Kenneth L. Khachigian, Office of Speechwriting: Chief Speechwriter, 1981
Digital Library Collection
At 25 years of age, in January 1970, Khachigian joined the Nixon White House as part of the National Goals Research Staff, which had been established within the White House by Presidential Statement on July 13, 1969. In August 1970, he became the staff assistant to Herbert Klein, Director of Communications. He has self-described this work as, "Generating ideas as how best to communicate President Nixon’s goals and policies." It was a role he was to continue for President Reagan. In May of 1971, he transferred to Patrick Buchanan’s staff to work primarily on the 1972 re-election campaign. He worked within the White House and had close contacts with the Republican National Committee and the Committee for the Re-election of the President. Since he had been unofficially writing for anyone who needed a speech, article or position statement, he was eventually transferred in early 1973 to the President’s speechwriting staff, working under David Gergen. At the time of Nixon’s resignation, his official title was Deputy Special Assistant to the President. He stayed on at the White House past the resignation into the fall of 1974.
In 1980, he was brought into the Ronald Reagan Presidential campaign as a consultant and speechwriter. He was appointed as Special Consultant to the President by President Reagan in January 1981. During this time at the White House he also acted as the chief speechwriter. He left the Reagan administration in May 1981. Khachigian continued to write speeches for the Reagan White House, especially during the campaign years of 1982, 1984, and 1986. Some samples of additional work by him include President Reagan’s remarks at the Bergin-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1985, the joint anti-drug address of President and Mrs. Reagan in 1986 and the 1987 State of the Union speech.
Given the brevity of Mr. Khachigian’s actual time with the Reagan White House, his official collection is quite small. It consists of 11 folders which is approximately 200 pages. The Library has not established series arrangements for this material due to its size.
The collection primarily consists of hand-written notes on legal paper taken by Mr. Khachigian at meetings for the Cabinet, Communications Office, Scheduling and Senior Staff from January 1981-April 1981. Agendas and a few background pieces are also included for some of the meetings. Also included are a folder of notes taken the day of the President’s attempted assassination, March 30, 1981 and a folder of notes from the day prior to Inauguration, January 19, 1981.
This collection has digitized in whole and is open for research. Please refer to our citation guidelines for examples of how to properly cite Reagan Library records.
[Staff Meeting Notes, 01/19/1981]
Notes Monday, 03/31/1981 [Assassination attempt, VP statement]
Cabinet Meetings [Notes] (January 1981) (1)
Cabinet Meetings [Notes] (January 1981) (2)
Cabinet Meetings [Notes] (February 1981)
Cabinet Meetings [Notes] (March 1981)
Cabinet Meetings [Notes] (April 1981)
Communication Meetings [Notes] (January 1981-April 1981)
Scheduling Meetings [Notes] (January 1981, April 1981)
Senior Staff Meetings [Notes] (January 1981-March 1981)
Senior Staff Meetings [Notes] (April 1981)