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, 1971—Minutes. Limited Official Use. Attachments 2 and 3 are present, but not posted.
Record of the 1971 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)
- Alwyn V. Freeman, Member, Board of Editors, The American Journal of International Law (American Society of International Law)
- Walter LaFeber, Professor of History, Cornell University (American Historical Association)
- Ernest R. May [Absent], Professor of History, Harvard University (American Historical Association)
- Richard C. Snyder [Absent], Director, Mershon Center, Ohio State University (American Political Science Association)
- Paul A. Varg, Professor of History, Michigan State University (American Historical Association)
- Elmer Plischke1, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland (American Political Science Association)
- The Bureau of Public Affairs:
- John Richardson, 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
- Ralph R. Goodwin [Absent]
- William Slany
- Rogers P. Churchill
- Joan E. Brosius
- Herbert A. Fine
- Evans Gerakas
- John P. Glennon
- David W. Mabon
- Margaret G. Martin
- Neal H. Petersen
- Charles S. Sampson
- David H. Stauffer
Morning Session - 9:15 am. to 12:25 p.m.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Richardson welcomed the Committee, commended the work of the Historical Office, and indicated that the Department of State, recognizing the importance of the Foreign Relations series, had asked for funds to bring the series five years closer to currency.
AGENDA ITEM I: ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
The Advisory Committee, by acclamation, chose Dr. Inis L. Claude to serve as Chairman.
AGENDA ITEM II: CHANGES IN THE FOREIGN RELATIONS STAFF
AGENDA ITEM III: STATUS OF THE SERIES AND PUBLICATION PROSPECTS
Dr. Gleason presented a report covering both of these agenda items [see Attachment 1]. The Committee had before it a chart setting forth the status of the series as of October 1971 [see Attachment 2]. Dr. Aandahl distributed an additional chart indicating the status of the series as of November 1971 [see Attachment 3].
In reply to questions by Dr. Plischke, it was indicated by Dr. Gleason and Dr. Franklin that the historian soon to join the staff and the three additional positions requested by the Department but not yet approved at other levels of the Executive Branch or the Congress would bring the Foreign Relations staff to a total strength of 18 historians. Dr. Franklin said that there was great pressure within the Department to hold down the personnel level and to recruit from within the Department. The Historical Office, which obviously required professional historians, had been fortunate in that the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management, William B. Macomber, Jr., had approved every recent HO request for outside recruiting authority.
In response to an inquiry by Dr. LaFeber, Dr. Franklin discussed the implications of the announced White House interest in special documentary projects on the Korean, Lebanese, and Cuban crises. He explained to the Committee that in August, John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, had informed the press that the President had requested that an interdepartmental committee, chaired by Assistant Attorney General William Rehnquist, and already charged with a review of Executive Order 10501 and government declassification procedures, also investigate the feasibility of such special documentary projects. A Department of State paper submitted to the Rehnquist committee warned that a question of credibility would arise if such projects became “white papers” not up to the scholarly standards of the Foreign Relations series. The Department paper pointed out that any such white papers should at least have a preface explaining that the published volume did not pretend to be complete but only included such documentation as was currently available. The Historical Office did not want to take responsibility for any published documentary which omitted important papers, such as those at the levels of President and Secretary of State.
Dr. Plischke commended the publication Documents on Germany, 1944-1975 prepared by the Historical Studies Division of the Historical Office and released as a Committee print by the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate in May 1971. He noted that the volume was very useful even though not complete in the Foreign Relations sense of the word, and he suggested that the publications contemplated by the White House might be done in the same manner. Dr. Franklin replied that Documents on Germany, which was a revision of an earlier version, contained only previously published and released documents. He felt that special documentary projects which contained some but not all of the important unpublished records would be inadequate and unreliable. Only projects as comprehensive and definitive as Foreign Relations would be acceptable. The Historical Office realized that it had no credibility with the public to trade on, and a serious question of credibility would arise if special documentary publications, less comprehensive and reliable than Foreign Relations, were to be issued.
Dr. Franklin reminded the Committee that the 1942-1949 China volumes and the wartime conference volumes of the Foreign Relations series had resulted from the request by Republican Senators in the early 1950s for single-volume publications on China and the wartime conferences. Congress had approved work on the comprehensive series on China and the wartime conferences only after the Historical Office had demonstrated that these topics could not be adequately documented in single-volume works. The China volumes, whose publication had been speeded up and then held back at different periods, were eventually incorporated into the annual Foreign Relations sequence. He felt that any new documentary project undertaken now should also be incorporated in the Foreign Relations series, as a first choice.
Dr. Dougall pointed out that the Foreign Relations volumes on the Korean conflict, which were already in an advanced state of preparation, could be accelerated, thus making unnecessary any less complete and less reliable publication on Korea. Dr. Glennon reported that the record of U.S. policy in Korea for 1950 would be completed in manuscript in December 1971. Dr. Franklin said that he hoped that the Korean story could be released in the Foreign Relations series but the more serious problem was how to handle publications on such incidents as the Lebanon landing of 1958 and the Cuban crisis of 1962, which were topics far ahead of the Foreign Relations series.
Dr. Claude wondered whether any partisan pressure had been brought to bear to publish special documentary volumes, and whether this would slow down Foreign Relations. Dr. Freeman also was puzzled by the White House selection of the three particular crises. Dr. Franklin assured the Committee that there had been no partisan pressure in the matter, and that the three projects mentioned by the White House, namely, the Korea conflict, the Lebanon landing, and the Cuban missile crisis, had been chosen apparently so as to have one project from each of three Presidential administrations,
In response to an inquiry from Dr. Plischke, Dr. Franklin briefly described the nature and extent of the classified studies prepared by the Historical Studies Division of the Historical Office. It was pointed out that the Foreign Relations volumes on the Korean conflict were being greatly facilitated by a large special study on Korea and that many other Foreign Relations compilations in the period since World War II would be similarly aided by such special studies. Unfortunately, such studies were only done at the request of other offices and bureaus of the Department and did not systematically cover all foreign affairs problems; but studies had been made of most of the major crises of the last 20 years.
Dr. Claude raised the possibility of releasing the 1950 Foreign Relations volume on Korea before the 1948 and 1949 volumes were published. Dr. Franklin observed that in the past individual Foreign Relations volumes for several different years had been released as they were completed irrespective of the chronology. Headline-seeking journalists tended to speculate on the release of volumes apparently out of order and to attribute dramatic but false political or foreign policy motives to such releases. In order to avoid such harmful publicity and to demonstrate that the publication of Foreign Relations was a strictly historical project with no connection to current policy, the volumes were now being released strictly chronologically for each year although not numerically within each year. The series could use publicity, but not the sort which disturbed foreign governments or Departmental officers. Dr. Dougall reminded the Committee that the foreign press, particularly some foreign news services, closely followed the publication of Foreign Relations and tended to take items in the volumes out of context to make up stories with an anti-U.S. twist.
There was a general discussion of various aspects of the problem of special documentary studies for the 1950s and ’60s. Dr. Plischke indicated he would be happy to see the publication of special documentaries, even though they were less comprehensive than the Foreign Relations series, particularly in the absence of the now suspended series American Foreign Policy: Current Documents. He was prepared to wait for the publication of the definitive Foreign Relations series. Dr. Claude shared the view that having partial documentation available early was desirable. Dr. LaFeber also felt the publication of special documentary volumes would be helpful if their preparation did not interfere with the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. He pointed out that the Current Documents though not definitive was quite helpful to scholars. He felt there was a significant documentary gap for the Korean war period and a real need both for an early, secondary-level, partial documentary collection and for the complete Foreign Relations coverage. He held that an early if partial documentary would permit more scholarship on Korea than was currently possible, and any such special volume of papers could carry a preface which clearly explained the limitations in scope and coverage. Dr. Varg observed that there were two audiences for documentaries which argued for the publication of two different types of documentaries. For those scholars and teachers who were not often able to have access to the archives, it was essential to maintain a complete and definitive Foreign Relations series of the highest standard. There was another audience, however, not interested in research, which urgently needed the early publication of important although incomplete documentation on such topics as the Korean War. The preface to such limited documentary publications would have to apprise the readers of the restricted scope and coverage. Throughout this discussion, Dr. Franklin reiterated that the central problem of producing special documentary volumes for crises of the 1950s or ’60s was the inevitable incompleteness of such volumes. With the addition of some of the previously classified records they would be more substantial than the Current Documents but far less complete and authoritative than the Foreign Relations series. Their shortcomings would be played up by every hostile critic, including many scholars. He was prepared, however, to make the effort, if that was the ultimate decision of the White House. He thought that the resort to a non-book format and the use of photo-offset without annotation might afford a practical method for presenting such special documentation with a minimum of criticism. The Committee indicated general assent to this suggestion.
[The Committee recessed briefly for coffee.]
AGENDA ITEM III: STATUS OF THE SERIES AND PUBLICATION PROSPECTS (Continued)
Dr. Dougall presented a brief report on the status of the wartime conference volumes. The volume The Conferences at Washington and Quebec, 1943 was released during 1971. The last conference volume, The Conference at Quebec, 1944, would be published early in 1972. Tardy British clearance of certain documentation had delayed publication, but happily had afforded the opportunity to add certain important papers to the collection. In reply to questions from Dr. Plischke, Dr. Dougall explained that the wartime conferences comprised 7 volumes in the Foreign Relations series. The documentation on the Argentia Conference of August 1941 was not the subject of a separate wartime conference volume but was included in Foreign Relations, 194l, Volume I.
AGENDA ITEM IV: CLEARANCE AND TECHNICAL EDITING PROBLEMS
Dr. Gleason reported to the Committee on current clearance problems [see Attachment 1]. He circulated to the Committee the galleys for the compilation on Italy for 1948 which indicated the extent and nature of the deletions and revisions requested by the Italian Desk.
In reply to a question from Dr. Varg, Dr. Gleason explained that appeals of the clearance decisions of Department officers were carried to the Assistant Secretary of State level, sometimes even to the Under Secretary level. Dr. Franklin observed that the Historical Office could always win these appeals, given sufficient time. But since this might take years, the problem was when to compromise.
Dr. Franklin informed the Committee of the establishment during the year of the Department’s Council on Classification Policy under the chairmanship of Deputy Under Secretary Macomber. He explained that the Council had been created to deal with declassification and security problems, which had become acute after the revelation of the Pentagon Papers. The Council was not intended to deal specifically with the Historical Office’s clearance problems, but it was hoped that it could be so utilized. Dr. Claude and Dr. Varg observed that the new Council might be regarded as a response to the Advisory Committee’s recommendation of the previous year that top-level Foreign Service officers be utilized to facilitate rapid clearance of Foreign Relations volumes.
Dr. Franklin described to the Committee the problem which has arisen in connection with the clearance of National Security Council [NSC] documents intended for publication in the Foreign Relations series. In the past the Department of State had assumed responsibility for the declassification of Presidential papers on foreign affairs, subject to the clearance of other interested government agencies. When the first NSC papers were included in Foreign Relations compilations (those for 1947), the same procedure was attempted, but the NSC--a statutory agency--has insisted on its authority to declassify its documents. Procedures for NSC declassification were currently being developed and were being given the very highest-level consideration. Dr. Dougall explained that resolution of the problem had been made difficult in the absence of direct contact between NSC officials and the Historical Office. The only authorized official channel, through the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State, was cumbersome and prone to delay. Dr. Franklin advised the Committee that he had been unsuccessful in several efforts to get mutual friends to explain the situation to Dr. Kissinger.
Dr. Gleason indicated to the Committee that the NSC clearance question, which was causing the most serious delay in the publication of Foreign Relations volumes, had been compounded when the NSC Staff also claimed responsibility for the clearance of all “Presidential papers”. A number of Foreign Relations volumes, otherwise ready for publication, had to be referred to the NSC Staff for a review of such papers, liberally defined. Recently, however, the NSC Staff had decided to forego clearance of Presidential papers subject to their clearance by the appropriate executive departments. In reply to a question by Dr. Claude, Dr. Franklin indicated that the Council on Classification Policy might be used in helping secure clearance of NSC papers. He also mentioned that memoirs and oral history projects had already disclosed the substance of many NSC papers, and NSC 68 had been written about in detail in books and articles.
The discussion of the NSC clearance question led Dr. Franklin to raise with the Committee the problem of whether the current in-depth coverage of the Foreign Relations series could be maintained. He pointed out that Dr. Gleason had been more interested than previous editors in documenting the formulation of foreign policy; but these were the documents that were often the most sensitive and which held the series back. He asked if the Committee wanted the series to be speeded up at the cost of leaving out such documentation whenever it posed a clearance problem. Dr. Varg commented that it would be useful to state a goal for the series in the Committee’s report.
Dr. Plischke characterized the clearance problem as a dilemma of delay vs. exclusion. Dr. Franklin observed that in a few cases delay did not solve the problem of exclusion. As an example he mentioned certain military contingency plans that would be sensitive for 50 or 75 years. Dr. Freeman appeared to feel that contingency plans were not really necessary for the Foreign Relations series. The Committee indicated general agreement with this view. Dr. Gleason mentioned that CIA intelligence estimates could not be cleared for 75 years, but he did not believe such estimates were essential for the Foreign Relations series inasmuch as their principal points appeared in NSC papers. Dr. Franklin pointed out that the difficulties in clearing papers for the 1947 volumes of the series demonstrated the unlikelihood of being able to clear substantially complete special documentary studies on such matters as the Cuban missile crisis in the near future.
The discussion turned to the problems of clearance within the Bureaus of the Department of State. Dr. Claude suggested a recommendation for reducing clearance delay by strictly limiting clearance to 6 months, and Dr. Varg thought that the bureaus wasted much time over papers of no serious import. Dr. Plischke asked why the maximum time for clearance was not enforced with an ultimatum. Dr. Franklin felt that the speed of clearance had improved, thanks in part to the efforts of the Committee in previous years. The problem was now shifting to the substance rather than the mechanics of clearance. Dr. Gleason agreed that the speed of clearance had improved somewhat, though there were exceptions. Currently the bureaus were taking, on the average, 8 months to clear volumes. The Historical Office requested that clearance be completed within three months but would be satisfied if it were completed in six. Dr. Plischke suggested that there might be advantage in the designation of a third-party arbiter in deciding clearance issues between the Historical Office and officers of the Department. Dr. Franklin replied that there was no place in the Department’s chain of command for arbiters. In case of deadlock, the Historical Office had to appeal to the next higher authority--in this case, the Assistant Secretaries and the Under Secretary of State. Dr. Plischke thought an Under Secretary might be too busy to take on such questions, and he wondered if some officer in the Under Secretary’s office could be assigned responsibility for making clearance and declassification decisions. Dr. Franklin believed that such a downward delegation of authority would not be effective Dr. Deener felt that Dr. Plischke’s proposal was for a sidewards delegation of authority and he thought it ought to be tried, particularly in view of the importance of this problem in the Department’s public relations.
Dr. Franklin told the Committee that action on clearance delays would be sought through the Council on Classification Policy. The Department, and particularly Deputy Under Secretary Macomber, recognized that only the Historical Office systematically declassified documents, acting as a declassification team. The Council on Classification Policy had considered the possibility of giving the Historical Office the authority to declassify papers of all but the greatest sensitivity, but no decision had been reached. Responding to a question from Dr. Varg, Dr. Franklin indicated that it would not be useful to take the difficult clearance problems to desk officers, because such actions would probably elicit negative decisions. The question was whether the Historical Office could assume greater clearance responsibility and go ahead with the publication of the Foreign Relations volumes without reference to desk officers. He was aware that such a procedure would have risks. The publication in Foreign Relations of documents dealing with matters of current significance could result in hostile press coverage and create problems that might be momentarily serious. Were the Historical Office to assume the responsibility of publication without prior desk clearance, it would have to become much more familiar with current foreign policy issues around the world.
Dr. Plischke asked if the Historical Office wanted the support of the Advisory Committee in asking to be allowed to assume responsibility for clearance. Dr. Franklin pointed out to the Committee that efforts were being made to bring the Foreign Relations series up to 20 years behind currency. In keeping with the spirit of the Bicentennial celebration, the Foreign Relations slogan was “’56 in ’76”. Were the series to draw so close to currency, however, the Department would be unlikely to grant HO the responsibility for clearance. The Historical Office hoped to achieve both the 20-year line and the responsibility for clearance, but the latter could probably only be acquired gradually. In the meantime, the Historical Office would probably have to continue to deal with Office and Country Directors in the more sensitive clearance issues.
Dr. Claude wondered if, after assuming greater clearance responsibility and encountering several troublesome episodes, the Historical Office might become more timid and turn more often to desk officers in clearance questions. Dr. Franklin recognized the dangers involved but welcomed the risk for sake of speeding publication. He felt that turning to desk officers and country directors with clearance problems meant giving up clearance responsibility and inviting Departmental officers to stop publication of sensitive papers. He acknowledged that if Foreign Relations volumes, cleared without reference to country desk officers, resulted in adverse reaction and complaints from ambassadors, the clearance-declassification authority would be taken away from the Historical Office. Miss Brosius commented that Country Directors would be reluctant to yield their authority for clearance. The wrath of an ambassador was regarded by a Country Director as a very serious matter.
AGENDA ITEM V: LUNCH
The Committee recessed for lunch with Deputy Under Secretary of State William B. Macomber, Jr.
Afternoon Session - 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
AGENDA ITEM VI: PROBLEMS OF ACCESS AND DECLASSIFICATION
Dr. Kogan (Special Assistant to the Director of the Historical Office) briefly reviewed current policy on access to Department files. During the first ten months of 1971, the Department had issued 135 grants of access to the Restricted Period. 11,000 pages of notes and documents had been reviewed, some of which were referred to the Department of State from other government agencies. The Historical Office had actively supported the National Archives in persuading the White House to propose the declassification of World War II records. This would in fact eliminate our Restricted Period and would allow foreign scholars to have the access which they had unfortunately been denied under the Department’s regulations.
Dr. Franklin reminded the Committee that the Department of State had in the past been in the vanguard of nations opening their archives. Last year the United Kingdom had announced that they would open their archives through World War II In January 1972. The declassification of most wartime Combined Chiefs of Staff documents was a first step in that program. The Canadians had decided to follow suit, and this combined action made everything better for the scholars and easier for the bureaucrats.
Dr. Varg asked whether the declassification of World War II records would result in the permanent elimination of the Restricted Period. Dr. Franklin said he could not yet answer this question. In principle he did not like the Restricted Period, and he thought that everyone would agree that it would be better to have the files either open or closed. But serious problems would have to be solved before the Open Period could be advanced beyond 1945; more screening would undoubtedly be necessary. The Historical Office was obliged to “feel its way forward” in the entire problem.
Dr. Franklin took the opportunity to apprise the Committee of the attention being given within the government to the problems of bulk declassification of documents. The Council on Classification Policy, chaired by Deputy Under Secretary Macomber, had recognized that many government documents older than 10 years no longer required classification but could not be made available to the public because of the absence of an adequate declassification procedure. Various procedures were being considered by the Council. The procedure which appeared to have the most support was the bulk declassification of segments of the files carried out by a special team of officers. He had pointed out that such a procedure would be wholly unsatisfactory. The cost in time and money of such an operation would yield little of real value to the public; scholars and other perceptive observers would recognize the uselessness of what was declassified, and the government would suffer a further loss of credibility. He had maintained before the Council on Classification Policy that it was important to declassify by subject and “from the top down”. Unless the Department was willing to declassify the top documents on any given subject, it would do no good to declassify the great bulk of lower-level material. Furthermore, documents should not be declassified one by one; they had to be compiled into meaningful stories, as was done for Foreign Relations.
AGENDA ITEM IV: CLEARANCE AND TECHNICAL EDITING PROBLEMS (resumed)
At the request of Dr. Claude, Dr. Gleason concluded that portion of his Report dealing with the problems of technical editing [see Attachment l].
Dr. Franklin noted that much time and effort went into the analytical indexes to the Foreign Relations volumes, and he asked the Committee whether they found the indexes useful enough to be continued at this level. The Committee strongly endorsed the continuation of the current indexes.
Dr. Plischke raised the possibility of including in the Foreign Relations series compilations of documents dealing specifically with the methodology of American diplomacy. After being assured that some such methodological papers were already included in the current substantive-compilation format of the series, Dr. Plischke asked if it would be possible to enlarge the indexes of volumes to include some of the more current conceptual intangibles of importance to political scientists. Dr. Franklin and Dr. Gleason held out little hope that the current indexing capabilities of the series would permit the inclusion of specialized entries of the sort suggested.
In response to a question by Dr. LaFeber, Dr. Franklin explained that the publication of the Current Documents series had been suspended in order to add two historians to the Foreign Relations staff. The Current Documents series was a “service of convenience” which the government could no longer sustain when Foreign Relations needed help so badly. Efforts to find academic sponsors interested in continuing the series had so far been unsuccessful. Dr. Franklin suggested that the three learned societies represented on the Advisory Committee ought to be able to provide the sponsorship necessary to continue the series. The Historical Office was prepared to give its cooperation to any group that undertook this task.
Dr. Plischke recalled that during a discussion with former Assistant Secretary of State Michael Collins, a suggestion had been advanced that additional documentation of the sort previously included in the Current Documents series be published in the Department of State Bulletin. Dr. Franklin said that the Bulletin staff itself could not undertake such documentary publication as a regular program. Such materials would have to be prepared and processed by the Historical Office at the expense of the work of Foreign Relations.
AGENDA ITEM VII: COMMITTEE’S PRIVATE MEETING
The open meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m., the Historical Office staff withdrew, and the Advisory Committee began its closed session.
- 1. Report to the Advisory Committee, Fifteenth Annual Meeting, November 5, 1971
- 2. Status of Volumes, October 1971.
- 3. Status of Volumes, November 1971.
Report by Dr. S. Everett Gleason, Chief, Foreign Relations Division, to the Advisory Committee Fifteenth Annual Meeting, November 5, 1971
Changes in the Foreign Relations Staff
I thought it useful, particularly for the new members of the Committee, to provide a brief description of the organization of the Foreign Relations Division, and recent changes in its staff.
The Division has three branches, General, Western, and Eastern. The General Branch, headed by Mr. Goodwin, covers our United Nations policy, and multilateral U.S. diplomacy in general--foreign economic policy, atomic energy policy, national security policy and the like. Besides Mr. Goodwin, there are three historians assigned to the Branch. One of these, Miss Joan Brosius, is a Foreign Service Officer, recently assigned to us. We hope for at least three years. I will ask her to stand. Another valuable newcomer is David Mabon who has been with us a little over a year.
The Western Branch is headed by Fredrick Aandahl, well-known to most of you. His branch is responsible for compiling the documentation on Western Europe, NATO, the Marshall Plan, and European integration, etc. The only new member of this group of five is Mrs. Margaret Martin, recently assigned to us from elsewhere in the Historical Office. We have lost Howard Smyth through retirement.
The Eastern Branch, until a few months ago, was headed by a real old-timer, Rogers Churchill, who graciously accepted a special assistantship, enabling us to promote William Slany, another Slavic specialist, to be Chief of this branch.
Regrettably, we shall lose Mr. Churchill, who for years has covered the Soviet Union, by mandatory retirement next September. We have also lost through retirement the services of another veteran, John Reid, who was our specialist on China and the Far East. John Glennon has very capably taken over these assignments, and before his departure Mr. Reid had finished all the volumes on China through 1949.
Another relative newcomer in this Branch, Evans Gerakas, has been assigned to us from the Current Documents project as was Mr. Glennon. These shifts have unhappily caused Current Documents to fall into limbo, we hope only temporarily, but without much assurance of revival in the near future.
The Eastern Branch is responsible for the documentation of U.S. policies in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, the Near East and Africa, and the Far East.
I do not want to leave with the Committee the impression that these branches are water-tight compartments. Lack of sufficient staff numbers in recent years has made it necessary to shift members of one branch to work on compilations theoretically the responsibility of another. It is a tribute to the staff’s competence and flexibility that they produce just about as reliable a product in fields where they profess no specialized knowledge as in ones where they do.
As you all are aware our two major problems over the last few years, problems which have caused the series to fall some 25 years behind the event, have been insufficient staff and clearance. Until very recently, for instance, we have not been permitted, with one exception, to recruit trained diplomatic historians from outside the Department and the Foreign Service, i.e. from the universities. Happily, there appears to be a thaw in the ice-cap. We are anticipating the arrival of a trained historian from Ohio State by next January and the Department’s budget office has agreed to permit us three more new historians for the next fiscal year. If approval for these three additions actually survives the gauntlet it must still run, there is little question that within a very few years, lack of staff will no longer stand in the way of getting the series back to a lag of twenty years or less, in the next five or six years.
Clearance, however, is quite a different matter, and we will come to that presently.
Status of the Series and Publication Prospects
The most disheartening notes in the charts Mr. Aandahl has prepared are, of course, that as of now four volumes for the year 1946 have yet to be published, and that only two volumes were published during the last fiscal year. One of these was, in fact, a Conference volume. Had it not been for clearance problems, new and old, at least four would have appeared in FY 1971.
We have reason to hope that the remaining volumes for 1946, one General, one on the Far East, and two on China will be out by the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 1972.
Of the eight volumes for 1947, five are in pages and ready to go when we finally get Write House-NSC clearance. The remaining three are in galleys, and two cleared except for the White House, and ready for paging when that clearance comes. In short, we ought to make a very decent showing in the next fiscal year to make up for our dismal showing in the last.
Of the nine volumes for 1948, one is in pages, seven in galleys, one partially in galleys. Only two have received clearance short of the White House.
The eight volumes we plan for 1949 are in various stages from incomplete manuscript to galleys. I will not go into detail on each of them, but we are confident that the manuscript for all of them will have been completed by early next summer. In short, most of the staff are now working on the 1950 compilations. We are in reach of our goal of compiling a year in a year. If we succeed in getting the additional personnel mentioned earlier, we will easily achieve or surpass this goal. The chief remaining obstacle to getting our volumes out more rapidly will then be clearance.
Clearance and Technical Editing Problems
Our, so to speak, normal clearance problems--clearance with the policy desks in the State Department, and with Defense, AEC, and other Government agencies, have continued at about their usual level or, with certain glaring exceptions, have actually improved. Defense has been laggard, reflecting an unusual timidity or desire to project a low profile in view of Congressional and public criticism of so many aspects of the military establishment and its costs. This has reached a rather silly stage in Defense when we are requested to omit the names of service attachés, certain of their reports to the ambassadors, and the numbers of the JCS papers we wish to print. CIA is also likely to give us difficulty even though we do not propose to print their intelligence estimates as such.
I will cite only one instance of what I have just described as glaring exceptions. I refer to the rather long compilation on United States policy towards Italy in 1948. Most of us recall that the main preoccupation of the U.S. government in that year was to prevent a Communist take-over of Italy either by constitutional means or by subversion. The main thrust of our documentation, sent for clearance to the Italian desk in the Department, was naturally directed to this aspect of our Italian policy. The galleys came back to us, after an inordinate length of time, so completely gutted that the reader would scarcely be aware of the existence of the Italian Communist party. The desk even requested us to delete press conferences and quotations from Italian newspapers of the time. If we cannot secure reconsideration of this wholesale slaughter, I would certainly be obliged to recommend the excision of the entire compilation. To print what would be permitted by the desk would simply amount to a fraud. We have never been guilty of that! The galleys in question I have had brought over and if you have time I suggest you glance at them. A quick glance will be quite enough.
Our major clearance problem, however, is a new one to most of you. It lies in the White House and more particularly in the National Security Council Staff. I will ask Mr. Franklin to go into the grim details of that situation since he knows it at first hand and the rest of us only at second.
Technical editing problems have decidedly eased in the past year. Although the Publication and Reproduction Services Division, who are responsible for the technical editing of our volumes, are worse understaffed than we are, the contracting out of much of this work to the Crowell-Collier Company has been satisfactory and I believe will further improve in time. Also the problem of indexes which has vexed us in the past seems on the way to a satisfactory conclusion. Small as it is the staff of PBR is still able to guide the contractors and to save us from egregious errors on the technical side. The technical excellence of the volumes and their indexes is still a matter of considerable pride to us, quite apart from the substance of the volumes.
If the Committee have questions of detail that Mr. Franklin and I have not covered, the Branch chiefs, I am sure, can provide many of the answers.
- Former member of the Committee, substituting for Dr. Snyder↩