Bryce N. Harlow Papers, White House Central Files, 1968-1969


Descriptive Summary

Title: Bryce N. Harlow Papers, White House Central Files, 1968-1969
Dates: 1968-1969
Collection Number: 2579421
Creator/Collector: Harlow, Bryce Nathaniel, 1916-1987
Extent: 11 linear feet, 10 linear inches; 27 boxes
Online items available
Repository: Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Abstract: Bryce N. Harlow served as Assistant to the President and Counselor to the President. The materials cover the period from November 1968 to January 1969 when Mr. Harlow served as the Assistant to the President with Responsibility for Congressional Relations in the transition office of President-Elect Richard Nixon as well as from 1969 to 1970 when Mr. Harlow served as Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Relations.
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

Bryce N. Harlow Papers, White House Central Files, 1968-1969. 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.

Biography/Administrative History

Bryce Harlow was born in Oklahoma in 1916. After his graduation from the University of Oklahoma in 1938, Bryce Harlow moved to Washington D.C. where he worked on Capitol Hill as assistant librarian to the House of Representatives. In 1941, with the outbreak of World War II, Bryce Harlow became an officer in the United States Army and worked for General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff. Mr. Harlow served in this position until 1946, when he joined the staff of the House Committee on Armed Services. Mr. Harlow remained in this position until 1951. In 1952, Mr. Harlow returned to Oklahoma and became the vice president of the Harlow Publishing Company. Just one year later, Mr. Harlow returned to Washington, D.C., with his wife Betty and their three children to work on the White House staff of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. From 1953 until 1960, Mr. Harlow served the Eisenhower Administration in various positions including administrative assistant to the president, special assistant to the president, and deputy assistant to the president for congressional affairs. Mr. Harlow wrote major speeches for President Eisenhower, and President Eisenhower often referred to Mr. Harlow as his "meat and potatoes man." In 1961, Mr. Harlow established the first office in Washington, D.C., for the company of Procter & Gamble. He continued to represent the company in Washington, D.C., until his retirement in 1978. Mr. Harlow took a leave of absence from Procter and Gamble from 1968 until 1971 and again from 1973 until 1974 to serve on the White House staff of President Richard Nixon. Mr. Harlow worked for the Nixon Administration as assistant to the president for congressional relations and as counselor to the president, a position that had a cabinet level rank. In November 1968, Mr. Harlow was the first staff person appointed by President-Elect Richard Nixon. In his later years, Bryce Harlow was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1977 and received the Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Bryce Harlow died on February 18, 1987.

Scope and Content of Collection

The materials of Bryce N. Harlow cover the period from November 1968 to January 1969 when Mr. Harlow served as the Assistant to the President with Responsibility for Congressional Relations in the transition office of President-Elect Richard Nixon. Mr. Harlow’s first office was in New York City at the Pierre Hotel with his staff of William Timmons (responsible for relations with the House of Representatives) and Ken Belieu (responsible for relations with the Senate). Eventually Mr. Harlow and his staff relocated from New York to Federal Building #7 in Washington, D.C. Materials in this collection include correspondence from Mr. Harlow and his staff to members of Congress introducing Mr. Harlow and his team and asking for recommendations on White House staff and cabinet positions. These correspondences include letters to Congressman George H.W. Bush, Congressman Gerald R. Ford, Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator Barry Goldwater, and Senator Strom Thurmond. These materials also contain the responses from the members of Congress which not only contain their staffing recommendations, but also include congratulatory messages and opinions on policy issues for the new administration. Topics of policy issues discussed include the Vietnam War, economic issues, ending of the draft and creating an all volunteer military, space and science, relations with the Soviet Union, postal matters, and the USS Pueblo. Congressional recommendations for staff and cabinet positions include future cabinet and staff members Melvin Laird and Charles Colson but also include many individuals who did not work for the Nixon Administration, including Hubert Humphrey and Charles Van Dorn. There are also materials from Mr. Harlow organizing and scheduling the December 16, 1968, meeting with President-Elect Nixon, Vice President-Elect Spiro Agnew and high-ranking Republican congressmen. The materials of Bryce Harlow also include a number of internal memoranda between Mr. Harlow and other transition office staff. Many of these memoranda are from Mr. Harlow to Peter Flanigan who worked on filling cabinet, sub-cabinet and head of agency positions as well as Harry Flemming who worked on filling lower-level positions. The contents of these memoranda consist of Mr. Harlow passing along staff recommendations from members of Congress as well as Mr. Harlow’s own opinion about the potential candidate or about the Congressman who made the recommendation. Other transition office staff members included in some of these materials are Dwight Chapin, H.R. Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman. The collection also contains memoranda directly between Bryce Harlow and Richard Nixon. In these memorandums, Mr. Harlow advises the President-Elect on building his relationship with Congress based on Mr. Harlow’s experiences with the Eisenhower Administration. The materials also include numerous documents from the public addressed to President-Elect Nixon. Topics in these materials include congratulatory messages to the newly elected president, requests to attend the inauguration, policy suggestions, and requests supporting or proposing new White House staff members and cabinet positions. The materials also include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years cards to the Nixon family. Finally, the materials include press briefings from November 1968 until December 1968. The press briefings involve announcements by Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler about new appointments to White House staff positions. Some of the appointments covered in these briefings include the appointments of Henry Kissinger, Herb Klein, William Safire, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Martin Anderson. Other topics in the press briefings include a phone conversation between Richard Nixon and Chief Justice Earl Warren, the creation of a Task Force on Science and a Task Force on Space, and President-Elect Nixon’s plans of opening a nationwide search for staffing of the new administration. The materials are arranged into six series: Congressional Correspondence, Memorandum, Public Correspondence, Press Briefings, Subject Files - Added on 12/9/2010, Oversized Attachments - Added on 12/9/2010. Accretion - 12/9/2010: On December 09, 2010 newly processed materials from Bryce Harlow’s White House Central Files have been added to this collection. These additional materials have been arranged into two new series: Subject Files and Oversized Attachments. The Subject Files include materials from 1969 to 1970 when Mr. Harlow served as Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Relations. These documents cover a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues as well as direct correspondence with Mr. Harlow to members of Congress and other White House staff. The series is arranged alphabetically. The Oversized Attachments series consist of materials that were originally filed in large oversized files and kept separately from the main Harlow collection. The materials in this series are arranged to parallel the existing Subject Files, Memorandum and Public Correspondence series. What is unique about these materials is that they contain documents from the administration era (1969 – 1970) beyond the transition era (November 1968 – January 1969). Each parallel series is arranged by Oversized Attachment number and then chronologically for the Subject Files and alphabetically for the Memorandum and Public Correspondence.

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