Scope and Content Note
Subject file category FG 325 contains material relating to the Federal agency, ACTION, and its subordinate offices. The ACTION agency was created July 1, 1971, under the provisions of Reorganization Plan Number One, and Executive Order 11603, to provide centralized coordination and administration of Government-sponsored domestic and international volunteer agencies. Among the programs transferred to the new agency were the Peace Corps; VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America); SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and ACE (Active Corps of Executives); the Foster Grandparent Program; RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program); and NSVP (National Student Volunteer Program).
Principal correspondents in FG 325 include the President and those White House staff members whose areas of responsibility included volunteer program policy, or oversight generally of executive branch personnel and administrative functions: John D. Ehrlichman, Kenneth R. Cole, Jr., Frederic V. Malek, Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Dwight L. Chapin. Within ACTION, principals include Joseph H. Blatchford, Michael P. Balzano, Jr., and Nicholas H. Craw. Also represented are other Federal Government officials, such as George P. Shultz, Arnold R. Weber, John N. Mitchell, and Paul H. O'Neill. Several members of Congress corresponded with the White House about the creation of ACTION, Mark Hatfield notable among them.
The terms Executive and General precede each of the FG 325 file designations. These terms were used by the White House Central Files unit to indicate separation of documents according to source. Executive items include communications among national, foreign, and state and local governments and their agencies, members of Congress, and selected prominent correspondents. General items designate communications between Government officials and private citizens, institutions, and private interest groups. Where "/A" follows a numeric file designation, it indicates files relating to appointments, nominations, and resignations within the designated agency or office.
FG 325 files primarily contain letters and memoranda, either originals, carbons, or electrostatic copies. Draft and final submission reports are also found in the files, as are occasional telegrams/cables. There are a few newspaper clippings, which have been withdrawn for preservation reasons and replaced by electrostatic copies.
When a document included several subjects, or could be placed in several similar or overlapping file categories, the White House Central Files unit placed cross reference notations on the item and filed copies accordingly. Where FG 325 was not the primary filling location, only the first page of multi-page items was filed in cross-reference. In such cases, refer to the file designation listed first for the location of the complete item.
Because of the creation of the new ACTION agency midway through President Nixon's first term, files covering volunteer programs are located in differing categories before and after 1971. For 1969-1970 files on the Peace Corps and VISTA, researchers should check FG 11-6 in the State Department category, and FG 6-7-3 in the Office of Economic Opportunity category, respectively. Use of the different collections described here is recommended for an understanding of the changes which occurred in the handling of volunteer programs, particularly the Peace Corps. Partly in response to perceived host country reaction, there was a shift away from the original, broadly based Peace Corps program, which often used volunteers with general skills, to a more selective use of volunteers with specific technical skills. On the administrative side, an increased focus on management and organization resulted in the creation of a single agency to coordinate volunteer programs. In order to understand how and why these shifts occurred, researchers should use FG 325 in conjunction with pre-July 1971 files. Many of the 1971 items pertaining to ACTION were initially placed in FG 999-41 of the file category for proposed departments, agencies, boards, and commissions. Upon the establishment of ACTION on July 1, 1971, these files were removed from FG 999-41 and transferred into the FG 325 category.
Some of the files related or cross-referenced to FG 325 include:
White House Central Files: Subject Files:
||Office of Economic Opportunity: VISTA
||State Department: Peace Corps
||Cabinet Committee on Voluntary Action
||National Center for Voluntary Action
||Peace: Peace Corps
White House Special Files: Central Files: Subject Files: Confidential Files:
CF FG 6-7-3
CF FG 11-6
CF FG 252
CF FG 259
White House Special Files:
John D. Ehrlichman (See numerical files 269 and 241)
H. R. Haldeman
Personal papers collections in the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff holdings include some 1,600 pages of material from ACTION Director Blatchford. These 1969-1973 files have been processed, but can be researched only with authorization from Mr. Blatchford, due to the absence of a deed of gift which would permit routine researcher use.
Materials filed in the FG 325 subcategory cover the creation of ACTION; discussion of functions to be transferred to the new agency; formal establishing documents; background briefing material for the President; hiring and other personnel issues; and general public correspondence on voluntary action programs.
FG 325-1 PEACE CORPS
Includes reports on the status of the Peace Corps; correspondence on personal issues; analysis of the impact of budget action; and public reaction both to the Peace Corps, and to the President's specific comments and actions regarding the Peace Corps.
FG 325-1 PEACE CORPS NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
Consisting primarily of letters of appreciation sent Council members, this file contains no indication of how the Council conducted its work, or of its relations with the White House.
FG 325-2 VISTA
Contains information on the merger of VISTA into ACTION; discussion of political activities of VISTA volunteers; restrictions on VISTA lawyers.
FG 325-3 VOLUNTARY ACTION, OFFICE OF
This small, two-item subcategory contains only administrative and scheduling information.
FG 325-4 NATIONAL VOLUNTARY SERVICE ADVISORY COUNCIL
Contains information on appointments, membership, and resignations.
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