Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
Congressional Relations Office


Material compiled by Friedersdorf from August 1974 until January 1977. The files document Friedersdorf's duties from August until December 1974 as deputy assistant for legislative affairs responsible for liaison with the House of Representatives. The files also illustrate Friedersdorf's enlarged duties as head of the Congressional Relations Office from January 1975 until the end of the administration during which time he was responsible for all liaison between members of Congress and the White House.

6.4 linear feet (ca. 12,800 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-56)

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Gerald R. Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Leesa Tobin, July 1985
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Max L. Friedersdorf

July 7 - Born in Grammar, Indiana

1952 - BA, Franklin College

1952-55 - City editor, Franklin Evening Star

1955-60 - Reporter, Louisville Times, Indianapolis News, and the Chicago Daily News

1961-70 - Administrative Assistant, Congressman Richard Roudebush

1969 - MA, American University

1970-71 - Associate Director for Congressional Relations, Office of Economic Opportunity

1971-73 - Special Assistant for Congressional Relations, White House

1973-74 - Deputy Assistant to the President for the House of Representatives

1975-77 - Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

1977-79 - Staff director, Senate Republican Policy Committee

1979-80 - Chairman, Federal Election Commission

1981 - Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

1982-83 - U.S. Counsel General to Bermuda

1983-84 - Vice President, Pepsico, Inc.

1985 - Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

1985-87 - U.S. Counsel General to Bermuda

1987-ca.1990 - United States Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

1991-- Senior Vice President, Neill and Co. Inc. (Washington government relations consulting firm)


When Gerald R. Ford became president in August 1974, Max L. Friedersdorf was serving as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs. His special responsibility was coordination of White House liaison with the House of Representatives. He worked directly under William E. Timmons, the head of the Congressional Relations Office. In January 1975 Friedersdorf became the assistant to the president for legislative affairs and head of the office. He had overall responsibility for liaison between the president and Congress. The staff he directed included deputy assistants for the House and Senate and several special assistants under them.

Most of this collection deals with Friedersdorf's activities after becoming head of the overall congressional relations operation in January 1975. There are only a few folders in the chronological file concerning his activities as liaison with House members for the first five months of the administration. (The files of Vernon Loen and Charles Leppert include materials created by Friedersdorf in his role as liaison with the House.)

Friedersdorf and his staff were involved in virtually all aspects of presidential relations with members of Congress. Tasks were often routine such as clearing personnel appointments, monitoring congressional invitations to White House social events and notifying congressional offices of various White House actions. More importantly however, the office was responsible for arranging meetings and telephone calls between the President and members of Congress, informing the president and his staff of congressional views and the status of legislation and lobbying for the administration's point of view on proposed legislation.

This collection documents Friedersdorf's involvement in these activities. While much of the lobbying of members of Congress on specific legislation was carried out orally and documentation is sketchy, there are materials compiled and occasional notes taken by Friedersdorf during meetings with members and the president which indicate how the office worked. Significant materials also appear on many major domestic and foreign policy issues such as the president's energy program and the end of U.S. involvement in Indochina.

Related Materials (July 1985)
Material on the responsibilities and activities of the Congressional Relations Office is located in the files of Friedersdorf's office colleagues, especially William Timmons and Vernon Loen. The files of individual White House staff will contain information on specific pieces of legislation in their respective policy areas. In White House Central Files, categories LE (Legislation) and FG 30 through FG 37 (Congress) provide some overview of White House relations with Congress.


Memo Chronological File, 1974-77. (Boxes 1-3, 1.0 linear feet)
Copies of memoranda from Friedersdorf to White House staff and the president. Memos for the period before January 1975 were primarily prepared for William Timmons, assistant to the president for legislative affairs, and concern requests from members of the House relayed through Friedersdorf. After January 1975 the focus is much broader. Memos were prepared by Friedersdorf in his role as director of the White House congressional relations operation.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series

Administrative Subject File, 1975-77.  (Boxes 3-10, 2.8 linear feet)
Schedule proposals, briefing papers, memoranda, correspondence, talking points, agendas, and recommended phone call forms. Materials concern presidential meetings with members of Congress, bipartisan and Republican leadership; presidential trips; White House social invitations; the 1975 State of the Union; presidential vetoes and general information on the 94th Congress. Also included here are correspondence, applications and clearance forms on congressional-sponsored candidates for appointments to government jobs and requests from the public for jobs in government.

Arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder either chronologically or alphabetically.

View container list for this series

Legislative Subject File, 1975-77. (Boxes 10-16, 2.4 linear feet)
Memoranda, background material, draft legislation, and status reports and testimony transcripts concerning legislative issues in Congress. Prominent subjects include the CIA investigations, the proposed consumer protection agency, energy, Indochina refugees, regulatory reform, surface mining, and the Mayaguez seizure.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Memo Chronological File

  • 8/75 - 10/16/75

Box 2 - Memo Chronological File

  • 10/17/75 - 9/76

Box 3 - Memo Chronological File

  • 10/76 - 1/77 (1)-(5)

Box 3 (Continued) - Administrative Subject File

  • Appropriations Committee - Labor and Health Subcommittee
  • Bill Signing Ceremonies (1)-(2)
  • Bipartisan Leadership Meetings (1)-(4)
  • Campaign (1)-(5)

Box 4 - Administrative Subject File

  • China Trips - Members of Congress
  • Congressional - Government Relations
  • Defense Strategy Group
  • Domestic Council Study - Federal Social Problems
  • Environmental Coalition
  • Ford, Betty
  • Freedom of Information Requests
  • Legislative Interdepartmental Group
  • Legislative Opportunity Districts
  • 94th Congress - Key Votes
  • 94th Congress - Committee Assignment and New Members
  • 94th Congress - Pending Legislation
  • 94th Congress - Working Philosophy of the Congressional Relations Office
  • Personnel A - E

Box 5 - Administrative Subject File

  • Personnel F - Z

Box 6 - Administrative Subject File

  • Presidential Meetings with House Members, Jan. 1975 - Jan. 1977

Box 7 - Administrative Subject File

  • Presidential Meetings with Senate Members, Jan. 1975 - Dec. 1976

Box 8 - Administrative Subject File

  • Presidential Schedule Proposals, Senate (1)-(3)
  • Presidential Schedule Proposals, House (1)-(4)
  • Presidential Trips (1)-(3)
  • Recommended Presidential Telephone Calls
  • Republican Leadership Meetings (1)-(5)

Box 9 - Administrative Subject File

  • Sequoia Trips, 1975
  • Social Invitations, House and Senate (1)-(12)

Box 10 - Administrative Subject File

  • State of the Union, 1975
  • State of the Union, 1975 - Congressional Reaction Vetoes

Box 10 (Continued) - Legislative Subject File

  • Abortion
  • Agriculture Research Policy
  • Angola
  • Antitrust
  • Arab Boycott
  • Auto Emissions
  • Big Pine Lake Project, Indiana
  • Block Grants
  • Budget - FY 1976
  • Budget - FY 1977
  • Busing
  • Child Care
  • CIA Investigations (1)-(5)

Box 11 - Legislative Subject File

  • Clean Air Act Amendments
  • Community Services Administration
  • Coastal Zone Management Act Amendments
  • Common Situs Picketing
  • Consumer Protection (1)-(3)
  • Crime/Gun Control
  • Defense Procurement
  • Diego Garcia Presidential Determination
  • Eagles Nest Wilderness Area (Colorado)
  • Education
  • Economy (1)-(2)

Box 12 - Legislative Subject File

  • Energy (1)-(9)

Box 13 - Legislative Subject File

  • Estate and Gift Tax
  • Farm Bill, 1975
  • Filibuster Rule
  • Finnish Icebreakers
  • Food Stamps
  • Federal Election Campaign Legislation, 1976 (1)-(2)
  • Federal Employees - Political Activities
  • Federal Energy Administration Extension
  • GI Benefits
  • Hathaway (Stanley) Nomination for Secretary of the Interior
  • Indochina - Refugees
  • Indochina - U.S. Involvement (1)-(3)

Box 14 - Legislative Subject File

  • Indochina - U.S. Involvement (4)
  • International Monetary Fund Reform
  • Land Use - Federal Planning
  • Legislative Encroachment on Executive Power
  • Mariana Islands
  • Mayaguez Seizure
  • Micronesia
  • Middle East
  • Military Construction
  • Minimum Wage
  • National Health Insurance
  • Navratilova, Martina
  • No Fault Auto Insurance
  • Office of Science and Technology
  • Office of Telecommunications Policy
  • Open Government Meetings
  • Overseas Voting Rights Act
  • Pakistan
  • Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation
  • Postcard Voter Registration
  • Public Broadcasting
  • Public Works Employment
  • Railroads
  • Regulatory Reform (1)-(3)

Box 15 - Legislative Subject File

  • Regulatory Reform (4)
  • Renegotiation Act
  • Revenue Sharing (1)-(3)
  • Rhodesian Chrome
  • Rockefeller Nomination
  • Security Assistance
  • South Africa
  • Soviet Grain Sales
  • Strategic Arms Limitation
  • Strip Mining (1)-(4)
  • Synthetic Fuels
  • Tax Immunity of Public Lands

Box 16 - Legislative Subject File

  • Tobacco
  • Trade - Most Favored Nation Treatment
  • Turkish Aid (1)-(2)
  • Two Hundred Mile OffShore Limit
  • Uranium Enrichment
  • USO
  • Weather Radio System
  • White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals
  • White House Operations - Authorization Bill