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 of 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 historians by providing full and complete access pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. Most of the sources consulted in preparation of this volume have been declassified and are available for review at the National Archives and Records Administration. A few collections, mostly relating to intelligence matters or Henry Kissinger’s Papers at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, remain closed to the public. They were available to the editors of this volume and the documents chosen for publication have been declassified.

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 December 1976 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 previously at 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 Intelli[Page XVI]gence 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.

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 might not be available in their entirety at the time of publication.

Sources for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXIII

In compiling this volume, the editor made extensive use of the Presidential papers and other White House records at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project. At the time of research, this collection was housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland, but has subsequently been transferred to the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. Since the most important documents on the Arab-Israeli dispute flowed to the President through his primary foreign policy advisor and bureaucratic gatekeeper, Henry Kissinger, this collection contains the richest and broadest spectrum of material. Within the Nixon papers, the National Security Council (NSC) Files are the best source for documents that, as a group, reveal how the administration conceived and executed policy.

The NSC Country Files for the Middle East were invaluable in the preparation of this volume. They were the working files of the NSC staff members responsible for analyzing information for Kissinger on individual Middle East countries, regional Middle East matters, and issues related to the Arab-Israeli dispute. The files not only contain the material that NSC staff members sent to Kissinger, but also the memoranda based on this material that he in turn sent to the President. They also include memoranda from cabinet officials to the President—which Kissinger summarized and analyzed for him—policy papers, and some of the most important Department of State telegrams. Of the countries involved in the Arab-Israeli dispute, Israel was by far the closest U.S. ally, and, as a result, its files are the most voluminous (7 Hollinger boxes). On the Arab side of the equation, the relevant country files include those for the United Arab Republic—renamed “Arab Republic of Egypt” in 1971 (5 Hollinger boxes)—Jordan (5 Hollinger boxes), Lebanon (2 Hollinger boxes), and Syria (1 Hollinger box). The small number of boxes for Lebanon corresponds to Nixon administration’s diminished attention to the country, except during moments of crisis, while [Page XVII] the absence of material on Syria reflects the lack of U.S. representation there from 1967–1974.

Given the inclination of President Nixon and his advisers to view the Arab-Israeli dispute within the context of Cold War, they worked directly with the Soviet Union to bring Israel and Egypt to the negotiating table, particularly in 1969, through talks between Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco and Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin. The telegrams reporting those meetings, as well as other Soviet-related material on the Middle East, are located in both the Soviet Country Files (16 Hollinger boxes) and the general Middle East Country Files dedicated exclusively to Arab-Israeli negotiations (11 Hollinger boxes). The latter group contains some of the best Department of State telegrams and White House memoranda concerning the repeated efforts to launch discussions between Israel and the Arab states, as well as the administration’s attempts to reduce the level of violence in the region. The more general Middle East Country Files, which focus on broader regional issues (4 Hollinger boxes), were useful, although much less so than the negotiations files.

For the minutes of meetings on the Middle East held by the NSC and its subgroups, the policy papers that informed those meetings, the “Study Memoranda” from Kissinger that initiated the production of the papers, and the “Decision Memoranda” that represented the culmination of the NSC policy-making process, the editor made extensive use of the National Security Council Institutional (H-Files). It is impossible to understand how the Nixon administration conceived and executed policy regarding the Arab-Israeli dispute without reviewing this material (315 Hollinger boxes, denoted by the letter “H” that precedes the box number, only a small portion of which are related to the Middle East). Until recently, the documents were under the custody of the NSC but have now been transferred to the National Archives. The documents are divided into minutes files and meeting files, with the former containing the minutes from the meetings of the Senior and Special Review Groups (SRG), the Washington Special Actions Group (WSAG), and the National Security Council. Chaired by Kissinger, the Special Review Group on the Middle East was an interdepartmental body of sub-Cabinet-level officials—including Richard Helms, the Director of Central Intelligence, and Harold Saunders, the member of the NSC staff most responsible for the Middle East—that helped formulate Middle East policy by producing and discussing papers on pressing issues. The WSAG, also chaired by Kissinger, consisted of representatives at the undersecretary level from the Departments of State and Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and members of the NSC staff, and handled contingency-planning for crises in the Middle East. Many of the papers, the analyt[Page XVIII]ical summaries of the papers, and the talking points for the meetings of both the SRG and the WSAG are contained in the meetings files. Finally, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM) and National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDM) concerning the Arab-Israeli dispute can be located by finding their subject headings in the research guide, as can the Middle East-related SRG and WSAG meeting files.

Harold Saunders was virtually Kissinger’s shadow for Middle East issues on the NSC staff, and, because he was a prodigious record-keeper, his files are both extensive and useful. In fact, many of his memoranda to Kissinger were forwarded to the President with only the name in the “From” column changed. The Saunders collection is divided into Middle East Negotiations files (19 Hollinger boxes) and Chronological Files—the latter being somewhat of a misnomer because the second half contains subject files subdivided by country and other topics, including the Middle East, Israel, and the individual Arab States. For administration policy toward the Arab-Israeli dispute, however, the “Middle East Negotiations” material is the much better of the two. It is separated into four major categories: 1) “June Initiative,” which refers to the U.S. peace efforts in the summer of 1970; 2) “Four Power Talks,” which refers to the U.N.-based discussions between the Permanent Representatives of the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France; 3) “Jarring Talks,” which refers to efforts by U.N. Special Representative Gunnar Jarring to jump-start negotiations; and 4) “U.S.-U.S.S.R. Talks.” While many of the telegrams, memoranda, and papers in the Saunders Files can be found elsewhere in the NSC Files, this group remains enormously helpful to the researcher. First, by examining the “Middle East Negotiations” documents in the order in which they are organized, one can better see how administration policy evolved over time. Second, these files do, in fact, contain material not found elsewhere, especially the most relevant Department of State telegrams. Going first to the Saunders Files—or the Country Files for that matter—to find these telegrams, rather than to the Department of State Central Files at NARA (to be discussed later), might seem counterintuitive. But given the sheer volume of material in the Central Files, use of the Saunders files saves the researcher both time and energy.

The next place to look for Arab-Israeli-related material within the NSC collection is the Kissinger Office Files. They were maintained by Kissinger’s immediate staff and contain the essential record of Kissinger’s 1972 backchannel correspondence with Egypt’s intelligence chief through which he tried to organize secret, high-level talks between the United States and Egypt. Important documents are also in the NSC Files, Agency Files, CIA, particularly Helms’s memoranda to Kissinger. Finally, the NSC Files, Presidential Correspondence Files, include letters between Nixon and the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Leba[Page XIX]non, and the Soviet Union, oftentimes with the President’s handwritten signature.

There are three groups of records, two of which are unique to the Nixon administration, that not only add color and life to the telegrams, memoranda, and minutes of meetings but also serve as an essential backdrop to them by helping to explain some of the motivations and behavior of key figures, such as Nixon, Kissinger, and Secretary of State William Rogers. Transcripts of the Kissinger telephone conversations, which were produced by a secretary listening in on the phone at Kissinger’s office at the White House or transcribed from tape recordings from his home telephone are in the Nixon Presidential Materials. They reveal Kissinger’s unvarnished—and mostly negative—opinions of Department of State maneuverings regarding policy toward the Arab-Israeli dispute. Within the White House Special Files—outside of the NSC collection—are the papers of the President’s Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, who, at the end of each day, wrote, and then later dictated, a daily diary. The diary—available in CD form as The Haldeman Diaries, the Multi-Media Edition and published in an abridged book form by G. Putnam and Sons—contains blunt observations of the tensions between Kissinger and Rogers, showing how the nature of their relationship troubled Nixon because of the way in which it interfered with the execution of policy. Nixon’s own views on the Kissinger-Rogers dynamic, as well as those regarding the Arab-Israeli dispute, are on full display in the White House Presidential Recordings, which begin in February 1971. Those that are transcribed or cited in this and other Foreign Relations volumes comprise only a small portion of what is available in the Nixon Presidential Materials, and, thus, represent what the editors and the Nixon Tape team at the Office of the Historian believe are the key recordings.

After the Nixon Presidential Materials, the compilation of this volume benefitted most from the records of the Department of State. The large and well-trammeled Record Group 59, Department of State Central Files at NARA, contain the most complete record of communications to and from posts in the Middle East. While documents related to the Arab-Israeli dispute are almost entirely in POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR and POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR/UN, others can be found in other POL and DEF files for Israel and the front-line Arab states. The Department of State Lot File for the Office of Israel and Arab-Israel Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, contains copious background information but little material on policy-making—with the exception of two boxes of Middle East-related NSSMs, the contents of which are largely unavailable to the public. The Rogers Lot File is filled with speeches, personal correspondence, records of trips and state visits, statements before congressional committees, and documents con[Page XX]cerning the Secretary’s interactions with the media, while the Sisco Lot File is helpful for material on the 1969 two-power talks and NSC Interdepartmental Group memoranda. Most documents of value in the Department of State Lot Files are duplicated in the Nixon collection, and, ultimately, the researcher will get a better sense of the Department’s role in policy-making (or lack thereof) from Rogers all the way down to embassy officials, through the NSC Files of the Nixon Presidential Materials.

The records of the Department of Defense, the CIA, and Henry Kissinger—at the Library of Congress—were useful to greater and lesser degrees for this volume, but it should be noted they are closed to the public. The Department of Defense files at the Washington National Records Center reveal how the views of Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird ran contrary to the White House’s on U.S. military support for Israel, but his perspective can also be gleaned from Defense documents in the NSC Files. Nonetheless, the details of weapons discussions—and the deals that emerged from them—between Defense officials and their counterparts from other countries can sometimes be found only in the Department’s own files. The CIA records, which are in Agency custody, contain intelligence estimates and memoranda on various Middle East topics that helped inform decision-making at the White House, and most of those documents are in National Intelligence Council (NIC) Files. Helms’s memoranda to Kissinger and the President are in the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) files and the Executive Registry, but, again, the most important memoranda and finished intelligence are in the NSC Files of the Nixon records. Finally, there are the Papers of Henry Kissinger at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, a collection available, by permission of Kissinger himself, to the staff at the Office of the Historian for use in the Foreign Relations series. Many of the documents here are duplicates of those in the Nixon Presidential Materials, especially those in Kissinger’s Chronological and Geopolitical Files. But for minutes of meetings missing from the Nixon NSC Files, the Kissinger Top Secret (TS) Files were critical for filling in these gaps.

The following list identifies the particular files and collections used in the preparation of this volume.

[Page XXI]

Unpublished Sources

  • Department of State, Record Group 59, Files of the Department of State
    • National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
      • Central Files. Central files are the general subject files for Department of State materials. The 1969-1972 period includes two sets of materials (1967–1969 and 1970–1973) organized by a subject-numeric system. This system consists of seven broad categories: Administration, Consular, Culture and Information, Economic, Political and Defense, Science, and Social. In particular, the Political (POL) and Defense (DEF) related files are important to this Foreign Relations volume. Within each of these divisions are subject subcategories. For example, Political and Defense contains four subtopics: POL (Politics), DEF (Defense), CSM (Communism) and INT (Intelligence). Numerical subdivisions further define the subtopics. The following represent the most important central files utilized for this volume:
        • DEF 12 ISR
        • DEF 12–5 ISR
        • DEF 12–5 JORDAN
        • DEF 12–5 LEB
        • ORG 7 S AID [US] JORDAN
        • POL 7 UAR
        • POL 15–1 JORDAN
        • POL 23–8 LEB
        • POL 27–12 ARAB-ISR
        • POL 27–14 ARAB-ISR
        • POL IS–US/NIXON
        • POL LEB–US
    • Lot Files
      • Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
      • Office Files of William Rogers
      • Office Files of Joseph J. Sisco
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library
    • Austin, Texas
      • National Security File:
        • Middle East
  • Nixon Presidential Materials, National Archives and Records Administration
    • College Park, Maryland
    • (Note: These files have been transferred to the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California)
      • Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts
      • NSC Files:
        • Agency Files
        • Country Files
        • Kissinger Office Files
        • NSC Institutional Files (H-Files)
        • President’s Trip Files
        • Presidential Correspondence
        • Presidential Daily Briefings
        • Presidential/Kissinger Memcons
        • Saunders Files
        • Subject Files
        • VIP Visits
        • White House Special Files
    • White House Central Files:
      • The President’s Daily Diary
    • White House Tapes
  • Henry A. Kissinger Papers
    • Library of Congress, Manuscripts Division, Washington, DC
      • Geopolitical File
  • Department of Defense
    • Washington National Records Center
      • Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Files
      • International Security Affairs (ISA) Files
  • National Security Council
    • Washington, DC
      • Subject Files
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Langley, VA
      • Office of the Director of Central Intelligence Files
      • Office of Executive Registry Files

Published Sources

  • Beattie, Kirk. Egypt During the Sadat Years. New York: Palgrave, 2000.
  • Dobrynin, Anatoliy. In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents. New York: Times Books, 1995.
  • Geyer, David C., and Douglas Selvage, eds. Soviet-American Relations: The Détente Years, 1969–1972. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2007.
  • Haldeman, H.R. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House. New York: Putnam, 1994.
  • ______. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House, Multimedia Edition
  • Kissinger, Henry A. White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1979.
  • Meir, Golda. My Life. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1075.
  • Rabin, Yitzhak. The Rabin Memoirs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Sadat, Anwar. In Search of Identity: An Autobiography. New York: Harper and Row, 1978.
  • The New York Times
  • United Nations. Yearbook of the United Nations, 1969–1972.
  • United States. Department of State. Bulletin, 1969–1972.
  • ______. National Archives and Records Administration. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon Johnson, 1968-69. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1970.
  • ______. National Archives and Records Administration. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971–1974.
  • The Washington Post