Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation June 3–4, 2013
- Richard Immerman, Chairman
- Laura Belmonte
- Mary Dudziak
- James McAllister
- Robert McMahon
- Susan Perdue
- Trudy Peterson
- Katherine Sibley
- Thomas Zeiler
Office of the Historian
- Stephen Randolph, Historian
- Kristin Ahlberg
- Carl Ashley
- Sara Berndt
- Josh Botts
- Myra Burton
- Tiffany Cabrera
- Seth Center
- Mandy Chalou
- Erin Cozens
- Evan Duncan
- Stephanie Eckroth
- Thomas Faith
- Elena Feroz
- Amy Garrett
- David Geyer
- Renee Goings
- David Herschler
- Kerry Hite
- Adam Howard
- Aiyaz Husain
- Laura Kolar
- Lindsay Krasnoff
- Aaron Marrs
- Bill McAllister
- Michael McCoyer
- Chris Morrison
- David Nickles
- Alex Poster
- Kathleen Rasmussen
- Seth Rotramel
- Avi Rubin
- Daniel Rubin
- Nathaniel Smith
- Melissa Jane Taylor
- Chris Tudda
- Dean Weatherhead
- Joe Wicentowski
- Alex Wieland
- James Wilson
- Louise Woodroofe
- David Zierler
Bureau of Administration
- Jeff Charlston
- William Combes
- William Fischer
National Archives and Records Administration
- John Laster, Office of Presidential Libraries
- David Langbart, Textual Archives Services Division
- Don McIlwain, National Declassification Center
- John Powers, Information Security Oversight Office
Central Intelligence Agency
- Peter N.
Department of Defense
- Mark Langerman
- Patricia Skinner
- William Burr, National Security Archive
Open Session, June 3
Approval of the Record of the February 2013 Meeting
Richard Immerman called the meeting to order at 11:10 a.m. He introduced Mary Dudziak as the American Society for International Law (ASIL) representative to the Historical Advisory Committee and added that it was a precedent setting meeting since it was the first time in recent memory that the entire Committee was present. Immerman then asked for the approval of the minutes of the February meeting.
Comments by the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
Immerman then introduced Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Michael Hammer. Hammer greeted the Committee and said that he looked forward to their luncheon. He also noted the full membership on the Committee, adding that it represented good progress. Hammer commented on the accomplishments the Office of the Historian (HO) had made regarding the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. Immerman expressed appreciation for the Bureau's support of both the Office and the Committee.
Report by the Executive Secretary
Stephen Randolph also extended a welcome to Dudziak. He thanked the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) representatives for attending the meeting.
He then described the recent Office re-organization, explaining that the Editing and Declassification Division had been divided into two separate divisions: Renee Goings had been appointed chief of the Editing and Publishing Division and Carl Ashley would serve as chief of Declassification and Technology Division. Randolph also welcomed Elena Feroz to the Office and mentioned that Craig Daigle had been contracted to edit office publications remotely. He noted the departure of Administrative Officer Colby Prevost and the return of Office Administrator Nick Sheldon; Sheldon assumed Prevost's responsibilities with regard to the Committee.
Randolph reported on progress toward the planned move to Navy Hill, indicating that the General Services Administration (GSA) had awarded a construction contract. He added that the estimated move date is October 2014. He praised Office members involved with recent efforts in digital outreach, which have helped promote not only FRUS but also the Office in general. Randolph also explained briefly that, at this point, the sequestration has had minimal impact on FRUS production due to management's budgetary legerdemain.
Status Reports by the Deputy Historian and General Editor
David Herschler expanded on Randolph's remarks regarding the current and future budgetary constraints facing the Office. He explained that there has been a 15 percent cut to the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 over FY 2012, with a possible additional 9 percent cut ahead, beginning in October 2013. Between now and 2014, an additional 25 percent might be cut. Herschler asserted that the Office has always tried to carefully manage spending. He noted that managers have been working on ways to reduce expenses where and whenever possible. The Office has expanded its use of digital interns, and is also trying to save money by hiring employees who are working on contract as regular FTEs. He also explained that HO budgeting for contract positions is currently a year ahead, and that some contract positions involve multiyear spending that allows savings in the current fiscal year. Another cost-cutting measure has been to cease the production of educational DVDs and shift educational publications and digital outreach to the HO website.
He discussed the passing of William Slany, who served as Department Historian from 1982 until 2000, underscoring that Slany left an extraordinary legacy. Herschler commented that Slany was an early visionary on electronic records and technology and will be remembered for his bureaucratic savvy in negotiating the FRUS Statute.
In office outreach and professional development, Herschler noted that he, Susan Holly, Carl Ashley, and Kristin Ahlberg attended the National Council on Public History (NCPH) annual meeting in Ottawa, Onario, where they gave presentations on FRUS and educational outreach, in addition to meeting with counterparts in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Mandy Chalou and Joshua Botts, in addition to Immerman, attended the Declassification Engine conference held at Columbia University where topics included data mining, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and historical perspectives on secrecy. Lindsay Krasnoff attended the North America sports history conference and presented a paper on sports diplomacy. She also chaired a session.
Adam Howard reported on the status of the FRUS series production. He noted that the Office published Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, volume XIII, China, the Office's first Carter-only publication, at the 33 year mark. He reported on volumes in the declassification process, indicating that 2 volumes had been verified, 3 volumes had been verified by the CIA and another 7 volumes should be in verification by the end of this year. Howard also stated that 2 volumes had been submitted to the Declassification Division, including one Reagan volume. Howard anticipated that another 7 volumes would be submitted for declassification by the end of the year.
Krasnoff gave a presentation on the status of the Historical Briefing Program and its growth since inception. She indicated that she and other historians had concentrated their efforts in the Bureaus of European Affairs (EUR), East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), and African Affairs (AF). Krasnoff indicated that the Office had briefed various audiences: new ambassadors and deputy chiefs of missions (DCMs), Foreign Service Officers posted overseas or in Washington, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) analysts, and other Department employees working on regional or functional issues. She then gave an example of a recent briefing, explaining the type of background research conducted and the efforts made to tailor the briefings to areas of specific interest. Krasnoff noted that the program has expanded to the point that the Office is part of the regular orientation for new FSOs and other employees going to post.
Following expanded discussion of the briefing program, Randolph asserted that it served as an example of entrepreneurial spirit. He noted that while the Office had concentrated resources and personnel in improving the FRUS production chain, it was important to support and enhance the work of the Policy Studies and Special Projects Divisions. Randolph recognized the skilled management of these divisions by division chiefs Amy Garrett and William McAllister respectively, and noted that historians working in these divisions are especially productive as a result of this management.
Status of Declassification of Department of State Records
William Combes began his report by circulating a chart that documented the current status of the Department of State's 25-year review of the Central Foreign Policy File (CFPF). Combes announced that IPS had completed its review of the State Archiving System (SAS) classified electronic cables and Limited Official Use (LOU) cables through 1987 and was currently reviewing the classified and LOU cables for 1988, with estimated completion by the end of 2013. IPS had also completed the review of the P-reel indices through 1988. IPS transferred the remaining 1970s records to NARA in December 2012, which included the 1978 and 1979 cables and the 1973, 1976–1979 P-reel indices. Combes indicated that from here on forward, IPS will report to the Committee on the status of the 1980s files. He also explained that the Department wanted to convert the P and N-reels into electronic records, saying that this process might delay transfer but that the records will be more readable and usable in pdf form. Combes described other efforts made by the Systematic Review Program (SRP) and its records managers to streamline the process and coordinate with NARA and the National Declassification Center (NDC), including the implementation of NARA's electronic transfer form (Classified Records Transfer Checklist) and automated workflow that unites tracking of declassification review and the records transfer process, based on the new NARA form. This is in a testing phase at Newington. Combes further noted that IPS has reviewed 735,900 pages in its review of the Department's paper records from 1986–1990, during calendar year (CY) 2013. The total for this block of paper records is nearly 5 million of the 16.7 million pages, and also 1.2 million pages of Kyl-Lott review and 70,000 Remote Archives Capture (RAC) referrals.
A discussion then took place concerning the problems with converting the P and N-reels to electronic format. The SRP is working closely with NARA and the NDC to make these records fully text-searchable in pdf form. In response to a question posed by Trudy Peterson regarding this process, Jeff Charlston explained that technical difficulties had emerged but that IPS had made some small progress. Conversion of the P and N-reels was ongoing. Peterson queried Charlston as to the whether or not the bulky files were under review, to which Immerman then asked as to the location of the paper records from 1977 to 1979. Charlston responded that all of these records had been transferred to NARA. In response to additional questions from Peterson about the pace of reviews, Charlston explained that the sequestration had not impacted personnel; IPS was still short of personnel. He reiterated Combes' earlier statements concerning the streamlining of the review and records transfer process, which had resulted in greater efficiency.
In response to a question posed by Bill Burr as to the availability of the 1977, 1978, and 1979 Department records, Charlston reiterated that the Department had transferred those records to NARA. Immerman noted that the Committee had expressed a preference for opening materials for a given year at the time that all materials for that year were ready for release. However, he added, at that time, the Committee did not appreciate how long this process would take. He noted that the Committee should discuss this issue further. Immerman then inquired as to the length of time between the Department's transfer of records and their availability at NARA. Charlston responded that a minimum of 2 to 3 years elapses between transfer and availability. Immerman commented that a 3 or more year lag "could be problematic." David Langbart added that the Committee had discussed this issue at several recent meetings. Peterson suggested that NARA assess the institutional impact of processing the component parts of the Central Foreign Policy File as they are received rather than releasing all components as a block.
The Committee recessed for lunch.
Closed Session, June 3
Issues Relating to the Declassification and Opening of Records at the National Archives
Immerman called the session to order at 1:35 p.m. He asked Don McIlwain for his report. McIlwain stated that the NDC had completed review of 114 million pages, of which 65 percent were successfully released, and said that 158 million pages await final indexing prior to release. In response to a question regarding the 1973–1976 Department of State paper records, McIlwain said that he thought that these records were part of the 158 million pages tranche, and that he would look into the matter and report to Herschler within a week. McIlwain also described an upcoming June 12 government-wide meeting of 280 individuals involved in the declassification process to discuss criteria for exemptions for the 50 year and 75 year automatic release, adding that achieving common ground was the goal.
Immerman asked about NARA's response to the recent Public Interest Declassification Board (P1DB) report. McIlwain expressed enthusiasm for several of the recommendations but did not know the status of their implementation. He deferred the question to John Powers, who said that he anticipated and hoped that the White House will accept the PIDB’s primary recommendation to appoint a steering committee. He explained that the PIDB recommended that members be appointed at the Assistant Secretary level or above. Powers added that ideally this committee would include historians, technologists, and high-level representatives from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He referred to recent editorials in the Washington Post and New York Times on the topic of transparency in government.
Thomas Zeiler asked whether President Obama has "accepted" the PIDB report. Powers responded that he believed it had crossed the President's desk, but the PIDB had not heard of any reaction.
McIlwain then praised IPS for its efforts in helping to prevent a new backlog. He highlighted the improved communication between NARA and the Department. McIlwain noted that the electronic transfer form, which Combes and Charlston had described earlier, would allow the Department and other agencies to certify that all review requirements had been met prior to accessioning.
Peterson inquired as to the impact of sequestration on the NDC and the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). McIlwain responded that there had been no furloughs at the NDC, but that cash awards had been suspended, which had contributed to some morale issues. The Department of Defense civilian furloughs had begun. The NDC had not registered any large-scale effects as of yet. In addition, the pace of agency responses had not slowed. Powers commented that ISOO had seen substantive reductions in its travel budget. In the past, ISOO had made efforts to travel to agencies to evaluate and educate them on declassification issues. Currently, ISOO is limited to conducting its outreach and oversight to the Washington D.C. region, although he hoped a team could be sent to the Reagan Library.
On behalf of the Office of Presidential Libraries, John Laster reported a significant loss of funding for the Remote Archives Capture (RAC) project: over the course of one year, funding had been reduced from $1 million to $750,000 and then further to $400,000. Reduced funding, he commented, will slow the rate at which materials can be prepped for inclusion in the RAC. As a result, the future of the RAC project would likely consist of more targeted scanning and review, as opposed to a comprehensive approach. On a note of optimism, Powers added that the National Security Staff (NSS) has formally waived its equity in most National Security Council records though the first Clinton administration (1993–1997). This waiver should reduce the volume of records requiring referral and should speed up processing for public access. Information on the waiver can be found on the ISOO website (it is ISOO Notice 2013-04).
Powers then referenced his earlier remarks regarding PIDB, noting that he had discussed some of the PIDB report recommendations with Herschler and Howard. He commented that there does seem to be high interest among PIDB members to develop a broad-based strategy for prioritizing records review. Powers commented that a possible path would be to target the records held in the presidential libraries for review and release. He also noted that PIDB had interest in putting historians at the front-end of the process, inviting them to meet records managers and others in order to help identify which records will be of historical significance. Powers suggested that The Historian or another top-level Department of State official provide information on declassification as it applies to the Foreign Relations series. Powers then offered some general remarks about other recommendations in the PIDB’s report. One recommendation that is of interest to the Department is the recommendation to streamline the classification system to two levels from three. He noted that the United Kingdom is taking a similar approach and is in the process of reforming its classification system to two levels.
Laura Belmonte asked about categories of documents at the Clinton Library. Laster explained that under the Presidential Records Act, the President can implement 6 categories for exemption for 12 years after the end of an administration . Peterson, in reference to Powers' comments, asserted that going from three to two levels of classification is a step but noted that the administration had implemented an additional category, that of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). Powers replied that he was not an expert in this area, but that the Director of ISOO serves as the Executive Agent for implementing Executive Order 13556, “Controlled Unclassified Information.” The CUI program is meant to standardize the way the Government handles unclassified information requiring safeguarding and/or dissemination controls pursuant to law, federal regulation, or Government-wide policy. More than 400 such authorities have been identified as authorizing control over various types of unclassified information, organized in a publicly-accessible national CUI Registry under 22 categories and 87 subcategories. The CUI program is meant to eliminate all the various ad hoc markings currently in use and standardize Government-wide marking practices, as well as safeguarding, dissemination, and decontrol procedures.
At this point, Immerman stated that the Committee had not received any word on the results of their two recent visits to Archives II. Langbart indicated that one possible explanation was that problems resulting from the conversion to a new email system on April 26, 2013, had resulted in the loss of some online communications. There followed a discussion about strategies to ensure that messages are received. Robert McMahon stated that the core issue is not about responding to messages but rather the Committee's request for a strategy, adding that during the December and February visits, the Committee focused on clear recommendations regarding a 30-year line. He expressed concern that the NARA leadership had not responded to the Committee's request. Randolph commented that he had had some communication with Bill Mayer during the previous week regarding a partial plan. Immerman responded that this outcome did not constitute the progress "we hoped and expected." The Committee had used the term "urgency" in many different contexts. It had become hard for the Committee to have confidence that the NARA leadership is viewing these issues with the same seriousness, he continued.
McMahon suggested that the Committee, within the context of its annual report, address the issue of NARA's lack of response. He asserted that many records from 1972 and 1973 are still not available, and that, in a sense, NARA is beyond a 40 year line. A discussion about the distinctions between declassification and availability of records followed.
Powers asked for specific suggestions the Committee might provide. Immerman explained that the Committee had sought greater insight as to the different problems facing NARA so that the Committee could make various recommendations in its annual report. He then noted that when Randolph became General Editor in 2011, he had developed a flowchart of the FRUS production chain in order to identify various chokepoints. Immerman suggested that NARA attempt this type of systematic review for inclusion in a broader plan. Peterson then read from the minutes of the February 2013 and December 2012 meetings, in which Mayer essentially agreed to draft a plan in a timely fashion.
Powers offered an option considered by the PIDB. Given resource constraints, one option would be to eliminate the 25-year automatic declassification provision of section 3 of E.O. 13526 and allow agencies to target their limited resources on reviewing those records of historical interest (records that researchers want to see). Additionally, another option would be to make finding aids available to allow researchers to make targeted requests.
McMahon suggested that this type of information might be included in a broader plan, asserting that the Committee simply desired concrete steps that could be undertaken over the next 3–10 years to speed the processing and release of records. The current situation is much worse than anyone imagined. McMahon noted that the Committee had a responsibility to share this information with its various constituencies. In advance of doing so, the Committee would entertain any counterfactuals. Immerman underscored that the Committee did not want to be adversarial; the Committee's message is: help us to help you.
McIlwain and Langbart engaged in a conversation with the Committee about how improved speed in one part of the operation led to more problems in another and described some of the challenges currently faced at NARA. Dudizak reiterated that the Committee can help by being responsive to these concerns.
Efforts to Meet the 30-Year Publication Line: Collaboration with the Office of Presidential Libraries (NARA)
Herschler introduced Laster, who succeeded Nancy Smith as the Director of the Presidential Materials Division. Herschler said that the Office of the Historian has a parallel relationship with individual presidential libraries as well as with Laster's office, which has successfully resulted in subvention agreements with three libraries.
Howard commented briefly on his recent trip to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, remarking on the physical beauty of the library as well as the helpfulness of the staff. He said that the RAC system is working far better in the context of the Reagan Library than it had for the Carter Library, explaining that tabs, for example, are usually scanned and located with the primary documents. He said that compilers are able to reduce the amount of time required at the Library by doing preliminary work locally at the RAC, and that the archivists, moreover, will pull relevant boxes and collections if compilers provide keywords in advance of their visit. Conducting local research also eases travel costs.
Chris Tudda said that he had recently completed a week of research at the Reagan Library and noted that the staff is very competent and has an excellent awareness of the contents of the collections. Herschler interjected that it is important to note that historically the Office has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the presidential libraries.
Laster stated that he certainly appreciated the relationship. He felt that the archivists at the presidential libraries had also developed good relationships with FRUS researchers. Laster commented that his interactions with the Office of the Historian "couldn't be going better as far as we're concerned." Laster added that the expanding universe of records posed some challenges but that that the numerous FOIA requests the presidential libraries receive have provided the staff with better intellectual knowledge of the collections. In the future, however, the volume of records would continue to rise, militating against the benefits accrued by prepping records in response to FOIA requests. Laster also highlighted the recent efforts in facilitating the research of FRUS historians in several collections held at Archives I.
Laster then turned to the topic of archived email and discussed the Professional Office System (PROFs) used by Reagan policymakers. He stated that more than 171,000 PROFs notes were restored off backup tapes during the 1990s, but that thousands of emails were grouped together in single documents, with no breaks between the individual emails. Laster said he had contacted several contractors and discussed ways to break up these email bundles, but that these talks led to little progress, since NARA did not have the resources to implement the contractors' recommendations. Laster stated that the problems with bundling also applied to emails sent during the George H.W. Bush administration, except that there are 263,000 Bush emails, so the difficulties are multiplied. Laster said that efforts to carry out targeted searching in the George H.W. Bush email archive had yielded little success thus far, adding that he would be happy if the PIDB came up with a recommendation for additional funding to apply to this effort. He gave a more optimistic appraisal of the Clinton emails, remarking that those emails are indexed and searchable, but said that the high volume of Clinton email (2.7 million classified messages alone) would pose a challenge for researchers. He anticipated a "deluge" of material for future FRUS compilers.
Laster stated that the RAC contract had been reduced by $300,000 this fiscal year alone, leaving fewer resources available for scanning. Although NARA had anticipated a thorough scanning of the Reagan presidential material, that project would have to rely on targeted scanning from now on. Laster noted that the Office of the Historian had suggested that the material selected by FRUS compilers be scanned, so as to help the RAC include relevant material and prioritize limited resources. He added that he was open to suggestions on this issue and encouraged the FRUS team to provide them.
Katherine Sibley asked how far the RAC scanning had proceeded before the budget reductions. Laster responded that the scanning had gone through the first Reagan administration. Sibley then inquired how a researcher who wished to look through the Reagan administration's email might attempt this research. Laster explained that the emails were not available to researchers because the format was not friendly to users. Herschler asked if printouts existed of the emails located in some of the Reagan collections. Laster responded that those printouts existed, but that he was not sure how comprehensive they were; it depended on how diligent White House staffers were in printing out paper copies on particular topics. Tudda affirmed this statement. Laster added that a particularly large collection of email printouts available to researchers involved Yugoslavia during the George H.W. Bush administration.
Zeiler asked when the first email was sent. James Wilson replied that John Poindexter installed the PROFs system in 1982. Wilson also suggested that the Office of the Historian take a look at the bundled Reagan emails because several members of the Office are skilled in database management. Laster said that such a project was possible, but challenges exist that might prohibit such an effort.
David Zierler inquired as to whether the Reagan emails were governed by the same classification rules as the Reagan paper documents. Laster replied that the same rules applied and that no codewords or Special Access Program (SAP) markings were initially added to any of the emails. Zierler asked if those classifications were applied retroactively, and Laster stated that they were not. Laster added that the Clinton emails would have to be printed out onto paper.
Peterson asked if there was a way to tell if a particular email had been read by its recipient, saying that if there was no way to tell, a researcher would have to check the collections of both the sender and the recipient to know for certain. Laster said he was unsure if the PROFs system included read receipts but that he would check.
Immerman asked about the types of search engines that had been employed to look through the bundled Reagan email. Laster responded that no searching was possible beyond the simple “find” function located in Word Pad and Word. Immerman stated that he had seen some very sophisticated search engines at the Columbia University declassification conference, and that several of these might be beneficial if applied to the Reagan email. Peterson added that the Enron data set used in many law schools was a potentially useful case, noting that two companies who searched the data set had developed technology that could identify and flag Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data efficiently. Laster replied that the lack of resources is the biggest problem that NARA is facing, but that it is possible that more advanced search technology might be utilized for the George H.W. Bush emails.
Zeiler inquired if the number of Clinton classified emails included forwarded messages and CCs, stating that if that was the case, the number of emails might be less daunting. Laster responded that the 2.7 million classified messages included forwards and CCs, but that there were millions of unclassified Clinton emails that would have to be printed too.
Howard stated that email would be the top challenge for FRUS compilers in the future. Wilson added that the Reagan PROFs notes functioned more like an online chat than an email system. He explained that the PROFs system was installed by Poindexter to help staffers avoid playing "phone tag." Wilson provided additional detail about the history of PROFs and stated that, in most cases, one could assume that a PROFs note was read by the recipient. Laster concluded the discussion by stating that the recovered tapes of PROFs notes might include additional information from the Reagan administration.
Report on the History of the FRUS Series Book Manuscript
William McAllister and Josh Botts discussed the Office's recently-concluded study entitled: "Negotiating Responsible Transparency: A History of the Foreign Relations Series." The presentation outlined the history of FRUS from its origin until the beginning of the twenty-first century. McAllister traced the history of FRUS from the end of the Civil War until the First World War, and Botts continued the overview to include the series' more recent history.The ensuing discussion with the Committee centered on the tensions between disclosure and discretion in publishing sensitive information, as well as threats to the series' objectivity that began in the 1950s and subsequent attempts at reform. The difficulties of interagency relationships were also touched upon.
Closed Session, June 4
Status Report on FRUS Declassification Issues
Immerman called the session to order at 9:10 a.m. Randolph then opened the session by welcoming the representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Defense (DOD) and expressing his increasing appreciation for the FRUS declassification system. He stated the process would never be trouble-free, and there would always be some measure of conflict, but he believed the working relationships between the parties involved were stronger than ever before. Randolph then noted that the Committee had met with the CIA's Historical Review Panel (HRP) a year ago in order to discuss the High Level Panel (HLP) process. He explained that the Office was completing issue statements much more expeditiously, and that it was a tribute to Herschler, Carl Ashley, Michael McCoyer, and the Declassification Division. He noted that since the February meeting DOD helped clear for publication several volumes and stated that the Office was again "on track" to declassify 10 volumes this year. Randolph concluded his remarks by thanking everyone, stressing that the declassification endeavor is a monumental undertaking central to everything the FRUS series achieves.
Howard agreed that the Office currently enjoyed the best working relationships with the other agencies he had seen in his 10 years in the Office. He noted that three HLPs had been approved recently, that the CIA verified a volume within the last week and that the Office planned to complete a total of 10 verifications by the end of the year. He said much of the credit for this progress goes to McCoyer and the CIA representative and his team. Howard, echoing Randolph's earlier remarks, expressed great relief that DOD had worked to clear several volumes for publication. He added that the production numbers were also bearing out the good feelings.
The CIA representative concurred that the relationship was at an all-time high, but also noted that since he had served as the FRUS coordinator, the relationship had always been at a high level. Upper management at the Agency proved more supportive. This permitted the CIA–FRUS staff to work more closely with the Office of the Historian, resulting in a more proactive relationship. McCoyer added that the HLP coordination process now begins much earlier in compilation of volumes and features sustained communication between CIA and the Office. He continued that the Office shares HLP relevant documents with CIA as soon as possible after the compiler identifies them, which initiates a conversation to arrive at something acceptable to both sides and helps the CIA representative's office vouch for the results to the Directorate with a better understanding of the rationale behind HO decisions.
Immerman asked if declassification issues surrounding two volumes in limbo could be resolved "in our lifetimes." Howard replied that resolving the issues with a particular volume was complicated by the fact that all agencies were heavily invested in the particular issue. In response to a query from Sibley, Ashley explained that when IPS and CIA disagree on an issue statement, the Office sends split memoranda to NSS in order for it to arbitrate the dispute. A discussion ensued on the particular declassification considerations regarding several additional volumes.
Immerman then invited Mark Langerman to report on Department of Defense FRUS review activities. Langerman stated that DOD has made efforts to move forward as proactively as possible and termed DOD's interactions with the Office of the Historian as a "great and growing relationship." He added that his office had changed its name to Defense Office of Pre-Publication and Security Review and referenced the number of cases DOD had received from the Office of the Historian. Langerman concluded by noting the progress made during the past year and crediting his staff for their efforts. Randolph reiterated the importance of the relationship between the Office of the Historian and DOD and the progress that had been made on FRUS review. Herschler also noted the positive overall reduction of "problem" volumes, adding that the number is down to a "handful." He stated that the Office had experienced some success in working simultaneously with several agencies, with the assistance of ISOO, to reconcile a problem volume, and that perhaps this was the best way to resolve remaining problem volumes. Following questions posed by Immerman, Sibley and Peterson, discussion transitioned to the possible impact of sequestration on FRUS declassification review.
The Committee then discussed email records held at the presidential libraries. Immerman asserted that the Committee had to engage on email and other electronic records and suggested that the Committee find a way to speak with DOD and/or CIA records mangers. Dudziak asked about coordination across agencies to review these records in order to avoid duplication of efforts. Comments followed from McCoyer and Powers. Powers noted that some efforts had been made toward improving electronic records management. He added that when President Obama signed Executive Order 13526 in December 2009, he also directed technological solutions to declassification. At this point, it is necessary to figure out strategies to automate declassification and review for release. Combes described the efforts with electronic record keeping using the State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolset (SMART) system, and Seth Center critiqued shortcomings of the SMART system.
Immerman stated that the Committee was vitally concerned by and engaged with the issues posed by electronic records and offered the Committee's assistance in any way deemed helpful. He affirmed the progress made on the Foreign Relations series and hoped this progress would continue as the Office worked through the Reagan administration subseries.
The session ended at 10:15 a.m.
Efforts to Meet the 30-Year Publication Line: Researching and Annotating Documentation in Carter Administration Records
Immerman called the session to order at 10:40 a.m. Christopher Morrison discussed his work on the Iran, 1977–1979 volume.
The Committee then went into Executive Session.