Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 11: Government Operations

Chapter 11. Records of the Government Operations Committee and Its Predecessors

Table of Contents

Records of the Government Operations Committee and Its Predecessors, 1814-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committees discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on Government Operations, 1952-68

11.97 The name of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments was changed to the Committee on Government Operations on July 3, 1952. The new name more clearly indicated the functions and duties of the committee.

Records of the Committee on Government Operations, 83d-90th Congress (1952-68)


Record TypeVolumeDates (Congresses)
Petitions and Memorials1 foot1953-68 (84th-90th)
Committee Papers363 feet1953-68 (83d-90th)
Bill Files37 feet1953-68 (83d-90th)
Total volume401 feet 
Committee Records Summary Table

11.98 Most of the petitions and memorials relate to the creation and termination of Federal agencies.

11.99 Included in the committee papers are calendars; committee prints of house reports and documents; transcripts of executive sessions; prints and transcripts of hearings; reference materials; administrative records; and minutes of meetings. There are also reports of negotiated sales and disposals of governmental property (5 ft.) and inventory reports from agencies providing information on their properties and assets (2 ft.). The committee papers also contain a series of chronological and alphabetical "reading" files for the 88th-90th Congresses (4 ft.); records kept by William L. Dawson on the work of the subcommittees; and, for most Congresses, General Accounting Office audit reports, often arranged by the subcommittee to which they were referred.

11.100 The committee papers include 47 feet of executive communications, including reports, from agencies and a small quantity of records on reorganization plans submitted annually by the President and subsequent action, such as hearings held on the creation of a "Department of Urban Affairs and Housing" (87A-F6.2).

11.101 The committee papers for each Congress generally contain a distinct subject file providing information on the agencies and topics with which the committee dealt. There are also separate subject files on topics of interest, such as one on the implementation of the recommendations of the second Hoover Commission between 1955 and 1963 (88 GO.4).

11.102 While most of the investigatory material is contained in the records of the standing and special committees, the committee papers contain 10 feet of such files, including records relating to the Government's public information activities (83A-F7.1), ideological bias in the work of the Library of Congress (83A-F7.1), activities of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (84A-F7.3), and the effectiveness of agencies in publicizing and enforcing conflict of interest statutes (87A-F6.4).

11.103 The Committee utilized subcommittees and special subcommittees to accomplish much of its work.

11.104 Records of the subcommittees (244 ft.) include minutes, reports, correspondence, memoranda, General Accounting Office audit reports, bills and resolutions referred to subcommittee and accompanying papers, printed copies and transcripts of hearings, prints of committee and House reports, transcripts of executive sessions, and subject files on agencies. Not every type of record is available for each subcommittee.

11.105 The Subcommittee on Anti-Racketeering records (11 in.) were created during a 1954 investigation of racketeering in and around the Cleveland area and in the Washington, DC-Baltimore metropolitan area (83A-F7.14).

11.106 Most of the records of the Subcommittee on Executive and Legislative Reorganization (38 ft.) relate to reorganizations, including the establishment of departments, agencies, commissions, and assignments of governmental functions to agencies and departments (84A-D7, 84A-F7.17, 85A-D7, 85A-F7.5, 86A-F7, 86A-D5, 86A-F7.12, 87A-F6.9, 88 GO.13, 89 GO.5, 89 GO.7, 89 GO.17-19, 89 GO.25, 90 GO.11). The largest quantity of records (8 ft.) pertains to an 1960-66 investigation of the Foreign Agricultural Service (88 GO.13, 89 GO.16). Ten inches of subcommittee records from the 89th Congress relating to the creation of the Department of Transportation were retired with records of the Legislative and National Security Subcommittee of the Government Operations Committee for 92d Congress.

11.107 The records of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information (3 ft.) concern a variety of investigations and studies conducted during the mid-1960's, including the use of polygraphs as "lie detectors" by the Federal Government; U.S. economic aid and military assistance programs in Vietnam; U.S. aid operations in Latin America under the Alliance for Progress program, and issues related to access to governmental information (88 GO.15, 89 GO.5, 89 GO.7, 89 GO.25, 90 GO.11, 90 GO.12). Approximately 5 inches of records from this subcommittee for the 89th Congress are in the records of the Legislative and National Security Subcommittee for the 92th Congress. They provide information about trips to Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, to inspect various aid programs in 1966, 1967, and 1968, and trips to Brazil to inspect U.S. aid operations under the Alliance for Progress program.

11.108 The records of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Monetary Affairs (8 ft.) were created during investigations of the administration of overseas personnel, U.S. technical assistance in Latin America, administrative management of the Department of State, and aid to Iran (84A-F7.4); U.S. aid operations in Laos, executive branch practices in withholding information from congressional committees, and the management of the Federal Reserve and the Export-Import Bank (86A-F7.13); U.S. aid operations in Peru and Cambodia (87A-F6.10) and contracting activities of the Agency for Intentional Development and International Cooperation Administration (87A-F6.10).

11.109 The records of the Subcommittee on Government Activities (24 ft.) provide information about the Government-owned nickel plant at Nicaro, Cuba (85A-F7.6, 87A-F6.11); the purchase and use of automated data processing equipment by the Federal Government (89 GO.5); data processing management in the Federal Government (90 GO.14); and the various agencies the committee had oversight responsibility for, including the General Services Administration.

11.110 The records of the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations (20 ft.) pertain to a variety of investigations and studies, including those related to commercial and industrial-type activities in the Federal Government, such as box manufacturing, printing, commissaries, and the postal savings system (83A-F715); the donable surplus property program (83A-F715); the business operations of Billie Sol Estes with the Government (87A F6.12, 88 GO.16, 89 GO.7); export transactions and price support and storage activities; favoritism and conflicts of interest in the Commodity Credit Corporation (86A F7.20); Federal grants-in-aid to State and local governmental programs (87A-F6.12); safety of new drugs (88 GO.16, 89 GO.5, 89 GO.7, 90 GO.12); and the control of marijuana (90 GO.12)

11.111 The records of the Subcommittee on International Operations (29 ft.) provide information on the Mutual Security Acts of 1951 and 1953; American activities in Korea, Japan, and Germany; and the operations of the Foreign Operations Administration, Technical Cooperation Agency, International Cooperative Administration, United States Information Agency, and the Voice of America program: Other subjects covered are foreign aid construction programs, international education programs, and the personnel practices of the State Department (83A-F7.16, 85A-F7.18-22).

11.112 The records of the Subcommittee on Legal and Monetary Affairs (18 ft.) provide information about a variety of subjects the committee studied or investigated. During the 84th and 85th Congresses the subcommittee undertook extensive investigations into several areas, including tax amortization, labor racketeering, charitable frauds, immigration and naturalization, and false and misleading advertising of health products. It also reviewed various activities of the Department of Commerce, the Post Office Department, Treasury Department, and the Federal Trade Commission. (84A-F17-19, 85A-F7.9-12). During the 88th-90th Congresses the subcommittee reviewed crime against banking institutions, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation activities, and the Department of Justice procedures for collecting fines (88 GO.17); the activities of the Federal Reserve Board (89 GO.5, 89 GO.27); and the Federal effort against organized crime (90 GO.11, 90 GO.12).

11.113 The records of the Subcommittee on Military Operations (30 ft.) provide information about a wide variety of topics, including the military property accounting systems; procurement policies and practices; organization and operation of the military supply management program; disposition of military surplus property; defense contracts; civil defense management; organization and management of the military missile programs; management of nuclear submarine development; Government use of satellite communication; use of computers in information retrieval; and unnecessary costs in various programs (83A-F7.17, 87A-F6.13, 86A-F7.21, 88 GO.18, 89 GO.5, 89 GO.28, 89 GO.7, 90 GO.11, 90 GO.17). There are 2 feet of subcommittee records for the 86th-90th Congresses that were retired by the Legislative and National Security Subcommittee of the Government Operations Committee. Included in these records is information about flight pay, chemical warfare, communication satellites, and military and civilian missile programs.

11.114 Information about problems with the Nation's water resources and water pollution control is found in the records of the Subcommittee on National Resources and Power (88 GO.19, 89 GO.5, 89 GO.29, 90 GO.11, 90 GO.12, 4 ft.).

11.115 Information about hearings on 1953 investigations of inefficiencies in the Post Office Department's delivery of the mail and of maritime mobilization capabilities are found in the records of the Subcommittee on Public Accounts (83A-F7.18, 2 in.).

11.116 The records of the Subcommittee on Public Works and Resources (16 ft.) consist primarily of investigations and studies of the Rural Electric Administration, rural electric cooperatives, powerline regulations, mining claims, Federal timber policy, utilities, and various government activities in the Virgin Islands and Alaska (84A-F7.5-11, 85A-F7.13-15).

11.117 The records of the Subcommittee on Research and Technical Programs (20 ft.) provide information on Federal research and development programs; the use of social research in Federal domestic programs; cuts in Federal expenditures for research and development activities abroad; utilization of Federal laboratory resources; management of research equipment procurement; management of Federal medical research on aging; Federal air pollution research and development activities; and the "brain drain" of developing countries, whose scientists, engineers, and physicians moved to the United States. Records relating to investigations of various labs and projects are also included (89 GO.5, 89 GO.20A, 89 GO.21, 89 GO.22, 89 GO.23, 89.GO.24, 90 GO.11, 90 GO.12, 90 GO.20-24).

11.118 Most of the records of the Special Studies Subcommittee (12 ft.) relate to agency accounting systems, lab equipment procurement, recreational boating safety, consumer affairs related activities, and certain activities of the Geological Survey and the Foreign Agriculture Service (90 GO.11, 90 GO.12).

11.119 All of the records of the Subcommittee on Reorganization of the House and Senate Committees on Government Operations (2 in.) pertain to the creation of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (83A-F7.19).

11.120 The records of the Special Subcommittee on Government Information (7 ft.) primarily relate to various issues concerning the creation, maintenance, and use of and access to Government information (85A-F7.23, 86A-F7.9, 87A-F6.7).

11.121 Information pertaining to computers, the activities of commercial credit bureaus, the National Data Bank Concept, and privacy concerns are found in the records of the Special Subcommittee on the Invasion of Privacy (89 GO.5, 89 GO32, 90 GO.11, 90 GO.12, 11 in.).

11.122 The records of the Special Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on Education and Labor (7 in.) provide information on welfare funds and racketeering and Federal-State cooperation in the enforcement of anti-racketeering laws in the Detroit, MI and Kansas City, MO areas (83A-F7.13).

11.123 During the 83d Congress the committee appointed numerous special subcommittees, including those on Alaskan Housing (83A-F7.2, 1 in.); Amending the Corrupt Practices Act (83A-F7.3, 1 in.); Compliance [of agency personnel with laws, regulations, directives] (83A-F7.4, 2 in.); Disposal of Certain Industrial Properties (83A-F7.5, 1 in.); Fontana School of Aeronautics (83A-F7.6, 2 in.); German Consulate-American Housing Program (83A-F7.7, 2 in.); Government Contracts for Small Business (83A-F7.8, 1 in.); Housing Activities of the Government (83A-F7.9, 4 in.); Public Housing (83A-F7.10, 2 ft.); and several Special Subcommittees on Reorganization Plans (83A-F7.11; 83A-F7.12, 1 in.).

11.124 During 86th and 87th Congresses there were several special subcommittees, including those on Donable Property (86A-F7.8, 87A-F6.6, 5 ft.); Assigned Power and Land Problems (86A-F7.7, 87A-F6.5, 3 ft.); Home Loan Bank Board (86A-F7.10, 87A-F6.8, 2 ft.); and Reno Interstate Highway (86A-F7.11, 10 in.).

11.125 The bill files contain records relating to a wide variety of subjects, many of which concern economy and efficiency of governmental operations. The researchers should be aware that records relating to specific legislation may be found in full committee bill files or in bill files generated by the subcommittee that reported the legislation. Occasionally bill files on a bill or resolution were kept at both the full committee and subcommittee levels.

Table of Contents

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.