WASHINGTON -- US archivist Allen Weinstein will make his first visit to the privately run Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace this week to seek assurances about the facility's commitment to professionalizing its operations before it receives federal funding and Nixon's publicly held archives.
''We have to raise everyone's comfort level to the fact that things are being done to honor that agreement," Weinstein said in an interview last week. ''And that's what I'm looking for. I want my own comfort level raised."
After an embarrassing episode in which the library canceled a conference on Nixon and Vietnam -- drawing complaints from historians -- Weinstein and library executive director John Taylor exchanged letters last month in which they set out several steps the library would take.
Among them: Make public the late president's confidential tape recordings on politics, redesign some exhibits to National Archives standards, and schedule a new Vietnam conference.
Weinstein said he hopes the library will have made progress by the time he meets with its foundation's board members Friday.
He said he hopes his visit to the Yorba Linda, Calif., library will convey ''the seriousness with which I take each and every provision in that agreement."
Taylor said the library is not ready to publicly announce any specific progress it has made.
While Taylor has said the Vietnam conference was canceled because few people signed up to attend, scholars contended the move was meant to stifle debate.
They wrote to lawmakers seeking to halt the planned transformation of the private library into a National Archives collection.
The Nixon facility is the only presidential library without federal funding and presidential papers, due to a law passed following Nixon's resignation in 1974 that gave the government possession of his papers and tapes.
Lawmakers had feared Nixon would have destroyed documents necessary for the Watergate investigation.
But California Republicans pushed for a provision in a 2004 federal spending bill that deleted the prohibition against Nixon's papers leaving the Washington area.
In his letter, Weinstein said the National Archives is prepared to accept the library when some remodeling is done in February.
The timing is partly contingent on funding.
The National Archives' financial request for the move was unmet in President Bush's budget proposal, so the transfer could be delayed.