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Situation Room duty officers produced frequent memoranda summarizing the latest international developments for National Security Adviser Kissinger or Scowcroft.  The memoranda were based on cable traffic, intelligence reports, and news media stories.

4.2 linear feet (ca. 8,400 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-118)

Open, but some materials continue to be national security classified and restricted.  Access is governed by the donor’s deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, and National Archives and Records Administration regulations (36 CFR 1256).

Gerald R. Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 McNitt, January 2011


The White House Situation Room: Noon and Evening Notes is one of many sub-collections that comprise the National Security Adviser Files. The provenance of the Ford National Security Adviser Files and an explanation of the designations “Presidential” and “Institutional” are provided in Appendix A.

The National Security Council created the White House Situation Room in May 1961 to monitor the world situation and provide alerts and reports.  Although referred to as a “Situation Room,” it was actually a suite of rooms including a conference room for use in times of crisis.  Located in another of the rooms was the watch center, where teams of duty officers and intelligence analysts monitored information about worldwide events 24 hours per day, seven days a week.  The watch center also had a communications assistant on duty to provide support for secure international communications for the President and the National Security Adviser.

The Situation Room watch center had agreements with the primary foreign affairs/national security agencies (especially State, Defense, and CIA) to tie into their communications systems and get copies of important cables and reports.  In addition, the duty officers monitored newspapers, wire services, and broadcast media for early evidence of breaking stories and details that were not available through government channels.  After identifying notes of interest to the NSC and the President, the duty officers decided on a course of action.  The start of a serious crisis in some part of the world might trigger an alert (if after normal working hours) involving a telephone call to an NSC staff member or the National Security Adviser.  During normal working hours this might be handled by a spot report to the appropriate official.

For international events that were significant, but did not meet the criteria for an alert or spot report, the duty officers and analysts created brief descriptions and compiled them into periodic memoranda for the National Security Adviser.  The watch center staff was very skilled in reducing large volumes of data down to concise, synthesized reports.

Over the years these reports from the Situation Room evolved in nature and received different names.  During the Ford administration there were often (but not always) two memoranda per day – “Noon Notes” and “Evening Notes.”  During the time that Henry Kissinger was National Security Adviser, occasional memoranda titled “Information Items” also appear.  After Brent Scowcroft replaced him, the “Information Items” memoranda disappear, but ones labeled “Distribution Checklist” frequently appear.  All of these memoranda contain items culled from cables, intelligence and military reports, and news stories.

This collection does not cover the first eight months of the administration.  The Ford Library staff has been unable to determine why.

Related Materials (January 2011)
The Ford Library holds several other collections received from the Situation Room:


Noon and Evening Notes, May 1975-January 1977. (Boxes 1-11, 4.2 linear feet)
Memoranda produced by the White House Situation Room staff and addressed to the National Security Adviser that briefly report international incidents, foreign political developments, Soviet military matters, and other foreign affairs developments.  The Situation Room received some of the information from such agencies as State, Defense, CIA, and National Security Agency, but the memoranda also include summaries of reports and opinion pieces from the Washington newspapers.  Most memoranda run from two to six pages in length, although individual news items are seldom more than a single paragraph.

Arranged chronologically.


Box 1 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 2 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 3 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 4 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 5 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 6 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 7 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 8 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 9 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 10 - Noon and Evening Notes
Box 11 - Noon and Evening Notes