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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA MF 373 (USSR and Eastern Europe); 402-411 (Western Europe); 533-547 (Asia and the Pacific)
Title
THE LYNDON B JOHNSON NATIONAL SECURITY FILES, 1963-1969: Country Files
Date(s)
1963-1969, 1987-1993
Level of description
Collection (Fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
26 reels

Context

Name of creator(s)

Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1908-1973, US President, Bundy, McGeorge, 1919-1996, US public official, Rostow, Walt Whitman, b 1916, US economist

Administrative / Biographical history

The presidential administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-69) represents a significant period in the history of US foreign policy. The 1960s marked the height post-World War Two globalism and Johnson inherited from his predecessors world-wide obligations and a host of complex problems. In addition to the Vietnam War, he faced major crises in Panama, the Dominican Republic and the Middle East, as well as concerns about apartheid in South Africa, the coup d'├ętat in Brazil, and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Although the Cold War shaped US responses to these crises and continued to influence US foreign policy in general, new approaches were devised toward the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, the major adversaries of the United States, as well as towards the Third World and Latin America. The 'Country Files' were maintained in the White House by McGeorge Bundy and Walt Whitman Rostow, national security advisors to the president. Bundy and Rostow monitored the daily cable traffic through the White House Situation Room and co-ordinated the flow of intelligence and information to the president, determining what items should be brought to this attention. They served as liaison officers with the departments and agencies involved in foreign policy, reviewing recommendations sent to the President by these groups and monitoring their daily operations to ensure that policies were co-ordinated and decisions implemented.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guide to the USSR and Eastern

Content & structure

Scope and content

The Lyndon B Johnson National Security Files, 1963-1969: Country Files are microfilmed copies of foreign policy working papers during the Johnson administration, 1963-1969. The 'Country Files' contain extensive cable traffic between the departments and agencies in Washington and embassies and missions abroad; memoranda of conversations between US and foreign officials and among top US officials; intelligence reports assessing critical foreign policy issues; internal memoranda, such as those from the national security advisers to the president; and agenda for and records of executive meetings, 1963-1969. This documentary record is far from complete, and important gaps remain, especially in the last two years of Johnson's presidency. Nevertheless, the enormous volume and diverse nature of the documents contained in the files represent and essential foundation for understanding US foreign policy during this transitional period. The Vietnam 'Country File' richly documents the administration's escalation of the war from a commitment of a few thousand advisors in Nov 1963 to that of nearly 200,000 combat troops by the end of 1965. The file also details the Gulf Tonkin incident and the initiation of mass bombing of North Vietnam. The 'Indonesia' file is one of the most significant files in the 'Asia and the Pacific' grouping. Strategically located, the nation was a major prize during the Cold War and documents reveal the US anxiety during the 1965 overthrow of President Achmed Sukarno. There are also documents relating to the Panama Crisis, 1964; the intervention into the Dominican Republic, 1965; the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, 1967; the emergence of the Sino-Soviet split; American recognition of Chinese nationalist president Chiang Kai-shek; American perceptions of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, 1966-1967; strains in relations between the US and West Germany and Great Britain; the French withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 1966; the spread of communism in Latin America; and, US policy towards the United Nations.

System of arrangement

The documents in this microfilm collection are arranged by geographic area and thereunder alphabetically by country. Memoranda, cables, intelligence reports correspondence, and special studies were originally bound into folders arranged in chronological order within each country. Each folder was assigned a volume number. Correspondence, memoranda and reports were filed with tabs highlighting selected documents, events and correspondents and cables were usually under agency tabs, the State Department, Defense Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and US Information Agency being the most frequently represented. The files have been re-organised by the Lyndon B Johnson Library, but in most cases the original volume number has been retained. In most cases a 'Country File' consists of one or more volumes, with separate folders for briefings on heads of state or government visiting the US.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies may be printed off the microfilm for research purposes and are charged at the cost to the Centre. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America, Inc., 4520 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD, 20814-3389, USA

Language/scripts of material

English

Finding aids

Detailed catalogues available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room, Janice H Mitchell and Stuart Stern (eds.), The Lyndon B Johnson National Security Files, 1963-1969: USSR and Eastern Europe (University Publications of America, Inc, Bethesda, MD, 1987); George C Herring (ed.), The Lyndon B Johnson National Security Files, 1963- 1969 : Western Europe (University Publications of America, Inc, Bethesda, MD, 1993). There is no detailed catalogue for Asia and the Pacific (MF 533-547)

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

Country Files' section of the National Security Files at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, Austin, Texas, USA

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

Jun 1999

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Personal names

  • Bundy, McGeorge, 1919-1996, US public official
  • Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 1908-1973, US President
  • Rostow, Walt Whitman, b 1916, US economist

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