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[The material follows:]
PRESIDENTIAL PAPERS IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (PRINCIPAL ACCESSIONS)
Date of acquisition by
Government (if prior to acquisition by
Library) Mode of acquisition
Date of acquisition by Library of
1834–6 Purchase (family).
1903 1903 1903 1903 1903 1910 1903 1950 1903 1911 1931 1904 1933 1919 1903 1911 1952 1905 1923 1904 1930 1921 1953 1957 1921 1963 1958 1971 1972 1923 1933 1935 1917 1919 1922 1952 1954 1952
1 These papers were on deposit at the Library of Congress a number of years before the gift was formalized.
Mr. BERRY. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Thank you very much, indeed. I wonder if I could ask you, with respect to the microfilming of the Presidential papers presently housed in the Library of Congress, if you have microfilmed all 23 President's papers?
Mr. BERRY. All are filmed, except the papers of President Jefferson; the film for Jefferson has been virtually completed and is now being edited.
Mr. BRADEMAS. You say you have made those microfilm copies available for sale ?
Mr. BERRY. That is right.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Have you excluded for security or other reasons, any of the papers of the Presidents from the microfilming?
Mr. BERRY. In these 23 collections there are no exclusions. Everything has been included. There are no restrictions at the present time on any of the materials in any of these 23 collections. There very well may be some restrictions in other collections that include Presidential items, but in these 23 major collections there are no restrictions.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Can you tell us something of the Library of Congress' handling of papers of other officials of the GovernmentMembers of the House and Senate, and Justices of the Supreme Court, as well as other officials of the Government such as Cabinet officers rank, and high appointive officials?
Mr. BERRY. The Library has always endeavored to acquire as broadly as it could in the field of American historical personages. In the past 10 years we have received congressional papers from Members of Congress such as Senator Anderson, Congressman Celler and others. We have papers from several of the Supreme Court Justicesthe Frankfurter papers are well known as well as Cabinet members such as Henry Wallace and other Federal officials. Some of these collections which I assume you are asking about do have restrictions at the present time. If you would like further details, Dr. Broderick could provide them or we have a list if you would like the record of these papers we have received within the past 10 years.
Mr. BRADEMAS. You recommend that additional members be appointed to the Commission to represent the various branches of Government and the particular departments most affected by possible change, as well as members of the public and appropriate profes
Is there a danger of the Commission becoming too large and unwieldly? Further, as to the Archivisit and the Librarian, what would the relationship be? Would you recommend that they both become ex officio members of the commission? Do you see any conflict between their responsibilities as members of the Commission, on one hand, and the responsibilities which H.R. 16902 would impose on the Archivist and Librarian in their capacities to provide technical support services to the Commission?
Mr. BERRY. No. I think they could provide service better by being members. I think the Archivist and the Librarian would provide staff support but I think perhaps the Commission might be better served by having these two officials present at their deliberations to provide guidance based on their past experience. As to the size of the committee, I do know adding members does increase the size and could cause problems.
Mr. BRADEMAS. What are the principal headaches you have experienced in dealing with Presidential papers?
Mr. BRODERICK. Most of the Presidential papers in our custody go back some time. The last major acquisitions of 20th century Presidents occurred really in the 1930's, and 1940's. Most of these collections except for the Theodore Roosevelt papers, were from donations by widows of the Presidents. And in some cases, restrictions on access or use of these papers was retained by the widow during her lifetime. This has not been a problem or headache but has been a part of the administrative mechanism whereby access to these papers required a pro forma agreement except by the donor of the papers.
Mr. BRADEMAS. I will yield to Mr. Hansen of Idaho, for such ques. tions as he might have.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In looking over the list of Presidential papers you have furnished with your testimony, the last one President Coolidge, let me ask what is the status of Presidential papers after the Coolidge administration ?
Mr. BERRY. They are in the various Presidential libraries.
Mr. HANSEN. To what extent are copies of these records available to the Library of Congress?
Mr. BERRY. They might be available if they were microfilmed editions.
Mr. BRODERICK. The Harding papers have been microfilmed and the Library of Congress has acquired them.
Mr. Hansen. Would it be your judgment the practice in the last three or four decades at least, of depositing Presidential papers in individual libraries has inhibited in any way the access to the public which exist presumably themes of those in your custody or the Library of Congress?
Mr. BRODERICK. No, I do not think so. The mixture of the kinds of papers in Presidential libraries has necessitated some administrative mechanism on highly classified material, national security material and that type of thing. The growth of the Presidency and the enlargement of the volume of papers has been more responsible than anything else in delays in making these papers available.
Mr. HANSEN. Has the Library requested any kind of assistance with respect to the advocation of any kind of uniform methods to facilitate access to the information contained in the papers?
Mr. BRODERICK. The manuscript division has devised an orientation program for new employees sent there by the National Archives in order to enable them to better handle the personal papers among Presidential library holdings.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you.
Mr. GETTYS. I have no questions. I do appreciate your coming here today.
Mr. BRADEMAS. I am sure, as we begin to mark up this bill in subcommittee, we may have problems that we should like to consult the three of you on and I hope Mr. Berry, Mr. Broderick, Ms. McCormick, you will assist us at that time.
Mr. BERRY. Certainly.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Our next witness is Mr. Herman Kahn, associate librarian for manuscripts and archives, Yale University Library. He is also the former director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and former Assistant Archivist of the United States. We are very pleased to have you with us, sir. STATEMENT OF HERMAN KAHN, ASSOCIATE LIBRARIAN FOR MAN
USCRIPTS AND ARCHIVES, YALE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY Mr. Kaun. Thank you. My statement will be brief but I hope you will put to me any questions you may wish to ask. I appreciate very much the opportunity that has been given to me by this committee to make a statement on H.R. 16902, which is entitled, a bill to establish a commission to study rules and procedures for the disposition and preservation of records and documents of Federal officials.
These are strange times for those of us who, like myself, have for several decades been asking that more public attention be given to the thorny public policy issues that have arisen about the ownership and control of papers of Federal officials. The catastrophic events of the last year have focused intense public interest on this matter. Sud
denly these questions are receiving as much attention as anyone could ask for, more, perhaps than we bargained for when we asked that attention be given to them. Many persons are now coming forward with idea, prosposals, slogans, and proposed legislation. Archivists and historians are gratified by this interest but we are not so certain that the many quick and easy solutions being proposed are wise. In some cases, they do not stand very close examination.
For instance, I have just come from a professional meeting where a group wanted to adopt a resolution which maintained that the papers of the President are automatically public property because their creation is paid for by taxpayers' money. I pointed out that if this principle were to be adhered to, it must also be true that the research notes , files, and writings of any professor who receives a Federal grant or fellowship would be Federal property. They had not thought of that. The fact is that with the permeation of Federal financial support into innumerable activities, and the giving of Federal funds for almost every aspect of our cultural life, adherence to the principle that Federal ownership follows Federal funding would be destructive of many of our most cherished institutions.
My own experience persuades me that much of the debate now going forward on this subject is of small value because the persons engaged in the debate have little reason to have knowledge of the true character of the Presidential papers they are talking about. My own views on the subject have been profoundly influenced by close daily contact for 20 years with the White House papers and files of every President from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson. This was a marvelous education for me. I came to realize that the basic fact that really shapes the issues inherent in this matter and which shape the nature of the President's papers, is almost never mentioned in the debate. That fact arises from the truism that in this country we have not only a written Constitution, but an unwritten Constitution, and that it has been a part of our unwritten Constitution since the days of John Adams that the President of the United States is not only Chief Executive, Commander in Chief, and Chief of State, but is also a head of a political party. This is a fundamental requirement for the successful operation of our political system. But it is a corollary of that fact that at least 50 percent, probably more, of what we call the President's papers are political rather than governmental in character. I use the word political here not in any derogatory sense but in its truest and highest sense, as meaning public leadership, the successful functioning of party activities, and the marshalling of public and political support for the President's policies, programs, views, and the issues that he lays before the public. These are not records of governmental action. They are ancislary to and related to Government as all politics is related to Government, but they are not governmental records in the sense that they are records created by the President in the course of carrying out acts of Congress or otherwise acting in his formal constitutional capacity as Chief Executive or Commander in Chief. Because of the nature of his office, political matters inevitably are diffused through a very large part of what we call the papers of the President. Let us be thankful that in this country the political parties are not agencies of the Government. I think that no one has ever suggested that the files of our political parties are official records of the Government, but in many
respects they differ very little from much of the material in the papers of a President. I am convinced it is the lack of understanding of this fact which has led many well-intentioned people to take the position that all of the President's files ought to be treated as official public records.
Something else which ought to be pointed out is that most of the people who believe that all the President's papers are or ought to be treated as official public records seem to believe that this would mean the papers would be more quickly available for public inspection. The fact of the matter is that under our present system, ever since the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 85 percent of each President's papers have been made available for public use within 5 to 8 years after he left the White House (in some cases even sooner). Yet we must wait 30 years to see the records of the Department of State and for similar long periods in the case of other Government Departments. The reason we are able to make the papers of the President so quickly available is because they have been treated as private papers.
I do not want to give you the impression that I believe that the present method of handling the President's papers is perfect. The Presidential Libraries Act was written almost 20 years ago and should be looked at carefully. Personally, I think it needs some changes, but these changes should not be made in haste and in anger, but only after careful study.
There are other aspects of the problem of personal papers almost as important as the problem of the President's papers and just as baffling. What has troubled me the most is the question of what is proper policy in dealing with the papers of the President's White House aides. This is a question which has also been much in the public prints recently and is one which needs very careful study. A closely related problem is the matter of the files of temporary White House committees and commissions paid for from White House funds.
Many of us in the archival business have also, for many years, felt that a close look ought to be taken at the longstanding and widespread practice found in the office of every Cabinet officer and many of his subordinates, whereby two sets of files are kept. One is called, official records, and the other, personal papers. This is inevitable, but it needs more policing, more oversight than it has received in the past. And certainly I know from experience that many Members of both Houses of Congress have asked for assistance and advice in connection with the disposition of their own files. These are not easy questions and I feel strongly that they should not be dealt with by a meatax approach.
Archivists and historians have a twofold interest in this matter. First, they are interested in creating and maintaining conditions in public offices that will result in the production of a full, frank, and rich record that will show how officers have discharged their duties. I find that many persons assume that there is in the office of every official a machine which grinds out documentation independently of the wishes, knowledge, or activities of the officer in charge. The fact is that the creation of a good and full documentary record is intimately associated with the characteristics of the officer himself and with his feeling as to how this documentation will be used and by whom and when it will be seen. And it is practically impossible to