by The Archive at NSA Archive
The National Security Archive, working with our partners at ProQuest, is publishing a new compilation of documents highlighting the most important national security issues faced by the Carter administration. The collection is 2,557 documents – totaling 8,904 pages – and includes all currently declassified daily memoranda from the secretary of state (or acting secretary) and the national security advisor that were used to brief the president.
One of the most interesting things about this latest Digital National Security Archive collection, U.S. Foreign Policy in the Carter Years, 1977-1981: Highest-Level Memos to the President, is that the memos from Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski often include handwritten responses from President Carter. As such, they open a window into the unfiltered opinions of the president and his most senior aides about the issues they considered to be of special importance.
The collection also includes all available summaries and minutes of the Policy Review Committee and the Special Coordination Committee, two of the most important policy-formulating bodies of Carter’s presidency, shedding light on the views of other cabinet officers and agency heads who helped shape U.S. foreign policy. Access to these materials makes it possible to trace the evolution of the administration’s approaches to world affairs, to comprehend the rationales behind different policy options, to learn which agencies and officials supported which choices, and to understand how final decisions were reached.
A further benefit of the collection for researchers is that, unlike document collections focusing on a single country or topic, this compilation, if read chronologically, allows researchers to experience the unpredictable daily flow of events and crises exactly as Carter and his top advisers did. Alternatively, when isolated by topic, the documents let readers explore specific events as they unfolded and see how they fit within the context of the many other global issues facing the president.
The subjects in this collection cover a broad spectrum of world events during the Carter administration, including:…Continue Reading