Interagency Working Group (IWG)

Meeting Minutes: 07/25/00

July 25, 2000 1pm - 4pm; State Department


National Archives and Records Administration
Michael Kurtz (Chair)

Public Members
Thomas Baer
Richard Ben-Veniste
Elizabeth Holtzman

Office of the Secretary of Defense
Stewart Aly for Harold Kwalwasser

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Carol Keeley for John Collingwood

Central Intelligency Agency
Kevin Ruffner for Kenneth J. Levit

National Security Council
William Leary

U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
David Marwell

Department of Justice/Office of Special Investigations
Eli Rosenbaum

Guest: Department of State
Frank Machak

Guest: IWG Historian
Timothy Naftali

Meeting Agenda

  • IWG Business (Unclassified)
  • Announcements
  • IWG Final Report
  • Report Options
    • Directive on relevancy of Operational search terms and subjects
  • State Department records
    • State Department presentation
  • Japan
    • Research strategies and lists
    • Historian's Report: Timothy Naftali
    • IWG Conference Options: David Marwell
    • Cleveland meeting (Public Hearing): August 21

Meeting Minutes

Dr. Kurtz convened the meeting and introduced the new State Department representative to the IWG, David Patterson, who will replace William Slany. He also gave brief announcements concerning the directive on search terms and keywords congressional contacts and Representative Tom Lantos introduction of an amendment to PL105-246 to explicitly include Japanese issues.

Mr. Patterson introduced Frank Machak from the State Department's Records Administration Office.

Mr. Machak gave a presentation on the Department's progress on review and declassification under PL105-246.

Mr. Machak began his briefing by commenting on the past and continued close relationship with NARA that has been very successful in seeing through declassification projects.

Mr. Machak then gave an overview of the records collections at the State Department and the preliminary tasking and actions taken by State Department since the Berger Tasker was issued. Several offices were identified as priorities, as they would most likely have relevant records. These were 1) Office of Legal Advisor, particularly Eli Maurer, former Assistant Legal Advisor for Educational, Cultural, and Public Affairs, 2) Office of the Legal Advisor, Assistant Legal Advisor for European Affairs, and 3) the Bureau of Administration, with Office and Post files included. State had made solid progress to date in identification and declassification of relevant material, even though the State Department was not a major holder of still classified Nazi-related records. The Department will continue to work cooperatively with the IWG Staff.

Mr. Machak concluded that the target date for completion of all pending actions would be March 2001 for State Department.

Mr. Rosenbaum asked about still classified material concerning Raoul Wallenberg.

Mr. Machak was doubtful that any material remained classified at the Department, but was encouraged to verify this by

Mr. Ben-Veniste.

Mr. Rosenbaum suggested that records concerning Raoul Wallenberg becoming an honorary U.S. citizen in the early 1980's would be a good place to look for any material relevant to Wallenberg.

Dr. Naftali commented that collections from abolished offices should be identified and searched diligently, especially records that may have been transferred to another bureau or office.

Mr. Machak indicated that he would get answers back for the IWG about the concerns they had raised.

Dr. Kurtz then turned the meeting to publication issues related to the final report of the IWG. The previously appointed exploration group had met concerning legal issues related to publication of a final report by private enterprise, and reported as follows: First, that the IWG should encourage any interested parties to get involved in the records released under PL105-246. Second, there were two sticking points concerning private publication of a report: 1) the IWG cannot have any exclusive or early access agreement with any outside party. 2) The IWG cannot receive money. Given the general and widespread interest in this material and the consequent competition, it would be up to individual interested parties to make 'business risk decisions' concerning an effort to profit from the work of the IWG.

Mr. Ben-Veniste asked whether the IWG could receive private donations.

Dr. Kurtz answered that the only avenues for money to the IWG would be a Congressional appropriation or private donations made to the National Archives Gift Fund specifically for the work of the IWG.

Mr. Rosenbaum thanked Mr. Baer for his efforts to help make the work of the IWG known.

Mr. Baer commented that it was uppermost in his mind that the IWG report be given wide circulation, because this was an opportunity to do something important and let the American public know.

Dr. Naftali had some ideas for reporting the progress and importance of the work of the IWG. He thought that it would be of great benefit explore the use of multimedia publication, i.e. through CD-ROM and the IWG website, to make the material more readily available to all. Publicity in all forms, from news stories, to finding aides, to educational packets, could help facilitate wide circulation of the information.

Dr. Naftali said that this outreach effort would call for continuing hard work by the historians, the IWG Staff, and the agency reviewers.

Dr. Naftali mentioned the complexity of the CIA records, and there was some discussion among the IWG Members as to exact quantity of CIA and OSS material remaining classified.

Ms Holtzman commented that all OSS records should be considered automatically relevant under PL105-246.

Dr. Kurtz asked Mr. Ruffner to make sure CIA had a simple chart to give to the IWG Members at the next meeting.

Dr. Kurtz then turned the meeting to new issues that had arisen at the Army/IRR. The main concern had been with an apparent change in review and redaction criteria.

Dr. Kurtz informed the IWG that he had set up a meeting with Mr. Kwalwasser, General Noonan, and Assistant Secretary P.T. Henry to reverse this apparent change to more restrictive review and get Army/IRR back on track.

Mr. Leary commented that one meeting does not necessarily change things and suggested the IWG Staff and Review Team follow-up with Army/IRR.

Dr. Kurtz assured him they would. The IWG then turned to Japan and the Pacific theatre issues. Robert Hanyok, an historian/archivist from NSA gave a brief review of WWII intercepts in the Pacific theatre of operations.

Dr. Kurtz reminded the members about the community event with Senator Mike DeWine in Cleveland on August 21. He indicated that further details would be forthcoming from the IWG Staff. The next IWG meeting was scheduled for September 27, 2000. Session adjourned.

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