New Entries Released by the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 112 entries that have completed declassification processing between June 1 and September 29, 2017, and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.
Highlights include:
• Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History and Heritage Command, Political/Military Division, Primary Program Records, 1946-1980,
• Department of State, Research Project Files Relating to the Camp David Peace Process [Files Relating to the Arab/Israeli Peace Treaty: Research Project Number 1276],
• Department of State, Records Relating to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO),
• Department of State, Central Foreign Policy Files: P-Reel Printouts, 1977-78,
• Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Subject Files Concerning Policy,
• Army Staff, Korean Message Files, and
• Army Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), Army Attaché (A/A) Country Files
Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or Please note that some series may contain other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement and may require screening or a FOIA request prior to access.
(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

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Djakarta Embassy Record Series Now Available Via the National Archives Catalog

The National Declassification Center is proud to announce that the contents of the newly-declassified Classified Central Subject Files of the U.S. Embassy Djakarta, Indonesia, 1963-1969 are now available via the National Archives Catalog.  This record series, digitized through the kind efforts of the National Security Archive, consists of correspondence, telegrams, airgrams, memoranda, reports, newspaper accounts, and other documents that pertain to subjects that were of interest to the Ambassador and staff of the Embassy.  This series also contains documents that were originated by or sent to the U.S. Consulates at Medan and Surabaya.  To search for the digitized embassy records please visit the National Archives Catalog at

Approximately 30 folders, mainly pertaining to Embassy administrative matters, were not scanned and are not currently available in the Catalog.  NARA will be making an effort to digitize and load the missing folders into the Catalog at a future date.

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NDC Releases U.S. Embassy Djakarta Records


U.S. Consulate Surabaya Annex, 1965 (Photo not in record series)


The National Declassification Center, in partnership with the privately-operated National Security Archive, is proud to announce the release of  a record series that has been the object of interest for a number of researchers worldwide.  The records, formally titled the Classified Central Subject Files, U.S. Embassy Djakarta, 1963-1969, have been the object of a dedicated declassification effort that began in the fall of 2016.  Once NDC completed its initial declassification effort, which resulted in somewhat less than 30,000 pages declassified, it coordinated with the National Security Archive on the digitization of the newly-declassified records.  Given the known interest in the records in this series, it was important to the NDC that access to the declassified records should be as broad as possible, and only a digital release could make that happen.

Led by National Security Archive project leader Bradley Simpson, a rotating team of volunteers spent the better part of three weeks using IPads to scan the tens of thousands of pages involved.  Once the scanning was done, there was considerably more work performed by the Archive to make the documents text searchable.  Once that work is done, the Archive is  graciously providing a digital copy of the records to the National Archives and Records Administration to become part of the National Archives Catalog, thus granting access to an even larger pool of digital researchers.  While that digital availability may take some time, the physical records are still available to researchers who come to NARA’s College Park facility.

The 37 Hollinger boxes in the Djakarta Embassy series hold a wide range of records central to the function of a U.S. Embassy.  We have discussed only small parts of the Embassy’s functions in two previous NDC Blog postings (see “The Curious Case of Harold Lovestrand” 2/10/2017 and “Joseph B. Kennedy and the Jet-Speed Air Cushion Rail System” 3/31/2017).  While the 39 documents the National Security Archive has published so far are rightly focused on the political situation and tensions within Indonesia and the consequences of the uprising on 30 September/1 October 1965, the Embassy files contain a wealth of other information concerning social conditions, key personalities, industries and commodities, economic data and analysis, financial date and analysis, and assorted cultural topics to name just a few.

There is more declassification work to be done on the documents that were withdrawn from the Embassy record series in the course of the declassification process.  Those records will undergo further declassification processing and will be made available in a redacted form sometime in 2018.

This release marks the first time that the NDC has entered a partnership with the National Security Archive to make available to the public a specific collection of records.  We are sure that there will be further opportunities in the future to unite in our efforts to make historic classified records to the research public.

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What Happened to the American SST?


The golden age of American aerospace prowess had to be the decade of the 1960s.  So many advances were being made across so many fields of aviation endeavor.  The Space Race demonstrated how the United States could safely and reliably place both manned and unmanned spacecraft into low earth orbit, to the Moon, and even to the planets.  In earth’s atmosphere, superb military aircraft such as the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II series and Lockheed’s incomparable A-12/SR-71 dominated the technological race in the air.  Commercial aircraft like Boeing’s  Model 707 series and its Douglas competitor, the DC-8, ruled the air miles between major cities around the globe.  However, the decade also became known for more than its share of aerospace failures, and among those failures lies the story of the American Supersonic Transport or SST.

The President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport

Only part of this story can be told by the records the NDC will be releasing shortly.  There are five boxes from the Robert McNamara Collection at the National Archives in College Park containing documents from 1964 to 1965 that date from Secretary of Defense McNamara’s participation on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Supersonic Transport. Established by Executive Order 11149 of April 1, 1964,  the Committee’s charter appeared in Section 2 of the Order:

“The Committee shall study, and shall advise and make recommendations to the President with regard to, all aspects of the supersonic transport program.  The Committee shall devote particular attention to the financial aspects of the program and shall maintain close coordination with the Director of the Bureau of the Budget in this regard.”

As represented by much of the discussion documented in this record series, President Johnson’s concern about “the financial aspects of the program” soon became the overriding concern.

SST Origins

Although the story the MacNamara Papers tell unfolds only in 1964, the American SST program had a longer history.  The aircraft industry had been examining supersonic passenger transport designs since the 1950s.  With the onset of the new administration of President John F. Kennedy, the young President tasked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in looking into the future of civil aviation.  As the traveling world moved at a high subsonic speed with Boeing 707s, DC-8s, and Convair 880s, it would take a considerable technological achievement to surpass the day’s commercial airliner successes.  Upping an airliner’s speed to supersonic velocities fit the bill; however, there were those within the aerospace and airlines communities who recognized the significant risks in developing and operating a supersonic airliner.

The FAA played an unusual role in the American SST saga.  Normally a regulatory agency, the FAA actually issued a contract to investigate the possibility of a supersonic airliner.  The motivation to move quickly on this ambitious project was simple–Great Britain and France announced a partnership to build their own SST in November 1962. By May 1963, Pan American Airlines, still under the leadership of the indefatigable Juan Trippe, had confirmed an option to buy the Franco-British plane, now known as the Concorde.  Pan Am, the United States’ premier overseas airline,  had been the launch customer for the Boeing 707 in 1955 and would again be the launch customer for the Boeing 747 in 1966.  Trippe’s action on the Concorde sent a clear signal to the American aerospace industry that it needed to compete in the arena of supersonic commercial air travel.

As a result, the FAA issued a request for proposals to the aviation industry in mid-1963, not long after President Kennedy announced the establishment of a National Supersonic Transport Program during his Graduation Day speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy on June 5th.  Three aerospace giants responded: Seattle-based Boeing, Burbank-based Lockheed, and Los Angeles-based North American.  Three jet engine contractors responded as well to the search for high performance engines to power the new transport: General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, and Curtiss-Wright.  The proposals appeared in Washington DC in January 1964, and evaluation began immediately.  The irony is that the FAA’s evaluation of SST proposals began before President Johnson’s appointed Advisory Committee had its first meeting.

The FAA quickly eliminated one airframe and one engine contractor–North American’s proposal based on its futuristic XB-70 Valkyrie bomber failed along with Curtiss-Wright’s engine proposal.  The two remaining competitors for airframe and engines began their work in earnest.  The engine manufacturers both relied on previous work but chose different jet propulsion concepts for their entries.  General Electric relied on its experience in producing the J93 turbojet engine for the XB-70 program.  The J93 had a good pedigree, being an enlarged version of GE’s highly successful J79 series of engines.  Pratt and Whitney initially proposed to use a turbojet engine based off its J58 powerplant that pushed Lockheed’s secretive A-12 and SR-71 to Mach 3+ speeds.  However, P&W later changed its proposal to an immature turbofan engine design in the hopes of keeping the SST’s fuel consumption figures down to achieve the desired range and payload.

The airframes were very different as well.  The Lockheed design combined a long, thin tubular fuselage coupled with a tailless compound delta win.  The four engines were underslung in individual nacelles.  The ultimate effect was to produce a design very much like its European competitor.  The Seattle-based Boeing design had been refined over a number of years.  Boeing fell for an aerodynamic gimmick that promised its design good performance through all phases of the airliner’s flight.  For an aircraft that had to approach Mach 3 in performance, the long, thin fuselage was de rigour.  Attached to that fuselage, though, was a variable sweep wing, an expensive characteristic of many high performance aircraft designs of the 1960s.  A variable sweep wing promised optimal aircraft performance throughout its entire flight profile.  However, outside of the very experimental Bell X-5 and the Grumman XF10F-1 Jaguar, both of which were hardly success stories, variable sweep wings had not proven themselves to be practical technology on a production aircraft.  The Air Force’s newest fighter bomber, the General Dynamics F-111A, also incorporated variable-sweep wings, but its first flight took place only in December 1964.


Boeing’s Model 733-197 SST in landing configuration

What the Records Have to Say

Which brings us to the story of our records, the documents from the President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport.  The Committee had some notable members: Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense; James E. Webb, NASA Administrator; Luther H. Hodges, Secretary of Commerce; Najeeb E. Halaby, FAA Administrator; John A. McCone, Director, CIA; Stanley DeJ. Osborne, Chairman of the Board for Olin Mathieson Chemical Company; and Eugene R. Black, Director, Chase Manhattan Bank.  The Executive Secretary of the Committee was Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and a Deputy Secretary of Defense.  McNamara, Webb, and Halaby had already worked together on a joint DoD-NASA-FAA study on supersonic travel initiated in 1961, so the arguments seen in the minutes do not cover much new ground.  The members of the Advisory Committee met on a regular basis to determine whether an American SST program was worthwhile.  Of all the participants, Najeeb Halaby, the enthusiastic head of the Federal Aviation Administration (and later president of Pan Am), was the main proponent of the SST program.  In reading the minutes of their meetings, one gets the impression that the President appointed all the other Committee members to keep a tight reign on Halaby.  The first question before the Committee: to which airframe/engine manufacturers should an SST development contract be awarded?

From the first meeting of the Committee on April 13, 1964, economics dominated the discussion about the SST program.  An aircraft that had to carry 30,000-pound payload for 4,000 miles at Mach 2.2 or higher would be an expensive design to build and operate.  That idea brought out the skeptics in the Committee, Chairman McNamara being the strongest.  A  McNamara quote from the first Committee meeting provides and example of the chairman’s concerns:

“But I do know that the figures that have been presented to date show the unprofitability of the supersonic to be so great that I have no confidence that following down this course of design development will ever lead to a profitable airplane.”

To which  Halaby optimistically replies: “…our (FAA) analysis of that , plus what we think to be an — a realistic evolution of that (Boeing) proposal suggests that it could, in realistic progression, probably earning 8 or 9 percent on their investment.”

A second problematic issue dealt with the sonic boom associated with supersonic aircraft.  Economy of scale came into play for keeping the costs of an SST down, and with the potential for many supersonic aircraft plying the skies over the continental United States, the impact of many sonic booms over metropolitan areas could be both dangerous and expensive.  A 1961/62 study dealing with the sonic booms associated with the U.S. Air Force’s supersonic B-58A Hustler strategic bomber flying over St. Louis, Missouri, found that the city’s population was not terribly happy with regularly occurring sonic booms, although “…overpressures of 2.6 psi were not sufficient magnitude to cause damage to sound plaster and good quality glass to break.”


Inboard profile of Boeing’s Model 733-197


After four meetings, the Advisory Committee came to four conclusions:

  1. The project is one of high technical risk.
  2. Financing the development, production and operation of the supersonic transport will require huge sums of money, will involve unusually heavy commercial risks, and will necessitate major participation by the government.
  3. Despite the high technical risks involved in this program, supersonic transport must show a potential over their lifetime to operate at costs and fares which equal or closely approximate those of future subsonic aircraft.
  4. The proposals submitted to the FAA failed to meet the established economic and technical standards.
  5. It is essential at this time to optimize the characteristics of the supersonic transport that affect commercial profitability.

With these very unsure conclusions came four recommendations:

  1. The Federal Aviation Agency should be authorized to place contracts with two airframe companies to examine the effect on aircraft purchase price, direct operating costs, and sonic boom of variations in the aircraft’s speed, size and range.
  2. The Federal Aviation Agency should be authorized to place contracts for component development and performance demonstration with the two engine companies preferred by the airframe manufacturers.
  3. The Department of Commerce should be authorized to conduct systematic economic studies to relate different types and sizes of aircraft, including advanced subsonic transports, to actual route  structures, future possible fare structures, and the varies consitions that airlines encounter.
  4. The sonic boom study should be expanded under the guidance of the National Academy of Sciences.

When the FAA awarded the airframe and engine manufacturers the recommended contract on January 1, 1965, it also mandated that Lockheed and Boeing evaluate a NASA design called SCAT(Supersonic Commercial Air Transport) 15F in an effort to address range/payload and sonic boom concerns.  SCAT 15F was a considerable departure from both previous Boeing and Lockheed designs, being both larger and more aerodynamic than the earlier efforts.


The SCAT 15F model in a NASA Langley Research Center wind tunnel (image not in McNamara record series)


By the time of the Second Interim Report of the Advisory Committee, May 8, 1965, significant progress had been made on all four of the Committee 1964 recommendations.  The recommendations in the Second Interim Report were not all that surprising–extend the contracts another 18 months for the all of the involved manufacturers (Lockheed and Boeing for the airframes and General Electric and Pratt and Whitney for the engines).  The Commerce Department economic studies determined that the SST program was still a very risky program, and sonic boom continued to be a significant problem that had the potential to limit SST air routes to overwater ones only, which would have a tremendous impact on airline profitability.  In essence, the contracts extensions to the four manufacturers were made so that they could address the technical and economic problems through engineering and manufacturing improvements to the airframe and engines.

While the McNamara records contain documents dated later than the Second Interim Report, they act more as background information as do most of the documents in the record series.  Actual records from the Advisory Committee itself appear to be limited to the first two boxes in the five box series.   The final Advisory Committee document appears to be the Second Interim Report.

SST Legacy

The story of the American SST continues on for another desultory six years after the Second Interim Report.  A down-select of the new airliner was made in December 1966 with the declared winner being Boeing’s Model 2707-390, a variation of the earlier Model 733-197.  Continuing design problems led Boeing to give up its precious variable-sweep wing as well as to shrink the design to accommodate 240 passengers, down in size from its 300 foot-long predecessor that could seat more than 270 passengers.

During the inordinate amount of time needed to design the American SST, feelings toward the new American technological triumph cooled.  Having landed a man on the moon in July 1969, the push for expensive American aerospace accomplishments lessened.  And sonic booms, which in the mid-1960s were of moderate concern, became the focus of loud and frequent ecological protests by the early 1970s.  Although the administration of Republican President Richard M. Nixon was committed to seeing an American supersonic transport fly in the decade of the Seventies, the Democrat-controlled 92nd Congress of the United States did not share the administration’s enthusiasm.  By May 1971, both Houses of Congress cancelled funding for the SST program, thus ending the saga that began with John F. Kennedy’s speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963.

The effects on Boeing were devastating to say the least.  As Boeing had more than 120 SST orders on its books, the cancellation of the SST program along with the termination of some production lines and a general downturn in civilian aircraft orders led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.  Although the SST’s European competitor, the Concorde, did manage to enter commercial service in 1976, only 14 of the elegant aircraft ever flew from an order book that exceeded 100 units at one point.  Concorde proved to be economically viable in the niche market it serviced–a small and dedicated customer base that gladly paid for the more expensive ticket.  In regular British service Concorde flights cost a little more than subsonic airliner first class tickets and yet made money for the British Overseas Airways Corporation and its successor, British Airways.  For a variety of reasons Air France could not keep its Concorde operations in the black.  Both countries retired their aircraft in 2003 for a number of reasons, but the maintenance costs and issues with a 30-year-old airframe had much to do with it.  The huge Franco-British effort to design and build the Concorde proved that international efforts in aerospace design and manufacture could be quite successful and pointed the way towards a more commercially viable effort that became Airbus Industries.

The Soviet Union also developed a supersonic air transport in the 1960s, beginning their design effort shortly after that with the Concorde began.  The Tupolev Tu-144 bore a similarity to the Franco-British design, but had none of the Concorde’s luck.  To judge from the McNamara documents, the threat of a Soviet SST did not play a role in the development of the American program.  First flown in 1968 (only weeks before Concorde’s first flight) to promote a political agenda touting Soviet technical superiority, the Soviet SST had a very public crash at the Paris Air Show in 1973, and a second, improved model crashed in 1978.  As a result, the Tu-144 flew only 55 flights as a passenger aircraft, although it did fly a slightly small number of flights as a freighter.  The Tu-144 was an inferior SST,  having a much shorter range than the Concorde as well as having a significantly higher landing approach speed and component reliability issues.  Political factors overruled common sense safety considerations as authorities ordered passenger flights continued despite all of the reliability problems in order to give the impression of the Soviet Union possessing a regularly scheduled supersonic air route.   All of these factors led to the construction of only 16 examples, although many more were planned.  By 1983, the Tu-144 no longer flew in commercial service.

NASA continued to fund research into supersonic transports with a variety of aerospace firms through the 1970s, although it was clear that no manufacture of an American SST was ever intended at the time.  In more recent years interest in a second generation American SST led to the ironic situation of NASA leasing one of the Russian Tu-144 survivors for a series of tests supporting the new SST research project.  Although that 1990s effort did not result in a viable research and development program, commercial interest in both supersonic business jets and passenger airliners continues to this day.  Today there is even a private company called Boom Technologies that is looking to develop its own supersonic transport–pending the gathering of good data for (you guessed it…) predicting sonic booms.  For now the only tangible reminders of the fleeting American SST program are the remains of the Boeing 2707 mockup at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, and the Seattle Supersonics professional basketball team, founded in 1967, back when Boeing’s winning design was considered a great American aerospace achievement.

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New Entries Released by the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 94 entries that have completed declassification processing between January 3 and May 26, 2017, and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Department of State, Records Relating to Cuba,
  • Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, Indonesia, U.S. Embassy, Djakarta: Classified Files of Ambassador Francis J. Galbraith,
  • Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Office Of The Secretariat, Central Files,
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Records Regarding the Monthly Summary of Naval Forces in Vietnam,
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History and Heritage Command, Submarine War Patrol Reports, 1946 – 1963,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Subject and Decimal Files, and
  • Army Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), Secret Project Decimal Files

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or Please note that some series may contain other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement and may require screening or a FOIA request prior to access.

(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)

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Joseph B. Kennedy and the Jet Speed Air Cushion Rail System

In the NDC’s last blog entry, readers discovered from the records of the United States Embassy Djakarta, how an embassy goes about its mission to protect American citizens living in a foreign country during times of trouble.  This entry will look at a different mission, one that tried to protect America’s overseas interests from….Americans.

Meet Joseph B. Kennedy

This story unfolds in the embassy’s 1967 files beginning with Djakarta’s Airgram A-404 dated March 3, 1967 from Ambassador Marshall Green and addressed to the Department of State.  Mr. Kennedy was introduced as president of International Sales and Services Unlimited Enterprises Ltd. (ISSUE).  ISSUE’s wide-ranging portfolio involved potential projects in exploitation and marketing of asphalt on Buton Island, exploitation of sulphur deposits on Java, food processing (a proposed process to create artificial rice from rice bran, sago, corn cobs, banana peel, and flour with other ingredients), marketing of rubber and other products of over 100 small estates in West Java, production of milk powder, fishing, forestry and road construction in Sulawesi, irrigation and flood control projects, and, finally, tourist facilities.  While ISSUE held no specific contracts for any of these projects, the company had understandings with the Indonesian government that ISSUE would have the first opportunity to initiate these projects.  A curious Ambassador queried the Department in A-404 whether the enterprise had the financial wherewithal to pull off any of the listed projects and whether the artificial rice process was viable.

The Department’s answer arrived more than a month later in its Airgram CA-8118 dated April 20.  In that response, the Department advised the Embassy that ISSUE was not an incorporated company in the state of California as had been stated.   Further investigation revealed that ISSUE did not have the financial resources required for any projects and that Kennedy’s background was in psychology–specifically in the field of marriage counseling.  The Airgram confirmed that ISSUE was involved in four Indonesian projects: an asphalt plant on Buton Island; the completion of the partly constructed 28-story Wisma Nusantara Building; an unspecified light industry project; and the P.T. Isma Company, a joint venture that would produce, process, and can beef, fruit, etc.  The Department also confirmed that the artificial rice concept was feasible and being done with other products.  The Department also requested that the Embassy would like to be kept informed as to the progress of ISSUE’s various ventures.

That there was trouble afoot with ISSUE became apparent in a letter dated April 20 from Francis Underhill, the Country Director for Indonesian Affairs back at Main State in Washington DC to the Embassy’s  Counselor for Economic Affairs, Paul McCusker.  Associates of Mr. Kennedy, Dr. Wayne Mann, the inventor of a high speed cushion rail transportation concept, and a Dr. Morris approached Underhill to discuss ISSUE’s financial difficulties.  The two visitors explained that ISSUE’s financial backers did not live up to their commitments, leaving ISSUE’s  Indonesian projects at risk of failing.  Mann and Morris claimed that Indonesia leader General Suharto approved the ISSUE projects, and with their failure, Suharto’s reputation would be in jeopardy.  Could the United States government help ISSUE financially? Underhill evidently had a busy day with the ISSUE representatives who did not understand that the US Government did not make investments with private companies for overseas adventures.  Underhill goes on to describe the situation as an international “Guys and Dolls” theatrical production with dire consequences for U.S. businesses wishing to work with the Indonesian government in the future if ISSUE’s poor project management were to be seen as an example of American business savvy.

As the summer of 1967 unfolded,  Joseph Kennedy shifted his Indonesian efforts to a new entity known as the Indonesian Development Company (IDC).  Key to Kennedy’s plans was the addition of a better-known associate, former California governor Edmund Brown, fresh off his defeat in the 1966 California gubernatorial election by Ronald Reagan .  Initially Kennedy claimed that he retained Governor Brown’s law firm as legal representation for ISSUE.  Djakarta’s Telegram 3087 of June 30, 1967 requested that the Department “…discreetly sound out Governor his awareness operations and background Joseph B. Kennedy.”  The telegram goes on to say:  “However sincere his intentions, Kennedy has consistently exaggerated his so far non-existent business accomplishments, has generated unfavorable local press comments, and has tarnished the American business image among leading Indonesians.”

The Kennedy Plan


The pamphlet found in the Embassy folder on Kennedy was certainly an impressive read.  The publication’s opening lines reached out to grab the reader:

“A nation in transition attracts the problem solving mind.  Mr.  Joseph B. Kennedy, a man with such a mentality, an American citizen, a man with a purpose armed with the faith of a crusader has come forth with a system of endeavor, which, if effected, could profoundly influence the economic life of Indonesia.”

The pamphlet outlined six elements to Kennedy’s Plan: (capital letters in the original)

1.  The Indonesian Development Corporation–“This program is the heart of the Kennedy proposal.  It channels development so that the resources of the country are developed for the use and benefit of both the developer and the country.”

2. Consolidation of the Republic–“If the Republic is to be a truly consolidated nation, a single rapid transportation system and a highly refined communications complex are primary needs.”

3.  Bringing Tourists to Indonesia–“THE SEVEN MARVELS OF THE WORLD as a counterpart of the old “Seven Wonders of the World” with one of the new MARVELS located in Indonesia could be planned so when the new aircraft flying at speeds of 2000 mph carrying 500 passengers started operating, Indonesia would be in a position to benefit.”

4.  Bringing World Leaders to Indonesia–“This idea would entail having an organization of an international scope where SEVEN WORLD CONVENTION CENTERS would be established, the first one being located in Indonesia.  The leading companies of the world would sign up for 7 year contracts agreeing to hold their conventions AROUND THE WORLD.  Such a plan would bring INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP to Indonesia on a continual basis where OPPORTUNITY BULLETINS could be published for wealthy visitors.’

5.  Natural Resources and Financing–“The INDONESIAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION shall see that the national reserves of resources of the nation be proven, and with the information plus operating facilities, the reserves can then be used as collateral for obtaining necessary funds for use by the government.”

6. Developing Harbor and Minerals–“A new unit, THE HELIDREDGE can be disassembled and flown to remote areas.  Having a capacity  of 100 yards per hour and costing much less than other dredges, it can be utilized for harbor work and in placer mining or irrigation projects.”

The pamphlet contained facsimiles of official documents complete with stamps and signatures of Indonesian Army Lieutenant General Hartono as well as Kennedy and Mann.  In addition to the paragraphs praising Kennedy and his ideas and the official documents, there was a two-page description of a concept called the Jet Speed Cushion Rail Trans-Water Transportation System, the patented invention of Dr. Mann.  There were few technical details given about this system. The impression one gets in reading about the concept is that this is was a hovercraft that could also ride on rails at speeds approaching contemporary jet airliners.  That the system was a key component of the Kennedy Plan is indicated by the presence of a small art work depicting the cushion rail vehicle on the cover of the pamphlet as well as an implied route map traced on an outline of the Indonesian archipelago.


By September, Ambassador Green was meeting with visiting potential investors in the IDC actively discouraging them from pursuing any venture with Joseph Kennedy.  A September 13 memorandum for the files, written by Embassy Economic Counselor Joseph Harary, detailed a meeting between the Ambassador and several men led by Mr. R. D. Alexander of Santa Barbara, California.  The hour-long meeting detailed the current situation in Indonesia politically, economically, and sociologically before moving to the specifics of Mr. Kennedy’s projects. By the end of that hour, Mr. Alexander and his associates promised to steer well clear of ISSUE, IDC, and Kennedy.

Joseph Kennedy’s downfall proceeded very quickly after the Alexander meeting.  Djakarta’s Airgram A-147 of September 15 summarized Kennedy’s troubles.  While he had moved his family permanently to Djakarta to better coordinate his business deals, Kennedy was not able to demonstrate progress on the two surviving projects for which he had been given responsibility by the Indonesian government–the Buton Island asphalt works and the Wisma Nusantara high rise building project.  Governor Brown, having been warned about Kennedy’s activities and reputation, wisely steered clear of meeting the man during a state-sponsored trip to Djakarta in July, thus depriving IDC of credibility and furthering the downfall of Mr. Kennedy’s reputation.  Djakarta Airgram A-218 of October 11 pretty much sounded the death knell for ISSUE, IDC, and Kennedy’s aspirations.  In this document the Embassy’s Deputy in Charge of Mission (DCM) Lydman informed the Department that a local Indonesian newspaper published an announcement that the Indonesian Presidium circulated a letter that called on all Ministers, and heads of institutes and agencies, not to conclude any agreements with ISSUE.  This news was officially confirmed by the DCM when approached by the Mohamad Sadli, Chairman of the Foreign Investment Technical Committee.  However, the Indonesian government did not want to declare Kennedy persona non grata, hoping that the disgraced entrepreneur would take the hint and leave the country on his own.

The final mention of Kennedy in the Embassy’s 1967 files was in the Department’s Airgram  CA-3110 on October 24th to Djakarta.  The Airgram clarified IDC’s now legal California corporate status, which was verified.  However, the corporation did not have permission to issue stock.  One of IDC’s officers, one Richard Niles, the Executive Vice President, opened the IDC’s office in the World Trade Center in San Francisco.  The Airgram also mentioned that Niles was the only IDC officer known to be active in the San Francisco area.  He requested that the office be listed at the WTC as the Institute of Human Dynamics, but the WTC rejected Niles’ request as the organization name was not related to international trade.  It is at this point the that the documentary trail on Mr. Kennedy ends in the Embassy files in 1967.

The IDC situation played itself out over a span of only eight months.  As is readily seen from the existing State Department documentation, ISSUE, IDC, and Mr. Kennedy were out to get money from any possible source–private investors, the Indonesian government, and the US government–to fund projects that were quite fantastic and unrealistic in scope, while failing to succeed in near term projects that should have been much easier to complete.  Due diligence on the part of the Djakarta Embassy and the State Department ensured that potential American investors, such as Governor Brown and Mr. Alexander, steered clear of any entanglements with Kennedy, thus limiting the damage to the reputation of American business ventures in Indonesia.



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The Curious Case of Harold Lovestrand

Summers in Indonesia are notoriously hot, which is not really much of a surprise for a nation of islands that straddles the equator.  The summer of 1965 was much hotter if you were an American in Indonesia.  In August of that year, missionary Harold Lovestrand, his wife and four children discovered what it meant to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  The Classified Central Subject Files of the United States Embassy in Djakarta from 1963-1966, a record series currently undergoing declassification processing, contains a pair of folders from 1965 and 1966 dedicated to the Lovestrand case, a poignant example of United States embassies’ role in assisting American citizens in trouble overseas.

To understand what happened to the Lovestrand family, one has to look at the broader picture of U.S. – Indonesia relations, especially as they stood in 1965.  Indonesia in that year was still a young country, only 16 years removed from its violent separation from its erstwhile colonial master, the Netherlands.  Indonesia’s population was extremely diverse, as one would expect for an archipelago nation that spreads over an area of nearly three-quarters of a million square miles and whose peoples speak more than 700 languages.  Indonesia’s initial attempts at parliamentary democracy in the late 1940s and 1950s failed as the many political parties founded in the wake of Indonesian independence could not govern the nation.

The Father of the Nation, Sukarno, had determined by the late 1950s that the country needed to follow a different path of governance.  With both a large Muslim population and an politically ambitious Army officer corps both looking for increased roles in government, Sukarno crafted a nationalist state dominated by a Sukarno cult of personality that began a leftward drift towards turning Indonesia into a full-blown communist state, forsaking the much admired non-aligned stance that Sukarno embraced after the Bandung Conference of 1955.  The country suffered much from local revolts, those in the west of the country caused by Muslim separatists being complimented by independence uprisings in West New Guinea (a territory later to be known as West Irian).

In foreign affairs, Sukarno was outraged by the creation of the Malay Federation in 1963, where the former British Crown Colonies of Malay, Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak were unified into a single country.  Sukarno condemned a United Nations survey that established the borders between the new nation and Indonesia, thus beginning Indonesia’s move to isolate itself from the world community that did not support its territorial ambitions.  The confrontation with Malaysia brought Indonesian armed forces into battle against British Commonwealth forces, a conflict that would span the next three years.

By the beginning of 1965, Indonesia was a witch’s brew of sectional tensions, inflationary economy, internal security threats, military action over Malaysia, and a government increasingly prone to paranoia.  The mood of both the government and the people grew increasingly anti-Western.  Sukarno moved to take Indonesia out of the United Nations early in 1965, followed shortly thereafter by departure from other international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.  Diplomatic establishments also suffered harassment–the British Embassy in Djakarta was virtually destroyed in 1963 during a riot over Malaysian independence.  This harassment extended to  American diplomatic posts as well, as U.S. support for Malaysia as well as the developing conflict in Vietnam made the U.S. a prime target for Sukarno’s and Indonesians’ anger .  The U.S. Consulates in Medan and Surabaya, as well as the Embassy in Djakarta were all subject to riots and protests, and the United States Information Service libraries in several locations were broken into and sacked by mobs.  Protesters displayed signs calling for a formal severance of relations between the U.S. and Indonesia right in front of the Embassy’s entrance.  It was in this environment that the case of the Harold Lovestrand family entered the world stage.

Reverend Lovestrand was a missionary from the Evangelical Alliance Church living with his wife and four children near the town of Manokwari, West Irian (on the bird’s heard shaped peninsula extending to the west of the large island of New Guinea).  West Irian was a hotbed of revolt against the Indonesian government after its United Nations-sanctioned incorporation into Indonesia in 1963.  When Sukarno’s regime made it clear that the UN-mandated plebiscite that was to be held to determine West Irian’s future would not be held as promised by the UN agreement with Indonesia, an armed revolt by the population was inevitable.  By August 1965, the Lovestrand family, caught in the middle of what was virtually a civil war, became unwilling witnesses to the conflict between elements of the Indonesian Army airlifted to the theater and the Papuan separatists of West Irian.  Ultimately the Indonesian Army prevailed; however, Indonesian troops found what they considered to be suspicious items around the Lovestrand mission, a location recently the scene of fierce fighting, and the family was taken into custody on the tentative charge of subversion on August 7.  By August 11, the Indonesian Army moved to the Lovestrands to the island of Java by slow boat, as the family did not reach their destination–Djakarta Army Prison, until August 27th or 28th.

The U.S. Embassy became aware of the Lovestrand’s plight only on August 21st, when news of the family’s detention appeared in an Indonesian news agency report.  That information was confirmed two days later at a press conference given by the Indonesian Army general charged with ruling West Irian.  After that day, the Embassy used all avenues of approach to gain access to the missionary family.  However, given the strained state of U.S.-Indonesia relations, U.S. Ambassador Marshall Green was unable to see the Lovestrands until the evening of September 13th, more than a month after the family was taken captive.

After the interview with the Lovestrand family, Ambassador Green continued his efforts with the Indonesian government to secure the release of the Americans.  Various reports coming into the Embassy confirmed the suspicions of the Embassy staff that the Indonesian government had no evidence of Reverend Lovestrand’s participation in sedition.  A positive development did take place on September 25th, when Indonesian authorities released Mrs. Lovestrand and her children, a full week after the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Subandrio, formally notified Ambassador Green that they would be set free.  Mrs. Lovestrand and the rest of the family moved into housing in the Djakarta area, where the children were allowed to attend school once again.  However, Reverend Lovestrand continued to be held by the Indonesian Army.

A complicating factor in the Lovestrand case was the attempted revolt within the Indonesian Army that led to the deaths of six senior generals on the night of September 30th/October 1st.  The revolt was influenced to some extent by Indonesia’s communist party (PKI), although recent scholarship disagrees as to the extent.  Regardless, the incident created chaos throughout the country that made it much more difficult for the Embassy to monitor the Lovestrand case.  Changes in the Indonesian government and constant shifts in power and influence of various officials overseeing the Lovestrand case prevented the Embassy from finding out even basic information concerning Lovestrand, much less being able to work for his release.

As the days in September unfolded, Indonesian authorities finally granted the Consul access on September 27th.  Embassy officials were told that they could visit the prisoner at two-week intervals, but the documents in the 1965 Lovestrand folder do not confirm visits on that schedule.  Similarly, available documents indicate that a medical visit was scheduled for November 22nd, again with no evidence in the folder that the visit actually took place.  The 1965 file does confirm that medical visits did take place on December 20th and 21st.  By this time Lovestrand faced significant medical issues that added more tension to the situation.  The Embassy’s final document in the Lovestrand folder for 1965 is a December 22nd telegram describing a conversation between an Embassy official and the wife of the Indonesian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, where once again the Embassy pressed for the release of Reverend Lovestrand.  As had happened with previous meetings with Indonesia’s power elite, promises to seek release were made, but the desired result still proved elusive.

By the time of an Embassy update back to the Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, on January 6th 1966, Lovestrand was showing great improvement to his health following a period of hospitalization.  The same telegram also showed Ambassador Green’s determination to push for the release of Lovestrand, both locally in Djakarta and through the Indonesian ambassador in Washington D.C..  A subsequent telex from the State Department to the Embassy recounted a January 14th meeting between Indonesian Ambassador Lambertus Palar and Samuel D. Berger, Assistant Deputy Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, where the Ambassador admitted that there were no charges against Lovestrand, that there was no incriminating evidence found against Lovestrand, and that the subversion investigation against the missionary was completed and, finally, he would be released soon. The major difficulty at this point was that the case was in Sukarno’s hands, as no lower-ranked Indonesian official would make the decision to release the captive American.

By late January, the Lovestrand case exerted significant pressure on U.S.-Indonesian relations.  Secretary Rusk telexed Ambassador Green on January 29th to pursue the matter closely with Foreign Minister Subandrio.  The resulting conversation did not take place until February 9th, during which Ambassador Green discovered from the Indonesian that the Indonesian Attorney General had a signed confession from Lovestrand stating that he failed to report evidence of a Papuan revolt.  Subandrio volunteered to press the case with the Attorney General in the hope of resolving the case.  Other intermediaries continued to press Sukarno for Lovestrand’s release–the Embassy realized that its continued pressure on Sukarno was creating more problems than progress.  Finally, on March 18th, the Embassy indicated in a telegram to Rusk that the Indonesian Attorney General began processing paperwork to deport Lovestrand.


On March 22nd, the Embassy acknowledged receiving the deportation order, and the Lovestrand family was booked on a KLM flight leaving Djakarta on March 23rd.

Although the documents concerning the Lovestrand case fill only two slim folders out of the 31 boxes in the Djakarta Embassy’s Classified Central Subject Files series, they provide an prime example of the effort they put forth for American citizens in trouble in a foreign country, one of the oldest missions an embassy performs.  The 7 month 16 day ordeal of the Lovestrand family took place at a tumultuous time in Indonesian history, but the family was indeed fortunate in being able to overcome dire circumstances a long way from home.  Harold Lovestrand subsequently wrote about his Indonesian experience in the book Hostage in Djakarta, published by the Moody Press in 1967.

Posted in Indonesia, Special Projects | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Hollywood, Model Planes, and Atomic Bombs: Office of Naval Research Support for Vertical Envelopment

Lost amid a large 8,000 box series from the long disestablished Bureau of Aeronautics (Record Group 72 in National Archives-speak) in a classified stack at the National Archives in College Park lies a 500-page document whose ominous mushroom cloud cover artwork supported its Confidential classification marking. The light blue/green cover simply bore the words “Assault” and the official seal and title of the Office of Naval Research in Washington DC.  Once inside the cover, though, a reader will find the makings of an extraordinary tale.

In a story that has been retold many times, the U.S. Marine Corps viewed the results of the first nuclear weapons effects test, the July 1946 Operation CROSSROADS, with significant concern. Despite the Navy and Marine Corps’ proven formula of amphibious warfare success during the lately concluded Second World War, the outcome of the two nuclear weapons detonations in Bikini Atoll was that large groupings of amphibious shipping and their support warships that made victory possible in almost every theater of World War II were now frighteningly vulnerable to the new weapon of mass destruction.

The solution was dispersal, spreading shipping, landing craft, support warships, and Marines out along the target coast to defeat the nuclear threat. However, that solution simply caused another problem: how to bring enough Marines to the decisive point to defeat the defenders.  If the landing forces were dispersed, a well-disposed defender could annihilate the smaller Marine formations in detail before they could join inland to overwhelm the defenders or capture key terrain.

There were technological solutions seemingly close at hand—the helicopter and large flying boats. A special board appointed by the 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., looked at the dispersal problem in some detail.  The board members, Colonels Merrill Twining and Edward Dyer and Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Shaw examined various means of keeping amphibious assault forces out of atomic danger while quickly concentrating Marines to defeat a defending force.

General Shepherd’s special board surveyed this scene and recognized that current helicopter technology was not going to put a lot of Marines on the beach very quickly, and that the flying boat was a longer term option, if it ever was an option at all. They spoke with the helicopter manufacturers, especially with Igor Sikorsky and one Frank Piaseki of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Piaseki had some original ideas about large helicopters, and, together, the two men convinced the board members that a helicopter capable of a 5,000 pound payload was possible.

While the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) had the mandate to develop the large flying boat program, the Marines took upon themselves the task of sponsoring a large helicopter program through the same Bureau, as BuAer had the authority for the procurement of aircraft for the Marine Corps. As it turned out, the 5,000 pound payload helicopter was a bit ambitious for the technologies of the late 1940’s, so an interim capability of 3,500 pounds was sought for the Marine’s new assault helicopter.  A decade later the Marines ended up with the versatile Sikorsky HUS/UH-34 series as the 3,500 pound payload helicopter and the monstrous Sikorsky HR2S/CH-37 as the 5,000 pound payload helicopter. Both aircraft utilized piston engines, so their performances at higher weights and temperatures was always problematic.  It was not until the mid-1960’s that designers included compact gas turboshaft engines in their designs, finally manufacturing helicopters capable of consistently meeting Marine requirements first established in 1946.

It must have been sometime in 1947 that the Amphibious Branch of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) became involved with the evolution of the new vertical envelopment doctrine that sought a way to overcome the limited payload capabilities of contemporary helicopters. Captured under the title: “A Study of a Third Dimensional Assault Techniques for Amphibious Operations”, this sizeable work was the product of contract N7-ONR-296 Task Order 1 awarded to the Radioplane Company.  The final bound report classified CONFIDENTIAL is dated 1 April 1948; however, a perusal of the pages show sections of the report that were completed as early as July 1947.

The Radioplane Company was an unusual choice for this particular contract. Founded in 1934 by British actor Reginald Denny (Anna Karenina, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House), the company’s experience up through 1947 was based upon the manufacture of expendable target drone aircraft that were essentially larger versions of hobbyists’ radio-controlled models the company sold during the prewar years.  Radioplane’s OQ-2/3 series of target drones were built in the company’s Van Nuys, California facility by the thousands, giving nascent antiaircraft gunners from all of the Armed Services an opportunity to learn key gunnery skills. Outside of the building of target drones, Radioplane’s major claim to fame in being the employer of a young Norma Jeane Dougherty, later known as Marilyn Monroe, who was discovered by an Army Air Forces photographer working in the Radioplane factory. Radioplane had never designed or built a manned aircraft prior to their receipt of the ONR contract.

The ONR study, given the short title of “Project ASSAULT”, sought to overcome the problems of projecting a ground force into an amphibious objective defended by atomic weapons. Radioplane proposed the use of radio-controlled aircraft, each carrying a single Marine above the radioactive contamination on the ground and into the objective. The study broke down into eight sections that dealt with the definition of the mission, flight paths, power plants, aerodynamics, stabilization and control, launching, deceleration and landing, and, finally, structures. There was also a final report that discussed the ASSAULT vehicle.

The study began with a foreword written by CAPT W. H. Leahy, the Assistant Chief for Research for ONR. Leahy was the son of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, then Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, President Harry Truman. The foreword contained the six performance objectives that established the preliminary requirements for the study:

  1. A vehicle payload of 300 pounds
  2. Flight controlled by remote or forward position or ground remote station
  3. Adaptable for rapid launch from a ship or limited launching area
  4. Capable of rapid deceleration for safe landings in areas with natural obstacles such as forests and irregular terrain
  5. Flight range of 25 mile radius
  6. Vehicle can be used for logistics support with a payload of 300 pounds

The study then continues with five detailed sections that discussed the amphibious warfare mission, possible ASSAULT craft flight paths, possible power plants for ASSAULT craft, the aerodynamics of various ASSAULT craft, and, finally, stabilization and control of the proposed ASSAULT aircraft. The bottom line for the proposed ASSAULT vehicles became:

It can then be seen that the ideal situation would be one in which the Assault trooper could step into a vehicle which would then be launched to deliver him automatically to his destination.

The final report offered a range of technical concepts, each concept differing by its designed cruising speed, which ranged from 250 mph, to 400 mph, and finally to 550 mph. A fourth concept embraced the use of an assault pod to be launched by a parent aircraft. All of the proposed ASSAULT vehicles shared the characteristics of being easily controlled in flight, tough enough to make a rough landing while preserving the occupant, and cheap enough to be built in some quantity.
The proposed 250 mph aircraft resembled an up-scaled target drone, sized large enough to carry one Marine safely from ship to objective. The recommended power plant was air-cooled Continental E 185-1 opposed 6-cylinder engine of 250 hp, most famously used in the Beechcraft Bonanza general aviation aircraft and deemed capable of moving the proposed ASSAULT vehicle at 250 mph. The landing gear was two skids attached to the fuselage ahead of the straight 32-foot wings. The aircraft was to be catapult-launched, and, when reaching its objective, would have been slowed by a parachute-like controllable sleeve and an air-launched arresting gear—essentially a harpoon driven into the ground and attached to the airframe by a nylon rope.


The proposed 400 mph aircraft was a bit more daring in design, being based upon a turbojet-powered airframe. The fuselage was of a high mid-wing type with a pod-and-boom layout for the twin endplate tail. The author identified the Flader Model XJ-55-FF-1 engine with 700 pounds of thrust as the power plant. The XJ-55 was proposed as the propulsion for a postwar drone aircraft called the XQ-2, so it seemed to be a natural fit in a small airframe designed by a company with radio-controlled aircraft experience. Landing a faster vehicle within tight space constraints required even more ingenuity than the 250 mph proposal, so wings contained split flaps and the fuselage sported skids underneath, a 28 foot airfoil parachute, and, finally, ten 2,000 pound thrust retro-rockets. After the flaps slowed the aircraft to an appropriate speed, the parachute would deploy, suspending the fuselage in a horizontal attitude below the canopy.   A proximity device would trigger the retrorockets, thus ensuring a relatively soft landing for the embarked Marine.


Radioplane continued their report with a description of a 550 mph aircraft, showing what design compromises were necessary to produce a faster vehicle. To gain the desired speed, this third ASSAULT design depended upon rocket power; however, the specific type of rocket engine was not mentioned, unlike the engines on the 250 mph and 400 mph proposals. The final report of the study only mentioned the fact that the two engines would be bi-liquid propellant, one engine to be of 1,150 lbs thrust and the second to be of 500 lbs thrust, and would be similar to the type manufactured by Reaction Motors, Inc or of equivalent design and performance. For landing this high performance vehicle, split flaps on the narrow, tapered wings would again be needed. As in the 400 mph proposal vehicle, the aircraft would deploy a tail-mounted parachute. This time the aircraft would be lowered nose-first to the ground rather than using the complicated parachute suspension system on the 400 mph aircraft that kept the fuselage horizontal. The 550 mph ASSAULT vehicle would then use twelve retro-rockets fitted in the tail to slow the aircraft further. A hydraulically-buffered nose probe would take the remaining landing shock, the probe sticking into the ground to keep the airframe upright after landing.


The final ASSAULT vehicle was a simple pod with no wings. However, deceleration and landing processes would be similar to the aircraft-configured ASSAULT vehicles—a parachute to initially slow down the vehicle, a retro-rocket to slow the pod completely, an air-launched arresting gear system, landing leg skids to take the impact of landing, and, finally, a fixed wooden skid to take the punishment of an emergency landing. The report included sketches of the pod as well as its carrier aircraft, in this case a Grumman F7F-1. The drawing suggests that the aircraft carry two pods, one on pylons under each wing. The study’s report made it clear that the preferred aircraft type for an ASSAULT pod mission was a fighter aircraft. The ASSAULT pod required none of the radio controls necessary for the other vehicles mentioned in the report, and it would require the services of an escort carrier (CVE) to base the fighter aircraft, the pods, and the Marines necessary to conduct the ASSAULT pod operation.


While there were many unsolved problems with Radioplane’s concept for conducting vertical envelopment operations in the first decade after World War II, ideas generated by such unconventional thinking foreshadowed the great changes in aerospace and defense technology that took place over the next fifty years.  Indeed, in the world in which we live it is difficult to be unaware of drones and their impact on military operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)operations, and even in commercial delivery services and popular culture.  However, all of this technology had to start someplace, and Radioplane is one of the places where it started.



Posted in Military Technology, Naval History

NDC Indexing Update

In August 2015 we announced a new program called “Indexing on Demand” which allows researchers to request records that have completed quality assurance review and are available for indexing and final withhold processing.  We provided pdf files that listed the acronym or name and number of the original record group; NARA HMS identification numbers; the record entry name for the series; dates of the records within the series (not always immediately available); and the size (possibly estimated) of the series itself.

Since the roll out, we have processed 268 requests totaling almost nine million pages with a release rate of 81%.  We have updated our lists to remove the series that have been processed and add newly available series for request.   The lists are divided into three groups: military records, civilian records, and records currently in process.

As before, you can correspond with us via our email box or by replying to this blog post. You can also visit with our representative in the Archives II reference area, Stephanie Coon, who would be happy to address your questions and requests. She can offer you an estimate on the complexity of the final processing needed as well as a tentative timeline to completion.

iod_military                        iod_civilian                              iod_in process

Posted in Uncategorized

New Releases from the National Declassification Center

The NDC has released a listing of 228 entries that have completed declassification processing between January 2 and August 31, 2016 and are now available for researcher request. This release consists of records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Department of State, Program and Subject Files for North Vietnam,
  • Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, U.S. Consulate General, Hong Kong: Classified Central Subject Files,
  • Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Office Of The Secretariat, Central Files,
  • Army Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence); Project Decimal Files, 1964,
  • Atomic Energy Commission, Classified Official Correspondence,
  • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency; Orders, and
  • Bureau of Naval Weapons, Proposal Files For Aircraft, Helicopters, and Missiles(When making a request, please cite the HMS Entry and Series Title.)
  • Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or Please note that some series may contain other restrictions such as privacy or law enforcement and may require screening or a FOIA request prior to access.
Posted in Uncategorized