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History: American: Diplomatic Records

Diplomatic Records

Lists included in the regional history guides show US State Department records frm the National Archives holdings in Washington, DC currently held in the Main and Bancroft libraries on microfilm (and in a few rare cases, in print), available online, or available on loan from the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Where available, the call number and location of guides have been listed together with the call number for the microfilm.

These lists are works in progress and not comprehensive; if you do not see the item you need you should check OskiCat or the CRL catalog.

The State Department had different record-keeping systems between 1789-1906, 1906-1910, 1910-1963, 1063-1973, and 1973-1979. In its organization of the files it received, the National Archives maintained the original divisions of years: 1789-1906, 1906-1910, 1910-29, 1930-39, 1940-44, 1945-49, 1950-54, 1955-59, 1960-63, 1963-73, 1973-79. The microfilm publications of the records reflect these periodic divisions and the original arrangement of the records. Some of the records from 1973-79 are accessible online at the NARA site. Central file records dating 1980 and later remain in the custody of hte Department of State.

See U.S. Foreign Relations and the Department of State for more information about the records.

Records pertaining to:

Africa
Asia
Britain & Ireland
Europe
Latin America

Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS)

Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. Produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, the series began in 1861 and now comprises over 350 volumes. The volumes published since 1980 increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies. FRUS is usually published 20-30+ years after the events, so the most recent volumes cover events from the late-1970's.

Confidential Print

According to the UK National Archives, starting in the late 1820s, "correspondence of particular significance began to be printed in several copies and distributed to officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, to other departments and to British missions abroad. These copies were known as confidential print. By 1906 nearly every important despatch or telegram was printed routinely. These documents are a good way to gain a summary overview of Foreign Office political correspondence before accessing the extensive holdings in the main general correspondence series described [on their site]. Confidential prints vary from a single document to a substantial volume of papers, and are numbered individually, roughly in order of printing. For further information, and to see lists of confidential prints on particular regions and subjects, please go to the FO series division within our catalogue. Confidential prints ceased to be produced in the 1970s with the arrival of photocopying."

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