Gordon C. Strachan (White House Special Files: Staff Member and Office Files)

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The Presidential historical materials of Gordon C. Strachan, Staff Assistant to the Director of Communications for the Executive Branch, 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 (P. L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695) and implementing regulations. In accordance with the act and regulations, archivists reviewed the file group to identify personal and private materials as well as nonhistorical items. These materials have been returned to Strachan.

Materials covered by the act have been archivally processed and described in this register. Items which are security classified or otherwise restricted under the act and regulations have been removed and placed in a closed file. A document withdrawal Record (GSA Form 7279) with a description of each restricted document has been inserted at the beginning of each folder from which material has been removed. A document Control Record marks the original position of the withdrawn item.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 restriction. Certain Classified documents may be declassified under the authority of Executive Order 13526 in response to a Mandatory Review Request (NA Form 14020) submitted by the researcher.

  • Linear feet of materials:   7.5
Biographical Note

1943 July 24 Born in Berkeley, California

1965 B.A., University of Southern California in international relations

1968 J.D., University of California Law School , Berkeley

1968-1970 Associate Attorney with the law firm of Mudge, Rose Guthrie & Alexander, New York City

1969-1970 Intermittent advance man in midterm congressional campaign

1970 August Staff Assistant to Herbert G. Klein, Director of Communications for the Executive Branch

1971 March-1972 Staff Assistant to H.R. Haldeman, acting as liaison with the Committee to Re-elect the President

1972-1973 General Counsel, United States Information Agency

1973 July Testified under grant of limited immunity before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Ervin Committee)

1974 March 1 Indicted by grand jury for conspiracy to cover up Watergate and "other illegal activities"

1975 June 10 All charges dropped by U.S. District Judge John Sirica

1975-? Law Clerk with the law firm of Burman & Giauque, Salt Lake City, Utah. In January 1977 the Utah tate bar restored his license to practice law and joined the firm as a lawyer

1982-? Partner with the law firm of Prince, Yeates & Geldzahler, Salt Lake City, Utah

Scope and Content Note

Gordon C. Strachan, a California-born lawyer in Nixon's old New York law firm, came to Washington in August 1970 to join the Nixon White House staff. His former college classmate, Dwight L. Chapin, who was the President's appointments secretary, recruited Strachan for a White House position. Strachan was, however, already acquainted with several Nixon aides from his college days at the University of Southern California and from his intermittent advance work during the 1970 congressional campaigns.

His first assignment at the White House was staff assistant to Herbert G. Klein, Director of Communications for the Executive Branch. It seemed he was filling a vacancy on Klein's staff that was created by the departure of James Hogue. There is in Strachan's files two folders of what appear to be Hogue's chronological files for the period March-July 1970. Although Strachan was hired as a staff assistant to Klein, he worked primarily under the supervision of Jeb S. Magruder, deputy director of communications, who reported directly to Klein and White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman.

Strachan's most important daily assignment was overseeing the liaison work with the public information officers at various departments and agencies. Strachan personally handled liaison with departments of Commerce and Labor, Office of Economic Opportunity, and Peace Corps. Although he had been initially assigned responsibilities with the offices of Emergency Preparedness, Army Corps of Engineers, Nixon's science adviser Lee A. DuBridge, and those promoting voluntary service, his file folders on these topics are empty. The liaison work required daily contact with the appropriate public information officers, and in some instances Strachan was expected to maintain morning and afternoon telephone contacts with particular departments and agencies. Strachan's handwritten notes indicate the extent of these daily contacts. He was also required to prepare weekly and monthly reports on the activities of his assigned departments and agencies.

Although Strachan had functional duties as staff assistant in the communications office, he had been initially recruited to be what was called project manager. In his testimony before the Ervin Committee, Strachan described the specialized duties of a project manager. Specific issues of varying degrees of importance to the administration were assigned to one senior White House staffer and one junior staff member to devise the best strategy for communicating to the public various Presidential and administration activities or programs. For example, during the 1970 midterm elections the state of the economy became a major campaign issue. Strachan and White House speech writer William L. Safire were assigned to the economy issue as a project–Strachan as the junior staff assistant and Safire as the senior person. They reported to Haldeman through Magruder on the alleged high cost of congressional spending. The titles of the folders in Strachan's files indicate the topics of other projects on which he worked: Vietnam, State of the Union address, B-52 casualty figures, Honor America Day, SST, inflation, polling, the Indian occupation of Alcatraz, Presidential vetoes, political advertising, and selected legislation.

As a project manager, it was Strachan's responsibility to develop so-called game plans for a particular event or issue from all the ideas furnished by interested staffers or offices. The general format of these tentative plans included a description of the event or issue, the desired objective, and a proposed course of action. Strachan would thus outline the possible steps the administration might take in dealing with a particular event or issue, and then, using the game plan as a working document, prepare a follow-up memorandum based on his annotations to the original game plan. In addition to this, it was his responsibility as the project manager to make certain that the plan was carried out as agreed by Haldeman and other senior staffers.

Strachan's files also revealed his involvement in the mailings operation which the communications office was becoming increasingly more active. Klein and his staff felt a need to improve the dissemination of information from the White House to the public, because they realized not every news organization could afford to maintain a correspondent in Washington nor belong to one of the major wire services. Consequently, the communications office began to mail out fact sheets or background materials on specific issues to editorial writers, publishers, news media directors, and other influential groups for their use. As the operation began to expand in size and scope, the staff realized that it could not be handled within the White House and so turned to the Republican National Committee (RNC) for assistance. To insure the proper coordination between the White House and RNC, Strachan was assigned the task of liaison. He made certain that the lists were periodically updated and that the most effective groups received a complete set of mail listings. Strachan was also instrumental in expanding the mailings list to include select groups of individual voters, such as blue-collar workers, educators, farmers, and various ethnic groups. Although the content of the mailings varied greatly, the objective remained always the same–to foster and mold public opinion in support of the President and his policies and programs.

An offshoot to the mailings operation was a letters-to-the-editor project. Under Magruder's guidance, a White House letter-writing campaign was established around single issues, such as law and order, media bias, welfare reform, campus violence, integration, select legistation, and political candidates. Since the RNC had the facilities and ample manpower to handle the details, it took on the job and supplied the writers and other support services for the White House. Strachan, acting as the White House Liaison, provided the proper supervisory coordination for the project.

Strachan worked for Klein until after the 1970 elections. Once these elections were concluded, key senior White House staff members immediately began to turn their attention to planning for the 1972 Presidential campaign. An indication of this shift in outlook was a reshuffling of personnel within the White House staff, and Strachan was one of those Nixon aides affected. By March 1971 he was working as a staff assistant on Haldeman's staff, handling all projects in the political area. Although Strachan told the Ervin Committee he worked in Klein's shop until the end of December 1970, his chronological files as a staff assistant to Klein end at the beginning of March 1971.

Other material related to Gordon Strachan are in Haldeman's Staff Member and Office Files within the White House Special Files. These files include, as a readily identifiable body of materials, Strachan's chronological files. These particular files, comprising 3.6 cubic feet, date from March 1971 to December 1972, when he left Haldeman's staff to assume the duties of general counsel at the United States Information Agency.

The materials are arranged into one series:

  1. Subject Files
Series Description

Boxes:   1-18
Series:   Subject Files
Spans:   1969 - 1971
Description:   Original, carbon, and electrostatic copies of incoming and outgoing memoranda, letters, handwritten notes, clippings, pamphlets, reports lists, diagrams, work drafts, speeches, and White House and departmental press releases. Subjects document his daily staff assignments as liaison with public information officers at his assigned departments and agencies, his specialized duties as project manager, and his White House liaison work with the Republican National Committee. Included are Strachan's chronological files for the period August 1970 to March 1971 as well as chronological files for the March-July 1970 period attributable to James H. Hogue, who immediately preceded him on Klein's staff. The arrangement is alphabetical by subject.

Folder Title List


Box 1

Anti-Ballistic Missiles
Action Memos
Administration Wives Briefing
Association of Military Surgeons Resolution
Baker, Senator Howard
Black Boycott
Blackmun Nomination
Blue Collar Worker
Bridgeport, Conn., Trip
California Census Figures
"52" Casualties
CBS Mexican Coverage
Budget For Fiscal Year 1972
Campaign Feedback 1970
Campaign Task Forces
Chicago File

Box 2

Chron File-August 1970
Chron File-September 1970
Chron File--October 1970
Chron File--November 1970
Chron File-- December 1970
Chron File--January 1971
Chron File--February 1971
Chron File-- March 1971
Clean Air Bill
Clean-up Campaign
Clifford, Clark
Communications Media
Computer Info
Consumer Information Series
Contacts in Cities

Box 3

Conversation with the President--1/4/70
Corrrespondence 1970
Correspondence--January 1971
Correspondence Folder--Strachan Personal
Council on Environmental Quality
Courier Service-Key Biscayne
Crime Task Force
Daily Notes (1 of 3)
Daily Notes (2 of 3)
Daily Notes (3 of 3)
Daily Reports--1969-1970
Daily Reports-1971

Box 4

Daily Reports--Army Engineers
Daily Reports--Commerce
Daily Reports--General
Daily Reports--Labor
Daily Reports--Office of Economic Opportunity
Daily Reports--Office of Emergency Preparedness
Daily Reports--Peace Corps
Daily Reports--PIOs
Daily Reports--Volunteerism
Daily Telephone Messages
[Delinquency Prevention]
Defense Cutbacks
Departmental Assignments
Departmental Films
Departmental News Events--1970
Departmental News Events--1971

Box 5

Desegregation Message
"Domestic Program"
District of Columbia Committee
Drug Conference
Economic Information Task Force
Economic Players
Economic Policies
Economic Taskforce
Economic Truth Squad
[Economic Briefings]
Eighteen-Year-Old Vote
[Employment Situation]
Executive Reorganization
Federal Economy Act
[Films to Promote Domestic Programs]
Financial Briefing Proposal
Financial Leaders
Financial Writers
Foreign Aid Message
Foreign Economic Policy
Foreign Policy Briefing-Chicago

Box 6

Foreign Policy Briefing--New Orleans
Harlow, Bryce
Hartford Briefing
[Health, Education,and Welfare]
Jim Hogue Memoranda (1 of 2 folders)

Box 7

Jim Hogue Memoranda (2 of 2 folders)
Honor America Day
[Independent Regulatory Agencies]
[Information Retrieval]
[Jobs for Veterans]
[Labor Force Survey]
[Law Enforcement Assistance Administration]
[Letters to the Editor of Life]
[Letters to the Editor of Newsweek]
[Letters to the President Project]
Letters to the Star
Henry Cabot Lodge
Mailing Material--Assignment and Chronology
Mailing Material--Buchanan Memo (S&W) Distribution
Mailing Material--Correspondence on Mailings
Mailing Material--Distribution of Economy Paper
Mailing Material--General Information
Mailing Material--President's Jaycee Speech, 6/25/70
Mailing Material--Mailings as Sent (1 of 2 folders)
Mailing Material--Mailings as Sent (2 of 2 folders)

Box 8

Mailing Material--Post-Election Mailing for Herbert G. Klein
Mailing Material--Presidential Letter and the Sidney Hook Article
Mailing Material-Request for Mailing
Mailing Material-CC Sulzberger's Article
Mailing Material--Weekly Reports
Manpower Bill
Earl Mazo
Meany's Toast and Newspaper Advertisements
[Memorandums for Record]
[Media Consultants]
[Media Report]
Memorandums Received
Memorandums Sent--1970 (1 of 3 folders)
Memorandums Sent--1970 (2 of 3 folders)
Memorandums Sent--1970 (3 of 3 folders)
Memorandums Sent--January 1971
Memorandums Sent--February 1971
Memorandums Sent--March 1971
Meyers, Rev. Robert N.

Box 9

Miscellaneous--Hatch Act
Miscellaneous--HRH Memo of July 8,1970
Miscellaneous--Newspapers, Top 100
Monday Reports (1 of 2 folders)
Monday Reports (2 of 2 folders)
Moser--GSA [General Services Administration]
Moynihan--A call for Coorporation
Moynihan's Valedictory Remarks
Muskie Column
[National Media Analysis, Inc.]
Nationalities--Administration Support Groups
News Schedules

Box 10

Newspaper Advertisements
Newspaper Advertisements Information
Newspaper Clippings
New York Times Opinion and Editorial Page
Nielsen Ratings-'72 Campaign
[Nixon Administration's First Years]
Office of Minority Business Enterprises
Office Procedures
[Office of Science and Technology]
[Oklahoma State University-"Discovery 71"]
Operation Christmas
Pageant for Peace--Advertisement
[Peace Corps and Office of Economic Opportunity]
The People Speak
News Summary Notations
Polls--Gallup Poll, 9/10/70
Polls--Harris Poll, Hogue
Presidential Documents
[Presidential Greetings]
[Presidential Press Conference]

Box 11

President's Press Conference, 12/10/70
President's Promises and Performance
President's Report on Vietnam
President's Speech-10/7/70
President's Speech-10/31, 1970
President's Phoenix Speech-10/31/70 Telegrams
Preisdent's Speech-12/4/70
Press Releases--Drafts (1 of 2 folders)
Press Releases-Drafts (2 of 2 folders)
Press Schedules
Price Fighter League (1 of 2 folders)
Price Fighter League (2 of 2 folders)
Prisoners of War Rescue Attempt
Project HOME RUN
[Program Project Managers]
Public Information Officers

Box 12

Quotable Quotes
[Regulations and Purchasing Review Board]
{RNC-Finance Committee Lists]
Republican National Committee--Computer Retrieval
Republican National Committee-General
[RNC-Important Lists]
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, June 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, July 20-31, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, September 7-25, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, October 2-30, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, November 2-December 4, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, December 14-30, 1970
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, January 4-29, 1971

Box 13

RNC-Letters to the Editor Project-February 1-7, 1971
RNC--Letters to Editor Project, February 8-12, 1971
RNC-Letters to the Editor Project, February 13-19, 1971
RNC-Monday [Magazine]-11/9/1970
[RNC Schedule of Events]
[Republican National Convention-1972]
Resumes-Jeremy Jones
Resumes--Ted Sell
Resumes--Robert Resor
Resumes--Duke Zeller
[Revenue Sharing]
Rhatican, Bill
[The Ribicoff Bill ("Forced Integration")]
Saturday Plans Meetings
Scranton Commission
Special Projects
Spenders Index
[Staff Liaison for Key States]
State Department
State Department Meeting, 12/1/70
State of the Union Message, 1971

Box 14

[Stein, Herbert]
Supersonic Transport
[Supplemental Economic and Military Assistance]
Talking Papers, Economy Fact Sheets and Speech Inserts
[Tell it To Hanoi Mailing]
[Television-Network News Coverage]
Television--Five Minute Spots
[Television-Domestic Program]
Travel Expenses
Two-Year Review
Unemployment Statistics
[Television-Network Briefings]
Television-Today Show
Television Rallies-Memo to Larry Higby
Television Requests-Snyder
United Nations Youth

Box 15

United States Information Agency
[Vice Presidential Staff]
[Vice Presidential Travel and Events]
[Wall Street Journal Article, 2/10/1971]
Wednesday Planning Group, September 24-December 31, 1969
Wednesday Planning Group, January 7-March 26, 1970
Wednesday Planning Group, April 1-November 25, 1970
[Weekly Casualties]
Weekly Departmental News Events
[Weekly Newspapers]
Weekly Report on Activities and Advance News
Weekly Report to the President, May 5-June 15, 1970
Weekly Report to the President, July 6-August 31,1970

Box 16

Weekly Report to the President, September 8-28, 1970
Weekly Report to the President, October 5-26, 1970
[White House-Action]
White House Budget
White House Conference on Children
White House Press Corps
[Year-End Budget]
Material to be Filed (1 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (2 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (3 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (4 of 4 folders)

Box 17

Material to be Filed (1 of 5 folders)
Material to be Filed (2 of 5 folders)
Material to be Filed (3 of 5 folders)
Material to be Filed (4 of 5 folders)
Material to be Filed (5 of 5 folders)

Box 18

Material to be Filed (1 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (2 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (3 of 4 folders)
Material to be Filed (4 of 4 folders)
Material to be Xeroxed