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Finding British government documents at Princeton

Starting points

British and foreign state papers
JX103 .B758 and online in Hein Online World Constitutions Illustrated
This print series documents British foreign policy for 1812/14 to 1977. Includes treaties. For diplomatic correspondence, see the Parliamentary sessional papers (for items presented to Parliament) or microfilm editions.

Documents on British Policy Overseas
Digital edition of material from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, documenting British foreign policy from the mid-19th century to the 1970's. Based on the printed edition, British documents on foreign affairs.

Archive Editions publishes a series of compilations of British documents on international relations: http://archiveeditions.co.uk/. We have many of them in print but do not subscribe to the online versions. They focus on East & South-East Asia, the Near & Middle East, and the Slavic & Balkan regions. To find the ones we have, search the library catalog for "Archive Editions."

Need an introduction?

Foreign Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office records from 1782
(guide from the UK National Archives)

The records of the Foreign Office, 1782-1968. Revised by Michael Roper. 2nd ed. Richmond, Surry: Public Record Office, 2002.
History Reference (SH): CD1051 2002

Atherton, Louise. Never complain, never explain: records of the Foreign Office and State Paper Office 1500-c.1960. PRO Publications, 1994. Public Record Office readers' guide no. 7.
Firestone CD1051 .A84 1994q

FO collections

FO 2: Africa [microform] : [General correspondence before 1906]
MICROFILM 12619
8 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 2). As described by the National Archives, "this series contains general correspondence relating to Africa. Includes papers relating to various expeditions and missions. From 1893 it contains the correspondence, etc., of the African Departments." Note that the complete set comprises 84 reels, of which we own only a few.

FO 17: General correspondence before 1906: China. [Microform]
MICROFILM 12625
23 reels
Printed guide:none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 17). "This series contains general correspondence relating to China. Also includes despatches from the consul general at Seoul in Korea for the period 1890 to 1905." Covers 1815-1905.

FO 65: Alexander III and the Policy of "Russification," 1883-1886 Archives Unbound
This collection, as seen through the eyes of the British diplomatic corps in Russia, provides a unique analysis of this "retro-reform" policy, including the increase of revolutionary agitation, deepening of conservatism and changes from agrarian to industrial society, and spread of pan-Slavism, both in the Russian Empire and Eastern Europe. The British Foreign Office Records of General Correspondence for Russia, in record class F.O. 65, is the basic collection of documents for studying Anglo-Russian relations during this period of fundamental change.

FO 97: General correspondence before 1906: United States [microform]
MICROFILM 12632 suppl. reel 1-20
20 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 97). Covers 1793-1868. FO 97  "contains correspondence, enclosures, papers relating to various cases and claims, memoranda, etc., supplementary to the general series of correspondence (FO 5) for individual countries. Included are details of court proceedings, treaties, letters and telegrams."

FO 115: Records of the British Legation in the United States for 1903-[microform]
RECAP 1457.404
1240 reels
Printed guide: none
Consists of Foreign Office records from FO 115. "This series contains general correspondence from the British embassy and consulates in the United States of America." The series covers 1791-1967.

Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966 

  • FO 341 German Empire miscellaneous, 1884-1900
  • FO 401 Abyssinia, 1846-1956
  • FO 403 Africa general, 1834-1959
  • FO 413 Morocco and north-west Africa, 1839-1957
  • FO 458 Liberia, 1882-1950
  • FO 468 British Commonwealth general, 1945-1949
  • FO 485 Liberia, 1947-1949
  • FO 540 Libya, 1951-1956

FO 402, 406, 407, 416, 423, 437, 464, 481, 484, 487, 492, 501: Confidential Print, Middle East, 1839-1969
Reproduces records relating to the countries of the Arabian peninsula, the Levant, Iraq, Turkey and many of the former Ottoman lands in Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan from the British Foreign and Colonial Offices in the UK National Archives.

Confidential Print:  Latin America, 1833-1969 

  • FO 420 Central and South America general, 1833-1941
  • FO 467 Brazil, 1947-1951
  • FO 486 Mexico, 1947-1956
  • FO 495 River Plate countries (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), 1947-1956
  • FO 497 South America general, 1947-1956
  • FO 533 Central America and Caribbean general, 1946-1957
  • Selected files from:
  • FO 118 South and Central America general, 1906-1913
  • FO 177 Chilean Revolution, 1891
  • FO 461 Americas general, 1958-1969
  • FO 508 South and Central America general, 1908-1909

FO 403: Africa [microform] : [Confidential print. 1834-1912]
1457.114.41.2
58 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 403). Covers Africa 1834-1912. Note that our holdings of this collection are incomplete. As described by the National Archives, "this series contains confidential print relating to Africa. It comprises selected correspondence and papers relating to various African countries, including Liberia; Madagascar; Morocco, 1919 to 1920 and 1942 to 1946; Algeria and Tunisia, to 1951; Suez Canal and Egypt, 1942 to 1946; Abyssinia, 1911 to 1913, 1919 to 1923 and 1942 to 1946."

FO 405: Confidential print. China. F.O. 405
1457.252.41
27 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 405). "This series contains confidential print relating to China and after 1954, Taiwan." Covers 1848-1936.

FO 556: [Registers of general correspondence: China. [Microform]
MICROFILM 12626
6 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 566). "This series contains registers of general correspondence."

FO 605: [Registers (modern series) and indexes of general correspondence: China microform]
MICROFILM 12624
8 reels
Printed guide: none
Materials from the British Foreign Office (FO 605). "This series contains microform of registers and indexes of general correspondence. The registers provide a means of reference to papers for the years 1808 to 1890 contained in the volumes of general correspondence before 1906. The registers provide details of the correspondence of ambassadors, consuls and some individuals with the Foreign Office." Covers 1815-1890. Note that this is an index only; the documents may be found in various other FO series.

FO 605: Registers (modern series) and indexes of general correspondence: America, United States [microform]
1457.922.41.2
20 reels
Printed guide: none
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 605). Covers 1793-1890. "The registers provide a means of reference to papers for the years 1808 to 1890 contained in the volumes of general correspondence before 1906 .... The registers provide details of the correspondence of ambassadors, consuls and some individuals with the Foreign Office." Note that this material is an index and does not reproduce the actual documents.

FO 882: Middle East [microform]: FO 882, Foreign Office, War of 1914 to 1918: Arab Bureau papers, 1911-1920
Microfilm 06335
16 reels
Printed guide: none

FO 898: Allied Propaganda in World War II and the British Political Warfare Executive Archives Unbound

This collection presents the complete files of the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) kept at the U.K. National Archives as FO 898 from its instigation to closure in 1946, along with the secret minutes of the special 1944 War Cabinet Committee "Breaking the German Will to Resist." Source Note: FO 898, Political Warfare Executive and Foreign Office, Political Intelligence Department: Papers.

FO 924, FO 953, FO 1110 and FO 1117 (files on South Africa):

FO 371

General Correspondence: Political 1906-1953 Abyssinia
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries.
Material from the British Foreign Office (FO 371)

Great Britain. Foreign Office. General correspondence, political, Iran, 1921-1941
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries.
F.O. 371 (Public Record Office) 203 reels

Great Britain. Foreign Office. General correspondence before 1906. Egypt, 1785-1796
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries.

Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980
This series reproduces records from the British Foreign Office, FO 371. The material consists of correspondence and reports covering Great Britain's trade and political relations with China. See http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/collections_az/fo-china-1/description.aspx?h=china for a general description, plus additional online guides for each year.

Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan Material from the British government on the countries of South Asia from shortly before Indian partition and independence up to 1980. Includes DO 133, DO 134, FO 371 and FCO 37 files from The National Archives, Kew

British Foreign Office Russia correspondence [microform]
Microfilm 02266
See below.
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms DA47.65.B74
"The Russia Correspondence files of the British Foreign Office are fundamental sources for research on Russian/Soviet history and Anglo-Russian relations. These files contain the dispatches, instructions, reports, memorandums, and other communications that flowed between the Foreign Office in London and the British embassy and consulates in Russia and surrounding countries." Covers 1906-1917 (89 reels); 1922-1929 (96 reels); 1930-1940 (117 reels); 1941-1945 (96 reels); 1946-1948 (61 reels)

World War I and Revolution in Russia, 1914-1918 Archives Unbound
"This collection documents the Russian entrance into World War I and culminates in reporting on the Revolution in Russia in 1917 and 1918. The documents consist primarily of correspondence between the British Foreign Office, various British missions and consulates in the Russian Empire and the Tsarist government and later the Provisional Government." From FO 371.

Foreign Office files, China, 1949-1976 (Public Record Office class FO 371) [microform]
Microfilm 11862
123 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms DS777.55 .F673 1999

Conditions & Politics in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1945
Digital collection of British Foreign Office documents from FO371, the National Archives of the UK. Describes political conditions, resistance to the German occupation, economic and social conditions and intelligence operations

Foreign Office files for post-war Europe. Series one, The Schuman plan and the European Coal and Steel Community (Public Record Office class FO 371) [microform].
Microfilm 10637
61 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms HD9525.A2 F673
Materials from FO371, Foreign Office records in the UK National Archives. See http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/digital_guides/fo_post-war_europe_series_one_parts_1_to_3/Contents.aspx

British Foreign Office United States correspondence, 1946-1948 [microform]
MICROFILM 05364
56 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms E183.8.G7B74
"These files contain the dispatches, instructions, reports, memoranda, and other communications that flowed between the Foreign Office and the British embassy and consulates in the United States. The documents give a detailed view of British diplomacy at work and offer much information, gathered by a highly trained diplomatic corps, on internal political, economic, and social affairs in the United States. This microfilm edition, published through exclusive arrangement with the British Public Record Office, faithfully reproduces the organization and content of the Foreign Office Files."

Note: British Foreign Office United States correspondence, 1938-1945 -- we have only the guide to the Scholarly Resources microfilm edition: Firestone Microforms Services (FilmB)  E183.8.G7 B73. The microfilm itself is available from the Center for Research Libraries via Interlibray Loan.
 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office records

FCO 7:  Nixon Years, 1969-1974
Digital edition of FCO 7and FCO 82 files from The National Archives, Kew.

FCO 37: Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan Material from the British government on the countries of South Asia from shortly before Indian partition and independence up to 1980. Includes DO 133, DO 134, FO 371 and FCO 37 files from The National Archives, Kew

FCO 82: Nixon Years, 1969-1974
Digital edition of FCO 7and FCO 82 files from The National Archives, Kew.

Documents on British Policy Overseas
Digital edition of material from Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, documenting British foreign policy from the mid-19th century to the 1970's. Based on the printed edition, British documents on foreign affairs.

FCO 45 and FCO 105: