Mr. Blackwell joined the Office of Public Liaison in February 1981 as a special assistant responsible for veterans, fraternal organizations, Native Americans, religious affairs, and limited government organizations. His general responsibilities were to facilitate communication between these groups and the White House, and raise support on various White House policies and initiatives. He served as liaison to Native American groups until February 1983, when this function was transferred from the White House Office of Public Liaison to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (Rick Neal). After Jack Burgess left the White House in March 1983, Blackwell took over his Roman Catholic portfolio. Blackwell continued to work on Catholic outreach even after Robert Reilly was appointed as the main Catholic liaison in October 1983 (see also the Linas Kojelis collection).
Blackwell was the original White House coordinator for the Central America Outreach Working Group. The Library has maintained the entire set of meeting files within the Robert Reilly collection and these files contain work product for Blackwell for the time period May 1983-October 1983. Folders on briefings given by the group and other information about this Working Group from May 1983-October 1983 are still maintained in the Blackwell collection within a specific series on Central America.
The collection is arranged into six series: SERIES I: Subject File; SERIES II: American Indian Liaison; SERIES III: Religion Liaison; SERIES IV: Veteran’s Liaison; SERIES V: Central America, 1983; SERIES VI: Correspondence, June 1982-February 1984.
The Subject File pertain to issues and organizations regarding topics such as defense, family planning, economic recovery, abolishment of the Department of Education, school desegregation, and testimonies from David Stockman on a proposed balanced budget constitutional amendment, and William French Smith on a proposed federal criminal code. The files are arranged alphabetically.
The American Indian Liaison series consists of correspondence, annual reports, brochures, directories, and articles on Indian resource and economic development, input of Indian leadership on Administration policies, business investments on Indian reservations, “Red Jacket” medals, unemployment, housing, and education. The files are arranged alphabetically.
The Religion Liaison series consists of correspondence, articles, and lists on topics such as religious school tax exemption, school prayer, family planning, grassroots organizations, tuition tax credit, Bob Jones University, and a National Day of Prayer. The files are arranged alphabetically.
The Veteran’s Liaison series consists of congressional testimonies, correspondence regarding defense budget estimates, arms control and disarmament, Pershing Hall, and retirement benefits. The files are arranged alphabetically.
The Central America series consists of invitations, organizational lists, and correspondence regarding El Salvador, Nicaragua, the establishment of the Kissinger Commission, the report of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, and White House Digest drafts. The files are arranged alphabetically.
The Correspondence series consists of letters and memorandums regarding weekly reports, meeting schedules, request for speakers, presidential messages, invitations, thank you letters, and administrative matters. The files are arranged chronologically.
Last Updated: 10/27/2020 09:53PM