Publications

Reference Information Paper 107

A Finding Aid to National Archives Records Relating to the Cold War

Compiled by Tim Wehrkamp

Contents

Preface
Introduction

Records in Presidential Libraries

Comprehensive Subject Matter Records
Newsreels and Television Broadcasts
Record Group 306 (Records of the United States Information Agency)
Still Pictures and Motion Pictures
Textual Records
Electronic Records
Record Group 273 (Records of the National Security Council)
Textual Records

Records of the Military
Textual Records
Electronic Records
Donated Material
Still Pictures
Motion Pictures

Intelligence Records
Textual Records
Reconnaissance and Satellite Imagery

Foreign Policy Records
Textual Records
Still Pictures

Records of Congress
Textual Records

Appendix I
:
List of Record Groups (RG) Cited in Reference Information Paper 107

Appendix II
:
Sources of Additional Information About Records or Finding Aids Described in Reference Information Paper 107

End Notes

Preface

This reference information paper providing an introduction to National Archives records relating to the Cold War is the latest in a publication series that was begun by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) more than 50 years ago. The papers are part of a program that helps people inspect for themselves the record of what government has done and hold officials accountable for those actions. The format and style of papers like this one have varied over the years, but they generally consist of an introduction that places the topic in the context of Federal recordkeeping, followed by sections that describe and discuss specific pertinent records.

NARA's descriptive program comprises a variety of information products. These include inventories, lists, guides, and reference information papers that, increasingly, are being made available to researchers in electronic as well as paper-based formats. A comprehensive source of information about the archival holdings of NARA is the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States (1995). The text of that guide can be browsed electronically by accessing NARA's Web. site at http://www.archives.gov. Other online resources available at this URL include the NARA Archival Information Locator, a pilot database of descriptions of selected holdings. The database includes, in particular, citations to many audiovisual resources relating to the Cold War.

NARA's mission is to ensure ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. We hope that all of our information products will help citizens to use more easily the resources held in trust for them, and we welcome suggestions for ways to enhance our services.

John W. Carlin
ARCHIVIST OF THE UNITED STATES


Introduction

This reference information paper identifies several representative series and datasets of textual, electronic, still picture, and motion picture records that document U.S. Government policies, programs, and actions during the Cold War. The compilers have chosen a selection of records that illustrate the range and content of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) holdings relating to this period. These records by no means represent all NARA-held documentation concerning the topic.

For purposes of establishing the subject scope of this paper, the years of the Cold War era were loosely defined as 1945 to 1991 (from the end of World War 11 through the dissolution of the Soviet Union into the Commonwealth of Independent States). The compilers have chosen to exclude coverage of the Korean War and the Vietnam War from the narrative because NARA-held documentation relating to these topics is extensive and complex, requiring separate descriptive coverage.

The intended audience for this publication comprises graduate students and other researchers new to the field of Cold War history who may be unfamiliar with NARA records relating to the era. Descriptive entries focus on selected accessioned records housed in NARA's Washington, DC, archival facilities as of May 1, 1998, with an overview of other significant documentation held by individual Presidential libraries and the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff of NARA's Presidential Library System. The paper does not describe specific holdings of NARA's regional archives repositories; however, researchers should understand that these facilities may house relevant material, such as records of Cold War activities that took place at military installations within US borders. In addition, coverage of this paper generally does not extend beyond those accessioned records over which NARA had achieved adequate intellectual control as of May 1, 1998.

NARA holdings relating to the Cold War are voluminous but not consistent in chronological coverage. Textual records relating to foreign policy and military affairs generally span from the 1940s to the early 1960s for military affairs or early 1970s for foreign policy. Special media and electronic records accessions from all military service branches extend into the 1980s. NARA has acquired comparatively few textual records from government intelligence gathering agencies but has recently accessioned extensive runs of reconnaissance satellite imagery and documentation from the Central Intelligence Agency. And, while there are National Security Council policy records housed at the National Archives at College Park, individual Presidential libraries hold the bulk of documentation relating to that office.

Records series that remained security classified as of May 1, 1998, are noted in the appropriate records descriptions. As declassification review of NARA records proceeds under Presidential Executive Order 12958 (April 17, 1995), many of the security classified records described in this paper may be declassified. In addition, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and E.O. 12958 define procedures by which researchers may request declassification of security-classified Federal agency records that pertain to their research. For further information on these procedures, researchers should contact the Textual Archives Services Division (FOIA and Special Access) of the National Archives at College Park (see Appendix II).

Some records described in this paper contain information of a personal nature relating to living individuals. In such cases, specific records (or portions thereof) may be exempt from disclosure to researchers under provision B(6) of the FOIA. Researchers seeking further information about the relevance of FOIA exemptions to their research should also contact the Textual Archives Services Division (FOIA and Special Access Staff).

Access to media records such as still pictures and motion pictures described in this paper is generally open, but there are important copyright restrictions that govern use and reproduction of material acquired from private or commercial sources. Additional information about these restrictions can be obtained from functional staffs of the Special Media Archives Services Division (see Appendix II).

The contents of this reference information paper are organized according to topic, as follows: Records in Presidential Libraries; Comprehensive Subject Matter Records; Records of the Military; Intelligence Records; Foreign Policy Records; and Records of Congress. The paper ends with two appendices. One is a sequential listing of record groups cited in the descriptive narrative. The other provides contact information for NARA units identified in the body of the paper.

Records description in this paper reflects NARA's arrangement of its holdings according to the archival principle of provenance. This principle requires that records be attributed to the agency that created or maintained them and arranged thereunder as they were filed when in active use. NARA application of the principle of provenance takes the form of numbered record groups (RG), with each record group comprising the records of a major government entity, such as the Department of State (RG 59) and the National Security Council (RG 273), or entities such as the Army Staff (RG 319). Most record groups include records of any predecessors of the organization named in the title of that record group. A complete listing of NARA record groups can be found in the Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 3 volumes, compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995). This finding aid, which is cited hereafter as the NARA Guide, is available at major public and research libraries. It can be accessed, along with a separate and up-to-date listing of record groups, through the Internet at the NARA Research Room. The Guide can also be purchased from NARA's Product Development and Distribution Staff (see Appendix II).

Within each record group, the records of a government agency are organized into subgroups and, below this level, records series. Subgroups may consist of the records series of a subordinate agency, such as the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs within the Department of State, RG 59. Subgroups may also incorporate records series relating to a specific function, such as "records relating to activities involving foreign countries" within the records of the Office of the Comptroller of the Army agency subgroup within records of the Army Staff, RG 319. A series is a set of documents arranged according to the creating office's filing system or otherwise kept together by the office because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific kind of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use.

Description in this paper concentrates on identifying records representative of NARA's Cold War-era holdings at the series and subgroup level. Less intellectual control exists for some series than for others. That is because these records, a high percentage of which remain security classified, are comparatively recent accessions. NARA staff are just beginning to gain a basic understanding of what these records are and what they contain.

Series description elements usually consist of the following: series title and date span (in bold if a precise title is available); volume, when known (measured in linear feet or item count or both); and series designator for media series (see below). Series arrangement statements are provided when critical to an understanding of series content and structure. References are also provided to the record group provenance of specific series, either as part of the series title line or within the narrative series description. To assist researchers and staff, descriptions in this paper will cross link the occasional ambiguously titled series with standard NARA finding aid entry number citations. When necessary, large correspondence series titles arranged according to two different filing schemes will contain bracketed references indicating whether the series is arranged according to, for example, either a "decimal" or a "numerical" filing system.

NARA has assigned alphanumeric series designators to many of its media series and also to some if its electronic records series. This alphanumeric designator is useful to researchers seeking information about the contents of a specific nontextual records series in the Online Catalog database (described below). For that reason, assigned series designators are cited in parentheses, such as (Series 111 ADC), as part of the narrative nontextual records series descriptions.

There are NARA--or agency--produced box and folder lists for many of the textual records series described in this paper. For some of the large military and Department of State correspondence series, there are also filing manuals that assist researchers in identifying particular files pertaining to a specific topic. Some of these finding aids are identified in the body of this paper, but NARA staff will continue to produce or identify others as time and opportunity permit. Researchers who seek more information about a specific series and the existence of relevant finding aids may direct inquiries to the appropriate reference staffs of the Textual Archives Services Division of the National Archives at College Park, or to the Center for Legislative Archives (see Appendix II).

The NARA Online Catalog is a useful tool for obtaining information about special media records that relate to the Cold War. The Online Catalog includes up-to-date field searchable descriptions for nearly all of the still picture record series in the National Archives. In addition, ARC includes descriptive information about individual items from several motion picture film and sound recording series at NARA. Some of those series are identified in this paper.

Several other NARA publications supplement or amplify the research information contained in this paper. A good starting point is the NARA Guide (see full citation above), which provides a concise overview of all permanently accessioned Federal agency records held and managed by NARA facilities (including regional archives and Presidential libraries) as of October 1, 1994. Descriptive entries are arranged by record group and include agency histories, records subgroup and series titles, dates, linear measurements, contents, facility locations, citations to relevant NARA descriptive publications and microfilm editions, and notes on access restrictions. The Guide index provides broad subject access to records relating to Cold War events, issues, and personalities. Updates to the online electronic edition of the NARA Guide are currently being prepared.

Specialized NARA finding aids, such as "inventories," provide more complete descriptions of the series in a given record group. "Reference information papers" survey specific and pertinent records that relate to a particular topic. "Guides" provide more comprehensive and detailed coverage of records relating to a specific subject. "Special" and "select" lists itemize textual and nontextual records items, such as case files computer data sets, motion pictures, maps and charts, and architectural and engineering plans. Researchers interested in learning more about or acquiring copies of these and other published NARA finding aids should consult General Information Leaflet (GIL) 3, Select List of Publications of the National Archives and Records Administration. GIL 3 can be ordered from the NARA Product Development and Distribution Staff and GIL 3 is available online.

Information on recent records declassifications, accessions and openings, and NARA publications (such as finding aids), can be found in The Record: News from the National Archives and Records Administration, published five times yearly by NARA. Subscription inquiries should be directed to Editor, The Record, National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration includes descriptive articles, many of them written by NARA archivists, on NARA records relating to particular topics and descriptive listings of recent NARA publications. Information on subscriptions can be obtained by writing Prologue, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

Tim Wehrkamp is the primary compiler of this reference information paper. Margaret Adams and Daniel T. Kretzer of NARA's Center for Electronic Records contributed dataset descriptions; Ed Schamel of the Center for Legislative Archives wrote significant portions of the narrative describing congressional records and processes.

In planning and conducting research for this paper, the compiler was also assisted by the following NARA archivists: Barbara Burger and Nicholas Natanson (Special Media Archives Services Division [Still Pictures]; Deborah Lelansky (Special Media Archives Services Division [Aerial Team]; Richard Smith (Special Media Archives Services Division [Maps and Plans Group]; Les Waffen and Donn Roe (Special Media Archives Services Division [Motion Pictures, Sound, and Video]); William Murphy (Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division); Ken Heger and Milt Gustafson (Textual Archives Services Division [Civilian]); and Tim Nenninger, Richard Boylan, Wil Mahoney, and Barry Zerby (Textual Archives Services Division [Modern Military]). These individuals, along with Sharon Thibodeau (Access Programs Director) and Sharon Fawcett (Deputy Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries), also reviewed the manuscript for accuracy of descriptive information.

Anne Eales served as the technical and formatting editor for this paper; the cover was designed by Serene Werblood. Both are with NARA's Product Development and Distribution Staff.

Reference Information Paper 107 was printed by the University of Maryland, College Park Printing Services as part of "The Power of Free Inquiry and Cold War International History," a conference co-hosted by NARA and the University at the National Archives at College Park on September 25-26, 1998.


Records in Presidential Libraries

The most important textual records in each library or repository are those created by the President and his staff in the course of performing their official duties. These documents cover all public policy issues. Other significant holdings include the personal papers and historical material donated by individuals associated with the President. These may include cabinet officials, envoys to foreign governments, advisors, Executive Office of the Presidency staff, political party associates, and the President's family and personal friends. Several libraries have undertaken oral history programs which have produced invaluable tape-recorded memoirs.

Another body of material consists of the papers accumulated by the President before and after his term or terms in office, such as documents relating to Dwight Eisenhower's long military career and Lyndon Johnson's years in Congress.

Audiovisual holdings supplement the paper material in the libraries and repositories. Photographs and films provide a record of major events of the administrations and candid views of the Presidents and their families. Museum objects include family heirlooms, items collected by the Chief Executive or his family, campaign memorabilia, awards, and many gifts given to the President by American citizens and foreign dignitaries.

Researchers can find descriptions of most records held by the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in the ARC database. Individual Presidential library homepages are the best sources for access to additional descriptive information about the records of specific Cold War Presidencies. A typical homepage will usually outline the library's history and holdings, identify various finding aids (published and online), and list addresses and phone numbers for further information. Researchers can access all Presidential library homepages through the Presidential Libraries System website. NARA's GIL 64, Presidential Libraries of the National Archives System (revised 1996), provides a brief overview of the system, and lists names, addresses, and phone and FAX numbers for all of the constituent system libraries. GIL 64 is available from the NARA Product Development and Distribution Staff.


Comprehensive Subject Matter Records

For many Americans, the Cold War began in 1948 as a movie house newsreel segment showing supply-laden Air Force C-54 cargo transports negotiating the short and steep approach to Berlin's Tempelhof Field, and all but ended 41 years later with television newscast images of exuberant East and West Berliners celebrating before the Brandenburg Gate--many of them holding chunks of the formidable wall that had divided their city, and the world, since 1961. The media records used to convey these scenes provide an appropriate focal point with which to begin description of Cold War documentation held by NARA's Washington, DC, area facilities.

Newsreels and Television Broadcasts

Newsreels produced for movie theater showings reached an enormous American and international audience following World War 11. Between 1945 and 1949, when the US population grew from 139.9 million to 151.7 million, the movies attracted an average weekly attendance of 85-90 million.1 In many American and worldwide communities, motion picture newsreels remained a fixture throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. They provided broad and often revealing coverage of the wars, diplomatic negotiations, political crises, social phenomena, and cultural events that were part of early Cold War history. For researchers, newsreels can be useful in measuring the range and character of public opinion concerning those events. NARA's Special Media Archives Services Division (Motion Picture, Sound, and Video) newsreel holdings for the Cold War era include runs of Universal Newsreel (Series 200 UN), Paramount News (Series 200 PN), Movietone News (Series 200 MN), and News of the Day (Series 200 ND). For each title there are catalog card descriptions that provide subject access to individual newsreel items. The catalog card descriptions for these and many other NARA-held newsreels have also been entered into the ARC database, enabling researchers to do subject searches of the catalog card descriptions.

With the proliferation of television ownership beginning in the 1950s, Americans began to acquire more information about world events through the televised newscast.2 The later years of the Cold War are particularly well covered in the Special Media Archives Services Division (Motion Picture, Sound, and Video) holdings of CBS television news and special programs, April 1, 1974-present (Series 200 CBS). Individual broadcasts are indexed in the Vanderbilt Television News Archives Television News Index and Abstracts, which is available in the NARA Motion Picture, Sound, and Video Research Room and in most major research libraries. The address and phone number for the Special Media Archives Services Division (Motion Picture, Sound, and Video) are listed in Appendix II.

Record Group 306 (Records of the United States Information Agency)

The Federal Government quickly comprehended the role of media as a tool in the Cold War. Systematic exploitation of radio, television, motion picture, photographic, journalistic, and computer software resources began early in that era but achieved coherent direction in 1953 with the establishment of the United States Information Agency (USIA). Since then, the USIA has supported American foreign policymakers through programs of information gathering, analysis, and dissemination. During the Cold War, the USIA utilized various media to promote US interests and foster a favorable American image abroad, while simultaneously trying to counter the effects of Communist propaganda on foreign populations.

Still Pictures and Motion Pictures

That effort is well documented in three series of NARA-held USIA visual records: master file photographs of US and foreign personalities, world events, and American economic, social, and cultural life, 1948-83 (Series 306 PS, 306 PS-A, 306 PS-B, 306 PS-C, 306 PS-D, 306 PS-E) (ca. 236,600 images); USIA motion picture films and videos (feature films, documentaries, newsreels, television broadcasts, unedited film footage), ca. 1942-ca.1987 (ca. 16,500 items); and Voice of America (VOA) sound recordings (broadcasts, programs, and coverage of world events), ca. 1942-ca. 1971 (21,215 items). Individual items in the three series offer coverage of many dramatic Cold War events, including the Berlin Blockade and Airlift, 1948-49; the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s; revolts in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968); and the U.S.-Soviet Union Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty negotiations (SALT I and SALT II) of the 1970s. The USIA emphasis on "selling" America abroad is also well documented by several items that feature US accomplishments in such areas as science, the arts, medicine, space, civil rights (minus coverage of urban race riots in the 1960s), and student achievements (minus campus protests and demonstrations of the same decade). Other items include film and sound interviews with well known Cold War-era personalities, several films and documentaries illustrating American anti-Communist propaganda themes, USIA television news programs (WORLDNET, 1985- ), and newsreels such as Welt Im Film, 1945-52--a series produced by the American and British military governments to support the denazification campaign in Germany and Austria. All three series provide documentation of American foreign aid activities. Within the USIA motion picture films and videos series, there is a large sampling of documentary films produced by the Economic Cooperation Administration and the Mutual Security Administration, demonstrating the work and progress of European economic recovery under the Marshall Plan.3 Finally, these three important USIA media series also feature the work of many prominent American photographers, film producers, and journalists, such as Richard Saunders, Horace Bristol, John Ford, and Edward R. Murrow.4

USIA still picture negatives are located in master file negatives of US and foreign personalities, world events, and American economic, social, and cultural life, 1948-83 (Series 306 N) (ca. 165,000 images). Color negatives, slides, and transparencies comprise the USIA series titled color photographs of various subjects used in the overseas programs of the US Information Agency, ca. 1948-ca.1977 (Series 306 SUB) (ca. 10,920 images). Access to USIA still photographs is provided by the six subseries of subject and personality indexes that comprise the subject indexes to master file photographs of US and foreign personalities, world events, and American economic, social, and cultural life, 1948-83 (Series 306 X), which is available in the Still Picture Research Room of the National Archives at College Park.

The ARC database includes index card information for all VOA sound recordings and for over 75 percent of NARA-held USIA motion picture and video holdings. In addition, Special Media Archives Services Division (Motion Picture, Sound, and Video) staff have compiled lists of various USIA film program series and maintain collections of USIA-produced film catalogues. These finding aids provide a useful supplement to ARC.

Until recently, there were Federal statutory prohibitions on the showing of USIA media productions in the United States. Public Law 101-246 made it possible for American audiences to view and duplicate these items 12 years after their foreign distribution or, for nondistributed items, 12 years after preparation of the material.

Textual Records

Supporting the massive USIA effort to promote US foreign policy goals was a large and sophisticated body of research that provides abundant information on various topics, including the motivations of American foreign policy architects. Predecessors of the USIA's current Office of Research and Media Reaction conducted much of this research.5 Office of Research working papers that relate to specific country or geographical area research projects reside in the country project files, 1951-64 (53 ft.), arranged alphabetically by country. Five additional regional research projects series are subtitled as follows: Africa, Eastern Europe and multi-area, 1964-73 (42 ft.); East Asia and Australia, 1964-73 (48 ft.); Latin America, 1964-73 (30 ft.); Western Europe and Canada, 1964-73 (54 ft.); and Near East, South Asia, and North Africa, 1964-73 (45 ft.). All five are arranged by area and thereunder alphabetically by country.

Other important and related textual records series generated by the same office include research ("r") reports, 1960-93 (23 ft.); special ("s") reports, 1953-93 (23 ft.); research memoranda, 1963-67, 1970-93 (29 ft.); foreign media analyses, 1985-93 (3 ft.); and briefing papers, 1979-89, 1991-93 (6 ft.), collectively known as the Office of Research "document series." Each series is arranged by year and thereunder sequentially according to an alphanumeric system. These series consist of reports, research memoranda, and media analyses--many prepared for American foreign policymakers--that serve as concise summaries of research methodology and findings which are more thoroughly documented in the textual "geographical series" and in USIA databases. Consequently, the "document series" are a convenient and useful starting point to begin investigation of USIA research activities and findings. There are box and folder lists for all of the Office of Research textual records series.6

Electronic Records

NARA electronic records holdings from the USIA's Cold War research efforts include surveys taken among the populations of foreign countries. These surveys reveal a great deal about perceptions of the Cold War in other countries, as well as US concerns about these perceptions. USIA has transferred to NARA responses from over 1,000 surveys in electronic format. The files date from 1955 through 1989, although most are from the 1970s and 1980s.

The surveys can be divided into two categories: media surveys and attitude surveys. Both categories provide demographic data, identifying each respondent by variables such as age, education, region, profession, and even political affiliations or leanings. Media surveys poll foreign citizens on their opinions about USIA informational programs, such as Voice of America radio broadcasts and USIA publications. In common with standard market research surveys, they collect information on listening or reading habits, likes and dislikes, and solicit suggestions for improving service. There was some effort in the media surveys to measure the effectiveness and pervasiveness of Eastern Bloc informational programs. For instance, in the 1974 "Problems of Communism" study in India (1-74016), the survey asks if--and with what frequency--the subjects read International Affairs (a Soviet monthly) and Party Life (a publication of the Indian Communist Party).

Attitude surveys focus more broadly. They poll foreign citizens about their perceptions and opinions on a variety of topics relevant to international relations and foreign interests. Most attitude surveys reflect USIA efforts to discover what foreign populations thought about the United States and the Soviet Union and the influence that the superpowers held over their lives. Survey questions usually request the interviewee's opinions about nonsuperpowers such as the United Kingdom, China, or Japan. Many attitude surveys also solicit opinions about individuals associated with a main focal topic. For example, the "Big Four Conference" study in West Germany in 1955 (I-55001) asks West Germans to state the degree to which they trusted such leaders as President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov. Finally, the attitude surveys pose questions about specific issues that often relate directly to the Cold War. In the 1983 "Central American Conflict" study (I-83044), Salvadoreans are asked for their thoughts about the conflict between their government and leftist rebels and the international forces fueling this conflict. Numerous studies in NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and ANZUS (the Australia, New Zealand, United States Treaty Organization) countries seek to determine the value that foreign citizens place on the defensive alliances their countries have with the United States.

Many of the USIA survey electronic records are listed in the Center for Electronic Records' "Title List," available online. They are arranged according to USIA subject classification. Attitude surveys are clearly marked as such, while media surveys are generally identified by the type of media the survey concerns (radio, publications, etc.). The availability of this vast collection of electronic records provides an opportunity for researchers to analyze and exploit this primary data directly, expanding upon the official analyses undertaken on behalf of the USIA and found in the textual series of research reports noted above. Additional information about these electronic records of the USIA can be obtained from the Center for Electronic Records (see Appendix II).

Record Group 273 (Records of the National Security Council)


Textual Records

The Cold War posed an enormous threat to the nation's security. For that reason, it demanded a commensurate commitment of government planning and resources in areas ranging from foreign policy, military planning, and intelligence, to industrial production and scientific research. The National Security Act of 1947 provided a comprehensive response to these demands. Key provisions of this important legislation established the National Security Council (NSC) to advise the President on achieving workable and integrated foreign, military, and domestic policies pertaining to national security. Since its establishment, membership on the NSC has consisted of the President, the Vice President, and the Secretaries of State and Defense, with advisors including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and various professional staff.

The heaviest and most valuable concentration of NARA-held NSC records resides in the office, staff, and personal papers of specific Presidential libraries and the Nixon Materials Staff. Records of the National Security Council at the National Archives at College Park, much less voluminous and complete, constitute Record Group 273. Within that record group are three series of declassified formal policy documents and working papers: formal policy papers, 1947-61 (24 ft.); procedure files ("p" papers), 1947-59 (1 ft.) (electrostatic copies); and current project or "in the mill" papers known as "mill" papers, 1947-59 (2 ft.) (document copies). Each series is arranged sequentially by NSC paper number. Another declassified series, [National Security Council] meeting minutes, 1947-61 (11 ft.) (document copies), includes NSC meeting agendas and minutes, along with reports and other documents submitted to the NSC for consideration at specific meetings. There are numerically arranged file title listings for both the "mill" papers and the "p" papers. For the formal policy papers, the three finding aids are: (1) a list of all policy papers from the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations in the order that they were created; (2) a list of papers from those administrations arranged by general subject area; and (3) a list of papers arranged by country. For the meeting minutes, there is a subject card index and a chronological list of meetings.


Records of the Military

In addition to establishing the National Security Council, the National Security Act of 1947 provided for more effective control and direction of the nation's military forces through establishment of a cabinet level Secretary of Defense responsible for defense policy, programs, and budgets. Subsequent implementation of the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 enhanced the Secretary's policymaking prerogatives and responsibilities in these areas. During the Cold War years, the Department of Defense consisted--in basic outline--of the Secretary's office and staff; subordinate individual Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and the interservice Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The JCS served collectively as the principal military adviser of the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.

Textual Records

NARA'S holdings of major textual records series pertaining to Department of Defense Cold War-era policies and programs are located in the following record groups: RG 330 (Secretary of Defense); RG 218 (Joint Chiefs of Staff); RG 340 (Secretary of the Air Force); RG 341 (Air Force Headquarters Staff); RG 335 (Secretary of the Army); RG 319 (Army Headquarters Staff); RG 428 (Department of the Navy); RG 38 (Chief of Naval Operations); and RG 127 (United States Marine Corps). Within these record groups, the quantity and chronological coverage of major textual records series varies considerably. Army policies and programs are the most heavily documented, but few series in RG 335 go beyond 1964, while most series in RG 319 end in the mid-1960s. Important policy series in the Secretary of Defense, Navy, and Marine Corps record groups are much smaller and terminate in the early to mid-1950s. Most Air Force records also end in the mid-1950s, but some recent accessions continue through the mid 1960s. Within RG 218, significant Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) policy documentation extends to 1968, including valuable office files for each JCS chairman to 1970.

The most important series in these record groups tend to be relatively large central correspondence files, arranged in conformance with specific decimal, numeric, and alphanumeric filing schemes devised, adopted, or adapted by the component services of the Department of Defense. Researchers who use the central correspondence files should understand that they are not limited to letters but also contain other types of documentation, including reports, studies, policy documents, meeting minutes, and memorandums of conversation.

Researchers should also understand how these correspondence files are organized. During the early Cold War era to around 1963, many Army, Air Force, and Defense Department command staff offices utilized the War Department decimal filing system to organize office correspondence files. Records within these files were generally maintained as yearly groupings of "decimal" and "project decimal" files, arranged according to the War Department decimal filing system. Prior to 1960, yearly Navy (but not Marine Corps) office correspondence files tended to be organized according to the Navy Filing Manual alphanumeric system. Both of these service correspondence systems achieved control over official records through a defined comprehensive filing system manual that prescribed a specific decimal file number or alphanumeric designation representing a particular subject under which relevant records would be filed within the central office correspondence files. For the most part, the War Department decimal file and Navy Filing Manual systems fulfilled the intended purpose of providing precise organization and efficient retrieval of records pertaining to a particular subject. To assist researchers working with pre 1960-63 military records, copies of both manuals are maintained by the Textual Archives Services Division (Modern Military) (see Appendix II).

Emerging national military policies and actions of the early Cold War years are well documented in the Secretary of Defense's general correspondence, 1947-54 (RG 330), which consists of formerly security-classified general correspondence, 1947-54 (228 ft.); unclassified general correspondence, 1947-54 (242 ft.); and security-classified (restricted data) general correspondence, 1948-54 (2 ft.). In RG 218, correspondence, messages, and reports of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are located in the JCS central correspondence ("decimal file"), 1942-63 (1,425 ft.); geographic correspondence ("geographic file"), 1942-58 (387 ft.); and the security-classified and formerly security-classified central file, 1959-68 (664 ft.). Information in these series is supplemented by the mostly declassified correspondence, memorandums, and messages of JCS chairmen Admiral William D. Leahy, 1942-48 (10 ft.), and General Omar N. Bradley, 1949-53 (4 ft.), and the security-classified correspondence, memorandums, and messages of JCS chairmen Admiral Arthur W. Radford, 1953-57 (26 ft.), General Nathan F. Twining, 1957-60 (28 ft.), General Lyman Lemnitzer, 1960-62 (30 ft.), General Maxwell D. Taylor, 1962-64 (51 ft.), and General Earle G. Wheeler, 1964-70 (229 ft.).

Air Force policy decision and general program records through the early 1950s can be found in RG 340 and include the Secretary of the Air Force's security-classified general correspondence (decimal), 1947-54 (693 ft.), and top secret general correspondence (numerical), 1956-64 (7 ft.). Air Force operational planning during the first years of the Cold War is documented in the top secret decimal file, 1942-54 (ca. 283 ft.) (NM 15, Entry 335B); the formerly top secret decimal correspondence file, 1942-54 (257 ft.) (NM 15, Entry 335A&C); and the formerly secret decimal correspondence file, 1942-54 (197 ft.) (NM 15, Entry 336), of the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations - Office of the Director of Plans in RG 341. Two comprehensive sources of information on Army policies and programs are general correspondence (decimal), July 1947-December 1964 (627 ft.), and security classified general correspondence (decimal), July 1947-December 1964 (387 ft.), of the Secretary of the Army (RG 335). In RG 319, series relating to Army staff planning include Army Chief of Staff formerly security-classified correspondence (decimal), 1948-62 (214 ft.); security-classified correspondence (decimal), 1955-72 (ca.767 ft.); formerly top secret correspondence, 1948-62 (26 ft.); and top secret correspondence, 1948-62 [bulk 1953-62] (7 ft.). Army operations records in RG 319 include Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, Operations formerly top secret correspondence (decimal), 1944-50 (3 ft.); security-classified correspondence (decimal), 1950-55 (1,063 ft.); formerly security-classified and unclassified correspondence (decimal) relating to organization and training, 1948-50 (158 ft.); and top secret general correspondence (decimal) relating to training and operations, 1950-52 (263 ft.). Records of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations (ODCSOPS) in RG 319 include top secret correspondence (numerical), 1956-62 (32 ft.), and security classified correspondence (decimal), 1956-62 (340 ft.). Additional ODCSOPS general correspondence series that incorporate correspondence of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development (OACSFOR) include ODCSOPS/OACSFOR top secret correspondence (numerical), 1963-74 [bulk 1963-71] (5 ft.), and ODCSOPS/OACSFOR security-classified and formerly security-classified correspondence (decimal, TAFFS, subject), 1958-70, 1972 (ca. 200 ft.). Cold War-era Navy policy records in RG 428 include formerly security-classified correspondence of John L. Sullivan, 1947-49 (4 ft.), and Francis P. Mathews, 1949-50 (3 ft.), for which there are NARA-created file lists. RG 428 also contains the formerly security classified combined general correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations, 1948-51 (182 ft.). An agency-created index exists for this series. General correspondence, 1939-50 (973 ft.), of the Commandant of the US Marine Corps is in RG 127. For many of the large military textual correspondence series, agency-created index sheets or cards, cross reference sheets, and register lists were maintained either as a section of the relevant general correspondence file or as separate series.

Electronic Records

Electronic records in NARA's military record group holdings provide additional documentation on Department of Defense Cold War-era policies and programs. Many of these series are more recent than the textual records just described. Several series document aspects of the Cold War from the military perspective, including the wars in Korea and Southeast Asia. The holdings include the records of foreign military sales, FY 1948-86; international [military] balance of payments, FY 1960-85; the military assistance program, FY 1950-75; military prime contracts, FY 1966-75; and the Defense Contract Action Data System, FY 1976-90, all within RG 330. In RG 373, Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the electronic index to the microfiche of Grenada documents captured in October 1983 represents another important series from the era of the Cold War.7 Further information about access to these series is available from the Center for Electronic Records.

Donated Material

NARA's holdings of donated material include personal copies of official records maintained by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1961-68 (91 ft.). This collection consists of security-classified, declassified, and unclassified correspondence and memorandums, policy papers, reports, cables, and summaries of discussions dealing with various Department of Defense programs and operations, including those relating to Southeast Asia, Berlin, Cuba, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Another donated collection, the papers of General Lucius D. Clay relating to post-World War 11 occupation of Germany, 1944-49 (6 ft and 13 rolls of microfilm), consists of formerly security-classified messages, correspondence, reports, speeches, press releases, meeting minutes, and other records that document his years as head of the Office of Military Government for Germany (US), October 1945-January 1947, and as Military Governor of Germany, January 1947-May 1949. Further information on these records can be obtained from the Textual Archives Services Division (Modern Military).

Other documentation of American military activities, programs, issues, and personalities covering the entire span of the Cold War can be found in several NARA still picture and motion picture/video records series. The most comprehensive media series, listed below with a brief identification of major index series available in the various Special Media Archives Services Division research rooms of the National Archives at College Park, are found in the following record groups: RG 127 (Records of the US Marine Corps); RG 428 (General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1947-); RG 80 (General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947); RG 342 (Records of United States Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations); and RG 111 (Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer). As with electronic records, special media series are generally of a more recent time period than textual records.

Still Pictures

Full descriptions and arrangement statements for most of the still picture series described below are available in the ARC database.

--Color photographs of Signal Corps activity, 1944-82 (series 111 C) (ca. 588 ft.) (RG 111). Ca. 102,300 prints, negatives, slides, and transparencies. Series 111 CX is the subject index. --Signal Corps photographs of American military activity, ca. 1900-ca. 1981 (Series 111 SC) (ca. 2,054 ft.) (RG 111). Ca. 680,000 black and white photographic negatives and corresponding prints. Series 111 CY is the subject index. --Photographs of US Air Force activities, facilities, and personnel, domestic and foreign, 1954-80 (Series 342 B) (ca. 374 ft.) (RG 342). Ca. 133,000 images in 1,927 albums. Negatives, slides, transparencies corresponding to Series 342 B prints are in Series 342 AF (black and white) and 342 C (color). Series 342 X and Z are, respectively, the subject and personality indexes. --Black and white and color photographs of US Air Force and predecessor agencies activities, facilities, and personnel-World War II and Korean War, 1941-53 (Series 342 FH (ca. 252 ft.) (RG 342). Ca. 150,000 images. Corresponding negatives and transparencies are in series 342 AF (black and white) and 342 C (color). Finding aids include a Smithsonian Institution-created listing of subjects on videodisc to be used in conjunction with a NARA-created container list. --Photographs of US Air Force occupation of Japan and Germany, 1945-62 (Series 342 G [Germany], 342 J [Japan]) (ca. 36 ft.) (RG 342). Series 342 GJX is the index. --General photographic file of the Department of the Navy, 1900-58 (Series 80 G) (ca. 3,027 ft.) (RG 80). Ca. 700,000 negatives and matching prints. Series 80 GG is the subject index. --General photographic files of the Department of the Navy, 1958-81 (Series 428 K, 428 KN, 428 N) (ca. 1,444 ft.) (RG 428). Series 428 N is ca. 238,000 black and white negatives; 428 K and KN are ca. 141,000 color negatives, slides, and transparencies. Series 428 GX and 428 GXA are picture-index card subject indexes. --General photographic file of the US Marine Corps, 1927-81 (Series 127 N) (1,417 ft.) (RG 127). Ca. 356,000 black and white and color negatives. Prints located in series 127 G, GC, GG, GK, GR, GS, GW, GVB, and GVC. Series 127 PX is a personality index.

Motion Pictures

Card index information for many of the following motion picture series (111 LC, 342 USAF, 428 NPC has been entered, in whole or in part, in the ARC database, thus enabling searches by field or field combinations, such as film title, item number, and descriptive term or keyword. NARA updates the ARC database on a weekly basis. For current information on the status of these and other motion picture series described in ARC, contact the Special Media Archives Services Division (Motion Picture, Sound, and Video).

--Unedited black and white historical film footage [of the US Army], 1941-53 (Series 111 ADC) (RG 111). Finding aids include agency-created card indexes (master numerical and subject cards).

--Unedited black and white and color documentary film footage [of the US Army], 1953-80 (Series 111 LC) (RG 111). Finding aids include agency-created card indexes (master numerical and subject cards).

--Unedited black and white and color film [of the US Air Force], ca. 1942-1981 (Series 342 USAF) (RG 342). Finding aids include agency-created card indexes (master numerical and subject cards) for many of the individual film titles in this series.

--Unedited color and black and white film [of the US Navy], 1941-ca.1980 (Series 428 NPC (RG 428). Finding aids include agency-created card indexes (master and subject).

--Unedited black and white and color film [of the US Marine Corps, ca. 1920s-1980 (Series 127 USMC) (RG 127). Finding aids include agency-created card indexes (master and subject).


Intelligence Records

Textual Records

Framers of the National Security Act of 1947 recognized the crucial role of intelligence information in the formulation of Cold War policy by establishing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) within the National Security Council. Since then, the CIA--which became an independent executive agency in 1981--has been responsible for advising the President, the National Security Council, the military establishment, and the Department of State on intelligence policies, programs, and operations. The CIA's statutory responsibilities for disseminating intelligence information within the government and for coordinating government foreign intelligence and counterintelligence programs were intended to assure close cooperation with other Federal agencies conducting the nation's business abroad.

The extent of this cooperation is suggested by the CIA-compiled national intelligence estimates, 1950-85 (ca. 8 ft.) in RG 263. This textual series consists of screened electrostatic copies of CIA reports analyzing political, military, agricultural, economic, social, and industrial activities and information relating to the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc. The national intelligence estimates focus broadly, treating such topics as military force and attack capabilities; nuclear and biological weapons development; space programs; political affairs; agricultural, heavy industry, and fuels production; natural resources; finances; and manpower training and development in the Soviet Union and allied countries.

Breadth of coverage also tends to characterize some of the reports submitted by military attaches stationed in Communist and non-Communist countries during the early Cold War years. Military attaches stationed at a particular embassy, post, installation, or other duty station might report on a wide variety of military and nonmilitary topics, such as political developments; physical geography; social conditions; demographics; industry; commerce; technological developments; military forces (size, training, movements, and equipment); military installations and ports (layouts and facilities); biographical and character details of foreign government and political figures; foreign and international relations; climatological phenomena; and natural disasters. Army attache reports through the mid-1960s are located mostly in the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence G-2 decimal file (RG 319), which consists of the top secret decimal correspondence file, 1942-62 (33 ft.); the secret decimal correspondence file, 1953-64 (244 ft.); and the unclassified decimal correspondence file, 1941-64 (2,971 ft.). Records of the Air Force Office of the Director of Intelligence (DOI) in RG 341 include air intelligence reports, 1942-53 (951 ft.), which were submitted by US air attaches and foreign government agencies and maintained by the DOI's Office of the Deputy Director for Collection and Dissemination. In RG 38, Records of the Director and Assistant Director of Naval Intelligence include naval attache reports, 1886-1947 (1,321 ft. and 6 rolls of microfilm), and naval intelligence reports ("IRs"), 1948-56 (ca. 603 ft.).

Other intelligence records that provide detailed information on a broad range of social, economic, political, and natural conditions and phenomena in Communist countries are the RG 341 interview reports of returning POWs and detainees under Soviet control ("Wringer reports"), 1949-55 (ca. 507 ft.), and reports of returning Japanese POWs and detainees under Soviet control ("Wringer reports"), 1949-55 (ca. 53 ft.). These reports were compiled by Air Force intelligence specialists and maintained by the Air Force Office of the Director of Intelligence. They were used to generate potential bombing targets in the Communist countries of eastern Europe and the Far East, but their value for research extends beyond this intended purpose.

Reconnaissance and Satellite Imagery

Foreign bombing targets, military installations, industrial plants, ports, natural features, and other phenomena of interest to the American intelligence community and its clients are the focus of over 800,000 original, declassified, 70 mm roll film images produced by the early intelligence satellite systems known as CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD. These images comprise the RG 263 series titled satellite imagery for the CORONA, ARGON, and LANYARD Program, 1959-72. NARA has also recently accessioned nearly 2 million images of original negative film shot by the U-2 and other reconnaissance aircraft during the period June 19, 1956, to May 24, 1974. Imagery from this latter series is of selected areas but does include reconnaissance missions flown over Cuba, the People's Republic of China, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet Union. Further information on access to, and collateral data accessioned with, these satellite and aircraft reconnaissance images is available from the Special Media Archives Services Division (Aerial Team) (see Appendix II).


Foreign Policy Records

Textual Records

The most important source of information on US diplomatic relations during the Cold War is the central foreign policy file of the Department of State (RG 59). For the post-World War II period, the central foreign policy file consists of the decimal file, 1945-63, and its successor, the subject-numeric file, 1963-73. Both series have been organized according to complex arrangement schemes. The decimal file, for example, is subdivided into chronological blocks (1945-49, 1950-54, 1955-59, and 1960-63), and then arranged according to a State Department-devised subject and country file classification system that underwent major revision in 1950. Current NARA holdings of the subject- numeric file are also subdivided into chronological segments (1963 and 1964-66, 1967-69, and 1970-73), and arranged thereunder according to a more complicated State Department alphanumeric subject and country file-coding scheme. To assist researchers with these arrangement systems, the Textual Archives Services Division (Civilian) (see Appendix II) maintains State Department file manuals and NARA informational handouts that facilitate access to documents in both of these series. On-site researchers also can use State Department-created name index cards (declassified through 1959), source index cards (declassified through 1949), and "purport" cards (declassified through 1949) to identify documents in the decimal file.

Department of State office files in RG 59 supplement information in the central foreign policy file. These series, frequently referred to as "lot files," consist of records created and maintained by Department of State bureaus and offices, functional units, and staffs with specific assignments. For example, there are general subject files, country files, and project records documenting the work of bureaus and offices dealing with geographic regions (e.g., Africa, Europe, and the Far East) and functions (public affairs, culture, economics, intelligence, and national security). Other office files reflect the work of Department of State staff with special assignments. For example, Sam Klaus was Special Assistant to the Department of State Legal Advisor, 1946-63. During the early years of the Cold War, he represented the United States in various legal proceedings before the International Court of Justice. His aircraft incident [case] files, 1944-62 (44 ft.), also known as the "Sam Klaus Files," provide information on aircraft "shootdown" incidents and detentions of American military personnel involving the US and other (mostly Communist) countries.8

National Archives Inventory 15, General Records of the Department of State, RG 59 (microfiche edition, 1992), contains descriptions of some office files. For office files accessioned before 1985, researchers may also wish to consult Gerald K. Haines, A Reference Guide to United States Department of State Special Files (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985), which cross-references office file series titles with Department of State lot file numbers. Office files accessioned after 1985 are listed by office, personal name, or subject in "lot file" binders maintained by the Textual Archives Services Division (Civilian).

NARA foreign policy reference archivists who work with textual records have prepared a number of brief but essential descriptive reports and handouts that outline the scope, intellectual content, organization, and arrangement of various diplomatic records held by NARA. These handouts also identify important finding aids, such as published inventories, filing manuals, microfilm publications of diplomatic records, and NARA-produced box, folder, and series lists. Copies of these handouts are also available from the Textual Archives Services Division (Civilian).

Some NARA-held foreign policy textual records relating to the Cold War have been microfilmed, either by NARA or by private microfilming companies. NARA microfilm publications of foreign policy records are listed in Diplomatic Records: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications (1997), which can be ordered from the Product Development and Distribution Staff. The catalog is also available online. A list of privately produced microfilm publications of NARA's diplomatic records holdings can be obtained from the Textual Archives Services Division (Civilian).

Still Pictures

NARA's major holdings of RG 59 still picture records include the following: negatives and proof sheets relating to US and foreign diplomatic officials, 1950-93 (Series 59 N) (219 ft., ca. 214,000 images); prints of diplomatic personalities and other US and foreign dignitaries, 1950-64 (Series 59 O) (23 ft., ca 4550 images); prints of diplomatic events and facilities, and US and foreign political, economic, and cultural activities, 1950-64 (Series 59 G) (70 ft., ca. 15,950 images); prints of US and foreign dignitaries, and diplomatic events and facilities, 1955-1993 (Series 59 BP) (23 ft., ca. 7,000 images); and photographic portraits and events coverages relating to Secretaries of State, 1969-93 (Series 59 SE) (8 ft., ca. 26,800 images). These series are indexed by the card index to photographs relating to diplomatic events, facilities, and officials, and US and foreign political, economic, and cultural life (Series 59 GX). The ARC database contains more detailed series level descriptions for all of the still picture series listed in this paragraph.


Records of Congress

Textual Records

Records of the US Senate (RG 46), the House of Representatives (RG 233), and the Joint Committees of Congress (RG 128) document the critical role played by Congress in legislating, funding, investigating, and evaluating US responses to Cold War demands. Much of this work was done by House and Senate committees and subcommittees whose jurisdictions focused on the nation's foreign policy, military programs, internal security, weapons, nuclear energy resources, and space exploration program.

Records held by NARA's Center for Legislative Archives include committee records such as legislative case files, bill files, petitions and memorials, messages and communications, and meeting transcripts and minutes of committee meetings. Records within many of these series are arranged by session of Congress. Other series, such as correspondence subject files or investigative case files, may be arranged by subject or topic, personal name, or by session of Congress. For a number of these series, there are finding aids--produced by either committee staff or NARA archivists. Specific access restrictions apply to records of the Senate and the House of Representatives. These restrictions are described in the NARA Guide (see "specific restrictions" sections for RG 46, RG 128, and RG 233).

The principle finding aids for legislative records are the Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989, 100th Congress, 2d Session, House Document No. 100-245 (Washington, DC: US House of Representatives, 1989), and the Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989, 100th Congress, 2d Session, Senate Document No. 100-42 (Washington, DC: United States Senate, 1989). Both guides, along with access guidelines and other information about Congressional records, can be found on the Internet at the Center for Legislative Archives. The guides are also available in large public and research libraries. The Center's address and phone number are listed in Appendix II.

The actions of the US Congress touched upon the Cold War in many ways, and the records of Congress reflect the scope of its involvement. Standing committees handle most business in the House and Senate. Consequently, many records relating to specific legislation reside among files of the committee to which a relevant bill or resolution was referred.

Congress raises revenue and appropriates funds for programs of the various offices of the Federal Executive, such as the Departments of State and Defense. Appropriations bills originate in the House and must be passed by both the House and Senate. Working papers, correspondence, and other unpublished records relating to appropriations bills are among the records of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. Descriptions in the appropriate chapters of the House and Senate Guides give an overview of the records of these and other committees.

The Senate exercises important responsibilities for reviewing treaties and legislation relating to foreign affairs. Among the records of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in RG 46 are papers accompanying specific bills and resolutions referred to the Committee, 1947-68 (103 ft.); Presidential messages, executive communications and reports, 1947-68 (26 ft.); executive session transcripts and minutes, January 8, 1947-September 5, 1979 (ca. 34 ft.); and treaty files, 1789-1968 (ca. 89 ft.).

Congressional oversight of the military establishment is exercised by the House Committee on the Armed Services, RG 233, and the Senate Committee on Armed Services, RG 46. Records of the House Committee include petitions and memorials, 1951-68 (ca. 4 ft.); committee papers, 1947-68 (ca. 263 ft.); bill files, 1947-68 (ca. 75 ft.); and records of the special investigations subcommittee, 1955-68 (ca. 71 ft.). Among major NARA holdings of Senate Committee on Armed Services records are Presidential messages, executive communications, and reports, 1947-86; four series of Committee correspondence, 1949-86; and executive session and unprinted public transcripts, 1947-64 (ca. 14 ft.).

Throughout its history, extraordinary circumstances have prompted Congress to create special or select committees that focus on specific incidents, circumstances, or events. Following World War II, for example, there was a compelling need to assist European nations attempting to cope with the destruction and displacement resulting from nearly 6 years of total war. Responding to this challenge, the House of Representatives created the Select Committee on Foreign Aid to research and write studies that would inform government officials on how best to provide the devastated nations of Europe with assistance. Records of the Select Committee on Foreign Aid, 1947-48 (ca. 50 ft.), in RG 233, include press releases, minutes of staff meetings, committee correspondence, studies, and other documents relating to the committee's activities.

During the Cold War years, many in Congress perceived a conspiracy of the world Communist movement to affect overthrow of the US Government. No less than three Congressional committees conducted investigations of Communist infiltration of government, the professions, the arts, and various social movements. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), created as a special committee in 1938 but redefined as a standing committee in 1945, became the most famous committee to investigate Communist and other subversive activities. Its investigations included the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild in 1947 and the Alger Hiss/Whittaker Chambers hearings in 1948. In 1950 Congress passed the Internal Security Act (McCarran Act) to control subversive activities in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the Senate created the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS) to administer the McCarran Act and other internal security laws. From their creation until the late 1970s, the HUAC and SISS carried out a wide range of investigations. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, they extended their scope of inquiry to focus on both the civil rights movement and student organizations involved in campus protests.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) has a similar Cold War history. Originally, the PSI was created to investigate inefficiency, mismanagement, and corruption in the Federal Government; but, under Senator Joe McCarthy (1953-54), it shifted focus to investigate reports of subversive infiltration of the Departments of State and Defense, and the Voice of America. The most famous investigation, involving the Department of the Army, climaxed in the dramatic 1954 Army-McCarthy Hearings that lead to McCarthy's formal censure by the Senate.

The investigative records of these committees are generally closed for a period of 50 years. However, the committees did publish voluminous collections of hearings and reports that are available in government documents collections at major research and public libraries.

During the Cold War, Congress also assigned broad oversight powers to key committees dealing with the nation's nuclear energy and space exploration programs. For example, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (JCAE) considered all legislative issues pertaining to the development, use, and control of nuclear technology in both military and civil programs of the US Government. There are approximately 406 ft. of JCAE records in RG 128, consisting of series such as an unclassified general subject files, 1946-77; a security-classified general subject file, 1947-77; unclassified transcripts of hearings and meetings held in executive session, 1954-61; and security-classified transcripts of meetings and hearings in executive session, 1947-77.

The Senate Standing Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences was established in 1958, following the Soviet Union's successful launch of the first unmanned satellite (Sputnik) in 1957. The committee was charged with finding ways to increase government involvement in peaceful, nonmilitary, aeronautical space sciences. Until it was abolished in 1977, the committee also oversaw activities of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. Committee records in RG 46 include general records, 1958-66 (ca. 40 ft.); a decimal file, 1958-68 (ca. 20 ft.); and legislative case files, 1958-68 (ca. 12 ft.).

See also these related resources:


Appendix I: Record Groups Cited in Reference Information Paper 107

RG 38 Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
RG 46 Records of the US Senate
RG 59 General Records of the Department of State
RG 80 General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1798-1947
RG 111 Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer
RG 127 Records of the US Marine Corps
RG 128 Records of Joint Committees of Congress
RG 218 Records of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
RG 233 Records of the US House of Representatives
RG 263 Records of the Central Intelligence Agency
RG 273 Records of the National Security Council
RG 306 Records of the US Information Agency
RG 319 Records of the Army Staff
RG 330 Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense
RG 335 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Army
RG 340 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
RG 341 Records of Headquarters US Air Force (Air Staff)
RG 342 Records of US Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations
RG 373 Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency
RG 428 General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1947-


Appendix II: Sources of Additional Information About Records or Finding Aids Described in Reference Information 107

General email inquiries can be sent to the various NARA custodial units through the Internet. Email: Contact NARA

Center for Electronic Records
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-0470

Center for Legislative Archives
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001
Telephone: 202-357-5350

Product Development and Distribution Staff
National Archives and Records Administration
Room G-7
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001
Telephone: 202-501-7190/1-800-234-8861

Special Media Archives Services Division
(Aerial Team)
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-3520

Special Media Archives Services Division
(Motion Picture, Sound, and Video)

National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-0526

Special Media Archives Services Division
(Still Pictures)

National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-0561

Textual Archives Services Division (Civilian)
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-3480

Textual Archives Services Division
(FOIA and Special Access)

National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-3190

Textual Archives Services Division
(Modern Military)

National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 301-837-3510


End Notes
  1. James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 12.

  2. Patterson, Grand Expectations, p. 348. In 1949 there were 28 broadcasting television stations in the United States. The number of American households with TV sets increased from 172,000 in 1948 to 15.3 million in 1952, and to 32 million by 1955 (roughly 75% of American homes). By 1960, 90% of American households had television.

  3. Albert Hemsing, "The Marshall Plan's European Film Unit, 1948-1955: a Memoir and Filmography, " Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, vol. 14, no. 3 (1994), pp. 269-297, provides the personal perspective of a participant who produced films for the Economic Cooperation Administration and its successor, the Mutual Security Agency. Hemsing's filmography is a useful starting point for researchers interested in NARA-held motion picture films dealing with the Marshall Plan.

  4. Record Group 306 is only one of many sources for records relating to the Marshall Plan. Within the Economic Cooperation Administration and its successor, the Mutual Security Agency, responsibility for publicizing and promoting the Marshall Plan belonged to the Office (later Division) of Information and the Division of Labor Information, two subordinate units of the United States Special Representative in Europe (SRE). Textual records of these two divisions, located in RG 469, are described by Kenneth W. Heger in "Publicizing the Marshall Plan: Informational Records of the US Special Representative in Europe, 1948-50," The Record: News from the National Archives and Records Administration, v. 4, no. 6 (September 1998). Two Marshall Plan still picture series in RG 286 are Marshall Plan photographs, exhibits, and personnel, 1948-67 (Series 286 MP) (ca. 54 ft.), and photographs of Marshall Plan activities in Europe and Africa, ca. 1948-ca. 1955 (Series 286 ME) (10 in.). Full descriptions for these two still picture series are available on the ARC database.

  5. The Office is referred to as the Office of Research in the NARA Guide. For the sake of brevity, the compiler will also use the term Office of Research in this reference information paper.

  6. For a more extended and detailed discussion of USIA Office of Research and Media Reaction textual records at NARA, see Kenneth W. Heger and David A. Langbart, "An Untapped Resource: Research Records of the United States Information Agency," in the Society for the History of American Foreign Relations Newsletter, vol. 29, no. 2 (June 1998).

  7. NARA has accessioned the microfiche as National Archives Microfiche T1280, Grenada Documents Collection, which is available in the microfilm reading room of the National Archives at College Park, MD. Further information on this microfiche collection can be obtained from the Textual Archives Services Division (Modern Military) (see Appendix II).

  8. A useful introduction to the structure and content of lot files can be found in Kenneth W. Heger's "Rich Foreign Relations Ore: The Department of State Office Files," The Record: News from the National Archives and Records Administration, vol. 4, no. 2 (November 1997).

Bibliographic note: This Web version is based on An Introduction to National Archives Records Relating to the Cold War, compiled by Tim Wehrkamp. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1998. 27 pages.
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