The Public Papers of the Presidents, which is compiled and published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, began in 1957 in response to a recommendation of the National Historical Publications Commission. Noting the lack of uniform compilations of messages and papers of the Presidents before this time, the Commission recommended the establishment of an official series in which Presidential writings, addresses, and remarks of a public nature could be made available.
Volumes covering the administrations of Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush are included in the Public Papers series. Currently, GPO Access contains the Public Papers for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Additional volumes covering the administrations of Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan will be made available from GPO in the future. Currently, volumes are published approximately twice a year, and each volume covers approximately a 6-month period.
Each Public Papers volume contains the papers and speeches of the President of the United States that were issued by the Office of the Press Secretary during the specified time period. The material is presented in chronological order, and the dates shown in the headings are the dates of the documents or events. In instances when the release date differs from the date of the document itself, that fact is shown in the textnote.
To ensure accuracy, remarks have been checked against a tape recording and signed documents have been checked against the original, unless otherwise noted. Editors at OFR have provided textnotes and cross references for purposes of identification or clarity. Speeches were delivered in Washington, DC, unless indicated. The times noted are local times.
The appendices to the Public Papers contain additional material that has been previously published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. A companion to the Public Papers series, the Weekly Compilation was begun in 1965 to provide a broader range of Presidential materials on a more timely basis to meet the needs of the contemporary reader. This expanded coverage in the Public Papers provided by the appendices in each Public Papers volume provides listings of:
Each Public Papers volume features a foreword signed by the President, and a portfolio of photographs selected from White House Photo Office files, as well as subject and name indexes, and a document categories list.