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Digital National Security Archive (DNSA): 2020 #1

About this Collection

The President’s Daily Brief: Nixon, Ford, and the CIA, 1969-1977 adds 2,527 documents and 28,300 pages of Top Secret intelligence summaries to the Digital National Security Archive’s collection of this essential intelligence product. Prepared by the CIA and delivered to the president each day, these documents were used to brief Presidents Nixon and Ford on world events and global threats, including détente, Ostpolitik, and the thawing of East-West relations; Middle Eastern conflicts, such as the Yom Kippur War, the Jordan Crisis, and the Lebanese civil war; U.S. actions in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; conflicts in Africa and Indonesia; Latin American political upheavals; and international monetary developments.

Research Value of This Collection

Tailored to the requirements of each president, PDBs reflect the CIA’s direct pipeline to the commander-in-chief on threats and opportunities relating to U.S. national security.  The documents in this collection therefore open a window into how each president and the intelligence agencies supporting him assessed the highest daily priorities facing the U.S. government. They thus represent fresh input into the study of the U.S. policy process on a variety of levels.  Above all, they help to understand how decision makers receive and utilize information in determining policy.  (Combining these materials with the Digital National Security Archive’s collections on presidential directives will increase their value even more.)  With coverage spanning several years, researchers can use the PDBs to analyze comparatively the interests, priorities and approaches of different presidential administrations. Students of the U.S. intelligence community will also find much raw material for understanding one of the most critical aspects of the community’s mission – keeping the president informed.

Collection Time Periods

Time Span                      Number of Documents

1969............................................ 297

1970............................................ 324

1971............................................ 328

1972............................................ 327

1973............................................ 312

1974............................................ 305

1975............................................ 307

1976-1977................................... 327

Important Topics Covered

Among the important topics covered by these documents are:

  • the prosecution of the Vietnam war, evolution of the Paris Peace talks, the U.S. withdrawal, and the fall of Saigon;
  • the Laotian civil war;
  • the Cambodian civil war;
  • leadership changes in the Soviet Union and China;
  • détente and arms control negotiations, such as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks;
  • Richard Nixon’s visit to China;
  • Soviet military aid to the Middle East and Africa;
  • the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and Middle East peace negotiations;
  • the Jordan crisis;
  • the Lebanon civil war;
  • the escalation of international terrorism;
  • the Cyprus crisis and aftermath;
  • elections, coups, and civil unrest in Latin America, including the Chilean coup d’état;
  • the Carnation Revolution in Portugal and its impact on decolonization of Africa;
  • the Sino-Soviet dispute;
  • the Bangladesh revolution and the India-Pakistan war;
  • independence movements in Angola, Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe;
  • European discussion of political, economic, and security benefits of integration;
  • West Germany’s Ostpolitik and thawing of relations with Eastern Europe;
  • the “normalization” of Czechoslovakia following the Prague Spring;
  • nuclear issues;
  • the space race