Statement on Signing the National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984

October 19, 1984

I am pleased to sign today S. 905, the National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984.

This legislation establishes the National Archives and Records Administration -- currently part of the General Services Administration -- as an independent agency within the executive branch. The agency will be headed by the Archivist of the United States, who will be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

The principal purpose of S. 905 is to extend independence to an agency that many believe has suffered as a result of its placement within the General Services Administration in 1949. I concur in this assessment, and my administration has supported independence for the Archives.

The public papers and other materials that the Archives safeguards are precious and irreplaceable national treasures, and the agency that looks after the historical records of the Federal Government should be accorded a status that is commensurate with its important responsibilities. Independence for the Archives this year, in which we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of its creation, is a particularly fitting step, both practical and symbolic, in achieving that important goal.

Note: As enacted, S. 905 is Public Law 98 - 497, approved October 19.