Record 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, 1969—Minutes. Limited Official Use. Attachments 2-4 are present, but not posted.
Record of the 1969 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)
- David R. Deener, Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Tulane University (American Society of International Law)
- Hardy C. Dillard, Professor 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, Dean of Harvard College (American Historical Association)
- Elmer Plischke, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland (American Political Science Association)
- Paul A. Varg, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University (American Historical Association)
- The Bureau of Public Affairs:
- Richard I. Phillips, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
- The Historical Office:
- William M. Franklin, Director
- Richardson Dougall
- S. Everett Gleason
- Arthur G. Kogan
- Fredrick Aandahl
- Rogers P. Churchill
- Ralph R. Goodwin
- Howard M. Smyth
- Herbert A. Fine
- John P. Glennon
- Neal H. Petersen
- John G. Reid
- Charles S. Sampson
- William Slany
- David H. Stauffer
Opening Session - 9:15 am. - 12:15 p.m.
AGENDA ITEM I: OPENING REMARKS
Acting Assistant Secretary Phillips presented brief welcoming remarks, expressing the appreciation of the Department for the work of the Committee.
Following the departure of Mr. Phillips, Dr. Franklin explained that Secretary Rogers had gone with the President to Key Biscayne and so would be unavailable for luncheon with the Committee. However, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U. Alexis Johnson, would be joining the Committee for luncheon at 12:30 p.m.
AGENDA ITEM II: ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
By acclamation, the Advisory Committee selected Dr. Elmer Plischke to serve as its Chairman.
AGENDA ITEM III: STATUS OF THE SERIES AND PUBLICATION
Dr. Gleason presented a report on the current position of the Series [see Attachment 1].
Dr. Franklin explained that during the past year, two additional job slots had been obtained for the Foreign Relations Division, one from the Bureau and one from elsewhere in the Historical Office. This had necessitated the curtailment of American Foreign Policy: Current Documents. The good effect of the two additional jobs, however, had been offset this year by retirements from the Foreign Relations staff.
Dr. Franklin described the difficulties involved in recruiting personnel for Foreign Relations on the open market. The efforts of the Department to reduce the size of the Foreign Service abroad was resulting in attempts to place surplus Foreign Service officers in domestic vacancies, such as those in the Historical Office. The Department was reluctant to admit that it had no FSOs qualified for Foreign Relations positions. Actually the lack of graduate training in history of most FSOs placed limitations upon the extent to which they could contribute, although certain FSOs had performed outstandingly on a short-term basis in the Historical Studies Division of the Office.
Dr. Holt asked how the Foreign Relations series could assure satisfactory coverage of materials in view of the continuing growth of existing documentation and the stated objective of reducing both the number of volumes and the size of each volume in forthcoming years. Dr. Gleason stated that he did not believe that reduction of the amount of documentation published would result in the omission of important papers. Cuts were being made at the expense of marginal material. Dr. Holt then expressed apprehension regarding a policy of limiting the number and size of volumes in advance of determining what subjects would have to be treated. He feared that if seven 1000-page volumes became the fixed limit, it might prove difficult to expand coverage should the subject matter demand it. Dr. Gleason gave assurances that if more volumes were needed to cover topics adequately, they would be forthcoming as required.
Dr. Franklin, in response to a question, observed that there had been no problem since the early 1950’s in obtaining adequate funds for printing and binding. The problem lay in getting more staff for compilation.
Dr. Dillard reviewed the personnel situation and asked whether it would be appropriate for the Committee’s report to urge that the Historical Office he allowed to fill vacant slots. Dr. Franklin stated that the Committee could properly make such a recommendation, with emphasis on the fact that the candidates must be qualified.
Dr. Dillard wondered if job slots “were truly ordained by God”, or if they could not be altered on the basis of demonstrated need and sound arguments. He also raised the possibility of hiring qualified Ph.D. candidates on a part-time basis. Dr. Dougall noted that the Historical Office had recently interviewed several well-qualified candidates for Foreign Relations positions but that HO had not been able even to initiate the six-month security clearance procedure.
Dr. Dillard emphasized that the Committee must seek to convince the Department that the Historical Office must have outside recruiting authority. He asked if Government salaries were competitive. Dr. Franklin replied that they were, at least at the GS-11 level where HO sought to recruit young Ph.Ds. Dr. Gleason cited the added inducement of civil service fringe benefits.
Dr. Deener wondered if the Committee might not make the point that the need to publish Foreign Relations promptly was such that it must take precedence over the Department’s desire to use the Historical Office as a place of assignment for surplus Foreign Service officers. Dr. Varg added that the recent emergence of the revisionist interpretation of the cold war presented an additional reason for providing the public with Foreign Relations documentation as soon as possible. Dr. Claude thought that the Committee should bear down hard on the necessity for recruiting top people with a career interest in Foreign Relations. He cited the critical importance of each job slot in view of the small size of the staff. Dr. May inquired as to the exact pay scale. [The Committee was subsequently informed that the starting salary of a GS-11 is now $11,233].
Dr. Plischke stated that it was important that vacancies be filled rapidly. He asked how long it took the Department to fill HO vacancies from within the FSO structure. Dr. Dougall replied that HO had submitted a request two months ago, but there had been no action to date.
Dr. Dillard turned to discussion of the acceptance of the relevance of history within the Department and in society as a whole. He sensed from his own experience in dealing with foundations that a profoundly anti-historical and future-minded spirit was abroad in the land. Dr. Gleason expressed agreement, citing the Department’s pragmatic attitude toward history. History was seldom recognized as vital unless the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested background on a specific topic such as Vietnam or Laos. Dr. Franklin pointed out that the Historical Studies Division of the Office was engaged in responding to such requests on a full-time basis, but this did not help Foreign Relations.
Dr. Plischke asked if it might be possible to obtain additional researchers for Historical Studies and then transfer them to Foreign Relations work. Dr. Dougall stated that at present it was no easier to procure additional staff for Historical Studies than for Foreign Relations.
Dr. May observed that neither outsiders nor the Department itself fully appreciated the value of historical research within the Department on recent issues. He thought that it would be helpful if the period of Foreign Relations compilation, if not publication, could be moved forward so that the Department would have documentary studies upon which to draw when confronted with questions of urgent, immediate interest. Dr. Dougall mentioned the British Foreign Office procedure of preparing such documentary collections for internal use.
Dr. Holt noted with dismay that even if the current publication schedule were maintained, the series would be 25 years behind currency before the 1946 volumes were all out. Foreign Relations seemed to be acquiescing in a 25-year lag. He urged that the report of the Committee include a recommendation that the gap be reduced to 15 years.
Dr. Franklin thought that “acquiesce” wasn’t the right word. Foreign Relations was fighting the problem day in and day out. He also felt that the advocacy of a 15-year lag was tactically unwise since it was sufficiently divorced from reality to be disregarded. He believed it would be sounder tactics for the Committee to deplore the slip from the authorized 20-year line.
Dr. Gleason reminded the Committee of the statement drafted by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and issued by President Kennedy calling for a l5-year publication lag. Rather than promoting easier clearance, this statement only served to terrify Department officers. It was never carried into effect.
Dr. Holt reiterated his belief that the proposal for a 15-year target would have beneficial shock value. Dr. Franklin pointed out that we were actually in danger of losing the 25-year line. An alternative strategy for “shocking” the Department consisted of pointing out that a 3O-year lag would soon be reached unless clearance procedures were speeded up. Since the records were opened to all researchers after 30 years, this prospect had very serious implications for Foreign Relations.
Dr. Dillard contended that the Committee should deplore the slippage to the 25-year line. Dr. Varg said that the Committee could speak of both the 15 and 3O-year factors. He was convinced that the ideal of the 15-year lag should at least be mentioned in the Committee’s report.
[The Committee recessed briefly for coffee.]
Dr. Deener presented the suggestion that the Historical Office regularly prepare a prospectus for circulation in the scholarly community which would outline the contents of Foreign Relations volumes scheduled for imminent publication. He suggested that this type of announcement would whet the appetite of outside scholars and might help to build up pressure for earlier publication of the volumes. Dr. Dillard agreed with Dr. Deener’s suggestion, mentioning the problems faced by the reviewers of Foreign Relations volumes in attempting to define the most significant material therein.
Dr. Franklin pointed out that until recently the issuance of each volume had been accompanied by a press release summarizing the contents. But because newsmen exploited this procedure to speculate on reasons for publication at a particular time, tying the release to a current foreign policy situation, the practice had been discontinued. Currently, the release of each volume was simply announced at a regular noon briefing of newsmen conducted by Mr. McCloskey, the Department’s spokesman. In general, the Historical Office desired less rather than more press coverage since sensational or distorted news items increased our subsequent clearance difficulties. On the other hand, book reviews were always more than welcome. In answer to a question from Dr. Dillard, Dr. Franklin explained that 700 to 800 copies of each Foreign Relations volume were given to depository libraries and several hundred copies were bought and distributed by the Department.
Dr. Holt noted that Dean Acheson’s recently published book [Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York: Norton, 1969)] contained frequent references to the Foreign Relations series. He wondered if this could be turned to advantage.
Dr. Deener explained that his earlier proposal was not related to press releases. What he had in mind was some sort of prospectus which could possibly stir additional interest in the academic community. Dr. Franklin pointed out that the Foreign Relations Division could not undertake the long-range planning necessary to implement such a proposal. The current one-year plans consumed many man-hours. Manpower was not available to develop any more elaborate plans or prospectuses. Dr. May suggested that HO prepare an annual release to the journals of the three organizations represented on the Committee, summarizing the Foreign Relations volumes published during the year and outlining plans for future publication.
Dr. Plischke summarized the discussion by stating that the Committee suggested that HO build up support for Foreign Relations by using scholarly publications to inform the academic community of current developments. Dr. Dillard added the suggestion that one-page summaries of Foreign Relations volumes be sent to the learned societies as a method of “spreading the gospel.” Dr. Franklin expressed regret concerning the lack of publicity given to Foreign Relations volumes by the Superintendent of Documents. Much more advertising should be done by G.P.O.
Dr. Holt expressed dismay at the length of time between the completion of clearance and actual publication. He asked if any progress had been made in expediting the final stages of production. Dr. Gleason stated that there had not been notable progress. However, Crowell-Collier was now working diligently and reasonably effectively on galley proof. Indeed, they were maintaining pressure on the Historical Office to keep them supplied with a steady flow of manuscript. Dr. Franklin added that the inordinate amount of time involved in the final phases of publication was largely a factor of the excessive number of volumes for 1945 (12) and 1946 (11). The reduction of the number of volumes for each year would reduce the lead time. He was aiming at a lead time of three years from compilation to publication. Dr. Dougall noted that post-clearance operations, particularly indexing, had already been speeded up somewhat. Dr. Franklin explained that technical editing was now largely contracted out by the Publishing and Reproduction Services Division since funds were more readily available for this purpose than for maintaining a staff. Personnel for technical editing had been reduced from twelve to two in recent years. As a result, quality had fallen off a bit, but speed had been increased.
Dr. Dougall delivered a report on the status of the wartime conference volumes. He reviewed the decision to separate documentation on the Third Washington Conference (Trident), 1943, from that on the earlier Washington Conferences and the Casablanca Conference because of clearance difficulties on a continuing problem involving a military base. It was now contemplated that Trident and the First Quebec Conference, 1943, would be combined in a volume which would be ready for final processing when EUR clearance was given. Meanwhile, compilation on the Second Quebec Conference, 1944, was nearing completion, and galley proof would be ordered shortly. The British Foreign Office had been helpful in providing certain papers missing from United States files.
Dr. Franklin reviewed the clearance problem on Trident, emphasizing that it was difficult for him to advocate a 15-year line when we were still having clearance problems for the year 1943. He pointed out that the matter of bases promised to be an endemic problem. Iceland, for instance, had already caused clearance trouble, and there would doubtless be others.
Dr. Dillard stated that he saw no rational principle to explain the great disparity between the length of clearance delays. The Paris Peace Conference volumes of 1946 were cleared in four months, while Latin American volumes had taken 22 months. Dr. Gleason pointed out that the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs traditionally presented especially difficult clearance problems.
AGENDA ITEM IV: CLEARANCE DIFFICULTIES
Dr. Gleason reported that there had been measurable improvement in both the speed with which the geographic offices of the Department had cleared our galleys and in the reduction of the number of deletions requested. Few offices, however, actually completed the clearance process in the required three months and one office had kept a set of galley proof for 18 months. Clearance was still assigned to junior officers within the geographic offices, which continued to make requests for absurd modifications. Dr. Gleason noted that there had been relatively few requests for wholesale deletions. We were unable to print anything on relations with Iceland and had to delete entirely one compilation on U.S. policy in the Far East. Nevertheless, Foreign Relations won the overwhelming majority of these clearance battles one way or another, or it went down fighting.
Dr. Varg asked who on the desks dealt with clearance. Couldn’t the problem be attacked by getting more responsible officers to do the job? Dr. Gleason replied that in some cases HO had very good personal relationships with clearance officers. The clearance by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the 1946 volumes on China with the deletion of only one sentence was greatly facilitated by such a situation. He suggested that what was really needed was a declaration by the Secretary of State that if clearance procedures were not completed within six months, HO would be free to go ahead with publication. The current three-month rule was not being enforced. Dr. Dillard asked whether the Committee had not in the past asked for a three-month ultimatum. Dr. Franklin explained that the Historical Office itself, some years ago, had initiated the three-month rule which had been approved by the Assistant Secretaries and had been incorporated into the memorandum which accompanies galleys sent for clearance [see Attachment 4]. The Assistant Secretaries, however, had not consented to the enforcement of this deadline when it came into conflict with current policy considerations. Dr. Dougall, in answer to a Committee query, stated that efforts to implement the three-month rule risked the possibility of bound Foreign Relations volumes being held up at the last moment by desks which had never granted clearance.
Dr. Dillard asked about clearance by the Department of Defense. Dr. Gleason reported that Defense clearance was slow due to the fact that an extremely small staff at DOD was assigned to the task.
Dr. Holt inquired regarding the possible contribution of available Foreign Service officers toward meeting the clearance problem. Dr. Gleason indicated that some high-level FSOs had rendered outstanding service in obtaining the speedy clearance of volumes.
Dr. Dillard asked whether the publication of material in Foreign Relations had ever had serious repercussions. Dr. Franklin could not recall any real crisis having arisen, but there had been occasionally unfavorable reactions here and abroad. For example, the Chinese Government had regularly expressed its chagrin at the unflattering references to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the China volumes.
Dr. May expressed interest regarding the clearance of CIA and other intelligence material. He asked whether intelligence documentation was being used in Foreign Relations. Dr. Gleason explained that this problem arose sharply with respect to the use of National Security Council documents. The Foreign Relations Division was still awaiting some form of guidance from the NSC Staff on the use of these papers, including the question as to whether such documents might be identified by number and date. He felt this was a ludicrous argument and that clearance should be based on substance, not on the externals of identification. With respect to intelligence materials as such, he indicated that such papers were used only when their direct relationship to policy preparation could be established.
In response to a question from the Committee, Dr. Franklin briefly reviewed the application of the 3O-year rule to the opening of the files. Seven categories of papers, one being intelligence material, were not open for research even after 30 years.
Dr. Plischke noted the relevance of clearance to attempts to shorten the Foreign Relations lead time. He wondered if efforts to reduce the gap might not result in the exclusion of material which might be cleared with the passage of additional time.
Dr. Dillard then expressed concern regarding the elimination of material on the grounds that it caused “needless offense” to individuals. He thought it was possible to argue that a public figure would know that he was going to be criticized, that he was in the kitchen because he could stand the heat. Dr. Franklin and Dr. Gleason stated that this rule was really not much of a problem. Such cases were quickly won or lost. Generally, it was the substance of policy rather than personal references which created severe clearance difficulties.
Dr. Franklin pointed out that in the post-war period many policy issues carried a continuing sensitivity. It would be possible to publish a great deal within fifteen years of the present if certain sensitive areas were avoided. He presumed, however, that the Committee would object to such an approach to Foreign Relations, even though it had been followed in the past. Dr. Gleason voiced the assumption that the Committee would not accept the omission of material on overseas bases, for instance. Dr. Dillard inquired whether the Historical Office needed the help of the Committee on this matter. Dr. Gleason replied that the Committee’s support at a later date might be helpful. A high-level Conference with the Department Of Defense to revise the present understanding might prove necessary.
[The Committee recessed for lunch with Under Secretary U. Alexis Johnson]
Afternoon Session - 2:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Dr. Franklin suggested that the Committee take a stand on the policy of the Foreign Relations series that only coverage of minor matters was subject to deletion and that publication of volumes was postponed when necessary pending clearance of material on all major policy issues. Dr. Varg stated that each case must be considered on its individual merits. Dr. Franklinalluded to the wartime-conference volumes, recalling that HO had insisted that all minutes and other high-level documentation on important issues be included, even if it meant delaying the volumes. Was this approved by the Committee?
Dr. Claude raised the possibility of publishing delayed supplements consisting of papers on subjects which could not be covered earlier because of clearance difficulties. Dr. Franklin stated that such a procedure had never been seriously considered; it might make it easier for policy officers to insist on deletions. Returning to the question of military bases, Dr. Plischke asked whether the release of volumes might not proceed with the exception of this particularly sensitive category of material which might be published subsequently. Dr. Deener inquired whether material on Iceland, for instance, if omitted now could be included in a later volume.
Dr. Gleason observed that documents deleted at the request of clearance officers were returned to the files and placed in blue envelopes, under special non-access security. Groups of documents eliminated for reasons of clearance were replaced in Foreign Relations by editorial notes which indicated the nature of the omitted material and possibly relevant file numbers. Dr. Franklin added that the documents contained in the specially marked envelopes were not normally available to researchers immediately after the files were opened on a restricted basis. However, this material would be reviewed from time to time with a view toward making it available to scholars. “Blue envelope” material would become available after 30 years, in any case. There was not generally any way of working into a subsequent volume of Foreign Relations.
Dr. Deener expressed apprehension concerning the precedent established by the omission of the entire record of the Iceland question. He feared that clearance officers might hold out in the future with the hope that Foreign Relations would print only an editorial note.
Dr. Franklin distributed copies of the memorandum which accompanies galley proof sent to clearing officers [Attachment 4]. In response to a question from Dr. Plischke, he reiterated that the three-month limitation on clearance had not been enforced. He felt that clearance would speed up if the Secretary really wanted to stop the slippage in the series.
AGENDA ITEM VI: PROBLEMS OF ACCESS
In answer to a question Dr. Franklin noted that the files for 1945 were still stored in New State. The granting of access to this material raised special problems of security and space for the Department. This situation would continue until the entire 1945-1949 block of files was transferred to the National Archives.
Dr. Kogan (Chief of the Research Guidance and Review Division of HO) summarized the current policy of the Department on access. The Open Period now extended through the end of 1941. Scholars, including foreign scholars, might examine this material at the National Archives, reproduce copies, and conduct research without any control by the Department of State. The Restricted Period now extended from 1942 through 1945, the most recent year covered by Foreign Relations volumes. Certain “lot” files, consisting of material which has not been integrated into the central (decimal) files of the Department, have also been made available to scholars. Notable among the latter is Lot 60 D 224, which contains documentation on policy with respect to the establishment of the United Nations and other aspects of Departmental planning for the postwar period. While access is also granted to other lot files mentioned in the pages of Foreign Relations, many lots cannot be opened because of their size, disorganized condition, and the physical inability of the Department to carry out appropriate screening. Furthermore, many lots are located at the Federal Records Center at Suitland, Maryland, twelve miles from Washington. The remoteness of the FRC makes it nearly impossible for the Historical Office to administer lots located there. The FRC is not itself currently equipped to deal with controlled access to such lots.
Dr. Franklin presented a brief description of these lot files and described the appalling administrative problems which they created. In response to a question from the Committee, Dr. Kogan explained that Post files were different from the office lots, were often larger and hence even more difficult to administer and screen. Post records, however, did not generally contain papers that could not be found in the Department’s central files.
Dr. Holt asked at what point the central files were turned over to the Archives. Dr. Franklin and Dr. Dougall explained that the central files were transferred in five-year blocks. When the Foreign Relations staff had completed its work on the 1949 records, the entire block of material for the period 1945-1949 would be shipped to the Archives. In response to a query from Dr. Holt, Dr. Franklin agreed that the Committee might set forth its views on the lot file problem.
Dr. Varg asked whether there were facilities for researchers at the Federal Records Center. Dr. Kogan indicated that facilities did exist, but that thus far only the records of the Office of War Information and the Foreign Economic Administration had been opened for access. Most Department of State files at the FRC are without finding aids and cannot be administered there at the present time.
Dr. Holt spoke of the incredulity of the outside scholarly world as to the necessity of waiting to gain access to the files until after Foreign Relations volumes were actually released. He repeated the question often put to him: why couldn’t access be granted once the volumes had been cleared? Why did scholars have to wait during the period of mechanical printing and binding? He suggested that it was believed in some quarters that the Historical Office insisted on this delay in order to gain for itself kudos for first publication.
Dr. Kogan noted that documents were sometimes still used by the staff after clearance for verification purposes. Dr. Franklin stated that it was perfectly understandable that the Department did not grant access in advance of its own documentary publication. Publication was the only proper way to make them available. It would be impractical for the Historical Office to attempt to keep the academic community abreast of clearance operations within the Government. Moreover, the volumes were not regarded as actually cleared until they were released to the public. In the past, some volumes which had been cleared had been held up at the last moment at the insistence of geographic desks. What the Historical Office sought was simply an equitable system under which everyone would enjoy equal access -- not a situation in which a few well informed individuals could gain an advantage over others. Furthermore, he continued, the Foreign Relations series could not be permitted to be swamped by administrative problems accruing from private scholars seeking pre-publication access.
Dr. May asked if it might be possible to permit scholars to read cleared galleys. Dr. Dougall reviewed instances when this practice had been allowed. He mentioned the case of Herbert Feis who had rushed into print with material on atomic energy in the periodical Foreign Affairs. Knebel and Bailey, allowed to use galley proof in preparation of a work on atomic energy [Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, No High Ground (New York, 1960)], had published Potsdam papers on eastern Europe in a sensational “exclusive” in the Des Moines Register. Feis, in misusing the Potsdam galleys, had wound up with the wrong document number citations (because new materials were later added) and had missed some very important late material on the Polish boundaries which is still unknown to many scholars because they rely on Feis instead of reading the documents. Dr. Franklin assured the Committee that this sort of situation would not be permitted to arise again.
Dr. Franklin also reviewed the case of the Yalta galleys which in 1955 had been prematurely released to James Reston of the New York Times by the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. The Historical Office, unprepared for this eventuality, had been compelled to search hurriedly for dog-eared galleys for other newsmen. The Advisory Committee, created soon afterward partially as a result of the episode, had vindicated the Historical Office regarding its role in the incident.
Dr. Franklin observed that the Committee might rightfully express its concern over the time lag between the clearance of galleys and the release of Foreign Relations volumes. Dr. Holt still felt that there were strong arguments for allowing access immediately after clearance.
Dr. Plischke asked if there were areas of the post-1945 files not of concern to Foreign Relations which might be opened to scholars. Dr. Franklin did not think that such material would be of much interest. He stated that individual, identifiable papers might be obtained through the procedures of the Freedom of Information Act, but Dr. Kogan pointed out that declassification of documents under this procedure was slow and costly. Dr. May asked about automatic downgrading. Dr. Franklin replied that due to lack of personnel, no one in the Department was actively involved in that process. Our automatic declassification was the 30-year rule for opening files to scholars.
Dr. Plischke inquired as to whether the papers prepared by the Historical Studies Division would be declassified and whether they would be used in Foreign Relations. He also asked whether the Department was less disposed to issue publications than had formerly been the case, mentioning the international conference pamphlets, which no longer appeared. Dr. Franklin pointed out that the projects completed by Historical Studies were not in themselves appropriate for inclusion in Foreign Relations. However, the original documents upon which these studies were based might well be included. He though that in general there had been a decline in the Department’s interest in publication since the Dulles era when the Secretary’s own attitude had greatly encouraged ad hoc publications.
Dr. Plischke suggested that the Committee might consider the question of Departmental historical source material in general. He had in mind the unfortunate curtailment of the Current Documents series. Dr. Franklin indicated that the loss of two more positions had compelled the Historical office to eliminate its lowest priority operation. One of the two historians on Current Documents had been assigned to Foreign Relations. Dr. Plischke expressed the hope that it would be possible to resume publication in the future. Dr. Holt contended that the impact of the Committee’s recommendations might be diluted should the effort be made to discuss publications other than Foreign Relations.
In reply to a query from the Committee, Dr. Dougall recalled that ten or twelve years ago the Historical Office had embarked upon a pilot project of compiling collections of documents on subjects of the very recent past in an effort to determine the utility of such a procedure to the Department. The program evoked no response, perhaps due to the fact that the topics selected were not of immediate interest to policy officers. Dr. Dillard asked it the Office of the Legal Adviser ever drew upon the resources of the Historical Office. He was assured by Dr. Franklin and Dr. Dougall that L and HO had a close working relationship. Dr. Franklin went on to explain that few projects were initiated by the Historical Studies Division. Generally, HO responded to requests -- “felt needs” in the jargon of the Department.
In reply to a question from Dr. Dillard, Dr. Gleason stated that there were no photographs in the annual Foreign Relations volumes presently in preparation; some maps, however, were being included. Dr. Franklin noted that the volumes of the wartime-conference series contained both photographs and maps.
Following an expression of appreciation by Chairman Plischke on behalf of the Committee for the continuing efforts of the Foreign Relations staff, the open meeting concluded. The Committee continued in private session for an additional hour.
Report by Dr. S. Everett Gleason, Chief of the Foreign Relations Division, on the Status of the Series and Publication Prospects
The charts that Mr. Aandahl has distributed [Attachments 2 and 3] should provide the Committee with detailed information on the current status of the series and prospects for the next couple of years. I will draw some deductions.
In some respects we can congratulate ourselves on achievements since the last meeting of the Committee. For the benefit of our new members let me remind you that one of our goals since I became Editor of the series has been to reduce the number of annual volumes to a reasonable figure. In this we have had some success. The series for 1946 required 11 volumes. For 1947 we have reason to believe that the material can be covered in 8 volumes, and 1948 not more than that figure.
It has also been an objective of the Division to reduce the size of each volume to manageable handling as well as to reduce the number annual volumes. Here our success can be measured but it is rather less than spectacular. Of the 1946 volumes only four out of the eleven were within range of our objective of approximately 1,000 pages per volume.
We shall do rather better for 1947. According to present estimates only two of eight projected volumes should exceed 1200 pages.
The Committee will realize, I trust, that the most obvious reason for not achieving complete success in reducing the number of pages in each volume, is that we have as the same time decreased the number of annual volumes for these years.
Turning now to the question of current and future prospects for publication. At first sight the picture looks very gratifying. In Fiscal 1968 six volumes in the annual series were published. In Fiscal 1969 the total dropped to three, one of which was a conference volume. In the present Fiscal year, 1970, nine volumes should appear. Four have already been published, two are in press. Depending on the uncertain capabilities of the technical editors, we hope that Fiscal 1971 will see nine more volumes published. All this is very gratifying considering that it has been accomplished with diminished rather than increased staff over the fiscal years in question.
I should however, be a good deal less than candid, if I were to convey to you an impression that our current output in the years after FY 1971 will continue at anything like this pace. On the contrary, unless our circumstances change rapidly and for the better the prospects are nothing less than dismal. Since the last meeting of the Committee we have lost by retirement or resignation no less than three regular staff members. Mr. Reid and Mrs. Cassidy retired. Mr. Kranz resigned. We were able to get Mr. Reid back on a contract basis which can, however, be terminated at any time either by Mr. Reid himself or by the Department. In addition there is every likelihood that we shall lose another staff member by resignation next January.
To compound our sorrows, I’m obliged to point out that the situation of our technical editors is even worse than our own. There are now just two people in PBR regularly assigned to work on our volumes. Only a couple of years ago there were six such competent people. Manifestly these two persons can’t hope to edit our manuscript at anything approaching the volume of publication we have achieved in the last two fiscal years.
To sum up on status and prospects. Unless we can get replacements for personnel we are losing, and unless PBR can do likewise, I think it is accurate to say that the Foreign Relations series will face an actual crisis, and any prospect of publishing our volumes 25 years after the event is remote. Meanwhile we are informed that the freeze on hiring additional personnel in the State Department is deeper and more solid than at any time since the early 1950s.