Office of the Chief of Staff: Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff, 1981-1985

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This collection is available in whole for research use. Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.



Cicconi’s files consists of six series, the first of which is divided into three subseries.


SUBSERIES A: Memos to Staff, 1981-1985 (1.1 l.ft., Boxes 1-3)

This subseries contains chronologically arranged memos from Cicconi to others on the White House staff, plus background and supporting materials. Many of the memos from 1981-1983 are the originals that Cicconi wrote to James Baker or Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver, which were returned to Cicconi with comments after Baker or Deaver had read them. (For 1984-85 memos specifically for James Baker, see Subseries B) Topics include: administrative issues, such as White House staff organization and the scheduling of Senior Staff meetings; personnel matters, including recommendations for positions; the work of Federal agencies and departments, the Cabinet Councils, and the Judicial Selection Committee; Reagan Administration outreach to minorities and other constituent groups; economic policy (including tax and budget policy); the state of the US economy; agricultural policy; and trade policy.

SUBSERIES B: Memos to James Baker, 1984-1985 (0.3 l.ft., Box 4)

This subseries is a continuation of Subseries A for 1984-1985, but contains chronologically arranged memos from Cicconi to James Baker only. Cicconi received these memos back for filing after Baker had read them. Many were written to update Baker on the work of the Cabinet Councils, White House offices, and other Executive Branch bodies. Others pertain to White House personnel and scheduling matters, or to some of the issues reflected in Cicconi’s Subject File (Series II). Many memos contain handwritten comments from Baker recommending follow-up action. For January 1985, there are also copies of outgoing Baker letters pertaining to memos that he received.

SUBSERIES C: Offices and Staff People, 1981-1983 (0.9 l.ft., Boxes 4-5)

This subseries contains memos to and from White House offices and staff people, and other material documenting issues handled by the various parts of the White House and Executive Branch. Most material was initially to or from James Baker, and was forwarded to Cicconi for filing or further action. A few memos predate Cicconi’s arrival in the White House, and a few are copies of outgoing Baker memos. After December 1983, these sorts of materials were filed differently in Cicconi’s office and can now be found in the Subject File (Series II). This material is arranged alphabetically by office or staff person.

II. SUBJECT FILE, 1981-1985 (4.3 l.ft., Boxes 5-15)

This series contains alphabetically arranged folders pertaining to many of the issues, persons, White House Office units, and organizations that Cicconi, Baker, and others in the Office of Chief of Staff dealt with directly. The series contains copies of some of the memos in Cicconi’s Memorandum Files (Series I). Many documents in this series were initially sent to Baker, and were forwarded to Cicconi for filing or further action. Some documents predate Cicconi’s time on the White House staff.

The series includes material pertaining to: the Wilson Center; the Washington Education Project (a private program allowing college students to receive credit by tutoring); the Working Group on Southwestern Border States; relations with constituent groups (Armenian-Americans, blacks, Hispanics, European ethnics, organized labor, evangelicals, senior citizens, women); the 1984 World Population Conference; the investigation of the Environmental Protection Agency; the closing of the Fort Chaffee detention center for Cuban refugees; the drafting of a new Executive Order on intelligence; the Federal Communications Commission; policy toward the homeless; regulatory reform; gun and ammunition control; civil rights; proposed revisions to the criminal code; the proposed balanced budget amendment; education; enterprise zones; industrial policy; acid rain; the air traffic controller’s strike; product liability; the steel and textile industries; civil rights; tuition tax credits; a few personnel matters, including some 1984 judicial selection material; material from a few Cabinet and Cabinet Council meetings (background papers, scheduling materials, and meeting notes); and some James Baker speeches.

III. SENIOR STAFF MEETING FILE, 1981-1985 (2.2 l.ft., Boxes 15-20)

This series contains chronologically arranged materials pertaining to meetings of the White House Senior Staff, and breakfast meetings held by the leadership “Troika” of James Baker III, Edwin Meese III, and Michael Deaver. Although Cicconi was not a member of the Senior Staff, and did not join the White House staff until November 1981, it appears that this series was maintained in his files once he joined the staff.

During President Reagan’s first term, the senior staff consisted of: the “Troika” of Meese, Baker, and Deaver; the “Assistants to the President,” who directly oversaw the various units within the White House Office; the Vice President’s Chief of Staff; the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA); and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). However, many others attended Senior Staff meetings, often as substitutes for one of the meeting principals.

For all four years of this series, there are lists of “action items” for Senior Staff discussion, along with meeting agendas. The action items lists often have handwritten notes that James Baker apparently took during the meetings. In addition, the files from 1981 include copies of some of the President’s and Vice President’s daily schedules, copies of some monthly Presidential block schedules, and memos and published articles pertaining to some of the discussion items. The files for 1982 are divided into a set of action items lists and a set of agendas, and contain little material beyond these two types of documents. Beginning in 1983 the agendas and action items were filed together again, and an occasional Presidential daily schedule was included in the file. In late 1983, a separate section was added to the action items list for handwritten notes that Baker apparently took while meeting with President Reagan after the Senior Staff meetings.

During the Independent Counsel investigation of Franklyn (Lyn) Nofziger in 1987-1988, the White House Counsel’s office attached self-stick notes (“Post-it Notes”) to documents in this series that were deemed relevant to the Independent Counsel’s requests for records. Photocopies of these documents were supplied to the Independent Counsel.

IV. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE FILE, 1981-1985 (0.7 l.ft., Boxes 20‑22)

This series consists of correspondence with people not in the White House Office, including members of the public, members of Congress, and federal agency staff. Many of the correspondents were Texas acquaintances of Cicconi or Baker. Cicconi responded to some correspondents, including some that had written to Baker, with a letter or phone call. Other correspondents received a written response from Baker. Still other correspondence was forwarded to a federal agency, or filed without further action. Many correspondents wrote to recommend either themselves or someone they knew for a position in the White House. Many also offered their views on issues of the day.

Most of the material is divided into four chronological sets (1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984-1985), each of which is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. There are also two other sets of materials from 1981-1983: a folder of correspondence involving Cicconi’s predecessor in the Chief of Staff office, Frank Hodsoll, and an alphabetically arranged file of

Baker correspondence. Since there is also Baker correspondence in the rest of the General Correspondence File, it is not clear why this material was maintained separately.

A copy of a response letter from Cicconi is attached to most of the incoming material from 1984-1985 and some of the material from 1981-1982.

V. AGENCY FILE, 1981-1983 (0.6 l.ft., Boxes 22-23)

This series contains material pertaining to cabinet departments and other selected Federal agencies, including correspondence from agency staff to Cicconi, Baker, and others in the White House. A large percentage pertains to Texas state officials or issues directly impacting Texas. This material is arranged alphabetically by agency/department.

VI. TELEPHONE LOGS, September 1983-January 1985 (0.3 l.ft., Boxes 23-24)

These daily phone logs include the names and telephone numbers of callers, the times calls were received, and remarks regarding the calls. There are also some remarks regarding follow-up work, including Cicconi responses to the callers. Some logs are on a form titled “Daily Phone Log for James A. Baker III,” but all the calls appear to be to Cicconi (via his secretary). This material is arranged chronologically.


Last Updated: 03/21/2023 08:39PM

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