legal memorandum. See item 1, note 4 supra.
These four memoranda appear to fit squarely within the meaning of Exemption 5 as enunciated by the Supreme Court in Sears, supra. 421 U.S. at 150-51. Each document reflects ongoing developments in a Government negotiating process. Legal and policy matters are carefully evaluated in the various documents. Advice, obstacles, alternatives, and recommendations are weighed and balanced as the agency progresses toward a final decision. Clearly these intermediate documents constitute privileged deliberations intended to be viewed only by other departmental participants in the decisionmaking process. While disclosure is the general rule under the Freedom of Information Act, it also remains essential to exempt material that meets the narrow criteria of the Act's exceptions. The Government cannot claim indiscriminate secrecy, but in the rare instances where a document is a bona fide intra-agency memorandum dealing strictly with pre-decisional deliberations, it should be shielded from public scrutiny. S.Rep. No. 813, 89th Cong., 1st Sess. 9 (1965). Furthermore, the Court's examination of both these internal documents and the legal memoranda reveals that no factual or other non-exempt material can be segregated and revealed to plaintiff without invading the secrecy of the documents. EPA v. Mink, supra 410 U.S. at 87-92.
Plaintiff's final contention is that even if all the withheld documents fall within Exemption 5, defendants have failed to demonstrate as required why disclosure would be harmful to the Government. See 32 C.F.R. § 806.23. The departmental decision, as noted, found that disclosure would "inhibit the expression of candid opinions among Air Force personnel" and be detrimental to the Department's decision-making process. The Barrett affidavit reiterates this statement, pointing to the possible impairment of a "free and frank exchange of ideas among Air Force personnel." While this language of potential detriment is not to be given a talismanic effect, the Court finds in accord with Air Force representations that the intra-departmental communications are of a sensitive, confidential nature and that their disclosure would in fact be harmful to future deliberations and contract negotiations. Kaiser Alum. & Chem. Corp. v. United States, supra, 157 F. Supp. at 946. Absent any public bidding or procurement requirements, revelation of the material is unwarranted.
Accordingly, upon consideration of the Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, the respective points and authorities, oral argument of counsel having been heard, and for the reasons set forth in this Memorandum, it is by the Court this 14th day of October 1975.
ORDERED that plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be, and the same hereby is, denied; and it is further
ORDERED that defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be, and the same hereby is, granted.
John Lewis Smith, Jr. / United States District Judge