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Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Project Receives $200,000 In Grants

June 1, 2000 -- The University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs has been awarded $200,000 in grants from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the W. Alton Jones Foundation to support the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Project in 2001.

The Miller Center is transcribing, editing and publishing all of the hitherto secret White House tapes made during the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. W.W. Norton and Company will publish the first three volumes of the Kennedy tapes in early 2001, along with companion CD-ROMS that recreate the day-to-day events in the Kennedy White House.

In 2001, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission will provide the project up to $130,000, with grants of comparable size expected in fiscal years 2002 and 2003. The funding will support the Miller Center’s efforts to make the tapes accessible to the American public.

The NHPRC, a statutory body established by Congress in 1934, is part of the National Archives. The 15-member commission is chaired by the Archivist of the United States, John W. Carlin, and includes Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, Sen. James Jeffords (R-Vt.) and Rep. Roy Blount (R-Mo.), as well as archivists, historians, documentary editors and records administrators.

The Miller Center’s proposal received positive comments from a five-member NHPRC peer review. Stated Roger Bruns, deputy executive director of the NHPRC, "We are very pleased to lend the NHPRC’s support to this effort. The transcripts produced by this project will make a unique new source of primary resource material accessible to historians and students in a way that is simply not possible with the tapes alone."

The Charlottesville-based W. Alton Jones Foundation, a private foundation focusing on global environmental protection and the prevention of nuclear war or other massive release of radioactive material, has awarded a grant of $70,000 to the Miller Center during 2001 to support Miller Center research on nuclear arms control issues, including the Presidential Recordings Project's efforts to bring to light the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty/Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty materials in the Nixon recordings.

George Perkovich, director of the foundation’s Secure World Program, looks on the project as an important contribution to both scholarship and history, "SALT and ABM came out of Nixon’s policy of détente with the Soviet Union and actually helped give it momentum. Beyond its historical importance, the treaty is highly relevant to today’s national debate over whether the U.S. should break the ABM treaty and deploy a ballistic missile defense," he said. "Nixon and Kissinger concluded that without limitations on defensive missile systems, the temptation for arms racing and instability would be too great. This was as controversial then as it is today. What will the tapes tell us about Nixon’s and Kissinger’s thinking? How did they reconcile conflicting political and international interests? We look forward to seeing the results of the Miller Center’s unprecedented effort."

The Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia links the local and university community to the wider world of national and international affairs. The center is among the country’s premier sites for studying and understanding the American presidency and the executive branch of government.

Contact: Margaret Edwards, (804) 924-7236

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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