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 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 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. Nixon’s papers were transferred to their permanent home at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, in Yorba Linda, California, after research for this volume was completed. The Nixon Library 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 XXXVI, Energy Crisis, 1969–1974

In preparing this volume the editor made extensive use of Presidential papers and other White House records held at that time at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project at Archives II, which proved the best source of documentation on President Nixon’s and the National Security Council’s role in conceptualizing, formulating, and implementing energy policy. Within the NSC Files, the NSC Institutional Files (H-Files) are of particular importance. These contain the relevant National Security Study Memoranda, the resulting National Security Decision Memoranda, supporting study and policy papers, other background material, and memoranda of note. They contain documents prepared for National Security Council, Senior Review Group, and Washington Special Actions Group meetings, and the minutes of those meetings.

Also in the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, as part of the NSC Files, are the Agency Files, Country Files, Saunders Files, Kissinger’s Office Files, Presidential/HAK Memcons, and Subject Files. The Agency Files contain high-level documents and communication between the White House and other agencies. For this volume, the most relevant Agency files were those of the CIA, the OEP, and the National Energy Office. The Country Files are critical for researching bilateral relations. Although much of the material in the Country Files can also be found in the Department of State Central Files in Record Group 59, the Country Files contain cable traffic on topics deemed most significant by the White House. This includes communication on bilateral oil arrangements and negotiations on the embargo. The Country Files also include memoranda of conversation with various Middle Eastern leaders, and White House, State Department, and NSC assessments of each country’s importance to the United States in terms of energy. The Country Files, used in tandem with the Presidential Correspondence Files (correspondence between Nixon and key figures such as King Faisal), the Presidential Trip Files, and VIP Visits Files (which include important briefing material) provide [Page XIII] comprehensive documentation on high-level meetings. The most critical Country Files for this volume are Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Middle East General, and Venezuela. Also significant for researching Middle East issues during this period are the Harold H. Saunders Files. Saunders regularly maintained copies of critical cable traffic, most NSC internal memoranda, study papers, background and briefing material prepared for Kissinger, and letters to Kissinger for Nixon. His individual files include those on Iran, Middle East Oil, and Saudi Arabia. Kissinger’s Office Files, particularly the Country Files on Egypt, the Middle East, Iran Oil, and Saudi Arabia, are an invaluable source. The Presidential/HAK Memcons contain critical memoranda of conversation for the embargo period. The Kissinger Telephone Conversation collection provides an invaluable source in cases when oil and embargo issues received immediate attention.

Also in the Nixon Presidential Materials Project are the White House Central Files, Special Files, invaluable for tracking administration changes pertaining to domestic energy, early efforts to create a department of energy, and political calculation. They are also useful for tracking administration thinking on international energy. Among the most useful files are the Staff Member and Office Files, particularly those of Charles J. DiBona, Egil Krogh, Hendrik A. Houthakker, and John D. Ehrlichman. Similarly, the White House Special Files, Subject Files, Confidential Files contain White House memoranda on energy issues. Files on Saudi Arabia, Oil Import Controls, CIEP 1971, Oil, and Tariff Imports are useful. It should be noted that the White House Special Files were originally part of the White House Central Files. Around 1970 the White House staff removed those documents from Central Files deemed politically sensitive and placed them into the new White House Special Files. Once the 1972 election was over, the White House Special Files remained as an independent collection. Some duplication between the two filing systems remained, along with a very confusing naming system.

For this particular volume, the Department of State Central Files, held at NARA in Record Group 59, are essential for documenting those times when the Department of State dominated policy on oil and energy related issues. Among the most important files in this collection are the petroleum files (PET) for Canada, Europe, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Near East, OECD, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela. Political files (POL) were consulted as needed. A full listing is below.

The Department of State Lot Files, also in Record Group 59, are of primary importance for Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, which detail the information Kissinger passed on to upper level officers within the Department, and their discussions on major issues. [Page XIV] These meetings replaced NSC and WSAG meetings by the end of 1973.

The Cabinet Level Task Force on Oil Import Controls was primarily domestic in nature. It required a different approach to research and a broader net. Among the files most critical are the NSC Files, Subject Files, the White House Special Files, and the White House Central Files in the Nixon Presidential Materials Project. Because Secretary of Labor George Shultz led the Task Force, the Records of Secretary of Labor George P. Shultz, in Record Group 174, Records of the Department of Labor, were consulted. Of note here are the Subject Files, which includes records on the Cabinet Committee on Oil Imports and Separate Reports on the Oil Import Question. The David M. Kennedy Records in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and the Paul Volcker Files in the Office of Under Secretary of the Treasury Paul Volcker, both in Record Group 56, Records of the Department of the Treasury, are also important for a fuller understanding of Task Force deliberations. The main White House collection of documents on the Task Force is Record Group 220, Records of the Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control. Other documentation was found in Record Group 429, Council on International Economic Policy.

The Henry A. Kissinger Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress are essential. The Kissinger Papers contain copies of telegrams and memoranda of conversation not available elsewhere. Within the Geopolitical Files, the Chronological Files for Egypt, France, Great Britain, Japan, and Germany, and for Algeria, Iran, Middle East, and Saudi Arabia contain useful documentation. Within the Subject Files, the Washington Energy Conference Files and Energy Files are essential for material on the Conference.

Documentation in Record Group 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, both at the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland, are of minimal importance because the Department of Defense perceived oil as a commodity and not as a strategic necessity. The Central Intelligence Agency records are helpful for finished intelligence and the occasional papers on oil, OPEC, and consumerism. They also contain invaluable correspondence on resolution of the embargo.

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