WHITE HOUSE OFFICES

White House offices are described below.  We have provided information on the offices in the Reagan White House and listed the collections that came from each office.  For various reasons, the staff collection titles do not include many names that would appear in a roster of office personnel.  Offices would often incorporate the files of a staff member into the files of a successor or a more senior colleague.  Some record systems, such as the records of the White House Curator and the White House Usher, stay in the White House complex from one President to the next. The National Security Council also retained some NSC records, known as "institutional" records, into the next Administration.

 

Administrative Office, White House (White House Operations)

This office was responsible for the administrative affairs for the White House and the White House staff.  Throughout most of the administration the Head of Operations was also the Director of the Office of Administration – a federal agency working at the White House. Therefore, some federal records are intermixed with presidential records in these collections.  See White House Operations for collections for the head of this office and the Office of Administration federal records for material on the dual functions of the Director of each of these offices.

See collection entries for

  • Administration
  • Finance
  • Personnel
  • Purchasing
  • Travel

 

Advance, Office of Presidential

This office was responsible for the logistical planning and coordination, including onsite arrangements, of the President’s domestic and international trips.

See collection entries for:

 

African Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

  See collection entries for:

 

 Appointments and Scheduling, White House Office of

The office received and coordinated requests for the President’s time, helped prioritize the President’s time, and developed the President’s daily and monthly schedules. 

 See collection entries for:

 

Arms Control Directorate, National Security Council

 See collection entries for:

 

Asian Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

In 1983, the NSC reorganized and created five geographical directorates from the old Political Affairs Office.  The Asian Affairs Directorate was one of the five geographical directorates created.  For further information on this geographical region for the first administration only, please see the Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country Files (Far East).  

See collection entries for:

 

Cabinet Affairs, White House Office of

The Office of Cabinet Affairs created the working logistics for President Reagan’s belief in “cabinet” style government.  The Office of Cabinet Affairs acted as the liaison and facilitator between various agencies and the White House. In the first administration, the office was heavily involved in making the seven cabinet councils work - scheduling meetings, pursuing action plans, and so forth.  In conjunction with the Counsellor to the President’s office, Cabinet Affairs created a detailed tracking system for issues before the Cabinet and the various Cabinet Councils. These issues were marked as "CM-#" and you will find frequent reference to this tracking system within the records of the Office of Cabinet Affairs and the Counsellor to the President. While Cabinet Affairs handled the Cabinet issue tracking and worked with agencies, the actual Cabinet Council secretaries were from the Office of Policy Development.

During the second administration, the Councils were reduced to two - the Domestic Policy Council and the Economic Policy Council - and were an actual part of the Cabinet Affairs office. In early 1985, the head of this office was renamed the Cabinet Secretary.  There are no actual records for an Office of the Cabinet Secretary - just material for the individuals with this title, Al Kingon and Nancy Risque.

See collection entries for:

 

Cabinet Council On Economic Affairs

See collection entry for:

  • Cabinet Council on Economic Affairs

 

Cabinet Secretary

   See collection entries for:

 

Chief of Staff, White House Office of the

Considered by many to be the most powerful position in a modern White House, the Chief of Staff during the Reagan administration acted as a close advisor to the President and was responsible for the smooth operation of the White House. During the first administration, Chief of Staff James A. Baker was part of a senior staff triumvirate with the Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver and the Counsellor to the President Edwin Meese. This group came to be known as “the Troika.” In the second administration, Donald T. Regan (1985-87), Howard H. Baker (1987-88), and Kenneth Duberstein (1988-89) served as Chief of Staff.

See collection entries for:

 

Communications, White House Office of

This office was largely an umbrella White House office over the offices of speechwriting, media relations, public affairs, public liaison, and the press office, although the mix varied somewhat during the eight years of the Reagan presidency. The primary function of this office was to ensure that the White House staff was consistent in dealing with the media, and that the White House had a focused message. From January 1984 to February 1985 the Communications office was downgraded to a unit within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, allowing Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver direct oversight of communications during the 1984 campaign season.

See collection entries for:

 

Consumer Affairs, White House Office of

This office advised the President on a wide variety of consumer-related issues. Virginia Knauer, the chief White House consumer advisor for Presidents Nixon and Ford (1969-1977), performed this same role for President Reagan. From 1981 to 1983 she worked within the White House Office of Public Liaison, and dealt with public liaison outreach in addition to consumer issues. After Elizabeth Dole resigned as director of the Public Liaison Office in 1983, Consumer Affairs was upgraded to a separate White House office headed by Knauer. Knauer also served as Director of the US Office of Consumer Affairs, a unit within the Department of Health and Human Services.

See collection entry for:

 

Coordination Office, National Security Council

This office primarily provided planning and coordination assistance to the President for head of state and foreign official visits, as well as other international meetings in which the President participated.

See collection entries for:

 

Correspondence, Office of White House

This office coordinated the distribution of incoming mail to the White House, and in many cases the Correspondence Office staff also prepared and sent responses.  The Correspondence Office also included the Volunteer and Comment Office, which received public opinion mail and calls, and received and sent out numerous personal greetings on behalf of the President on occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. 

See collection entries for:

 

Council of Economic Advisers

The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) was established by law in 1946, to brief the President on overall economic policy objectives and policy issues. The CEA also prepares an annual economic report to the President and an Economic Report of the President for submission to Congress.  During the Reagan administration, the CEA chaired an interagency forecasting group that included the Treasury and OMB for developing economic projections.

See collection entries for:

 

Counsel to the President, Office of

This office provided legal advice to the President and White House staff.  The Counsel staff advised the President and White House staff on a wide variety of issues, including constitutional and administrative powers and duties of the President, legislation, judicial appointments, and regulatory issues.  It also coordinated the screening of Presidential appointees and White House staff for security and potential conflict of interest problems. The Counsel staff was responsible for gathering material in response to Independent Counsel requests for documents for investigations. 

See collection entries for:

 

Counsellor to the President, Office of the

“Counsellor to the President” was the title given to Edwin Meese, one of the President’s top advisers during the first Administration, and a long-time Reagan supporter and advisor.  Mr. Meese coordinated and developed domestic policy issues and programs, although foreign and defense policy issues were also a focus during the first year of the Administration. Mr. Meese was familiar with the President’s style of government and system of management from experience as Governor Reagan’s chief of staff in California.  The management of cabinet communication and coordination was part of his office function during the first year of the administration, and his office remained heavily involved with the Office of Cabinet Affairs and the Cabinet Council system.  The collections for this office are for his direct staff and cover the first administration only.  In early 1985, Mr. Meese left the White House to become Attorney General of the United States.

See collection entries for:

 

Counterterrorism and Narcotics, National Security Council Office of

See collection entries for:

 

Crisis Management Center (CMC), National Security Council

An outgrowth of NSDD-3, which established a NSC structure for managing national security crisis's, the Crisis Management Center (CMC) was set up in the first Administration and disbanded in early 1987. As described by Robert McFarlane, the CMC was designed to "conduct pre-crisis collection and analysis of information about likely crisis areas in an effort to anticipate events and to provide extensive background information to decision makers as a crisis preventive."

See collection entries for:

 

Defense Policy Directorate (including Defense Policy Planning staff), NSC

See collection entries for:

 

Defense Programs and Arms Control Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Deputy Chief of Staff, White House Office of the

The White House had a deputy chief of staff position throughout the administration. The Deputy Chief had a separate office and staff only when Michael Deaver held the post of Deputy Chief of Staff from 1981 to 1985. Mr. Deaver was a long-time associate and advisor to the President and Mrs. Reagan. He formed part of the "ruling troika” with Edwin Meese and James Baker during the first administration. Deaver had general oversight of scheduling, travel, and communications, and maintained close contact with the Office of the First Lady and the Military Office.

The United States hosted the 1983 Summit of Industrialized Nations (aka the Williamsburg Summit or the 1983 G-7 Summit). Coordination and planning for this event was conducted out of the Deputy Chief of Staff’s office with Michael McManus serving as the administrator of this event. We have created a separate collection for the Williamsburg Summit under the Summit of Industrialized Nations. Also see the Advance Office and the White House Press Office for further records on this event. 

The following collections are for the first administration only.

See collection entries for:

 

Domestic Affairs, White House Office of

See collection entries for:

 

Domestic Policy Council

Established in April of 1985, the DPC facilitated the development of the Administration’s domestic policy initiatives.  Along with Economic Policy Council (EPC), the DPC replaced the seven cabinet councils that functioned during the first Administration.  The DPC was composed of the attorney general (who served as chairman pro tempore); the secretaries of the Interior, Health and Human Ser.vices, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Education; and the director of the OMB.

See collection entries for:

Drug Abuse Policy Office, White House

Established in the first Administration, and operating within the Office of Policy Development, the Drug Abuse Policy Office coordinated the development and implementation of Administration policy on drug abuse

See collection entries for:          

 

Economic Policy Council

Established early in the second Administration, the EPC facilitated the development of the Administration’s economic policy.  The EPC, along with the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), replaced the system of seven cabinet councils which functioned during the first Administration. The EPC consisted of the Secretary of the Treasury (who served as Chairman); the Secretaries of State, Agriculture, Commerce and Labor; the Director of the OMB; the U.S. Trade Representative; the Chairman of the CEA; the Vice President; and the Chief of Staff to the President.

See collection entries for:

 

European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

In 1983, the NSC reorganized and created five geographical directorates from the old Political Affairs Office.  The European and Soviet Affairs Directorate was one of the five geographical directorates created.  For further information on this geographical region for the first administration only, please see the Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country Files (Europe and the Soviet Union).

See collection entries for:

 

Executive Secretariat, National Security Council Office of the

The Executive Secretariat acts as a conduit for communication and coordination amongst agencies, and assists with internal NSC record keeping.  There are 18 series within the Secretariat office records for various groupings of records such as country files, subject files, meeting files, etc. Please see the specific collection listing for these series.  Record keeping practices at the NSC varied greatly during the first and second Reagan administrations. This is further complicated by numerous office reorganizations - see specific collection and series descriptions for more details on these changes.

The director of the Secretariat, a legislated position, has the title "Executive Secretary."  The first National Security Advisor - Richard Allen - changed this title to "Staff Secretary."  It was changed back to Executive Secretary after he left.  The following individuals were the Executive Secretaries for the National Security Council during the Reagan administration: Allen Lenz, Michael Wheeler, Robert M. Kimmitt, William F. Martin, Rodney McDaniel, and Paul Schott Stevens.

See collection entries for:


First Lady, Office of the

This office provided administrative support for the various functions and program initiatives of the First Lady.

See collection entries for:

 

Information Policy and Security Review, National Security Council Office of

See collection entry for:


Intelligence Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Interagency Low Income Opportunity Advisory Board

Operating within the Office of Policy Development, the ILIOAB explored and developed policy options for improving the economic situation of low income Americans. Its staff focused on welfare reform.

See collection entries for:

 

Intergovernmental Affairs, White House Office of

This office provided communication between the White House and state, county, municipal and local governments.  With the emphasis of the Reagan Administration on “federalism,” this office was somewhat larger than in previous administrations. In the second administration, this office handled many of the duties previously handled by the Political Affairs Office.

See collection entries for:

 

International Communications and Information Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

International Economic Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

International Programs and Technology Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Latin American Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

In 1983, the NSC reorganized and created five geographical directorates from the old Political Affairs Office.  The Latin American Affairs Directorate was one of the five geographical directorates created.  For further information on this geographical region for the first administration only, please see the Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country Files (Latin America [old name- Inter-American Affairs]).

See collection entries for:

 

Legal Advisor Office, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Legislative Affairs, White House Office of

This office handled White House liaison with members of Congress on a wide variety of topics, including pending legislation and Presidential appointments.  The office also assisted members of Congress with photo opportunities and constituent service.  The office was organized along Congressional lines, divided into Senate and House staffs.  The office was further organized by separate Congresses - 97th Congress (1981-1983) through 100th Congress (1987-89).

See collection entries for:

 

Legislative Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Media and Broadcast Relations, White House Office of

See collection entries for:

 

Media Relations, White House Office of

See collection entries for:

 

National Security Affairs, Office of the Assistant to the President for

The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs was the principal national security adviser to the President, and staff director of the National Security Council.  Six men held this position during the Reagan Administration:  Richard Allen (1981-82), William Clark (1982-83), Robert "Bud" McFarlane (1983-85), John Poindexter (1985-86), Frank Carlucci (1986-87), and Colin Powell (1987-89). 

See collection entries for:

 

Near East and South Asia Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

In 1983, the NSC reorganized and created five geographical directorates from the old Political Affairs Office.  The Near East and South Asia Affairs Directorate was one of the five geographical directorates created.  For further information on this geographical region for the first administration only, please see the Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country Files (Near East and South Asia).

See collection entries for:

 

News Summary Office, White House

See collection entries for:

 

Operations, White House

During the second administration this office assumed the control of paper to the President that had been handled by Richard Darman and the Chief of Staff’s office in the first administration. Mr. Chew and Mr. Dawson reported directly to Donald Regan.   Generally the head of this office simultaneously served as head of White House Office of Administration, but this was not so when Mr. Chew and Mr. Dawson held the post.

See collection entries for:

 

Permanent Operating Offices in the White House Complex

These permanent offices within the White House, staffed primarily with career professional staff, carried out administrative support functions for the President and White House policy staff from one President to the next.  These offices retained many of their records into the following administration, but they also transferred some materials to the National Archives and Records Administration at the end of the Reagan administration.

See collection entries for:

 

Planning and Evaluation, White House Office of

See collection entries for:

 

Planning and Evaluation Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Policy Development, Office of

Established in 1974 as the Domestic Council Staff, the Office of Policy Development (OPD, renamed in 1981) supported the formulation, coordination and implementation of domestic and economic policies.  This office worked closely with the Office of Management and Budget, the seven cabinet councils during the first Administration, and the White House Domestic and Economic policy councils during the second Administration.  Staff members were frequently the official "secretaries" for the first Administration cabinet councils.  For a brief time in 1982, the staff was subdivided into the Office of Policy Development and the Office of Policy Information.  We have not made a separate office listing for the Office of Policy Information.

See collection entries for:

 

Policy Development, National Security Council Office of

See collection entries for:

 

Political Affairs, White House Office of

The office assisted the President in the planning and coordination of his political activities as the leader of the Republican Party, including fund raisers and campaign support for Republican candidates. It enjoyed a high profile during most of the first Administration, as it focused on the President’s re-election. The Political Affairs office was disbanded in August 1983, with much of its staff leaving the White House for positions in the President’s 1984 re-election campaign.   During the campaign, Margaret Tutwiler (from the Office of the Chief of Staff) handled most political affairs issues within the White House, with Michael McManus (Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff) and Kenneth Duberstein (Office of Legislative Affairs) also handling some.

For most of the second Administration, the Political Affairs office took a lower profile, as a unit within the Office of Political and Intergovernmental Affairs (see the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs).

See collection entries for:

 

Political Affairs Directorate, National Security Council  

The Political Affairs office of the NSC was the umbrella grouping for all of the offices at the National Security Council organized by geographic regions of the world. (Africa; East Asia and Pacific; Inter-American; Near East and South Asia; Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; Western Europe)   In 1983, in an effort to more closely reflect the State Department structure, the NSC reorganized and created five geographical directorates from the old Political Affairs Office : African Affairs Directorate, Asia Affairs Directorate (formally East Asia and Pacific Affairs), Latin American Affairs Directorate (formally Inter-American Affairs), Near East and South Asia Affairs Directorate and European and Soviet Affairs Directorate  [including Canada] (combination of former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Western Europe).   We have not divided staff material between these two structures.   For example, Dennis Blair started in the Western Europe office and became part of the new European and Soviet Affairs Directorate.  He is listed in both offices as are the majority of the staff members listed here.

See collection entries for:

 

Political and Military Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

President, Office of the

See collection entries for:

 

Presidential Diary, Office of the

This office, located within the Appointments and Scheduling Office, prepared detailed accounts of the President’s daily schedule and appointments. Compiled by a staff member of the National Archives and Records Administration, usually weeks after the event, the Presidential Diary included an automated version within the STAIRS program, and a textual version in a standardized format.

See collection entries for:

  • McCathran, Ellen
  • Presidential Diary, Office of
  • Presidential Diary, Office of the: Diarist Working Files

 

Presidential Personnel, Office of

The office served as the primary clearing house for presidential appointments to over twenty-seven hundred Executive and Judicial Branch positions.  The office located potential appointees, checked on  professional qualifications and degree of support for the President’s objectives, conducted interviews, arranged for background checks (in conjunction with the Office of the Counsel to the President), and made recommendations to the President on appointments of people to carry out the President’s program.

See collection entries for:

 

Press Secretary, White House Office of the

The Press Secretary and his staff spoke for the President at press briefings, prepared news summaries for the President and his staff, briefed the President for his press conferences and other press contacts, advised on press relations, and provided logistical support to the White House press corps. After Press Secretary James Brady suffered serious wounds during the March 1981 assassination attempt on the President, Larry Speakes assumed the Press Secretary’s day-to-day functions, with the title “Principal Deputy Press Secretary.” In 1987, Marlin Fitzwater succeeded Speakes in this role, as the “Assistant to the President for Press Relations.”

See collection entries for:

 

Private Sector Initiatives, Office of

On October 14, 1981, by Executive Order 12329, President Reagan established the President’s  Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives.  The Task Force was established to advise the President and other Executive agency heads on methods of "promoting private sector leadership and responsibility for meeting public needs."  After the task force was terminated in late 1982, the Office of Private Sector Initiatives was established at the White House to continue support for the private sector initiatives program and to implement final recommendations of the Task Force.

See collection entries for:

 

Public Affairs, White House Office of

Operating within the Office of Communications, this office coordinated and handled outreach activities to various public groups and the media to publicize and further the policy initiatives of the Administration. This office focused mainly on domestic policy issues, leaving most foreign policy matters to the National Security Council’s Public Affairs Directorate.

See collection entries for:

 

Public Affairs Directorate, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Public Liaison, White House Office of

This office was a large and important office during the Reagan Administration.  The Liaison office was a conduit for various constituency groups to present their interests to the White House.  Liaison office staff also contacted constituency groups and organizations to education them about the Administration’s goals and actions, and to build support for the Administration’s policies.  The activities of this office were often coordinated with the Communications office, the Media Relations office and the Public Affairs office.  The office included specialists with various groups and issues, including blacks, Hispanics, education, the business community, religious groups and women.

See collection entries for:

 

Science Adviser, White House Office of the

This post advised the President on a wide variety of scientific and technological issues.  The Science Adviser also served as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), a federal agency.

See collection entries for:

 

Secretariat, White House

See collection entries for:

 

Social Affairs, White House Office of

Under the general direction of the First Lady’s office, the Social Affairs office planned and coordinated White House social events and functions, including everything from head of state dinners to the annual Easter egg roll.

See collection entries for:

 

Space Programs, National Security Council

See collection entries for:

 

Speechwriting, White House Office of

This office, which included a speechwriting research office, drafted and coordinated the preparation and approval of the President’s speeches and official statements.

See collection entries for:

 

Television Office, White House

See collection entries for:

 

Visitor’s Office, White House

See collection entries for:

 

White House Conferences

See collection entries for:

 

Women’s Business Enterprise, Interagency Committee on

See collection entries for: