Collection MF358-360; MF374-MF383; MF523-532 - KENNEDY, PRESIDENT JOHN F, NATIONAL SECURITY FILES, 1961-1963

Key Information

Reference code

MF358-360; MF374-MF383; MF523-532




  • 1987 (Creation)
  • 1961-1963 (Creation)

Level of description



23 reels

Scope and content

The John F Kennedy National Security Files, 1961-1963, reproduces in microfilm memoranda, cables, intelligence projections, telegrams, conversations, correspondence and special studies relating specifically to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Central Europe, Asia and the Pacific and Western Europe. The collection provides documents maintained and organised by NSC adviser McGeorge Bundy and his staff of 'New Frontiersmen' and relate to foreign policy and national security issues including US attempts to achieve a state of détente with the Soviet Union, 1961-1963; US political, ideological and psychological perceptions of the First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, 1961-1963; the development of nuclear weapons technology and the massive build-up of nuclear deterrent forces, 1961-1963; the expansion and modernisation of US conventional forces to permit a 'flexible response' to Third World threats, 1961-1963; the establishment of guerrilla warfare programmes, 1961-1963; increased US economic and technical aid to the Third World under the Alliance for Progress; the Berlin Crisis and the resultant construction of the Berlin Wall, Aug 1961; statements issued by Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric relating to American nuclear second strike capabilities, 1961; the Cuban Missile Crisis and its aftermath, 1962; Kennedy's promotion of the 'Grand Design', increased economic and military trade with Europe; US reactions to growing West European scepticism of US nuclear deterrence; the increased US political and military commitment to Vietnam, including mention of the South Vietnamese military coup d'état which overthrew President, Ngo Dinh Diem, 1 Nov 1963.

System of arrangement

Microfilm copies of The John F Kennedy National Security Files, 1961-1963 are arranged alphabetically by country. Memoranda, cables, intelligence reports, correspondence and special studies are arranged chronologically within a 'Country File'. The material was originally bound into volumes, each of which was assigned a number. For certain countries, some memos and cables were arranged under agency tabs or embassy tabs. The State Department, Defense Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and Agency for International Development were the agencies most frequently represented. Some memoranda, 'memcons' (memoranda of conversations), correspondence, and reports were filed under tabs highlighting selected documents, events or correspondents. The staff at the John F Kennedy Library removed the material from the volumes and filed it into folders. Each folder has been arranged in chronological order and assigned inclusive dates. In most cases a 'Country File' consists of one or more folders, with separate folders for briefings or heads of state or government visiting the US. In its microfilming, the The John F Kennedy National Security Files were divided into geographic areas: Africa; Asia and the Pacific; Latin America; the Middle East; the USSR and Eastern Europe; Vietnam; and Western Europe.

General Information

Custodial history

University Publications of America, Inc., Bethesda, MD, with fully indexed guide to USSR and Eastern Europe co-ordinated by Robert E Lester and compiled by Stuart Stern.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies may be printed off the microfilm/microfiche for research purposes and are charged at cost.

Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to University Publications of America Inc.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

This collection level description. The following published guide is available in the Reading Room: Robert E Lester and Stuart Stern (eds.), The John F Kennedy National Security Files, 1961-1963 (University Publications of America, Inc, Bethesda, MD, 1987)

Existence and location of originals

The documents reproduced in this series are from the Presidential Papers of John F Kennedy in the custody of the John F Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, a unit of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Related descriptions


Compiled Jun 1999

Alternative identifier(s)

People and Organisations

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Accession area