The Library currently does not have a Richard Allen presidential records collection.

This collection is available partially for research use. Some open folders may still have withdrawn material due to Mr. Allen's deed of gift for this material.  Most common closures are for national security and/or personal privacy.

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Richard Vincent Allen (1936- ) is a foreign policy expert and scholar. He has served as advisor for presidents and was appointed the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs by President Reagan serving 1981-January 1982.

Allen was born in Collingswood, New Jersey. He graduated from Saint Francis Preparatory School in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. Allen then received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Notre Dame. His M.A. from Notre Dame is in political science.

Allen worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from 1962 to 1966. He was then a senior staff member of the Hoover Institution from 1966 to 1968, leaving to become a foreign policy coordinator for presidential candidate Richard Nixon and serving twice in the Nixon White House. He was then Ronald Reagan's chief foreign policy advisor from 1977 to 1980, before being appointed as Reagan's first National Security Advisor.

Allen's tenure as National Security Advisor to President Reagan and head of the National Security Council lasted one year. During that year the United States was in a difficult relationship with the Soviet Union and recovering from the aftermath of the Iranian hostage taking crisis. The hostages were released on Inauguration Day 1981.

Ronald Reagan had long been an advocate of tough stances regarding the Soviet Union.  The administration was pressuring the Soviet on all sides - to leave Afghanistan, to stop interfering in Central America and Africa, and persuading allies not to provide financing or parts for the planned Soviet Union to Europe gas pipeline. The year also included the declaration of martial law in Poland and worries that the Soviets might interfere there militarily to shut down the "Solidarity" labor movement.

In September 1981, it was discovered Allen had made some questionable transactions with journalists early in the Reagan Administration. Allen came into possession of a $1,000 gratuity paid in cash from a Japanese magazine, intended for Nancy Reagan in exchange for an interview she had given.  He explained he handed the money to his secretary and she placed the money in a White House safe. Allen then reportedly forgot about it.  It was belatedly discovered that around the same time, Allen had accepted three expensive watches as personal gifts from Japanese friends who were high-level government consultants. The first investigation of Allen's actions was conducted by the FBI in  late September 1981 and no charges were filed against Allen.

Continued press interest in the issue resulted in an additional investigation conducted by the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in late November 1981 and resulted in an additional report on December 7, 1981. Despite the release of this report, public questions and media interest still continued. Finally, the President asked White House Counsel Fred Fielding to conduct an internal ethics violation investigation of the transactions. The White House Counsel's Office issued a report on January 3, 1982. Although Allen was never officially charged with any wrong-doing, he was forced to resign after the investigation ended.

Richard Allen is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, and a member of The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center Advisory Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the United States Defense Policy Board, the American Alternative Foundation, and the Untied States National Security Advisory Group. He also serves on the advisory council of the Nixon Center.

Allen is president of the Richard V. Allen Company, a Washington-based consulting services firm. He provides consulting services to international companies and organizations He currently serves on the APCO Worldwide's Iraq reconstruction task force and is considered one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington for South Korean interests. 

Richard Allen is also a fellow of St. Margaret's College, University of Otago, one of New Zealand's most prestigious residential colleges.



Collection Description

Scope Note

Probably the most momentous event of Richard Allen's year as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan was the assassination attempt on Reagan on March 30, 1981. Allen was part of the core team in the White House Situation room on that day monitoring the situation, following the status of the President's condition, the whereabouts of the Vice President, the question of invoking the 25th Amendment, and all other details fro that day.

Allen recorded events in the White House Situation Room on March 30, 1981. He has donated the tapes and disks to the Reagan Library as an oral history of this historic day. The material within the collection includes the tapes themselves, notes of Richard Allen, digital disk transfers from the audio tapes and transcripts of the tapes Currently the transcripts are open for research use and are digitized and available on our website. The collection consists of a single box. All audio-visual material is stored the Library's audio-visual storage area for preservation purposes.

Last Updated: 03/05/2021 09:34PM

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