Counsel and Associate Director for Justice,
Civil Rights, Drugs, and Consumer Affairs
Domestic Council


Material on the development of the Ford administration's domestic policies in the areas of justice, crime, civil rights, and drugs. Of special note are his files on the Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force, illegal aliens, the President's crime message of June 19, 1975, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration reauthorization bill, extension of the Voting Rights Act, and the drafting and approval of Title IX regulations concerning sex discrimination in educational programs.

9.7 linear feet (ca. 19,400 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-38, 78-22, 78-59, 80-21)

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Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 William McNitt, February 1980
[s:\bin\findaid\parsons, richard - files.doc]


Richard D. Parsons was a native of New York City and a 1971 graduate of Union University's Albany Law School. Following law school he served as an assistant counsel to Governor Nelson Rockefeller and, commencing in 1973, as First Assistant Counsel. In 1975, soon after Rockefeller's confirmation as Vice President, Parsons became Deputy Counsel to the Vice President. After the end of the Ford administration, Parsons went back to working for Nelson Rockefeller.

Dick Parsons joined the Domestic Council staff in March 1975, serving both as legal counsel and as an associate director. As counsel to the Domestic Council, he worked closely with the Counsel to the President in providing legal guidance in the formulation of domestic policy. There is little in this file to document this aspect of his work.

As associate director, Parsons succeeded Geoffrey Shepard in handling General Government, which included justice, treasury, commerce, Postal Service, civil rights and drugs. In a May 1975 reorganization his area of responsibility was subdivided and Parsons became Associate Director for Justice, Crime, Civil Rights and Communications. (Communications was transferred to F. Lynn May in January of 1976.) In April 1976, when Kathleen Ryan left the Domestic Council, responsibility for consumer affairs was given to Parsons' office. Parsons served with the Domestic Council until the end of the Ford administration and then returned to New York to work for Nelson Rockefeller.

From March 1975 to January 1976 Parsons was assisted in his duties by Lynn May, who had previously worked for Geoffrey Shepard. Dawn Bennett-Alexander assisted Parsons from March 1976 until the end of the administration. There are some indications that Kathleen Ryan served as an assistant to Parsons for a few weeks after she joined the Domestic Council in April 1975.

Parsons and his staff were responsible for advice to the President and the formulation of domestic policy in the areas of:

  • affirmative action
  • busing
  • civil rights
  • communications
  • consumer affairs
  • crime
  • drugs
  • illegal aliens
  • Indians
  • justice
  • postal service
  • Puerto Rico
  • privacy
  • regulatory reform
  • sex discrimination
  • voting rights
Although Parsons nominally had responsibility for Indian affairs, his files have virtually nothing on that subject. Perhaps the presence on the White House staff of Dr. Theodore Marrs and Bradley Patterson, both of whom handled Indian Affairs, was cause for lessened involvement by the Domestic Council. The Parsons files contain little on Puerto Rico as this file was transferred to Dean Overman near the Ford Administration.

The Parsons files contain little material on communications and virtually nothing on postal service or regulatory reform as these subjects were handled almost exclusively by Lynn May. Similarly, Parsons has little on consumer affairs as Dawn Bennett-Alexander handled that subject. In most other areas Parsons either dealt with the matters himself or else shared them with his assistants.

In a number of cases Parsons served as James Cannon's representative on committees and task forces. For this reason there are significant materials in the Parsons files on the Domestic Council Committee on Illegal Aliens, the Interagency Committee for the Study of Problems Related to Illegal Mexican Migration into the United States, the Domestic Council Committee on the Right of Privacy, and the Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force. Parsons chaired the latter group and directed the writing of the White Paper on Drug Abuse.

One other project on which Parsons spent much time was the drafting of the President's crime message of June 19, 1975. His files contain memoranda, background information and working papers on this speech. The collection also contains information on the drafting and passage of legislation, particularly the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration reauthorization bill; the extension of the Voting Rights Act; and the drafting and approval of the Title IX regulations relating to sex discrimination in higher education.

The Parsons files consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, speeches, drafts of legislation, briefing papers, press releases, publications and newspaper clippings. Virtually all of the correspondence and memoranda are between Parsons and his White House colleagues or between Parsons and officials in government agencies; there is little correspondence from the general public. Although most of the collection dates from the period of Parsons service with the Domestic Council, occasional items from the files of his predecessor, Geoffrey Shepard, are to be found here.

Related Materials (February 1980)
Related Materials can be found in the Domestic Council files of Parsons' predecessor, Geoffrey Sheppard; his two assistants, Lynn May and Dawn Bennett-Alexander; and Dean Overman, who took over Parsons' file on Puerto Rico.


General Subject File, 1974-77.  (Boxes 1-19, 7.8 linear feet)
Correspondence and memoranda, primarily between Parsons and other members of the White House staff or between Parsons and officials in government agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the Office of Telecommunications Policy, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; reports; speeches; drafts of legislation; briefing papers; press releases; publications; and newspaper clippings. These materials concern the operation of the Domestic Council and issues handled by Parsons, including: affirmative action, busing, civil rights, crime, gun control, illegal aliens, privacy, sex discrimination, and the Voting Rights Act.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Drug Abuse Subject File, 1974-76.  (Boxes 19-24, 1.8 linear feet)
Correspondence and memoranda, primarily between Parsons and other members of the White House staff of between Parsons and members of Congress or officials in government agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Departments of State, Justice, Treasury and Health, Education and Welfare; reports, speeches; briefing papers; press releases; publications; and newspaper clippings. These materials concern Parson's work on the issue of drug abuse and his chairmanship of the Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force. Major topics include: the White Paper on Drug Abuse, Congressional investigations of problems in the Drug Enforcement Administration, funding for international narcotics control, cooperation with Mexico and Turkey in attempts to reduce the production of opium, negotiations leading to memoranda of understanding between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Customs Service, and the Internal Revenue Service to solve jurisdictional disputes, and President Ford's message to Congress on drug abuse on April 27, 1976.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Edward E. Johnson Subject File, 1975-76. (Box 25, 0.1 linear feet)
Edward E. Johnson worked for the Office of Management and Budget as Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Federal Drug Management. He also served as Work Group Director for the Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force and managed the day to day operations of the task force under Parson's supervision. Johnson's file consists of memoranda, correspondence, meeting minutes, testimony before Congress, and copies of legislation and draft legislation. These materials concern the Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force, a Congressional investigation of Federal Drug enforcement, and proposed legislation on drug abuse.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - General Subject File

  • Abortion
  • Affirmative Action (1)-(5)
  • Auto Theft Prevention, Interagency Committee on
  • Bribes (Foreign) By U.S. Companies
  • Budget FY 1976
  • Budget FY 1977 - Department of Justice
  • Budget FY 1977 - Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • Budget FY 1977 - Office of Management and Budget Process
  • Budget FY 1978

Box 2 - General Subject File

  • Busing - Alternatives to
  • Busing - Boston
  • Busing - Ferndale, Michigan
  • Busing - Legislation (1)-(2)
  • Busing - Message to Congress
  • Busing - Miscellaneous Correspondence (1)-(2)
  • Busing - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Busing - Problem Areas with Busing Orders
  • Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism
  • Capital Punishment

Box 3 - General Subject File

  • Chronological File (1)-(5)
  • Civil Disturbances
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Title VI
  • Civil Rights - General
  • Civil Rights - Office for (H.E.W.)
  • Civil Rights, U.S. Commission on
  • Crime, Advisory Commission on
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Crime - Compensation for Victims
  • Crime Control Act of 1976
  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Action Memoranda (1)-(2)

Box 4 - General Subject File

  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Action Memoranda (3)-(7)
  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Background Materials (1)-(4)

Box 5 - General Subject File

  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Follow-up
  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Speech
  • Crime Message of 6/19/75 - Working Papers (1)-(5)
  • Crime Message of 2/14/76
  • Department of Transportation Truck Braking Regulation
  • Detroit Plan (Police Department Grant)
  • Disaster Relief (Detention Facilities)

Box 6 - General Subject File

  • District of Columbia - Judges
  • District of Columbia - Legislation
  • Domestic Council - Budget
  • Domestic Council - Organization
  • Domestic Council - Public Forums
  • Domestic Council - Staff Directives
  • Domestic Council - Vice Presidential Briefings
  • Domestic Council - Weekly Reports
  • Elliott, Roland - Correspondence
  • Emergency School Aid Act - Title VII
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinating Council (1)-(3)
  • Executive Privilege
  • Executive Protective Service - Bargaining Rights
  • Executive Protection Service - Protection of Foreign Diplomatic Missions

Box 7 - General Subject File

  • Fairness Doctrine (Broadcasting)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation - General
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation - Message Switching (1)-(2)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation - Uniform Crime Reports
  • Federal Election Commission
  • First Lady - Comments on Invitations, etc.
  • Flat-time Sentencing
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Gambling
  • Gun Control Amendments of 1975
  • Gun Control - Alternative Approaches to

Box 8 - General Subject File

  • Gun Control - General (1)-(2)
  • Gun Control - Legislation (1)-(2)
  • Gun Control - Saturday Night Specials
  • Gun Control - Testimony/Speeches
  • Gun Control - Working Papers
  • Hatch Act
  • Hispanic Affairs

Box 9 - General Subject File

  • Hoover Commission
  • Human Rights Commission, U.S. (Proposal for)
  • Housing - Ethnic Purity of Neighborhoods
  • Illegal Aliens - Cuban Defectors from Angola
  • Illegal Aliens - Cuban Refugees
  • Illegal Aliens - Domestic Council Committee, (1)-(3)
  • Illegal Aliens - Interagency Committee (1)-(4)
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service - Move from Richmond to Dallas

Box 10 - General Subject File

  • Indian Rights
  • Initiatives
  • INTERPOL (International Police Communications Network)
  • Issue Papers
  • Jewish Community - Civil Rights
  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Law Enforcement Assistance Administration
    - Crime and the Older Person
    - General
    - Grants for Political Conventions
    - L.A. Police Department Civil Rights Complaints
    - Project LEAP
    - Public Safety Officers Death Benefit
    - Reauthorization Bill (1)-(3)

Box 11 - General Subject File

  • Legal Services Corporation
  • Legislation - Enrolled Bills
  • Legislation - Proposals (1)-(2)
  • Legislation - Watch List
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Mayors, U.S. Conference of
  • National Referendum
  • No Fault Automobile Insurance
  • Office of Telecommunications Policy (1)-(2)

Box 12 - General Subject File

  • Office of Telecommunications Policy (3)
  • Overseas Voters Registration Act
  • Peacetime Nuclear Emergencies Working Group
  • Pension Benefits - Sex Discrimination
  • Personnel Matters
  • Postcard Voter Registration
  • President - Briefing Papers
  • President - Memoranda to
  • President - Schedule Proposals
  • President - Trips (Parsons Input)
  • Presidential Commendation Letters
  • Presidential Condolence Letters regarding Police Officer Deaths

Box 13 - General Subject File

  • Presidential Events (Proposed)
  • Presidential Gifts
  • Presidential Messages
  • Presidential Signature, Bill Becoming Law Without
  • Prison Rehabilitation, Public Works and
  • Privacy - Background Materials
  • Privacy - Domestic Council Committee (1)-(4)
  • Privacy - General (1)-(2)

Box 14 - General Subject File

  • Privacy - General (3)-(4)
  • Privacy - National Information Policy Report (1)-(2)
  • Privacy Protection Study Commission (1)-(2)
  • Privacy - Study on Personnel Investigations and Adjudication (1)-(2)
  • Private Schools - Segregation by

Box 15 - General Subject File

  • Problem Areas (Department of Justice)
  • Productivity and Work Quality, National Commission on
  • Public Disclosure - Lobbying Act of 1976
  • Question and Answer Briefing Sheets (1)-(4)
  • Regulatory Reform
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Republican Legislative Agenda
  • San Diego - Bureau of Prisons
  • Science and Technology Policy, Office of Press Releases
  • Secret Service Protection
  • Security Investigations - Executive Order Regarding
  • Sex Discrimination (Title IX)
    - Athletic Guidelines (1)-(2)
    - Background Materials

Box 16 - General Subject File

  • Sex Discrimination (Title IX)
    - Brigham Young University and Hillsdale College
    - Final Regulations
    - General (1)-(6)

Box 17 - General Subject File

  • Sex Discrimination (Title IX)
    - General (7)-(8)
    - Tower Amendment
  • Shield Law for Newsmen
  • Speeches - Richard Thornburgh
  • State and Local Governments - Emergency Aid to
  • State of the Union - 1976
  • State of the Union - 1976 - Follow-up
  • State of the Union - 1977
  • Summer Jobs for Urban Youth
  • Sunshine Act (open meetings)
  • Supreme Court Rulings

Box 18 - General Subject File

  • Swine Flu Immunization Program (1)-(2)
  • Veto Power - Pocket Veto
  • Transition - Presidential, 1976, 1977
  • Voting Rights Act - Background Materials (1)-(4)
  • Voting Rights Act - Memoranda (1)-(2)

Box 19 - General Subject File

  • Voting Rights Act - Memoranda (3)
  • Voting Rights Act - Signing Ceremony
  • Watergate Reorganization and Reform Act
  • White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals
  • Wine Labeling
  • Women's Equality Day

Box 19 (Continued) - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • Bolivia
  • Cabinet Committee for Drug Law Enforcement
  • Cabinet Committee on Drug Abuse, Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation
  • Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control
  • Congressional Correspondence
  • Drug Enforcement Administration - Bensinger
  • Drug Enforcement Administration - General (1)-(2)

Box 20 - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • Drug Enforcement Magazine
  • Drug Review Task Force
    - Clippings Supplied by the Drug Enforcement Administration
    - General (1)-(9)

Box 21 - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • Drug Review Task Force
    - General (10)-(11)
    - Membership
    - Work Groups
  • Federal - State Roles
  • International Narcotics Control (1)-(3)
  • Legislation
  • Marihuana
  • Memoranda of Understanding Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service and Internal Revenue Service (1)

Box 22 - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • Memoranda of Understanding Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service and Internal Revenue Service (2)
  • Message to Congress (1)-(2)
  • Mexico (1)-(4)
  • Miscellaneous (1)-(3)

Box 23 - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • New York Drug Law Evaluation
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Office for Drug Abuse Policy
  • Opium (1)-(2)
  • President and Senior Administration Official Briefing
  • President - Meetings
  • Presidential Proclamations on Drug Abuse
  • Psychotropic Substances, Convention on
  • Question and Answer Briefing Sheets
  • Southwest Border Steering Group
  • Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Speech Material
  • Turkey - Arms Embargo

Box 24 - Drug Abuse Subject File

  • United Nations
  • White Paper on Drug Abuse
    - Agency Comments on Drafts
    - Agency Comments on Final Report
    - Drafts
    - Follow-up
    - General
    - Governor's Letters
    - Page Proofs
    - Final Report

Box 25 - Edward E. Johnson Subject File

  • Domestic Council Drug Review Task Force
  • Drug Abuse - Legislation
  • Federal Drug Enforcement Investigation
  • Meeting with Congressman Lester Wolff
  • Psychotropic Substances Legislation