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U.S. Foreign Relations and the Department of State: Introduction and Background

Overview of U.S. Foreign Relations and Declassified Documents from the Department of State.

Free Public Access to Government Information

Free public access to United States government documents in a federal depository library is guaranteed by law (44 USC §1911).  While UC Berkeley houses one of the most comprehensive collections of U.S. government documents in the country, the Library is one of over a thousand Federal Depository Libraries across the United States, and one of several Federal Depository Libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Researching the development of United States Foreign Relations can be an exciting academic experience.  While Hollywood dramatizes foreign relations with suspenseful spy dramas, the reality is usually far from the imagination.  The resources in this guide will provide pathways and strategies to discovering both publicly available and declassified documents, as well as instructions on how to obtain unpublished information directly from the U.S. Government. 

Background Information

Whether you are new to foreign relations research, or just beginning a new project, the below databases can provide an excellent start in this area of study.  Secondary sources (published articles, books, etc based on first hand accounts) can provide background, context and/or citations to primary sources on which you can build your research project.

Contact Jesse

Jesse Silva
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Need help with research?  Have a question about the collection or the UC Berkeley Library?  Here are two ways to get in touch with me: