My first archival visit of this research trip was to the Library of Congress. The library is based on Capitol Hill just opposite the Capitol Building. Prior to viewing any materials you need to register if you are a first time visitor. The process is pretty simple but is somewhat long winded and there are a number of forms to fill in and sign. However once you get you a reader card which is valid for two years. The registration takes place in the Madison Building which is across the road from the main LOC building, the Jefferson building. Once registered you can get on with your research. I was based in the Manuscript Room in the Madison building. Requesting materials was easy and the pull time was no more then five minutes which given the number of collections at the library is pretty efficient.
The purpose of my visit to the LOC was to view the papers of Anthony Lake. During the Carter administration, Lake served as Director of the Policy Planning Committee in the State Department from 1977 to 1981. Prior to that he served on the National Security Council before resigning over the Nixon administration’s policy on Cambodia in 1970. Lake returned to public office in 1993 when he was appointed National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton.
Most of the papers relate to Lake’s three main periods of public service. In regards to my own research, the Lake papers were perhaps not as useful as anticipated but nevertheless there were some materials which will have some use.Within the collection are materials relating to Lake’s time at the NSC working with Henry Kissinger. Of particles interest is Lake’s letter of resignation to Kissinger and detailing his reasons. The letter sheds considerable light on Lake’s objections as well as the break down in relations within the administration. Also of interest are legal documents relating to a law suit against Kissinger concerning the wire tapping of Lake’s phone. Although not my area of study, the Lake papers would be of some interest to those studying the Nixon administration and the role of Henry Kissinger within it.
WHAT TO DO IN D.C.?
The question should be, what is there not to do in D.C.? Having visited D.C. a number of times now I feel as though everything I could do, I have done. For me, a walk up the national mall is always a worthwhile thing to do starting at the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court before heading past the Capitol Building. The dome of the Capitol Building is still currently under renovation which doesn’t make it the most aesthetically pleasing sight however work is expected to be completed by 2017. Heading up the mall you have Smithsonian museums on either side: The Air and Space Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, the National Gallery, the National Archives, the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum and the Holocaust Museum. Under construction is the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is due to be completed and opened later this year. After proceeding past these museums you come to the Washington monument which dominates the landscape of D.C. and is fairly hypnotic and directly north is the White House while heading east will take you to the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam and Korean war memorials. Heading South will take you to the Jefferson Memorial and a walk around the Tidal Basin will lead you to the Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King memorials. Having done everything I could do in D.C. before I decided to take in a basketball match at the Verizon Center. Although basketball really isn’t my thing, the pageantry of it all is very impressive and the Center itself is pretty impressive. FYI, the Washington Wizards did beat the New York Knicks.