Associate Director for Human Resources;
Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs
Domestic Council


A fragmentary subject file on emergency preparedness, social security, option memoranda to the president, and other matters. Also an extensive chronological file of correspondence on all aspects of Cavanaugh's duties.

2.0 linear feet (ca. 4,000 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-107)

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).

Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Leesa Tobin, Jan. 1982 (Revised 1986)
[s:\bin\findaid\cavanaugh, james - files.doc]


James H. Cavanaugh

1937 - Born, Orange, New Jersey

1959 - B.S., Fairleigh Dickinson University

1962 - M.A., University of Iowa

1964 - Ph.D., University of Iowa

1962-66 - Member of the Faculty of the University of Iowa College of Medicine

1964 - Served as Visiting Professor and Educational Consultant at the Central University of Venezuela College of Medicine in Caracas

1966-68 - Special Assistant to the Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Services

1969-71 - Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare for Health and Scientific Affairs

1971 - Joined the Domestic Council as staff assistant

1973 - Appointed Associate Director for Human Resources on the Domestic Council

1974 - Appointed Deputy Director for Operations of the Domestic Council

1976 (January) - Appointed Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, Office of James Cannon

1976 (August) - Appointed Deputy Assistant to the President, Office of Richard Cheney

1977 - Senior vice president, Allergam Pharmaceutical Company


Dr. James H. Cavanaugh joined the Domestic Council staff in 1971 to assist in the development of health policy and programs. Appointed in 1973 as Associate Director for Human Resources, he helped to develop and coordinate the President's domestic policy in the areas of health, education, welfare, labor and veterans affairs. His duties were again augmented the following year when he was appointed Deputy Director for Operations, responsible for the management of staff and coordination and final review of domestic policy papers for the President. In January 1976, he was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs in James Cannon's office. In August of the same year the appointment title was changed to Deputy Assistant to the President in Richard Cheney's office so that Cavanaugh could participate in Ford's campaign. (The Hatch Act prohibits federal officials to be involved in certain political campaign activities. Only presidential aides are exempted)

As Deputy Director for Operations, Cavanaugh reported directly to the Executive Director. Cavanaugh's principal duty was to act as liaison with the Domestic Council staff concerning day-to-day operations. This required issuing staff assignments, sitting in for Ken Cole or James Cannon at White House senior staff and Domestic Council staff meetings, establishing deadlines on assignments and keeping informed as to their progress.

During his tenure on the Domestic Council, Cavanaugh remained in close contact with his colleagues in health-related fields. He was frequently invited to speak to various groups and arrange meetings with the President, and the collection contains correspondence and memoranda related to these activities. Cavanaugh also prepared memoranda for the President presenting alternatives and making recommendations with regard to proposed legislation.

Although Cavanaugh was appointed as an assistant to the President so that he might participate in the campaign, his papers do not reflect that involvement. During the period from August to the end of the administration he worked with Richard Cheney, Assistant to the President for White House Operations, assisting with routine duties and allowing Cheney greater opportunity to become involved in campaign activities.

Much of the material in the collection is of a very routine nature. Assignments to Domestic Council staff members, intra-staff memoranda, status reports to Cole and Cannon, and requests to speak constitute the bulk of the papers. There is often no record of action taken on an incoming request. There are occasional briefing papers and recommendations on legislation that were prepared by staff members and routed through Cavanaugh's office before going to the Executive Director. Cavanaugh also prepared memoranda for Cannon when he sat in on meetings Cannon was unable to attend, including both White House and Domestic Council staff meetings.

Related Materials (January 1982)
Related material can be found in other Domestic Council collections, particularly Executive Director James Cannon and Art Quern, who replaced Cavanaugh as Deputy Director for Operations in August 1976.


Subject Series, 1974-76.  (Box 1, 0.4 linear feet)
Memoranda to the President; memoranda from Jerry Jones, Staff Secretary to the President; information concerning a meeting with the President on social security; travel vouchers; material on the Working Group for the Review of Guidance for Civil Emergency Preparedness Planning; and material on the San Diego Youth Facility Prison.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Chronological Series, 1974-77.  (Boxes 2-5, 1.6 linear feet)
Copies of memoranda to and from members of the Domestic Council, White House staff, federal agencies and departments, private organizations, and the public; drafts of routine statements and letters for the President's signature; meeting agendas; resumes of candidates for appointments; questions and answers for the President; and briefing material for Presidential trips. Much of this material is health-related or administrative in nature.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Subject Series

  • Cavanaugh Correspondence
  • Densen-Gerber, Judianne - Background Materials
  • Emergency Preparedness - March 1976 Exercise: Briefings
  • Emergency Preparedness - March 1976 Exercise: Correspondence
  • Emergency Preparedness - Policy and Planning Guidance (1)-(3)
  • Memoranda for the President (1)-(2)
  • Memoranda from Jones, Jerry H.
  • San Diego Youth Facility Prison (1)-(2)
  • Social Security Meeting With the President, 12/11/74
  • Travel Vouchers

Box 2 - Chronological Series

  • August 1974 - May 14, 1975

Box 3 - Chronological Series

  • May 15 - November 1975

Box 4 - Chronological Series

  • December 1975 - April 1976

Box 5 - Chronological Series

  • May 1976 - January 1977