Counsellor to the President for Political Affairs


Material concerning the work of Morton and his assistant Timothy Austin in advising the President in the period between February and April 1976. As a Counsellor to the President, Morton often advised the President on a variety of issues, but his files focus on political affairs, especially White House liaison with the Republican National Committee and the President Ford Committee and the Ford - Reagan contest for the Republican presidential nomination.

2.4 linear feet (ca. 4,800 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Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Sandra Raub, May 1984
[s:\bin\findaid\morton, rogers - files.doc]


Rogers Clark Ballard Morton

Sept. 19, 1914 - Born, Louisville, KY

1937 - A.B., business and political science, Yale University

1937-38 - Columbia University Medical School

1938 - Served briefly in the U.S. Navy

1939-51 - With Ballard and Ballard, the family flour milling business in Louisville, serving as President, 1947-51.

1941-45 - Captain, U.S. Army

1951-71 - After Ballard and Ballard merged with the Pillsbury Company, Morton served as Vice President, 1951-53, and as a Director, 1953-71.

1963-71 - U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland's First District

1968 - Nixon floor manager, Republican National Convention

1969-71 - Chairman, Republican National Committee

1971-75 - Secretary of the Interior

1974-76 - Chairman, Energy Resources Council

May-Dec. 1975 - Secretary of Commerce

Feb.-Apr. 1976 - Counsellor to the President

Apr.-Aug. 1976 - Chairman, President Ford Committee

Sept.-Nov. 1976 - Chairman, Ford campaign steering committee

1976-79 - Personal boat-building business

April 19, 1979 - Died, Easton, MD


When Rogers Morton was appointed as Counsellor to the President on February 2, 1976, the White House stated that he would serve as Counsellor to the President with Cabinet rank responsible for providing advice on domestic and economic issues; member of the Economic Policy Board, Energy Resources Council, and Domestic Council; and principal White House liaison with the President Ford Committee (PFC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC).

While Morton had wide-ranging responsibilities as Counsellor, the bulk of the files consist of material on political matters compiled or created by Morton and his staff (especially his assistant Timothy Austin). The files principally cover the period of the 1976 primary campaign, but include a few documents up to the time of the November election. Most of the material consists of memoranda exchanged between the Morton staff and members of the RNC, PFC, and White House staff discussing political strategy. Included is material on political opinion and issues in the states; proposed contacts (meetings, letters, telegrams, and telephone calls) with state Republicans; and media coverage of the campaign, particularly the development of political advertising such as pamphlets and radio and television commercials.

The Morton appointment was controversial as many felt that public money should not be spent to pay the salary of a political adviser. Morton only held this post for a two-month period, however. President Ford named him as chairman of the President Ford Committee at the beginning of April 1976, following the resignation of Howard "Bo" Callaway.

After Morton's departure, his assistant Timothy J. Austin remained on the White House staff until the beginning of May 1976 when he, too, moved to the President Ford Committee. Material accumulated by Austin was interfiled with that of Morton with the exception of their separately maintained chronological files.

After Morton and Austin had left the White House, their duties were assumed by other White House staff, particularly Richard Cheney. These files were apparently maintained and occasionally added to by Jana Hruska Fagan until the November election. Fagan, who had served as confidential assistant to Morton and Austin, continued to hold the same position under Cheney.

Related Materials (May 1984)
Related material on the 1976 campaign may be found in White House Central Files categories PL (Political Affairs), PR 7-2 (Presidential Telephone Calls), TR 3/ST #/1976 (Campaign Trips by State), and SP 3-1 (Campaign Speeches). Other collections concerning the campaign include the files of James Reichley and the papers of Michael Raoul-Duval. The files of Domestic Council staff members and members of the Press Secretary's Office and Editorial Staff also contain scattered files on the campaign. The Wanda Phelan Files and Charles McCall Files include useful accumulations of clippings, published interview transcripts, articles, and speech texts concerning both the Ford and Carter campaigns.


Subject File, 1976.  (Boxes 1-3, 1.2 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, drafts of campaign pamphlets and radio and television commercials, press releases, and occasional speeches, newspaper clippings, and printed material. Topics include: potential campaign issues such as abortion, busing, energy, and unemployment; Morton's appointment as Counsellor; and strategy during the 1976 primary campaign. Included is discussion of proposed political contacts such as meetings with Congressmen, and letter and presidential telephone calls to state officials; and material on media coverage of the campaign and the development of political advertising. Also filed here is a small amount of Morton's personal correspondence which had been maintained by White House Central Files.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

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State File, 1975-76.  (Boxes 4-6, 0.9 linear feet)
Memoranda, correspondence, and occasional newspaper clippings. Included are copies of President Ford Committee surveys of political opinion in the states; briefing materials on issues and conditions in the states; recommended letters, telegrams, and telephone calls to state Republicans; offers of assistance and requests for employment.

Arranged alphabetically by state.

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Chronological Files, 1976. (Box 6, 0.3 linear feet)
Outgoing memoranda and correspondence of Rogers Morton and his assistant Timothy Austin. Included are replies to letters from the public such as letters of support and offers of assistance, requests for employment, and invitations; and memoranda to White House and President Ford Committee staff concerning political matters.

Arranged by individual (Austin and Morton) and thereunder chronologically.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Subject File

  • Abortion - Proposed Constitutional Amendments
  • Advocates Program
  • Bicentennial Youth Conference
  • Busing - Pasadena, CA
  • Congress: Former Members of
  • Congress: Members of
  • Congress: Presidential Meetings with
  • Delegates
  • Energy Matters
  • Ethnic Americans
  • Federal Election Commission (1)-(2)
  • Federal Election Commission - Morton Appointment as Counsellor
  • Food Policy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Ford, Gerald R. - GOP Events as Minority Leader
  • Forum and Associates Meetings
  • Gun Control
  • Indian Affairs
  • Job Creation
  • Morton, Rogers
    - Biographical Sketch
    - Correspondence, A-M

Box 2 - Subject File

  • Morton, Rogers
    - Correspondence, N-Z
    - Invitations
    - Meet the Press Appearance, 1/25/76
    - Speeches
  • National Dividend Plan
  • Nessen, Ron
  • Nicholson, William
  • Northeast Republican Conference, 2/6/76
  • Older Americans
  • President Ford Committee
    - Advisory Committee
    - Answer Desk
    - Callaway, Bo
    - Campaign '76 Media Communications, Inc. (1)-(5)

Box 3 - Subject File

  • President Ford Committee
    - Campaign '76 Media Communications, Inc. (6)
    - Finance Committee
    - General
    - Research
    - Staff Lists
    - Volunteers
  • Presidential Forum (League of Women Voters)
  • Presidential Travel
  • Primaries
  • Q & A's
  • Republican - General
  • Republican National Committee
  • Republican National Committee - Meeting, Arlington, VA, 2/25-28/76
  • Republican National Convention
  • Republican Platform
  • Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • State of the Union, 1976
  • Strategy
  • Sugar Policy
  • Telephone Call Recommendations (Presidential)
  • Unemployment
  • Women
  • Young Republican Leadership Conference, 1/28/76-2/1/76

Box 4 - State File

  • Alabama - Maine

Box 5 - State File

  • Maryland - Texas

Box 6 - State File

  • Utah - Wyoming
  • Puerto Rico
  • Foreign

Box 6 (Continued) - Chronological Files

  • Austin, Timothy, 1/76-4/76
  • Morton, Rogers, 2/76-4/76