Sources for Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, Volume XII, Afghanistan

In preparation for this volume, the editors made extensive use primarily of Presidential materials held in the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Department of State materials held in the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II) in College Park, Maryland; National Intelligence Council Files held in the archives of the Central Intelligence Agency; the papers of Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, housed at the Library of Congress; the Carter administration Intelligence Files, held in the National Security Council archives, Washington, D.C.; and the Afghan War Collection held in the archives of the Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. Of the presidential materials, numerous collections proved to be valuable for this volume. As a general matter, the most noteworthy organizational characteristic of Afghanistan-related materials at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library is their wide dispersal throughout the archive’s collections. Unlike many other countries or topic areas, whose main holdings are largely confined to a relatively small number of collections, significant documentation on Afghanistan can be found in over twenty distinct collections in the Carter Library. This presents obvious challenges to the researcher, because in many cases it is difficult to ascertain why a particular document appears in one collection and not another. Nonetheless, the broad distribution of Afghanistan materials throughout the library’s archives speaks to the importance of complexity of the crisis of the Soviet intervention as a “hot flash” in the global Cold War against the Soviet Union. The intervention in Afghanistan had both strategic repercussions requiring a worldwide diplomatic offensive and a local immediacy that policymakers determined needed a covert response at the tactical level. This guaranteed that broad swathes of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus found itself involved with the crisis.

The following are the most fulsome collections for Afghanistan, although readers should consult below for a complete list of relevant collections at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Collections of a general nature which include the greatest amount of Afghanistan material are: the National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File for Afghanistan; the National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Office File, Country Chron; and the Zbigniew Brzezinski Donated Material Collection. The three most important staff collections are: the National Security Affairs, Staff Material Thornton North/South File; the National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Europe, USSR and East-West Bre [Page XVI] ment Subject File; and the National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File. The National Security Council Institutional Files contain a full record of the National Security Council’s cabinet-level meetings on Afghanistan and related memoranda, which together show the development at the highest levels of the Carter administration’s multi-pronged strategy to challenge the Soviet intervention. The National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File contains, as the name suggests, material deemed so sensitive that it was to be closely held and not included in the regular framework of the NSC’s document transmission and filing system. The National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders File contains several important letters to and from the President to international leaders regarding the crisis in Afghanistan. The National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables file contains telegrams which were deemed sufficiently important to warrant Brzezinski’s, and in some cases, the President’s attention. The National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File contains many memoranda of conversation and related documents covering Brzezinski’s diplomatic missions in the months after the Soviet intervention. The Carter Presidential Papers, Plains File, President’s Personal Foreign Affairs File contains documentation from which the President drew to write his memoirs. This unique collection offers insight into the issues Carter deemed significant as he undertook to shape his own legacy as President. The National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, President’s CIA Daily Brief File is a clearinghouse for the short intelligence reports the President received every morning. Because of the highly charged and fluid nature of the crisis in Afghanistan, these reports provide a real-time picture of the President’s decision making based on the latest and most sensitive intelligence reporting.

The Carter Administration Intelligence Files, officially part of the Carter Library’s collection but housed in Washington D.C., are the main source for meeting notes and minutes of the Special Coordinating Committee’s (SCC) discussions on Afghanistan. Because the covert action to support the Afghan Mujahidin was at the heart of the Carter administration’s policy in Afghanistan, this collection is arguably the most vital in the entire volume. Other important documentation originating with the SCC can be found in the Carter Library’s collection, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office File.

Of the Department of State materials, four collections proved to be especially rich in material for this volume. The Central Foreign Policy File is a repository for telegrams between the Department of State and U.S. diplomatic posts. The cable traffic out of Kabul provides an extensive and oftentimes dramatic narrative of events on the ground there, particularly during two episodes: the death of Ambassador Dubs; and [Page XVII] the decision-making surrounding a disillusioned Soviet soldier who sought refuge, and possibly defection, from the USSR. Embassy Kabul’s reporting was also the starting point for the Department’s worldwide diplomatic initiative to protest Moscow’s intervention in Afghanistan. The lot file for Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Newsom contains many important memoranda between the Department’s highest ranking officials and their counterparts at other U.S. government agencies; the Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Intelligence Liaison File contains key documents which detail highly sensitive cooperation of the United States with third-party countries to assist the covert action. The Executive Secretariat Sensitive and Super Sensitive File contains key memoranda on Afghanistan involving Secretary of State Vance. Finally, the lot file for Marshall Shulman, Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on Soviet Affairs, offers several important documents which show the complex diplomatic challenges facing the United States in light of the Soviet Union’s aggression in Afghanistan.

The donated papers of Secretary of Defense Harold Brown contain several documents included in this volume which show that the Department of Defense was a crucial player in the policymaking process.

Of the documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, two main types of records proved most useful. The general records of the CIA and its offices, including the National Intelligence Council, contain intelligence reporting from the field, as well as related memoranda originating at CIA headquarters. The second type of record is “finished intelligence” meant for distribution outside the CIA based on intelligence deemed sufficiently reliable to be used in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy. Together, these types of records demonstrate that the CIA reported accurately on both the growing political crisis in Afghanistan and consequent likelihood of Soviet intervention, as well as on the impact of the U.S. policy on Soviet decision making.

The Afghan War Collection, housed in the Department of Defense, exists as a matter of bureaucratic happenstance. In the case of certain materials related to Afghanistan, the DOD did not maintain a complete archive of its historic materials in the way other agencies, as is the practice of the CIA or the presidential libraries, for example. What can be found in DOD holdings is a collection of documents which were never transferred to the National Archives. This collection contains a wealth of vitally important documents for this volume—documents which in many cases were not found elsewhere.

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.

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Unpublished Sources

  • Department of State, Washington, D.C.
    • Bureau of Intelligence and Research Historical Files (INR/IL)
    • Lot Files For 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.
    • Executive Secretariat (ES)
      • Sensitive and Super Sensitive File, 1979–1983, Lot 96D262
      • Special Caption Documents, 1979–1989, Lot 92D630
  • National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland
  • RG 59, Records of the Department of State
    • Central Foreign Policy File
    • Lot Files
    • Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Program Files for Soviet-Asia Relations, 1960–1978, Lot 90D320
    • Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Office of Analysis for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Program Files for Soviet-Asia Relations, 1960–1981, Lot 90D328
    • Office Files of Marshall D. Shulman, Special Advisor to the Secretary on Soviet Affairs, 1977–1981, Lot 81D109
    • Office of the Under Secretary of State for Management, M/CT—Office for Combatting Terrorism, Country, and Functional Files, 1980–1982, and Terrorist Incident Files, 1973–1976, Lot 83D135
    • Papers of Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, 1963–1981, Entry P10, Lot 83D66
    • Records of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Newsom, UD 14D62, Lot 81D154
  • Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Brzezinski Donated Material
    • Donated Historical Materials
      • Vice Presidential Papers
        • Mondale Papers
          • National Security Issues Collection
    • National Security Affairs
      • Brzezinski Material
        • Agency File
        • Cables File
        • Country File
        • General Odom File
        • Brzezinski Office File
        • Country Chron File
        • President’s Daily CIA Brief File
        • President’s Correspondence with Foreign Leaders
        • Subject File
        • Trip File
        • VIP Visit File
      • Staff Material
        • Defense/Security
          • Ermarth File
        • Europe, USSR and East/West
          • Brement Subject File
        • Horn/Special
        • Middle East Subject File
        • Office File
          • Outside the System File
        • North/South
          • Thornton File
  • National Security Council Institutional Files, 1977–1981
  • Plains File
    • President’s Daily Diary
  • Staff Office Files
    • White House Office of the Counsel to the President
      • Cutler Files
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Job 09–00438R
    • Job 81T00315R
    • Job 82T00154R
    • Job 91T00761R
    • History Staff Files
    • National Intelligence Council Files
      • Job 80R00779A
      • Job 81B00080R
      • Job 82B00561R
      • Job 93T01324R
      • Job 94T00046R
    • Office of the Director of Central Intelligence
      • Job 81B00112R: Subject Files
      • Job 81B00401R: Subject Files of the Presidential Briefing Coordinator for DCI (1977–81)
      • Job 82M00501R: 1980 Subject Files
      • Job 95M01183R
    • Directorate of Intelligence
      • Office of Near East and South Asia Analysis
        • Job 06T00412R: Intelligence Publication Files
    • Office of Support Services
      • Job 80T00071A: Production Copy Files (1976–1979)
      • Job 80T00634A: Production Case Files (1978)
      • Job 80T01330A: Production Case Files OPA (1979–1980)
      • Job 81T00031R: Production Case Files
      • Job 81T00208R: Production Case Files
      • Job 82T00150R: Production Case Files
      • Job 82T00267R: Production Case Files
      • Job 97S00360R: Intelligence Document Collection (1977–1981)
  • Department of Defense
    • Afghan War Collection
  • Library of Congress
    • Harold Brown Papers
  • National Security Council
    • Carter Administration Intelligence Files
  • Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
    • RG 330, Records of the Department of Defense
      • OSD Files, FRC 330–82–0217, Secret Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1980
      • OSD Files, FRC 330–82–0217B, Official Records of the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, 1980
      • OSD Files, FRC 330–84–0056, Defense Security Assistance Agency Foreign Military Sales, Mar 1977–Dec 1983

Published Sources

  • A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941–1949.
  • The Boston Globe.
  • Chicago Tribune.
  • Christian Science Monitor.
  • Clifford, Clark. Counsel to the President. New York: Random House, 1991.
  • Current Digest of the Soviet Press.
  • Dobrynin, Anatoly. In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents, 1962–1986. New York: Crown, 1995.
  • Kissinger, Henry A. White House Years. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979.
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Middle East Research and Information Project, MERIP Reports, Vol. 90, (Sept. 1980).
  • National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Jimmy Carter, 1977–1981. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1977–1982.
  • New York Times.
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “NATO Defense Planning Communiqué,” Ministerial Session, Brussels, May 17–18, 1977 (NATO Press Communiqué M-DPC–2(77)6, May 18, 1977)
  • Rubin, Barry. “American Relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, 1979–1981.” Iranian Studies Vol. 13.
  • Time Magazine.
  • Trahair, R.S.C. “Operation Foot (1972),” Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004,
  • United Nations. Yearbook of the United Nations, 1974–1980. New York: Office of Public Information, United Nations, 1975–1981.
  • United States Congress, Congressional Budget Office. “Rapid Development Forces: Policy and Budgetary Implications. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1983.
  • United States Congress. Congressional Record. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1980.
  • United States, Department of State. Bulletin, 1977–1980.
  • Wall Street Journal.
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