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Twentieth-century U.S. foreign affairs


Foreign relations of the United States
A major source of primary material on US foreign relations is: Foreign relations of the United States (Department of State, United States of America. Washington : US G.P.O.)

"The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major US foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies." [from the State Dept. website]

On the history of FRUS, see also

There are several online versions of parts or all of this series:

Printed volumes are shelved in Firestone Library: Non Circulating (Fnc) KZ231 .U534

Some volumes from the 1950s and 1960s are also available on microfiche at:
Government Documents Collection (DOCS) Call Number: S 1.1




Declassified documents

As classified documents are released to the public, they may appear in any of several databases or web sites. No single site or database provides complete coverage, so the diligent researcher will consult them all.

Declassified Documents Reference Service
(Post World War II-1970s) Indexing and full text access to a rich collection of declassified documents from various government agencies, including the White House, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, and others covering events following World War II. The online database was preceded by a microfiche series:

DDRS retrospective collection [microform]
MICROFICHE Located at A-16-G, cabinet 68; guide at Firestone Library: Non Circulating (Fnc) Z1223 .Z7 D36

Digital National Security Archive
Access to a wealth of significant primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945. Comprised of 22 core collections; each contains a diverse range of policy documents including presidential directives, memos, diplomatic dispatches, meeting notes, independent reports, briefing papers, White House communications, email, confidential letters, and other secret material.

For a fascinating insight into declassified documents, see also the Redaction Archive.

Special Studies series

This collection comprises studies prepared by a variety of government and non-governmental organizations to inform U.S. policy making, including RAND Corporation, the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, the Naval War College's Center for Advanced Research, the National Defense University, the Institute for Defense Analysis, the American Institutes for Research. It is arranged by date and by region. In addition, listed below in this guide are the topical series on Immigration; Terrorism; and Nuclear Weapons, Arms control, and the Threat of Thermonuclear War.

Immigration: Special Studies
Microfilm 09827 (1969-2007)
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms JV6483 .I454

Nuclear Weapons, Arms control, and the Threat of Thermonuclear War:
Special Studies

Microfilm 10615 [Supplements 1 through 10, 1981-]
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms JX1974.7 .L47
"The series examines all the issues surrounding the international debate on nuclear weapons, their nature and deployment, the prospects for controlling their spread, and the consequences of using them. Many of the studies explore the substantial political, ideological, and technical barriers that have often blocked real progress toward limiting nuclear weapons. Most notably, the studies assess the strategic reevaluations by American and Soviet leadership made in the light of domestic pressures and international crises."

Terrorism: Special Studies, 1975-2008
Microfilm 09826
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms HV6431 .T4776
"Since the 1970s, the phenomenon of international terrorism has repeatedly forced itself upon the American consciousness. At the same time, policy makers have struggled to formulate an effective and coherent strategy to combat terrorist acts, both domestically and abroad. The series provides a multifaceted examination of the facts, causes, and political implications of a phenomenon that confronts every region of the world."

Border and Migration Studies Online - includes records of northern border negotiations with Great Britain and occupation of Mexico by U.S. troops




ProQuest Congressional

Indexes publications of the U.S. Congress such as hearings, committee reports, documents and prints. Material is available in microfiche and/or electronic. Essential tool for doing legislative history research. Includes Congressional Research Reports from 1916 to the present, U.S. Serial Set from 1789-1969, Annals of Congress from 1789-1824, Register of Debates from 1824-1837, Congressional Globe from 1833-1873, and Congressional Record from 1873-1997.

Also includes the U.S. Serials Set, a collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress. Includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)