National Security Adviser. Presidential Subject File, 1974-1977

Collection Finding Aid


A collection of briefing papers, memoranda, correspondence, reports, and speeches concerning policy decisions, meetings, and other matters in which President Ford actively participated.  The materials cover a wide array of foreign policy and national security issues including SALT and other arms control topics, foreign aid, White House-Congressional relations, military exercises, energy, investigations of the intelligence community, and U.S.-Soviet trade.

9.6 linear feet (ca. 19,200 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Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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.

Revised by Helmi Raaska, October 2009
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The Presidential Subject File 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.

This collection contains the originals of many documents addressed to President Ford and to National Security Advisers Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft.  President Ford initialed and annotated many of the documents, as did both of his advisers.  These items relate to presidential policy decisions; meetings between the President and members of Congress, agency and departmental officials, and representatives from various organizations; and many foreign policy and national security issues in which the President was heavily involved.

Scope and Content
The Presidential Subject File contains a mix of routine and substantive materials on a wide range of foreign policy and national security issues.  International negotiations, White House-Congressional relations, foreign aid, energy, trade, and military training exercises are major topics of consideration.

A significant amount of the material relating to international negotiations pertains to arms control issues, especially the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II).  These files include material on the SALT I treaty, Vladivostok agreements, negotiating strategy and instructions to the U.S. delegation, draft treaty language, compliance issues, State Department telegrams to and from the U.S. delegation regarding their discussions with Soviet counterparts, and congressional and general public reaction to the arms control process. 

Other arms control topics represented in the files include the Threshold Test Ban Treaty (TTBT), Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes Treaty (PNE), Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR), and nuclear nonproliferation. 

In addition to arms control, the files also contain materials relating to Law of the Sea, 200-mile fisheries limits, and treaties and trade agreements with the European Community.

Substantive materials document White House-Congressional relations on a number of issues including the defense budget, SALT II negotiations, assistance to Southeast Asia, Indochina refugees, Turkish arms embargo, and the intelligence investigations conducted by the House and Senate Select Committees.  Trade is also a major topic, especially liaison with Congress regarding the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and trade with the Soviet Union.

The materials on foreign aid focus primarily on military assistance and specific arms requests from other countries under the Military Assistance Service Fund (MASF) and requests for humanitarian and food aid.  The files of Presidential Determinations provide the administration’s justification for the President’s exercise of his authority to waive provisions of the Trade Act of 1974 to approve these requests when he believed it was in the national interest to do so.

Both domestic and international energy issues are addressed in the collection.  Representatives from the U.S., Great Britain, West Germany, France, and Japan met at Camp David in September 1974 to discuss the global impact of high energy prices and the potential threat of supply cutbacks or interruption.  The meeting materials provide a good overall look at the international scope of the energy crisis of the 1970s.  General domestic energy themes are U.S. relations with OPEC countries, energy supply and demand, energy conservation, domestic energy resources, and regulation of commercial nuclear energy.

Significant military training exercises that the U.S. planned, initiated, or participated in from June 1974 through January 1977 are documented in the files.  Information provided about the exercises includes code name, date, place, participants, purpose, and potential political implications of the activity.

An example of an issue which was not one of immediate international concern but one in which the President took a personal interest is the case of a missing U.S. Navy flight crew whose plane was downed over the Baltic Sea in 1950.  President Ford asked for a review of the investigation to make certain that every effort had been exhausted to determine whether any crew members had survived the crash and were being held captive.

Related Materials (October 2009)
Related materials are located in a number of other National Security Adviser collections and the U.S. National Security Council Institutional Files.  Researchers can identify the file locations of materials relevant to their interests from PRESNET search reports which are provided upon request.  New information is entered into the PRESNET database as collections become available for research.  Researchers are encouraged to consult the Ford Library website for announcements of collection openings and to view online collections and documents.

Series Descriptions

Boxes 1-24         Presidential Subject File, (1973) 1974-77.  (9.6 linear feet)
Memoranda, briefing papers, correspondence, reports, and foreign policy speeches relating to national security and foreign policy issues.  Significant topics include international arms control negotiations, energy, trade policy, foreign aid, and investigations of the intelligence community.
Arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically thereunder.

Container List

Box 1               Subject File
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) - Meeting with the President, April 25, 1975
Armed Forces Staff College - Invitation to the President
Bicentennial Planning
Briefings on International Affairs for Presidential Candidates
Cabinet Meetings
Camp David Meeting of Foreign and Finance Ministers on Energy, Sept. 28-29, 1974 (1)-(2)
Camp David Meeting of Foreign and Finance Ministers on Energy, Sept. 28-29, 1974 - State Department Briefing Book (1)-(3)
Captive Nations Week
Chemical and Biological Weapons (1)-(3)
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1)-(2)
Committee for Civil Applications of Classified Overhead Photography of the United States
Communications (1)-(2)

Box 2               Subject File
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Congressional (1)-(11) [Aug. 1974-March 1975]

Box 3               Subject File
Congressional (12)-(26) [April 1975-Dec. 1976]
Contacts with Diplomatic and Official Representatives of Soviet and East European Governments

Box 4               Subject File
Deep Underground Command Center
Demonstrations and Handling of Petitions
Energy (1)-(13) [Aug. 1973 and Aug. 1974-Aug. 10, 1976]

Box 5               Subject File
Energy (14)-(18) [Aug. 11, 1976-Dec. 1976]
European Community (1)-(2)
European Community - Declaration of Principles, 1973 (1)-(2)
Executive Agreements
Export-Import Bank
Fisheries Legislation (200-Mile Limit) (1)-(3)

Box 6               Subject File
Food/Food Aid/World Food Conference (1)-(4)
Foreign Assistance - Military Assistance Service Fund (MASF) (1)-(5) [Aug. 1974-March 1975]

Box 7               Subject File
Foreign Assistance - Military Assistance Service Fund (MASF) (6)-(14) [April 1975-Dec. 1976]

Box 8               Subject File
Foreign Military Sales (1)-(3)
Gifts to U.S. Government Officials
Grain Sales
Jackson-Vanik Amendment
Jet Engines - JT-10D License (1)-(2)

Box 9               Subject File
Jet Engines - JT-10D License (3)-(4)
Kissinger Speech, June 24, 1975 - Atlanta, GA
Kissinger Speech, Aug. 31, 1976 - World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
Kissinger Testimony, Sept. 16, 1974 - Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Law of the Sea (1)-(6)

Box 10             Subject File
MIA/Amnesty/National League of Families (1)-(3)
Military Exercises (1)-(9) [Aug. 1974-July 1975]

Box 11             Subject File
Military Exercises (10)-(21) [Aug. 1975-June 1976]

Box 12             Subject File
Military Exercises (22)-(27) [July 1976-Jan. 1977]
Missiles (1)-(2)
Missing U.S. Flyers Downed Over the Baltic Sea in 1950 (1)-(5)

Box 13             Subject File
Murphy Commission (1)-(3)
Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) (1)-(6)
Narcotics (1)-(2)
National Prayer Breakfast, Jan. 30, 1975

Box 14             Subject File
Naval Force Requirements Study (1)-(3)
Notes from the President to Scowcroft (1)-(3)
Nuclear Non-Proliferation (1)-(3)
Overseas Private Investment Corporation

Box 15             Subject File
Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNE) Treaty (1)-(3)
Presidential Commitments
Presidential Determinations - FY 1975 (1)-(7)

Box 16             Subject File
Presidential Determinations - FY 1976 (1)-(3)
Presidential Determinations - Transition Quarter (1)-(2)
Presidential Determinations - FY 1977 (1)-(2)
Presidential Meeting with Foreign Journalists, May 23, 1975
Presidential Meeting with Jewish Leaders, Dec. 20, 1974
Presidential Review - Defense Small Agencies (FY 1977 Budget)
Presidential Speech on Foreign Policy, April 10, 1975 (1)-(4)

Box 17             Subject File
Presidential Weekend Reading
Protection of Foreign Officials and Installations (1)-(5)
Public Opinion Polls
Radio Free Europe (1)-(3)
Refugees - Indochina (1)-(2)

Box 18             Subject File
Refugees - Indochina (3)-(5)
Rules of Engagement
SALT (1)-(9) [Aug.-Oct. 1974]

Box 19             Subject File
SALT (10)-(21) [Nov. 1974-Aug. 1975]

Box 20             Subject File
SALT (22)-(33) {Sept. 1975-Jan. 1976]

Box 21             Subject File
SALT (34)-(42) [Feb. 1976-Jan. 1977]
SALT - State Department Telegrams - EXDIS from SECSTATE
SALT - State Department Telegrams - EXDIS to SECSTATE (1)-(3) [Aug. 1974-Feb. 1975]

Box 22             Subject File
SALT - State Department Telegrams - EXDIS to SECSTATE (4)-(12) [Mar. 1975-July 1976]
SALT - State Department Telegrams - NODIS from SECSTATE
SALT - State Department Telegrams - NODIS to SECSTATE
Security (“Leaks”)
Select Committees on Intelligence (1)-(2)

Box 23             Subject File
Select Committees on Intelligence (3)-(8)
State of the Union, 1975 (1)-(2)
State of the Union, 1977 (1)-(2)
Strategic Air Defense Costs
Trade (1)-(2) [Aug. 1974-May 1975]

Box 24             Subject File
Trade (3)-(6) [June 1975-Nov. 1976]
Trade Negotiations, Special Representative for
U.S. Tanker Industry Problems
U.S./United Kingdom Intelligence Cooperation (1)-(2)
VE Day Celebration
VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) - Meeting with New Commander in Chief, Aug. 1976
VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) - Speech, Aug. 1974
Vice President’s Trip to King Faisal’s Funeral (President’s Daily Briefings)
White House Emergency Actions Officer
White House Fellows