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


Chronologically-arranged photocopies of selected Central Intelligence Agency Staff Notes, Weekly Reviews, and issues of the National Intelligence Daily and National Intelligence Bulletin; Department of State INR morning summaries, memos and memoranda of conversations; and Defense Intelligence Agency documents regarding intelligence issues and findings. Also included are National Security Council documents as well as an almost complete collection of National Security Decision Memoranda from 1969 to 1976. The documents cover an extensive range of foreign policy and national security topics and provide analyses of numerous foreign political situations. The documents were acquired by Dale Van Atta while covering those issues during his career as a journalist.

6.3 linear feet (ca. 8,300 pages)

Dale Van Atta (accession numbers 2001-NLF-021, 2002-NLF-054)

Open. Some items are 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).

Dale Van Atta donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Donna Lehman, December 2004; Revised by Mark Fischer, June - July 2012
[s:\bin\Finding Aids & Guides\Van Atta, Dale - Papers.doc]


Dale Van Atta

c. 1952 - Born (location unknown), and currently resides in Ashburn, VA

1975 - B.A. in Journalism from Brigham Young University, where he was Editor-in-Chief and columnist of the Daily Universe

1979-1986 - Co-columnist at Washington Merry-Go-Round, a nationally syndicated column with Jack Anderson appearing in the Washington Post and more than 900 other newspapers, and also included television commentary and reports, radio and magazine work primarily for Parade magazine

1984-2006 - Contributing Editor at Reader’s Digest, where he wrote assigned articles through their Washington, D.C. office

1985 - President, WMGR, Inc. Freelance writer, professional speaker, television documentary contributor, and talk show guest

2005 - President/Author, Paragon Biographies, a company that privately contracts with individuals interested in leaving a written legacy about themselves or a loved one

2008 - Author, With Honor – Melvin Laird in War, Peace, and Politics


Dale Van Atta is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide, including Reader’s Digest where he was a contributing editor, as well as The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Harper’s, the Washingtonian, and many others. He is co-author, with Jack Anderson, of The New York Times best-selling biography Stormin’ Norman: An American Hero (1991), and the author of two other books, Trust Betrayed: Inside the AARP (1998) and With Honor – Melvin Laird in War, Peace, and Politics (2008). Van Atta has also appeared as a guest on several radio and television talk shows and is an accomplished national and international lecturer.

Scope and Content
This collection contains documents acquired by journalists Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta during their tenure as columnists for the Washington Post. It is comprised of various documents from intelligence agencies within the Federal government and represented one of the largest leaks of classified material at that time. In October 2000, as Van Atta was working on his biography of former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, he decided to donate the materials to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he had conducted research for his book.

The photocopied documents are arranged chronologically with an almost complete set of National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDMs), 1969-1975, in the first three boxes, the majority of them from the Nixon Administration. They include topics such as Vietnam and Southeast Asia policy, SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), Panama Canal Treaty negotiations, and various dealings with the People’s Republic of China. NSDMs from the Ford Administration include topics such as military assistance for Israel, Peaceful Nuclear Explosion negotiations in Moscow, and SALT and MBFR (Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions) talks with the Soviet Union. NSDMs declassified in full or in part for both the Nixon and Ford Administrations are posted on their respective websites ( and

The remaining fourteen boxes contain a chronological series of intelligence documents mostly from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Department of State (DOS). CIA documents include the National Intelligence Daily, the United States Intelligence Board – National Intelligence Bulletin, Staff Notes, the Weekly Review, the Weekly Surveyor, and the Morning Summary. DIA documents include several Intelligence Appraisals. DOS documents include Current Foreign Relations, various telegrams, and documents issued by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

The subject content of these documents is quite diverse. The more prominent topics include unrest in the Middle East involving Egypt and Israel, but also Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. There are several documents that deal with civil unrest in southern Africa, particularly in Angola, which was under Portuguese colonial rule until late 1975. This includes material that pertains to warring factions such as the communist-backed (including Cuban troops) Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), led by Jonas Savimbi. There is also considerable material on unrest between Morocco, Mauritania, and Spain over the Spanish Sahara during the November 1975 Green March. In addition, several of the CIA Staff Notes exclusively deal with Chinese Affairs and the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Many of the various documents also involve political unrest in Portugal and the rise of the Portuguese Communist Party, Indonesia’s invasion of Portuguese Timor, and civil unrest between Greece and Turkey over the Cyprus issue and U.S. troops stationed on bases in Turkey.

Related Materials(June 2012)
Due to the volume and wide-ranging nature of the foreign affairs documents from the various intelligence agencies that comprise the Dale Van Atta Papers, there are several subcollections within the National Security Adviser’s Files that are compatible to the Van Atta collection. They include:


National Security Council Planning Staff Journals, 1975-76. (Box 1, less than 0.1 linear feet)
These two folders were placed at the beginning of the collection most likely due to their broad date ranges. Both folders contain limited material and the two journals that were included in these folders are daily compilations of various NSC activities.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series

Intelligence Chronological File, 1968-78. (Boxes 1-16, 6.3 linear feet)
The materials are arranged in one continuous chronological sequence of folders, with the folders reflecting the dates of the documents; i.e. “Intelligence Documents, January 1-March 31, 1969.” Many dates have multiple folders as indicated by (1)-(2), (1)-(3), etc. in the Container List that follows. Boxes 1-3 contain an almost complete numerical set of National Security Decision Memoranda from 1969-1975, while the remaining boxes contain the various types of intelligence documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Department of State as noted in the Summary Description on page 1.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - National Security Council Planning Staff Journals

Box 1 (Continued) - Intelligence Chron File

Box 2 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 3 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 4 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 5 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 6 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 7 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 8 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 9 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 10 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 11 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 12 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 13 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 14 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 15 - Intelligence Chron File

Box 16 - Intelligence Chron File