National Security Adviser

Collection Finding Aid


Periodic memoranda sent by the Ford White House to former President Richard Nixon containing reports and analysis of world events, often presenting the inside story based on various intelligence sources.  Each memorandum covers a one to two week period and is from ten to fifteen pages in length.

0.8 linear feet (ca. 1,600 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Gerald R. Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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, November 2010


The White House Situation Room: Former President Nixon's Intelligence Briefings 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.

Soon after the August 9, 1974 transition, President Gerald Ford decided that former President Richard Nixon would continue to receive periodic intelligence briefings on foreign affairs.  This was a courtesy that had been extended to other former Presidents in the past.

President Ford gave White House Counsellor John Marsh oversight over all White House contacts with Richard Nixon and his staff.  Deputy National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft actually gathered the foreign affairs briefing material for President Nixon, sent a copy to Marsh, and then transmitted it to the former President through the White House Situation Room.

According to documents in the folder “Nixon, Richard – Briefings and Press Summaries” in Box 24 of the John Marsh Files:

“President Ford, lacking a normal transition period for his Presidency, felt that he might well require consultation on an emergency basis with Mr. Nixon regarding these matters, and he desired that Mr. Nixon’s advice be based on the most current information.”

In the fall of 1974, most of the briefings were sent to California by either secure fax or teletype (the White House Communications Agency still had staff and equipment in San Clemente).  On three occasions, when WHCA was moving staff between sites, the briefing was delivered by courier on military flights.  On September 20, 1974, a courier carried the briefing on a commercial flight.  It is not clear exactly how the briefings were transmitted after the final shutdown of the WHCA facility in San Clemente on January 14, 1975, but it was probably handled through couriers on commercial flights.

These briefings for President Nixon continued throughout the Ford administration.  Scowcroft originally planned to make a weekly transmission, but the time between briefings often stretched to two weeks or more.  For the month of August 1976 no briefings appear in the collection.

In addition to the security-classified foreign affairs briefings, in the early months after the Nixon-Ford transition the White House Situation Room sent many unclassified documents to San Clemente.  These included White House news summaries, newspaper reports, and wire reports along with occasional schedules, economic briefings, public documents, and a few personal messages for President Nixon.  These documents were sent to California by fax.  None of these unclassified items appear in this collection.

Related Materials (November 2010)
Among the files of the National Security Adviser are several other collections of briefing material maintained by the staff of the White House Situation Room.  Among these are the Presidential Daily Briefings, Evening Reports from NSC Staff, and Noon and Evening Notes.

Series Descriptions

Boxes 1-2                Nixon Briefings, 1974-77.  (0.8 linear feet)
Periodic compilations prepared for former President Richard Nixon to keep him updated on developments around the world that might impact U.S. foreign affairs policies.  The briefings were not intended to cover every foreign affairs development, just the most significant ones.  Although news notes about various countries appear, they disproportionately concern the Soviet Union and China.  There are also significant numbers of items on our NATO allies, especially France, West Germany, and the United Kingdom.  Another major focus was developments in Indochina during the closing months of the Vietnam War.  Many developments concerning OPEC, the Cyprus crisis, or tensions and negotiations in the Middle East also appear. Arranged chronologically.

Container List

Box 1               Nixon Briefings
August 1974
September 1974
October 1974
November 1974
December 1974
January 1975
February 1975
March 1975
April 1975
May 1975
June 1975
July 1975
August 1975
September 1975

Box 2               Nixon Briefings
October 1975
November 1975
December 1975
January 1976
February 1976
March 1976
April 1976
May 1976
June 1976
July 1976
August 1976 (folder received empty)
September 1976
October 1976
November 1976
December 1976
January 1977