The Rumsfeld Papers


About the Nixon administration documents

I did not expect to leave Congress for the Nixon administration—and I certainly did not anticipate taking a job running an agency (the Office of Economic Opportunity or OEO) that I had voted against establishing in the first place.  But Richard Nixon was a remarkably persuasive individual, and talked me into taking not only that position but then also the job of running his wage-price controls (the Cost of Living Council, or CLC), a policy to which I was and remain strongly opposed.  He had a much easier sell convincing me to become Ambassador to NATO after the 1972 election, which I saw as an opportunity to do something different and to get out of what I was finding an increasingly uncomfortable climate in Washington, D.C.

My experiences in the Nixon administration gave me a much broader perspective on the workings of government than I had had in Congress.  I had assumed I pretty much knew how the executive branch functioned but after running a domestic agency,  working in the White House and participating in our nation’s foreign policy I came to better understand the complex challenges and issues facing those in the executive branch.  These were positions of considerable responsibility, and as I had in Congress, I generated a substantial paper record.  During this period I started a systematic practice of communicating with my colleagues and staff through typed memos, then known as “Yellow Perils” because of the color of the paper they were typed on.  Visitors will find this material organized chronologically by the positions I held in the administration.