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Ronald L. Ziegler Papers, White House Special Files, 1969-1974
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ronald L. Ziegler Papers, White House Special Files, 1969-1974
    Dates: 1969-1974
    Collection Number: 5985950
    Creator/Collector: Ziegler, Ronald L. (Ronald Louis), 1939-2003
    Extent: 22 linear feet, 4 linear inches, 51 boxes
    Online items available
    Repository: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
    Abstract: This is a portion of the overall Press Office materials generated during the Nixon administration. It includes some of Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler's files but consists primarily of the records of the Correspondence Research Office and the Press Office. The files include briefing books, position papers, talking points memoranda, news summaries, and other background materials.
    Language of Material: English


    Collection is open for research. Some materials may be unavailable based upon categories of materials exempt from public release established in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.

    Publication Rights

    Most government records are in the public domain; however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings, that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.

    Preferred Citation

    Ronald L. Ziegler Papers, White House Special Files, 1969-1974. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

    Acquisition Information

    These materials are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration under the provisions of Title I of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-526, 88 Stat. 1695) and implementing regulations.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Ronald Ziegler file group combines materials brought into the White House Special Files from three different file groups: those of Ronald Ziegler, Agnes Waldron, and the Press Office. The materials in this file group reflect most strongly Agnes Waldron's work as head of the Correspondence Research office, though some of the materials arranged by type into the last two series may have been kept apart from Waldron's research file. The series contains the office files of White House Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler. The files are comprised of the Alphabetical Subject File; the Numerical Subject Files; the Numerical Subject File, Foreign Affairs and Defense; Numerical Subject File, Presidential Meetings; Briefing Materials, Meetings with Heads of State; Foreign Policy Position Papers; Talking Points Memoranda; and Press Office News Summaries. The Alphabetical Subject File subseries contains information related to the President's finances, Henry Kissinger's 1972 press briefings, the President's trips, Watergate, selected foreign policy issues, and Press Office operations. Record types include memorandums, correspondence, speeches and drafts of speeches, news summaries, and telegrams. The Numerical Subject Files subseries contains material almost exclusively concerned with domestic issues. Record types include reports, telegrams, wire service stories, clippings, and printed materials. The Numerical Subject File, Foreign Affairs and Defense subseries is dominated by material related to the Vietnam War, but also includes information on other subjects, such as foreign aid, the anti-ballistic missile system, chemical and biological warfare, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union. Record types include notes, briefing papers, press releases, and transcripts of television news programs. The Numerical Subject File, Presidential Meetings subseries contains material prepared for meetings between the President and various individuals or groups. These meetings predominately dealt with domestic issues or concerns. Record types include background and talking points papers, schedules, clippings, publications, and printed materials. The Briefing Materials, Meetings with Heads of State subseries contains briefing books, background and talking points papers, and other such materials prepared for the President and his staff for use in connection with their meetings with various heads of state. Record types include briefing books, press releases, and telegrams. The Talking Points Memoranda subseries is composed primarily of memoranda intended for the President's use in preparing for meetings with members of his administration, heads of state and other representatives of foreign governments, members of Congress, representatives of state and local governments and private organizations, and individuals. The Press Office News Summaries subseries contains news summaries and announcements. The former were prepared within the Press Office for its use only. Their coverage is, for the most part, restricted to network news programs, the "Washington Post" and the "New York Times." Record types include speeches, schedules, press releases, articles, and clippings. All of the files reflect the first imperative of the Press Secretary–the need to be informed. They are in character primarily background materials, briefing papers for the Press Secretary intended to educate him so that he could explain and defend the administration's positions. The files cover many of the events and issues on which Ziegler had to give briefings and answer questions, in particular, the President's trips and meetings, the Vietnam peace negotiations, Watergate, and the President's finances. Ronald Ziegler served throughout the Nixon administration, from January 1969 to August 1974, as Press Secretary to the President. He was the man in the vanguard of the White House's public relations apparatus who met every day, sometimes twice a day, with members of the press to hold briefings and to answer questions on issues of interest to the administration. In a memorandum to H. R. Haldeman on November 11, 1972, Ziegler described the Press Office as "a reactive operation geared to fast, spot responses and ferreting out positions and guidance for the morning briefings." The Press Office staff in late 1972 consisted of approximately fifteen people divided between five offices: the personal staff of the Press Secretary; the Office of News Operations, headed by Gerald Warren; the Domestic Affairs Office, headed by Ken Clawson; the Foreign Policy Office, headed by Andrew Falkiewicz; and Correspondence Research, headed by Agnes Waldron. This arrangement had developed within the Press Office during the first Nixon administration. A White House Staff personnel list, dated September 11, 1969, suggests that at the administration's beginning, the organization was much less well formalized. Ziegler had the title "Special Assistant to the President" at this earlier time; Gerald Warren was the "Deputy Press Secretary," and the other significant aides were simply "Staff Assistants." The functions of the Press Office often overlapped those of other White House offices and of the public information offices of departments and agencies. This was particularly true of Herbert Klein's Office of Communications. Klein, in his book Making It Perfectly Clear, described three key differences between his office and Ziegler's Press Office. First, his responsibility spread throughout the executive branch, and was not confined, like Ziegler's, to the White House. Second, television was his domain, insofar at least as concerned the appearances of members of the executive branch. Third, he was responsible for maintaining White House liaison with publishers and broadcasters; Ziegler's responsibilities, in contrast, were confined for the most part to relations with the White House press corps. The distinctions between the Office of Communications and the Press Office became lost in a gradual evolution that in June 1973 resulted in Herbert Klein's resignation and Ronald Ziegler's succession as Assistant to the President, with augmented responsibilities. Besides retaining his duties as Press Secretary, Ziegler took over Klein's responsibilities and assumed as well an intimate advisory role to the President. The task of conducting daily press briefings passed to Deputy Press Secretary Gerald Warren. This structure lasted for the remainder of the administration.

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