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Summary Information

Title: Dick Thornburgh Papers, Series XIII. Attorney General of the United States
Collection Number: AIS.1998.30.13
Creator: Thornburgh, Dick, 1932-

Collection Dates: 1988-1991
Extent: 228.75 linear feet

Language: English

On July 12, 1988, President Reagan formally requested that Dick Thornburgh serve as his Attorney General, following the resignation of Edwin Meese, with only five months remaining in his presidency. On November 19, then President-elect Bush asked Thornburgh to stay on. Three years later, on April 4, 1991, the news of Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz's tragic death in a plane crash ultimately resulted in Thornburgh's resignation in August 1991 to run for the U.S. Senate. During his tenure, Thornburgh's priorities concentrated on drug trafficking, organized and white-collar crime, civil rights, antitrust and environmental fields. Major topics include: savings and loans scandals, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) money laundering scandal, and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL). Thornburgh signed the United Nations Drug Convention in Vienna, December 1989, and participated in major TREVI (Terrorism, Radicalism, Extremism, Violence International) meetings. The war on drugs extended to South and Central America and topics include the apprehension of Noriega. Other topics are, for example: Project Triggerlock (regarding violent career criminals), the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the bombing and death of Judge Robert Vance, Operation Weed and Seed, Superfund hazardous waste cleanup actions, and the Exxon Valdez case. During glasnost Soviet Justice Minister Veniamin F. Yakovlev invited Thornburgh to visit Moscow to discuss democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, the first visit ever by a sitting Attorney General of the United States to the Soviet Union. Thornburgh served as the Bush administration's "point man" for efforts to enact the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990. Other matters on the domestic front include Thornburgh's participation in the Council on Competitiveness (CC), the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), Economic Policy Council (EPC), judicial appointment issues, and the so-called Thornburgh Memorandum. The Attorney General files are in fourteen sections: Speeches; News Releases; Transcripts; Nomination and Confirmation; Attorney General's Files; Daily Schedules; Events; Foreign Trips; DPC, EPC, and CC; Department of Justice Issues; Weekly Reports; Correspondence; News Clippings; and Reports. Digital reproductions of portions of the collection are available online.