Assistant Counsel to the President
Office of Counsel to the President


Summary Description | Biographical Information | Introduction | Series Descriptions | Container List


Extensive material on the Vietnam War clemency program for Vietnam-era draft evaders and military absence offenders and French's role as White House liaison with the Presidential Clemency Board. Also more routine information concerning assistance given to the President, First Family, and White House staff on legal matters, foreign and domestic issues, conflicts of interest, presidential powers, personal matters, and standards of conduct.

2.8 linear feet (ca. 5,600 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-107)

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).

Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Geir Gundersen, January 1991
[s:\bin\findaid\french, jay - files.doc]


Jay T. French

November 7, 1942 - Born, Roslyn, New York

Summers of 1963 and 1964 - Staff of Congressman Rogers C.B. Morton

1965 - Yale University (B.A.)

1965-68 - U.S. Marine Corps

1969 - Aide to Rogers C.B. Morton, Chairman, Republican National Committee

1969 - Director of Personnel, Republican National Committee

1971 - George Washington University Law School (J.D. with honors)

1971-72 - Associate, law firm of Blades & Rosenfeld, Baltimore, MD

1972-73 - Commercial real estate salesman, Panorama Company, Washington, DC

1973-74 - Associate, law firm of Becker, Channel, Feldman, & Becker, Washington, DC

1974-75 - Assistant Counsel to the President (on detail from the Justice Department for part of his service)

1975 - Justice Department


The Jay T. French Files concern his work in the Counsel's Office, primarily his role as White House liaison with the Presidential Clemency Board. Described below under separate headings are French's role in the White House, the scope and content of his files, and related materials in other Ford Library collections.

French's Role in the White House
French served as Staff Assistant from September 6, 1974 to June 21, 1975. He remained in the Counsel's Office as a Justice Department detailee until December 2, 1975, with the title of Assistant Counsel to the President, and on a consultant basis through January 3, 1976.

Counsel Office organization and operations memoranda and assignment sheets, from 1974 and 1975, document French's role as White House liaison for the Presidential Clemency Board. His other responsibilities included preparing legal correspondence; conducting general legal research for Counsel to the President Philip Buchen, on a variety of topics; reporting to Counsel William Casselman on U.S. Secret Service matters; reviewing personnel security information under the auspices of Associate Counsel Kenneth Lazarus; and assisting Associate Counsel James Wilderotter on CIA matters.

Scope and Content of the French Files
The collection's strongest materials concern French's role as White House liaison with the Presidential Clemency Board. The documents address administrative matters such as Clemency Board rules and regulations and the Board's majority and minority reports. Other materials concern the PCB's first three sets of recommendations for clemency, and scattered applicant case studies.

While the French Files contain useful information on the PCB, they are not a complete record of the Board's work. The collection contains only those documents that Jay French used or created in fulfilling his responsibilities as White House liaison with the PCB.

French's collection contains little useful information. Most non-PCB folders are comprised of a limited number of routine documents, while others were received empty. These materials appear to have been removed by the Counsel staff who assumed French's responsibilities upon his departure from the White House. For example, the folders concerning Secret Service protection for foreign dignitaries and installations appear to have been transferred to the files of Associate Counsel Barbara Kilberg. French's files do contain some worthwhile, although minimal, information on trade policy, presidential appointments, presidential commissions, and regulatory reform.

Related Materials (January 1991)
Related materials on the Presidential Clemency Board and the clemency program are located in several other Library collections. Two good sources are the papers of Charles Goodell, Chairman, Presidential Clemency Board, and White House Central Files categories FG 6-28 (Presidential Clemency Board) and JL 1 and its subdivisions (Amnesties - Clemencies - Pardons). White House staff files containing significant documentation on the program include those of Counsel to the President Philip Buchen, Associate Counsel Barbara Kilberg, Counsellor John Marsh, Domestic Council Associate Director Geoffrey Shepard, and Assistant to the President for Human Resources Theodore Marrs.

The official records of the PCB are located at the National Archives in Washington, DC (see pages 205-208 of the Presidential Clemency Board Report to the President for a description of these materials).


General Subject File, 1974-75.  (Boxes 1-4, 1.4 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, decision papers, press releases, reports, clippings, and notes. Mostly routine materials concerning a wide array of topics such as: Civil Aeronautics Board, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, executive protection, federal aid, Susan Ford, Indian affairs, pardons, presidential appointments, presidential commissions, presidential impeachment, presidential memberships, trade policy, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Presidential Clemency Board Subject File, 1974-75. (Boxes 4-7, 1.4 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, lists, notes, press releases, executive orders, proclamations, reports, case summaries, bills, publications, and clippings. The materials reflect French's role as White House liaison with the Presidential Clemency Board and concern a wide range of administrative and policy matters such as: recommendations for clemency; GAO audit of the PCB; Clemency Board rules and regulations; majority and minority reports; clemency program extension, reorganization, and termination; role of the Selective Service; earned return program statistics; and budgetary limitations and funding requirements.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - General Subject File

Box 2 - General Subject File

Box 3 - General Subject File

Box 4 - General Subject File

Box 4 (Continued) - Presidential Clemency Board Subject File

Box 5 - Presidential Clemency Board Subject File

Box 6 - Presidential Clemency Board Subject File

Box 7 - Presidential Clemency Board Subject File