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1 "8 3901. Definitions


For purposes of this chapter

“(1) the term 'Administrator' means the Adminis



trator of General Services;


“(2) the term 'National Archives' means the Na

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“(3) the term 'President or Vice President' means


the President or Vice President of the United States;


" (4) the term 'Presidential archival depository' has


the meaning given that term in section 2101 of this

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“(5) the term 'public record' means historical ma





terials (as defined in section 2101 of this title), logs, journals, letters, memoranda, drawings, graphs, charts, reproductions, recorded communications, transcripts, printouts, data compilations, and other records which are received, held, prepared, or originated by or for any

individual in the performance of his duties, and not transferred by him in the performance of his duties, during the period of his holding the office of President






or Vice President.

22 " 3902. Retention of public records

23 “(a) Every public record is the property of the United 24 States and, except as provided in subsection (b), it shall


1 be retained for transmission and preservation pursuant to

2 sections 3903 and 3904 of this title.


“(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, the Presi

4 dent or Vice President may destroy or cause to be destroyed

5 any public record in his custody within thirty days after he

6 prepares or receives it, if such record was received, held,

7 prepared, or originated by or for him.

8 "8 3903. Transmission of public records


“After an individual ceases to hold the office of Presi

10 dent or Vice President, the Administrator shall take custody 11 of the existing public records received, held, prepared, or 12 originated during the period when such individual held 13 office, except that the successor to the office held by the 14 individual shall retain temporary custody of such records 15

as the successor certifies to be necessary in the performance

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“ (a) The Administrator shall deposit in the National 19 Archives the public records obtained under section 903

20 of this title.


“(b) The Administrator may transfer any public record 22 obtained under section 3903 of this title to any Presidential

23 archival depository.


"(c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the


1 President or Vice President may impose restrictions on pub2 lic access to any public record obtained from him by the 3 Administrator under section 3903 of this title for a period 4 of not more than five years from the date on which the 5 President or Vice President, as the case may be, ceases to

6 hold such office.

7 “(2) Any restriction imposed under paragraph (1) 8 shall not be effective to deny access to any public record 9 pursuant to any legally authorized demand or order of any 10 court or any duly constituted body of Congress. 11 “(a) Any former President or Vice President shall 12 have access to any public record obtained from him under

13 section 3903 of this title, and shall be entitled to make,

14 retain, and use copies of such records. 15

" (e) Sections 2105, 2106, 2110, 2112, and 2113 of 16 this title shall apply to any records deposited in the National 17 Archives under subsection (a).". 18

(b) The table of chapters for title 44, United States 19 Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:

"39. Public records of President and Vice President.--


20 Sec. 3. (a) The amendments made by section 2 of 21 this Act apply to public records received, held, prepared, 22 or originated on or after January 20, 1969. 23 (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law or 24 any agreement entered into by the United States, the


1 Administrator of General Services shall obtain or retain, as the

2 case may be, custody of all existing public records received, 3 held, prepared, or originated during the period beginning 4 January 20, 1969, and ending on August 9, 1974. 5 (c) If a Federal court of competent jurisdiction decides 6 that the provisions of this Act deprive any individual of 7 private property without just compensatiòn, the Admin

8 istrator of General Services is authorized to pay the com

9 pensation which such court adjudges just.

(d) For purposes of this section, the term “public 11 record” has the same meaning given such term by section


12 3901 of title 44, United States Code, as added by section 2

13 of this Act.



H. R. 17279


OCTOBER 10, 1974 Mr. Lukex (for himself and Mr. DixGELL) introduced the following bill;

which was referred to the Committee on House Administration

A BILL To provide for public ownership of all documents prepared for

or by any elected Federal official in connection with the performance of the duties of such official, and for other



Be it enacted by the Senate and Ilouse of Representa

2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 3 That this Act may be cited as the “Public Documents Act

4 of 1974”.


SEC. 2. (a) Title 44, United States Code, is amended

6 by adding at the end thereof the following new chapter:

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