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Record of Historical Advisory Committee Meeting, November 1968

A scan of the original document is available for download (PDF, 394 KB, 15pp.)

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, 1968—Minutes. Limited Official Use. Page 2 of the minutes is missing from the record copy. Attached charts are not posted.

Cited in Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable”: A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, Chapter 8, Footnote 55

Record of the 1968 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States

  • The Advisory Committee:
    • Inis L. Claude, Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia (American Political Science Association)
    • Hardy C. Dillard, Dean of the School of Law, University of Virginia (American Society of International Law)
    • W. Stull Holt, Professor of History, University of Washington (American Historical Association)
    • Ernest R. May, Professor of History, Harvard University (American Historical Association)
    • Stanley D. Metzger (Chairman), Chairman, United States Tariff Commission and Professor of Law, Georgetown University (American Society of International Law)
    • Elmer Plischke, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland (American Political Science Association)
    • J. E. Wallace Sterling (Absent), Chancellor of Stanford University (American Historical Association)
    • Paul L. Ward (substituting for Dr. Sterling), Executive Secretary, American Historical Association
  • The Bureau of Public Affairs:
    • Dixon Donnelley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
  • The Historical Office:
    • William M. Franklin, Director
    • Richardson Dougall
    • S. Everett Gleason
    • Edwin S. Costrell
    • Arthur G. Kogan
    • Fredrick Aandahl
    • Rogers P. Churchill
    • Ralph R. Goodwin
    • Howard M. Smyth
    • Velma H. Cassidy
    • Herbert A. Fine
    • John P. Glennon
    • Marvin W. Kranz
    • Neal H. Petersen
    • John G. Reid
    • Charles S. Sampson
    • William Slany
    • David H. Stauffer
  • The Publishing and Reproduction Services Division, Office of Operations:
    • Peter A. Smith, Chief, Editorial Services Branch

[Page 2 is missing from the record copy.]

Dr. Holt expressed the grave concern felt by historians at the slowness of the Foreign Relations publication program. The further the series fell behind currency, the more slowly were files of the Department opened for access to the scholars. Dr. Holt raised the question whether restrictions on access to files by “outside” researchers were based on substantive grounds or on procedural delays in the publication process. He thought that the latter should not be allowed to determine the time of access. Why could not access be granted in accordance with the original intent of the 20-year rule, regardless of the lag in the editing and publishing of the volumes?

Dr. Holt also suggested that if clearance could take place at the manuscript stage rather than the galley, the declassified documents could thereby be made available to outside researchers much earlier. Dr. Franklin explained that much declassification of documents could be effected even sooner than 20 years if the necessary manpower were available. But in the absence of such resources, it was only with the printing and circulation of Foreign Relations galleys that top-level papers could be brought up for declassification by policy officers in an organized and wholesale fashion. The whole process could be speeded up if Foreign Relations published the documents in raw facsimile, but this was impracticable because of the large number that would be illegible or incomprehensible without editorial treatment. As it was, the Department’s policy officers were so busy with their regular work that they could hardly find time to clear printed galleys that were clear and compact. It would be hopeless to attempt any earlier clearance of facsimiles in any large quantities.

Dr. Metzger asked if technical innovations in compiling procedures might not significantly save time in preparing Foreign Relations volumes. Dr. Gleason and Dr. Franklin replied that computerized document retrieval had no possible application soon to the work of the series. One technological improvement had been utilized, however. The use of microfilm blowups in place of typed manuscript had considerably increased the speed and accuracy of compiling and editing of the volumes. In connection with the discussion of microfilming, Dr. Holt observed the possible usefulness to scholars of routing indications on documents and asked if these might be somehow recorded in texts printed in Foreign Relations. Dr. Gleason replied that routing indicators of real consequence on source texts are frequently noted in annotations in the volumes. He pointed out that the exact routing of a document was often unknown.

Dr. Plischke wondered whether it might be possible to publish certain volumes of Foreign Relations more rapidly than others. Dr. Franklin replied by pointing out the serious consequences of issuing volumes very far out of chronology.

THE COLD WAR AND FOREIGN RELATIONS

Dr. Dillard pointed out the timely relevance of Foreign Relations to the current debate on international relations, particularly in light of the revisionist trends in the study of the Cold War, and their impact on college students. He noted that the Foreign Relations volume for 1945 that he had recently read made it brilliantly clear who started the Cold War.

Dr. Ward agreed. He indicated his concern about the growing criticism by alienated younger scholars to the effect that the United States was just as bad as Russia. Certainly history had a fundamental role to play in this situation.

Dr. Gleason said that he had hoped very much last year that this argument could help to speed up the series. It had indeed been mentioned in the Committee’s report, but the Department had not responded with any real assistance. Dr. Dillard felt that this had not been emphasized enough, and that the Department of State had shown a very short-sighted attitude in this regard. Dr. Ward asked if a resolution of the American Historical Association would help. Dr. Gleason said he would hope so, but that the “New Left” would always feel that we had left the meat out of our volumes, if they read them at all.

Dr. Ward said that our concern should be not so much with the “New Left” itself as with the other scholars who while awaiting the record, have tended to acquiesce in their views. The Department of State should provide the official record as a basis for better understanding of the situation. Dr. Dillard said that Foreign Relations was an opinion-molder, and the Department needed to see this. Dr. Gleason agreed, pointing out that Foreign Relations showed the actual choices and alternative policies open to the United States in response to immediate situations; this put the whole thing on a plane of reality. Dr. Dillard thought that Secretary Rusk might have made too much of the analogy to Munich, but that one needed a feel for documents to put world developments into some kind of perspective. Dr. Metzger added that the postwar German and Polish stories were quite crucial to an understanding of the Cold War. Dr. Gleason said that the records show how we leaned over backwards in 1945 to make every possible concession to the Soviets to demonstrate our good faith in seeking peaceful solutions in Europe. Dr. Ward thought that it would be very helpful if we could compile and publish “a year in a year” as an earnest of the Department’s intention to further this kind of debate on the early years of the Cold War. It was very important that our position was not reaching the public. Dr. Dillard noted the relevancy of our stories on Czechoslovakia in 1945 and 1948 to the recent crisis in that country. Dr. Metzger said that our 1948 volume would have an enormous impact if it were out now. Dr. Franklin said that this was an excellent example of the benefits of the 20-year rule, if only we could make it stick. Unfortunately the top officers of the Department had not so far seen it that way.

Dr. Franklin noted that target dates also affected our own morale and output. The long delay between completion of a manuscript and final publication could be quite disheartening. The whole assembly line for these volumes would move faster if HO actually had a firm schedule and could do a year in a year. Short of that, everything sagged all along the line.

AGENDA ITEM II: PROBLEMS OF EDITING

Mr. Smith reviewed the work of the Publishing and Reproduction Services Division. He was particularly pleased to report to the Committee that 9322 pages of Foreign Relations had been published in fiscal year 1968, a record output. He advised the Committee that a new outside contractor, Crowell Collier Educational Corporation, a subsidiary of Crowell Collier Macmillan, Inc., was replacing the World Publishing Company as technical editor of the series. He admitted a severe contraction of the Department’s “in-house” capability, but he asserted it would suffice to maintain quality control. In this regard, he laid great stress on silent reading by senior editors. He explained that scheduling was of the essence in dealing with outside contractors, and he noted that the four volumes of 1946 languishing in clearance were injuring his schedule. He said also that if the Foreign Relations staff would compile a year in a year, such scheduling would be facilitated. He pledged that technical editing would keep up with HO compiling. His aim, through outside contracting, was to have a volume of manuscript readied for galleys in 45 working days and an index in one month, both far shorter than had previously been the case.

Dr. Franklin commented that Mr. Smith’s picture was far too optimistic. He cited the example of the Washington-Casablanca volume which had been grossly mishandled and delayed by the Government Printing Office. He explained that although outside contractors might finish an index in a month or two, the Foreign Relations staff had spent much time reviewing and correcting their work. Mr. Smith admitted that this was true but he felt that the picture was improving.

Dr. Metzger raised the question of annual contracts vs. multiyear contracts, pointing out that some of the risk involved in contract editing with private firms might be eliminated or reduced if these firms were obliged to undertake a contract covering several years. Mr. Smith explained that PBR was not authorized to make contracts exceeding one year, but Dr. Metzger urged that the Department should obtain such authorization.

Dr. Slany urged the Committee to consider accepting a more simplified index for Foreign Relations in place of the detailed analytical index which had been traditional with the series and which required four to six months to prepare. Dr. Franklin noted that other major publications of official documents seemed to get by with very poor and thin indexes. Dr. Ward stressed the value of the good Foreign Relations indexes, and it was the consensus of the Committee that there should be no lowering of the standards. Dr. Dillard noted that one of the recent indexes, despite its length and quality, did not carry all significant entries under important names, such as John McCloy.

AGENDA ITEM III: CLEARANCE DIFFICULTIES AND PROSPECTS

Dr. Gleason told the Committee that there had been a slight trend in the direction of more rapid Departmental clearance of Foreign Relations volumes. In the cases of some volumes, clearance had been completed in less than six months. There remained, however, those annoying cases at the other extreme; a 1945 volume had been in the clearance process for 23 months. Some of the more rapid Departmental clearances must be attributed to a new procedure inaugurated during the past year. With the help of the Executive Director of the Bureau, it had been possible to have several upper-grade Foreign Service Officers who were temporarily available assigned the task of assisting the policy bureaus in reviewing Foreign Relations galleys. These Foreign Service Officers had performed their tasks most expeditiously, and Dr. Gleason hoped that more such officers would be available in the future. Clearance of galleys in the Department of Defense remained slow -- averaging over a year in time. In answer to a question, Dr. Franklin explained that the galleys were reviewed by all the military services, but that the major clearance hurdle was the Historical Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a small and heavily burdened group. But their review was meticulous and often provided additional information. Dr. Gleason felt that the few suggested improvements failed to outweigh the long delay in clearance.

Dr. Ward protested that the Foreign Relations series was after all a responsibility of the Department of State, and it was the Department’s policies and negotiations which formed the core of the documentation in the volumes. Perfection in nuance by other agencies ought to be resisted when it involved long delay in publication.

Dr. Gleason at this point offered two suggestions to speed internal clearance: (1) To extend from the current three months to six months the amount of time desk officers would be allowed to clear a volume; if there was no reaction from the desks by that time, Foreign Relations would proceed with publication after making such deletions as appeared necessary. (2) Clearance at the desks should only be handled by officers of Class III and higher. These are the experienced officers, with a broader view of the subject, who would not raise the inconsequential objections frequently now made by lower ranking officers with less experience and authority.

Dr. Franklin opined that clearance difficulties would mount in the years ahead, for the following reasons: (1) We had made successful use of the flood of good wartime memoirs to rebut objections, but the number of good memoirs was much lower for the postwar period; (2) Many emergent postwar problems, such as the acquisition of overseas military bases, were still very much alive today; (3) We were “fighting the antibiotics” in that many persons of prominence in the immediate postwar years were still in the political limelight; (4) The United States in the postwar years was in the center of the diplomatic history of the world; responsibilities and commitments made for clearance difficulties.

Dr. Dillard thought that the real need was to get the documents published as an aid to our political posture, and he thought that there had been too much parochial thinking on the part of clearance officers in the Department. Somehow the notion must get to them that these papers represented a positive contribution and were important in their own right. Dr. Metzger observed that we must use the countervailing force of the public interest in getting the documents out. In many cases Foreign Relations was but reinforcing known material rather than offering new data, but this was a valuable and defensible contribution too. Dr. May added that ninety percent of the real information about the postwar world had already appeared in the news papers, and that there was not much real revelation in the documents. The prime value of the series was systematic documentation.

Dr. Holt thought that the 25-year gap might be reduced by narrowing the coverage of the series, and he particularly objected to the long delay in publishing volumes after they had been cleared. Dr. Gleason pointed out that we had already done much to tighten the selections in the volumes for 1947 and 1948. Dr. Ward said that he was much encouraged, for he felt that Foreign Relations would have a much greater impact if it were more selective. Dr. Plischke proposed raising the level of Foreign Relations documentation and restricting the record largely to the ultimate policies and decisions and the immediate factors leading thereto. Lower-level documentation would be omitted. In this way it might be possible to concentrate the annual record into three or four volumes. Dr. Metzger stressed that American motivations and the assessment thereof were the really important factors to be documented.

Dr. Franklin felt that no substantial improvement in the clearance matter could be engineered at the working level and that real gains could come only through strong support from the top officers of the Department. Dr. Dillard said that this was a familiar syndrome both in government and in the foundations; there was a certain apathy about historical and scholarly projects, and we had somehow to strike a positive note and convince the policy-makers that this was not some purely antiquarian operation.

At 12:10 p.m. the Committee adjourned for lunch with the Secretary of State.

Afternoon Session

When the Committee resumed its session after lunch Dr. Franklin served as Acting Chairman, since Dr. Metzger had had to leave for a hearing involving the Tariff Commission.

THE PROBLEM OF PARAPHRASING

Dr. Gleason and Dr. Franklin described to the Committee the problem that had arisen regarding cryptography. The Department of Defense had insisted that certain telegraphic messages, beginning in February 1946, had to be paraphrased, since otherwise there was the possibility that other, classified messages sent in the same codes on the same day might be decyphered by any foreign power that had taped and retained all such encrypted texts.

The position of the Department of Defense has had the effect of halting the processing of four Foreign Relations volumes for 1946 already otherwise cleared and ready for conversion from galley to page proof. Dr. Aandahl estimated that as many as 1000 pages of material in the 1946 sequence of Foreign Relations would have to be paraphrased in order to conform to the injunction. The fact that most of the messages in question were in substance State Department telegrams rather than military cables had no bearing on the matter. Dr. Slany noted that the problem appeared to diminish for the period after October 1946, since few telegrams after that date, either State Department or military, bore any injunction requiring paraphrasing. Dr. Franklin explained that the Historical Office had sought to obtain a waiver of the paraphrase requirement on these telegrams. The National Security Agency was inclined to grant the waiver on the ground that the risk of decyphering the still-classified texts was minimal, but the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency insisted that we observe the paraphrasing requirement. Their decision was based on the fact that in a sampling of 63 messages they had discovered one reference to a covert source.

The Committee asked what it might do to support the Historical Office in this problem. Dr. Franklin observed that none of us could argue the cryptographic angle of the matter, but that the Committee could help by expressing its strong preference for the publication of true texts rather than paraphrases in Foreign Relations. In this connection Dr. Dougall pointed to the sometimes significant differences between the English-language texts of Roosevelt-Stalin correspondence published by Soviet authorities and those published in Foreign Relations. The difference arose from the fact that Foreign Relations printed Roosevelt messages as cabled to Moscow. The Soviet publication presents those messages as delivered to Stalin in paraphrase.

In answer to inquiries from the Committee, Dr. Franklin indicated that he would appeal the decision through higher officers. Dr. Gleason noted that it would help if we only had to paraphrase the opening and closing sentences. The complete paraphrasing of all of the messages involved would require the full time of one historian for several months. Dr. Ward urged the Historical Office to confirm that the protected system was no longer significantly used after 1946 in order to strengthen the argument that very little pertinent data in still classified messages would be affected even theoretically.

AGENDA ITEM V: FOREIGN RELATIONS AND ACCESS TO THE FILES

Dr. Franklin said that he had put this subject on the agenda because access was tied to Foreign Relations and he knew that the Committee was concerned with this whole situation. For this reason he had asked Dr. Kogan to attend.

Dr. Kogan briefly summarized the Department’s policy regarding access to official records. Documents 30 years and older are in the “open” period, which is advanced automatically each year. At present the “open” period extends through 1938. Documents in this period are maintained at the National Archives in Washington and can be consulted by anyone -- even citizens of foreign countries. This category does not, however, include papers involving such matters as personnel, security investigations, intelligence reports, and visa and passport applications. Nor does it include those papers denied clearance for publication in Foreign Relations by the Department, other government agencies, or foreign governments. The interval between the “open” period and the last year covered by Foreign Relations is the “restricted” period, at present 1938 through 1944 and into 1945 for those subjects documented in the volumes of Foreign Relations for 1945 that are already published. Records for this “restricted” period are available to qualified researchers upon approval of their application and subject to the review of their notes. Non-American citizens are not allowed access to documents in the “restricted” period because of the classification problem. Topics for research in the “restricted” period must be approved by the appropriate policy offices of the Department. Topics for research are rarely disallowed. The Department’s Central Files for the period through 1944 are in the National Archives Building or in the Federal Records Center at Suitland, Maryland, and servicing of those records is conducted by the National Archives under the general control of the Department. Notes by researchers working the “restricted” period are reviewed by the Historical Office, in consultation with Department policy officers on possibly sensitive questions.

Department Central File documents for the period 1945 and later continue to be housed in the Department of State Building, and this poses a problem. Requests for documents of 1945 must be serviced by the Records Services Division under the general supervision of the Historical Office. Facilities for private researchers are very limited, and they are located in the midst of the Department’s current records operation, thus posing a security problem. Only part-time assistance from RS personnel is available. All these circumstances combine to make access to the post-1944 records more awkward and time-consuming than for earlier years. This situation is compounded by the growing number of so-called “lot files”.

LOT FILES

Dr. Franklin briefly described the “lot files” of the Department. Until the period of the Second World War, the system of document management within the Department assured that all documents of record were eventually included in the indexed Central Files. Under the impact of the war, this system had broken down; records retired from various offices and bureaus were kept together and labeled as a “lot” from that particular administrative area. The individual papers were not indexed and put into the Central Files, but were left in the original boxes where they still are today. This “system” was no system at all; it maintained a generally meaningless “archival provenance” which was of no help to the historian, who would have to go through these boxes paper by paper to find the “nuggets”.

The practice of accumulating unindexed “lot files” proliferated and goes on to the present day without sign of abatement. There are now thousands of separate “lot files”, stored in the Department or in the Federal Records Center at Suitland. The limited manpower available to the Division of the Records Services could only perform a most limited program of screening these messy files for duplicative and useless papers.

In answer to a question from Dr. Plischke, Dr. Franklin observed that the National Archives has refused to accept or service these files because of the absence of indexes and the unscreened nature of these aggregations of paper. Dr. Kranz emphasized the incredibly chaotic state of the “lot files” and the fact that some very unlikely collections had yielded important documentation. Therefore they could not be ignored by any scholar. Dr. Franklin recalled that “lot files” had first been used extensively in the Yalta volume, where they are indicated by special headnotes rather than index numbers. In the Department’s central files there had been but a handful of documents on the Yalta Conference, and the great bulk of Conference papers had to be ferreted out of other “lot files”. Dr. Dougall observed that he had found certain Italian surrender documents in an unlikely “lot file” after a sleuthing operation that began with the Central Files and led through various other “lot files”.

In response to an inquiry from the Committee, it was pointed out that files of overseas missions were periodically retired to Washington, and they too were maintained at the Federal Records Center at Suitland. These post files were also a type of “lot file”, and they were important sources for the Foreign Relations series.

ACCESS TO THE FILES (Continued)

Dr. Kogan observed that the use of “lot files” by private researchers involved time-consuming complexities not encountered in the use of the indexed Central Files. Lacking indexes or adequate finding aids, the “lot files” must usually be subjected to a careful paper-by-paper examination. Dr. Kogan explained that part of the enduring value of Foreign Relations lay in its trailblazing through these “lot files”, identifying those of particular value and use to outside scholars. The files are usually not internally organized on a chronological basis and often contain many papers originating with foreign governments, and other U. S. government agencies -- papers that cannot be made available to researchers. This means that more trust has to be put in the researcher to take notes only on what he is cleared for, by subject and chronology. There is no adequate research area for work on “lot files” either in the Department or in the Federal Records Center.

Dr. Kogan pointed out that his ever increasing responsibilities were complicated by the steady growth in the number of persons requesting access to the Department’s records. In order to render effective assistance to “outside” scholars it will be necessary to limit the categories of persons admitted. Some years ago it had been decided not to admit undergraduates to the files; now the question was whether we could continue to admit M.A. candidates, most of whom were certainly not very mature scholars. Dr. Dillard asked how many persons annually applied for access to the files. Dr. Kogan supplied some tentative figures with respect to the number of people applying and the proportion of advanced scholars as compared to graduate students and other users of records such as writers and journalists. He emphasized that without checking the files of the Historical Office he could only give estimates. Dr. Franklin indicated that the Committee would be provided with detailed information later on. [In recent years the number of persons applying for access to records was in the neighborhood of 450 each year.]

Dr. Kogan concluded that the difficulties involved in administering the Department’s access program for the post-1944 period might necessitate some limitations on who might be admitted. Access might have to be limited to mature and responsible scholars. In practice this would mean that access would be restricted to Ph.D. candidates or other researchers exhibiting maturity and responsibility. Dr. Holt said that he had received angry comments from Professors Philip Crowl (Nebraska) and Walter Johnson (Hawaii) about the Department’s refusal to let Johnson have access to the “Stevenson Papers”. Dr. Franklin replied that Prof. Johnson was told that he could obtain access to the records in the restricted period on exactly the same basis as all other scholars; he wanted to make it clear that there had been no discrimination against Dr. Johnson. On the other hand it was worth recalling that Dr. Johnson had been the lucky recipient of treasure-troves of official papers in the private possession of Stettinius and Grew. What Johnson wanted was for the Department to let him “back up a truck” (as he had said at Dallas) and remove “Stevenson’s Papers” which Adlai would have done if he had lived. But times had changed since the passage of the Federal Records Act of 1950, which had resulted from the wholesale removals of official papers by Morgenthau and Stettinius. In fact Dr. Johnson has (from Adlai’s son) all the papers that were truly Stevenson’s; what he calls “Stevenson Papers” in the Department ate the official papers of the Department reflecting the activities of Adlai Stevenson. It was really not too difficult to distinguish private from official papers, and with regard to the latter he saw no reason why an exception to the rules should be made for Professor Johnson.

Dr. Holt expressed the view that Walter Johnson’s remark at Dallas (about “backing up a truck and removing your papers”) had been intended as a description of what actually happened, not an endorsement of the practice. Dr. Franklin said that this practice had been diminishing since the Federal Records Act and with more modern security controls. He mentioned that Secretary Rusk had been shocked to learn of the wholesale removals by Stettinius and that the Secretary had declared that his papers would remain in the Department “where they belonged”.

Dr. May observed that many government officials are able to leave the government with their official files intact through the expedient of donating such papers to a Presidential library, which takes care of the security angle. Various members of the Committee noted that the control over such papers remained in official hands, through the Archivist. It was noted also that the Presidents themselves can (and do) retain any of their own papers that they may not wish to turn over to their Libraries. Dr. Franklin pointed out that Secretary Dulles had had no difficulty in distinguishing between his private and official papers; he had clearly specified that the microfilms of his official papers at Princeton should be controlled by the Department’s regulations on access.

CLEARANCE AND ACCESS

Dr. Holt summarized the many delays in the preparation of Foreign Relations volumes. He pointed out that there was a period averaging two years in length per volume after clearances had been secured for galleys and the final release of volumes. He proposed that access be granted to the material as soon as it was cleared. Dr. May supported this proposal. Dr. Franklin pointed out that unfortunately the Historical Office could never be sure of when a volume would be released; some had been stopped or altered in various ways at the last minute. It would be a serious risk for the Historical Office to admit anyone to the files before the volumes were actually published. It was noted that the release of the special Foreign Relations sub-series dealing with China had been interrupted by order of Secretary Dulles after several volumes had been published. Reference was also made to other examples through the years. Dr. Franklin pointed out that publication of the volumes put the documents in the public domain and constituted an open announcement of areas now open for access; did the Committee want to abandon this equitable system in favor of one that would give an advantage to the scholars who happened to ask for something at the right moment?

Dr. Holt suggested that scholars could be given access to the files for which galley clearances had been obtained, but their notes would be withheld until the date of release of the pertinent Foreign Relations volumes. In answer to a question as to how the academic community would know about the status of clearances, Dr. May suggested that a notification could be issued semi-annually by the Historical Office indicating those portions of the files newly added to the “restricted period” as a result of galley clearance. Dr. Kogan pointed out the administrative difficulties of dealing with such an irregular system. Dr. Dougall emphasized that clearance granted at the galley stage was only preliminary and that formal clearance occurred only at the actual time of release of volumes. The real “green light” came at that final moment when the imminent publication of a volume was announced and no dissenting voice was raised in the Department. Dr. May asked if it would be appropriate for the Committee to recommend that the Historical Office seek formal authorization to publish materials at the time of galley clearance, thus changing preliminary clearance into final clearance and allowing the advance of the “restricted period”. Dr. Franklin agreed that the Committee could make such a recommendation, but he suggested that the Committee should indicate that its first preference would be to accelerate clearance, publication, and access rather than to change the current access rules.

Dr. Holt saw little prospect for any acceleration in the clearance of documents. He regarded the delays, often as long as two years, as “indefensible”. Dr. Dillard regarded the clearance difficulties as the direct result of “blatant bureaucratic inertia” of the worst sort. He thought the Committee should recommend that a time limit of three or perhaps six months should be set for clearance after which time the Historical Office would feel free to assume there were no objections to publication and the preparation of the volumes could proceed. Dr. Franklin reminded the Committee that he had prepared a statement along these lines that was sent to Department officers along with galleys for clearance. This notice, at the Assistant Secretary level, stressed a three-month deadline on clearance, but the Historical Office had never dared to enforce it. Dr. Gleason proposed that clearing officers be given a six-month deadline, after which the volume would proceed to publication. In answer to a question from the Committee, Dr. Gleason said that suggestions for deletions were never made by the Historical Office to clearing officers. Such a procedure would merely invite deletions -- whether necessary or not.

PROPOSED STAFF INCREASE

Dr. Ward referred to previous recommendations for staff increases and asked if the addition of two historians to the Foreign Relations staff would be sufficient to accelerate the publishing program significantly. Dr. Franklin said that we would have to see. The addition of even two good historians could make quite a difference in everyone’s morale. The Committee had initially recommended six additional positions, but this was unrealistic in view of the budgetary situation in recent years. Former Assistant Secretary Manning had actually asked for three additional historians, but this request had not gotten past the budget office in the Department. In answer to a question from Dr. Dillard, Dr. Franklin said that additional personnel at the compiling stage was the most important item of all. A faster rate of compilation would set in train a faster flow throughout all steps in the preparations of volumes. A faster preparation of manuscripts would generate persuasive pressure for speedier editing, indexing, clearing, and publishing. If the Historical Office could actually compile a year in a year then the whole assembly line would suddenly acquire a goal and a schedule.

COVERAGE FOR 1947-1948

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Gleason asked members of the Committee to examine the tables of contents of Foreign Relations volumes for 1947-1948 (copies of which had been given to the Committee) and to indicate whether they were in agreement with the coverage proposed for those years.

*****

The open meeting ended at about 5 p.m. and the Committee continued in private session for another half hour.