Presidential Directives and Where to Find Them
by George Caldwell (updated by Charles Bean and Lyle Minter, 3-13-98)
Presidential directives are signed or authorized by the President.
They are issued by the National Security Council. Many recent
ones are classified. They have been given different names
by different Presidential administrations:
- National Security Action Memoranda (NSAMs):
Kennedy & Johnson
- National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDMs):
Nixon and Ford
- Presidential Directives (PDs): Carter
- National Security Decision Directives (NSDDs):
- National Security Directives (NSDs): Bush
- Presidential Decision Directives (PDDs): Clinton
- National Security Presidential Directives (NSPDs): GW Bush
- The Presidential Directives and Executive Orders
website maintained by John Pike of The Federation of American
Scientists "Intelligence Resource Program": http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/direct.htm
- Other miscellaneous Presidential Directives
turn up on the Web. Search Google
to try and find the one you are looking for.
- Presidential Directives on National Security from Truman
to Clinton. Chadwyck-Healey; National Security Archive.
1994. 820pp. 441 microfiche, containing 2132 items.
- National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush
Administrations. Westview. 1995. 1032p. Texts of
NSDDs 1-325 and NSDs 1-67 (incomplete). Also contains commentaries.
94-28882. E876.S5 1995. MRR.
- Documents of the National Security Council, 1947-1977.
Microfilm. University Publications of America. Micro RR: 86/203,
86/203a, 86/203e, etc. (6 supplements). Includes NSAMs and NSDMs.
- Center for National Security Studies (George
Washington University). Tel. (202)994-7060. Good place to check
first for directives LC does not have.
- Declassified Documents Catalog (earlier title:
Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalog). In earlier issues,
tended to be listed under "national Security Council." Z1223.Z9D4.
Ser RR and Micro RR. 1975- . Microfiche with texts of documents
are in Micro RR.
- The Declassified Documents Retrospective Collection.
Part One: Catalog of Abstracts. 2 vols. Z1223.Z7D36. (Descriptions
of documents contained in the Retrospective microfiche collections
and cited in its Cumulative Subject Index). Part Two: Cumulative
Subject Index. ("...combining entries from the Retrospective Collections
and the Annual Collections for 1975."). Z1223.Z7D36. Ser RR and
- Foreign Relations of the United States. JX233.A3
MRR. S1.1: Ser depository collection (contains only volumes published
in 1969 and after). Contains a fair number of older directives.
- National Security Council. Information Directorate.
Tel.: (202)456-9201. Can tell you whether a particular directive
is still classified or not, at least for recent ones.
- National Archives. Civil Reference Branch.
In Record Group 273, "National Security Council." They have basically
NSC documents from the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations.
However, they have received copies of more recent directives on
a courtesy basis from NSC as they are declassified. Tel.: (202)501-5425.
- Presidential libraries. Can be a good last
resort for directives that cannot be found in the Washington,
DC area. Examples: Johnson and Reagan libraries. Nixon papers
are at the National Archives. Tel.: (301)713-6950