Guide to Federal Records

Records of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS]


(Record Group 218)
1941-78

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 218.1 Administrative History
  • 218.2 Records of the Administrative Offices of the JCS (Joint Secretariat) 1941-78
    • 218.2.1 General records
    • 218.2.2 Records of the Historical Division
    • 218.2.3 Records of the Operations Data Branch, Information Systems Division, Operations Directorate J-3
    • 218.2.4 Records of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee
    • 218.2.5 General records of the Joint New Weapons Committee
  • 218.3 Records of the Chairman 1942-70
  • 218.4 Instruments of Surrender and Armistice 1945, 1953
  • 218.5 Textual Records (General) 1965
  • 218.6 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 218.7 Machine-Readable Records (General)

218.1 Administrative History

Established: As an interservice agency in the National Military Establishment by the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 505), July 26, 1947.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff (1942-47)
Functions: Serves collectively as principal military adviser of the President, National Security Council, and Secretary of Defense. Prepares strategic plans; reviews major material, personnel, and logistical requirements of the armed forces; and formulates policies for joint training.

Finding Aids: Garry D. Ryan, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff," NM 41 (1964).

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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218.2 Records of the Administrative Offices of the JCS (Joint
Secretariat)
1941-78

History: Joint Chiefs of Staff originated as the U.S. members of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, established February 9, 1942, to coordinate the war effort of Great Britain and the United States. JCS continued to function after the war, and was given statutory authority by the National Security Act of 1947. See 218.1.

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218.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Central correspondence, 1942-63, consisting of security-classified and formerly security-classified decimal correspondence and separate geographical file, 1942-58, and subject-numeric correspondence, 1959-71; and security-classified subject-numeric correspondence, 1959-63. Finding aids to the central correspondence, 1942-63, including a formerly security- classified index to messages, 1942-58, with security-classified partial microfilm copy, 1942-53 (3 rolls); and security- classified general indexes, cross-reference sheets ("Source Indexes"), and indexes to numbered JCS papers ("Short Title Indexes"), with partial microfilm copies (122 rolls). Messages relating to operations in the Far East, 1950-53. Security-classified situation reports, summaries, and telecon reports relating to the military campaign in Vietnam, 1968-69. Records relating to the Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission, 1942-47; and the Joint Mexican-United States Defense Commission, 1942-47. Study on the security of the Belgian Congo, prepared by Headquarters European Command, 1951.

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218.2.2 Records of the Historical Division

Textual Records: Published historical studies, 1946-78. World War II Allied military conference volumes, 1941-45, consisting of lists of participants, summarized transcripts, papers and exhibits, and subject indexes.

Microfilm Publications: T1174.

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218.2.3 Records of the Operations Data Branch, Information Systems Division, Operations Directorate J-3

Machine-Readable Records: Dealing with U.S. combat operations in the Vietnam War, and consisting of the following files, each with supporting documentation: Situation Report Army File (SITRA), 1966-73 (8 data sets); Combat Naval Gunfire Support File (CONGA), 1966-73 (1 data set); Naval Surveillance Activities File (NAVSA), dealing with Operations Market Time and Game Warden, 1966-72 (3 data sets); Mine Warfare Activities File (MINEA), concerning naval mines, 1972-73 (1 data set); Combat Air Summary File (OPREA), 1962-73 (3 data sets); Combat Activites File (CACTA), containing air combat mission data, 1965-70 (51 data sets); Southeast Asia Data Base (SEADAB), 1970-75 (21 data sets); RVN Incidents File (INCDA), documenting violations of the January 27, 1973, cease-fire agreement, 1973-75 (1 data set); and Southeast Asia Casualty File (SEACA), 1973-75 (1 data set).

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218.2.4 Records of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee

Textual Records: Central decimal correspondence and separate geographic file, 1942-49; with cross-reference sheets, 1942-49; an index to numbered papers, 1943-48; and an index to messages, 1943-49.

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218.2.5 General records of the Joint New Weapons Committee

Textual Records: Subject file, 1942-46, relating to the committee's mission to evaluate new weapons and equipment, and to study ways of using guided missiles and other strategic weapons.

Motion Pictures (9 reels):Development of radar, guided missiles, and other equipment and weapons, 1942-46.

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218.3 Records of the Chairman
1942-70

Textual Records: Formerly security-classified correspondence, memorandums, and messages of JCS Chairmen Adm. William D. Leahy, 1942-48; and Gen. Omar N. Bradley, 1949-53. Security-classified correspondence, memorandums, and messages of JCS Chairmen Adm. Arthur W. Radford, 1953-57; Gen. Nathan F. Twining, 1957-60; Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, 1960-62; Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, 1962-64; and Gen. Earl G. Wheeler, 1964-70.

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218.4 Instruments of Surrender and Armistice
1945, 1953

Textual Records: Official copies of instruments of surrender of the German forces signed at Luneburg, May 4, 1945; at Reims, May 7, 1945; and at Berlin, May 8, 1945, including authorizations to the German representatives to sign on behalf of the German Government and orders of the Supreme Allied Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, to the German High Command. Instruments of surrender of the Japanese forces signed in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. Instruments of surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea, Southeast Asia, the Ryukyus, the Philippines, and Ocean, Nauru, and Saishu Islands, September 1945. Korean Armistice Agreement, June 8, 1953; and the Temporary Agreement Supplementary to the Armistice Agreement, July 27, 1953.

Microfilm Publications: T826.

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218.5 Textual Records (General)
1965

Briefing books and other papers of Lt. Gen. Charles H. Bonesteel III, Director of the JCS Hellenic Defense Study Team and Turkish Defense Study Team, 1965.

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218.6 Motion Pictures (General)

See Under 218.2.5.

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218.7 Machine-Readable Records (General)

See Under 218.2.3.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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