Minutes of Historical Advisory Committee Meeting, November
A scan of the original document is available for download (PDF, 1.7 MB, 38pp.)
Source: Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian, Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation Files, 1957-1990 (Lot File 96 D 292), Box 1, 1961—Report. Limited Official Use. Minutes taken by Herbert A. Fine, George H. Dengler, John P. Glennon, and William Slany.
Cited in Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable”: A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, Chapter 8, Footnote 29
Minutes of the 1961 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States
The morning session on Friday, November 3, began at approximately 9:15 a.m.
- The Advisory Committee:
- Clarence A. Berdahl
- Leland M. Goodrich
- Fred H. Harrington
- Richard W. Leopold
- Philip W. Thayer
- Robert R. Wilson
- The Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Roger Tubby
- Officers of the Historical Office:
- G. Bernard Noble
- William M. Franklin
- E. R. Perkins
- G. M. R. Dougall
- E. Taylor Parks
- The Foreign Relations staff:
- G. A. Nuermberger
- Newton O. Sappington
- Rogers P. Churchill
- John G. Reid
- Almon R. Wright
- Ralph R. Goodwin
- Herbert A. Fine
- Velma H. Cassidy
- David H. Stauffer
- William Slany
- John P. Glennon
- George H. Dengler
AGENDA ITEM 1: Opening remarks:
Mr. Noble called the meeting to order and introduced Mr. Tubby who welcomed the Committee members and expressed his appreciation of their assistance in connection with the problems of publishing Foreign Relations. He then gave a brief talk on the general world situation and commented on the usefulness of historical research in providing material for a better public understanding of the problems of democracy and of the challenges it has successfully overcome in the past. Mr. Tubby then departed.
AGENDA ITEM 2: Election of Chairman:
Mr. Noble first took up the question of the designation of a Chairman of the Committee, since Dexter Perkins, who has been Chairman since the Committee was formed, was in India at this time. At Mr. Berdahl’s suggestion, the matter was deferred until after lunch.
Mr. Noble explained that because of Departmental budgetary problems, the Historical Office had been unable to obtain a reporter to prepare a transcript of the Committee’s sessions and was utilizing the services of four members of the Foreign Relations staff to prepare summary minutes.
AGENDA ITEM 3: Report on developments of year:
Mr. Noble at this point undertook a review of developments during the past year in connection with the recommendations made by the Committee in its 1960 report:
1. PERSONNEL PROBLEM: The Committee’s recommendations on increasing the size of the staff were not realized and indeed one position had been lost because of the budgetary stringency. There is no expectation that the staff will be increased this year or next, entailing a further falling behind currency if Foreign Relations continues to operate under present standards.
2. GREATER SELECTIVITY: It was noted that the Committee report advocated greater selectivity in the number of papers printed and in the subjects covered. This is a problem of major significance and one not easy to solve because of the difficulty of devising a formula to guide us in determining which papers may be properly excluded and which subjects need not be treated. Cases involving individual claims, visas and other matters of private concern do not normally raise serious questions of policy: but where subjects do impinge on policy matters, agreement on areas of exclusion will be difficult.
3. SUMMARIES: The Committee’s report recommended the saving of space through the use of editorial summaries for less significant material. This device is already in use to a limited extent, not only to save space but also to make unnecessary the printing of sensitive documents. Examples where this device has been resorted to will be set before the Committee during the reading period this afternoon. There will be increasing use of this technique but documents will continue to be the basic contents of the volumes.
4. RELEASE OF THE CHINA VOLUMES AND 1941, VOL. V: The Committee report for 1960 went on record as favoring release of the 1943 China volume and the 1941 volume and preparing the remaining China volumes for release. Our efforts have not been successful for reasons of high Department policy.
5. TABLE OF ORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT: The Committee report recommended that a table of organization of the Department be placed in the first volume of each annual series. This is a problem we have not gotten around to -- for one reason, that no first volume for a particular year has been released since the Committee made its report. However, there are difficulties surrounding the printing and use of such a table and it might be preferable to use instead a list of the highest officers of the Department, perhaps somewhat along the line of Principal Officers of the Department of State, 1933-1961, prepared by the Historical Office in September 1961. Copies of this study were distributed to the Committee members.
6. INCLUSION MORE FREQUENTLY OF MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: The Committee report suggested more general use of maps and illustrations. The staff is giving close attention to this recommendation and will use such materials where timely and available. This is another good idea which will add somewhat to the time and difficulty of editing the volumes.
7. EXECUTIVE ORDER: One of the most important recommendations, if not the most important, made by the Committee last year was that an Executive Order be issued giving the Secretary of State final authority for the inclusion of documents in Foreign Relations, including documents originating in other Departments. As an alternative, the Committee recommended a statement by the President on the importance of the Foreign Relations series and requiring the cooperation of other departments.
The Historical Office tried to carry out the request for an Executive Order but abandoned this approach because of strenuous objection from the Defense Department. The alternative approach of a Presidential letter was acceptable to Defense, and, as a result of the cooperation of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Special Assistant to President Kennedy, a Presidential letter of September 6, 1961 was sent to interested agencies, and was released on the following day. Copies of this letter were distributed to the Committee; a copy is appended to these Minutes as Annex 1.
Special attention was focused on paragraph 3 and the last paragraph of the letter which dealt with the responsibilities of the Department of State in preparation of the Foreign Relations series, the requirement of active collaboration by other departments in the clearance of papers, and the necessity of a clear and precise case in order to withhold from publication documents fifteen or more years old.
Mr. Noble stated that the replies to the letter by the various departments concerned were forthcoming rapidly and were cooperative in tone. Thus far there has not been much opportunity to test the effectiveness of the President’s letter but we think it will be a useful tool when needed, in connection with clearance problems with other agencies and even within the Department of State.
Mr. Noble pointed out that the President’s letter had had one embarrassing consequence in connection with its last sentence, which had been specifically inserted by the President. The Moss Committee had interpreted the “fifteen year” reference in this sentence to mean that the Department should open to the public all records more than fifteen years old. Mr. Noble stated that the intent of the last sentence was to speed the issuance of Foreign Relations, not to make accessible to the public documents in the “closed” period. In the ensuing discussion, it was brought out that the records of the Department of State were fully open to the public through 1929.
8. ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING THE YEAR: Our accomplishments during the year have not been outstanding if measured in terms of the number of volumes published. These comprised two regular volumes - 1940, vol. V, and 1942, vol. III - and three conference volumes - one on Cairo and Tehran and two on Potsdam. Many other volumes advanced toward publication. Mr. Noble emphasized that the time had come when it was impossible to compile one year’s output of diplomatic papers in one year.
The year 1961 was notable as a year of stocktaking and reorientation. In connection with the Committee’s suggestion that special attention be given to the period 1945 to 1950, the members of the staff worked most diligently on preparing papers to help peer into the problems presented by the post-l945 period and their memoranda had been forwarded to the Committee members for their review. Mr. Noble expressed the hope that these papers and the oral presentations to follow would give a fair picture of our situation and of the problems that lie ahead, and would provide the basis for profitable discussion during the meeting.
Mr. Noble also expressed gratification over Mr. Berdahl’s visit to the Department as Consultant this past summer and hoped that his report would provoke lively discussion at the meeting.
9. ANTICIPATED PUBLICATION PROGRAM DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1962: It is anticipated that four volumes will be released by June 30, 1962: 1941, vols. VI and VII (American Republics volumes), and 1942, vol. II (Europe) and vol. V (American Republics).
AGENDA ITEM 4: Comments on publication during the Year:
Mr. Noble pointed out that he had not insisted that the Committee make a critical review of any of the five volumes released and asked their opinion as to whether this would not be a useful practice. Mr. Harrington said he felt that critical analyses were not the most effective part of the Committee’s work and that the Committee should concentrate on policy matters rather than detail. He cited the recommendation by the Committee which led to the President’s letter as the sort of thing the Committee should concentrate its efforts on. Mr. Noble agreed that great credit for the President’s letter goes to the Committee.
Mr. Leopold gave special commendation to the special conference volumes and Mr. Thayer echoed his sentiments. Mr. Noble said these volumes had been favorably commented on by various people, but that no reviews had yet appeared. Mr. Franklin commented on reviews of the Yalta volume, pointing out that “Yalta” had acquired the status of a dirty word and that reviewers had used the volume primarily as an instrument to denounce President Roosevelt’s foreign policies. The volume itself had been taken for granted by the reviewers, as though the compilers had a big batch of documents in a drawer and had merely sent them to the Government Printing Office for printing. Little or no comment was made by them on the techniques used and innovations made. Mr. Leopold observed that a review of the type sought by Mr. Franklin would take a minimum of 5,000 words and that was impossible in the scholarly journals. Mr. Harrington dissented and said that a good review could be done in 800 words. Mr. Wilson added that reviewers should get a better focus on the contents of the volumes.
AGENDA ITEM 5: Mr. Berdahl’s Report:
Mr. Harrington called Mr. Berdahl’s report an excellent one, pithy and pointed. Mr. Berdahl pointed out that when he began his assignment as Consultant, it was his idea that he would be helpful primarily to the staff. After he had finished his labors, he felt his report was of greater assistance to the Committee than to the staff. The problems, he said, were so vast and complex that enlightenment was mostly personal.
Mr. Noble referred to the top of page 6 of Mr. Berdahl’s report where it was pointed out that increased selectivity was not a time-saving device since the documentation had to be examined in any case. Mr. Noble expressed his general concurrence with this idea but pointed out his thought that compilation time would be saved if entire stories were dropped.
Mr. Noble also stressed paragraph numbered 8 on the same page which emphasized the need of a comprehensive and accurate compilation even at the expense of increasing the time lag. He thought the Committee should consider the problems of a comprehensive coverage and of the time lag. Would the Committee help to get more staff so that one year’s compilation could be done in one year and the time lag kept at 20 years? Mr. Harrington emphasized the necessity of compiling a comprehensive record and stressed that the question of the time lag was of serious concern as well. He recognized, however, that the stress on comprehensiveness militated against the goal of a fifteen year lag, but insisted that the time lag should not be permitted to exceed twenty years.
Mr. Berdahl noted that the last Committee report may have overemphasized the question of selectivity. He was satisfied from his discussions with the staff and his own examination that the staff was already practicing selectivity and he felt that comprehensiveness should not be sacrificed on the altar of selectivity.
Mr. Goodrich noted that if we think in terms of comprehensiveness and completeness for the post-war years, we must also think in terms of doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the staff and facing an increase in the number of volumes covering one year from seven at the present to 21 to 30. He raised the question of possibly changing our charter to prevent such developments. Mr. Berdahl agreed that a drastic change in the charter was an alternative. Mr. Noble stated there was a need for 6 or 7 additional members on the staff to prevent the time lag from increasing.
AGENDA ITEM 6: Reports on 1946-1950 perspective:
Mr. Noble stated that one member of the staff from each area would give an oral summary report in connection with the memoranda on the 1946-50 period previously sent to the Committee members.
Mr. Nuermberger, General Branch: Mr. Nuermberger gave the first report. He indicated there were seven volumes in prospect covering multilateral material for 1945, including two for Potsdam and one for Yalta already published and probably two on the San Francisco Conference and two on other general subjects. He gave Mrs. Cassidy special praise for her work on the San Francisco Conference. He pointed out that multilateral diplomacy complemented bilateral diplomacy and that the General Branch would call on other staff members for help where country problems were referred to the United Nations.
Mr. Nuermberger divided the work of the General Branch into three phases, the non-organizational subjects, the international conferences and the United Nations. He pointed out that United Nations publications, by covering certain aspects of a problem, would allow Foreign Relations to give more in the way of background material leading up to United Nations discussions. He emphasized that the existence of the United Nations called for new approaches in the United States diplomacy which would have to be treated with ingenuity by Foreign Relations.
Mr. Goodrich inquired how country subjects would be organized. Would Korea, for instance, be treated as a single unit or would it be split up into a Far East compilation and a General compilation? Mr. Nuermberger said Korea might be put into the Far East compilation as a regional subject and be compiled by the Far East area rather than the General Branch.
Mr. Goodrich raised the point made by Mr. Goodwin, in his memorandum concerning the desirability of compiling for periods of longer than a calendar year at a time. Mr. Nuermberger agreed that this approach might be studied.
Mr. Wilson inquired about the scope of the San Francisco volumes. Mr. Nuermberger stated it might be a good idea to include Dumbarton Oaks material with the San Francisco material so as to keep the whole story in one place. Mrs. Cassidy subsequently said it was hoped to cover also the Preparatory Commission meetings at London later in 1945. Mr. Goodrich observed that no documents had yet been released on Dumbarton Oaks. Mr. Nuermberger agreed and then posed one of the major problems faced by the General Branch in compiling international conference stories: the choice of using either conference minutes or daily reports. It was decided, he said, to use the summary reports because of their relative brevity and because they served as the basis for policy action by the Department.
Mr. Nuermberger also noted the possibility that the United Nations might decide to publish the San Francisco Conference minutes. Mr. Goodrich wondered whether the San Francisco Conference compilation would rely on UNCIO records to cover Committee meetings. Mr. Nuermberger indicated we would confine ourselves to things not in print, e.g., meetings of the American Delegation.
Mr. Goodrich answered in the negative Mr. Wilson’s question as to whether any other governments had published their records of the San Francisco Conference. Mr. Leopold suggested the feasibility of issuing the San Francisco volumes as separate entities like the Yalta and Potsdam volumes and Mr. Goodrich thought this a good idea. Mr. Nuermberger said the two volumes would probably be released in this fashion.
In reply to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Nuermberger stated that memoir material was being used in footnotes to obviate the need for printing certain documents. He stressed that we were not interested in compiling a record of the San Francisco Conference but were trying to document the role of the United States at the Conference. Mr. Goodrich agreed this was the proper approach.
Mr. Goodrich pointed out that the multilateral aspects of our diplomatic relations after 1945 raised a question of the present organization of our volumes along basically bilateral lines. Messrs. Noble and Wilson observed that bilateralism was not dead. Mr. Goodrich agreed but said it was much less prevalent than before World War II.
Mrs. Cassidy brought up the matter of office files. She said that indexed material in the Central Files in connection with United Nations matters was skimpy on non-political matters and that the volume of Bureau of International Organization files on these matters was three to four times the volume of records in the Central Files. Mr. Fine confirmed Mrs. Cassidy’s observations on the inadequacy of the Central files as they related to the Iranian question before the United Nations in 1946.
The meeting adjourned at about l0:30 a.m. for a short intermission.
Mr. Reid, Far East Area: Mr. Reid said that the main problems in the Far East area were those of space, scope and jurisdiction. He raised questions as to how deeply we should go into unindexed files in the State Department and into papers of other agencies such as the Truman Library or the Defense Department; how much background material should be used to clarify American foreign relations and policy; and whether the story of Korea should be assembled in one place or shared, for example, with the General Branch in connection with United Nations aspects.
Mr. Reid said that practical experience has shown us how to tackle these problems in the case of China during the 1940’s and that a few comments on the China series might be helpful.
Mr. Reid first gave some details on the problems encountered in the China project. He explained that the immense amount of material in State Department indexed and unindexed files is perhaps the greatest problem confronting a compiler in the 1946-1950 period. Out of 120,000 documents for 1946-1949, only 8,600 were used in the China volumes.
Mr. Reid turned to the problem of scope. He stated that virtually any subject in China, foreign or domestic, turned into an arena for struggle between the Communists and free world. Therefore, coverage of internal matters in China was a necessary part of documenting American relations with China during the years immediately prior to the Communist conquest.
Mr. Reid stated that the post-war years also introduced problems of jurisdiction. A question arose as to whether subjects involving China at CFM meetings or at the United Nations should be covered in the China volumes. It had been decided to use a certain amount of such material. Should China’s interest in matters beyond its own borders be covered? It had been decided that bracketed notes should cover this interest. Then there was the question of how much background documentation to use on a variety of topics of American interest for 1947-1948. Other complex questions were the recognition of Red China, military and economic aid to free China (Formosa) and trade with Red China.
Some general conclusions based on the experience gained during the China compilations were given by Mr. Reid as follows:
(1) A fairly complete record is desirable, based on indexed files and as much additional material as is practicable. Efforts should be made to trim, summarize or otherwise abbreviate without sacrificing essential matters in order to save space.
(2) Sufficient background reporting is advisable for the sake of making clear the formation of policy or the lack of it.
(3) Where clarity is at stake, papers which otherwise might be used in some other part of Foreign Relations should be included in a country or area section with appropriate cross references or bracketed notes.
(4) Where obvious gaps occur in State Department documentation, a search should be made elsewhere for missing papers.
(5) Consultation with other compilers or with reviewers is recommended if uncertainty arises.
Mr. Harrington complimented Mr. Reid on his presentation and observed that the report presented a powerful argument for presenting Foreign Relations in large numbers of volumes. Mr. Perkins drew the Committee’s attention to Mr. Reid’s written report which included a statistical breakdown of papers examined and used in the China volumes. He also pointed out that although the China volumes were numerous and the amount of printed documentation great, only a small fraction of the papers actually available had been used.
Mr. Goodrich stated that the China volumes could not offer a model for the annual Foreign Relations volumes. He suggested that Korea was in the same category as China with regard to treatment of internal affairs. Just as in the case of China, responsible officers in Korea reported in great detail on the internal affairs of Korea and Communist penetration and subversion. He pointed out that political policy on Korea could not be understood without a comprehension of military policy and military attitudes and that access to the high-level policy decisions of the military establishment would be indispensable to an understanding and presentation of the United States relations with Korea. Mr. Reid replied that we did have available State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) documents and that SWNCC coordinated policy and issued directives to General MacArthur. Mr. Wilson asked whether, in view of the reluctance of the military to release or clear important military papers for publication, it would be possible for compilers to read Pentagon materials for background information without publishing them? Mr. Noble replied that Mr. Reid had indicated that much of this material appeared in Departmental files in the form of SWNCC documents, and, therefore, it would not always be necessary to investigate Pentagon files. Mr. Fine observed that he had been granted permission to examine the Korean telegram log in the Pentagon and secured half a dozen cables which usefully described the internal situation in Korea in 1945. He noted that the Editor decided on their exclusion from Foreign Relations.
Mr. Perkins emphasized that the China volumes were not different in principle from other Foreign Relations volumes. Special reports and materials were used to show balance, not because a special project was involved. Internal affairs influenced our policy and it was important to document them. Certain types of documents of a lower-level origin, normally not included in Foreign Relations, were included in the China volumes because of the notoriety that had been attached to their authors. For example, the reports of John Paton Davies and John Stewart Service had already been made known in part to the public, and Foreign Relations was compelled to print them in order to avoid accusations that the record had been tampered with. Mr. Leopold wondered if such detailed documentation on internal affairs as is presented in the China series could possibly be included in regular volumes on Greece and Yugoslavia, for example. Mr. Perkins replied that our policy was influenced by internal conditions in those countries and that it would be necessary to go into internal affairs in order to understand our policy. Mr. Harrington observed that it would be admirable to have thirty volumes annually to include such documentation but thought it more desirable to aim at a tightly drawn fifteen volumes.
Mr. Goodwin, Near and Middle East: Mr. Goodwin began his discussion of this area by defining what areas he would have in mind when he used the term Near and Middle East. Before 1939 popular American interest and the policy officers of the State Department showed little political concern over this area; yet two countries of the area - Greece and Turkey - became focal points of world attention in 1947 with the promulgation of the Truman Doctrine. Mr. Goodwin said that organizational matters presented the main problem of the area. The Greek - Turkish aid program raised the question as to the adequacy of the country approach of Foreign Relations because the program could best be understood as a unit. This unit might include the Iranian aid program as well since all three aid programs reflected American reaction to Soviet pressure southward.
Mr. Goodwin cited another aspect of this organizational problem. He stated that the area was one of vital geographic concern to the Soviet Union and this raised the question as to whether the Greek-Turkish-Iranian aid compilation should be taken from the Middle East and done as part of a series on the “Cold War”. He said that the first case to come before the Security Council, in 1946, was that of Iran.
This introduced the question of the United Nations, another facet of the organizational problem. In 1946, issues involving Greece and the Levant States as well as Iran, and in 1947, Egypt and Palestine went to the United Nations. The questions arose as to whether stories on these issues should be compiled under the United Nations and what branch should handle them.
Mr. Goodwin then passed to a discussion of problems that will be raised by the Palestine compilation. The principal problem will be one of space because of the great masses of material available.
He stated parenthetically that this was not the problem it might have been with respect to the Greek-Turkish aid program, just under discussion, because 25 cabinets of material relating to that subject had been destroyed by the Records Management Division. This raised an interesting question about the words “substantially complete” in our Charter.
Mr. Goodrich asked about the nature of the Department’s screening procedures and whether the Historical Office had any authority over them. Mr. Noble stated that the Historical Office was to be consulted on these matters and presumably its advice taken. Mr. Slany observed that a program had been worked out between the Historical Office and responsible officers concerned with records management for setting up guide lines to help regulate and control the screening of lot files. Mr. Stauffer made the observation that Records Management was adhering to this program so as to guarantee preservation of important types of items desired by the Historical Office. Screening lists were regularly circulated in the Historical Office and advice solicited regarding specific lots that had become eligible for screening.
Returning to the discussion of Palestine, Mr. Goodwin remarked that there have been numerous committees and commissions set up to deal with this country, and that from February 1947, Palestine became essentially a United Nations concern, raising a formidable problem of organization as well as space. He estimated that there would be one complete volume for Palestine in 1947 and probably one in 1948.
He cited the Palestine files of Mr. Dean Rusk and his staff - amounting to approximately 10,000 documents - which were collected during the years 1947-1949 when Mr. Rusk was Director and then Assistant Secretary for United Nations Affairs. These files contain many papers which are of the highest historical interest, yet, under possible future limitations as to space, documents in this collection may not be printed.
With this glimpse of the “Cold War” (Greek-Turkish-Iranian aid program) and Palestine aspects of the Middle East compilation for 1946-50, Mr. Goodwin wondered what space would be available for conventional stories. He said that air communications and telecommunications problems became important to the United States in this strategic area. Also to be done were compilations on oil, commercial treaties and the establishment of diplomatic relations with new states - Israel, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, and Burma.
Mr. Goodwin cited prospective compilations relating to India as raising the question as to how far we should go in covering the internal affairs of a given country which in time have an important bearing on United States foreign policy. India may be considered a leading if not the leading neutralist country. Should we cover in Foreign Relations the genesis and development of Indian neutralism which in 1961 has become such an important problem of United States foreign policy? Is this a situation comparable to our coverage in the volumes of the 1930’s of the rise of Nazism in Germany, a compilation on German internal affairs which was included because of the ultimate and overwhelming impact of Nazi Germany on American foreign policy?
He next related United States involvement in internal affairs in Greece, Iran and Saudi Arabia and asked how deeply we should go into these matters? He stated that American Embassies developed delicate political relations with these Governments, and came to occupy a position in Athens, Tehran and Jidda somewhat akin to that held by British Embassies in the same capitals in the 1919-1939 period.
Mr. Noble asked Mr. Goodwin to suggest the degrees of coverage which might be proposed in dealing with such a matter. Mr. Goodwin stated that because of the sensitivity of the matter it was a question primarily as to the degree of willingness to print documents revealing these political relationships.
Mr. Franklin asked Mr. Goodwin whether he felt that the 25 cabinets of Greek-Turkish aid material would have been closely investigated had they not been destroyed, and Mr. Goodwin replied in the affirmative. Mr. Franklin stated that this answer substantiated his own feeling that the lot files were extremely important. Mr. Reid, in response to a question, pointed out that the lot files had been used extensively in the China project, which was in fact the occasion when lot files were first used on a large scale in the compilation of Foreign Relations. He cited the use of the Marshall Mission files as a case in point. Mr. Perkins agreed that lot files should be looked into and Mr. Franklin and Mr. Dougall agreed they should be examined closely.
Mr. Goodwin concluded his remarks by pointing out that questions as to organization, space and scope which would arise in respect to the Middle East compilation, 1946-1950, sprang directly from the political and military involvement of the United States in an area where before World War II its interests had been almost wholly philanthropic and commercial.
Mr. Churchill, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: Mr. Churchill observed that much of the compilation for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe would involve several nations at conferences, foreign ministers meetings, and the United Nations and this raised the question whether the General, Eastern or Western Branches would undertake the work. He said that joint projects might be the desirable way to handle the problem. The next question was where material involving the Soviet Union should be placed - in general collections, under the Soviet Union, or perhaps under other countries.
Mr. Churchill said that the differences between the United States and the Soviet Union intensified as the years passed. Some of these differences were reflected in conferences and were of a general nature; some might more appropriately be placed under Eastern Europe. There was a real need for collaboration among the staff. Mr. Churchill cited as an example the Soviet demands on Turkey in 1945 involving the Straits and Turkish territory. In this case, after consultation, it was decided to place the compilation under Turkey. However, the 1948 Belgrade Conference on questions regarding the Danube was of a more general nature, and obviously could not be located under Yugoslavia just because the sessions of 8 riverain states and the interested great powers were held there.
Mr. Churchill posed the question of how the growing antagonism between the United States and Soviet Union should best be revealed in Foreign Relations. Since a scattered location of compilations would lessen the impact, yet might be necessary, he suggested that perhaps a listing of pertinent compilations to be found elsewhere might be placed at the beginning of the section on the Soviet Union, so that the full extent of this growing antagonism could be better realized.
Mr. Churchill turned to the difficulties presented by the 1947 Peace Treaties. Italy was under the jurisdiction of the Western Branch; Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania and Finland under that of the Eastern Branch. The draft treaties were made at the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Peace Conference of Paris, meetings which would normally be handled by the General Branch. This raised the question of their placement in Foreign Relations. If they were placed under the countries concerned there would be much duplication. If they were placed together under one title, should they be placed in a separate titled volume, or spread out over the years concerned - 1945, 1946, 1947?
Mr. Churchill said the question arose as to the importance of these treaties and what attention they deserved. Also, he asked what should be done about the treaty with Finland? Should we show the position and degree of United States participation?
He said that consideration must be given to the ways in which the scope of the material covered may be limited. Partial accomplishment would result from the reduction of the number of documents used. There was also the possibility of eliminating certain subjects, such as getting Soviet spouses of American citizens out of the Soviet Union (a subject which reflects Soviet attitudes with respect to human affairs) and religious matters in the Soviet Union (freedom of worship, the church as a handmaiden of the state, and the agreement for an American priest in Moscow), matters in which we have previously taken an interest in Foreign Relations. Other questions were those of the protection of American citizens detained by Soviet authorities, espionage cases, and cultural relations and agreements. United States interest in religious matters and the detention by Soviet authorities of American citizens, were also related to the agreements signed at the time of the recognition of the Soviet Union on November 16, 1933.
Mr. Goodrich asked whether any consideration had been given to the question of presenting the peace treaties in a special volume or two. Mr. Churchill replied that no decision had been reached and expressed his personal opinion that these treaties were not as important as those of 1919 and should be given far lesser coverage. Mr. Perkins summarized the work done on the Paris Peace negotiations of 1919 and stated that another ten volumes could have been compiled. He expressed his regrets that the peace conference volumes had been so little used and that this area of research had been so woefully neglected.
At this point, Mr. Noble raised the question of naming a Chairman in the absence of Dexter Perkins. He also indicated that the Committee members who had been designated for one year terms - Messrs. Leopold and Wilson - had been given new three year terms.
The Advisory Committee went into executive session at 12:20 p.m.
When the meeting convened after the luncheon recess, Mr. Noble announced that Mr. Goodrich had been chosen Chairman of the Committee for 1961-62. Mr. Goodrich said that the meeting would proceed from the point reached before intermission.
Mr. Slany, Eastern Europe: Mr. Slany said that he wanted to stress at the outset the feeling of optimism and hopefulness which the Foreign Relations staff felt. He said that the compilers were in a key position to gather and publish material to which very few people even had access. This meant, therefore, that the compilers of Foreign Relations could provide a comprehensive record of United States diplomacy in a way which no outside group could do. Mr. Slany believed that subjects covered might be limited so as to keep within a reasonable number of volumes but there should be no artificially imposed criteria on types of usable material and subject matter which might make it necessary to cut so close to the bone that our compilations would suffer. We must be flexible in our approach, he said, and there can be no dogmatic answers as to what types of material and documents we should utilize.
Mr. Goodrich asked for questions on the remarks of Mr. Slany and Mr. Churchill. Mr. Harrington asked Mr. Slany whether perhaps 3 or 4 volumes might suffice for Eastern Europe? Mr. Slany replied that we must approach this question in an open-minded fashion and make a decision each year on the basis of the character of the foreign policy issues and the amount and importance of the material on hand.
Mr. Goodrich inquired whether we would wish to limit the number of volumes for a given year. Mr. Franklin stated that we must set such limits. We were already in a position of compiling more than 20 volumes annually for the post-1945 years. At some point, the situation would become ridiculous and we could not expect Congress to go along with us indefinitely. In addition there was the problem of financing the PB staff. Mr. Perkins noted that we had not tried to conform to a set number of volumes in the past. We had tightened our practices, including greater use of editorial notes to summarize documents and citations to published sources, which had enabled us, thus far, to keep to a figure of seven volumes a year. Mr. Noble said that he hoped the Committee would deal with this problem.
Mr. Goodrich then asked Mr. Churchill, with reference to the latter’s remarks, whether he proposed to deal with the “Cold War” as a subject to be treated in Foreign Relations. Mr. Churchill said that he did not want to cover the “Cold War” as such but to express his concern that the various aspects of the subject would be scattered in many places over several volumes. He added that the problem might be handled by good cross referencing and indexing techniques.
Mr. Goodrich then brought up Mr. Churchill’s reference to certain categories of stories which might be eliminated from Foreign Relations. Mr. Churchill said that he would like to have the Committee’s advice on this. How did it feel about cutting out certain subjects such as spouses and espionage, which he had outlined in his talk. Mr. Wilson remarked that international lawyers desired coverage of such subjects and cases which arose, for instance, as an outgrowth of the Roosevelt-Litvinov Agreements of 1933. Mr. Thayer affirmed this view and stated that though small people were concerned, large issues were sometimes involved. Mr. Churchill agreed. Mr. Thayer and Mr. Wilson both urged that documentation dealing with international law not be cut out of the volumes.
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Thayer agreed with Mr. Churchill’s views that relatively few of the more significant cases for each of these subjects should be covered, as was already the case for prior years, in order to illustrate the policy position of the United States and that, through the use of footnotes, the possible number of such cases in the year might be indicated.
Mr. Goodrich then brought up the question of the 1947 peace treaties and how they should be handled. Mr. Wilson suggested the possibility of special volumes on the treaties. Mr. Churchill stated that it was his feeling that the treaties should get fair coverage in Foreign Relations but far less than the 13 volumes in the 1919 peace treaties series because of their lesser importance. Mr. Leopold questioned the desirability of spreading coverage of the treaties over the three years from 1945-47 and Mr. Churchill replied that he did not feel it was a good idea to spread the material over so great a span in annual volumes.
Mr. Leopold referred to the Disarmament Conferences of the 1930’s whose coverage was spread out over appropriate annual volumes. Mr. Goodrich said that he would like to see separate volumes for the peace treaties.
Mr. Berdahl observed that the real point being raised was whether the volumes should continue to be annual or become much more topical in form. Mr. Leopold supported this point and suggested that the annual volume approach might be outmoded. Mr. Churchill said that it might be possible to use both methods, i.e., part annual and part by subject, by including the 1945 material under the foreign ministers meetings at London and Moscow, and by treating as a separate subject the negotiation of the treaties in 1946, perhaps also by here including their signature at the Paris session on February 10, 1947.
Mr. Nuermberger brought up the question of the peace treaty discussions at the first session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (London, September 1945), an organization established by the Conference of Berlin. The first session became bogged down on procedural matters and scarcely dealt with the peace treaty matter. To break the impasse and get the Council back on the main track, a meeting was held in December 1945 at Moscow. There, many subjects were discussed and major compromises achieved so that the April 1946 session of the CFM at Paris was able to get down to the business of the peace treaties. Regardless of how the 1946 meetings will be handled in Foreign Relations certainly the 1945 conferences should be handled as separate units.
Mr. Leopold wondered whether this overlap of conference and subject was similar to that faced by the compilers of the Yalta and Potsdam volumes who ran into subject matter normally handled in the annual compilations. Mr. Goodrich observed that the peace treaties might have to be treated topically on the same basis as had been proposed for the Palestine question.
Mr. Franklin said that there were three major methods of compi1ing: (a) by country; (b) by type of document, e.g., keeping all CFM documentation together; (c) by subject. These methods sometimes cut across each other. Should CFM sessions be treated as single stories or should the various subjects be split up? He said that we would not want to fracture CFM Conferences for these conferences were more important than the various problems discussed there.
Mr. Perkins said that in a sense we must wait until we really get into these subjects before deciding but he noted a basic difference between the Cairo, Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam conferences and the CFM meetings. There was tremendous public interest in the wartime conferences and little interest in the postwar conferences as such. He was therefore willing to fracture treatment of the CFM meetings in order to keep the subjects together.
Mr. Goodrich sympathized with Mr. Perkins’ view since the CFM conferences were a continuation of regular diplomacy. Mr. Churchill said it might be best to leave the Foreign Ministers’ sessions intact for 1945 and keep the peace treaties separate in 1946. Mr. Franklin said that he agreed with Mr. Perkins’ remarks but still felt it would be more efficient to approach these meetings as whole units. Mr. Perkins said that treating the conferences as whole units often led to including too much unimportant material. Mr. Goodrich expressed some sympathy with this point of view. Mr. Franklin said he would be horrified at omitting any of the substantive exchanges at the CFM.
Mr. Stauffer, American Republics: Mr. Stauffer outlined three unique features for the period 1946-1950 in regard to this area: (1) Geographic isolation will continue to minimize the problem of overlapping research by compilers in other areas of Foreign Relations and, at the same time, reduce the pressure on the General Branch by allowing the treatment of large international conferences within the scope of the Latin American volumes; (2) The scope of compilation has remained fairly constant during the past four years and is not likely to mushroom in the coming five-year period; (3) A relatively large number of small bilateral stories will remain the norm due largely to the fact that United States economic assistance increased from 1946 to 1950, and in the weak, unstable, highly nationalistic American Republics, an economic matter will be found often to involve explosive political repercussions.
Mr. Leopold asked if the clearance problem would persist, and Mr. Stauffer said he thought it would, though he hoped that the President’s letter would be used to good advantage with the desk officers. Mr. Perkins stated emphatically that the attention given the American Republics should not be minimized in Foreign Relations. In reference to Mr. Stauffer’s comment on the growing nationalistic spirit and sensitivity in that area, Mr. Perkins added that it was now becoming difficult, in some cases, to get clearance on passages which portrayed a Latin American as being what might be regarded by people of his own country as too friendly to the United States.
Mr. Glennon, British Commonwealth and Africa: Mr. Glennon stated that, since he had no problems which had not already been discussed, he would defer to Mr. Sappington. Mr. Noble and Mr. Goodrich agreed to this.
Mr. Sappington, Western Europe: Mr. Sappington stated that 1945 compilations in this area had begun more than three years ago and there were approximately 20 to 25 stories on Germany yet to be done. He speculated that because of the heavier volume of documents and their greater complexity, compilations for 1946 under existing standards and staffing patterns would probably take well over three years. This would mean a falling behind of at least two years for every year of compilation, and projecting these figures over a period of ten years of compilations, Foreign Relations would fall some 25 years farther behind.
Mr. Sappington then brought out an additional cause for alarm. He estimated that there might be 18 volumes of Foreign Relations for 1945 and this would be increased to about 20 volumes for the following year under existing standards. He estimated printing costs of 20 volumes at about $250,000, Foreign Relations staff salaries at $330,000, technical editing salaries at $100,000 and files help at $25,000 or a grand total in excess of $700,000. He asked whether this was not too high a cost for our program and cited the possibility of a reaction in the Department or the Congress. He marshalled further arguments against a 20 volume compilation in more than three years as follows: Every increase in the time lag would reduce interest in the volumes resulting in fewer people using or buying them; a 20 volume set would crowd library shelves and cause many libraries not to keep Foreign Relations on their shelves; every increase in time lag might cause pressure for special projects; and the more vital documents would tend to get lost in a maze of the lesser important ones.
Mr. Sappington summarized the alternatives facing the series: (1) Shall we, by adhering to present standards of compilation, accept the fact that we will continue to fall behind at least two years for each year covered? (2) Shall we radically change our scope so that we shall not exceed a 20 year gap and keep the number of volumes at a moderate level? or (3) Shall we acquire a staff of such size that we shall not exceed a 20 year gap and at the same time produce a large number of volumes?
Mr. Sappington gave various alternatives for cutting the scope of Foreign Relations, the most drastic of which would entail limiting compilation to the use of the indexed files of the Department and files in Presidential Libraries, with no recourse to post files, office lots and the files of other agencies, and treat only the most important diplomatic matters, eliminating background stories and documents.
During his discussion, Mr. Sappington also touched on problems affecting Germany. How should the role of the military in the occupation be treated? Should we supplement our material with military files? How extensively should we cover the Soviet, British and French zones of occupation? He noted also that the Department had published many collections on Germany which raised the question of citation versus repetition.
Mr. Harrington queried whether the four volumes in prospect for Western Europe for 1945 might be reduced to one volume and still be a product useful to historians? Mr. Sappington answered in the affirmative.
At this point, Mr. Noble and Mr. Goodrich indicated their desire to adjourn the meeting so that the Committee might hold a private session. Mr. Harrington stated that he and the other members of the Committee appreciated the memoranda of the staff members and their oral statements and expressed his thought that the discussions had been fruitful and enlightening. The meeting then adjourned.
Following the closed session of the Committee made necessary by the imminent departure of Mr. Harrington, Mr. Goodrich reconvened the open session at 4:15 p.m. in the presence of the ranking officers of the Historical Office and members of the Foreign Relations staff.
The Committee was apprised of the fact that Under Secretary of State Bowles would shortly meet the Committee members. Mr. Goodrich took the opportunity to outline some of the tentative thinking of the Committee members regarding the problems of the Foreign Relations series. Mr. Goodrich thought it was generally agreed among them that it might be necessary to suggest some limit on the number of annual volumes in the series. For the sake of eliciting the reactions of the members of the Foreign Relations staff, he suggested a possible Committee recommendation that the number of annual volumes be limited to nine or ten and that only the most important policy documents be included. Foreign Relations would eschew the “story” concept and concentrate on the basic documents and it would be left to scholars to compile the complete “story” of United States foreign policy. Mr. Goodrich asked the Foreign Relations staff what further guidance would be needed from the Committee if it made such a recommendation?
Mr. Perkins initiated the response by the Foreign Relations staff by agreeing that some sort of limitation would in fact have to be made, but he insisted that it was still necessary to know exactly what materials had to be covered, what could be omitted, and what should be the scope of the series. Mr. Goodrich averred that it was not possible for the Committee to list what materials and topics should be eliminated -- this was a matter of individual judgment. He returned again to the issue of whether a compilation of documents had to be a story as such.
Before the discussion developed any further, Under Secretary of State Bowles, escorted by Mr. Noble, arrived to take part in the meeting. At the invitation of Mr. Noble, Mr. Goodrich introduced the members of the Committee to the Under Secretary. Mr. Harrington (who had delayed his departure in order to be in attendance for this portion of the meeting) briefly summarized for the Under Secretary the problems presently confronting the Foreign Relations staff and the efforts of the Advisory Committee to be of aid in resolving some of these problems. Mr. Harrington emphasized particularly the enormous increase in the quantity of documentation and the tremendous problem facing the small Foreign Relations staff in dealing with it.
The Under Secretary ruefully commented upon the difficulty of obtaining even small amounts of money for vitally important State Department functions, at a time when vast sums were being expended by other branches of the government. He pointed to the vast funds available to Department of Defense public information programs and expressed the fear that large and extensive public information facilities available to the military colored the news regarding United States government operations and policies. His experience in India as Ambassador had revealed to him the predominantly “military” image which the United States projected abroad. In concluding his remarks, the Under Secretary stressed the importance which he attached to the role of communication with the public, observing wryly that he was a friend of Foreign Relations “for whatever good that will do”.
Following the Under Secretary’s departure, discussion resumed regarding the Advisory Committee’s possible recommendation of a fixed number of Foreign Relations volumes including only the basic documents and eliminating the “story” form. Mr. Leopold expressed his understanding that the Committee was not intending to recommend exclusion of preliminary papers, but he confirmed the Committee’s feeling that some dec1sion would have to be made to bring about a limitation in the number of volumes. Mr. Goodrich, seconded by Mr. Thayer, expressed the conviction that the device of the “story” was not essential to Foreign Relations. While it would be desirable to include certain background papers in order to give meaning to vital decisions and policies, it was not necessary to tell a story.
Mr. Leopold agreed with Mr. Noble’s observation that increased selectivity would not mean any saving in compilation time, but emphasized that it would cut down the number of volumes. Mr. Noble responded that the only way to reduce time spent in compiling Foreign Relations was to eliminate consideration of certain subjects. Mr. Leopold’s rejoinder was an assurance to Mr. Noble that the Advisory Committee would fight for an increased Foreign Relations staff but that something would have to give way if the series were not to continue to fall further behind.
Chairman Goodrich asserted that this was a problem of organization that must be resolved. It was along this line that he asked how far it would be possible to go in presenting conferences as separate compilations. He referred to the enormous list of conferences from 1946 to 1950 which had been included in the report of the General Branch. It seemed to him that those conferences which were held for the purpose of setting up international organizations could be separated from other conferences which were less important. Mr. Nuermberger assured the Committee that the list of conferences had been prepared only to indicate the growth of international conference diplomacy; Foreign Relations had no intention to document all or even most of them.
It was in connection with conference diplomacy that Mr. Wilson asked whether Foreign Relations intended to document - with minutes and other conference records - the International Civil Aviation Conference of 1944. Mr. Nuermberger affirmed that such documentation had already been compiled and underlined that certain British-American relationships of paramount importance had arisen in the course of the conference and had been thoroughly documented.
As this particular phase of the discussions drew to a close, Mr. Noble asked the Committee whether it wished to consider the matter of eliminating altogether documentation on certain countries -- for the sake of reducing the quantity of the published record.
Mr. Perkins, speaking on the entire Foreign Relations series: Mr. Perkins gave expression to his strong feeling that the main issues facing Foreign Relations were the falling behind currency of the series and the scope of coverage of compilations. He took exception to the view that the coverage of Foreign Relations would be made more complete if a few additional years were allowed to go by. His greatest fear was that the series was becoming increasingly less useful for historians and others as it fell farther and farther behind the times. His view was that authors needed the actual record of events in their work, and if they didn’t have the record, they would turn to other, less accurate sources for their writing.
Mr. Perkins admitted that some limitations would have to be imposed regarding the amount published. His personal preference was to confine Foreign Relations to the publication of Department of State records on matters within the responsibility of the Department of State. He did not anticipate that other government agencies, such as the Defense Department, would turn over their records to the Foreign Relations staff to do the same sort of research job as was done on State Department records. Mr. Perkins did not dissemble, however, the fear that any principle of exclusion more extensive than that now presently followed would result in an increase of criticisms regarding this or that missing document.
In connection with the National Security Council, Mr. Perkins suggested that Foreign Relations would have to confine itself to matters on which the NSC made recommendations; background and preparatory materials could not be used. However, he did not anticipate that the use of NSC documents would present a serious problem because these papers were in the possession of the State Department and other agencies wouldn’t have to be asked for them.
In concluding his remarks, Mr. Perkins stressed that beginning with 1946, it would be necessary to be more selective, and Foreign Relations would have to state frankly that the story would not be complete. The key State Department papers would be included together with such supplementary documents as showed Presidential involvement. But he warned that Foreign Relations could not cover the record to such an extent that scholars would not need to have recourse to the files.
The meeting then adjourned at 5:18 p.m.
Session of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States, Saturday, November 4, 1961
From 9 to 10 a.m., the members of the Committee read various papers provided by Mr. Noble to give them information on clearance and other problems.
At 10 a.m., the Committee resumed its regular sessions.
- The Advisory Committee:
- Chairman Goodrich
- Mr. Berdahl
- Mr. Leopold
- Mr. Thayer
- Mr. Wilson
- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Special Assistant to President Kennedy
- Officers of the Historical Office:
- Mr. Noble
- Mr. Franklin
- Mr. Perkins
- Mr. Dougall
- The Foreign Relations staff:
- Mr. Nuermberger
- Mr. Sappington
- Mr. Churchill
- Mr. Reid
- Mr. Goodwin
- Mr. Fine
- Mr. Slany
- Mr. Dengler
- Officers of the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs:
- Avery F. Peterson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Economic Affairs
- Joseph A Yager, Director of the Office of Chinese Affairs
- Daniel V. Anderson, Director of the Office of Southeast Asian Affairs
Mr. Goodrich called on Messrs. Peterson, Yager and Anderson to set forth the position of FE on publication of 1941, vol. V, and the China series beginning with 1943.
Mr. Peterson expressed his regrets that Assistant Secretary of State McConaughy could not be present because he was conferring with General Taylor, just back from Viet Nam. He spoke first of the 1941 volume and explained that FE had previously considered it inadvisable to publish this volume because of the volume’s derogatory or unflattering references to Pibul Songgram and Prince Wan and because of its documentation of the territorial aspirations of Thailand in Indochina. He maintained that these reasons were still valid and that FE therefore opposed early publication. Of these, the question of the personalities involved was of far lesser moment. Pibul was out of Thai public life at the moment and Prince Wan, though Thai Deputy Prime Minister, was not a leader of highest prominence. However, the possibility remained that these persons might in the future attain positions of real power in Thailand and therefore the printing in an official US publication of derogatory information about them was inappropriate. However, the chief stumbling block to FE approval of early publication of the volume was its documentation of Thai territorial ambitions at a time when Thai-Cambodian and Thai-Viet Namese relations were extremely tense. He pointed out that the mercurial speeches of Prince Sihanouk on Thai border problems and the equally fiery retorts of General Sarit had inflamed passions in these areas. He quoted portions of the volume (pp. 47, 48, 219) as illustrations of the way the matter was documented in Foreign Relations and concluded this was not a propitious time for the State Department to tell the world of Thai seizure of Indochinese territories.
Mr. Schlesinger asked if there would ever be a propitious time for publication and whether the FE ban was a permanent one. Again Mr. Peterson pointed out that inciting Prince Sihanouk would be harmful to our interests, but that perhaps in 6 months or a year, the situation might be “damped down” to a point where publication might be considered possible. Mr. Anderson undertook to underscore these points, stressing the FE view that publication at this time might result in definite injury to the national interest.
Mr. Schlesinger indicated that he understood the problem but pointed out that relations between Thailand and Cambodia had worsened violently only recently, yet FE had taken a position against publication for several years. He inquired at what point would FE approve publication? Mr. Peterson suggested that the loss of Indochina might be such a point but then stated that publication might take place before any such eventuality. Mr. Anderson stated that there was no intent on the part of FE to prevent publication and that the question could be reopened when the present situation would be “damped down” somewhat.
Mr. Franklin inquired what public opinion but our own were we keeping from being enlightened. Certainly the volume contained nothing the Cambodians didn’t already know.
Mr. Schlesinger noted that authorities have expressed fears over the impact of historical publications but that nothing has taken place to justify such fears. Moreover, the previous veto by FE on publishing has been responsible for producing the present situation where the question of the timing of release has become so sensitive.
Mr. Perkins stated the world knew that Prince Wan went to Tokyo and signed a treaty providing for seizure of territories in Indochina. Why then did FE object to publication? Mr. Peterson conceded that the facts were known, but deemed harmful to United States national interests the very act of printing these facts at this time in a publication issued by the Department of State.
Mr. Goodrich pointed out that the situation in Southeast Asia one or two years ago was not so critical as it is today, yet FE objected then as it was doing today. Mr. Anderson said it was true that FE had in the past opposed publication because of derogatory remarks about Pibul and Prince Wan. He wished to state again that this consideration was no longer uppermost. Other considerations had arisen which required FE to adhere to its position against publication at the present time, namely that the national interest now was involved, as evidenced by Mr. McConaughy’s talks with General Taylor.
Mr. Noble suggested that tipping in one or possibly two pages in order to permit deletion of the most glaring examples of statements regarding Thai territorial demands might be considered as a way out of the impasse. Mr. Peterson asserted that FE was not opposed to publication of official papers as such but that this was not a happy time to put the imprint of the United States Government on a publication that spelled out Thai territorial ambitions.
Mr. Schlesinger stated the FE case was not so strong on this matter because FE had been equally opposed to publication before this crisis. He also observed that no Foreign Relations volumes at all might be published if the existence of crises in various parts of the world was the major criterion for release, and again asked when publication would be possible. Mr. Peterson’s reply was, that it might possibly be when Pibul and Wan have left the scene permanently. Mr. Schlesinger’s rejoinder was that we cannot ask the United States Government to withhold release of historical publications because of remarks made about personalities or we would have no publication program at all. He requested a statement of criteria as to when publication would be acceptable. The President, he said, had asked, in his letter of September 6, 1961, for a clear and precise statement from officials seeking to withhold from publication documents over 15 years old and would not tolerate a permanent veto. Mr. Peterson stated that we could not at any one time visualize all future contingencies which would have the effect of impeding publication.
Mr. Franklin observed that if EUR adhered to the same principles of withholding clearance from volumes which documented frontier claims and territorial appetites, then none of the European volumes could have been published.
At this point there was further discussion of the possibility of tipping in new pages. Mr. Peterson expressed his personal opinion that the matter might be resolved in this way but that Mr. McConaughy would have to pass on the matter. He cited pages 47 and 48 as good candidates for such treatment and perhaps others. Mr. Noble expressed some caution about tipping in more than two pages because of the prohibitive cost of such an operation where a book was already printed and bound.
Mr. Franklin expressed deep concern about this method of solving the problem. He pointed out that ten copies of the 1941 volume had been sold by the Government Printing Office (before the ban on the official release of the volume was made known) and asserted that the existence of two differing versions of the same volume in the hands of the public would raise against the Historical Office the most serious accusations of distorting and doctoring the historical record to serve political purposes. Mr. Schlesinger agreed this was an important point. Mr. Franklin suggested the situation might be ameliorated if a new title page would be tipped in showing the release year as 1961 rather than 1956, which at least would have the virtue of distinguishing between the two versions. In further discussion, the question was also raised as to whether the date of the preface would have to be altered.
Mr. Schlesinger conceded that FE representatives had every responsibility to consider all the possible consequences of releasing volumes which might be prejudicial to the best interests of the United States. He tended to accept FE’s protestations on withholding the 1941 volume from publication at the present time because of the recrudescence of the Thai-Cambodian border issue but saw the gravest danger in continual postponement of release.
Mr. Goodrich terminated discussion of the 1941 volume by noting the importance the Committee attached to releasing Foreign Relations volumes in routine fashion when they were completed. He stressed how the history of the 1941 volume illustrated the difficulties of publishing a volume, when ready for release, in other than regular sequence, for it was only then that the question of timing of release became a matter of great import, inviting special scrutiny and becoming tied in with policy issues. Mr. Anderson then departed.
Mr. Goodrich then requested the FE spokesmen to present their views on the China series and to state specifically, if FE objected to publishing the series in the near future, what its views were on releasing these volumes individually at the same time as other annual volumes for a given year.
Mr. Peterson stated that the questions of Chinese representation in the UN and the Outer Mongolia problem there had presented the Department with much travail. It was the desire of FE that consideration of publication of the 1943 volume be withheld until the items on the agenda affecting China at the current session of the General Assembly were acted upon. Thereafter, during a convenient lull, the volume might be released.
Mr. Noble spoke of a recent discussion he had had with Mr. Parsons, Mr. McConaughy’s predecessor, at which time Mr. Parsons said he was more receptive to the release of the China volumes than of volume V for 1941.
Mr. Schlesinger commented on a four-page memorandum written in 1957 by the then Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Mr. Robertson, which quoted various passages in the 1943 volume. He stated his opinion that these quotations did not seem sensational.
Mr. Yager stated that Chiang Kai-shek, remembering the release of the China White Paper in 1949, was very suspicious of Democrats. Release of this volume with its critical observations would prove to him that his suspicions were correct and that current American promises of support were worthless. Mr. Schlesinger suggested that perhaps former Senator Knowland might be persuaded to write a foreword to the China series. Mr. Yager emphasized he was not pro-Chiang but the “old man” must be gotten along with. Publication of these volumes would make relations with him much more difficult.
Mr. Franklin interjected that the Cairo-Tehran volume contained very unflattering remarks on the “Gimo”, similar to those raised by FE in its analysis of the China volumes, yet no adverse repercussions followed publication. The Chinese Government had even contributed various memoranda for inclusion in the volume and seemed to understand the Department’s program of printing historical papers. It was therefore difficult to understand FE’s fears that the Chinese would take offense at the release of the China volumes. He queried why FE had cleared the Cairo-Tehran volume but refused to clear the China series although both contained similar material on the “Gimo”. There was no apparent reply to this query.
Mr. Perkins pointed out that the derogatory remarks in the China series were balanced by laudatory passages. Moreover, the derogatory statements were made by Davies, Service and Ludden, who were in the lower echelons of the Foreign Service, and Chiang was well aware of the views held by these individuals. Finally, it was to undo some of the damage caused by the publication of the White Paper that the China series was undertaken - under Republican auspices.
Mr. Peterson again suggested a delay of a few months until the General Assembly completed its deliberations on China, at which time, it was implied, FE might remove its bar to publication of the 1943 volume.
Mr. Yager undertook an analysis of the sensitivity of the various China series volumes as seen by FE. His opinion was that the 1944 volume was a shade less offensive than the 1943 volume and that it would be satisfactory to FE to treat the two volumes similarly for release purposes. Volume I for 1945 was the worst of the series in terms of derogatory remarks about Chiang Kai-shek and a great deal of care would have to be exercised before release would be feasible. Volume II for 1945 was much better and the 1946 volumes I and II were good for their political impact but might be harmful to certain Chinese on Formosa. As to the volumes from 1947 to 1949, he discerned no problems comparable to those in the first volume. of 1945. He reiterated the point that FE did not question the truth of the documents but was concerned about the fact of publication.
Mr. Leopold asked whether the Historical Office was in a position to bring out the China volumes in rapid succession if there were no clearance problem. Mr. Noble assured the Committee that they could be brought out relatively rapidly under such circumstances. Mr. Schlesinger emphasized that the Historical Office should be in a state of readiness to release the volumes when circumstances were favorable, for there was no certainty how long circumstances would so remain.
Mr. Perkins noted that the statements critical of the “Gimo” were concentrated in the earlier years of the series and that the volumes beginning with 1946 became increasingly critical of the Chinese Communists.
Mr. Schlesinger asked Mr. Yager for examples from the first volume for 1945 to illustrate the difficulties cited by Mr. Yager. The latter quoted part of a letter from Senator Mansfield to the President which contained caustic comments on the “Gimo” and read other quotations. He concluded that some of the worst material would have to be deleted.
Mr. Schlesinger dryly expressed his hope that historical documents would indeed have the impact on world affairs that FE imputed to them and underlined his conviction that the Foreign Relations volumes would not have any real effect on the foreign policy of the United States or of any other power.
Mr. Franklin pointed out that the Romanus and Sunderland study entitled Stilwell’s Command Problems published by the Office of Military History of the Department of the Army contained highly critical interpretive analysis on Chiang but produced few discernible ripples in China. Mr. Yager stated he had been at Taipei at the time of the release of the Army history and agreed there had been no reaction to the publication by the Chinese.
In concluding his presentation, Mr. Peterson stressed the point that he and Mr. Yager supported publication of the China series but considered it inexpedient at the present time. He expressed the hope that the Historical Office would be agreeable to a two to three month “hoist” on release of the 1943 volume until Chinese affairs were off the General Assembly agenda. To this, Mr. Noble assented.
The FE representatives assured the Committee that they were on the side of Foreign Relations and departed.
Mr. Noble asked that the regular business session of the Committee continue.
Mr. Schlesinger spoke briefly of the President’s keen personal interest in seeing the historical record of the government published, as evidenced in his letter of September 6. The President, he said, had been delighted to write this letter and favored the widest possible disclosure of the historical record consistent with the national interest.
The Committee members applauded the action taken by the President and felt it would be of considerable help to Foreign Relations.
Mr. Noble mentioned to Mr. Schlesinger that some confusion had arisen regarding the last sentence of the September 6 letter. The Moss Committee was apparently interpreting this sentence to mean that there should be general access to State Department records 15 or more years old. This was of course a serious confusion and the Historical Office was corresponding with the Congressman on this matter.
Mr. Schlesinger assured the Committee that the intent of the September 6 letter was to seek release of documents 15 or more years old for inclusion in the Foreign Relations series, not to open the Department’s files to the public.
Mr. Noble reviewed for Mr. Schlesinger the high points of this meeting of the Committee, particularly the discussion of problems to be faced in the 1946-1950 period and the efforts of the Committee to assist on these problems.
Mr. Noble informed the Committee that he had requested three members of the staff to review, for completeness of coverage and annotation, volumes compiled several years before. Mr. Goodwin reported first on the Near East volume for 1942 (vol. IV). He indicated he had spent one month in extensive reading in literature published since completion of the compilation more than ten years ago and one additional month on examining the galleys to spot obvious gaps or discrepancies.
In connection with the first phase of his review, Mr. Goodwin found that no major subjects had been omitted. However, he was recommending revisions in connection with the development of United States political policy in the summer of 1942 under the impact of British military losses to General Rommel in North Africa. As a result, three new documents have been added, a new and more meaningful title prepared and the whole approach tightened to bring the development of United States policy into sharper focus through appropriate cross references to pertinent documentation in other Near East stories.
As far as the galleys were concerned, Mr. Goodwin noted some 200 possible changes in the nature of cross references, explanatory notes, references to memoirs and other works published since the original compilation, and the like. Consideration of such changes was desirable because of shifts in emphasis in the method of annotating since the original compilation and the appearance of new printed material.
Mr. Perkins questioned whether the investment of two months time had been sufficiently worth while.
Mr. Noble raised the question whether galleys should be returned to compilers for a fresh examination prior to publication but said that so far this had not been done because of the time factor. Mr. Perkins expressed his opposition to this procedure as too time consuming. He noted the Branch Chiefs were alert to necessary changes when they prepared galleys for clearance. He paid high tribute to the abilities of the technical editors in PB who called any errors to his attention.
Mr. Goodrich asked how many volumes were expected to be released this fiscal year. Mr. Noble and Mr. Nuermberger replied that the release of four volumes was anticipated - three American Republics volumes (1941, vols. VI and VII, 1942, vol. V) and one European volume (1942, vol. II).
Mr. Franklin, at Mr. Noble’s request, reported on the status of the conference volumes. He observed that volumes on the later conferences had been released and that the three Washington conferences, the Casablanca Conference and the two Quebec Conferences were yet to be done. He himself was working on the first Washington Conference and Mr. Slany on the Casablanca Conference. It was his expectation that the three Washington Conferences and the Casablanca Conference would be bound in one volume, leaving the two Quebec Conferences for the final volume in the series.
Mr. Goodrich raised the question as to how the Foreign Relations compilations for 1945 would be organized and into how many volumes. Mr. Perkins furnished the Committee with lists of completed and probable stories for 1945 but asserted that the organization and number of volumes for 1945 could not yet be determined.
Mr. Goodrich informed Mr. Schlesinger of the tentative feeling of the Committee that Foreign Relations be limited in the number of volumes, possibly by confining itself to key documents, eliminating the story approach, omitting certain background materials and making extensive use of editorial notes.
Mr. Franklin commented that since Mr. Schlesinger was present, it might be appropriate to mention the desperate manpower needs of the staff. He cited as an example that the person responsible for surveying the documentation on Germany and preparing a tentative list of subjects on Germany had resigned and it had not been possible to replace him.
Mr. Schlesinger inquired whether Foreign Relations was in a position to hold its own. Mr. Noble stated that the staff would need to be augmented by at least a half dozen professionals merely to keep pace and that compilation would fall farther and farther behind unless the staff would be increased.
Mr. Noble requested Mr. Perkins to give his review of volume II for 1942. Mr. Perkins said the original compilation had already been revised in connection with the question of North Africa. In 1942, Robert Murphy, while a Foreign Service Officer, had been detailed to the military. During this detail, he was not under the instruction of the Department nor did he report to the Department. Mr. Murphy subsequently reviewed the galleys and noted that his reports for 1942 had not been printed. As an outgrowth of his representations, a number of papers was added. During this past summer, volume II was placed in page proof. Mr. Perkins reported that during his review, he found that nothing of vital substance had been omitted. He stated that if he were able to compile the volume anew, he would include one paper from the Martinique post files and another dealing with United States use of air bases on French possessions in the Pacific. However, since the volume was in page proof, he had decided against adding them. Mr. Perkins also observed that he had altered some footnotes.
Mr. Sappington reported that his review of volume II for 1943 had not yet been completed. He stated that there were various post and lot files which were not available when the compilations were originally done and that these would still have to be examined.
At 11:35 a.m., Mr. Goodrich declared the open session ended and stated the Committee would go into closed session to consult on its recommendations.