Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government engaged in foreign policy formulation, execution, or support cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Many of the sources consulted in the preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration.

The editors of the Foreign Relations series have complete access to all the retired records and papers of the Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials; and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. All the Department’s indexed central files through July 1973 have been permanently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland (Archives II). Many of the Department’s decentralized office (or lot) files covering the 1969-1976 period, which the National Archives deems worthy of permanent retention, have been transferred or are in the process of being transferred from the Department’s custody to Archives II.

The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the papers of President Nixon and other White House foreign policy records, including tape recordings of conversations with key U.S. and foreign officials. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries and the Nixon Presidential Materials Project at Archives II include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from the Department of State and other Federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (P.L. 93-526; 88 Stat. 1695) and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon estate. In February 1971 President Nixon initiated a voice activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editors made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts that they prepared of the recorded conversations. Readers are urged to consult the recordings for a full appreciation of those aspects of the discussions that cannot be fully captured in a transcription, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Research for this volume was completed through special access to restricted documents at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project. While all the material printed in this volume has been declassified, some of it is extracted from still-classified documents. The Nixon Presidential Materials Staff is processing and declassifying many of the documents used in this volume, but they may not be available in their entirety at the time of publication.

Sources for Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume I

Research for this volume was undertaken by a team of ten historians, two of whom compiled the volume from the collective research. The experience of the team in researching other Foreign Relations volumes governed the decisions made concerning the collections and specific files searched for the volume. Research into the full foreign policy record of the Nixon administration was necessarily selective.

Much of the record included in the volume was drawn from public sources. Speeches and policy statements were garnered from a number of sources, the most important of which were the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States and the Department of State Bulletin. A very useful source of information on the intellectual assumptions underlying foreign policy proved to be the background briefings that Kissinger provided periodically to the press. Kissinger sometimes provided these briefings in conjunction with other senior officials, such as Joseph Sisco, and Nixon very occasionally provided a background briefing as well. These documents were not classified but they were not [Page XIII] made public in order to protect the identities of those giving the briefings. The background briefings can be found in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Subject File, Boxes CL 425-426.

Among the classified sources consulted, the most useful were found in the Presidential papers and other White House records maintained by the Nixon Presidential Materials Project. In the White House Special Files, the President’s Office Files contain many of the records used in the volume of Nixon’s meetings with foreign leaders. The Office Files also include Patrick Buchanan’s summaries of Nixon’s meetings with leaders of Congress on foreign policy issues. In the National Security Council Files, the Agency Files, the Subject Files, the President’s Trip Files, and the Presidential/HAK Memcons were particularly useful. The agency files for the National Security Council and the Department of State contain thoughtful assessments of the foreign policy process. The Subject Files include memoranda from Kissinger to Nixon as well as memoranda of conversation involving Kissinger and the President. The President’s Trip Files contain the very valuable memoranda of Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. Among the most productive of the files researched of those maintained by the Nixon Presidential Materials Project were the National Security Council Secretariat Files pertaining to the annual reports on foreign policy that President Nixon submitted to Congress beginning on February 18, 1970. The reports grew out of wide-ranging conceptual analysis, only some of which could be included in the volume. These files can be found in boxes 1303-1309 of the Nixon Project’s NSC collection. Boxes 325-328 contain NSC Files, Subject Files, which also include material on The President’s Annual Review of Foreign Policy, 1970-1972.

Of the files of the Department of State’s Secretariat, the most useful for the purposes of this volume were the conference files and the Head of State correspondence. The Senior Review Group of the National Security Council conducted reviews of major foreign policy issues. The records of the Senior Review Group were consulted at the National Security Council before they were transferred to the National Archives. They are now housed in the Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files).

The Kissinger Papers at the Library of Congress include records of Kissinger’s telephone conversations. Boxes 359-375 contain a chronological file of transcripts of conversations covering the period 1969-1972. Boxes 394-395 comprise the Dobrynin file of telephone conversations, including Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin and Chargé Vorontsov. Boxes 396-397 contain transcripts of conversations tape-recorded at Kissinger’s residence. The [Page XIV] entire collection is invaluable for the light it sheds on the full range of foreign policy issues dealt with by the Nixon administration. There are few instances in the collection, however, of broad, conceptual exchanges.

Much of the documentation used in the volume has been made available for use in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent of the agencies mentioned, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and support of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The following list identifies the particular files and collections used in the preparation of this volume. The declassification and transfer to the National Archives of the Department of State records is in process, and many of these records are already available for public review at the National Archives. The declassification review of other records is going forward in accordance with the provisions of Executive Orders 12958 and 13142, under which all records over 25 years old, except file series exemptions requested by agencies and approved by the President.

Unpublished Sources

  • Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Yorba Linda, California
    • Nixon Papers
  • National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
    • Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State
      • Lot Files
      • S/S Files: Lot 70 D 387
        • Conference Files, January 1969-February 1970
      • S/S Files: Lot 70 D 419
        • Visit Files, 1968-1969
      • S/S Files: Lot 71 D 227
        • Conference Files
      • S/S Files: Lot 71 D 228
        • Transition books for the Nixon administration, December 1968
      • S/S Files: Lot 71 D 243
        • Visit Files, January-December 1970
      • S/S Files: Lot 72 D 319
        • Presidential Correspondence with United States Ambassadors, July 1969-April 1971
      • S/S Files: Lot 72 D 320
        • Head of State correspondence, January 1969-May 1971
      • S/S Files: Lot 72 D 373
        • Miscellaneous trip and visit files, 1970-1972
      • S/S Files: Lot 73 D 288
        • NSC/Cabinet files, 1970-1972
      • S/S Files: Lot 73 D 323
        • Conference Files, 1971-1972
      • S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164
        • President’s Evening Reading, 1964-1973; Kissinger-Irwin meetings, 1970-1972
      • S/S Files: Lot 76 D 435
        • Records of US-USSR conversations, 1961-1970
      • S/S-I Files: Lot 79 D 245
        • International conferences attended by the President, Secretary of State, and others, 1949-1970
      • S/S-NSC Files: Lot 80 D 212
        • National Security Study Memoranda (NSSMs), January 1969-May 1980
      • S/S-NSC Files: Lot 81 D 309
        • National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee, Study Memoranda, 1969-1976
      • S/S-NSC Files: Lot 83 D 276
        • National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee, 1969-1977
      • S/S-I Files: 86 D 183
        • National Security Council files, 1969-1977
  • Nixon Presidential Materials Project
    • National Security Council Secretariat Files
      • Richard M. Nixon Annual Review 1970-1974
    • National Security Council Files
      • Agency Files
      • President’s Trip Files
      • Kissinger Office Files
      • Subject Files
      • Presidential/HAK Memcons
      • Staff Files
      • VIP Visits
    • National Security Council Institutional Files
      • Senior Review Group Minutes
      • National Security Council Meeting Minutes
    • White House Special Files
      • President’s Office Files
    • White House Central Files
      • Staff Members and Office Files, Office of Presidential Papers and Archives, Daily Diary
    • White House Tapes
  • Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
    • Department of Defense
      • OSD Files: FRC 330 76-0028
        • Secretary of Defense staff meetings, 1969-1972
    • Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
      • Manuscript Division
        • Kissinger Papers
        • Richardson Papers
    • United States Senate
      • Records of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Published Sources

  • U.S. Government Documentary Collections
    • U.S. Department of State, Department of State Bulletin, 1969-1972
    • U.S. Foreign Assistance in the 1970’s: Report to the President of the United States From the Task Force on International Development (Washington:, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1970)
    • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
    • U.S. Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
  • Memoirs
    • Kissinger, Henry A., American Foreign Policy: Three Essays (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1969)
    • Kissinger, Henry A., White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979)
    • Nixon, Richard, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978)
    • Nixon-Agnew Campaign Committee, Nixon on the Issues (New York: 1968)