Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force [WSPF]


(Record Group 460)
1971-77
1,362 cu. ft.

Table of Contents

  • 460.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 460.2 GENERAL RECORDS 1973-77 22 lin. ft.
  • 460.3 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR 1972-76 30 lin. ft.
  • 460.3.1 General records
  • 460.3.2 Reference files
  • 460.4 RECORDS RELATING TO THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN CASE 1972-76 27 lin. ft.
  • 460.4.1 Records of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
  • 460.4.2 Records of the Criminal Division, DOJ
  • 460.5 RECORDS OF THE WATERGATE TASK FORCE (WTF) 1972-77 84 lin. ft.
  • 460.5.1 Records relating to the main Watergate cover-up case (United States v. Mitchell et al.)
  • 460.5.2 Records relating to other investigations and cases
  • 460.6 RECORDS OF THE PLUMBERS TASK FORCE 1973-77 121 lin. ft.
  • 460.7 RECORDS OF THE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS TASK FORCE 1973-77 295 lin. ft.
  • 460.8 RECORDS OF THE DIRTY TRICKS TASK FORCE 1972-75 6 lin. ft.
  • 460.9 RECORDS OF THE ITT (INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CORPORATION) TASK FORCE 1973-76 45 lin. ft.
  • 460.10 RECORDS OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT UNITS 1973-77 129 lin. ft.
  • 460.10.1 Records of the Administrative Section
  • 460.10.2 Records of the Public Affairs Section
  • 460.10.3 Records of the Information Systems Section
  • 460.11 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL) 1971-75 246 items
  • 460.12 MACHINE-READABLE RECORDS (GENERAL)

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460.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Department of Justice (DOJ), by Order No. 551-73, Acting Attorney General, November 2, 1973.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF), DOJ (May-October 1973)
  • Criminal Division, DOJ (October-November 1973)
Functions: Assisted the Special Prosecutor (SP) in carrying out his duty to investigate and prosecute alleged offenses resulting from the Watergate break-in of June 17, 1972; from the conduct of the 1972 Presidential election campaign; and from the abuse of Presidential power.

Abolished: Effective June 20, 1977, by Order No. 732-77, Attorney General, July 1, 1977.

Finding Aids: Preliminary Inventory in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

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

Specific Restrictions: Pursuant to Ricchio v. Kline, C.A.D.C. 1985, 773 F.2d 1389, access to the Presidential recordings and corresponding transcripts described throughout this record group is controlled by relevant provisions of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (88 Stat. 1695), December 19, 1974. As specified by the Archivist of the United States, access is restricted to the following types of records described throughout this record group: documents provided to the WSPF by the White House, unless already made a matter of public record in an official judicial proceeding; and documents provided to the WSPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Related Records: Records of relevant cases, in RG 21, Records of District Courts of the United States. Records of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Ervin Committee), in RG 46, Records of the U.S. Senate (access in accordance with S. Res. 393, 96th Cong., 2d sess., and S. Rpt. 96-647). Records of the House Judiciary Committee relating to the Nixon impeachment inquiry (closed until 2004), in RG 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives. Records of Independent Counsels, RG 449.
Vice Presidential and Presidential Papers of Gerald R. Ford, in Ford Library. Presidential Papers of Richard M. Nixon, in Nixon Presidential Materials.

RECORDS
RECORD TYPES RECORD LOCATIONS QUANTITIES
Textual Records Washington Area 1,361 cu. ft.
Sound Recordings College Park 246 items
Machine-Readable Records College Park 2 data sets

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460.2 GENERAL RECORDS
1973-77
22 lin. ft.

History: WSPF established in DOJ, effective May 25, 1973, by Order No. 517-73, Attorney General, May 31, 1973. Abolished, effective October 21, 1973, with functions transferred to Criminal Division, DOJ, by Order No. 546-73, Attorney General, October 23, 1973. WSPF reestablished in DOJ, November 2, 1973. SEE 460.1.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1973-77. Reading files, 1973-77. Official files of SP Leon Jaworski, 1973-74; SP Henry S. Ruth, Jr., 1974-75; and SP Charles F.C. Ruff, 1975-77. Correspondence concerning WSPF efforts to obtain evidential material from the White House, 1974-77. SP daily diaries and telephone logs, 1973-77. Diaries compiled by Peter M. Kreindler, Executive Assistant to the SP (1973-74) and Counsel to the SP (1974-75), 1973-75. Internal memorandums on all aspects of WSPF operations, 1973-77. Records relating to the investigation of President Richard M. Nixon, and to his subsequent resignation and pardon, 1973-75. Records relating to investigations considered to be of the highest sensitivity, 1973-77.

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460.3 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR
1972-76
30 lin. ft.

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460.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Official files of Deputy SP Henry S. Ruth, Jr., 1973-74. Correspondence and other records concerning the WSPF's efforts to obtain evidential material from the White House, 1973- 75. Correspondence and other records relating to aspects of the Presidential tape recordings, such as the operation of the taping system; the 18 1/2 minute gap in the June 20, 1972, recording; and differences between transcripts prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for WSPF use and those released by President Nixon on April 30, 1974 ("Bluebook Investigation"), 1973-76. Correspondence, testimony, and documentary evidence concerning possible Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) involvement in Watergate, 1973-75. Correspondence relating to principal witnesses and defendants, 1973-76. Records concerning Watergate- related civil suits brought by President Nixon, 1974-75. Subject files on investigations conducted by Deputy SP, 1973-76. Articles and news clippings on the concept of executive privilege, 1973- 75.

Subject Access Terms: Nixon v. Sampson; Richard M. Nixon v. Administrator, General Services Administration.

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460.3.2 Reference files

Textual Records: Transcripts of Congressional committee hearings, 1973-74. Drafts of proposed legislation on a special prosecutor, 1973-74. Grand jury records, consisting of grand jurors' notes on testimony, 1972-75; and records concerning assignments and procedures, 1972-75. Transcripts of depositions given in civil cases of interest to WSPF, 1972-73. Transcripts of hearings on certain Presidential tape recordings, conducted by Judge John Sirica in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1973- 74.

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460.4 RECORDS RELATING TO THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN CASE
1972-76
27 lin. ft.

History: Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, assisted by other DOJ units, developed and prosecuted the Watergate break-in case (United States v. Liddy et al.), resulting in the conviction of all seven defendants, January 1973. Watergate-related responsibilities and records transferred to newly established WSPF, May 1973, with Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and other DOJ units, thereafter assisting WSPF as requested. Some Watergate break-in files augmented by WSPF as successor to the records.

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460.4.1 Records of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the
District of Columbia

Textual Records: Official files of Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert, including correspondence, a personal diary, and copies of documents filed in court, 1972-73. Working notes of Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Campbell, 1972-73. FBI records, including interview memorandums, 1972-73; and a summary (1973) of the FBI investigation, with accompanying background materials, 1972-73. Documentary evidence, 1972-73. Witness files, 1972-74. Records relating to the trial, consisting of transcripts of proceedings and copies of exhibits, 1972-73; and post-trial motions and appeals, 1973-76.

Subject Access Terms: Barker, Bernard L.; Gonzalez, Virgilio; Hunt, E. Howard; Liddy, G. Gordon; Martinez, Eugenio R.; McCord, James W., Jr.; Sturgis, Frank A.

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460.4.2 Records of the Criminal Division, DOJ

Textual Records: Chronologies, FBI reports, summaries of evidence, and papers filed in court, 1972-73.

Subject Access Terms: Barker, Bernard L.; Gonzalez, Virgilio; Hunt, E. Howard; Liddy, G. Gordon; Martinez, Eugenio R.; McCord, James W., Jr.; Sturgis, Frank A.

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460.5 RECORDS OF THE WATERGATE TASK FORCE (WTF)
1972-77
84 lin. ft.

History: Assumed, from Office of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, June 1973, responsibility for developing and prosecuting cases against White House staff members and Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP) officials suspected of having tried to prevent the Watergate break-in investigation from expanding ("Watergate cover-up cases"). Rendered inactive as a task force due to WSPF staff reductions following appointment, October 17, 1975, of Charles F.C. Ruff as part-time SP, with remaining case work handled by individual attorneys and consultants as assigned by SP.

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460.5.1 Records relating to the main Watergate cover-up case
(United States v. Mitchell et al.)

Textual Records: Records relating to investigation planning and coordination, and trial preparation, 1973-75. Files on persons indicted, and actual and potential witnesses, 1972-75; with partial index, 1973-75. Memorandums summarizing investigations of various individuals and recommending for or against prosecution ("Prosecution Memorandums"), 1973-74. Records describing methods followed in reviewing Presidential recordings and preparing transcripts, 1974-75. Notes containing factual and legal analyses, 1973-75. Pretrial records, 1972-74, consisting of FBI and WSPF interview memorandums; grand jury and Congressional testimony; inventories of pretrial material made available to defendants' counsel; and defendants' pretrial motions. Records relating to jury selection, 1974. Copies of papers filed in court, 1974-76. Trial records, consisting of transcripts of proceedings, exhibits, and defendants' post-trial motions, 1973- 77.

Subject Access Terms: Ehrlichman, John D.; Haldeman, H.R. (Bob); Mardian, Robert; Mitchell, John N.

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460.5.2 Records relating to other investigations and cases

Textual Records: Records relating to investigation of E. Howard Hunt's counsel, William O. Bittman (indictment not sought), 1973- 76. Court papers filed in government's cases against Counsel to the President John W. Dean III; and CRP officials Fred C. LaRue, Jeb S. Magruder, and Herbert L. Porter, 1973-75. Court papers filed in Watergate-related civil suits brought by President Nixon, 1975-77.

Subject Access Terms: Nixon v. Sampson; Richard M. Nixon v. Administrator, General Services Administration.

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460.6 RECORDS OF THE PLUMBERS TASK FORCE
1973-77
121 lin. ft.

History: Assumed, from Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, June 1973, responsibility for developing and prosecuting cases against individuals (associated with a White House unit known as "the Plumbers") suspected of having broken into the Los Angeles office of Lewis Fielding, psychiatrist of antiwar activist Daniel Ellsberg, for the purpose of obtaining Ellsberg's medical record. Also investigated allegations involving abuse of Presidential power. Rendered inactive as a task force due to staff reductions following appointment, October 17, 1975, of Charles F.C. Ruff as part-time SP, with remaining case work handled by individual attorneys and consultants as assigned by SP.

Textual Records: Subject correspondence, 1973-76. Records relating to the Fielding break-in trial (United States v. Ehrlichman et al.), 1973-76. Records relating to investigations of the following allegations made against White House officials: misuse of the authority of federal agencies, particularly that of the Internal Revenue Service, 1973-75; mistreatment of antiwar and anti-Nixon demonstrators, 1973-75; establishment of a program to direct agency activities so that they met reelection needs ("Responsiveness Program"), 1974-75; wiretapping of newsmen and government officials, 1973-75; and falsification of President Nixon's tax returns, 1974-77. Correspondence, reports, and other records relating to miscellaneous investigations, 1973-76.

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460.7 RECORDS OF THE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS TASK FORCE
1973-77
295 lin. ft.

History: Assigned by SP, June 1973, responsibility for developing and prosecuting cases against individuals and corporations suspected of having violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (86 Stat. 3), February 7, 1972, effective April 2, 1972. Rendered inactive as a task force due to staff reductions following appointment, October 17, 1975, of Charles F.C. Ruff as part-time SP, with remaining case work handled by individual attorneys and consultants as assigned by SP.

Textual Records: Central chronological file, consisting of correspondence, memorandums, and papers filed in court ("Task Force Circulation File"), 1973-75. Copies of correspondence and memorandums retained by Thomas McBride, task force chief, 1974- 75. Numbered case files of investigations undertaken by the task force, 1973-77, with name and subject index. Copies of grand jury subpoenas issued, 1973-76. Reference materials containing information on campaign contributors and recipients of donations, 1973-75.

Subject Access Terms: Ambassadorial appointments; American Shipbuilding Company; Associated Milk Producers, Inc. (AMPI); Continental Oil Company (CONOCO); Gulf Oil; Hughes, Howard; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Rebozo, Charles G. ("Bebe"); Stans, Maurice H.; "Townhouse" Program.

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460.8 RECORDS OF THE DIRTY TRICKS TASK FORCE
1972-75
6 lin. ft.

History: Investigation of acts of political espionage and sabotage ("dirty tricks") against candidates for the 1972 Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, conducted by Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, resulted in sentencing, November 5, 1973, after guilty plea, of California attorney Donald H. Segretti. Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia also investigated "dirty tricks" allegations. Task Force assumed, from Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, June 1973, responsibility for developing and prosecuting "dirty tricks" cases. Rendered inactive as a task force due to WSPF staff reductions following appointment, October 17, 1975, of Charles F.C. Ruff as part-time SP, with remaining case work handled by individual attorneys and consultants as assigned by SP.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1973-75. Records relating to investigation planning and conduct, and trial strategy, 1973-75. Copies of FBI investigative reports received by Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and by WSPF, 1972-73. Documentary evidence, 1973-75. Records relating to witnesses, 1973-75. Notes containing factual and legal analyses, 1973-75. Memorandums containing recommendations on the disposition of various cases, 1973-74. Records relating to the government's case against Deputy Assistant to the President Dwight L. Chapin, consisting of papers filed in court, 1973-74; transcripts of proceedings and copies of exhibits, 1973-74; and records relating to defendant's appeal, 1974-75.

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460.9 RECORDS OF THE ITT (INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH
CORPORATION) TASK FORCE
1973-76
45 lin. ft.

History: Assigned responsibility by SP, at Attorney General's request, June 1973, for investigating whether improper influence had been used in the 1971 settlement of three antitrust cases brought against ITT by DOJ; whether, at the 1972 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Richard Kleindienst as Attorney General, perjury had been committed during questioning about the ITT-DOJ antitrust settlement; and whether a 1972 Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of ITT had been obstructed by ITT's failure to produce certain documents. Expanded investigation to include other ITT-related allegations. Rendered inactive as a task force due to WSPF staff reductions following appointment, October 17, 1975, of Charles F.C. Ruff as part-time SP, with remaining case work handled by individual attorneys and consultants as assigned by SP.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1973-75. Records relating to investigation planning and conduct, 1973-74. Documentary evidence, 1973. Records relating to witnesses, 1973- 75. FBI interview memorandums and other reports, 1973-75. Copies of SEC records relating to its investigation of ITT activities, 1973-75. Notes containing factual and legal analyses, 1973-75. Records relating to the investigation, perjury trial, and appeal of former California Lieutenant Governor Howard E. Reinecke, 1973-76. Task Force final report, 1975.

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460.10 RECORDS OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT UNITS
1973-77
129 lin. ft.

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460.10.1 Records of the Administrative Section

Textual Records: Records relating to WSPF establishment, authorities, and policies, 1973-77. Correspondence concerning WSPF contacts with other government agencies, private sector organizations, the media, and the general public, 1973-77. Records of Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Watergate, 1973-75. Records relating to personnel, budget, office management, and other administrative activities, 1973-77. Correspondence concerning access to WSPF materials in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, 1973-77. Records relating to preparation of the WSPF report (October 1975), 1974-75. Letters received from the general public, 1973- 77.

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460.10.2 Records of the Public Affairs Section

Textual Records: Subject correspondence, 1973-75. Correspondence concerning WSPF contacts with the media, 1973-77. Transcripts of media interviews of WSPF officials and others connected with Watergate, 1973-75. WSPF press releases, 1973-77. Daily summaries of Watergate-related news articles, 1973-77. Correspondence, drafts, and other records relating to the publication of the WSPF reports (October 1975 and June 1977), 1975-77.

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460.10.3 Records of the Information Systems Section

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1973-75. Computer print- outs listing records available on each individual and corporation investigated by WSPF ("Management Report"), with supporting documentation, 1973-77. Computer print-outs of cross-reference reports of WSPF and of Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, 1974-75.

Machine-Readable Records (2 data sets): Abstracts of testimony taken and documentary evidence acquired by Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, as modified by WSPF ("73 File"), 1973-75 (1 data set) with supporting documentation. Abstracts of testimony taken and documentary evidence acquired by WSPF ("76 File"), 1973-75 (1 data set), with supporting documentation.

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460.11 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
1971-75
246 items

Sound Recordings: Conversations recorded on White House taping system and White House dictabelts ("Presidential Recordings"), obtained by WSPF by grand jury subpoena (July 23, 1973); subpoena in connection with Watergate cover-up trial (April 16, 1974); agreement signed by SP Ruth, Counsel to the President Philip Buchen, and Secret Service Director H. Stuart Knight (November 9, 1974); and informal understanding between SP Ruth and Nixon Counsel Herbert L. Miller, Jr. (implemented February-July 1975), with corresponding transcripts for 88 items, 1971-73 (92 items). Watergate grand jury proceedings, with corresponding transcripts, 1973-75 (152 items). Telephone conversations of SP Archibald Cox, with corresponding transcripts, 1973 (1 item). Conversation between Watergate break-in defendant E. Howard Hunt and Gen. Robert E. Cushman, Jr., 1971 (1 item).

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460.12 MACHINE-READABLE RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 460.10.3.


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.

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


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