FG 150 (Interstate Commerce Commission) (White House Central Files: Subject Files)


These Presidential historical materials are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), and implementing regulations. In accordance with the act and regulations, archivists reviewed the file group to identify private or personal as well as non-historical items. Such items, if found, have been withdrawn for return to the individual with primary proprietary or commemorative interest in them.

Materials covered by this act have been archivally processed and are described in this finding aid. Items that are security classified or otherwise restricted under the act and regulations have been removed and placed in a closed file. A Document Withdrawal Record (NA Form 14021) has been placed in the front of each folder describing each withdrawn item. Employees of the National Archives will review periodically the unclassified portions of closed materials for the purpose of opening those which no longer require restrictions. Classified documents may be reviewed for declassification under authority of Executive Order 13526 in response to Mandatory Review Request (NA Form 14020) submitted by the researcher.

  • Linear measurement of materials:   12 in.
  • Number of pages:   3,029
Organizational Note

The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was created as an independent establishment by the act to regulate commerce of February 4, 1887 ( 24 Stat. 379, 383; 49 U.S.C. 1-22), now known as the Interstate Commerce Act. The Commission's authority has been strengthened and the scope of its jurisdiction has been broadened by subsequent legislation, such as the Hepburn Act, the Panama Canal Act, the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 and the Transportation Act of 1920, 1940 and 1958.

The ICC was created by Congress to regulate, carriers, subject to the Interstate Commerce Act, which are engaged in transportation of interstate commerce and foreign commerce to the extent, that it takes place within the United States. Surface transportation under the Commission's jurisdiction includes railroads, trucking companies, bus lines, freight forwarders, water carriers, oil pipelines, transportation brokers and express agencies. The regulatory laws vary with the type of transportation; however, they generally involve certification of carriers seeking to provide transportation for the public, rates, adequacy of service, purchases, and mergers. The ICC assures that the carriers it regulates will provide the public with rates and services that are fair and reasonable.

The Chairman is designated by the President from among the Commissioners. The Commissioners elect their own Vice Commissioners annually. The other nine Commissioners serve on one of the three divisions: Operating Rights (Division One); Rates, Tariffs and Valuation (Division Two); and Finance and Service (Division Three). The entire commission acts on matter of national transportation importance. The Commission may delegate certain duties and functions to individual Commissioners or to boards consisting of not less than three eligible employees. The three divisions function as appellate divisions for action on petitions for reconsideration or rehearing of decisions of divisions or boards of employees.

In broad terms and within prescribed legal limits, Commission regulation encompasses transportation economics and service.

In the transportation economics area, the Commission settles controversies over rates and charges among competing and like modes of transportation, shippers, and receivers of freight, passengers.

In the transportation service area, the Commission grants the right to operate to trucking companies, bus lines freight forwarders, water carriers, and transportation brokers. It approves applications to construct and abandon lines of railroad, and it rules upon discontinuances of passenger train service.

Consumer protection programs involve assuring that the public obtains full measure of all transportation services to which entitlement is guaranteed by the Interstate Commerce Act. This law ensures that rates will be fair and service will be reasonable. Discrimination, preferential treatment, or prejudicial actions by carriers are illegal and instances of such violations should be brought to the attention of the Commission at its headquarters or any field office.

The Regional Rail Reorganization act of 1973, created in early 1974, a Rail Services Planning Office to assure that public interest is represented in the restructuring and revitalization of railroads in the Northeast and Midwest. The Office was given permanent status by the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (90 Stat. 31; 45 U.S.C. 801 note). In addition to its other responsibilities, it provides planning support for the Commission.

Scope and Content Note

The records consist of correspondence and memorandums. Primary correspondents include White House staff Robert Ellsworth, John B. Brown III, Darrell Trent, Peter M. Flanigan, Jonathan Rose, and Robert J. Brown. Other correspondents including William H. Rehnquist, and Robert P. Mayo. There is also correspondence with Interstate Commerce Commission Chairmen Virginia Mae Brown and Donald L. Jackson.

The terms "Executive" [EX] and "General" [Gen] are used before the code FG 137 to identify the source of the materials within a specific file. The Files designated [EX] are communications between foreign, national, state and local governments and their agencies, Members of Congress and other prominent people. Files designated [Gen] are communication between government officers and private citizens, institutions and other private interests.

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