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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  May 2006, Week 5

ARCHIVES May 2006, Week 5

Subject:

Re: [declassification] was RAIN 060528 Vietnam Archive, Song Savers, Records Offline

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 30 May 2006 09:56:26 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (110 lines)

Interesting piece on the CBS website about security classification, 
reclassification, declassification.

Coincidentally, the National Security Archive just has posted on its 
website a vast number of Henry A. Kissinger's Vietnam era records that 
the government recently has declassified and released to the public.  
See
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/index.htm

The document that got the most press attention was the Memcon of HAK's 
meeting with Chou En-Lai on June 10. 1972, as the Vietnam War was 
ongoing.  This was the meeting at which President Nixon's national 
security advisor noted that the U.S. would accept a Communist 
government in South Vietnam.  See the Associated Press story. 
"Kissinger papers: U.S. OK with takeover,"  at
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060527/ap_on_go_ot/kissinger_papers_5 .  
The document itself is available at
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/HAK%206-20-72.pdf
and includes these remarks by HAK:

"We should find a way to end the war, to stop it from being an 
international situation, and then permit a situation to develop in 
which the future of Indochina can be returned to the Indochinese 
people.  And I can assure you that is is the only object we have in 
Indochina, and I do not believe this can be so different from yours.  
We want nothing for ourselves there.  And while we cannot bring a 
communist government to power, if, as a result of historical evolution 
it should happen over a period of time, if we can live with a communist 
government in China, we ougt to be able to accept it in Indochina."

So that's the one that caught the eyes of reporters, understandly.  But 
I'd like to draw your attention to another declassified document.  With 
the NARA reclassification controversy and other news stories, you all 
have read stories about overclassification, debate over whether the 
government sometimes improperly classifies material that never should 
have been stamped secret, etc.  NARA's Information Security Oversight 
Office has warned for years about "clear cut overclassification" etc.  
(See, for example, http://fas.org/sgp/isoo/isoo99.html, which notes 
potential damage to the credibility of the classification system from 
errors and misuse of classification authority.)  So, with that in mind, 
take a look as the formerly "Secret" document posted at
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB193/HAK-8--11-71.pdf .

This is an account of Dr. Kissinger's meeting with conservative opinion 
leaders in 1971.  Participants included the publisher of National 
Review, the editor of Human Events, etc.  Consider the following:  The 
document was marked "Secret" and the government spent the necessary 
resources to treat it as such in terms of storage and handling and 
finally to release it by going through the records declassification 
process.  But the memo recounts what Dr. Kissinger told "opinion 
leaders," people from outside government who were not cleared to hear 
or see national security classified information.  Therefore, Dr. 
Kissinger could not have told them anything that was classified or 
derivative of classified information!!  Why then was this document 
marked "Secret"?

The National Security Archive provides some background on the document, 
noting that the meeting took place at a time when some of Nixon's 
supporters were expressing dismay over the direction of some foreign 
policy initiatives.  Now take a look at the last paragraph.  Dr. 
Kissinger wrapped up the meeting by telling the publishers and opinion 
leaders that

"Our defense theory was not reflected in the Packard statement.  Your 
are right; you must judge us on our action.  I recognize your group and 
hope you know that we are listening.  I also hope that the worse 
criticism that you will have of us is that we haven't moved far enough 
in Defense matters.  I just hope you will stop yelling at us, and start 
yelling at our enemies.  I must say to this group that I have never 
spoken with this degree of candor before.  I must emphasize that none 
of these matters can appear either directly or indirectly in print.  
Please, you cannot discuss this with people."

Aha! An interesting illustrative item, for sure.

If you're interested in Vietnam era stuff, there are some other 
fascinating documents posted at the website I listed at the beginning 
of this posting, as well.

Maarja

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Kurilecz <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Mon, 29 May 2006 17:12:45 -0400
Subject: RAIN 060528 Vietnam Archive, Song Savers, Records Offline

<snip>
Top Secret 
CBS News - USA 
... from the files because it was embarrassing. There was no secret 
there.". 
In fact, National Archives officials say one third of the seized 
documents 
were removed ... 
<http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/28/sunday/main1662865.shtml> 
 

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