FG 11 (Department of State) (White House Central Files: Subject Files)

Scope and Content Note

Subject file category FG 11 contains material relating to the Department of State and its subordinate offices. The State Department is the oldest Federal government executive department. A predecessor agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, was established in 1781. In 1789 the Department was reorganized, expanded, and given the name of Department of State. During Richard M. Nixon's administration the primary subordinate offices of the Department of State were the Agency for International Development (AID) and the United States Mission to the United Nations. Although FG 11 includes file subcategories for AID and the Peace Corps, the White House Central Files placed documents relating to the United Nations Mission in the International Organizations (IT) category.

Principal correspondents in the FG 11 category include the President and those White House staff members whose areas of responsibility included foreign relations, trade and other international economic issues, or general personnel and administrative functions of executive branch agencies: Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Brent G. Scowcroft, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, John D. Ehrlichman, Peter Flanigan, Herbert Klein, Daniel P. Moynihan, and Bryce Harlow. Within the Department of State principal correspondents are William P. Rogers, Henry A. Kissinger (after his succession to the post of Secretary of State), State Department Executive Secretary Theodore L. Elliot, William J. Casey, Joseph Blatchford, John A. Hannah, Frances Knight, and Emil Mosbacher. Outside the U.S. Government, correspondents include heads of state and foreign officials such as Chou En-lai, Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and Leonid Brezhnev, although it should be noted that their correspondence is mostly in the form of formal congratulatory messages and constitutes only a small percentage of the files. Most of the non-Government correspondents in these files are U.S. private citizens.

The terms Executive and General precede each of the FG 11 file designations. These terms were used by the White House Central Files to indicate separation of documents according to source. Executive items include communications among national, foreign, state and local governments and their agencies, members of Congress, and selected prominent correspondents. General items designate communications between Government officials and private citizens, institutions, and private interest groups, including petitions sent by members of the general public. Where "/A" follows a numeric file designation, it indicates files relating to appointments, nominations, and resignations.

The FG 11 files primarily contain letters and memoranda, either originals, carbons, or electrostatic copies. These include transmittal letters for messages, Executive Orders and reports. Some reports and telegrams/cables are also found in the files. There are occasional newspaper and magazine clippings, usually sent in by members of the general public. These clippings have been withdrawn for preservation reasons and replaced by electrostatic copies of the same. White House cross reference cards are also interspersed throughout the files. When a document included several subjects or could be requested under several similar or overlapping file categories, the White House Central Files placed cross reference notations on the document.

Some of the related subject categories cross-referenced with FG 11 include:

CF FG 6-11 White House Central Files: Subject Files, Confidential Files: Department of State

CF FG 6-11-1/Flanigan, Peter White House Central Files: Subject Files, Confidential Files

CF FG 6-11-1/Kissinger, Henry White House Central Files: Subject Files, Confidential Files

CO Countries


FO Foreign Affairs

IT International Organizations

ND National Security-Defense

OS Outer Space

TA Trade


Materials filed in the FG 11 category cover activities of the Department of State generally and the Office of the Secretary specifically. Included in the Executive files are areas handled by most executive branch departments: scheduling and meetings; personnel matters, including recommendations for hiring and appointments, and performance appraisals and grievance matters; and the transmittal of messages and proclamations. The files also reflect functions specific to the State Department: the issuance of official government passports; coordination of visits by foreign leaders; announcement of deaths of present and former heads of state, with handling of subsequent condolence messages (included are Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, David Ben-Gurion, and Lester Pearson); international negotiations in areas such as civil aviation, textile and trade matters, and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks; ambassadorial appointments and comments on the performance of ambassadors in their posts; coordination of foreign travel and cultural exchange, such as the soccer match between the Baltimore Bays and the Moscow Dynamos and goodwill trips by the Apollo astronauts and entertainers such as Pearl Bailey; and issuance of annual foreign policy reports. (As foreign policy coordination was a particular area of conflict between the White House and the State Department during the Nixon administration, it is interesting to note the existence of a decisionmaking flow chart in Box 8.) In addition to functional areas the FG 11 files also include issue-oriented correspondence on: the Vietnam war, including prisoners of war; Mideast policy; foreign aid; Okinawa Reversion Treaty; Soviet Jewry and emigration issues, including the Jackson-Vanik Amendment; international drug traffic; and the worldwide energy crisis. Specific incidents covered in the files include the 1973 killing of the diplomatic hostages in Khartoum, and the Cyprus coup.

Although most of the material on Presidential trips abroad is filed in the TR (Trips) category, FG 11 does include some peripheral material on the President's 1969 trip to Europe, 1972 trip to the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, Mrs. Nixon's trip to Africa in January 1972, and Robert Finch's trip to Latin America in November 1971.

The General-designated files within FG 11 reflect many of the same foreign policy issues found in the Executive files, with the addition of public inquiries regarding allegations against Henry A. Kissinger, and about the Otto Otepka case.


Items reflect the handling of AID responsibility in specific areas such as Southeast Asia, Vietnamese war orphans, December 1972 Nicaraguan earthquake relief. Some allegations regarding the handling of programs are also included in unsolicited incoming correspondence. There is also general discussion of revision of the agency and its programs.


This small subcategory is made up primarily of files dealing with administrative matters.


Items dealing with the Peace Corps organization were filed in this category until January 1971, when the Corps was absorbed by the new umbrella agency, ACTION. Post-July 1971 items are filed in the FG 325-1 category. Specific information on Peace Corps programs is found in file category PC-5. In addition to reflecting agency restructuring plans, items in FG 11-6 cover rethinking use of Peace Corps volunteers to reflect changing conditions in the world; utilization of the skills of returning volunteers; and the treatment of Peace Corps deferment cases by Selective Service boards. Included also are anti-Vietnam war petitions signed by Peace Corps volunteers.


Items reflect responsibilities in scheduling; handling visiting foreign dignitaries; the composition of U.S. delegations for representation abroad at events such as state funerals and inaugurations; handling of presidential gifts; and use of the presidential yacht and other seagoing craft.


Files reflect questions dealing with the issuance of passports; the functions and budget of the Passport Office, including conflicts between the Passport Office and other State Department offices; and public opinion mail on State Department security risks in general and the Otto Otepka case in particular.


This small file subcategory covers mainly administrative matters, with very little in the program area except for one item about commercial services.

Folder Title List

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