Minutes of Historical Advisory Committee Meeting, November
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 2, 1965—Minutes. Limited Official Use.
Minutes of the 1965 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States
The morning session on Friday, November 5, began at 9:15 a.m. in Room 1105, New State.
- The Advisory Committee:
- Philip E. Mosely, Chairman
- Robert H. Ferrell
- Stanley D. Metzger
- Robert E. Osgood
- Robert B. Stewart
- Robert R. Wilson
- The Historical Office:
- William M. Franklin, Director
- Richardson Dougall
- S. Everett Gleason
- E. Taylor Parks
- Edwin S. Costrell
- Fredrick Aandahl
- Velma H. Cassidy
- Rogers P. Churchill
- Herbert A. Fine
- John P. Glennon
- Ralph R. Goodwin
- George O. Kent
- Marvin W. Kranz
- Neal H. Petersen
- John J. Reed
- John G. Reid
- William Slany
- Howard M. Smyth
AGENDA ITEM 1: Opening Remarks:
Mr. Franklin welcomed the Committee and especially its new member, Mr. Metzger. He expressed regret that Messrs. William W. Bishop, Jr., and J. E. Wallace Sterling were unable to be present and thanked Mr. Wilson for substituting for Mr. Bishop.
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs James L. Greenfield joined the group at 9:20. He welcomed the Committee and suggested that it might wish to recess its meeting at 10:30 to attend the Secretary’s press conference. He noted that the earmarking of large sums of money for printing and binding Foreign Relations was a fact worth noticing and he gave credit for this development to Mr. Crockett (with whom the Committee had a luncheon engagement) and to Congressman Rooney. Mr. Greenfield noted that the large sum earmarked for printing and binding was a good precedent and he hoped it would continue.
Mr. Greenfield observed, as far as the Bureau of Public Affairs (P) was concerned, that “they” lobbed grenades into our trenches and all through the year P was busy throwing the grenades out. As a result, by the time a year came to an end, it seemed, regretfully, as if P might not have a great deal of permanent value to show for its activity. The Foreign Relations series was the chief product of lasting and constructive value that came out of the Bureau. The series had attained an even greater importance to the Department and the academic community because of increased interest in and argumentation about foreign affairs. It was a complete and honest review of what the Department of State had done and it contributed toward the credibility of P and the Department. He concluded by thanking the Committee for its contributions to the success of the series.
After Mr. Greenfield’s departure Mr. Franklin reviewed changes in the Historical Office since the last meeting, including the elevation of Mr. Dougall to the position of Deputy Director and of Mr. Costrell to that of Chief of the Historical Studies Division. He noted also changes in two of the three Foreign Relations branches, Mr. Aandahl taking the place of the retired Owen Sappington as Chief of the Western Branch and Mr. Goodwin taking Mr. Aandahl’s former position as Chief of the General Branch, with Mr. Churchill remaining as Chief of the Eastern Branch. In addition to losing the services of Mr. Sappington, Foreign Relations had been hurt by the transfer of Mr. Glennon to duties as editor of the Current Documents series. To counterbalance these departures, Foreign Relations had acquired the services of Marvin Kranz and John J. Reed.
Mr. Franklin stressed the drive to get the Current Documents series up to date. The 1961 volume had already been released. With part-time assistance from the Historical Studies Division, it was hoped to publish the volumes for 1962 and 1963 within the next twelve months and those for 1964 and 1965 within the twelve months thereafter. As a result, the series would soon be within one year of currency and would be held at that point.
AGENDA ITEM 2: Report on Status of Series and Publication Plans:
Mr. Aandahl distributed a chart describing the status of the Foreign Relations series. He noted that the moving of the volumes through the pipelines toward publication was a grim business but that we had made progress. All the galleys for the Washington and Casablanca Conferences, 1941-1943, had been sent to Defense for clearance. The dialogue with Defense usually took about one year but their criticisms and observations had often helped to improve the volumes.
Volumes III and V for 1944 had been released during the past year; four additional volumes had been cleared and had been sent to the Publishing and Reproduction Services Division (PBR) for putting into page proof and indexing. The China volume provided a special problem, as usual, but of the others for 1944 only the one on the American Republics had been unduly delayed. Clearance activities in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (ARA) had ceased with the crisis in the Dominican Republic.
Volumes I and II for 1945 been cleared and were ready for paging. The remaining volumes were in clearance or at PBR. Mr. Aandahl noted that the British Government acted speedily on clearance requests, usually within a month or so.
All the 1946 volumes have taken shape but in larger numbers than estimated last year, primarily because the Paris Peace Conference material required two volumes. The material for 1947 was well advanced but could not be organized into specific volumes as yet.
At 9:40, the Committee adjourned for ten minutes to have photographs taken in the lobby of the Diplomatic Entrance.
Mr. Stewart then raised the question as to how British clearance jibed with the policy of the British Government regarding publication of its own papers. Mr. Gleason observed that British complaints regarding clearance were few and were based primarily on the volume of the material presented for clearance, not on its sensitivity. The number of documents sent to London for clearance had soared because Defense insisted that we send not only British documents but even those American documents that reflected activities of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He said he would be very happy if clearance problems within the Department were as easy of solution as those with the British. He then noted that there was a great deal of sentiment in Britain to advance access to British documents to a period of 35-40 years from currency. He noted the complaint of British scholars that they were obliged to use American publications rather than their own because the former were closer to currency.
Mr. Stewart then queried whether a reduction of the British time lag for access would be of value to Foreign Relations. Mr. Franklin stated that any shortening of the British 50-year rule would be helpful to us. Secretary Rusk has implied that we could not hope to reduce our 20-year lag when all other nations were so far behind us, inquiring “aren’t we way ahead of the others?”. Mr. Metzger asked whether Clive Parry, who is doing a job for the British along the lines of Hackworth and Whiteman, was getting access to more recent documentation. When Mr. Dougall stated that Mr. Parry would presumably have access to such documentation, as did compilers of other British official and semi-official publications, Mr. Metzger observed that these examples might be cited as an answer to queries of the Rusk type. Mr. Franklin stated that there was strong sentiment for Parliament to set the limits on access to British documents by law rather than to allow the British Foreign Office to set them.
AGENDA ITEM 3: Report on Wartime Conference Volumes:
Mr. Franklin reported that the galleys for the volume on the three Washington Conferences and the Casablanca Conference had been sent to Defense for clearance. We were getting priority from Defense but there would also be many wearying months within the Department. At one time we had made progress toward a three-month clearance rule but we had retrogressed. Mr. Ferrell expressed special interest in speedy publication of the documentation on the Casablanca Conference. Mr. Franklin stated that he hoped the high public interest in this volume would stimulate faster action. The basic problem was that clearing galleys was added to the other duties of Desk officers; that was why it took so long. Mr. Ferrell said that it seemed that Desk officers placed galleys in their file cabinet and left them untouched for long periods of time.
Mr. Metzger inquired whether we had experiences in which the Desks had prevented publication because of high sensitivity of material which HO itself had not spotted as critical. Mr. Franklin acknowledged that this had sometimes happened, and Mr. Gleason stated that an example of this sort of thing would be shown to the Committee later. On the other hand Mr. Franklin felt that publication of a sensitive passage often might produce merely a ripple in the press for a couple of days which would then pass away. He concluded that we defined the areas of real sensitivity in a much smaller compass than did the geographic Desks.
Mr. Stewart raised the question of expediting the clearance process. He speculated whether Foreign Relations branch chiefs might not volunteer to review compilations with Desk officers and to point out the sensitive portions. These would have the effect, at least, of getting galleys out of file cabinets and reducing the amount of material the Desk officers would have to look at with a critical eye. In the ensuing discussion it was brought out that we had sometimes marked sensitive passages, although Mr. Perkins (Mr. Gleason’s predecessor) had opposed this practice. It was his attitude that it was the business of the Desks to find the sensitive areas and not for us to supply them with data which they might use against us. Mr. Franklin stated that he had taken the opposite point of view at first, particularly in connection with clearing the Yalta volume where he had marked the sensitive passages. On the return of the galleys, Mr. Franklin observed that the Desks had requested deletion of all the marked items as well as many others they regarded as too sensitive for publication. Mr. Gleason noted that the experiment, especially in connection with Defense, had not attained its objectives and that we no longer marked sensitive passages. Mr. Churchill stated this procedure had failed and had resulted merely in more work for the staff.
In connection with clearance by Defense, Mr. Franklin stated that there was a tendency to attribute our difficulties to Mr. Winnacker, the Historian of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In justice to Mr. Winnacker it had to be said that he parceled out our galleys to the various services and that he had a hard time with them. He and the historians of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army, and Navy have often been helpful in supplying identifications and completing information given in our documents. We have sometimes been in accord with their suggestions and felt our volumes were better products as a result. So some of the time spent in review by Defense was useful to us.
In response to a question from Mr. Wilson, Mr. Franklin said that as a result of the Committee’s lively interest, we had been able to pry certain volumes (1943, China, and 1941, vol. V, Far East) out of the deep-freeze of the Bureau of Ear Eastern Affairs (FE). Mr. Churchill added that FE had promised to consider sympathetically the release of “China 1944”.
Mr. Franklin then returned to a discussion of the proposed volume on the Quebec Conferences of 1943 and 1944. Mr. Dougall was working on the first Quebec Conference. The work on the second conference was in abeyance, awaiting the completion, before long, of Mr. Kogan’s work on the Berlin problem. Mr. Franklin noted that we have had the basic documentation on these conferences for a decade and a half and that the compilations were substantially complete. Filling in the final gaps, however, always required an extraordinary amount of time, which we felt was necessary for the conference volumes.
Mr. Dougall then discussed some of the difficult problems facing the compilers of the Quebec Conferences. The Conferences were peripatetic, moving between Quebec, Washington, and Hyde Park. A difficult problem was the question of inclusion of material in between these stages. There were also many special collections of papers that required searching because of the large number of persons present. Then too, the number of high-level politico-military subjects discussed at these Conferences was high.
Mr. Dougall observed that for the First Quebec Conference there would be a section on arrangements but that the only substantive subject that would need to be treated in the pre-conference chapter was atomic energy. The remaining subjects would be treated more sparingly since they were treated in detail in the annual volumes.
The meeting adjourned at 10:15 for coffee, after which the Committee and the staff attended Secretary Rusk’s press conference. The meeting reconvened at 11:20.
Mr. Franklin returned to a discussion of the conference volumes. He stated that the slowness and difficulty of compiling such volumes were due to the high saturation of military matters as well as other problems dealt with outside of State Department channels, particularly by the President. Because the Yalta and Potsdam volumes were prepared well in advance of the rest of the series, there was not adequate background in the annual volumes to cite to in the conference volumes. Atomic energy discussions, for example, had been held on the Presidential level, and many of the basic papers were not in the Department’s records.
Mr. Dougall pointed out that very few memoranda and minutes of conversations exist for Roosevelt-Churchill conversations in the White House and at Hyde Park. Thus the compilers must piece together items gleaned from a host of memoirs and diverse sources.
AGENDA ITEM 4: Report on Annual Volumes for 1947:
Mr. Gleason prefaced his remarks by looking back at our experience with the volumes for 1946. Last year he had expressed to the Committee his hopes to restrict the number of 1946 volumes to eight, in addition to the China volumes, and the size of each volume to 1,000 pages. Neither of these hopes seemed likely to be realized. We now estimated that three or four volumes could be required to give comprehensive coverage to such of our multilateral policies as the United Nations, foreign economic policy, atomic energy, disarmament, the two sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Paris Peace Conference. Five other volumes would be required for the traditional area divisions. Two volumes on China would make a total of 11 volumes. The great expansion had been concerned with various aspects of our multilateral diplomacy in the post-war world, which would be covered in our General volumes.
Last year, Mr. Goodwin had reported to the Committee on our plans for coping with the massive problem of documenting United States participation in United Nations affairs. As a result of his work, this documentation had been kept within reasonable limits by establishing an austere frame of reference and by refraining from printing documents already available in U.N. official records. This approach has necessitated unusually heavy annotation to guide the reader through the maze of the official U.N. records. Even so, we anticipated that a volume of 1400 pages would emerge from Mr. Goodwin’s work for 1946.
The difficulties of the U.N. compilations we were well aware of last year. We were less aware of the magnitude of the documentation on the CFM meetings and on the Paris Peace Conference. The latter, which was being prepared by a very valuable new member of the staff, Mr. Petersen, would probably run to two good-sized volumes. Unhappily, there existed for the Peace Treaties no easily available official documentation such as appeared in the U.N. record. This had necessitated extensive reprinting of documents actually in print, and ponderous annotation.
Mr. Gleason then moved to consideration of the volumes for 1947. He reported Mr. Goodwin’s estimate that the documentation for the General Branch would he restricted to two volumes, one of some 1100 pages dealing with the United Nations and other general subjects and one of about 1300 pages covering the two sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers. He cautioned the Committee to regard these predictions with more than usual scepticism because of past experience and because little compilation was actually under way.
Mr. Gleason then made the following projections: The American Republics volume should be completed by April 1966 in about 1100 pages; the British Commonwealth and Western Europe should be completed by the late fall of 1966 in at least 1100 pages; the Near East and Africa volume should be completed by late spring of 1966 in under 1000 pages; the Far East should be completed by March 1966 in slightly over 1000 pages.
The uneven rate of progress in compiling the 1947 volumes was a reflection of insufficient personnel complicated by retirements and staff changes. Mr. Gleason expected to cope with this problem by greater staff flexibility, i.e., by reassigning personnel to fields other than their specialities and by deferring work on 1948 until 1947 was completed.
Mr. Mosely inquired whether it was necessary to reprint published documents relating to the Paris Peace Conference in our 1946 compilation. He was advised that the volume of Selected Documents compiled by Mrs. Cassidy and released by the Department in 1947 was out of print. The four-volume collection released by the French Government was also out of print. These publications were released in relatively small printings and neither seems to be generally available, even in libraries of large universities. Mr. Mosely suggested the possibility of reprinting the Cassidy volume through photo-offset reproduction to reduce the number of documents to be published in Foreign Relations. Mr. Franklin felt this was not feasible because the Cassidy volume was originally printed by photo-offset method and would not lend itself readily to further reproduction. Mr. Gleason said the problem had been wrestled with for months and that he was impressed with the advantages of covering fully the Paris Peace Conference in Foreign Relations.
Mr. Franklin then pointed out that there might be particular clearance difficulties with the Council of Foreign Ministers compilation, particularly since the French had been nearly as difficult as the Soviets at the London meeting. Mr. Gleason noted, parenthetically, one ray of sunshine regarding the French -- that the Office of Western European Affairs (WE) no longer believed that the setting forth in Foreign Relations of our views on De Gaulle would seriously affect our relations with France.
Mr. Ferrell inquired why there was only one China volume for 1947, since 1947 was an implementing year and 1946 a policy year. Mr. Gleason explained that we had had two China volumes for 1946 because of our exceedingly intensive treatment of the Marshall Mission.
Mr. Stewart requested information about the “ban” on publishing the China volumes. Mr. Franklin stated that HO had at first given strong priority to these volumes and they had been prepared far ahead of the other volumes in the series. After the first volume in the series -- that for 1942 -- had been released, Secretary Dulles and Assistant Secretary Robertson of the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs (FE) had put a ban on releasing any other China volumes until further notice. The Committee, with assistance from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., had helped us to get the 1943 volume released. The Committee had since advocated orderly publication of the China volumes and, after discussions with Secretary Rusk, it has been agreed to bring them out in such fashion, no volumes to be released ahead of other annual volumes for the same year nor any to be held back unduly. The 1944 China volume had recently been sent to FE for approval to release along with the other 1944 volumes. If this could be done, it would be made as obvious as possible that the volume was being issued automatically as a part of a historical series and not as an ad hoc political weapon.
Mr. Franklin observed that the intention of the original Congressional sponsors of the China series had been to show who had “sold out” China. The 1942 and 1943 volumes had not borne out their expectations and had contained much criticism of the Chiang Kai-shek regime. Thus the Government of the Republic of China had joined the group which opposed the release of further volumes. In our press release issued for 1944, volume V, we had included an incautious sentence stating that documentation on American policy toward China would appear in a subsequent volume in the series. The very next day the Chinese Embassy sent an officer to FE to find out when the next “bombshell” against his Government would be dropped. FE had informed him that the volume was not coming out immediately but would be published as part of a historical series at an appropriate future date.
Mr. Ferrell inquired whether reducing the number of volumes published would enable us to reduce our time lag to 20 years. Some HO members stated that it would take more time to compile Foreign Relations in fewer volumes. Mr. Ferrell then suggested that if this were so perhaps we should increase the number of volumes per year to attain the 20-year line. It was pointed out that this would increase the time spent in technical editing by PBR, already a prime bottleneck in the pipeline.
Mr. Ferrell queried whether a lowering of the standards used in compiling Foreign Relations would permit us to attain our 20-year goal. Mr. Gleason stated that this suggestion would not be helpful toward that end. A lowering of standards entailed less selectivity end therefore a larger number of volumes, and this in turn would make the series less usable and useful. He suggested that falling further behind currency might make clearance easier. He observed that there were many in the Department who would be willing to abolish Foreign Relations or to let it fall 50 years behind. Few were sympathetic to a 20-year gap or to publication within the lifetime of the persons covered. Antibiotics, he noted, were making for greater longevity. If it become apparent that we were not going to get relief in the way of additional personnel and if the series fell further and further behind, to say 25 years, it might be possible, Mr. Gleason speculated, to strike a bargain with Department officials for a genuine agreement to clear within three months.
Mr. Metzger asked if the problem of clearance was the sole problem slowing down publication of the series. If not, he saw no reason to strike such a bargain. He would continue to press for more personnel. To the extent that clearance was a major problem, he thought that top-level representatives from each area should come to HO and read the galleys and take appropriate action. In this way the process might be completed within one week. Had this been attempted?
Mr. Franklin stated that everything had been attempted. He cited as an example that his predecessor, Mr. Noble, had attended a staff meeting in ARA some 10 years ago and as a result a high-level officer in ARA had been designated to take care of our problems with that Bureau. All bureaus divided their work among their Desk officers and ARA gave its Desk men greater responsibility than most bureaus. ARA therefore had no one at a high level competent to pass on clearance and insisted that only its Desk men were acquainted with such details as whether Mr. X were still the power behind the junta, were an important editor, etc. Thus the arrangement made by Mr. Noble had not succeeded in speeding clearance.
Mr. Dougall noted that enough was being cleared under existing conditions to fill the pipelines at PBR and that if the clearance problem disappeared, PBR would be unable to handle the extra volume of material. In other words, clearance was not the heart of the problem.
Mr. Franklin recalled that years ago he had felt that if we would let our 15-year lag slip to 20 years, the clearance problem would be simplified. Time had showed that the clearance problem had not become easier even with a lag of more than 20 years. Mr. Metzger thought that even falling back to a 30-year lag would not help the clearance problem.
Mr. Franklin noted, as an item of incidental interest, that Professor Mario Toscano, Historical Adviser in the Italian Foreign Office and editor of the Italian diplomatic papers, did not have to clear his work in the Foreign Office.
Mr. Gleason emphasized the bottlenecks other than clearance -- compiling and technical editing. He noted that even should the first bottleneck disappear, the technical-editing bottleneck would clog the pipelines. Mr. Ferrell suggested reducing the number of volumes to meet this problem. Mr. Gleason replied that we have already became extremely selective and that we cannot reduce further the number of volumes and still have a worthwhile product. He also noted with dismay that in compiling for the years after 1947 we would have to take into account the fact that the National Security Council and other government agencies participated increasingly in the formulation of United States foreign policy. The State Department, after that year, would merely be the first among peers in the realm of foreign policy.
Mr. Costrell suggested the possibility of an approach to the planning and management staff to reduce our clearance problems. He observed that Mr. Crockett, in sponsoring studies by that staff, had complained that there were too many initials on State Department papers. Mr. Franklin observed that he had mentioned Mr. Crockett’s idea at a P staff meeting in this very connection, but no one had thought that it could seriously be used to expedite clearance of Foreign Relations. He did not feel that the management staff in the Department could give us an exemption from the area people. The core of the difficulty was that overlapping of responsibilities in the Department could not be eliminated and that Foreign Relations was a prime example of such overlap. Foreign Relations could not be divorced from current operations.
Mr. Churchill noted that in almost all instances we heard from the clearance people for the first time by memorandum after they had reviewed the galleys and that preliminary discussions with them were unusual. He noted an example of such discussion with GTI on Iranian questions, and he suggested that more of this informal consultation would be desirable.
Mr. Ferrell inquired whether there had been any major adverse reaction in the last 10 years to our published volumes, except for China. Mr. Gleason noted that the French press had reacted adversely to our accounts of remarks by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on De Gaulle and that our Ambassador at Paris had been disturbed enough by the press accounts to cable the Department. The press contended that these documents had been issued in June 1964 as revenge because De Gaulle did not attend the D-day anniversary ceremonies in Normandy. We talked to WE about it and nothing more had been heard about the matter. Mr. Gleason also noted critical reaction in the Greek press to our account (in a document of Prime Minister Churchill) that Papandreou was unable to make up his mind. The press had regarded the release of our volume last summer as American intervention in the then acute political Greek crisis. The matter had blown over quickly when it was pointed out that the accusation against Papandreou had been published years ago in Churchill’s memoirs.
Mr. Franklin pointed out that the French press agency, which had a large clientele in Latin America, had published an account of a recent American Republics volume, giving it an anti-American slant (which gets so much play below the border). Since the volume had not yet reached Colombia, our Ambassador there sent a frantic cable inquiring about the new “White Paper” issued by the Department. When our volumes arrived at Bogotá, it became clear that the press agency had twisted the story, but some damage had been done. Nothing could prevent this kind of distortion now and then.
Mr. Ferrell raised the question whether we should abolish press releases for Foreign Relations volumes. Mr. Gleason observed that these releases had purposely been made so bland as to say virtually nothing. Mr. Metzger suggested the opposite approach -- to prepare perhaps a three-page release which would give something in detail to the reporters that they could use in preparing their stories. Mr. Franklin stated that newspapers treat a released volume as “hard news” rather than as a subject for a book review. Consequently the press stories often did not mention the Foreign Relations series but just talked about “documents”. Maybe it would be better to give up the press releases. Mr. Metzger felt that we ought either to abolish the press releases or make them meaningful.
The morning session adjourned at 12:20, to enable the Committee to get ready for luncheon at 1 o’clock with Mr. Crockett at the Blair House.
AGENDA ITEM 7: Problems Relating to Technical Editing:
The afternoon session began at 3:05, with Messrs. Metzger and Wilson absent. Mr. Franklin introduced Peter Smith, supervisor of the editing staff of PBR, who discussed the problems of speed and staff. Mr. Smith noted that in some cases the work might be speeded up by borrowing staff from other sections of PBR or by contracting out certain jobs, such as indexing. Upon being asked whether PBR could edit five volumes of Foreign Relations a year, he answered in the affirmative. He cautioned, however, that with the present staff and little or no prospect for an increase, he believed that five volumes represented maximum production. There was some discussion on the question of inter-Bureau transfers of funds with Mr. Smith commenting that so far this had been no problem.
Mr. Smith then described the kinds of work being done by PBR. Mr. Franklin added that the technical editors did more than just catch typographical and mechanical errors; they knew something of the substance of the volumes, and they asked helpful and penetrating questions and significantly improved the product. Mr, Stewart expressed his belief that HO and PBR had to be considered a combined operation. There was some question as to whether the standards of PBR might be lowered a bit in an effort to speed production. Mr. Franklin stated that he and Mr. Jerome Perlmutter, Chief of PBR, had already agreed on several short-cuts which in fact might let a few errors slip through. Risks were involved, however, and he felt strongly that any further dilution of standards had to be held to the barest minimum. The real need was for more personnel, not lower standards.
Mr. Osgood inquired how many persons would be required to handle eight volumes a year instead of the four volumes now being handled. Mr. Smith thought that eight more persons would actually be needed, but that by some contracting out the number might be reduced.
Mr. Smith said that Miss Elizabeth Vary, Chief of the Foreign Relations Editing Branch of PBR, was trying to train more people as final reviewers. Since these experienced employees catch a host of errors, we might risk some additional short-cuts in the earlier stages of editing if we could count on top-notch final review. A number of the more experienced final reviewers would be retiring over the next several years, and this would pose a serious problem.
In response to a question from Mr. Ferrell, Mr. Smith observed that his staff spent the greatest amount of its time in proofreading, both oral and silent. Indexing was then discussed. Mr. Smith indicated that an index for a 1000-page volume cost about $1500. It was pointed out that indexes to Foreign Relations were complicated to prepare since they covered analytic concepts rather than merely proper names and key words. Inclusion of proper names was restricted to persons substantially involved in the events described.
Mr. Ferrell inquired whether time might be saved by a simpler method of making up a typeface dummy sheet. Mr. Smith replied that this step had been taken two years ago when GPO was given a generalized dummy to serve as a model for all Foreign Relations volumes. He noted several short-cuts and money-saving devices introduced by Mr. Perlmutter.
Mr. Smith was asked whether his editors had ever completed more than five volumes in a year, and he answered that it had been done only rarely in the past. He concluded his remarks with an expression of confidence that his staff would turn out volumes as rapidly as HO provided copy.
AGENDA ITEM 5: Efforts to Expedite Output:
Mr. Gleason remarked that most of the items concerning Item 5 had been covered but that he wished to devote special attention to clearance problems. He noted that of all the Desk areas, ARA had been the hardest to please, requesting us to remove substantial amounts of material and in same instances, like the Ecuador-Peru boundary dispute, to delete entire stories.
These calls for deletion were not always frivolous or unreasonable. He gave as an example a compilation on the question of United States bases in Iceland. The Icelandic Government refused permission to print certain of its documents. It also expressed the view that no documentation whatsoever should be printed regarding the base negotiations as that would be embarrassing to the Government and would impair relations with the United States. The American Ambassador reviewed the compilations and agreed that publication of the material would embarrass the Icelandic Government and perhaps cause it to fall, with the added possibility that the United States would lose the bases. The Bureau of European Affairs (EUR) agreed with the Ambassador. Mr. Gleason said that he had made an attempt to select documents that might make possible the printing of some compilation on the subject which would not cause difficulty. This proved impossible and we had substituted a short editorial note for the documentary collection.
Mr. Gleason asserted that the base story illustrated the dilemma confronting us. Our charter warns us “to avoid publication of matters which would tend to impede current diplomatic negotiations or other business”. On the other hand, we were obliged to insure that “nothing shall be omitted for the purpose of concealing or glossing over what might be regarded by some as a defect of policy.”
Mr. Osgood asked whether it would help HO to differentiate between valid and frivolous deletion requests if the Advisory Committee issued a policy statement for consideration by the Secretary of State. Mr. Franklin replied that this might help by emphasizing the positive value of the series. The trouble was that only HO was convinced of the positive value of Foreign Relations; every one else just looked on it as a possible source of trouble for him and his “clients”.
Mr. Franklin asked Mr. Gleason whether there had been difficulties with other base stories. The answer was that while there had been little objection thus far, he anticipated future trouble as our bases became world-wide. Mr. Goodwin noted that the decision had been made some years ago to handle compilations on this subject on a bilateral rather than a global basis in order to reduce the sensational aspect of the subject. Mr. Gleason concluded that the Icelandic story pointed up the need for review of our work by Desk officers, for HO had not anticipated any adverse reaction to the story.
AGENDA ITEM 6: Special Report on Problems Relating to the Compilations on the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Paris Peace Conference of 1946
Mr. Slany discussed some of the problems relating to the CFM meetings and the Paris Peace Conference of 1946. He stressed the difficulty of selection, noting the huge volume of materials. A decision had been made to focus directly on documentation at the CFM and to exclude indirectly connected materials bearing, for example, on other negotiations conducted in Paris or New York; these would instead be documented in bilateral compilations. Because of the possibility of having too much material even with such a restriction, it was decided to present a complete account of all CFM meetings in which the Secretary of State participated and in which major documents were discussed, as well as meetings of the Secretary with other delegations. It was anticipated that all major documents would be printed and that the volume would contain an elaborate editorial apparatus dealing with materials that could not be printed because of space limitations. In these ways, we hoped to present a comprehensive record of maximum value to the reader.
The problems encountered in producing the compilation on the Paris Peace Conference were similar. We again encountered a huge mass of documentation in the form of documents of the meetings, minutes, daily summaries, resolutions, amendments, etc. In this case, however, much of the material was already in the public domain. The French Government had published a four-volume work but it was generally unavailable. The Department’s publication (No. 2868) was not widely distributed and was not in most university libraries. We faced therefore the problem of the extent to which we should reproduce this documentation in Foreign Relations. We had decided that we had to duplicate a considerable portion of this documentation and to bring out a comprehensive story in two volumes. Thus we would be using the American Delegation’s daily journal, key amendments, certain verbatim records and other conference documents, all extensively annotated, together with heretofore classified papers on the negotiations of the U.S. Delegation.
Mr. Franklin observed that the earlier State Department publication had been poorly reproduced and in a small press run. He thought we had learned the lesson that a work of this sort should be published in permanent form with full distribution in order to enable Foreign Relations to cite to it in the future.
Mr. Gleason then commented on the problems presented to us by the Austrian State Treaty, being worked on by Mr. Kent. The negotiation of the treaty involved almost 10 years of protracted and repetitious talks and produced a vast documentation. Mr. Gleason noted that extensive annotation would boil down such a story considerably. On the other hand, he noted that printing the documents would have the value of showing continuing Soviet obstructionism. This, however, needed not to be done time and time again. Mr. Franklin agreed that the narrative form would be a method of cutting down repetition. Mr. Goodwin noted that much was being done along these lines in connection with U.N. compilations.
Mr. Ferrell wondered if it were too late to consider the revision downward of the number of volumes devoted to the CFM and the Peace Conference. Mr. Aandahl noted that despite the bulk of the volumes, our compilations were only a summary or skeletal outline of what had taken place. Mr. Ferrell nevertheless questioned, in view of Soviet obstructionism and the lack of concrete results, whether these subjects were worth three of the eleven volumes for l946. Mr. Mosely stated that some things were accomplished at the 1946 meetings. Mr. Franklin suggested that the Secretary of State thought these meetings were of extreme importance judging by the amount of time he had devoted to them. Mr, Ferrell agreed but continued to maintain that the meetings w«re not of earthshaking significance. By 1946 Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Finland were, to all intents and purposes, already behind the Iron Curtain and whatever happened in connection with them at the Paris Peace Conference was relatively unimportant, American efforts having been to no avail.
Mr. Mosely argued that American efforts in fashioning the peace treaties with the satellites, while perhaps not of immediate significance in shaping events in Eastern Europe, in the long run had confirmed United States interest in maintaining the independence of these countries and had gradually aided them in freeing themselves from the complete control of the Soviet Union. It was also pointed out that Italy had been a major element at the meetings.
There fallowed a discussion of the philosophy of inclusion and exclusion as to the kind of balance that had to be struck between the value of a story in its time and its value today. Mr. Franklin noted that in the Yalta volume the activities of Alger Hiss, because of his later notoriety, were documented more extensively than they would have been otherwise. Mr. Gleason cited as another example Cuba, where we would pay strong attention to Communist activities, not seemingly important at the time, because of the later emergence of Castro. On the other hand, Mr. Aandahl pointed out that certain wartime economic programs (Safehaven, Proclaimed List and the like) had generated vast amounts of documentation but that because of diminished interest in such matters we were giving them relatively brief coverage in the series.
Mr. Ferrell then asked about prospects for the volumes for 1947. Mr. Gleason felt that our plans were too indefinite to make a firm prediction, but pledged his best efforts to keep down the number of volumes and yet fulfill the injunctions of our charter.
There was general discussion as to the comparative value of the Foreign Relations series, which Mr. Ferrell noted was the most detailed of any published by any Government in the world. No other series came even close to ours in inclusiveness. Mr. Dougall noted that the series has had increasing value in that since 1940 American foreign relations had been global in scope so that our volumes were as useful for European or Far Eastern as for American diplomatic history. Mr. Franklin advanced the idea of the theoretical possibility of changing our publication policy and of printing spot documents without continuity. This would result in cutting the number of volumes for a year but it would destroy the look-behind-the-scenes our present volumes gave.
Mr. Ferrell, in expressing appreciation for what had already been done by HO, hoped it would move vigorously to hold the 20-year line. It was clear that there was slippage, and that it was getting increasingly difficult to get out a year of Foreign Relations in a year. This, however, was what must be done to hold the line.
At 5 p.m., the Committee went into private session in order to consider in detail the documents regarding the 1945 compilation on Iceland which had been gathered by Mr. Gleason.
The Saturday morning session began at 9 a.m., with Messrs. Mosely, Ferrell, Osgood, Stewart, Franklin, Dougall, Gleason and Aandahl present.
AGENDA ITEM 5: Deletions:
Mr. Stewart opened the discussion by recapitulating his views on the deletion of the story on Iceland for 1945, galleys for which the Committee members had read on Friday afternoon. He felt that the Historical Office and the Committee were up against a stone wall when both the Government of Iceland and our own political officers (Ambassador Penfield and EUR) were opposed to publication. From a practical point of view Mr. Stewart questioned whether there would be any chance of winning a fight on this subject. Also there did not seem to be much advantage in delaying the volume, since the problem was not likely to go away.
Mr. Gleason said that he would be willing if necessary to fight the Department of Defense on the general question of covering overseas bases, but not the responsible political officers in a particular case such as Iceland, where a pretty powerful case had been presented.
Mr. Osgood asked if bases would become a chronic problem for clearance. Would there be similar risk in other cases of endangering a friendly government, or was Iceland a unique case? Mr. Gleason thought that this situation was practically unique, but that the specific circumstances in Iceland would presumably continue for many years.
Mr. Stewart thought that this case called for a very close decision, and he asked whether Ambassador Penfield had been outraged by the undue pressure applied in 1945 by the United States against Iceland or was more concerned at the implications of publishing the record now. Mr. Gleason said that the Ambassador felt that the story could be used against the United States now.
Mr. Osgood noted that while there is usually no demonstrable cause and effect relationship between publication of a given document or set of documents and possible trouble in another country, in the present case there seemed to be a real connection. As a matter of principle we should be free to publish the basic documents of American foreign policy despite occasional embarrassments and awkward situations unless there was a clear probability of bad consequences.
Mr. Franklin commented that it was hard for the Historical Office to know in advance which documents or subjects were sensitive. We had not expected so sharp a reaction from the Icelandic Government or our own officials. There were likely to be similar sticky situations regarding other bases; if we gave in on all of them, the total amount of substantive deletion would be serious.
Mr. Osgood felt that we could not agree not to tread on any toes. Mr. Franklin said that if the situation becomes too difficult we might have to state that we were omitting base negotiations in general and call them a Defense matter outside the scope of Foreign Relations.
Mr. Gleason pointed out that it should always be remembered that in most base questions American motives were good and that the bases were intended to support policies that could themselves be defended, even though the negotiations themselves were sometimes indelicate.
Mr. Osgood then asked if anything could be gained by reopening with EUR the Iceland question. Mr. Franklin thought it was too soon now, and that little could be done until there had been a change of officers somewhere. Mr. Gleason believed that Secretary Rusk would support EUR if the matter came to him now, and Mr. Osgood commented that if we published the story and all the dire predictions proved to be correct, we would really be “in the soup”. Mr. Franklin observed that so far we had not actually pressed any cases to dire results, so that the question had not really come up in acute form. Mr. Gleason added that in general EUR has been most cooperative. Mr. Franklin feared that this might change somewhat, for the series had now reached the end of the period of many memoirs, which have always helped to ease clearance problems within EUR°s jurisdiction. Much has been published on European questions through the end of World War II, but relatively little on other regions. Churchill and De Gaulle had eased our way in Europe.
Mr. Franklin said that he always wanted to know how complete a publication was and what sources had been available to the author. He liked to see a clear indication of what was, or was not, covered. In this connection, the reader was entitled to know exactly what was to be found in Foreign Relations. Mr. Gleason described the bracketed note substituted for the story on Iceland, indicating that it was just enough to show the reader that the subject had come up.
Mr. Osgood asked if it would help if the Committee took note of the growing clearance problem and stated positively that material should not be deleted merely because it was embarrassing and stepped on toes. Would it not be desirable to state in broad terms the principle involved and then indicate certain legitimate exceptions?
Mr. Gleason reminded the Committee that many deletions were proposed on trivial grounds, and he would like the Committee to ask reviewing officers to bear in mind the real advantages of forthright publication even at the expense of temporary embarrassments on awkward passages. Such a statement would be most helpful to the Historical Office in handling clearance within the Department.
Mr. Franklin agreed that we could use some ringing words on the positive side. After all, the American people had a right to know how we got the Iceland base -- that is why we have the Foreign Relations series -- but that point rarely gets stated positively. The Desk officers see the narrow problem of some troublesome document affecting their immediate area of responsibility, and to counter this we need a principle showing the positive value of the historical undertaking.
Mr. Osgood thought that the permissible exceptions should be stated rather clearly so as to strengthen the affirmative principle.
Mr. Gleason said that he would try to handle the Icelandic story for 1946 in “low key” and see what EUR would do. Mr. Franklin noted that it was difficult to predict what the reaction would be in the Department and in the foreign press. Some minor things were picked up immediately and others were never noticed. As a rule the foreign press in Washington was quite alert to materials relating to their respective countries; one could never count on their missing an item that would make headlines back home.
Mr. Gleason said that there was no question that the present Icelandic officials were fully informed of the original base negotiations. It was the official documentation that was touchy, not the general outline as presented in Neuchterlein’s book. The subject had been covered rather fully in the Icelandic newspapers. Mr. Mosely pointed out that often one or another paper had the true story of a secret event, but no one knew at the time which speculative press story was correct.
Mr. Stewart asked what were the alternatives for now and what were the possible consequences for the future. Mr. Franklin answered that we could publish in full, publish in part, print in full but delay the volume, or limit our coverage to a bracketed note, indicating the file numbers of relevant documents, even though these would be put in blue envelopes so that they would not be automatically available to unofficial researchers when the files entered the restricted period. (Mr. Franklin then described the procedures for granting unofficial researchers access to various categories of Department records.)
After Mr. Franklin explained that we could more safely leave out third-party quarrels (such as the Peru-Ecuador boundary dispute) than matters of direct United States involvement (such as the base in Iceland), Mr. Stewart asked him to say what the Committee could do to help in this regard.
Mr. Franklin thought that the Committee could express serious concern about cases such as Iceland, admitting that it could understand the peculiar circumstances of this case, but hoping that this would prove to be most exceptional. It might be appropriate this year to have a confidential report for circulation within the Department, in addition to the regular public report. Mr. Gleason suggested a slight amendment; it would be most useful to express concern at the danger of wholesale deletions and then cite Iceland as a current example. Those responsible should be asked to weigh the long-term advantages of a candid account against the temporary embarrassment of a little adverse publicity. Iceland, Mr. Franklin pointed out, was a particularly good example, because the withholding of clearance was by no means captious, as in so many other instances, and the episode posed a serious problem not only for the Government but also for the series.
Mr. Mosely warned that in referring to deletions the Committee must be cautious in its language, for it was quite possible that a Congressional Committee might ask the members exactly what they had in mind.
Referring again to a possible general statement by the Committee, Mr. Franklin said that ringing words would help the higher officers in a geographical bureau to overcome the objection of Desk officers. The higher officers were generally willing to admit the strength of the arguments of the Historical Office, but were reluctant to overrule the Desks, which have day-to-day responsibility for relations with a given country. An affirmative statement of the overall value of the series would be most helpful.
In reply to a question by Mr. Osgood, Mr. Franklin said that he did not think it would be helpful to arouse the interest of members of Congress in the problem of deletions. Politics might be injected into the issue. Mr. Aandahl said that the issue was muddied by the fact that the overwhelming number of omissions were to save space rather than to maintain security or to avoid giving needless offense. This would be hard to explain to non-professional persons. Mr. Franklin pointed out that the basic regulation (written in 1924 when the series was only 10 or 12 years behind currency) called for two contradictory things: all basic documents were to be printed, but nothing was to be printed that might interfere with current negotiations.
The Hays Bill and HO Personnel:
In response to a question from the Committee, Mr. Franklin said that it would be premature for the Committee to make any comments on the possible effect of the Hays Bill on the personnel and workings of the Historical Office. The Committee could write to Mr. Crockett if the need should arise. Mr. Stewart thought that Mr. Crockett had seemed to be reassuring on this during the luncheon at Blair House yesterday, but Mr. Osgood was not sure exactly what he had in mind with regard to maintaining a professional register.
Mr. Mosely summed up the sense of the Committee on this point: it wanted to be sure that proper professional standards were maintained with regard to recruitment, retirement, promotion, and other factors. In this regard. Mr. Franklin noted that two uniquely valuable members of the staff, E. Taylor Parks and Richard S. Patterson, would retire within a few weeks. Both were quite irreplaceable, each having a rare combination of special knowledge and superior judgment in certain fields of our work. The question of replacements was made even more complicated by the uncertainties of the situation. We did not know what to tell job candidates about their status. At the moment they would apparently come in as Foreign Service Reserve officers.
Mr. Osgood referred to Mr. Crockett’s reply of September 9 to Mr. Leopold’s letter about the need for printing funds and staff. When Mr. Crockett had referred favorably to the “second stage” need for additional staff, Mr. Osgood felt that he had in mind the idea that he had expressed at the Blair House of using graduate students as temporary internes. The Committee were all agreed that the real need was for trained full-time staff, and that internes would not do.
Mr. Mosely said that as Chairman he had spoken quite vigorously and privately to Mr. Crockett yesterday before lunch, thanking him for the letter to Mr. Leopold but urging that more needed to be done in filling vacancies and giving administrative support.
Mr. Mosely also said that graduate students would clearly not be of much help to Foreign Relations, and that the senior interne program (with which he had been working with the Ford Foundation) was intended not for historical and intelligence work but for the fields of policy and law. It was agreed that it might be desirable for Mr. Mosely to write a private letter to Mr. Crockett to explain why this idea would not meet the needs of Foreign Relations.
Mr. Franklin then said that the Committee could do something that no one in the Department dared do: it could ask for more people. But the Committee should know that the Department’s view was that there should be no increase in staff. It was obvious that the Historical Office and the Publishing and Reproduction Services Division, which is part of the Office of Operations, both needed additional personnel in order to maintain the schedule to which we were nominally committed. It was relatively easy to get money for contracts, machines, and special programs. The hardest thing was to get approval for another body.
Mr. Gleason suggested that the Committee’s public report might refer to the present ferment in university communities as an added reason for publishing on time a candid record of American foreign relations. Mr. Greenfield had referred to this in his remarks on Friday morning.
The possibility of a session on Foreign Relations at a meeting of one of the historical associations was discussed. Mr. Ferrell said that he thought it would be easy to arrange a session for the meetings a year or so from now, and he invited suggestions on possible topics. He also mentioned that it would be useful for representatives of the Historical Office to visit the various universities. Mr. Franklin pointed out that we had very little travel money but that the Bureau was pretty good about paying for trips in response to specific invitations.
At this point the Committee went into closed session.
When the members of the Historical Office rejoined the Committee members some twenty minutes later, Mr. Mosely expressed appreciation for the work of the HO staff and hope that the series could be brought closer to the 20-year line. Mr. Franklin expressed his thanks for the work of the Committee and said that he would do a little research on the number of Foreign Relations historians over the years compared to the amount of material to be studied, the number of posts, etc. Such a chart might help to show the need for more staff. The Historical Office had recently been able to get replacements and promotions, within the existing table of organization, but it was under great pressure to recruit at the bottom. It was asked to take M.A.’s when it needed Ph.D.’s, and the latter were hard to find anyway. Mr. Franklin asked the Committee members to recommend qualified people to him and let him see what could be done about meeting academic salaries. Unless he had good candidates he could not hold out for Ph.D.’s. Mr. Stewart wondered whether that meant that all HO positions needed Ph.D.’s. Mr. Franklin replied that of course we would recruit some staff with lesser qualifications but that we needed to catch good Ph.D.’s whenever possible so that we would have historians of broad competence to carry on the work in the future.
The meeting broke up about 11:30 a.m.