Berlin Symposium: A City Divided: Life and Death in the Shadow of the Wall"

Today’s post comes to us from NDC blogger Neil Carmichael.

On October 16, 2013 at 0900 a.m. the National Declassification Center at the National Archives, in partnership with the Historical Review Program of the CIA, will host a one-day symposium at the McGowan theater at the Archives building in downtown Washington, D.C. to tell the story of the people of East Berlin and their struggle for freedom. The symposium will highlight newly published and released declassified documents that reveal the human struggle for life and death in the shadow of the wall. The documents detail the many aspects of life focusing on the resolve of the human spirit for freedom and equality.  With his iconic speech on June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy united the citizens of Berlin with the United States by his statement that “he too was a Berliner.” Twenty-four years later when visiting Berlin, President Ronald Reagan declared in his speech that “…Yet I do not come here to lament. For I find in Berlin a message of hope, even in the shadow of this wall, a message of triumph.” 

We have gathered on DVD just under 3,000 newly declassified documents on various topics and activities on Berlin from 1962-1986.  The 3,000 documents represent only a portion of the actual release of 12,000 pages in our total release. We have covered the period between two of the most famous speeches by the visiting American presidents Kennedy and Reagan. Included in this joint publication are newly released documents that recorded the life and death struggle with the quest for freedom and the triumph of the human spirit.


Berlin Poster


National Declassification Center – Ms. Sheryl Shenberger

Archivist of the United States – David Ferriero

Director, Information Management Services, CIA – Joseph Lambert

National Declassification Center – Mr. Neil Carmichael

Historian at the George Washington University and the Woodrow Wilson Center – Dr. Hope Harrison

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – Dr. Christian F. Ostermann

Central Intelligence Agency – Dr. Donald P. Steury

The event is free and open to the public. For more information and reserve your seat please contact .


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NDC Releases 445 New Entries Processed Between June 1 and July 26, 2013

The NDC has released a listing of  445 entries that have completed declassification processing between June 1 and July 26, 2013 and are now available for researcher request. This release records from both military and civilian agencies.  Highlights include:

  • Department of State, Office of Refugee and Migration Affairs, Subject and Country Files
  • Army Surgeon General, Central Decimal Files
  • Atomic Energy Commission, Manhattan Engineer District (MED), Oak Ridge Operations Office: Operational Correspondence,
  • Army Staff, Immediate Office Of The Chief Of Staff; Security-Classified General Correspondence,
  • Army Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence), Formerly Top Secret Intelligence Document Files, Formerly Special Distribution, Top Secret Control and Decimal Files,
  • Panama Canal Commission, Subject Files Of The Panama Canal Treaty Planning Group,
  • United States Information Agency European Libraries and Centers Branch: Country Files, and
  • Department of the Treasury, Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies; Memorandums of the International Bank For Reconstruction and Development

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or

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

Posted in New Openings, Uncategorized

“Martin Luther King, integrationist”

By Mr. Michael Rhodes

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”. The keynote speaker of that momentous event in the history of the civil rights movement in America was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As recently declassified records reveal, in the spring of 1961, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had identified him as “Rev. Martin Luther King, integrationist.”


FBI File: 100-112434 Sec. 7, Serials 118 – 132X

Presented here are just three pages from a voluminous FBI dossier on the activities and associates of Frank Wilkinson, an American activist opposed to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and the FBI. The document presented here references Martin Luther King, Jr. because he signed a petition asking President John F. Kennedy to overturn the 1959 convictions of both Frank Wilkinson and Carl Braden for contempt of Congress.


Full Document

Source: File 100-112434 Section 7, Serials 118 – 132X; Frank Wilkinson v. FBI;

Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Record Group 65; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.

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National Declassification Center Releases its Seventh Report

The National Archives National Declassification Center (NDC) has issued its seventh biannual Report on Operations of the National Declassification Center, covering January 1 through June 30, 2013. The report is online [].

Since its inception in January, 2010, the NDC has assessed the 357-million-page classified records backlog at the National Archives and completed equity referral quality assurance on 278 million pages. The NDC has completed all processing of more than 118 million pages of this backlog.

In our last report, NDC Director Sheryl J. Shenberger noted the completion of the first measurable stage in the NDC process, that of assessment. The next and most significant step is the quality assurance evaluation for national security information. Directed by Executive Order 13526 to facilitate quality assurance measures, the center has implemented an inter-agency process of risk management to ensure records are reviewed properly prior to public access. The quality assurance assessment ensures that the records containing still-sensitive information are properly withheld and that those appropriate for release are indeed declassified.

Nearly 80% of the backlog records have successfully passed this step.

“National Archives staff and our agency partners have completed the quality assurance review for national security information on some 278 million pages. Through expedited processes and inter-agency cooperation, the NDC believes it is on track to complete the quality assurance for declassification on the remaining 79 million pages by the 31 December deadline,” noted Shenberger.

“This progress was achieved in spite of the inconsistencies of earlier reviews; the problematic referral markings; the unexpected impact of absent page-level review for Restricted Data/Formerly Restricted Data; and preservation emergencies, such as mold and brittle records remediation,” she added.


You may comment on the report by sending a comment to this blog or to


Posted in NDC Bi-annual Reprt | 1 Comment

USS Pueblo Ship Plans

Today’s NDC Blog post concerns a painful episode in modern U.S. history, an earlier chapter of a story that has been in the news frequently over the past months. On January 23, 1968, units of the North Korean Navy captured the environmental research ship USS Pueblo (AGER-2) in international waters off the east coast of North Korean near the port city of Wonson while she was conducting SIGINT operations in the area. One American sailor died during the capture, and the surviving 82 officers and men of the ship were imprisoned at two different locations in North Korea until their release on December 23, 1968. The North Koreans kept the Pueblo, and she was moored initially in the port city of Wonson. In 1996, the North Koreans moved the ship around the Korean peninsula and up the country’s west coast to a new berth in the Taedong River in the capital city of Pyongyang.  Pueblo is now moored outside a new museum in the North Korean capital, however she is still on the Naval Vessel Registry as an active commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy.

In this post, the NDC presents two drawings of the Pueblo which is, I believe, their first public appearance. These drawings are a part of the Pueblo historical record series created by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Security Group. The NDC is in the process of organizing and declassifying this record series, although we anticipate only a small number of records will be declassified from this effort.
As for the drawings themselves, in terms familiar to naval architects and ship afficianadoes we are presenting the Pueblo’s inboard and outboard profiles. An inboard profile is a cutaway view of the ship—you are seeing her as if she had been cut with a knife down her centerline. An outboard profile is a view of the ship as she would appear to an observer outside the skin of the ship. As you can see from the poor quality of these digital reproductions, these drawings are not originals. They are thermofax copies made either by or for Naval Security Group as part of their Pueblo history file. The drawings do not contain the ship plan data block usually found on drawings of this type. As a result, we don’t know the date of the plans, but they probably date from 1966, about when the ship started her conversion from a light cargo ship (AKL) to an AGER. We are sure, however, that the drawings are of Pueblo as her outboard profile carries the GER 2 hull designation.  Ironically, the ship was actually commissioned on May 13, 1967 with her former hull designation AKL-44 freshly painted on her bow.

I wish to thank NDC staff member Gary Denholm and the NARA Photo Imaging Lab staff Cecilia Epstein and Phillip Corrigan for conserving these drawings and digitizing them.

Posted in Special Projects | Tagged , ,

416 New Entries Released by the NDC Between April 25 and May 31, 2013

The NDC has released a listing of 416 entriesExcel document that have completed declassification processing between April 25 and May 31, 2013 and are now available for researcher request. This release records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Central Policy Files from the U.S. Army Office Of The Assistant Chief Of Staff For Intelligence,
  • Naval History and Heritage Command, World War II Command Files,
  • Atomic Energy Commission Subject Files of Chairman John McCone,
  • Department of State Subject Files Pertaining to the U.S. Admissions Program for Indochinese Refugees, 1980 – 1981,
  • Records Of The National Bipartisan Commission On Central America (Kissinger Commission),
  • United Nations Command, Prisoner Of War Command Records from the Korean Conflict,
  • United States Information Agency Country and Subject Files for Latin America and Spain, and
  • Air Force Directorate Of Plans; Secret Central Files

How to Request Records or Order Copies:

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or

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

Posted in New Openings

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Posted in 2013 NDC Training Conference

NDC Releases 170 New Entries Between December 7, 2012 and April 24, 2013

The NDC has released a listing of 170 entries Excel document that have completed declassification processing between December 7, 2012 and April 24, 2013 and are now available for researcher request. This release records from both military and civilian agencies.

Highlights include:

  • Records from the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, Fort Holabird,
  • Naval Ordnance Systems Command records related to the Port Chicago Explosion,
  • Atomic Energy Commission Patent Files,
  • Country and Subject Files from the United States Information Agency,
  • Naval Air Systems Command Research and Development Files,
  • Far East Air Force Headquarters Bomber Command Korean Conflict Era Correspondence,
  • Tariff and Trade records from the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, and
  • Air Force records from Wright-Patterson, Langley, Arnold, Scott and Andrews Air Force Bases.

Requests to access the newly released records or to order copies should be directed to Archives 2 Reference at 301-837-3510 or

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

Posted in New Openings | 1 Comment

The Correspondence of Curtis Lemay

The Correspondence of Curtis Lemay

By: Rhiannon Roberts

While stationed at Offutt AFB, Nebraska; Lt. Gen. Curtis Lemay coordinated the Korean War effort through diligent command of the SAC or Strategic Air Command; the founding of this particular organization was to support bomber aircraft with nuclear capabilities. The following correspondence is from Lt. Gen. Lemay and Brig. Gen. Robert H. Terrell that concerns new weapons tactics that would eliminate the threat of North Korean retaliatory efforts that had been eliminating the accuracy of B-29 bombers.

One device in particular, known as the M-17 anti-ricochet device, developed by the Japanese; was created to prevent the accuracy of North Korean flak launched on American bombers. However this was only after several series of testing were completed that proved it would be successful in the ensuing battles. The following photographs are evidence of the B-29 conducting these tests.

Curtis Lemay correspondence, all pages

The last two letters are from Lt. Gen. Lemay to Brig. Gen. James E. Briggs; who was the commanding officer of the Far East Air Force (FEAF) based out of Okinawa, Japan. These letters indicate that while North Korean flak had created a sense of urgency to establish a method that could be used to counter their effectiveness, coordinating a testing location for the M-17 anti-ricochet device proved difficult.

This information was taken from the following and has been declassified for public viewing on March 28, 2013:
Record Group 342
Boxes 1-6 (FRC)
Entry 342-53-7010
NND 001872/64444

Posted in NDC Processes, New Openings | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Armistice Agreement Rough Draft 1952-Korean War

By: Rhiannon Roberts

The Korean War officially ended on July 27, 1953 with an armistice agreement signed by Lt. Gen. William Harrison Jr., Representative of the United Nations; and Gen. Nam II, Representative for the People’s Republic of China and North Korea. While the world had waited with bated breath for some reprieve from the deadliest conflict since World War II, many world leaders had attempted to establish a mutually beneficial way of ending the war for several years prior to the final armistice. To many this intense desire for reconciliation originated from the failure of each side making any lasting advances into the territory of the opposition. From 1951-1952 these attempts toward resolution centered on the establishment of a contract outlining specific points that each side would agree to abide by. While in the end the acceptance of these drafts had proved unsuccessful, they had, however; paved the way for the armistice that has created an essence of peace on the Korean Peninsula for the last 60 years.

Please see attachment for the “Current Draft of the Armistice Agreement Revised 10 April 1952”. Special attention should be made to the section on page 26, in which the intended signature parties were Kim Il Sung, Peng Teh Huai and Gen. Matthew Ridgeway.

While several issues pertaining to territorial rights, as well as the legality of civil liberties for the affected population prevented a quick resolution, other topics that were equally important such as the presence of the United States military in Japan; created an equal cause for concern. (Article 16)

The importance of these resolutions is that even with the citizens of Korea living today in a constant state of ready preparedness for continuing the war; the fundamental guidelines initiated by the founders of the armistice agreement have been long-lasting. Therefore, they have prevented up to date, a new surge in hostile forces within the volatile region. Let us hope that the success continues for 60 more years.

This information was taken from the following and has been declassified for public viewing on March 28, 2013:
Record Group 342
Boxes 1-6 (FRC)
Entry 342-53-7010
NND 001872/64444

Armistice Draft 1952

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