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National Security File:
Introduction and Overview

Links to folder title lists

The National Security File was the working file of President Johnson's special assistants for national security affairs, McGeorge Bundy and Walt W. Rostow. McGeorge Bundy served under President Kennedy and continued to serve under President Johnson until February 1966. Walt Rostow took up the post in April 1966, after leaving his position as Chairman of the Policy Planning Council in the State Department. Robert Komer served in the interim.

Documents in the National Security File originated in the offices of Bundy and Rostow and their staffs, in various executive departments and agencies, especially those having to do with foreign affairs and national defense, and in diplomatic and military posts around the world.

Over one-half of the National Security File has been processed. When a folder is processed, all material is made available for research except material that cannot be declassified by the staff of the LBJ Library and a negligible amount of material that is closed under the donor's deed of gift for reasons of privacy or embarrassment. Lists of such documents are placed in the folders. Prior to 1998, the majority of documents in a folder remained security classified at the time of processing because of the limited declassification authority granted to the LBJ Library staff. Since 1998, considerably more material is declassified when the file is processed. This security -classified material is not declassified until researchers submit review requests under the provisions of Executive Order 12958. The material is then reviewed by the appropriate agencies in Washington, D.C. Forms for requesting declassification review are available in the Reading Room and by mail. Requests must specify individual documents.

This finding aid was first made available to researchers on December 1, 1978. Folder titles preceded by an asterisk (*) had been processed by that date. Since December 1, 1978, as other folders have been processed the date that processing is completed is written in front of each folder title.



COUNTRY FILE. State Department and Defense Department cables, White House memoranda, CIA intelligence reports, and other material arranged by region and thereunder by country. Documents were originally bound in heavyweight gray folders, and the folders were arranged in chronological order within each country file. Each folder was assigned a volume number. Cables, usually arranged under tabs, were bound on the right side of the folder. On the left side, memos, memcons, correspondence, and reports were filed with tabs highlighting selected documents or events. The files have been refoldered, and in most cases each volume is now divided into two folders labeled "Cables" and "Memos." The original volume numbers have been retained. Material concerning head of state or head of government visits was originally filed in separate folders within each country file, as was material concerning crises. This organization has been retained.


COUNTRY FILE, VIETNAM: From November 1963 to May 1967 documents on Vietnam were filed in chronological order in 72 volumes, with separate folders for NODIS cables, Special Intelligence material, Special Category messages, and Southeast Asia material (see boxes 1-54). By October 1967 a formalized numeric-alphabetic subject file system had been instituted (see boxes 58-108), which was used through January 1969. Substantial amounts of Vietnam material, however, were filed neither in the chronological file (boxes 1-54) nor in the numeric-alphabetic subject file (boxes 58-108) but in boxes 108-262, as seen in the outline which precedesthe folder title list for the Vietnam Country File.


HEAD OF STATE CORRESPONDENCE FILE. President Johnson's formal and informal correspondence with heads of state and heads of government, arranged by country.


SPECIAL HEAD OF STATE CORRESPONDENCE FILE. Similar to the above file but separately maintained by White House Staff Assistant Dorothy P. Territo.


INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS AND TRAVEL FILE. Briefing material, memos, cables, and other material on foreign trips taken by the President and other administration officials, together with material on international meetings they attended.


SPEECH FILE. Drafts and other speech material concerning foreign policy, mostly from 1964 to 1966, arranged chronologically.


SUBJECT FILE. Includes substantial amounts of material on balance of payments, communications policy, disarmament, foreign aid, the Multilateral Force, nuclear weapons and nuclear testing, and international trade, together with smaller amounts of material on a broad range of other topics, arranged alphabetically by subject.


AGENCY FILE. Includes substantial amounts of material on the Agency for International Development, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, CIA, Defense Department, Joint Chiefs of Staff, NATO, State Department, United Nations, and United States Information Agency, together with smaller files on other government agencies, arranged alphabetically by agency.


COMMITTEE FILE. Files of the Committee on Nuclear Proliferation, the President's Committee on the Warren Report, and the Special Committee on U.S. Trade Relations with the East European Countries and the Soviet Union (Miller Committee).


NAME FILE. Composed principally of folders on national security staff members and White House aides, containing their memoranda and other materials, together with folders on President Eisenhower, Vice President Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Richard Neustadt, President Truman, and others, arranged alphabetically by name of individual.


INTELLIGENCE FILE. Intelligence materials on a broad range of issues.


INTELLIGENCE BRIEFINGS. Copies of the President's daily intelligence checklist and daily intelligence brief prepared by CIA, arranged chronologically.


NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES. Copies of NIEs and Special NIEs, arranged by region and thereunder by country.


SITUATION ROOM FILE. Logbooks and copies of incoming and outgoing Situation Room cable traffic, including cable traffic with the President when he was away from the White House.


NATIONAL SECURITY ACTION MEMORANDUMS. NSAMs with supporting material, such as drafts and memos, arranged by NSAM number.


NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS FILE. Notes of official NSC meetings, attendance lists, agendas, briefing papers, and papers discussed at meetings, arranged by date of meeting.


FILES OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL. Files of McGeorge Bundy when he served as executive secretary of the NSC Special Committee established in June 1967 to coordinate U.S.policy in the Middle East Crisis.


NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL HISTORIES. Documentary compilations prepared by national security staff members in 1968 on 21 international crises or issues during the Johnson Administration. Five deal with Vietnam, four with Latin America, three with foreign economic policy, two with Africa, two with South Asia, and one each with Cyprus, the Six Day War, the Pueblo, NATO, and nuclear proliferation.


MEMOS TO THE PRESIDENT - McGEORGE BUNDY, WALT W. ROSTOW. Memoranda to the President (with attachments) from hisnational security advisers, arranged chronologically.


FILES OF McGEORGE BUNDY. Subject, chronological, and meeting files reflecting Bundy's role as national security adviser, 1963-1966.


FILES OF WALT W. ROSTOW. Files on Vietnam, Glassboro, advisory meetings with the President, and other subjects reflecting Rostow's role as national security adviser.


FILES OF ROBERT W. KOMER. Files reflecting Komer's roles as interim national security adviser during March 1966 and as Special Assistant in charge of pacification and other U.S. non-military programs in Vietnam, March1966-May 1967.


KOMER-LEONHART FILE. Subject file, 1966-1968, maintained by the White House office established in March 1966 to direct U.S. non-military programs in Vietnam, arranged alphabetically by subject.


FILES OF GORDON CHASE. Files on Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and other issues handled by Chase while he served on the national security staff, 1963-1965.


FILES OF C. V. CLIFTON. Files reflecting Clifton's activities as Military Aide to the President, 1963-1965, arranged alphabetically by subject.


STAFF FILE FRAGMENTS. Material from the files of national security staff members. The library does not plan to process these files until they are reorganized and integrated with the additional staff files to be accessioned in 1991. See page two of this introduction for additional information.


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