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Dear Mr. Barker,
Thank you for your question to History Hub. The information you found is from our guide to federal records. This guide is a broad overview of the records that are held at the National Archives. The particular series that you are interested in can be found here. This series is the index to the command reports. If you are looking for the particular unit, the command reports are described at the file unit level and are searchable by clicking on the search within series button. This will allow you to figure out which box has the command report for the unit you are looking for.
If you have any more questions regarding this series, or if you would like a reproduction of a specific file, please email us the Textual Archives II Reference Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck in your research!
Thanks. I've been going through the Korean War Command Reports since 1982 and was told then and recently that no microfilms existed. But they do exist.
What I am looking for is some sort of confirmation of the physical existence of the 170 microfilms noted in the RG 407.3 description. The films won't be in any of the actual boxes. I've been through at least 500,000 pages of the Command Reports and never saw a microfilm.
In other words, if I were to show up at College Park would the actual microfilms be available?
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Dear Mr. Barker,
Thank you for sharing your question with the History Hub.
Information about the index to the records you are interested in can be found here in the National Archives Catalog, and information about the microfilmed records themselves can be found here. If you look at the “Access Restriction” note for each of the Catalog entries, you will see that access to the index is “Unrestricted,” but access to the microfilm itself is “Restricted - Fully” under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) restriction “FOIA (b)(1) National Security, Top Secret.” If you visit the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II), you would only be able to view the index, not the microfilm.
As Ryan Bass indicated, you can contact the Textual Reference Branch at Archives II with questions about the index and records at email@example.com.
You can also find more information about FOIA and National Archives here on our website.
Thank you, again, for posting your question to the History Hub.
Thanks. Interesting that the microfilms would be "Top Secret." When I first started going through the exact same paper records in 1982, the documents were noted as Secret but declassified. I now have approximately 750,000 pages of the exact same declassified pages either on my computer or online at the Korean War Project.
Having viewed a number of the exact same master microfilms, the actual stamp is "Secret" rather than "Top Secret," and all of the files were declassified well before 1982.
I wrote the Textual Reference Branch at the email address and was told it would take approximately 6 weeks for a reply. I was hoping I would not have to go through the FOIA process since that is always extremely painful and discouraging as well as months or years of work.
I filed for an evaluation of the Top Secret status. Based on past experience, it looks like about two years before there can be any determination.
Interestingly enough, several years ago I obtained a 25 CD set of scanned Marine Corps Korean War files that I converted to PDF for free use online. Anyone can view and download about 250,000 pages of these records on the Korean War Project.
I found a number of regimental files were missing so I sought to determine if the files were in the NARA holdings. Originally the Marine Corps had the files but after the CD's were cut, the files were sent to NARA.
By some sort of clerical error, I think they checked the wrong box on a form sending the files to NARA, the whole shebang was reclassified from open to the public to Secret or Top Secret and remained unavailable to the public for quite some time. Several years I am told. Only after I made personal contact to a Senior Archivist at NARA were the Marine Corps records made available again.
You could buy the CD's of the exact same Marine Corps records from NARA but you could not view the same records at NARA if you showed up to College Park. My guess is this is what happened with the 170 microfilms I requested.
In other words, you could go to one window at NARA and pay $125 and get the 25 CD's. Then you could walk down the hall and ask for the same records on paper and you would be told all the exact same records are Secret or Top Secret.
One more anecdotal story about NARA records. In 1995 I filed a FOIA on certain files. After a year, I did receive some of the files after filing a complaint with the White House.
Then in 2014, 19 years later, a FOIA package shows up with the rest of the records I requested in 1995.
So if you request records under FOIA, don't give up. Better 19 years than never. Hope I don't seem too frustrated. As a Korean War historian, I fully understand why Korea is called "The Forgotten War."
This is very interesting, whereby you waited only 19 years for a response. What happened during the 1st Korean Conflict whereby the Chinese army suddenly turned around and stopped its advance? Is it true that Chinese soldiers also served in Vietnam?
What happens when the FOIA requester does not live long enough to receive the package? Can we put down someone else who is younger or have the package sent to an Institution, University or FOIA - MDR Crypt?
Is there such a thing as a FOIA Living Will?
I did hear back from NARA on the classification. The Top Secret classification applied to only about 3000 pages of documents rather than the estimated 200,000 to 300,000 or more pages.
Unfortunately, the 170 microfilms were all permanently damaged and unusable forever so that complicates their usage for historical purposes. I was offered the opportunity of going to NARA in College Park to individually scan the existing paper documents, but this would take many months of work and several hundred thousand dollars of labor costs.
The moral of the story is microfilms need to be protected from damage for them to have future value to historians and others.
If we plan to travel to Mars and planets within and beyond our solar system, then there may be a need to transfer the history of the Earth over great distances to those colonies that have left this domain. If those cultures do not share in our history, then what will they have in common and share with our human experience on Earth? But then as we look at history, corruption, power greed, secrecy, nuclear proliferation. Maybe it would be better to start over with a blank slate? Sign me up for the next flight to Mars....what, no baby boomers aboard?