The following post was authored by Joshua Cochran, archivist for American diplomacy in Manuscripts and Archives.
Photograph of L. Paul Bremer III with Jalal Talabani, member of the Iraq governing council on February 13, 2004. L. Paul Bremer Papers (MS 2123), Series IV, box 45, folder 5.
For scholars exploring the history of United States foreign relations during the final decade of the Cold War and the emerging the global war on terrorism of the early twenty-first century, the L. Paul Bremer III Papers (MS 2123) are now open for research at Yale Manuscripts and Archives. The material highlights Bremer’s tenure as Presidential Envoy to Iraq, where he also served as Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, from May 2003 until June 2004. This collection includes subject files, correspondence with his family, contemporaneous notes, speeches, and his daily schedules while in Iraq. Speeches, editorials, interviews, working papers, and notes from his early career with the State Department and in the private sector are also available for researchers.
Letter from Amb. Bremer to his wife Frances discussing the coalition’s progress on conversations with Iraq Governing Council. January 30, 2004. L. Paul Bremer Papers (MS 2123), Series III, box 13, folder 7.
Bremer’s papers include daily emails sent to his wife, Frances Bremer, while in Iraq, which provide a journal-like account of his observations and analyses of the day-to-day situation there. In this correspondence, Bremer provides a firsthand account of the experiences, challenges, setbacks, and successes he and other coalition officials had in Iraq. Here, he describes his work in the Baghdad Green Zone, his travel throughout the country, and his meetings with members of Iraq’s Governing Council, United States and coalition political officials, military planners, contractors, and representatives of international organizations.
In addition to Bremer’s daily emails, researchers can review his daily schedules, working files, background readings, photographs, and contemporaneous notes from his thirteen months in Iraq. Reports, presentations, briefing memos, budgets, surveys, strategic plans, and legal orders maintained by the Coalition Provisional Authority Executive Secretary Jessica LeCroy, who reported directly to Bremer, are also part of the collection. Issues highlighted in the files include the removing of Ba’athist influence in Iraq, reconstructing the disbanded Iraqi army, fostering civil society, addressing a growing insurgency directed against United States and coalition forces, restoring basic public services, and responding to torture and human rights abuses by United States soldiers at the Abu Ghraib Prison. Also discussed are the capture of Saddam Hussein by United States forces on December 14, 2003, President George W. Bush’s secret trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day 2003, and the formal transfer of sovereignty to the Iraq Interim Government on June 28, 2004.
Bremer’s handwritten notes from an April 13, 2004, meeting with Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Generals John Abizaid and Peter Pace on increased violence in Fallujah, Iraq. L. Paul Bremer Papers (MS 2123), Series III, box 10, folder 1.
Bremer’s papers additionally document his career in the United States foreign service and in the private sector from the mid-1970s through the early 2000s, preceding his appointment as Presidential Envoy to Iraq. Records cover his foreign service assignment to Norway in the 1970s and as Ambassador to the Netherlands (1983-1986). His speeches address the dominant issues of the Cold War’s final decade: arms control, international trade and commerce, tensions between the United States and Soviet Union, relations with NATO allies, and cultural diplomacy. Bremer’s speeches, editorials, and interviews from his work on terrorism and counterterrorism policy beginning in the mid-1980s when he served as United States Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism are housed in the collection. Supplementing these records are documents from Bremer’s consulting work as managing director of Kissinger Associates, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh Crisis Consulting, and as Chairman of the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorism, known as the “Bremer Commission” from 1999 to 2000, which predicted a massive terrorist attack on the American homeland. Researchers interested in consulting the Bremer Papers may direct their inquiries to Yale Manuscripts and Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or Josh Cochran, Archivist for American Diplomacy, at Joshua.email@example.com.
Ambassador Bremer’s speech at the Haarlem, Netherlands Rotary Club in February 1986 discussing the NATO alliance. L. Paul Bremer Papers (MS 2123), Series I, box 11, folder 33.