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RICHARD B. CHENEY
Deputy Assistant to the President; Assistant to the President for White House Operations:
Files , 1974-77

Collection Finding Aid

View digital copies of the documents


SUMMARY DESCRIPTION

Files concerning numerous domestic and foreign policy issues, investigations of the intelligence community, Supreme Court and other personnel appointments, 1974 and 1977 transitions, and the 1976 presidential election, especially the campaign for the Republican nomination.

QUANTITY
8.4 linear feet (ca. 16,800 pages)

DONOR
Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77‑102, 77‑107, 77‑117, and 78‑61)

ACCESS
Open.  Some items may be temporarily restricted under terms of the donor's deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, or under National Archives and Records Administration general restrictions (36 CFR 1256).

COPYRIGHT
Gerald R. Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.  The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them.  Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by William H. McNitt, August 1985
[s:\bin\findaid\cheney, richard - files.doc]


BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Richard Bruce Cheney

January 30, 1941 - Born, Lincoln, Nebraska

1965 - B.A., University of Wyoming

1966 - M.A., University of Wyoming

1966 - Staff aide to Governor Warren Knowles (R-Wisconsin)

1966‑68 - Graduate student, University of Wisconsin

1969 - Congressional Fellow, American Political Science Association - served on the staff of U.S. Representative William A. Steiger (R-Wisconsin)

1969‑1970 - Special Assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, Director, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity

1970‑71 - Deputy to Counsellor to the President Donald Rumsfeld, The White House

1971‑73 - Assistant Director for Operations, Cost of Living Council

1973‑74 - Partner, Bradley, Woods & Co. investment advisory firm

Sept. 1974-Nov. 1975 - Deputy Assistant to the President for White House Operations

Nov. 1975-Jan. 1977 - Assistant to the President for White House Operations ("Chief of Staff")

1977‑78 - Partner, Bradley, Woods & Co.; public policy consultant, Washington, DC and Casper, WY

1979-     - U.S. Representative from Wyoming

1981-     - Chairman, House Republican Policy Committee

 


INTRODUCTION

During the Ford administration, Richard Cheney held the positions of Deputy Assistant and Assistant to the President for White House Operations, titles commonly referred to by the news media and others as "Deputy Chief of Staff" and "Chief of Staff."  He initially served as deputy to Donald Rumsfeld and succeeded him in November 1975 when Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense.  This collection contains material concerning Cheney's work in both positions.

Discussed below under separate headings are the organization and functions of the White House Operations Office, the scope and content of the Cheney files, and related materials in the Ford Library.

Organization and Functions of the White House Operations Office
The Assistant to the President for White House Operations worked with the President and senior staff to insure the smooth operation of the White House, chaired daily senior staff meetings, managed the flow of information to and from the President, coordinated the personnel appointments process, and handled liaison with political groups.  He also supervised the work of the following staff offices:

  • Staff Secretary
  • Cabinet Secretary
  • Scheduling and Advance
  • Presidential Personnel
  • White House Photographers
  • President's Office (personal staff of the President)

Originally the staff of the White House Operations Office consisted only of the Assistant to the President, the Deputy Assistant, Special Consultant Robert Goldwin, and their secretaries.  Foster Chanock, H. James Field, and James Reichley joined the staff between October 1975 and May 1976, with most of their duties relating to the presidential election campaign. After Cheney became the Assistant to the President in November 1975, the deputy position remained vacant until the appointment of James Cavanaugh in July 1976.

Scope and Content of the Cheney Files
The Cheney files consist partly of materials created by or addressed to Cheney and partly of materials addressed to the President by other White House staff members, campaign committee officials, friends of the President, government officials, and Republican leaders.  The President apparently transmitted most of these documents to Cheney for his information or handling.

The two topics most heavily documented in the Cheney files are the 1976 presidential campaign and the 1975 investigations of the intelligence community.

The bulk of the campaign materials (over two linear feet) concern President Ford's efforts to obtain the Republican nomination, May 1975-August 1976.  Included are such items as a virtually complete set of progress reports from President Ford Committee chairmen Howard "Bo" Callaway and Rogers Morton, July 1975-July 1976; letters from Republican leaders giving campaign advice; handwritten messages from the President to Cheney; and the President's handwritten notes concerning telephone calls to Republican convention delegates, June-August 1976.

Materials on the intelligence investigations (over one linear foot) concern such topics as William Colby's report to the President in December 1974 on alleged abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency, the establishment and operation of the Rockefeller Commission, congressional investigations, and proposed presidential actions to reform the intelligence community.

Researchers interested in the intelligence investigations or other topics relating to national defense and foreign affairs questions should be aware that archivists have withdrawn numerous classified documents during processing.  These are not currently available for research, but researchers may initiate requests for agency review for possible declassification.

The amount of material on most topics other than the campaign or the intelligence investigations is fairly small.  The collection concerns a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues, personnel appointments (including the nomination of John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court), and the 1974 and 1977 transitions.  What the files lack in quantity, they often make up for in quality.  Many folders contain the originals of significant documents addressed to the President and/or notes exchanged between Cheney and the President.

One area that is not well documented in this collection is the large number of meetings that Cheney attended.  Although the senior staff met on a daily basis, only a few scattered notes by Cheney on the discussions appear in the files.  Similarly, there are few notes from Cheney's meetings with the President and other individuals.

Related Materials (August 1985)
The files of Alexander Haig relate to his work as Chief of Staff during August and September 1974.  The Library has no collection of Donald Rumsfeld files covering his work in this position.  The files of Cheney's assistants James Field, Robert Goldwin, and James Reichley are available for research.

Related materials on the intelligence investigations can be found in White House Central Files category ND 6 and in several collections in the Congressional Relations Office, especially the files of Vernon Loen and Charles Leppert.

Collections containing material on the 1976 presidential campaign are described on the Ford Library handout "The 1976 Presidential Election: A Guide to Manuscript Collections Available for Research."


Series Descriptions

Boxes 1-13            General Subject File, 1974-77.  (5.2 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, handwritten notes from the President to Cheney, briefing papers, option papers, decision memoranda, recommended telephone call forms, reports, testimony, hearing transcripts, press releases, schedules, and clippings.  These materials concern a wide variety of domestic and foreign policy issues and personnel appointments.  Over one foot of material relates to the 1975 investigations of the intelligence community.  Other topics include: federal budgets, common situs picketing legislation, organization and operation of the Domestic Council, economic and energy issues, Panama Canal treaty negotiations, role of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in the administration, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, nomination of John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court, 1974 and 1977 transitions, and the final weeks of the war in Vietnam. Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Boxes 14-16           President Ford Committee Weekly Reports, July 1975-July 1976.  (1.4 linear feet)
Originals (and occasional copies) of detailed reports on the campaign submitted to the President by PFC Chairmen Howard "Bo" Callaway and Rogers Morton.  The reports cover such topics as organization and staffing of the PFC, state campaign organizations, legal matters, delegate selection, fundraising, press contacts, advocate schedules, campaign advertising, and campaign leaflets.  Reports #3 and #4, covering late July and early August 1975, were missing when the collection was received, but have been added from other sources.  The PFC apparently discontinued these reports after the middle of July 1976. Arranged chronologically.

Boxes 16‑19               Campaign Subject File, 1975‑76.  (1.4 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, handwritten notes from the President to Cheney, briefing papers, recommended telephone call forms, and clippings.  Although some material relates to the fall campaign against Jimmy Carter, the bulk of the series concerns the campaign for the Republican nomination.  Topics include: campaign advice from Republican leaders, organization and operation of the President Ford Committee and its advertising division, Campaign '76 Media Communications, Inc.; meetings with and telephone calls  to convention delegates (including the President's handwritten notes re the telephone calls); and the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Arranged alphabetically by topic.

Boxes 19‑21               Correspondence File, 1974‑76.  (0.9 linear feet) Correspondence, mostly between Cheney and businessmen, local officials, and the general public.  The series consists mostly of carbon copies of outgoing letters and attached photocopies of incoming letters.  The originals of many of the incoming letters appear in the White House Central Files.  Although occasional items from the early part of the administration are included, the bulk of the series dates from Cheney's service as Assistant to the President after November 1975.  The correspondence concerns legislation, invitations, congratulations, personnel matters, and the 1976 presidential campaign.  Some specific topics on which a significant amount of material appears are: bilingual education program budget cut, common situs picketing legislation, National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Act, maximum allowable cost program, antitrust legislation, and the Energy Conservation and Oil Policy Act. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent.


Container List

The Library has digitized the bulk of this collection. Click on folder titles to view contents.

Box 1               General Subject File

Box 2            General Subject File

Box 3            General Subject File

Box 4            General Subject File

  Box 5            General Subject File

  Box 6            General Subject File

  Box 7            General Subject File

Box 8            General Subject File

Box 9            General Subject File

  Box 10          General Subject File

Box 11          General Subject File

Box 12          General Subject File

Box 13          General Subject File

  Box 14          President Ford Committee Weekly Reports to the President

Box 15          President Ford Committee Weekly Reports to the President

Box 16          President Ford Committee Weekly Reports to the President

Campaign Subject File

Box 17          Campaign Subject File

 Box 18          Campaign Subject File

Box 19          Campaign Subject File

Correspondence File

  • A‑B

Box 20          Correspondence File

  • C‑L

Box 21          Correspondence File

  • M‑Z