Collection Information

Henry A. Kissinger papers, part II

Call Number

MS 1981

Repository Information

Manuscripts and Archives
Yale University Library

Note: For an overview of this collection, see the collection page.

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Subseries Information
Information about Access

Access to the collection for materials designated as “open with permission,” requires written permission from Henry A. Kissinger or his designated representative until five years after Kissinger’s death.

Researchers must use the online access system for the digital version of this collection to submit their requests for permission from Kissinger. The portal to the digital collection provides researchers further instructions for requesting access and permissions, see

The following collection materials are open to research: Writings in Series I; White House, State Department, and Public correspondence and Speeches and public statements in Series II; 1982 heart surgery correspondence and Speeches and writings in Series III; and Series IV-VII.

Information about Access

The entire collection has been digitized. As per repository policy, researchers must use the digital copies instead of the originals.

Ownership & Copyright

Copyright is retained by Henry A. Kissinger for works he has authored and provided during his lifetime to the Yale University Library. After the lifetime of Dr. Kissinger, all intellectual property rights, including without limitation all copyrights, in and to the works authored by Dr. Kissinger pass to Yale University, with the exception of all intellectual property rights, including without limitation all copyrights, motion picture and/or audio rights in and to his books, interviews and any films that will be retained by Dr. Kissinger’s heirs and assigns. Copyright status for collection materials other than those authored by Dr. Kissinger is unknown.

Except for the limited purposes allowed by the Yale University Library Guide to Using Special Collections, exploitation, including without limitation the reproduction, distribution, adaption, or display of Dr. Kissinger’s works protected by the U.S. Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. §101 et seq.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain shall not be commercially exploited without permission of Dr. Kissinger, the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Correspondence, 1838–2006. Henry A. Kissinger Papers, Part II (MS 1981). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.
Existence and Location of Originals

Originals of documents marked with an [LC] in the upper right-hand corner are at the Library of Congress.

Existence and Location of Originals

Originals of documents marked with an [Y] in the upper right-hand corner are at the Yale University Library.

Scope and Contents

The correspondence files document Kissinger’s career after leaving government service in 1977 through 2001. They include correspondence from Kissinger’s office in Washington, DC, as well as the office he opened in New York in 1983. An attempt has been made to remove the large number of duplicates from these overlapping correspondence files. The Washington and New York files contain incoming and outgoing letters, enclosures and printed e-mail that document Kissinger’s contacts with the press, business leaders, foreign officials, friends, academics and the foreign policy community. Most material is filed under the last name of the correspondent or organization name, but a small amount is filed under the names of countries or other subject terms.

The correspondence primarily concerns meeting invitations, speaking opportunities, project proposals and positions and affiliations offered to Kissinger. There are a few small gaps in the alphabetical runs of correspondence from the two offices that suggest several files may have been misplaced before the collection was transferred to the archives. There is no S-Z correspondence for 1980 from the Washington office and very little for A-G from 1981 or A-Z from 1983. The Ho-Pl correspondence from the New York office in 1988 is also very thin. The correspondence from the Washington office for 2001 can be found in the Henry A. Kissinger Papers, Part III.

A major topic throughout his correspondence is Kissinger’s work as an author, especially the writing, editing and publishing of his first volume of memoirs, White House Years, during the years 1977 to 1979, including correspondence with his literary agent Martin Josephson, and Harold Evans, editor of the Sunday Times of London, who edited the volume. Although these files do not contain Kissinger’s business correspondence from his work with Kissinger Associates, the materials provide information about his dealings with the international business community, including correspondence with Robert O. Anderson (ARCO), David Rockefeller (Chase Manhattan) and John C. Whitehead (Goldman Sachs). Foreign leaders with whom Kissinger had sustained personal correspondences after leaving office include King Hussein of Jordan, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Helmut Schmidt of Germany. In several letters scattered throughout the files, often to journalists, Kissinger explains his policies while in office or analyzes current international affairs. For example, he writes to Jim Hoagland in 1991 (New York file) about the cutoff of aid to the Kurds in 1975 and to Charles Krauthammer in 1993 (New York file) about prospects in Russia. The correspondence files also provide a view of Kissinger’s social life and the remarkable array of celebrities and prominent individuals with whom he was close, including multi-year correspondences with the actor Kirk Douglas and the journalist Barbara Walters, for instance.

The special letters files consist of correspondence filed separately by Kissinger’s staff apparently because of the importance of the specific letters, usually with a prominent official or media figure. Occasionally, the letters are photocopies instead of signed originals. Personal letters from Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton can be found in these files. Additional correspondence with the same individuals can usually be found in the Washington and New York correspondence files.

The 1982 heart surgery correspondence is comprised of cards and letters sent after Kissinger underwent a coronary bypass operation in February 1982. These files also include copies of Kissinger’s responses. Correspondence from personal friends and acquaintances who addressed Kissinger by his first name are filed separately from the mail from the general public. Although most of this correspondence consists of short get well wishes, many include additional comments reflecting Kissinger’s relationships, his public service and shared experiences of undergoing heart surgery. Additional heart surgery correspondence was removed from the collection because of water damage to the materials.

See the Henry A. Kissinger Papers, Part III for additional correspondence after 2001.