Henry Kissinger's Kennedy Administration Files Opened

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2004 
Further information: Ann Scanlon (617) 514-1662

BOSTON–Researchers, libraries, members of the press, and members of the public are advised that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has processed and made available the Papers of Henry Kissinger from President Kennedy's National Security Files collection.

Henry Kissinger served as a part-time consultant on foreign policy matters to various U.S. agencies from 1954 to 1968. During the Kennedy administration, Henry Kissinger served as an occasional consultant to both the National Security Council and the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. According to the White House press release of February 27, 1961, Henry Kissinger was appointed a part-time consultant to President Kennedy and “will work in the area of national security problems on specific questions on which the White House asks for his views.” His contract designated him as a consultant of the National Security Council. At the time of this appointment, Kissinger was an associate professor of government at Harvard University, a position he continued to hold throughout his governmental consulting work. Kissinger later served under President Richard M. Nixon as secretary of state and as an assistant for national security affairs.

Today’s opening is part of the National Security Files (NSC) collection: the working files of President Kennedy’s National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy, and his staff. This Kissinger material provides an insight into Kissinger’s work for the NSC in 1961-62. Researchers may find these files useful when used in conjunction with the Kennedy administration Kissinger materials from the President’s Office Files, the staff memorandum files in the National Security Files, and the Arthur Schlesinger Papers.

Today’s opening includes his handwritten notes on White House meetings; documents on nuclear disarmament and the Test Ban Treaty; information on the Berlin crisis and its negotiations of the early 1960’s; German reunification; Laos, NATO and military stabilization; as well as his trip-files to Germany and to India and Pakistan.

The collections are available for research use in the Library’s Research Room. The hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and appointments may be made by calling (617) 514-1629.

Materials housed at the John F. Kennedy Library have come to the Library through two routes. First, as Federal records which come from executive departments, commissions and committees of the Federal government. Access to these materials is controlled by the originating agency. In addition, many of these materials contain national security classified information, which under laws and executive orders must be reviewed by the appropriate agency for possible declassification. Some of the materials, such as civil rights cases or litigation, also have privacy restrictions.

Second, as personal papers, which come from individuals under deeds of gift and deposit agreements negotiated between the National Archives and the donor or his/her heirs. These materials, called “donated historical materials,” comprise the bulk of the Library’s holdings. Deeds of gift and deposit agreements cover the administration of the collections as well as the title, literary rights, and any restrictions requested by the donor or necessitated by the nature of the materials. Many donors retain literary rights and/or restrict personal financial or medical information. A review of personal papers for national security classified information also sometimes occurs depending upon the nature of the papers themselves. The Library’s holdings currently include 246 personal papers collections, of which 175 are open fully or in part for research use.

To document the life and career of President Kennedy and to provide insight into people, events, and issues of mid-20th century American history, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum collects, preserves and makes available for research the documents, audiovisual material and memorabilia of President Kennedy, his family, and his contemporaries. The Library's Archives includes 48 million pages of documents from the collections of 340 individuals, organizations, or government agencies; oral history interviews with 1,300 people; and more than 30,000 books. The Audiovisual Archives administers collections of more than 200,000 still photographs, 7,550,000 feet of motion picture film, 1,200 hours of video recordings, over 7,000 hours of audio recordings and 500 original editorial cartoons.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.