Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The 1991 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 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 Presidents Nixon and Ford as well as other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries 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. These papers are a key source for the Nixon-Ford subseries of the Foreign Relations series.

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Research for this volume was completed through special access to restricted documents at the Ford Library, 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 Ford Library staff are 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, Vol. XVI

In preparing this volume, the editor thoroughly mined the Presidential papers and other White House records from the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This repository proved the most important source of high-level documentation on the Ford administration’s conduct of relations with the Soviet Union. Many of the most valuable records are in the National Security Adviser files, and the most valuable of these are in a collection called “Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions.” This collection contains records of meetings between U.S. and Soviet leaders, including Ford’s meetings with Brezhnev at Vladivostok (November 1974) and Helsinki (July–August 1975), Kissinger’s trips to Moscow (October 1974 and January 1976), Gromyko’s visit to the United States in September 1975, and Kissinger’s meetings with Gromyko in Vienna (May 1975) and Geneva (July 1975). The Presidential Trips, Kissinger Trips, and Presidential Briefing Material for VIP Visits Files provide additional documentation on these and other high-level meetings. Since the Secretary of State often conducted business “on the road,” the Kissinger Trips File is also important source of documentation on decisions he made away from Washington, including those related to the Soviet Union. Ford frequently discussed Soviet-American relations in his meetings at the White House with Soviet and American political leaders, as well as with leading members of his administration, in particular Kissinger himself. The Memorandum of Conversations file is the most comprehensive source for records of these meetings, providing the necessary context for decisions made in both normal and less formal channels. The Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada—specifically the Country Files for the USSR—document the basic day-to-day decision-making on the Soviet Union in the White House and National Security Council staff, including not only memoranda to Kissinger and Scowcroft on the subject but also their memoranda to the President.

Important documents on the Soviet Union are scattered throughout the files of the National Security Adviser, including in the Presidential Transition File, Presidential Name File, and Subject File. A more concentrated collection of materials on the Soviet Union is in the Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, in particular, the Gromyko File and the so-called “D” File, the latter consisting largely of [Page XIII] notes exchanged in the “confidential channel” between Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. This collection also includes a file of Kissinger-Dobrynin Telcons, i.e. a selection of transcripts of their telephone conversations. A more comprehensive set of transcripts of Kissinger’s telephone conversations not only with Dobrynin but also with many U.S. political leaders, officials, and journalists is available on-line at the Department of State’s Electronic Reading Room.

The formal decision-making process on the Soviet Union—notably relating to the SALT II negotiations—is documented in the National Security Council Institutional Files (H-Files) at the Ford Library. These files contain minutes, memoranda, and related documentation on the deliberations of the National Security Council itself, the Senior Review Group, the Washington Special Actions Group, and other interagency committees; also included are records relating to National Security Council Study and Decision Memoranda (NSSMs and NSDMs), as well as similar decision-making documents.

The files on the “confidential channel” between Kissinger and Dobrynin are unfortunately incomplete. Despite considerable effort, including consultation with the archivists at the Ford Library and with records managers in the Department of State, the editor was unable to locate any memoranda of conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin, even though the two regularly met to discuss international affairs in general and, more specifically, Soviet-American relations. At this point, it is unclear whether the files were misplaced, destroyed, concealed, or, even less likely, never existed. This much, however, is clear: these records were crucial for documenting Soviet-American relations during the Nixon administration; their absence for the Ford administration is no less consequential.

During the early years of the Nixon administration, the White House excluded the Department of State from decision-making in Soviet-American relations. This exclusion began to change once Kissinger became Secretary of State in September 1973 and he brought both his policy advisers and his bureaucratic authority to the Department. By the time Ford succeeded Nixon in August 1974, the Department was already central to the formulation and implementation of policy on the Soviet Union. This change is well reflected in the records for the period, especially the retired office, or lot, files for the Department, now maintained at the National Archives. The most useful, and, in this volume, most frequently cited, source on the Soviet Union are the Records of the Office of the Counselor (Lot File 81D286), that is, the files of Helmut Sonnenfeldt. More than any other official in the administration, Sonnenfeldt was responsible for the day-to-day conduct of its Soviet policy. His files include not only his daily memoranda to Kissinger but also copies of high-level documentation often difficult to find else[Page XIV]where on such issues as SALT, European Security, and Jewish Emigration. Winston Lord, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, regularly analyzed Soviet affairs both over the long term and from a different perspective. His analyses and less analytical records on the subject are in the Directors’ Files of the Policy Planning Staff (Lot File 77D112). Kissinger, of course, maintained his interest and involvement in Soviet-American relations. Memoranda of his conversations with Soviet and other foreign leaders, as well as related documentation, are in the Records of Henry Kissinger (Lot File 91D414). The Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meeting (Lot File 78D443) also provide a revealing look “behind the scenes” at the content and context of the Ford administration’s Soviet policy. Many of the telegrams to and from the Department are available on-line in the Access to Archival databases through the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Kissinger Papers at the Library of Congress generally duplicate the documentation found in other collections. As previously mentioned, the Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts are now available on-line in the Department of State’s “Electronic Reading Room.” The records on the Soviet Union in the Geopolitical File are generally copies but nonetheless constitute a useful source whether the originals prove difficult to find elsewhere.

The editor also had access to the records of the Nixon Intelligence Files at the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Defense. The files of the Central Intelligence Agency, particularly the NIC Registry of NIE and SNIEs, were essential for intelligence reports and assessments on which the Nixon administration based its policy decisions. Many of the estimates on the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, including during the Ford Administration, are publicly available.

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 for public review at the National Archives. In addition to the paper files cited below, a growing number of documents are available on the Internet. The Office of the Historian maintains a list of these Internet resources on its website and encourages readers to consult that site on a regular basis.

Unpublished Sources

  • Department of State
    • Central Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
    • Lot Files. See National Archives and Records Administration below.
    • Electronic Reading Room
      • Transcripts of Telephone Conversations of Secretary of State Kissinger in Declassified/Released Document Collections
  • National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
    • Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State
      • Central Files
        • Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973–1976
          • Part of the on-line Access to Archival Databases: Electronic Telegrams, P-Reel Index, P-Reel microfilm
      • Lot Files
        • Lot File 78D443, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings
          • Minutes of Secretary of State Kissinger’s staff meetings, 1973–1977
        • Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor
          • Files of Helmut Sonnenfeldt, 1957–1977
        • Lot File 91D414, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77
          • Nodis memoranda of conversation of Secretary Kissinger and related documents, September 1973–January 1977
        • Lot File 77D112, Policy Planning Staff (S/P), Director’s Files (Winston Lord)
          • Records of Winston Lord, 1969–1976, as member of the National Security Council Staff and then as Director of the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State
  • Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Richard B. Cheney Files
      • General Subject File
    • John O. Marsh Files
      • General Subject File
    • National Security Adviser
      • Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions
        • USSR Memcons and Reports
      • Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files
        • D File
        • Dobrynin/Kissinger Telcons
        • Gromyko File
        • Jackson/Vanik Trade Bill
        • USSR
      • Memoranda of Conversations
      • NSC Meetings File
      • “Outside the System” Chronological Files
      • Presidential Briefing Material for VIP Visits
      • Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada
        • France
        • USSR
      • Presidential Name File
      • Presidential Subject File
      • Presidential Transition File
      • Trip Briefing Books and Cables of Henry Kissinger
        • Kissinger Trip File
      • Trip Briefing Books and Cables of President Ford
        • Presidential Trips File
    • National Security Council Institutional Files
    • Ron Nessen Files
      • Presidential Media Interviews
    • Ron Nessen Papers
      • Foreign Guidance for Press Briefing
      • Subject File Accretion
    • President’s Handwriting File
      • White House Central Files Subject File
    • White House Office Files
      • President’s Daily Diary
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Electronic Reading Room
    • National Intelligence Council Files
      • Job 79–R01102A
  • Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
    • Papers of Henry A. Kissinger
      • Miscellany, 1968–76, Record of Schedule
      • Congressional Hearings, Senate

Published Sources

  • Current Digest of the Soviet Press.
  • Dobrynin, Anatoly. In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents. New York: Times Books, 1995.
  • Kissinger, Henry. Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.
  • ——. Years of Upheaval. Boston: Little, Brown, 1982.
  • ——. Years of Renewal. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
  • United States Congress, Senate Committee on Finance. Emigration Amendment to the Trade Reform Act of 1974: Hearing Before the Committee on Finance, United States Senate, Ninety-Third Congress, Second Session, December 3, 1974. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1974.
  • United States Department of State. Bulletin. 1974–1976.
  • United States National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1972, 1973, 1974. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1973–1975.
  • ——. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford, 1974, 1975, 1976. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1975–1977.