University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

I.F. Trips, 1982-1992

+ Series I.F. -- Scope and Content Note
+ Series I.F. -- Contents List

Extent: 3 linear ft.

Boxes: 63 - 65

Contents: Correspondence, itineraries, travel diary, news clippings, hearings, reports, publications, photographs, maps, meeting notes.

Arrangement: Arranged topically, with the 1991 Southeast Asia trip files comprising most of the series; then chronologically. This series contains information on trips Carper took to Southeast Asia, Central America, the Middle East, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, and a few meetings in the United States sponsored by various groups. The bulk of this series (2.5 linear feet) consists of the Southeast Asia trip papers from August of 1991.


The papers from the Southeast Asia trip contain extensive handwritten notes by Liz Ryan, the legislative assistant who accompanied Carper and other members of a congressional delegation (CODEL) on a trip to Southeast Asia in August of 1991. Ryan's notes concern meetings attended by the CODEL both before and during the trip. The members of this congressional delegation included Representatives Pete Peterson (D-Fla.), David Skaggs (D-Colo.), John Rhodes (R-Ariz.), Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.), and Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.). Two other staff members in addition to Liz Ryan -- Laurie Fenton of Kolbe's office and Ralph Ibson, of the Veterans Affairs Committee -- also made the trip. Prior to their departure, the CODEL was briefed by various individuals familiar with Southeast Asia. The in-country meetings covered issues ranging from the Khmer Rouge to Chinese relations with Cambodia, to POW/MIA issues with Vietnam and Laos, to humanitarian aid and assistance for refugees. Travel binders in the series contain background information on the countries visited, biographical information on leaders and other VIPs, itineraries, and geographical and demographic information on the countries to be visited. Of special interest in this series is a copy of a scrapbook that Carper put together of this trip. Carper kept a sort of daily travelog or diary of events, and this narrative, along with photographs, documents his trip to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Southeast Asia subseries includes a report, prepared by Carper and submitted to the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee; numerous clippings and articles about activities in Southeast Asia; files on each individual who briefed the CODEL before their departure; and biographical information on each of the representatives who made the trip. All members of the CODEL had served in the Vietnam Conflict and Pete Peterson had been a prisoner of war for six and a half years. The goal of the trip was to resolve issues related to verification and return of POW/MIA remains, and to obtain information that the Vietnamese had previously withheld. President George Bush had laid out a "roadmap" for normalization of relations with Vietnam which included resolution of the POW/MIA issue, a problem which Carper and the other members of the CODEL felt should be given a top priority. The CODEL felt that establishing U.S. trade relations with Vietnam was an important factor in resolving the POW/MIA question. There seemed to be a feeling of mistrust on both sides and the delegation felt the United States needed to take a positive step towards making the roadmap a reality.

To a lesser extent there are materials related to trips Carper took to Central America in 1983 and 1987, to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska in 1987, to Costa Rica in 1988 as part of the CODEL Bonior (with David Bonior, D-Mich.), and to Panama in 1990 as a member of CODEL Gephardt (Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.). Martha Carper accompanied her husband on trips to Alaska and Central America in 1987.

Materials relating to the 1990 Panama trip provide the most thorough background files in this portion of the Trips series. The files include a binder of briefing materials on the political and economic activities of Panama during General Manuel Noriega's reign, an itinerary and list of congressmen who made the trip, lists of contacts in Panama, and a letter from Carper to Dick Gephardt after the trip that details his concerns regarding the economic situation in Panama. Carper's trip to the Canal was a result of his membership on the Coast Guard and Navigation Subcommittee of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, which had jurisdiction over issues related to the Canal.

More substantial files on the 1987 trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge can be found in Series I.B.2. Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee Work, as well as in Series I.A. TC Personal Files. The information contained in this series includes only an itinerary and weather information for Alaska.

Carper was interested in the affairs of Central America, especially those related to Contra aid authorized during the Reagan and Bush administrations. During his first trip to El Salvador and Nicaragua in 1983, Carper supported economic aid to the Contras if humanitarian efforts by the existing government were made, but as his later writings demonstrate, his second trip gave him a different impression. He believed that the United States should no longer support the Contra effort as the people of Nicaragua did not seem to be faring any better under the Contras than under the Sandanistas. More evidence of Carper's thoughts on this issue can be found in Series I.A. TC Personal Files.

ADL Congressional Mission to Egypt and Israel, 1983/1984 Carper took a trip to the Middle East between December 29, 1983 and January 7, 1984, which was sponsored by the New England office of the Anti-Defamation League B'nai B'rith. The trip is labeled the "ADL Congressional Mission to Egypt and Israel." The purpose of the Middle East trip was to evaluate relations between the Egyptians and Israelis, which at this time were strained. Other members who made the trip included Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who headed the delegation, Edward Feighan (D-Ohio) and Tom Lewis (R-Fla). The congressmen met with Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens, among others. An itinerary, and news releases by Carper summarizing this trip and his reactions to it, are included in the files. While on this trip, Carper was keen to visit Lebanon, as he wanted to visit U.S. troops stationed there. The October 23, 1983, bombing of a barracks, which killed 240 American Marines was still a fresh wound for the United States at this time. Frank was very outspoken in his insistence that the Marines be pulled from Lebanon after the trip. Several newspaper articles citing Frank's feelings are included in the files.

Also included in this series are itineraries and correspondence relating to trips to Tampa for a conference of state treasurers in 1983; Boca Raton in January 1985 for a meeting sponsored by the American Bankers Association; and a Congressional Issues Conference for Democrats at the Greenbriar Hotel in West Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, in 1987.

Related Series:

+ Contents List for Series I.F. Trips

+ Return to Index Page for Thomas R. Carper Congressional Papers

+ Guide to Other Political Papers at the University of Delaware Library

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

citation and reference information:

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

1979 - 1993
(bulk dates 1982 - 1992)

Manuscript Collection Number: 399
Accessioned: Gift of Thomas R. Carper, 1992, 1998-1999
Extent: 84 linear ft. and oversize material
Content: Legislation, correspondence, reports, documents and publications, memoranda, speeches, photographs, audio-visual material, newsletters, news clippings, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1997 - December 1999 by Rebecca J. Altermatt with assistance from Rob Costello; edited by L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin.

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