Learn about the beta

Chapter 12: Implementing the FRUS Statute, 1992–20021

After the erosion of transparency during the 1980s, champions of openness scored a remarkable victory with the FRUS statute’s mandate for the series, the HAC, and systematic declassification. Within the Department of State, the law’s edict for FRUS to provide a “thorough, accurate, and reliable record” settled—decisively—debate over the mission of the Foreign Relations series. Even when Department officials determined that critical documentation could not be declassified for publication in FRUS, no one disputed the legislated standard. The statute’s provisions regarding the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation (HAC) also resolved the “civil war in the Department” in favor of transparency advocates. The Department never again challenged the HAC’s authority to provide advice about maintaining the standard prescribed by Congress.

Despite the hopes of the academic community and Congress, however, the 1991 FRUS statute represented only the beginning of a process to rebalance security and transparency. For the next decade, HO, the HAC, the CIA, the NSC, and other agencies negotiated how to interpret and apply the law. The ensuing intense interagency discussions inspired bureaucratic restructuring and the creation of a new High Level Panel (HLP) to resolve intelligence-related declassification questions. By 2002, the intellectual and institutional foundations of the present series had been recast in light of the 1991 statute.

HO and HAC efforts to implement the law, however, demonstrated that national security concerns continued to shape the parameters of transparency. Fulfilling the FRUS statute required significant changes in institutional culture outside of the Department of State. The Central Intelligence Agency played a decisive role in shaping the evolution of the Foreign Relations series in the 1990s. Expanded access to CIA records and the plain language of the statute did not ensure that FRUS could document historically significant covert operations. By the mid-1990s, the series ran squarely into legal and policy contradictions that the Department’s retreat from openness had obscured in the 1980s. Did the FRUS statute neutralize the legal responsibility of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to protect intelligence sources and methods? How could FRUS historians exploit CIA records if full and direct access remained impossible? Would covert operations or other sensitive intelligence activities be acknowledged when HO and the HAC determined that producing a “thorough, accurate, and reliable” record required documenting them? Who in the U.S. Government possessed the authority to acknowledge covert operations? And, when such matters were acknowledged, could meaningful documentation be released? HO, the HAC, and the CIA spent a frustrating decade negotiating and renegotiating those questions.

Openness advocates also grappled with the enduring dilemma of balancing comprehensiveness and timeliness. Their efforts built upon decades of experiments in consolidating coverage within volumes and subseries, applying new technology to publish more documents, and expanding editorial devices to provide researchers additional information about archival sources. Just as previous efforts to accelerate the series had failed, the late 1990s “Future of FRUS” initiative proved unsuccessful in bringing the series into compliance with the 30-year line. Especially when taking into account the Department’s limited resources, finding the proper balance between comprehensiveness and timeliness remained a vexing problem.

Building a Culture of Openness?

The FRUS statute encouraged the Department of State to strengthen its institutional capacity to promote responsible historical transparency in the first half of the 1990s. After the Department warned the Advisory Committee in 1992 that meeting the statute’s systematic review requirement “cannot be achieved until 2010,” the HAC noted that “the assumptions underlying the declassification review process [were] unchanged” despite the FRUS statute, and lamented that “a ‘we’ versus ‘they’ attitude persists in certain areas in the department over the issue of declassification of the historical record.” The Committee prodded the Department to embrace openness, “particularly in the light of the new international situation that exists with the end of the Cold War.” Within months, the Department responded by developing an action plan to streamline records management and declassification review procedures. In 1993, the Department restored to HO responsibility for coordinating interagency declassification of FRUS documents. These reforms improved the Department’s ability to review and release historical records.2

Department leaders also promoted a greater degree of openness. As Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Department Chief of Staff (and a former student intern in HO during the mid-1970s), Tom Donilon continued the high-level bureaucratic support for FRUS provided by Margaret Tutwiler in 1990–1991. Indeed, Donilon engaged even more actively in FRUS declassification issues. In 1994 and 1995, he supported the release of documents in volumes covering Japan and British Guiana that had been denied by declassification reviewers and geographical bureau officers.3 After securing Department clearance, Donilon worked with senior officials at the CIA and the NSC to develop an “interagency appeals board” to “consider, and . . . resolve, [covert operation] cases that do not, strictly speaking, fall within the formal mandate of the law.” This informal body, soon replaced by a formal High Level Panel, approved acknowledgment of the operation in British Guiana, but denied releasing information for the Japan volume.4 In 1995 and 1996, HAC Chair Warren Kimball praised Donilon for his “constructive and energetic role” and the Bureau of Public Affairs for its “consistent and courageous” support in promoting the Foreign Relations series, both inside and outside the Department.5 When Kimball reported “a growing sense of crisis” confronting FRUS as difficulties with the CIA mounted in 1998, he also noted “the Department’s newly gained reputation for supporting reasonable openness”—a reputation that the HAC wanted to help “maintain and enhance.”6

Advocates for openness celebrated this stunning turnaround. Only seven years after the Department’s own declassification unit advocated vetoing the FRUS law to avoid onerous systematic review requirements, the Inspector General reported “the Department is generally considered by cognizant authorities such as ISOO [Information Security Oversight Office] and [the HAC] as having one of the best—if not the best—declassification programs in the Federal Government.”7 Most academic reviews of FRUS praised the improvement of the series in the aftermath of the statute. In October 1992, even before published volumes fully reflected the reforms introduced by the statute, Ohio State University historian Peter Hahn celebrated “glasnost in America” after reviewing FRUS’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli dispute in the 1950s.8 Later reviewers favorably compared volumes produced after the statute to those released in the 1980s. In 1997, Vanderbilt University historian Thomas Schwartz noted that the volumes documenting the Berlin crisis during the Kennedy administration were “significantly more complete” than those covering the same topic at the end of the Eisenhower years.9 The next year, Rutgers University historian and former HAC member Lloyd Gardner praised the two Johnson administration volumes covering Vietnam in 1965 as “setting the highest standards for government publication of a nation’s foreign policy record” and HO as “a triumph of professionalism—and a proper steward of a public trust.”10 In 1999, Stephen Rabe, a historian at the University of Texas at Dallas, predicted that the FRUS volumes and microfiche supplement documenting Kennedy’s policies toward Latin America “will go a long way toward assuring historians that [the FRUS statute] has effected meaningful change.”11 Finally, in 2000, University of Virginia historian (and former Foreign Service Officer and National Security Council staff member) Philip Zelikow found in FRUS’s coverage of Kennedy’s policy toward Cuba “a new level of editorial assistance and especially broad research across the archival holdings of agencies and collections of papers. The result,” Zelikow judged, “was authoritative.”12 Academic criticism of the “Iran Volume” and the restrictions placed on HAC access to classified material raised public and congressional awareness of the erosion of transparency in the 1980s. Conversely, academic endorsement of the Department’s improved systematic review program and production of “thorough, accurate, and reliable” volumes validated the Department’s efforts to promote responsible transparency in the 1990s.13

Other elements of the U.S. Government joined the Department of State in moving toward greater openness in the 1990s. In April 1993, President Bill Clinton ordered a review of the classification and declassification systems “to ensure that they are in line with the reality of the current, rather than the past, threat potential.” This review focused, in part, on accelerating declassification and reducing the “large amounts of classified information that currently exist in Government archives and other repositories.”14 The resulting executive order, issued two years later, recognized that “dramatic changes . . . provide a greater opportunity to emphasize our commitment to open Government.” Echoing the proposed automatic declassification language in some drafts of the Senate version of the FRUS statute, the order mandated that each agency undertake a systematic declassification review program. This had been optional under the previous executive order. Executive Order 12958 also provided for automatic declassification of 30-year-old records in 2000 unless they contained information in one of nine exempted categories.15 The automatic declassification provision galvanized many agencies to improve their systematic review procedures to avoid the unpleasant prospect of releasing unreviewed records after the deadline passed.16

Congress also tried to promote greater openness in the mid-1990s, when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan led a commission that examined “the culture of secrecy” that had arisen in the U.S. Government during the Cold War. At the end of the Moynihan Commission’s two-year investigation, it recommended replacing the executive order-centered regime for classifying and declassifying national security information with a statutory mandate for information security. The Commission also suggested centralizing declassification activities in a national Declassification Center, which would implement guidelines prepared by originating agencies.17 Despite the Moynihan Commission’s report, Congress avoided the thicket of constitutional debate that would have greeted any attempt to legislate classification and declassification across the U.S. Government. Instead, it passed the Public Interest Declassification Act in 2000. In language echoing the nearly decade-old FRUS statute, the law created a public advisory board jointly appointed by the President and the majority and minority leaders of both Houses of Congress “to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant United States national security decisions and significant United States national security activities.”18 The resulting Public Interest Declassification Board, which first met in 2006, has to date influenced the classification and declassification system far less than the HAC contributed to FRUS and the Department of State’s declassification procedures since 1991.19

Finally, Central Intelligence Agency actions portended a new era of openness in the early 1990s. In February 1992, DCI Robert Gates announced “a real shift on CIA’s part toward greater openness and sense of public responsibility.” Although he emphasized his continuing “statutory responsibility to protect our sources and methods,” Gates also believed that the Agency had to “be accountable to the American people” as it played “a critical role in supporting national security policymakers in a complex and often dangerous world.” Gates announced that he had transferred declassification review responsibilities to the Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI), “where there will be a bias toward declassification of historical documents.” Any appeals of a CSI declassification decision would go directly to the DCI for final resolution. He directed that CSI reviewers prioritize releasing information concerning “events of particular interest to historians from the late 1940s to the early 1960s,” such as “the 1954 Guatemalan coup, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”20 Gates also promised more openness about intelligence analysis, announcing that all National Intelligence Estimates on the former Soviet Union that were 10 years old or older would be reviewed for release. Finally, he explicitly affirmed the applicability of the 1991 law by noting that CSI was also charged with “participat[ing] in [the] preparation of” FRUS “and compliance with related statutes governing the review of historical material.”21 In April, Page Putnam Miller reported the CIA’s “new policy of openness” and predicted that “historians will be eager to see whether the new plan . . . is able to reverse a long tradition of secrecy.”22

James Woolsey, who succeeded Gates as DCI in 1993, fueled expectations for greater openness when he testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that he had “directed review for declassification of significant Cold War covert actions more than 30 years old.” He acknowledged “activities in support of democracy in France and Italy in the 1940s and 1950s; support to anti-Sukarno rebels in Indonesia in 1958; support to Tibetan guerrillas in the 1950s and early 1960s; operations against North Korea during the Korean War; and, operations in Laos in the 1960s.” He also echoed promises made by Gates to “declassify records on the Bay of Pigs operation, the coups against President Arbenz of Guatemala and against Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran, and operations in the Dominican Republic and the Congo.” Alongside this pledge to release information about these 11 covert operations, Woolsey reiterated his predecessor’s insistence that the Agency would continue to protect sources and methods needed to preserve national security.23 Gates’s and Woolsey’s promises fueled expectations that the CIA would release documentation of the Agency’s historical participation in decisionmaking and its significant overseas activities. As FRUS stakeholders learned in the mid-1990s, however, a great deal of work had to be done to augment the declassification system, improve interagency awareness, and reshape longstanding habits of behavior before these expectations could be fulfilled.

The CIA Problem

The controversy over the Iran volume in 1990 highlighted the importance assigned by the academic community and Congress to documenting intelligence issues in the Foreign Relations series. FRUS research and clearances put HO, the HAC, and the Agency on a collision course in the decade following the passage of the FRUS statute. As they realized that the FRUS statute alone did not assure the integrity of the series, HO and the HAC grappled with yet another “crisis” facing the Foreign Relations series.

Implementing the FRUS statute required HO staff to consult Intelligence Community records. Absent sufficient access to those documents, the series could not present a thorough and accurate account of the Intelligence Community’s role in decisionmaking and “significant” activities abroad. A 1992 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HO and the CIA for the Agency’s cooperation with FRUS eased restrictions on HO access to CIA-originated or CIA-equity documents at the Presidential Libraries. FRUS historians faced difficulties, however, in conducting research in records controlled directly by intelligence agencies that zealously protected information security. The CIA employed records management practices to compartmentalize holdings on a “need to know” basis, not ease researcher accessibility. Even the Agency’s own historians in the CSI lacked full access to Directorate of Operations (DO) files.24 In 1995 and 1996, political scientist David Gibbs accused the Historian’s Office of “omitt[ing] vital information[,] . . . suppress[ing] details concerning U.S intervention, and generally provid[ing] a misleading account of the Congo Crisis” in a volume compiled without full access to CIA records.25 By the mid-1990s, HO and CSI developed a working relationship that illustrated the difficulties involved in incorporating intelligence records into FRUS: HO compilers who employed inconsistent methodologies to collect and select CIA records teamed up with Agency historians who possessed varying degrees of familiarity with and access to targeted records.26

Despite the ambiguities in this arrangement, it proved adequate in the early and mid-1990s. The Agency’s own growing declassification program provided FRUS historians access to many important records. The CIA identified the Bay of Pigs operation and intelligence relating to the Cuban Missile Crisis as priority “targeted declassification” issues.27 The JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which created a public advisory panel to review agency declassification decisions, expedited the release of additional Kennedy-era documentation.28 With extensive CIA assistance, HO released the first of a series of institutionally-focused retroactive volumes on the organization of the Intelligence Community in 1996.29 In the early and mid-1990s, FRUS historians also systematically exploited the records of the Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which contained a treasure trove of documentation of high-level deliberations concerning covert operations and served as a vital “road map” for additional research in CIA holdings, especially relating to the National Intelligence Council and the Directorate of Intelligence.30 Although HO and the HAC constantly sought to improve FRUS compilers’ ability to make use of intelligence-related materials, by late 1997, William Slany reported that HO “believed we have the access needed to compile the record.”31

The covert operations documented in CIA and INR records raised vexing dilemmas for the Agency and the Department. Plans for including covert operations in the post-statute FRUS reflected the central role that academic criticism of the Iran volume (and, retroactively, the Guatemala volume) played in inspiring the 1991 law. Both HO and the HAC agreed that the series’s credibility required covering covert operations that resulted from “major foreign policy decisions” or whose effects embodied “significant diplomatic activity.” Even as HO grappled with the difficulties of documenting sensitive intelligence activities in current compilations, the HAC also urged Department historians to produce retrospective volumes to bring FRUS’s coverage of the late 1940s and 1950s up to the statutory mandate. These plans, like the access arrangements made in the early 1990s, reflected HO and HAC optimism that the CIA’s openness initiatives and the official acknowledgement of several Cold War covert operations opened the world of intelligence activities to FRUS.32

Documenting covert operations in FRUS, however, required greater exertions than anyone in the Department or the CIA anticipated in the early 1990s. Working-level declassification reviewers in both the Department and the Agency lacked the authority to acknowledge covert operations. Senior-level officials disagreed about where that authority resided in the interagency declassification system. Because Presidential authorization was required to initiate covert actions, the NSC would have to approve acknowledgement and release decisions before other agencies could move forward. Since the NSC reviewed FRUS compilations at the end of the clearance process, however, CIA reviewers lacked White House guidance when they made their release decisions. Despite the FRUS statute and Clinton’s new executive order, no procedure existed to declassify as-yet unacknowledged operations.

In 1995, Donilon worked with Nora Slatkin, the Executive Director of the CIA, and Rand Beers, the head of the NSC Intelligence Directorate, to formalize principles guiding treatment of covert actions in FRUS. They agreed on the “general presumption that volumes of [the series] will disclose for the historical record major covert actions undertaken as a matter of U.S. foreign policy.” To implement this principle, they formed the interagency panel that ruled on the Kennedy-era Japan and British Guiana volumes. After Donilon left the Department, the panel languished. By the summer of 1997, a growing backlog of CIA clearances and mounting HAC impatience with the deadlock led Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to invite DCI George Tenet and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to formalize the HLP. As originally designed, the Panel consisted of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, a senior CIA official (the Executive Director or the General Counsel of the Agency), and the intelligence staff director at the NSC. These principal officers would meet periodically to consider HO-prepared issue statements providing a summary description of covert actions proposed for inclusion in specific volumes and to examine proposed declassification guidelines for reviewing documentation for release. In fact, the HLP representatives met face-to-face only twice. In all subsequent cases, HLP decisions were instead coordinated at the staff level, with HO drafting issue statements and guidelines, securing clearance within the Department, negotiating an agreed position with the CIA, and then seeking final approval from the NSC. This shift in practice limited the engagement of senior officials to approving release guidance while leaving interpretation and implementation to mid-level and working-level management officers. The HLP institutionalized new capacities to acknowledge historical covert operations and “other sensitive intelligence issues” in the U.S. declassification system. When it came into operation in early 1998, HO, the HAC, and the CIA all hoped that the HLP would resolve increasingly alarming delays in declassifying and publishing FRUS.33

Acknowledgment of covert operations, however, did not necessarily lead to the release of significant documentation. Although the HLP approved the acknowledgement of all 12 of the issues that came onto its agenda in 1998, the CIA’s clearance decisions were much more constrained than HO and the HAC expected. The HLP allowed for the acknowledgement of additional covert operations but did not moderate CIA reluctance to release operational documentation. Instead, the Department and the Agency arrived at an impasse exemplified by the Indonesia, 1958–1960 volume (published in 1994). The preface to that volume noted that the compilation represented the first example of the inclusion of a covert operation in the Foreign Relations series, but it also explained that details of U.S. support for Indonesian rebels could not be released. Although the HLP approved specific declassification guidelines for later volumes, the HAC complained that “the CIA ke[pt] coming up with reasons not to release the information (amounts of money, liaison relationships, activities in-country, etc.).” Despite high-level support for increased transparency, CIA officials applied HLP guidelines so conservatively in 1998 and 1999 that they contributed little to HO’s ability to document historical covert operations.34

This new deadlock forced HO, the HAC, and the Agency to confront fundamental disagreements about the release of sensitive intelligence information that dated back to 1960. HO and the HAC repeated arguments made since the 1970s about the “transparency value” of incorporating intelligence information into FRUS. To historians, the passage of time, the release of information about secret activities and relationships in memoirs, or leaks to the media almost always obviated any continuing need to protect sources or methods. They also cited repeated CIA statements that described FRUS as the proper vehicle for disclosing intelligence activities responsibly, in their full historical context, to urge the Agency to be more forthcoming.35 These attitudes, and FRUS historians’ determination to document intelligence activities abroad, ran headlong into the most sensitive areas of CIA concern. Even after Department of State officials retreated from 1980s-era views concerning security and transparency, advocates of secrecy elsewhere in the U.S. Government could still hobble FRUS.

By the end of the 1990s, a backlash against FRUS gathered momentum in the Agency, especially in the Directorate of Operations. In 1998, DCI Tenet reorganized the CIA’s declassification functions. New procedures deemphasized the role played by Agency historians and enhanced the ability of the various directorate Information Review Officers to oversee release decisions. Tenet emphasized his responsibility to protect national security, citing “the limits imposed upon me by law not to jeopardize intelligence sources and methods, impinge on our liaison relationships with other countries, or interfere with our ability to carry out the Agency’s mission.”36 Tenet’s bureaucratic reshuffling empowered skeptics of openness to reshape the CIA’s relationship to FRUS.

In early 2001, Richard Kinsman, a CIA declassification reviewer and former DO officer, published an article in the Agency’s in-house scholarly journal, Studies in Intelligence, warning that FRUS “confronted [the CIA] with increasingly frequent and deadly serious assaults on DCI authorities and responsibilities.” Although he accepted that “approved covert actions in and of themselves constitute foreign policy decisions when on the scale of the Bay of Pigs, Afghanistan, Iran, and so forth,” Kinsman argued that “providing details of operational implementation is quite another” matter. HO “aggravated” these fears by its “efforts to provide ‘historically accurate’ documents, citing [the] CIA by name,” which “constituted de facto admission of a CIA presence abroad, a direct contradiction of current policy.” FRUS methodology endangered “official CIA nonpresence abroad,” which Kinsman judged “crucially important to CIA’s ability to conduct its clandestine missions of collection, liaison, and covert action.” With HO and the HAC rejecting CIA claims that “historical accuracy can be satisfied by describing the ‘fact of’ a given covert action . . . without specifics that threaten clandestine operational relationships and methodology,” Kinsman feared that “CIA is in danger of losing control of its own declassification process . . . to the nongovernmental academic community.”37 Kinsman’s fears of the risks posed by including intelligence documents in FRUS echoed four decades of CIA efforts to limit coverage of its overseas presence in the series.

As the CIA’s relationship with FRUS deteriorated in the late 1990s, the Department of State and the Agency tried to address the increasing friction. In 1997, Agency officials suggested that HO detail a FRUS historian to the CIA (with additional Agency clearances) to resolve lingering access issues and help both sides understand the priorities and concerns of the other. Although eventually implemented to mutual satisfaction, this proposal for a “joint historian” added to interagency tensions in the short term rather than ameliorating them.38 The CIA’s advisory Historical Review Panel (HRP) also tried to mediate between HO, the HAC, and the CIA. HAC and HRP members attended each other’s meetings to coordinate improved CIA cooperation with FRUS. HRP Chair Robert Jervis, a distinguished Columbia University political scientist, suggested that preparing more detailed issue statements and declassification guidelines at the beginning of the HLP process might result in the release of more documents after the High Level Panel ruled.39 These efforts helped the HLP to make “gradual but important progress” by December 2000.40

Disputes about releasing two contentious volumes brought the relationship between HO and the CIA to the breaking point during the summer of 2001. In July, the Government Printing Office mistakenly distributed copies of the unreleased Indonesia; Malaysia; Philippines, 1964–1968 FRUS volume, whose publication had been postponed in May to avoid contributing to “recent political turmoil in Indonesia.” The volume included documentation on the U.S. role in identifying members of the Indonesian Community Party who were subsequently targeted by “Indonesian security authorities” during the 1960s. After the National Security Archive, a “global advocate of open government”41 based at George Washington University, received the mistakenly-released volume, it immediately scanned and posted it on the Internet to thwart any effort to recall the distributed copies.42 The following month, a Washington Post story based on an interview with former HO historian James Miller revealed that another volume, which included documentation about two proposed (but rejected) covert operations to influence Greek politicians, had also been locked away at CIA insistence. Miller blamed “CIA officials in Athens” for “convincing a visiting congressional delegation that publication ‘would destroy Greek-American relations’” or “prompt Greek terrorists to launch attacks against Americans.”43 Even though neither HO nor the HAC were responsible for them, these FRUS-related security lapses infuriated the CIA. The Agency abrogated the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that had governed CIA involvement in the Foreign Relations series since 1992.44 Even before the 9/11 terrorist attacks elevated concerns about security throughout the U.S. Government, FRUS coverage of intelligence activities abroad raised red flags at the CIA.

Despite this meltdown in the summer of 2001, both HO and the CIA worked to find common ground and clarify their commitments for promoting responsible historical transparency. At the end of an arduous (but cathartic) negotiation process, the Department and the Agency agreed on a refined framework for continued CIA cooperation in the FRUS production process. In the process of forging a new MOU, both sides clarified their own priorities and identified key concerns in a “confidence-building” dialogue. The CIA strengthened its role in providing HO advice about document selection, improved coordination for records access, enhanced its equity-identification capabilities, refined security safeguards, and expanded its authority over release decisions for some volumes.45 The HAC insisted that new arrangements must avoid “any additional layers of review,” retain the High Level Panel, accept flexibility to reform the series, and preserve the Department’s authority to make decisions about the timing of volume releases.46 HO reported that “during the months of negotiations, both parties gained a better understanding of each other’s needs.” Signed on May 10, 2002, the new MOU “ensured that CIA will meet HO’s statutory requirements for access,” retained the HLP mechanism for dealing with especially sensitive issues, and added an additional 60-day review period for the CIA to identify its equities in FRUS volumes.47 In addition to the new MOU, in the spring of 2002, both parties committed the resources necessary to implement the Joint Historian liaison position with full CIA security clearances. A member of HO possessing the authority to search CIA files for FRUS-relevant records, the Joint Historian helped both sides restore trust, gain confidence, share expectations, and build stable foundations for FRUS’s future.48

The 30–Year Line and the Future of FRUS

In the years following the passage of the statute, both HO and the HAC deemphasized timeliness to focus on assuring the series’s credibility as a full and comprehensive account of U.S. foreign policy. Between 1991 and 1996 (the statute’s deadline for reaching the 30-year line), HO published 51 volumes and averaged a 32-year publication line. From 1997 to 2002, the average lag stabilized, but production plummeted to 28 volumes. This shortfall ensured that the publication lag would grow in subsequent years. The impulse to sacrifice timeliness to assure credibility first arose with regard to volumes prepared before the 1991 law that did not meet the new “thorough, accurate, and reliable” standard. Both HO and the HAC supported delaying several volumes covering the Kennedy administration to pursue declassification appeals or to conduct additional research in intelligence records.49 From the early to mid-1990s, HO and the HAC resorted to the frequent use of disclaimers to resolve tensions between timeliness and comprehensiveness. HO included statements noting cases in which compilations were produced before attaining broader access to CIA records.50 The HAC, too, inserted disclaimers when material withheld by the declassification process prevented several volumes from providing “thorough, accurate, and reliable” documentation of a given issue.51 HO and the HAC also protected the reputation of the series by noting significant excisions in volumes that nonetheless met the new integrity standard established by the FRUS statute.52 These editorial devices mitigated delays, but could not reconcile the conflicting requirements embedded in the statutory mandate.

Balancing comprehensiveness and timeliness also entailed making broader judgments about the size and scope of the series. Despite the potential implications for the series’s timeliness, the HAC criticized HO proposals to limit the number of volumes envisaged for the Nixon subseries.53 In 1996 and 1997, the HAC also grew “increasingly disinclined” to employ disclaimers to evade the delays required to declassify sufficiently comprehensive volumes, insisting instead that the U.S. Government clear volumes that conformed to the FRUS statute.54 By the late 1990s, a combination of resource constraints, declassification challenges, and the continuing expansion of the universe of foreign policy documentation convinced Slany and Kimball that FRUS would have to evolve once again to meet the needs of its users and to satisfy both aspects of its statutory mandate.

In 1998, the “Future of FRUS” initiative explored new paths to make documentation of U.S. foreign policy more accessible. Some strategies echoed past expedients: HO staff and the HAC discussed ways to tighten selection criteria. They also conceptualized how individual volumes should fit into an overall scheme to satisfy the “thorough and accurate” standard, conform to resource constraints, and meet the 30-year deadline. Echoing Trask’s 1970s “three-tier” concept, deliberations focused on what Kimball described as a “core, crisis, context” framework. According to this schema, HO would engage in documentary triage, with important “core” issues, themes, and diplomatic relationships receiving complete and comprehensive treatment; foreign policy “crises” getting intensive coverage; and broader regional (or global) “context” material being handled much more selectively. Volumes covering U.S.–Soviet relations exemplified this shift. Previously focusing on bilateral issues, compilers would reframe these compilations as “Cold War” volumes reflecting the global scope of Washington’s rivalry with Moscow. The HAC also urged HO to prepare “framework” volumes illustrating the intellectual and organizational foundations of U.S. decisionmaking. Finally, the “new” FRUS series should deemphasize the existing organization of subseries by Presidential administration, which had begun (coincidentally) with the 1961–1963 triennium and (formally) with the Johnson subseries conceived in 1990. Instead, the “Future of FRUS” plan called for thematic volumes to present a more holistic account by including documentation from multiple administrations when appropriate.55

To implement this strategy, the “Future of FRUS plan” envisioned two new publication mechanisms. First, electronic publication on the Internet offered HO greater flexibility in releasing documentation. Not only would Internet publication make the series more accessible, it also gave HO the option to release partial compilations without abandoning declassification appeals for printed volumes. Moreover, the Internet raised the possibility of updating the minimally annotated microfiche supplements as electronic-only “lite” volumes. Second, access guides could compensate for the greater selectivity of the published documentation by providing researchers with comprehensive road maps to relevant archival collections enriched with experienced FRUS historians’ subjective judgments of their quality. The combination of printed volumes, electronically-published collections, and access guides would provide HO a wider array of tools to prosecute its core mission of making foreign policy documentation available to the public and increasing the accessibility of the wider, unpublished historical record.56

After Kimball publicly announced the “Future of FRUS” plan on behalf of the HAC and HO in 1999, the Office and the Committee ran into unexpected difficulties in realizing their new vision for the series. Enthusiasm for electronic publication waned as the editorial, technical, budgetary, and legal challenges involved became clear. Internet supplements, like their microfiche forebears, taxed declassification review capacities. Unlike the microfiche supplements, however, they also required substantial editorial and publication resources to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite HAC enthusiasm for access guides, HO staff expressed ambivalence over their marginal utility (and the increased workload they required). The CIA feared access guides would, as the HAC intended, significantly increase FOIA and mandatory declassification review requests that the Agency lacked the resources to process. Owing to staff attrition in the late 1990s (in part a manifestation of frictions generated by conflicting imperatives in producing a timely and comprehensive series), HO itself faced a daunting personnel shortage that the Department began rectifying in 2001 and 2002. Despite HO efforts to experiment with the FRUS production process by conducting “tandem research” for multiple volumes simultaneously and reviving “team research” at the Ford Presidential Library, the compilation process for each volume still required the same 18–24 person-months that it had for decades. In practice, many of the innovations proposed in the “Future of FRUS” plan fell by the wayside in the 21st century.57

The prospects for meeting the 30-year publication requirement also faded during the first decade of the 21st century. The recession from the 30-year-line during the 1990s prompted Congress to amend the FRUS statute in 2002 to include new reporting requirements on the Department’s efforts to meet the deadline.58 Despite the efforts of Marc Susser,59 who replaced Slany as Historian in 2000, Foreign Relations failed to catch up to its publication target. From 2002 to 2012, HO published 57 FRUS volumes with an average publication lag of 35 years. The series fell further behind as declassification delays for both HLP and non-HLP volumes mounted and the expansive Nixon/Ford subseries taxed the Office’s resources. Moreover, between 2007 and 2009, plummeting staff morale led to attrition that “orphaned” many incomplete volumes in the middle of the compilation process.60 Apart from personnel and management issues subsequently addressed by the Department, the delays plaguing the FRUS series reflect HO’s prioritization of comprehensiveness over timeliness.

The landmark 1991 statute raised hopes that the problems plaguing the series during the 1980s could be quickly resolved. FRUS compilers anticipated unfettered access to a wider range of documents. HO managers coveted bureaucratic leverage they could employ against transparency skeptics throughout the U.S. Government. HAC members expected a flood of timely, comprehensive volumes. The Department of State hoped that its “FRUS problem” was solved. The CIA and other intelligence agencies looked to preserve their prerogatives for protecting sensitive information. Other federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, assumed that their FRUS obligations would remain relatively minor. All these actors had to revisit such notions during the 1990s and 2000s.

Despite continued difficulties, the FRUS statute accommodated the essential interests of all parties. It not only offered something for everyone, it also provided incentive to compromise. Memory of congressional intervention and the prospect of further scrutiny from Capitol Hill spurred all parties to resolve problems, accept trade-offs, and pursue measurable results. HO toiled painstakingly to build mutually beneficial structures and relationships with multiple interlocutors. However imperfect, cooperative processes embodied in Memoranda of Understanding, the High Level Panel, the Joint Historian, and other innovations enabled FRUS constituencies to continue their unceasing negotiations over the boundaries of responsible historical transparency.

  1. To avoid a lengthy declassification review, this chapter relies on previously released sources to outline the evolution of the Foreign Relations series in the 1990s. Although unreleased Department of State records contain much more detailed information about the implementation of the FRUS statute, the formation of the High Level Panel, the evolving relationship between the CIA and HO, and efforts to modernize the Foreign Relations series for the Internet era, published sources provide an accurate description of FRUS in the 1990s. The most useful released sources are HAC meeting notes at Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/meeting-notes and HAC reports at Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/index.html.
  2. Kimball, “Fixing the Foreign Relations Series: The 1992 HAC Report,” Perspectives, September 1993, pp. 30–32 and Kimball, “Historical Advisory Committee Reports on Foreign Relations Series,” Perspectives, November 1994, pp. 16–18.
  3. For the Department’s reversal, see Kimball, “Historical Advisory Committee Reports on Foreign Relations Series,” Perspectives, November 1994, pp. 16–17; Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation meeting minutes for February 1995, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac295.html; and Kimball to Warren Christopher with attached HAC report for 1994–1995, May 10, 1996, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac95.html.
  4. The covert operation in Japan was retroactively acknowledged in the volume covering 1964–1968. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, vol. XXIX, pt. 2, Japan, Document 1 (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v29p2/d1).
  5. Minutes of February 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac295.html and minutes of July 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac795.html; and Kimball to Christopher with attached HAC report for 1994–1995, May 10, 1996, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac95.html.
  6. Kimball to Madeleine Albright, March 6, 1998 included with “Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation,” Perspectives, January 1999, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1999/9901/9901NOT.cfm. For the HAC’s role in promoting the Department’s improved transparency after the FRUS statute, see Betty Glad and Jonathan Smith, “The Role of the Historical Advisory Committee, 1990–94, in the Declassification of U.S. Foreign Policy Documents and Related Issues,” PS: Political Science and Politics, June 1996, pp. 185–191; Miller, “We Can’t Yet Read Our Own Mail: Access to the Records of the Department of State,” in Theoharis, A Culture of Secrecy, pp. 186–210, especially pp. 201–208; Robert Schulzinger, “Transparency, Secrecy, and Citizenship,” Diplomatic History, Spring 2001, pp. 165–178, especially pp. 170–176; and Steven Aftergood, H–DIPLO article commentary, April 18, 2001, H–NET, http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-diplo&month=0104&week=c&msg=4WG/DEBrnOS5/X6uNslE%2Bg.
  7. Department of State OIG report, “Declassifying State Department Secrets,” September 1998, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/oig.html.
  8. Peter Hahn, “Glasnost in America: Foreign Relations of the United States and the Middle East, 1955–1960,” Diplomatic History, October 1992, pp. 631–642.
  9. Thomas Schwartz, “The Berlin Crisis and the Cold War,” Diplomatic History, Winter 1997, pp. 139–148. Schwartz served on the HAC from 2005 to 2008.
  10. Gardner, “From the American Archives,” Diplomatic History, Spring 1998, pp. 321–336.
  11. Stephen Rabe, “John F. Kennedy and Latin America: The ‘Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable Record’ (Almost),” Diplomatic History, Summer 1999, pp. 539–552.
  12. Philip Zelikow, “American Policy and Cuba, 1961–1963,” Diplomatic History, Spring 2000, pp. 317–334. Zelikow served as Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission in 2003 and 2004 and Counselor of the Department of State from 2005 to 2007. Zelikow also served on the HAC from 1997 to 2001.
  13. Analysis of source notes in the digitized Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon/Ford subseries, conducted in July 2013, provides a rough illustration of the evolving content of the series as HO implemented the FRUS statute. These figures, it should be emphasized, denote the archival source of documents selected for inclusion in the series rather than the agency that originally produced the documents. HO compiled the Kennedy volumes in the late 1980s and early 1990s; Johnson volumes in the 1990s, and Nixon/Ford volumes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Documents selected from Department of State records constituted 64.7 percent of the Kennedy subseries, 53.2 percent of the Johnson subseries, and 29.6 percent of the Nixon/Ford subseries. Analogous figures for documents from presidential libraries were 25.5, 38.5, and 59.1 percent; for documents drawn from military records, 5.5, 4.0, and 2.4 percent; for documents from the CIA, 1.7, 2.3, and 1.7 percent. Henry Kissinger’s papers at the Library of Congress comprised 5.0 percent of the Nixon/Ford subseries. These figures do not reflect HO’s use of the Nixon tapes since many of the transcriptions of these conversations appeared in Editorial Notes, which were excluded from the queries.
  14. Presidential Review Directive 29, “National Security Information,” April 26, 1993, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/assets/storage/Research%20-%20Digital%20Library/directives/2010-1225-F-prd-29-national-security-information-april-26-1993.pdf.
  15. Executive Order 12958 (signed April 17, 1995), Federal Register, Vol. 60, No. 76, April 20, 1995, pp. 19825–19843 (published April 20, 1995), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1995-04-20/pdf/95-9941.pdf.
  16. The review deadline was extended in the late 1990s and early 2000s to reflect more restrictive revisions to Clinton’s executive order, such as Kyl–Lott requirements to prevent accidental releases of information related to nuclear weapons. See Matthew Aid, “Declassification in Reverse: The U.S. Intelligence Community’s Secret Historical Document Reclassification Program,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 179, February 21, 2006, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB179/.
  17. Secrecy: Report of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, S. Doc. 105–2 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1997), pp. xxii–xxv, 11–16, 67–73.
  18. Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000, as amended, Public Law 106–567, National Archives, Public Interest Declassification Board website, http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/public-law-106-567.pdf. See also “S. 1801—Public Interest Declassification Act, Hearing Before the Committee on Government Affairs, U.S. Senate,” July 26, 2000, S. Hrg. 106–713 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 2000), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-106shrg66249/pdf/CHRG-106shrg66249.pdf.
  19. For records of PIDB meetings and reports, see National Archives, Public Interest Declassification Board website, http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/meetings/ and http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/recommendations/.
  20. Gates’s specific reference to these three events facilitated the release of CIA documentation in three FRUS volumes, a CIA documentary collection, and a highly publicized 1997 CIA document release. See the prefaces to Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. X (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v10/preface); Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v11/preface); and Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Guatemala (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1952-54Guat/preface); Mary McAuliffe, ed., CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (Washington: CIA History Staff, 1992), https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/Cuban%20Missile%20Crisis1962.pdf; and Kate Doyle and Peter Kornbluh, “CIA and Assassinations: The Guatemala 1954 Documents,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 4, [no date—1997], http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4/ (based on documents released by the CIA in May 1997).
  21. Robert Gates speech, February 21, 1992, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/gates1992.html. See also Task Force on Greater CIA Openness to Gates, December 20, 1991 and Gates to Deputy Directors and other Senior Agency Officials, January 6, 1992, Exhibits B and C in Tom Blanton and Kate Martin, “CIA Secrecy Lawsuit,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book CIA Case, August 2, 2000, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/ciacase/EXB.pdf and http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/ciacase/EXC.pdf.
  22. Miller, “NCC Advocacy Update,” Perspectives, April 1992, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1992/9204/9204NCC.cfm.
  23. James Woolsey testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, September 28, 1993, Exhibit D in Tom Blanton and Kate Martin, “CIA Secrecy Lawsuit,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book CIA Case, August 2, 2000, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/ciacase/EXD.pdf.
  24. This remained the case as of 2014.
  25. David Gibbs, “Let Us Forget Unpleasant Memories: The US State Department’s Analysis of the Congo Crisis,” Journal of Modern African Studies, March 1995, pp. 175–180 and Gibbs, “Misrepresenting the Congo Crisis,” African Affairs, July 1996, pp. 453–459 (quote from p. 453).
  26. See minutes of February 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac295.html and minutes of June 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1996; minutes of October 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1996; minutes of December 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1996; minutes of March 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1997; minutes of September 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1997; minutes of December 1997 meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1997; minutes of March 1998 meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1998; minutes of October 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1998; minutes of December 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1998; and minutes of March 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1999.
  27. See the preface of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. X, Cuba, January 1961–September 1962 (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v10/preface) and the foreword to McAuliffe, ed., CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (Washington: CIA History Staff, 1992), https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/Cuban%20Missile%20Crisis1962.pdf.
  28. See Anna K. Nelson, “The John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board,” in Theoharis, A Culture of Secrecy, pp. 211–231. According to Nelson, the Assassination Records Review Board exercised “extraordinary powers of oversight. The board and its staff could have access to any and all records in every federal agency, including those the agencies deemed irrelevant to the assassination. Furthermore, the board was granted broad powers to overturn agency record-withholding decisions—only the president could countermand its rulings to release records.” (p. 214).
  29. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945–1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1945-50Intel/preface).
  30. See minutes of July 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac795.html and minutes of June 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1997.
  31. Minutes of December 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1997.
  32. For discussions of retrospective volumes between 1992 and 2002, see minutes of July 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Secrecy in Government Project website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac795.html; minutes of March 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1996; minutes of June 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1996; minutes of October 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1996; minutes of March 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1997; minutes of June 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1997; minutes of September 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1997; minutes of March 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1998; minutes of June 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1998; minutes of October 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1998; minutes of March 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1999; minutes of June 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-2001; minutes of December 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2001; minutes of March 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-2002; minutes of July 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2002; minutes of September 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-2002; and minutes of December 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2002. The Committee also noted the importance of retrospective volumes in several annual reports to the Secretary of State. See Kimball, “Fixing the Foreign Relations Series: The 1992 HAC Report,” Perspectives, September 1993, p. 30; Kimball, “Historical Advisory Committee Reports on Foreign Relations Series,” Perspectives, November 1994, p. 16; and Kimball, “The Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Documentation to the U.S. Department of State,” Perspectives, January 1998, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1998/9801/9801NOT.cfm.
  33. For the State-CIA agreed principles, see “Understanding Between the Department of State and the CIA on Cooperating and Publishing Essential Covert Actions in the Foreign Relations Series,” attached to Kimball to Christopher along with the HAC report for 1994–1995, May 10, 1996, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac95.html. For HAC discussion of the covert action decisionmaking issue through 1998, see minutes of February 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac295.html; minutes of July 1995 HAC meeting, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac795.html; minutes of March 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1996; minutes of June 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1996; minutes of October 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1996; minutes of December 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1996; minutes of March 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1997; minutes of June 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1997; minutes of September 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1997; and minutes of December 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1997. For the HAC’s impatience with the status quo in 1996–1997, see Warren Kimball, “Classified!” address to SHAFR annual meeting, June 22, 1996; George C. Herring, “My Years With the CIA,” January 1997, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/herring.html; Kimball to Nora Slatkin, April 1, 1997, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/kimball.html; and Kimball, “The Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Documentation to the U.S. Department of State,” Perspectives, January 1998, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1998/9801/9801NOT.cfm. For press coverage of the dispute, see Tim Weiner, “Keeping the Secrets That Everyone Knows,” New York Times, October 30, 1994, p. E16; Weiner, “Some Spying Secrets Will Stay out the Cold” [sic], New York Times, February 19, 1995, p. E3; William Studeman letter to the editor, “Why CIA Can Disclose Much, but Not All,” New York Times, March 4, 1995, p. A18; Kimball letter to the editor, “CIA Gives Little Hope of Being More Candid,” New York Times, August 23, 1996, p. A26; and Weiner, “Committee Says CIA’s Secrecy Threatens to Make History a Lie,” New York Times, April 9, 1998, p. A22.
  34. Quote from minutes of September 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1999. For the Indonesia volume, see the preface to Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, vol. XVII, Indonesia (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v17/preface); “Official History Details Covert CIA Role in Indonesia,” Washington Post, October 30, 1994, p. A11; and Robert McMahon presentation at the “Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction, and Memory” conference at the University of Nottingham, April 2011, http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2011/04/robert-j-mcmahon-the-cia-and-the-frus-series-the-indonesian-case/. For the initial operation of the HLP, see “Status of Johnson and Nixon Era FRUS High Level Panel [HLP] Covert Action Cases,” May 1999, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/covert-hlp.html minutes of March 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1998; minutes of June 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1998; minutes of October 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1998; minutes of December 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1998; minutes of March 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1999; minutes of May 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/may-1999; minutes of September 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1999; minutes of December 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1999; Kimball, “The Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Documentation to the U.S. Department of State,” Perspectives, January 1999, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1999/9901/9901NOT.cfm; Kimball to Albright (with attached HAC report for 1997–1998), March 2, 1999, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac98.html; and Michael Hogan to Albright (with attached HAC report for 1998–1999), March 27, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac99.html.
  35. See Kimball, “Openness and the CIA,” Studies in Intelligence, Winter-Spring 2001, pp. 63–67, https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol44no5/pdf/v44i5a08p.pdf and, for official CIA endorsements of FRUS, Brian Latell speech, July 24, 1996, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/othergov/latell.html; George Tenet, “DCI Statement on Declassification,” July 15, 1998, Central Intelligence Agency, News & Information website, https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/press-release-archive-1998/ps071598.html; and Edmund Cohen presentation, September 25, 1998, Central Intelligence Agency, News & Information website, https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/1998/cohen_speech_092598.html.
  36. Minutes of March 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1998 and Tenet, “DCI Statement on Declassification,” July 15, 1998, Central Intelligence Agency, News & Information website, https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/press-release-archive-1998/ps071598.html.
  37. Kinsman attributed “serious, cumulative, and long-term deleterious effects on the Agency” to “specific citations by name to CIA in the FRUS.” Such citations, he argued, were misconceived since any time the Agency conducted “significant diplomatic activity” in the form of a covert operation, it was “acting in its capacity as executive agent for policy levels of the U.S. Government.” By drawing attention to the CIA, FRUS “increased [the] sensitivity and awareness of the dangers inherent in a CIA presence. This normally translates into increased counterintelligence and/or terrorist activity directed against the real or imagined CIA presence, making [the Clandestine Service’s] job more difficult and risky, and occasionally life-threatening.” Kinsman also argued that FRUS alarmed “host country liaison entities” and “agent recruitment targets,” who might grow increasingly fearful that “their cooperation . . . is likely to appear some day in the official written record of the U.S. Government.” N. Richard Kinsman, “Openness and the Future of the Clandestine Service,” Studies in Intelligence, Winter-Spring 2001, pp. 55–61, https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol44no5/pdf/v44i5a07p.pdf.
  38. Minutes of September 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1997; minutes of December 1997 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1997; minutes of October 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1998; minutes of March 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1999; minutes of December 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1999; minutes of July 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2000; minutes of September 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-2000; minutes of December 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2000; minutes of February 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/february-2001; minutes of October 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-2001; minutes of December 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2001; minutes of March 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-2002; minutes of September 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-2002; Hogan to Albright (with attached HAC report for 2000), December 13, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac00.html; Robert Schulzinger to Powell (with attached HAC report for 2001), February 28, 2002, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac01.html; and Schulzinger, “Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, January 1–December 31, 2002,” Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac02.html.
  39. See minutes of July 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2000; minutes of February 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/february-2001; minutes of June 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-2001; CIA Historical Review Panel statement, April 5, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp.html; CIA Historical Review Panel statement, July 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp2.html; CIA Historical Review Panel statement, March 2001, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp3.html; CIA Historical Review Panel statement, September 2001, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp4.html; CIA Historical Review Panel statement, May 2002, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp5.html; and CIA Historical Review Panel statement, September 2002, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/ciahrp6.html.
  40. Hogan to Albright (with attached HAC report for 2000), December 13, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac00.html.
  41. “About the National Security Archive,” http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/the_archive.html.
  42. Thomas Blanton, “CIA Stalls State Department Histories,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 52, July 27, 2001, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52 and George Lardner, “Papers Show U.S. Role in Indonesian Purge: GPO Seeks Return of Official History Detailing Covert Actions in Mid-1960s,” Washington Post, July 28, 2001, p. A8.
  43. George Lardner, “History of U.S.–Greek Ties Blocked: CIA Opposes Disclosure of Proposed Covert Actions in ‘60s,” Washington Post, August 17, 2001, p. A21. After the volume was published in August 2002, U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller reported that local media coverage focused as much on the publication delay as on the released documentation. He concluded that “it may the wisest course of action to be as open as possible with the release of declassified, archival material. In this case, doing so allowed us to map out the limits of what U.S. involvement in Greece’s domestic affairs has been, and to advertise, by example, the openness of American political culture.” See Miller to Secretary of State (info to U.S. Consulate Thessaloniki, U.S. Embassy Nicosia, and U.S. Embassy Ankara), August 19, 2002, pp. 2–3, Department of State, SAS, 2002 ATHENS 002867.
  44. Minutes of October 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-2001.
  45. Minutes of October 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-2001. In practice, CIA advice about document selection usually entailed identifying alternative sources of information when HO-selected documents proved difficult to declassify.
  46. Minutes of March 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-2002.
  47. Minutes of July 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2002. One of the difficulties that arose in 2000 and 2001 was that the Department of State failed to identify some CIA equities in volumes until shortly before their release.
  48. See minutes of September 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-2002; minutes of December 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2002; and Schulzinger, “Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, January 1–December 31, 2002,” Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac02.html.
  49. See the prefaces in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. XII, American Republics (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v12/preface); vol. XXII, Northeast Asia (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v22/preface); vol. X, Cuba, January 1961–September 1962 (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v10/preface); and vol. V, Soviet Union (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v05/preface).
  50. See, for example, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957, vol. XII, Near East Region; Iran; Iraq (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1955-57v12/preface).
  51. See the prefaces in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, vol. XVII, Indonesia (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v17/preface); vol. XVIII, Japan; Korea (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v18/preface); vol. XIX, China (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v19/preface); and 1961–1963, vol. XXII, Northeast Asia (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v22/preface).
  52. See, for example, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, vol. XII, Near East; Middle East; Iran; Iraq (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v12/preface) and 1955–1957, vol. XXIII, pt. 2, Korea (http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1955-57v23p2/preface).
  53. Minutes of July 1995 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://ww.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac795.html; minutes of June 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-1996; minutes of October 1996 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-1996; and Kimball to Christopher with attached HAC report for 1994–1995, May 10, 1996, Federation of American Scientists, Project of Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac95.html.
  54. Kimball, “The Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Documentation to the U.S. Department of State,” Perspectives, January 1998, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1998/9801/9801NOT.cfm and Kimball, “Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation,” Perspectives, January 1999, http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1999/9901/9901NOT.cfm.
  55. Kimball to HAC, “2nd Preliminary Report,” June 2, 1999 printed as “Foreign Relations in the 21st Century: A Proposal,” SHAFR Newsletter, September 1999, pp. 22–34.
  56. Kimball, “Foreign Relations in the 21st Century: A Proposal,” pp. 22–34 and Hogan to Albright (with attached report of HAC for 1998–1999), March 27, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac99.html. For HO–HAC discussions of the plan, see minutes of December 1998 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1998; minutes of March 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-1999; minutes of May 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/may-1999; and minutes of September 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-1999.
  57. See minutes of December 1999 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-1999; minutes of April 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/april-2000; minutes of July 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2000; minutes of September 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/september-2000; minutes of December 2000 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2000; minutes of February 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/february-2001; minutes of June 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/june-2001; minutes of October 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-2001; minutes of March 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/march-2002; minutes of July 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2002; minutes of December 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/december-2002; Hogan to Albright (with attached report of the HAC for 2000), December 13, 2000, Federation of American Scientists, project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac00.html; Schulzinger to Powell (with attached report of the HAC for 2001), February 28, 2002, Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac01.html; and Schulzinger, “Report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, January 1–December 31, 2002,” Federation of American Scientists, Project on Government Secrecy website, http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac02.html. For a summary of the declining timeliness of the series before 2011, see [Joshua Botts] summary, attached to Edward Brynn to Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, May 26, 2011, Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian, Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation Files, 2005–2012 (Lot File 13D222), HAC Meetings 2011.
  58. See sec. 205 of Senate Report 107–60, “Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 2002 and 2003,” September 4, 2001, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-107srpt60/html/CRPT-107srpt60.htm; minutes of October 2001 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/october-2001; and 22 USC, Ch. 53B, sec. 4354, “Foreign Relations of the United States Historical Series” (amended September 30, 2002), http://uscode.house.gov/browse/prelim@title22/chapter53B&edition=prelim.
  59. For an early example of Susser’s optimism about meeting the 30-year line, see minutes of July 2002 HAC meeting, Department of State, Office of the Historian website, http://history.state.gov/about/hac/july-2002.
  60. See Department of State OIG Report, “Management Review of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State,” May 2009, Department of State, ISP-I-09-43, http://oig.state.gov/documents/organization/124568.pdf.