Desmond J. Barker, Jr. (White House Special Files: Staff Member and Office Files)

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The Presidential historical materials of Desmond J. Barker, Jr., Special Assistant to the President, 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 and nonhistorical items; none were found.

Materials covered by the act have been archivally processed and are described in this register. There were no documents found which were security classified; those otherwise restricted under the act and regulations have been removed and placed in a closed file. A Document Withdrawal Record (GSA Form 7279 or NA Form 14021) with a description of each restricted item has been inserted at the beginning of the 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 A Document Control Record marks the original position of the withdrawn item.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:   1 linear foot, 9 linear inches
  • Approximate number of pages:   2400

Preservation Note

Holdings maintenance was performed on the collection in October 2011 in order to ensure the longevity of the documents. In some instances, the previous number of folders and/or boxes in a collection may have been increased. This finding aid has been updated to reflect any changes. The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Biographical Note

Desmond James Barker, Jr., was born on October 8, 1926 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In 1954, he became a radio program director at KCPX in Salt Lake City. He then joined the W.S. Adamson and Associates advertising and public relations firm in 1957 and married Marilyn Conover the following year. In 1961, Barker founded his own advertising and public relations firm called the Des Barker Agency. The firm gained a partner and Barker became President of the Barker and Jorgensen agency in 1970.

On July 23, 1971, Barker began his job as a deputy to White House Counsel Charles Colson. His role was primarily that of domestic communications liason with the job title of Special Assistant to the President. He resigned from his job on the White House staff in January 1973 and returned to his agency in Salt Lake City.

In 1976, Barker sought nomination as the Republican candidate for the United States Senate but lost to Orrin Hatch who was elected to the Senate. Barker served as the 1981 Chair of the Salt Lake Chamber, which is Utah’s oldest business association.

Scope and Content Note

The materials of Desmond J. Barker, Jr., cover the period from July 1971 to January 1973. During that time he was Charles W. Colson's deputy on the President's personal staff, serving as a Special Assistant to the President. Barker was a mid-level administrative officer with responsibility for domestic communications liaison; he coordinated the public information activities of the Executive Departments with those of the White House Communications Office. Under Colson's guidance, it was his principal duty to supervise the White House News Planning Calendar, directing the planning and scheduling of the Administration's news activities.

The subject matter of this file group reflects his responsibilities. There are memoranda, letters, news clippings, schedules, notes, personnel lists, public statements, and press announcements relating to the coordination of the White House and the various departments concerning news releases about new or ongoing federal programs; the economy; natural disasters of a major, national scale; labor problems and legislation; the news media; leaders of political opposition and campaigns; and international agreements.

Series Description

Boxes:   1-4
Series:   Alphabetical Subject Files
Spans:   1971 - 1973
Description:   Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence, 1971-1973
Tissue and electrostatic copies of memoranda and letters. Folders arranged alphabetically by subject and materials therein chronologically.

Memoranda by Origin, 1971-1973. Originals and copies of memoranda, letters, name lists, and some telegrams. Arranged chronologically.