FG 23 (Department of Health, Education, and Welfare) (White House Central Files: Subject Files)

Scope and Content Note

Filed under the category FG (Federal Government-Organization) are materials pertaining to matters such as establishment, disestablishment, organization, reorganization, audits, inspections, investigations, locations, relocations, regulations, reports, appointments and endorsements to top positions.

Subject file category FG 23 materials pertain to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) and its subordinate offices. The Department was created in 1953 as a successor agency to the Federal Security Agency, and was itself, succeeded in 1979 by the Department of Health and Human Services. The principal correspondents are the President and White House staff members such as John Ehrlichman, Kenneth Cole, Robert Finch and Daniel P. Moynihan, among many others, whose responsibilities included DHEW. Other main correspondents are Department executives including consecutive secretaries Robert H. Finch (1969-70), Elliot L. Richardson (1970-73), and Casper Weinberger (1973-75); Commissioner of Education, James E. Allen; consecutive Surgeon Generals, William H. Stewart and Jesse L. Steinfeld; NIH Director, and Robert Marston. The Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Robert Mayo; Members of Congress; state and local officials; and private citizens are also frequent correspondents.

The terms Executive and General used before the code FG 23 and all subdivisions thereunder generally determine the source of the materials thus coded. Items designated Executive are communications among national, foreign, and state and local governments and their agencies, Members of Congress, and other prominent people. Items designated General are communications between Government officials and private citizens, institutions and other private interests. The topics filed under each category are generally similar.

The types of materials filed under FG 23 are original incoming letters and memoranda; carbons and electrostatic copies of outgoing letters and memoranda; transmittal letters and memoranda for correspondence, reports and other items; telegrams; printed materials such as reports, brochures, and magazine reprints; preservation copies of newspaper and magazine clippings; and cross references to other file subjects.

Related materials may be found in White House Central Files subject categories as follows:

ED Education

FG 6-3 Council of Economic Advisers

FG 6-7 Office of Economic Opportunity

FG 6-11-1/Burns, Arthur Burns, Arthur

FG 6-11-1/Cole, Kenneth Cole, Kenneth

FG 6-11-1/Moynihan, Daniel P. Moynihan, Daniel P.

FG 6-12 Council for Urban Affairs

FG 221 Task Forces

FG 999 Proposed Departments and Agencies

HE Health

WE Welfare


Materials filed under FG 23 pertain to activity at the level of the Office the Secretary. Documented are budget, personnel and administrative activities concerning meetings, public relations, legislation, testimony before Congressional hearings, specific programs and reports. Included among the latter are various annual reports to Congress as required by law, and special reports and studies by task force and advisory groups.

Frequent topics in the files include, among others, the Family Assistance Plan (FAP), Head Start and various awards and grants programs; Social Security and education benefits; welfare reform; the creation of a National Institute of Education and of a separate Department of Health; the impact of Government reorganization upon DHEW; the use of DHEW facilities by employee anti-war groups; DHEW scientists with alleged Communist contacts; school desegregation; drug abuse; Medicare; neighborhood mental health centers; voluntary action; and the conquest of cancer.

Subordinate offices of DHEW for which there are file sub-categories are reflected in the attached folder title list. Descriptions of selected sub-categories follow.


This category concerns the staffing of the Air Quality Board, and includes such topics as low-pollution motor vehicles, and Congressional testimony by DHUD Secretary George Romney about housing.


Items in this category concern the Office of Education's budget, personnel, goals, and programs. Some of the numerous topics include the dismissal of Commissioner James Allen; programs affecting Spanish and other ethnic groups; Head Start; Presidential scholars program; education research and development; student loans; school desegregation; and the National Institute of Education.


In addition to typical administrative activities, topics include, among others, repeal of the Tea Import Act of 1897; termination of the Board of Tea Testers; fish protein concentration; recall of mercury contaminated swordfish; product safety; child protection and toy safety; Bon Vivant soup products; laetrile as a cure for cancer; and dietary supplements.


The transmission of annual reports; health and safety legislation; anti-drug abuse and anti-smoking campaigns; Public Health Services (PHS) facilities and programs; mental health care; post-graduate physician training programs; and the PHS Commissioned Corps are among the topics in this file category.


Topics representative of these files include various grant programs; medical research budgets and training programs; national health insurance; cancer research; the conversion of Ft. Detrick, Md. from an Army facility to a cancer research facility; activities of the individual institutes within NIH; Federal mental health programs; and employee anti-war activities.


Mandatory retirement at age seventy; supplemental income for the aged, blind and disabled; medicare claims; cost estimates for the Family Assistance Plan; sites for new buildings; and a proposed study of the economic impact of social security are among the topics in this category.

Folder Title List

Not yet available online