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Mr. MOAKLEY. I understand. I thank you for coming in, because I know how difficult it is to break away from that very important assignment, too.
Mr. SOLOMON. I thank you very much.
Mr. MOAKLEY. The Honorable Donnald K. Anderson, Clerk of the House of Representatives, former Page of the House of Representatives. That is what you call working from the bottom up, start as a Page here, never thought the job was steady. Donnald, it is always a pleasure to have you before us. STATEMENT OF HON. DONNALD K. ANDERSON, CLERK OF THE
HOUSE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. ANDERSON. Thank you very much for your welcome, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to appear today before your subcommittee to speak in favor of House Resolution 209, which would transfer the Office of the House Historian from Rule I, the Duties of the Speaker, to Rule III, the Duties of the Clerk.
The Office for the Bicentennial was created in 1982. A nonpartisan, highly credentialed professional historian, Dr. Raymond W. Smock, was selected to head this office in 1983. It was entirely appropriate to place under the jurisdiction of the Speaker this temporary office to coordinate bicentennial events and programs for the House of Representatives.
In 1989, the House established a permanent Office of the Historian. By their action, the House has wisely mandated the chronicling of the past and ongoing history of the foremost parliamentary body of the world.
It is quite logical to transfer the supervision of the Office of the Historian to Rule III, Duties of the Clerk. The Clerk is the custodian of the institutional records of the House under the provisions of Rule XXXVI and regulates access to House records under that rule and guidelines established by the Committee on House Administration.
The Clerk is required to maintain a documentary library for use of the Members of the House. The Clerk's Office of Records and Registration has the ministerial responsibility for collecting the nonconcurrent records of the House at the end of each Congress for deposit in the National Archives.
The recordkeeping responsibilities of the Clerk would be much enhanced by the skills of professional historians and expert research assistants. In like manner, the Historian's work would benefit from the augmentation of the personnel resources of the Clerk's records and information departments.
The Historian has worked closely with the Clerk in the publication of historical and reference works, which include the splendid “Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives 1789–1989, Bicentennial Edition.'
The Clerk's Office of Printing Services coordinates with the Historian on all of his excellent publications. With the Historian as a
part of the Clerk's Office, Printing Services could render far greater support.
Title x, Public Law 100-696, establishes the House of Representatives Fine Arts Board. The provisions give the House the authority to acquire works of fine art and historic furnishings, objects, papers and documents. Under the direction of the Board, the Clerk has an extensive curatorial responsibility for new acquisitions as well as for those things already within the precincts of the House. I can foresee a large and valuable advisory role for the Historian in this connection.
The records of the House represent the precious legacy of two centuries of free expression and government by consensus. In many cases, they are not as well grouped and organized as they should ideally be.
There are categories of House records which were archived with little or no preparation; their contents neither known nor understood. The Historian would work with the archivists at the National Archives to identify and correct the deficient areas. The records would thereby become more useful to the House and to scholars of the House.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my formal statement. I am prepared to answer such questions as you and your colleagues would be pleased to ask me.
Mr. MOAKLEY. Thank you, Donn, for a very precise presentation.
How would your Office handle the change from the 50-year to the 30-year rule? Have you received many public requests?
Mr. ANDERSON. Mr. Chairman it has not resulted in any measurable increase in requests for materials among the records of the House. I am advised of perhaps a modest 15-percent increase over a similar period last year.
Mr. MOAKLEY. Do you have any problems determining the material that was previously restricted under old rules which should now be accessible to people who may want to inquire?
Mr. ANDERSON. We have encountered no difficulty at all in adapting to the new accession schedule.
Mr. MOAKLEY. What about the inquiries made to the subcommittee regarding the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the HUAČ? It is my understanding that all of these records have been closed to public access pending complete investigation and assessment by your Office.
What is the status of the files at this time?
Mr. ANDERSON. The National Archives currently has approximately 2,800 boxes from the former House Committee on Un-American Activities, and early this month, the Committee on the Judiciary retired to the Archives an additional 200 boxes. None of the roughly 3,000 boxes have been catalogued. Their contents are very unclear.
The Archives assures us that within a year, they will complete the task of assembling and cataloging the files of the former Committee on Un-American Activities. At that point, we would be in a solid position to judge what things would be in the public interest to permit researchers to see and those things which clearly would
As of this time, we have rather perfunctorily denied requests for access since we really don't know the contents of those certainly important and still controversial materials.
Mr. MOAKLEY. But you are working on it?
Mr. MOAKLEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Anderson. Mr. ANDERSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. MOAKLEY. We will now hear from Dr. Lewis Bellardo, Director of the Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration. Doctor?
STATEMENT OF DR. LEWIS J. BELLARDO, DIRECTOR, CENTER
FOR LEGISLATIVE ARCHIVES, NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Dr. BELLARDO. Chairman Moakley, my name is Lewis Bellardo, and today I am representing the National Archives and Records Administration. I am the Director of the Center for Legislative Archives, which is the office at the National Archives that preserves and provides reference services for the records of the House.
I am pleased to speak to you and the subcommittee regarding House Resolution 209 and the handling of House records at the National Archives under the 30/50 rule. Given the other things that you may have going on this morning, would you prefer me to summarize or just go ahead?
Mr. MOAKLEY. Your entire statement, without objection, will appear in the record, so you can summarize any way you want.
Dr. BELLARDO. First, I would like to point out one minor correction which is on page 3 [see p. 12). Mr. MOAKLEY. Of your statement?
Dr. BELLARDO. Yes. It is on line 3, after the word "research,” it should simply be added, “after 30 years," so that essentially most other records are available for research after 30 years. Mr. MOAKLEY. Okay.
Dr. BELLARDO. I would like to open simply by saying that the National Archives, and my predecessors in this office, and I have greatly enjoyed working with the Clerk and the Clerk's Office, as well as with the House Historian. We have cooperated on a number of projects.
One I think we are most recently proud of is the Guide to the Records of the House of Representatives' records at the National Archives. It serves as a companion volume to one produced by the House Historical Office relating to personal papers of Congressmen that are on deposit in different depositories around the country.
Next, regarding the National Archives' position on the 30-50year rule, the change from 50 to 30-50, our position remains the same. We support that change, and I have included with my testimony previous statements by Don Wilson, Archivist of the United States, and also my predecessor, Mike McReynolds. [See pp. 15 and 20 of this hearing.]
The mechanics of how the 30-50-year rule, the wording of it and so forth, and the provisions I think are familiar to you, so I won't belabor details of that other than to simply say that records that are open by the House prior to coming are opened as soon as they get to the National Archives. Those that do not contain national security information or personal privacy information of living individuals or executive session testimony are open after 30 years.
For those that do contain those kinds of information, their opening could be delayed up to 50 years, and thus, the 30-50 rule.
As far as whether we have seen more use of our materials since the rules change, use is up since the beginning of this fiscal year. We report in fiscal years, and 1989 was a busier year for us than 1988. Most of that increase in use does not have to do with the 3050 change, however. It is just that there are more people using records, Congressional records and others that we have.
In terms of those historians and other individuals who have had the opportunity to work with records that are between the 30-50 years, it has been a great help to them to have those records accessible, and they have been very pleased with the change.
In terms of denials, since the change, denials of materials that are over 30 and may possibly not fall within those three categories that I gave to you.
The cases we have seen at all that we have been able to document are only two. Those are both House Un-American Activities records, so they fall into this group of records that are not fully arranged, not fully described.
We have just recently submitted a survey, a rough survey, to the Clerk's Office and to your staff regarding contents of the files, but there are, as Donn indicated, roughly 3,000 boxes of records, and they do require additional arrangement and description, and we hope that we will be able to have that finished by the end of this
The individual who is working on it is currently on a cross-training exercise, and he will be back with us early in the spring and will get right on that project.
So, in concluding, then, I would like to reiterate the cooperation our office has had, both from the Clerk's Office and from the House Historian's Office, and we are looking forward to continued cooperation with both of them.
[Dr. Bellardo's prepared statement, with attachments, follow:]
Statement of Lewis J. Bellardo
Before the Subcommittee on Rules of the House
October 18, 1986
Chairman Moakley, my name is Lewis Bellardo, and today I am
209 and the handling of House records at the National
Archives under the 30/50 year rule.
We at the National Archives have had a long and useful
relationship with the Office of the Clerk and have had the privilege of working with several incumbents of that office.
It has also been a pleasure to work with the Historian of
the House and to have collaborated with his office on