The White House
Washington, D.C.

April 7, 1969


Dear Mr. Chairman:

Knowing of your interest, I am sending you a copy of a memorandum I have issued to the heads of executive departments and agencies spelling out the procedural steps to govern the invocation of “executive privilege” under this Administration.

As you well know, the claim of executive privilege has been the subject of much debate since George Washington first declared that a Chief Executive must “exercise a discretion”.
I believe, and I have stated earlier, that the scope of executive privilege must be very narrowly construed.  Under this Administration, executive privilege will not be asserted without specific Presidential approval.

I want to take this opportunity to assure you and your committee that this Administration is dedicated to insuring a free flow of information to the Congress and the news media—and, thus, to the citizens.  You are, I am sure, familiar with the statement I made on this subject during the campaign.  Now that I have the responsibility to implement this pledge, I wish to reaffirm my intent to do so.  I want open government to be a reality in every way possible.

This Administration has already given a positive emphasis to freedom of information.  I am committed to insuring that   both the letter and the spirit of the Public Records Law will be implemented throughout the Executive Branch of the Government.

With my best wishes,

Richard Nixon

Honorable John E. Moss
Chairman Foreign Operations and Government Information Subcommittee
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

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