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William S. Cohen Papers | Senate Legislative Materials on Foreign Relations

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MS 106.3.3.9 Foreign Relations 1977-1996 15 boxes

In Cohen's Senate office, a range of topics qualified as foreign relations in addition to foreign policy issues, and these were managed separately from the Defense: Foreign Relations issues. Staff members Jim Dykstra, Chris Mellon, Bob Savitt, Sheila Gall, Matthew Ballard, and Ben Neaderland maintained the files. The following groups of materials are organized in chronological order, though there is some overlap both in time and subject. The files within each subseries are arranged alphabetically.

Record types include correspondence, staff memos, press releases, trip itineraries, reports, Congressional Research Service reports, Dear Colleague letters, clippings, hearing transcripts, and handwritten notes.

MS 106.3.3.9.1 James Dykstra 1977-1990, inclusive1979-1985, bulk 5 boxes

Legislative Assistant James Dykstra worked on Foreign Relations primarily from 1979 to 1985 for Cohen's office. His files reflect the Senator's interest in the growing global interdependence of nations and economies-travel abroad, co-sponsorship of legislation related to foreign policy, international conferences, and human rights advocacy around the world. Cohen paid particular attention to the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977, Central American politics, Middle East peace negotiations throughout the 1980s, and the views of his pro-Israeli constituency and the Maine Jewish community in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1980, he served on the Commission on United States Policy Toward the Soviet Union sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1981, he authored a report entitled, "Global Interdependence of the U.S. and Western Europe: A Case Study of the Persian Gulf and the Iran-Iraq War."

Folder Titles

American Council on Germany, 1979-1981.
Asia: Glomar Java Sea Resolution, 1984-1985.
Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Central America: Contradora, peace by negotiation, 1983-1985.
Central America: foreign relations proposal to the President, 1987.
Central America: Grenada, 1983.
Central America: Kissinger communications, 1983-1984.
Central America: Nicaragua, 1984-1988.
Central America: State Department Publications, 1982-1985.
Chinese-Japanese reports and treaties, 1979-1983.
Cohen, co-sponsors and votes, 1980-1985, 7 folders.
Council of Europe, 1981.
Council on Foreign Relations, 1980-1981, 3 folders.
Council on Foreign Relations, annual reports, 1979-1982, 2 folders.
El Salvador, 1982-1983.
European trip-Israel, 1983.
European trip-London, England, 1983.
European trip-Rome, Italy.
European trip-Stockholm, Sweden, 1983.
European role in Africa and U.S. interests, 1981.
Folts, David: memos, reports, clips, 1980-1981, 2 folders.
Foreign relations, affairs-correspondence, 1982-1985, 2 folders.
Foreign relations series, 1990.
France: panel on U.S. Western Europe relations, 1981.
Germany, 1980-1982.
Global interdependence, U.S. and Western Europe, 1981, 2 folders.
Great Britain, 1980-1981, 3 folders.
Honduras, 1983.
Human rights covenants, 1984-1986, 3 folders.
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc., 1982.
Israel: industry, 1982-1986, 2 folders.
Israel: pro-Israel constituency, 1977-1982, 2 folders.
Israel: U.S.-Israeli strategic cooperation, 1984.
Jews in the Soviet Union, 1984.
Middle East: Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 1983.
Middle East Foreing Aid, correspondence, 1981-1985.
Middle East-Israel, 1980-1988, 4 folders.
Miscellaneous reports and memos, 1979-1983.
Nicaragua, 1983.
Oslow, Norway, 1980.
Panama Canal, 1977-1979.
Philippines, advancement of human rights, Ministry of National Defense, January 1979.
Philippines, the case against Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., Ministry of National Defense, January 1979.

MS 106.3.3.9.2 James Bodner and Chris Mellon 1985-1991 5 boxes

Chris Mellon and Jim Bodner's files for this period are dominated by four topics: Nicaragua, the Persian Gulf, apartheid in South Africa, and terrorism.

In 1985, President Reagan, proposed and Congress approved, over $100 million in aid to the democratic resistance movement in Nicaragua in their effort to defeat a leftist Sandinista regime supported by the Soviet Union. Accusations of misuse of the funds prompted controversy that threatened the dispersal of the remaining $40 million in aid in 1986. At the same time, investigations had begun into the possible illegal solicitation by the Reagan administration of foreign aid for the "Contras." Cohen was to have a significant role in the hearings which began in May 1997 in the Senate Armed Services Committee (see Iran Contra subseries). Background information and some of Cohen's statements are included here.
The Persian Gulf "troubles" covered in these files began with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990. Operation Desert Shield brought together a multi-national force to prevent Saddam Hussein's troops from continuing on to invade Saudi Arabia. In December 1990, hearings were being held in the Armed Services Committee to debate the next step. The transcripts in include statements by Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and Henry Kissinger. The files include Cohen's extensive handwritten notes from these hearings.

The United States Congress, overriding a veto from President Reagan, opposed the South African policy of apartheid in 1986 with economic sanctions. In 1989, the House passed a measure to strengthen sanctions, including the immediate ban on American firms doing business in South Africa, but the bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote. Chris Mellon's comprehensive research files and memos document the many proposals, statements and debates on U.S. policy toward South Africa.

Cohen sponsored legislation "to combat terrorism and other forms of unconventional warfare" (S. 2453) in 1986 with 27 co-sponsors. The Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Sea Power and Force Projection, chaired by Cohen, held hearings.

Folder Titles

African National Congress 1986
Anti terrorism warfare legislation, S.2453 1986
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 1986
Cohen, Contra statement 1987
Congressional Commission on Central America 1986
Congressional Record, rules 1985-86
Constituent correspondence on foreign policy 1988-89
Contra fund controversy
Defense inflation 1985
Fort A.P. Hill retreat, defense reorganization 1985
Full disclosure, Foreign Relations of the United States series 1990
Guatemala plan 1987
Gulf troubles and SASC hearing, Cohen notes 1990-91
Integrated forces 1985
International Red Cross 1986
Iran-Contra statements 1987
Iraq nuclear potential, oil, U.S. policy 1990-91
Joint staff questions 1985
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chairman 1985-86
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice-chairman 1985
Light divisions 1986
Memos, talking points and letters 1983-86
Military readiness and sea power 1984-85
Nicaragua 1985-88
Nicaragua, 7 point plan for peace 1987
Nicaragua clips
Nicaragua, Contras
Nicaragua Contradora Peace Treaty
Nicaragua insurgency 1986
Nicaragua legislation 1986
Nicaragua, Ortega information 1985
Nicaragua policy concern 1986-87
Nicaragua, resolutions to advance democracy 1986-88
Operation Desert Storm 1991
Operation Desert Storm news 1991
Panama Operation Just Cause 1989
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Andean hearings, drugs, 1989
President Arias peace plan for Central America 1987
Rapid deployment force 1985-88
Refugees 1985
Reporting requirements 1986
Saudi Arabia 1986
Saudi trip 1990
Senate Armed Services Committee 1987-90
South Africa 1986-89
South Africa, anti-Apartheid legislation 1988-89
South Africa, Choate appearance, Nambian independence 1989
South Africa, sanctions against
Syria 1985-86
Terrorism briefing 1989
Thank you letters 1987-90
Trilateral Commission 1980?
Veto override statement 1986
Vietnam 1986
Walker Amendments, restrict travel in support of Communism 1987
War Powers Act Amendment 1988-89
Zimbabwe 1985-86
Zulu Nations, reports 1986


MS 106.3.3.9.3 Sheila Gall and Matthew Ballard 1986-1994 4 boxes

Sheila Gall followed Chris Mellon in working with Jim Bodner on foreign relations. She handled issues related to several countries as well as the United Nations, world hunger, human rights and terrorism. Matthew Ballard inherited her files and continued on the same topics in the mid 1990s. The files cover: Robert Gates confirmation as Director of Central Intelligence in 1991; Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1992-1994; Cohen's membership in the Strategic Study Group at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy following the Gulf War; State Department reorganization in 1993; spending for counter-terrorism; the Israeli Enterprise Fund and loan guarantees; and the embargo on Haiti in 1993. Each file relates to the 1990s with the exception of files on Nicaragua and South Africa from the late 1980s.

Access to the records in this subseries is restricted until 2015. Contact the Special Collections Department for further information.

MS 106.3.3.9.4 Ben Neaderland 1994-1996 1 box

Ben Neaderland worked with Jim Bodner on foreign relations during Cohen's final two years in the Senate. His files consist of memos and research providing country-specific background information for meetings, interviews, or votes-some were addressed to Jim Bodner as summaries of issues for Bodner to discuss with Cohen. In several cases, the memos advise Cohen to participate in Dear Colleague letters such as one about an amendment which would lift an embargo restricting needed humanitarian aid for Azerbaijan.

Access to the records in this subseries is restricted until 2017. Contact the Special Collections Department for further information.


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