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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. Most 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. 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. Dr. Henry Kissinger has approved access to his papers at the Library of Congress. The papers are a key source for the Nixon–Ford subseries of Foreign Relations.

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Research for this volume was completed through special access to restricted documents at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, the Library of Congress, and other agencies. 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 VI

In preparing this volume, the editors made extensive use of Presidential papers and other White House records at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, which proved to be the single most useful collection bearing on the Nixon administration's management of the Vietnam war and its search for a negotiated peace in Southeast Asia. The collection of most value within the Nixon materials is the National Security Council (NSC) Files. Two files within the NSC Files provided the richest source of documentation: the Vietnam Subject Files and the Country Files for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Only slightly less important are the Country Files for Thailand, and the special File on Cambodian Operations. Also of importance in the NSC Files are the Paris/Talks Meeting Files, which relate to the formal Paris Peace Negotiations both public and private. The records of the KissingerXuan Thuy and Le Duc Tho secret negotiations are in the NSC Files, For the President, China/Vietnam Negotiations, C.D. [Camp David]. A final negotiations file of note are the private channel talks between Henry Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin, which are in the NSC Files, President's Trip File, Dobrynin/Kissinger. Their private discussions often related to Vietnam.

Of next importance are a group of files in the NSC Files. The first are the Backchannel Files. President Nixon and Kissinger communicated secretly with the Ambassador to Vietnam, Ellsworth Bunker, through backchannel messages that did not involve the rest of the bureaucracy. For 1969, however, backchannel communications to and from Bunker are filed in the Vietnam Subject File. Also in the NSC Files are the Kissinger Office Files, the Subject Files, the Agency Files, the Haig Special and Chronological Files, Presidential/HAK Mem Cons, the President's Daily Briefing Files, and the Unfiled Materials.

Of equal importance in the NSC Files of the Nixon Presidential Materials are the National Security Council Institutional Files (H-Files), which are part of the NSC Files but are not to be confused with the NSC Institutional Matters File. The NSC Institutional Files (H-Files) contain the minutes of NSC Council Meetings, and such NSC subgroups as the Review Group/Senior Review Group and Washington Special Actions Group. For each set of meeting minutes there are corresponding folders that contain the papers that Kissinger, who chaired [Page XIII]all of these groups, used in preparation for the meetings. Also of value in the NSC Institutional Files (H-Files) are the National Security Study Memorandum and National Security Decision Memorandum files, containing the request for studies, the studies themselves, and the decision memoranda resulting from the process.

The most useful collections in the White House Special Files are the President's Personal Files, especially Memoranda for the President and the Haldeman Files. The Nixon Presidential Diary in the White House Central Files is an essential tool for researchers and is in the White House Central Files, Staff Member and Office Files.

After the records in the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, the Papers of Henry Kissinger at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress are second in importance. While the Kissinger Papers often replicate documentation found in other collections, especially the NSC File of the Nixon Presidential Materials, they proved valuable and important documents unique to that collection, especially in the Geopolitical File, the file on Memoranda to the President, and the Presidential File. The Papers also contain the records of Kissinger's telephone conversations, copies of which have been given by Dr. Kissinger to the National Archives. These telephone transcripts are a key source that are open at the National Archives and are part of the Nixon Presidential Materials.

The Department of State, Department of Defense, and to a lesser extent the Central Intelligence Agency, strong bureaucratic players in past Vietnam volumes, play a much reduced role under President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who concentrated policy in their own hands. The files of the Department of State, especially the Central Files and some Lot Files, are most valuable for describing what was happening in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, or at the Paris talks. There are far fewer Department of State files that trace policy decisions, since the Secretary of State and his department were essentially excluded from key policy decision-making on Vietnam. Still, some of the Central Files most useful for developments in the field are POL 27 CAMB/KHMER, POL 27 LAOS, and POL 27 VIET S. Only in the early days of the Nixon administration, when it seemed as if the private sessions at the Paris Peace Talks might be a venue for real negotiation, are Lot Files of any value.

The Central Intelligence Agency records are valuable for intelligence on Vietnam and the war in Southeast Asia, however, the most important intelligence records can be found in the Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files. Collections under CIA custody of note are the National Intelligence Council (NIC) Files, the Records of George Carver, and the DCI Helms and DCI Executive Registry Files. The National Intelligence Council's publication on intelligence in Vietnam, Estimative Products on Vietnam, 1948–1975, contains a good selection of [Page XIV]intelligence estimates on Vietnam for this period. Usually only the summaries of the National Intelligence and Special Intelligence estimates are published in this volume. The full text is in the NIC publication. Intelligence Files for the Nixon administration, containing the records of the 303 Committee, cited as under the custody of the National Security Council but destined for the Nixon Presidential Materials, were particularly valuable for covert operations and unconventional warfare.

The Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird were key players on policy towards Vietnam, but official Defense records did not prove particularly valuable. Laird's key memoranda are almost always found in the Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files. At the Ford Library, there is a collection of documents that cover Laird's tenure as Secretary of Defense. His staff chose these Laird Papers at the end of his term as Secretary of Defense with a view to documenting his major decisions. A major portion of this collection concerns Vietnam, Cambodia, and POWs/MIAs. The Laird Papers provided a useful mechanism to check against the documentation included in the volume. Defense related records that were not available at the time that this volume was researched, but that deserve mention as potential sources, are the Official Records of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Earle G. Wheeler, RG 218, at the National Archives.

This Foreign Relations volume covers a period for which there were no White House Presidential tape recordings. Their absence places a premium on the Kissinger telephone transcripts and the Haldeman diaries to provide the contemporary and unrevised records behind the official documentation.

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 most of these records are already available for public review at the National Archives.

Unpublished Sources

  • Department of State
    • Central Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
    • Lot Files. For other lot files already transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration at College Park, Maryland, Record Group 59, see National Archives and Records Administration below
      • INR/IL Historical Files
        • Files of the Office of Intelligence Coordination, containing records from the 1940s through the 1980s, maintained by the Office of Intelligence Liaison, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  • National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
    • Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State
      • Central Files
        • AID (US) VIET S: U.S. economic aid to South Vietnam, general
        • DEF 19 THAI–LAOS: Thai military assistance to Laos
        • DEF 19 US–CAMB: US military assistance to Cambodia
        • DEF US–VIET S: US military assistance to South Vietnam, general
        • E VIET S: general economic affairs of South Vietnam
        • FN 10 VIET S: foreign exchange, South Vietnam
        • ORG 7 S: administration and organization, visits by Secretary of State
        • POL 27 ASIA SE: military operations in Southeast Asia
        • POL 27–14 ASIA SE: ceasefire in Southeast Asia
        • POL CAMB: general policy, Cambodia
        • POL 15 CAMB: Cambodian Government
        • POL 15–1 CAMB: head of state, Cambodia
        • POL 27 CAMB: military operations in Cambodia
        • POL 32 CAMB: Cambodia's territories and boundaries
        • POL 1 CAMB–US: US-Cambodian relations, general
        • POL 17 CAMB–US: diplomatic relations between Cambodia and US
        • POL CAMB/KHMER: general policy, Cambodia/Khmer Republic
        • POL 27 CAMB/KHMER: military operations, Cambodia/Khmer Republic
        • POL CAMB–VIET S: Cambodia-South Vietnamese relations
        • POL 32–1 CAMB–VIET: Cambodia-South Vietnam territory and boundaries
        • POL 1 LAOS: general policy, Laos
        • POL 7 LAOS: meetings with Lao leaders
        • POL 12 LAOS: political parties in Laos
        • POL 15 LAOS: Government of Laos
        • POL 15–1 LAOS: Lao head of state, executive branch
        • POL 27 LAOS: military operations in Laos
        • POL 27–14 LAOS: ceasefire in Laos
        • POL 27–7 VIET: prisoners of war in Vietnam
        • POL 27–14 VIET: ceasefire in Vietnam
        • POL 1 VIET S: general policy, South Vietnam
        • POL 7 VIET S: meetings with South Vietnamese leaders
        • POL 12 VIET S: political parties in South Vietnam
        • POL 15 VIET S: Government of South Vietnam
        • POL 15–1 VIET S: South Vietnamese head of state, executive branch
        • POL 18 VIET S: provincial governments in South Vietnam
        • POL 23–9 VIET S: civil disturbances and revolts in South Vietnam
        • POL 27–7 VIET S: prisoners of war in South Vietnam
        • POL 27–14 VIET S: ceasefire in South Vietnam
        • POL 27–7 VIET S: military operations in South Vietnam;
        • POL 1 US–VIET S: general relations between South Vietnam and the US
      • Lot Files
        • A/IM Files: Lot 93 D 82
          • Correspondence, telegrams, and records of the HARVAN (Harriman and Vance) mission to the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam, 1968–1969
        • Bundy Files: Lot 85 D 240
          • Files of William P. Bundy as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1964–1968
        • Bunker Files: Lot 74 D 417
          • Files of Ellsworth Bunker, including telegrams, personal and official correspondence
        • Conference Files, 1966–1972 (Entry No. 3051B)
          • Files of the meetings and conferences of the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Under Secretary of State, 1966–1972. Formerly S/S Lot Files 67 D 586, 68 D 453, 69 D 182, 70 D 387, 71 D 227, and 73 D 323
        • EA/ACA Files: Lot 70 D 28
          • Files relating to Vietnam peace negotiations, 1964–March 1969, maintained by the Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian Affairs
        • EA/ACA Files: Lot 70 D 47
          • Files relating to Vietnam peace negotiations, October 1968–July 1969, including Nodis cables to and from Paris, maintained by the Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian Affairs
        • EA/ACA Files: Lot 70 D 380
          • Files relating to Vietnam peace negotiations, 1964–February 1969, maintained by the Office of Asian Communist Affairs, Bureau of East Asian Affairs
        • IS/OIS Files: Lot 90 D 345
          • Chronological records of the cables to and from the Paris Peace Delegation, 1968–1969
        • Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410
          • Files of U. Alexis Johnson, 1958–1973, including both personal and official records
        • Lord Files: Lot 77 D 112
          • Records of Winston Lord, 1969–1977, as member of the National Security Council Staff and then as Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State
        • Pedersen Files: Lot 75 D 229
          • Files of Richard Pedersen, Counselor of the Department of State, January 1969–July 1973
        • Rogers Files: Lot 73 D 443 (Entry No. 5439)
          • Office files of Secretary of State William Rogers, 1969–1973, including official correspondence, statements and speeches, memoranda of conversations, and personal papers
        • S/S National Security Decision Memoranda Files: Lot 83 D 305
          • Department of State copies of National Security Decision Memoranda and related documents, NSDM 1 through NSDM 348, 1969–1977
        • S/S National Security Council Files: Lot 82 D 212
          • Department of State copies of National Security Study Memoranda and related documents, NSSM 1 through NSSM 248, 1969–1977
  • Nixon Presidential Materials Project
    • National Security Council Files
      • Agency Files
      • Backchannel Files
      • Country Files, Far East: Cambodia, Cambodian Operations, Indochina, Laos, Thailand, Thais in Laos, Vietnam
      • Files for the President, Vietnam Negotiations
      • Haig Chronological Files
      • Haig Special File
      • Howe Chronological Files
      • Lake Chronological Files
      • Kissinger Office Files: Administrative and Staff Files; Country Files, Far East: General, Cambodia, Vietnam-Negotiations General, Vietnam-South Vietnam, Vietnam- Negotiations, Camp David Documents
      • Paris Peace Talks
      • President's Daily Briefings
      • President's Trip Files
      • Presidential Correspondence
      • Presidential/HAK Memorandum of Conversations
      • Subject Files: Items to Discuss with the President; NSSMs and NSDMs
      • Vietnam Subject Files
      • Unfiled Material
    • National Security Council Institutional Files (H-Files)
      • National Security Council Minutes
      • National Security Council Meetings
      • National Security Council Draft Minutes
      • Policy Papers, National Security Decision Memoranda
      • Review Group/Senior Review Group Minutes
      • Review Group/Senior Review Group Meetings
      • Study Memoranda
      • Under Secretaries Committee Files
      • Vietnam Ad Hoc Group Minutes
      • Vietnam Special Study Group Meetings
      • Washington Special Actions Group Minutes
      • Washington Special Actions Group Meetings
    • White House Special Files
      • Staff Members and Office Files
      • H. R. Haldeman Files
      • President's Office Files
      • President's Personal Files
    • White House Central Files
      • Staff Members and Office Files: President's Daily Diary
  • Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Melvin Laird Papers: Cambodia; POW–MIA; Vietnam
  • National Security Council
    • Nixon Administration Intelligence Files
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    • DCI (Helms) Files: Job 80–B1285A, files of Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms
    • DCI's Executive Registry Files: Jobs 80–R01284A and 80–B01086A, executive files of the Director of Central Intelligence
    • DDO/ISG/IARP Files: Job 74–425
    • DDO/ISS/IP Files: Job 75–251
    • George A. Carver (GAC) Files: Jobs 80–R01440R, 80–R01720R, and 80–R01721R, files of the Director of Central Intelligence's Special Assistant on Vietnam Affairs
    • National Intelligence Council (NIC) Files: Job 74–R1012A, intelligence memoranda, estimates and special estimates
  • Library of Congress
    • Papers of W. Averell Harriman
      • Special Files of Public Service, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations
    • Papers of Henry A. Kissinger
      • Chronological File
      • Geopolitical File: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
      • Memoranda of Conversations
      • Memoranda to the President
      • National Security Council: 303 Committee, 1969–1970, National Security Council Meetings, Senior Review Group Meetings, Washington Special Actions Group Meetings
      • Telephone Records: Telephone Conversations
    • Papers of Eliot Richardson
      • Memoranda of Conversations
      • Telephone Conversations
  • Massachusetts Historical Society
    • Papers of Henry Cabot Lodge II: Correspondence File; Vietnam Papers
  • Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
    • OASD/ISA Files: FRC 330 2 6308 and FRC 330 72 6309
      • Top secret and secret subject decimal files of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, 1969
    • OSD Files: FRC 330 75 0089 and FRC 330 75 0103
      • Secret and top subject decimal files of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense, and their assistants, 1969
    • OSD Files: FRC 330 76 0067 and FRC 330 76 0076
      • Secret and top secret subject decimal files of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense, and their assistants, 1970
    • ISA/Vietnam Task Force: FRC 330 75 0013
      • Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Task Force Files, 1964–1971
    • Secretary Laird File: FRC 330 74 0142
      • Immediate files of Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird's vault, 1969–1972
    • Secretary Laird's Staff Meetings: FRC 330 76 0028
      • Minutes of Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird's morning staff meetings, 1969–1973

Published Sources

  • Documentary Collections
    • Congressional Quarterly. Congress and the Nation, Vol. III, 1969–1972. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Service, 1973.
    • Council on Foreign Relations. Documents on American Foreign Relations, 1969–1972. New York: New York University Press, 1972.
    • Haldeman, H.R. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House: Multimedia Edition.
    • Historical Division, Joint Secretariat, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: The Joint Chiefs and the War in Vietnam, 1969–1970.
    • Pike, Douglas, ed. The Bunker Papers: Reports to the President From Vietnam, 1967–1973. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1990.
    • National Intelligence Council. Estimative Products on Vietnam, 1948–1975. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2005.
    • U.S. Department of State. American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1950–1955, Vol. I. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1957.
    • U.S. Department of State. American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1966.
    • U.S. Department of State. Bulletin, 1969–1970.
    • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, 1970. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970, 1971.
    • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, 1968–1969. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1966, 1970.
    • U.S. Senate, 93d Congress, 1st Session, Armed Services Committee. Hearings, Bombings in Cambodia.
    • U.S. Senate, 93d Congress, 1st Session, Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on U.S. Security Arrangements and Commitments Abroad. Hearings on United States Security Agreements and Commitments Abroad, Kingdom of Laos, Part 2, October 20, 22, 28, 1969.
  • Memoirs
    • Bui Diem, and David Chanoff. In the Jaws of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
    • Clifford, Clark, and Richard Holbrooke. Counsel to the President: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991.
    • Colby, William. Lost Victory: A Firsthand Account of America's Sixteen-Year Involvement in Vietnam. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1989.
    • Haldeman, H.R., The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1994.
    • Hannah, Norman B. The Key to Failure: Laos and the Vietnam War. Boston and London: Madison Books, 1987.
    • Helms, Richard, and William Hood. A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency. New York: Random House, 2003.
    • Kissinger, Henry A. White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979.
    • Nixon, Richard. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset and Dunlop, 1978.
    • Nguyen Cao Ky. Twenty Years and Twenty Days. New York: Steinhard Day, 1978.
    • Walters, Vernon. Silent Missions. New York: Doubleday, 1978.