said that he is convinced that what comes from having retrospective research is not just the volume itself, but also having the simultaneous declassification and opening of the accompanying records. He stated that we don't need to publish a large volume or many volumes, but only a "roadmap" through the records. The volume should show what records are out there, and then the records should be available to the public at the National Archives.
Davis spoke about the Guatemala volume. He said that he felt the volume was too long, "excessive," and "unreadable" except for the most knowledgeable. He felt that there was a lot of good material in the volume, but also a lot of material that was not necessary. He stated that given the importance the U.S. Government attached to fighting communism, he thinks there should be material included in the volume on the nature of the Soviet threat in Guatemala, but it is not even mentioned. He felt the volume would be sufficient with 150 to 200 pages. He stated that there was too much detail and too many codewords for people and groups, and there would need to be some type of glossary.
Herschler agreed that because of the nature of the documents they would need some type of glossary to go along with the compilation. Davis said that he felt that the good "stuff" was being hidden by all the "boilerplate" documents. Hogan stated that perhaps someone with more knowledge about Guatemala should go through the documents.
Haines stated that the records carefully documented the covert action. They showed how the government proceeded from the very beginning of the action through to the end-from propaganda, to paramilitary groups, to bribing of government officials. He said that the compilation of documents served as a model for documenting subsequent covert actions throughout the 1950s.
Kimball suggested that this would be a unique collection that might be referred to as the "blueprint" followed, and later collections could be put together with less detail. Schulzinger stated that the Guatemala volume would get a lot of attention when released. It is one of the reasons the Committee came into being. He felt that we should make it a very complete volume and that there was a lot of history in this volume too.
Hogan asked, "What's the issue?"
Slany stated that the question is how big a compilation is needed. Regardless of how big, how integral will the volume be with a body of documents? Kimball stated that integration of the volume with a CIA opening would be better. Haines stated that the CIA has planned two more releases on Guatemala. Kimball asked if what was in the volume was duplicative of what the CIA has. Herschler responded that virtually all the documents in the compilation came from the CIA.
Kimball stated that this volume was originally going to be a joint publication with the CIA, but the CIA said "no." State and CIA then each went ahead with its separate plan on Guatemala. Now they appear to be overlapping plans. Haines explained that the CIA was not publishing a volume on Guatemala, but was releasing documents only. Kimball stated that in that case this volume becomes very important.
Mackaman asked whether this retrospective volume was a "roadmap" or something else. Davis stated that one would have to have a lot of knowledge on the subject to be able to understand the volume. Slany noted that we would be adding editorial material to the volume. He said that the volume should accurately reflect the content of the larger body of records. He would like the CIA to release more records when the volume is released. He stated that the next CIA release on Guatemala would not be all the Guatemala documents. Haines added that there would be documents similar to those in the volume that would not be released.
Hogan asked, "What's the option?"
Kimball queried whether it was not to publish because the CIA was not releasing the accompanying documents. Slany responded in the negative and stated that we will try to persuade the CIA to release the accompanying documents. Kimball said that although Guatemala may not be a model for other retrospective volumes, it was a unique case and was likely to get a significant volume of CIA materials opened with it.
At the CIA officials' request, there was then an off-the-record discussion.
Haines spoke about the retrospective Iran volume. He said that they were trying to feel out the British regarding a joint volume on Iran. He said that it would be a unique situation to have a joint U.S.-British volume on Iran. Kimball agreed that it would be a good idea. Haines said that having British cooperation would be helpful.
The Committee then passed a motion to have a joint U.S.-British volume on Iran. Slany said that he would approach the British Foreign Office with the idea. There was a discussion about where in the British Government the information might be located and what type of information the British might withhold.
The meeting reconvened after the afternoon break at 3:45 p.m. The Committee took up issues relating to declassification review.
Declassification Review of Foreign Relations
Slany reported on the High-Level Panel and its impact on declassification. He noted that the Panel had not met since February and was not currently scheduled to do so. He said that this did not reflect a lack of commitment on the part of the State Department to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the existence of the Panel. He noted that Deputy Assistant Secretary Foley has been particularly assiduous in pressing to take advantage of the Panel arrangement. Slany said that HO is still refining the procedures involved in bringing contested documents to the Panel. A necessary preliminary step is to coordinate support for HO's position on the documents from the State Department and from the Embassies with an interest in the issues involved. Slany emphasized that problems relating to working up efficient procedures for bringing cases to the Panel were not owing to a lack of cooperation from the CIA. He promised to continue to work to improve the process. He stated that HO, CIA, and NSC still think this is the best solution. We think it will work.
Patterson said that the High-Level Panel had met for the first time in February. The Panel agreed at that time to acknowledge covert operations in Italy, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The next Panel meeting will deal with Iran, Guyana, and two issues relating to Pakistan. We have also put together a package for a third meeting dealing with issues relating to the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Israel/Jordan, and Greece. We are working on getting a State Department position on each issue, including support from the Embassies.
Slany interjected that the reason to solicit Embassy support before going to the Panel is to try and prevent the type of end runs the CIA had been doing with HO appeals of CIA findings. He noted that former PA Assistant Secretary Burns, in his new capacity as Ambassador to Greece, had overseen a difficult decision within his Embassy to provide support on a pending appeal relating to Greece.
Patterson continued that he had just learned that telegrams have come in from Bangkok, Santo Domingo, and Tel Aviv. Once we hear from all the Embassies, we will coordinate positions with the relevant areas of the Department so that a unified State Department position on each issue can be taken to Assistant Secretary Rubin for presentation to the panel. Once this is done, CIA has to have a chance to review the issues. The final step is to get the Panel together.
Slany regretted that Britt Snyder of CIA would be unlikely to represent his agency on the panel henceforth. Haines noted that Snyder might be involved in the second Panel meeting if it took place in July.
Slany said that the preparations necessary for the Panel probably would not permit a meeting that soon. He added that there appear to be problems in getting the CIA to implement the findings from the February Panel.
Herschler noted that in some cases we have problems getting support from State. Slany said that Foley had urged Slany to make use of him and Rubin when necessary to get support within the Department. Kimball suggested deferring further discussion on the High-Level Panel until the executive session on the following day.
Haines passed on some comments from Bob Leggett, who was unable to attend. He said that the documents involved in the appeals dealing with Italy and the Philippines, on which the February Panel had acted, had been received at CIA and would be reconsidered in light of the Panel's findings. He said that the documents had been farmed out within the CIA with a target date for responses of August 3. He said that the documents relating to Indonesia had not yet been received. He urged that the process of preparing for the second Panel meeting be accelerated in order to take advantage of the presence of Britt Snyder, who was favorably disposed. There will be a meeting with Snyder on Friday to consider CIA's position on the issues for the second Panel meeting. Snyder's replacement on the Panel is slated to be Deputy Executive Director Gina Genten, but she will be replaced temporarily by someone else.
Patterson reported on progress on the 1950-1960 intelligence community volume. Patterson said that 1,300 pages had tentatively been selected for inclusion before considering documents found in CIA files. Mike Warner of the CIA History Staff is working up a list of suggested CIA documents. Patterson was hopeful that HO can complete its work within 3 months. He noted that the volume will include more policy substance than the previous intelligence volume, although it will not get into specific covert actions.
Haines expressed satisfaction with progress on the intelligence volume to date. He felt that DOD and NSA material should be included in the volume.
There followed an off-the-record discussion of problems concerning access to CIA documentation.
The Committee returned to the record with a discussion of problems that were developing with the citation of the provenance of CIA documents selected for inclusion in Foreign Relations. A discussion indicated that CIA reviewers were apparently attempting to backtrack on previous understandings with HO and limiting citations to CIA files without any reference to the specific citations.
Kimball asked that the Committee be kept informed on this issue. Haines asked whether there had been specific understandings on this issue. Kimball suggested that previous Committee meeting minutes should be searched to confirm such understandings. The general tenor of the concluding discussion on the question was that HO should operate according to the previous understandings. [Humphrey reported at the staff comments session the next day on the records he had found of those understandings.]
The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.
Closed Session, June 24
The June 24 session consisted of off-the-record staff comments and an executive session.
- Warren F. Kimball, Chairman
- B. Vincent Davis
- Michael Hogan
- Frank H. Mackaman
- 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
- Paul Claussen
- Vicki Futscher
- David Geyer
- David Goldman
- David Herschler
- Nina Howland
- David Humphrey
- Donna Hung
- Edward Keefer
- Doug Keene
- Dan Lawler
- Gabrielle Mallon
- James McElveen
- James Miller
- David Patterson
- Steven Phillips
- Sydney Ploss
- Harriet Schwar
- Kent Sieg
- Luke Smith
- Nick Stigliani
- Shirley Taylor
- Gloria Walker
- Susan Weetman
- Carolyn Yee
Bureau of Administration
- Margaret Grafeld, A/IM/IPS
- Ken Rossman, A/IM/IPS/PP
- Morris Draper, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- Nina Noring, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
- Peter Sheils, A/IM/IPS/CR
- Sophia Sluzar, A/IM/IPS/CR/IR
National Archives and Records Administration
- Mark Conrad, Life Cycle Management Division
- Sharon Fawcett, Office of Presidential Libraries
- Margaret Hawkins, Life Cycle Management Division
- David Langbart, Life Cycle Management Division
- Marty McGann, Textual Archives Services Division
- Don McIlwaine, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
- Michael Miller, Director, Modern Records Programs
- Marvin Russell, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
- Jean Schauble, Director, Initial Processing/Declassification Division
- Nancy K. Smith, Office of the General Counsel
Central Intelligence Agency
- Gerald Haines, Chief Historian
- Dennis Nourman, Records Declassification Program
- Rich Warshaw, Chief, Records Declassification Program
- Page Putnam Miller