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Minutes of Historical Advisory Committee Meeting, November 1977

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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 3, 1977-Minutes.

Minutes of the 1977 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States

American Historical Association

  • Dr. Lloyd C. Gardner, Professor of History, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Norman A. Graebner, Professor of History, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Betty Miller Unterberger, Professor of History, Texas A & M University

American Political Science Association

  • Dr. Bernard C. Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Harold K. Jacobson, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

American Society of International Law

  • Ambassador John R. Stevenson, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York
  • Dr. Alona E. Evans, Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College

Other Persons Present

The Bureau of Public Affairs:

  • William D. Blair, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs

The Office of the Historian:

  • David F. Trask, The Historian (Executive Secretary of the Advisory Committee)
  • Fredrick Aandahl, The Associate Historian
  • William Z. Slany
  • John P. Glennon
  • Edwin S. Costrell
  • Arthur G. Kogan
  • Mary P. Chapman
  • David H. Stauffer
  • Neal H. Petersen
  • Allen H. Kitchens
  • David W. Mabon
  • Harry F. Young
  • Charles S. Sampson
  • N. Stephen Kane
  • Paul Claussen
  • Mary M. Brandt
  • Roberta L. DiGangi
  • Lynn K. Fliakas
  • Mark Garrow
  • Evans Gerakas
  • Steven Harper
  • Dana J. Johnson
  • Sharon Q. Johnson
  • Ronald D. Landa
  • Joan M. Lee
  • Nina J. Noring
  • Carl N. Raether
  • William F. Sanford, Jr.
  • Harriet D. Schwar
  • Stanley Shaloff
  • Louis J. Smith
  • Mary Beth Stanton
  • Ilana E. Stern
  • Ruth M. Worthing

The Freedom of Information Staff:

  • Barbara Ennis, Director
  • Beverly Zweiben, Appeals Officer

As announced in press release No. 460, October 11, 1977, this meeting was divided into open and closed sessions. The following persons from the general public attended the open session: Professors Wayne S. Cole and George O. Kent of the University of Maryland; Dr. John A Bernbaum of the Christian College Consortium; and Mr. John Kotch of the Agency for International Development.

Public Session--9:05 a.m.-10:40 a.m.
Room 1205, Department of State

AGENDA ITEMS 1, 2, AND 3: OPENING REMARKS, INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS, AND CURRENT STATUS OF THE OFFICE OF THE HISTORIAN (HO): DISCUSSION OF REPORTS SENT TO THE COMMITTEE BY THE HISTORIAN

Mr. Trask called the meeting to order, welcomed the members of the Committee, and introduced Mr. Blair.

Mr. Blair welcomed the members in behalf of the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management, Ben Read, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Hodding Carter III. Mr. Blair stressed the dual importance of the Office of the Historian to the Department of State, both as its official memory and as the spearhead of records declassification through the Foreign Relations series and other means. This year a new Executive Order on the declassification process is being drafted as the result of a Presidential Review Memorandum (PRM 29). The Executive Order, which was to be issued shortly, was expected to speed the process of putting classified information on the public record by reducing the normal ceiling from thirty to twenty years. This was a great step toward openness, but it would present some problems. Mr. Blair stated that it was important to the Department that its efforts to make progress in this area were known to the members of the Committee, and that the Department in turn have the members’ assistance.

Mr. Trask introduced the members of the Committee by name, and observed that the past year had been a most interesting one. One objective of the Office was to achieve publication of the Foreign Relations series at a line twenty years from the present; another and more important objective was to preserve the quality of the series in the context of changing circumstances. Like Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution, the series must constantly alter. Of these changing circumstances, none was more important than the increasing integration of national security policy into foreign policy, and the participation in this process of a large number of governmental entities. Taking account of this process was the single most important matter confronting the members of the Office as professional scholars.

Mr. Trask stated that the Office had been able to establish the basis for a schedule that would lead to a twenty-year compilation line in a few years and to a twenty-year publication line a few years thereafter. This goal has been repeatedly recommended by the Advisory Committee. The new Executive Order would allow a liberalized bulk declassification of government records at twenty years, which in turn would help HO’s efforts at compilation and publication. These efforts would also be facilitated by a sounder resource base than in the past.

Mr. Trask then asked the members of the Committee to raise any questions they might have, particularly with regard to the reports sent to them on November 2. Mr. Gardner stated that he wished he could share Mr. Trask’s optimism, but found it disturbing that the number of volumes presently scheduled in effect represented a reduction of 66-2/3 percent in the Foreign Relations series. The preeminent series of its kind in the world, which the Department of State had great pride in producing, was now to be reduced. Mr. Gardner felt that not all of his colleagues on the Committee and in the historical profession were comfortable that a mere qualitative improvement would be adequate. To replace lost pages with microform supplements seemed not to be an upgrading of the series, but rather a step backward.

Mr. Cohen observed that the question seemed to be one of resource allocation among competing functions. He felt that the Committee needed to know the relative costs of these functions and the amount of resources available. Mr. Trask replied that the resource question was only one of a range of considerations which had led to the levels presently slated. There had been an explosion in the volume of documentation in the post-World War II period. The large number of Foreign Relations volumes published in recent years reflected the greater availability of resources, but the government had now moved from a period of relative affluence to a period of relative stringency at a time of greater costs. The increase in volume of documentation might be out of proportion to the quantity of records that were actually important, although there was no question that the volume of important materials had gone up. Where was one to stop in increasing the size of the series? The Office had been losing time; part of the price of catching up was to do a little bit less. HO now sought to obtain more productivity from its limited resources by using computerized word processing techniques, from which it anticipated major savings. A different use of personnel might also be necessary.

Mr. Trask went on to ask whether Foreign Relations should continue to be what it was before, or whether changing circumstances suggested changes in the series. He felt that relatively few historians actually used the series, directly, because few worked in recent history. But the series was important nevertheless. HO must publish in book form a thoroughly objective and representative selection of available materials, but it should add an increasing amount of guidance in the form of reference material for the benefit of those who might later wish to consult unpublished materials. HO was making an increased effort to annotate the volumes to reflect materials not printed in full. Because the Office recognized the utility of making available as much of the documentation as possible, it had begun to explore micrographic techniques as a means of supplementing and deepening the volumes.

Mr. Trask stated that micrographic formats were less expensive and more easily distributed and offered for sale in other countries. Documentation on the postwar period was of increasingly greater interest to people all over the world, yet a remarkably small number of Foreign Relations volumes were actually used outside the United States. While senior scholars resisted the use of micrographic materials because of their unfamiliarity, younger scholars did not. In the coming year HO would be investigating micrographic reproduction both as a means of cutting costs and of permitting a distribution not otherwise possible.

Mr. Graebner argued that Foreign Relations was used much more widely than Mr. Trask had suggested, particularly in colleges and universities. Mr. Trask replied that in the course of his own career he had never once used a Foreign Relations volume past the year 1945 for teaching purposes, and suggested that scholars used the series only in parts rather than as a whole. Mr. Graebner felt that decisions made now would affect users of the series twenty or thirty years hence. Cutting back to the equivalent of four volumes per year would push the series back to the ratio of the 1920’s.

Mr. Gardner noted that the total of twelve volumes currently projected for each of the periods 1955-1957 and 1958-1960 included the crises and special developments which had in the past sometimes been treated in special volumes. Mr. Gardner stated that with all due respect he disagreed with practically everything Mr. Trask had said, and expressed his concern for the Foreign Relations series. In particular, he disagreed with Mr. Trask’s suggestion that the series would fall 100 years behind if twelve volumes per year were published. Many factors now delaying the volumes would be eliminated as a result of the clearance breakthrough expected under the new Executive Order and by the use of computerized word processing.

Mr. Gardner noted that Mr. Trask’s report to the Committee had stated that HO was exploring means for reviving policy-related research, and that once the series had reached a twenty-year line some resources could be diverted to research. Mr. Gardner felt that survival of this preeminent series was of greater importance than achieving a twenty-year line in order to shift resources to other HO projects. The coverage of Foreign Relations had already been reduced by the triennial plan for 1952-1954, and further reductions would be disastrous.

Mr. Blair observed that he was not certain that coverage was actually being reduced by 66-2/3 percent. There were some economies in using triennial volumes, although he did not wish to debate the numbers question to any great depth. He asked the Committee what sort of trade-off it would feel was realistic, given the financial realities. Were substantive standards more important than a catch-up in the existing time lag?

In response, Mr. Gardner asked why the series seemed to be losing on the budget front. If resources were cut back, what had HO done to defend the Foreign Relations budget? It might have been an impossible fight, but why hadn’t HO come to the Advisory Committee to ask for its help? Mr. Gardner felt that the use of technological advances ought to help preserve the former level of documentation, and he restated his view that the reduction of coverage proposed under the current triennial plan was disastrous.

Mr. Trask pointed out that delays in the publication of Foreign Relations were related more to resources than to clearance problems. He believed the series had reached the outer limits of what could be included. He reminded the Committee that its mandate had been expanded to include the policy-related research function of the Office. HO could and should help to provide informed historical advice to the Department, and the research function was also important as a means of maintaining and sharpening the skills of the staff. The research program also had some public aspects in the form of reference services and publications. A recent example of the latter was Homer Calkin’s Women in American Foreign Affairs. Mr. Trask stated that the current plan reflected his desire to correct the former tendency to rob the research resources of the Office in order to maintain the standards of Foreign Relations. He felt that the Office had made the most difficult but responsible choice by keeping both the compiling and research functions in a relatively solid state.

Mr. Cohen felt that the matter of trade-offs in resources was a complex question, and he noted that the Committee had seen no examples of actual problems. With respect to the question of speed versus comprehensiveness in the series, he would be unable to choose from the options Mr. Blair had mentioned because he did not know what was to be given up in return. Mr. Jacobson agreed that the Committee could not give advice on trade-offs without having concrete information on the policy-related research function of the Office and on the actual impact of reduced coverage by Foreign Relations.

Mr. Stevenson asked if there was some middle ground between what the Department did for the news media at the point of breaking developments, and what Foreign Relations did for historians thirty years later. Mr. Blair, acknowledging that such a gap existed, noted that the Freedom of Information Act addressed the question. Access to the files in advance of a twenty or thirty-year general opening was a controversial area. The Department felt that the principle of equity was important, and that the files should therefore be opened to everyone at the same time.

Mr. Slany and Mr. Glennon pointed out that the Department’s now-discontinued series, American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, had fulfilled the need for a middle-ground publication. Mr. Trask noted that a similar function could be performed by the Department of State Bulletin, which was now being reappraised. Mr. Trask then addressed the question of “court historians” and the serious problems raised by the granting of privileged access to some, but not all, outside scholars in advance of the general release of files. An alternative was available in the form of official histories, written either by HO or by outside scholars on contract, but such histories would also raise problems. Mr. Trask felt that the best solution was to press for the earliest possible general release of documentation to the public.

Mr. Stevenson asked whether perhaps 90 percent of the Department’s files could be made available in some fashion after three years or so. Mr. Blair asked Mr. Stevenson if he had any particular group of records in mind (the area of international law, for example) that seemed promising for early release.

Mr. Trask suggested that one advantage of preserving and restoring the HO research function was that unclassified research projects could be released to the public. He suggested that the members of the Committee stimulate their parent organizations to take an active interest in this and other questions, and recommend that the Committee be more active in the future in order to be more effective. Mr. Trask felt that there existed a remarkable amount of misconception about the work of HO, but that a long period of outside mistrust of the Department beginning with the McCarthy era was coming to an end.

Mr. Gardner responded that he felt his earlier points had not been based on misconception. He expressed his concern that resources were being shifted to research at the expense of Foreign Relations. Mr. Trask replied that it was not a question of shifting resources but of promoting efficiency. The Office could improve productivity by increasing the professional competence of the staff. The Office was proceeding on the assumption that its future growth would be limited. Now that additional contract personnel were available, the Office would be watched to see if it delivered results. The ratio of time spent on Foreign Relations to time spent on research was currently 80 percent to 20 percent. When the Office reached the point where one year of Foreign Relations could be compiled in one work year, more resources could be allocated to research, but HO was not now shifting resources to research. Mr. Trask noted that the complexity of the material made compiling an increasingly difficult and time-consuming function. This was even without reference to the mandate to cover foreign policy questions on a government-wide basis by including relevant documentation originated by other agencies.

Mr. Gardner spoke in favor of supplementary compilations such as the one on intelligence mentioned in Mr. Slany’s report to the Committee. He asked about the impact of the new Executive Order, and stated that he had spoken with members of the National Archives staff who feared it might have an adverse effect on declassification, particularly when information given in confidence by a foreign government was involved. Mr. Trask suggested that Mr. Gardner’s concern was unwarranted. Mr. Gardner felt that representatives of the National Archives should have been invited to the meeting of the Advisory Committee. Mr. Trask pointed out that HO dealt extensively with the National Archives, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community. He pointed out that it was a matter of the greatest importance to HO that he was chairman of a Departmental working group for implementation of the Executive Order. This represented an unprecedented sign of confidence in HO. The Office needed a power base in the Department to fulfill its objectives, but it had to consider the realities of the bureaucracy. It was right that the Office had to compete for resources, and it ought to justify its operations on a regular and thorough basis.

Mr. Graebner asked again about the former Current Documents series as a remedy for the gap between the immediate release of information and the ultimate opening of the Department’s files, noting that he had found that series to be very helpful. Mr. Blair stated that the series had been discontinued in a resource crunch following the publication in 1968 of the last volume (that for 1967), and that no protests had been heard at the time from the learned societies.

Mrs. Unterberger went on record as opposing a reduction in coverage in the Foreign Relations series of 66-2/3 percent. Mr. Trask denied that coverage had been reduced to this degree, and stated that the usefulness of the series depended on quality rather than on volume. The question, he noted, was whether the cutback would help the scholarly community.

Mr. Jacobson asked if there were any operating rule of thumb for deciding what material was to be considered for micrographic publication as opposed to publication in printed book form. Mr. Trask noted that a pilot project was under consideration, and that it would have to be carefully thought out.

Returning to the question of the quantity versus the quality of documentation presented in Foreign Relations, Mr. Gardner congratulated the Office on its volume for 1948 on the Palestine question and the recognition of Israel (volume V, part 2), and on its ability to refute the suggestion by Clark Clifford that certain issues had not been covered. Mr. Gardner felt that the volume’s comprehensive treatment of the subject met the needs of scholars and demonstrated the importance of detailed documentation.

Mr. Gardner asked whether any page limitations had been set for future volumes. Mr. Trask stated that an average limitation of 1200 pages per volume had been established. Mr. Blair noted that this limitation was set by HO rather than by the Bureau of Public Affairs.

In concluding the session, Mr. Trask emphasized that the Committee’s report to the Secretary of State should reflect the best independent judgment of its members as scholars.

(The public session adjourned at 10:40 a.m.)

From 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. members of the Advisory Committee (in three groups) met informally with members of the HO staff, except for the six senior officers. At 12:30 p.m. the Committee members, together with Messrs. Blair, Trask, Aandahl, Kogan, Slany, and Glennon, were guests of Deputy Under Secretary Read at a luncheon in the Henry Clay room. On behalf of Secretary of State Vance, Mr. Read reaffirmed the Department’s commitment to openness, both current and historical, and expressed its appreciation for the work of the Committee. Mr. Cohen responded for the Committee.

Closed Session--2:20 p.m.-4:05 p.m.
Room 1205, Department of State

AGENDA ITEMS 4 AND 5: DISCUSSION OF POINTS RAISED IN INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS WITH GROUPS OF HO STAFF MEMBERS; DISCUSSION WITH SENIOR OFFICERS OF HO

Present: Members of the Committee, and Messrs. Trask, Aandahl, Costrell, Kogan, Slany, and Glennon.

Mr. Trask invited comments from the Committee members, and Mr. Cohen responded by asking about the possibility of more frequent contacts, perhaps even a second formal meeting of the Committee each year. Mr. Trask said that the Committee might suggest more contact in its report, but he felt that more frequent sessions were not bureaucratically feasible at this time. Mr. Trask expressed the hope and the expectation that HO and the Committee could maintain closer contact by correspondence. Perhaps, he said, HO could provide two or three interim reports to the Committee during the course of the year to provide better background for the annual meeting.

Mr. Trask then asked the Committee how the three “buzz” groups with the HO staff had gone. He indicated that differences of view were necessary and inevitable and inquired if any questions had arisen from the sessions.

Mrs. Unterberger said that the sessions were very helpful and thanked Mr. Trask for the opportunity for such free discussions. Mr. Cohen agreed, adding that there did appear to be some gaps between staff and management, the ventilation of which was undoubtedly helpful both to the Committee and to HO management. Mr. Jacobson said that it was a time of change in HO and asked Mr. Trask for his views on consultation and the decision-making process.

Mr. Trask said that he was different from most State Department managers in that he felt that decisions should be made at the lowest level possible in the bureaucracy and not merely bucked on to higher authority. He indicated that he consulted with the staff through his senior people on critical policy matters. Opinion stating, of course, was not necessarily part of the decision-making process. Opinion stating was encouraged although the final decision might well diverge from the opinions of individuals. He felt that confidence building, by letting the staff offer suggestions and express criticism, was important. He went on to say that working with the staff was the top priority for him in the coming year. He felt that he had acquired needed resources for the Office; now was the time for us to deliver by proving that we could both speed up the series and improve the quality at the same time.

Mrs. Unterberger observed that these objectives might be paradoxical. How could quality be maintained when a speed-up was in effect? Mr. Trask replied that quality was all important. Quality would be maintained in the series and indeed would be improved. Mr. Aandahl added that timeliness was an important aspect of quality. Mr. Trask then pointed out that micrographics might help us both in improving the quality of the offering and in allowing us to provide more material to the reader. Mrs. Unterberger asked if a decision had been made on the use of micrographic supplements. Mr. Trask said that no final decision had been made; we were still, he said, committed only to a high quality product.

Mr. Jacobson raised the matter of criteria for selection. He wondered if the Committee might have access to figures for instance on the numbers of documents chosen for publication out of the total number available and considered for possible inclusion. He felt that public access to rejected material was also important for an honest appraisal of the series.

Mr. Trask said that such information and more would be sent to the Committee and the Committee would have to work harder as a result. HO would report in detail to the Committee two or three times a year on HO’s activities; policy forming documents would also be sent out by HO; finally, HO would consult with the Committee’s members on an individual basis, e.g., seeking help for staff members on individual compilations where the Committee members could provide particularized assistance. This should provide a path to more and better contact and consultation. HO wanted better advice and greater credibility in the academic world.

Mr. Gardner said that these were good ideas. He felt that the separate sessions with the staff were excellent, but he came away with the feeling that there was a gap between Mr. Trask and the staff. He felt that some of the staff members were uncertain of his intentions and quite concerned about both the shift to triennial volumes and the limitations placed on the number of volumes and the pages within each volume. He wanted to raise specifically three questions: a) the disposition of the 1950- 1954 record bloc; b) the clearance of the 1949 China volume; c) the retrospective volume for 1948-1951 dealing with intelligence and national security matters.

Mr. Trask turned to Mr. Kogan to speak on the 1950-1954 records. Mr. Kogan said that HO’s primary concern was to get these papers transferred to the National Archives and Records Service (NARS), but NARS was not willing to take them until they were all unclassified or unless NARS had authority to declassify them. This was a change from their earlier policy. NARS, of course, could not declassify State Department papers. The Department had also hoped to give NARS a number of Lot Files, but again NARS would not take them until it had all the 1950-1954 records in declassified form. HO’s hope was now for early release of the volumes through 1954, which would help to open up the records, and also for early release of the proposed Executive Order which would establish a 20-year line for declassification. This would involve a transition period and would not mean immediate automatic declassification of all documents 20 years old, but it should ease the situation considerably. Written guidelines were now being formulated to implement the proposed Executive Order.

Mr. Trask stated that part of the problem with NARS was that it was constantly trying to gain its independence from the General Services Administration. It wanted more resources and used this argument in the fight against taking the 1950-1954 records, claiming that more staff would be needed to service them. There had been strains in the HO-NARS relationship, but HO was continuing to work on this and he hoped that progress was being made.

Mr. Gardner asked if it was correct that the opening of records at NARS was not tied to the release of volumes. Mr. Trask said that that was right; the connection was rather to HO’s systematic review of the records in preparing the volumes. Mr. Gardner then remarked that scholars were now worse off than in the days when records for a year were opened after the release of volumes for that year. Both he and Mr. Trask agreed that something had to be done. Mr. Gardner pointed out that 1950 volumes are out but the scholars have no access to the papers. Was there, he asked, something the Committee could do about this? Mr. Kogan interjected that FOI requests for documents in the closed period were possible. Mr. Gardner said that restrictions of time might militate against use of this avenue. Mr. Trask said that even though FOI was not designed for scholars it was a most useful tool and could be employed by them to a far greater extent than it had been. HO’s desire, he said, was to get material out to the public as soon as possible.

Mr. Slany observed that the written guidelines now being drafted might delineate the area of sensitive documents. Mr. Trask said that the working group could be of great help here by reassuring the bureaus in the Department that nothing would be released under the new 20-year rule without first being processed. This was an enormous job. Resources would be needed, and the Committee’s report could strongly emphasize the need for resources to service the documents. The bureaus would then feel that the question of sensitivity was being taken into consideration. Mr. Slany then referred to the example of documents for 1948-1949 from the Central Files on Italy which were removed and re-classified by the Department because of sensitivity. The documents had not been printed in Foreign Relations, but had been used by journalists and outside scholars. Mr. Trask said that this was a bad policy, but perhaps necessary. Like other organizations, the Department of State did not like surprises. Often, he said, panic followed in the wake of surprise. Mr. Gardner observed that that sounded bad. Mr. Trask responded that HO’s role in the release of materials was to minimize surprises and to give advance warning to those who might have to live with the results of documentary revelations. Mr. Aandahl reminded the Committee that HO cannot declassify documents, only bureaus can. Mr. Trask noted that most papers were not sensitive, but it was hard to get the bureaus to act because they were too busy with other things. He continued, responding to Mr. Cohen, that HO’s aim was to lift the burden off the backs of the bureaus, but resources would be needed.

Mr. Stevenson asked about documents in the more recent period, that is, up to 20 years old. Mr. Trask said that documents being generated now would be on an automatic schedule calling for downgrading after passage of a certain number of years. Mr. Stevenson said that there was no way yet for documents less than 20 years old to be made available automatically once declassified. Mr. Slany stated that computerized records in the Department’s files might be made available more readily if the machines could be programmed to “spit out” declassified documents, which seemed within the state of the art. Mr. Trask agreed, saying that the technological capability was there but was not yet in use. Here again, the Committee could be of help by including such a proposal in its report.

Mr. Gardner raised the matter of declassification and the possibility of appeals to higher authority in case clearance was not granted by a bureau. Mr. Aandahl said that for questions such as that of 1949, volume VIII, China, there was the possibility of such appeal. Mr. Gardner then referred to last year’s meeting with Secretary Kissinger at which the China volume and a sticky 1950 clearance on Yugoslavia were mentioned. Why was the latter cleared and not the former, he asked. Mr. Slany stated that the clearance on Yugoslavia came after normal Foreign Service personnel transfers took people away from that desk who had objected to publication. Messrs. Trask and Aandahl said that HO through PA was keeping after EA on the China volume, but both HO and PA felt that little would be gained by appeal to a higher level at this point.

In response to a query from Mr. Cohen, Mr. Trask attempted to outline what happens to the Committee’s report in the Department. It is directed to the Assistant Secretary for PA and from there percolates up to the Secretary’s office; it does not automatically come to the Secretary’s personal attention.

Mr. Stevenson again pointed to the need for a publication for the period between immediate news and the 20-year declassification line. He wanted to maintain the high quality of Foreign Relations but felt that it was important also to provide adequate coverage of more recent materials. Mr. Trask said that the Current Documents publication was probably the best answer to this need, but pointed to the problem of resources. He said that there would be some resistance in HO to such a revival of Current Documents and that the Bureau of Public Affairs would probably frown on it. Perhaps a compromise solution could be worked out.

Mr. Costrell then spoke to the question of the allocation of resources and the placing of emphasis on certain programs within the Office. He said that he felt that many of the projects done as Historical Studies served as valuable tools in collecting and shaping the record for the compilers of Foreign Relations who came along later. He pointed to the Korea Project done years ago as a Historical Study which later became useful in compilation of the 1950 volume on Korea.

Mr. Stevenson observed that FOI must take up a great deal in terms of resources in the Department. Because of its random character, it seemed a costly and inefficient way to operate. It would be better to institutionalize the process of declassification in some more systematic way. Mr. Trask agreed that the process was very costly. He went on to speak of resource use in HO after the Foreign Relations catch-up and said resources would be put into policy-related research. He said his aim was to see HO’s productivity go up without increasing its budget. He knew that this would be hard on the HO staff, but he also wanted to make clear that he was not a stroker or a nice guy. His contacts with the rest of the Department and the outside had improved HO’s position in both areas. He had been brought in to make changes. Major changes had indeed been made, which probably accounted for some of the irritation on the part of the staff, but HO was now stronger. Now, however, HO had to deliver on its promises. In a year the staff might feel no differently toward him, but he would spend the year turning his attention inward toward HO and trying to improve relations there. He was endeavoring, he said, to overcome the quasi-authoritarian features of bureaucracy; he made no apology for his sins and errors, but he was sure that they were present.

Mr. Stevenson said that at the session he attended with the staff, he heard expressions of desire for more contact by the Director with the staff down to all levels. Mr. Trask said that he had tried to achieve such contact and would try even harder. He realized that to this point he had not achieved the maximum of success in this area, but his attention in the next year would be directed inward toward the Office. He said that he had no desire to be loved; he did wish to be efficient in carrying out his responsibilities.

Mrs. Unterberger said that mutual respect was most important and she felt that Mr. Trask should be aware of the fact that there was a perception of a fundamental lack of respect now on both sides. Mr. Trask replied that respect should and would stem from performance. It would take time--perhaps five, six, or seven years--but the end result would be a mutual respect and affection based on solid performance. Mrs. Unterberger then said that the point she had been trying to make was that the staff members felt that Mr. Trask had no respect for them. Mr. Trask repeated that this was the year he was going to work on that problem.

Mr. Gardner stated that the staff knew that many of the problems in the Office had been inherited by Mr. Trask and that it would take time to turn things around. He said that the frankness of the discussions with the staff was a tribute to Mr. Trask’s regime.

Mr. Trask asked for any criticisms which the Committee might offer which would be informative and have a worthwhile effect. He hoped that the Committee would be even more effective in future and also welcomed any individual comments and criticisms which the members might be willing to pass on to him.

Mr. Trask adjourned the formal meeting of the Committee at 4:05 p.m., whereupon he and the other senior officers of HO withdrew. Members of the Committee then met in private session until 5 p.m. to consider the general outlines of their annual report to the Secretary of State. The Committee chose Mr. Gardner as its Chairman.