Foreign Relations: Context and Background - Biography/Personal Writings

For more resources see the Library Research Guide for Foreign Relations

American foreign relations since 1600: a guide to the literature, ed. by Robert L. Beisner Kurt W. Hanson. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003. 2 v.
Kennedy Sch of Gov | Ref | E183.7 .G84 2003
Lamont | REFERENCE | E183.7 .G84 2003
Law School | Reference | E183.7 .Z99 A84x 2003
Widener | RR 3624.4.10 A44 2003x

Encyclopedia of U.S. foreign relations, ed. by Bruce W. Jentleson, Thomas G. Paterson. NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. 4 v.
Kennedy Sch of Gov | Ref | JX1407 .E53 1997
Lamont | REFERENCE | E183.7 .E53 1997
Law School | Reference | E183.7 .E53 1997
Widener | RR 3627.15.5

Government Sources

The great majority of U.S. and foreign government documents and the publications of international organizations are housed in the Government Documents/Microforms Collection. Reference expertise is also available there. Handouts on U.S. government documents are available. Many government documents are not represented in the HOLLIS Catalog.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980 with American State Papers, 1789-1838 consists of reports, documents and journals of U.S. Congress, including reports originating in Executive Departments.

HeinOnline Foreign Relations of the United States (1861- ) provides full-text of Foreign Relations of the United States (1861- ) as well as other and earlier compendia, including Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, and Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from the Signing of the Definitive Treaty of Peace, 10th September, 1783, to the Adoption of the Constitution, March 4, 1789.

Foreign Relations of the United States University of Wisconsin digital collection, 1861-1958

Avalon Project includes documents relating to US history, especially foreign relations.

League of Nations: Statistical and Disarmament Documents

The National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) routinely reviews 25-year old files in many record groups for declassification. Some of this material is microfilmed and some of the microfilm is offered for sale by commercial vendors (See below). Since the 1966 Freedom of Information act (FOIA), declassification of more recent documemts can be requested by individuals. Also, many government agencies have FOIA Electronic Reading Rooms on their websites.

The two most important collective sources for FOIA material are:

Digital National Security Archive (1945- ) contains 22 core collections of declassified documents, previously published on microfiche. Additional material is available in their Electronic Briefing Books and the CIA’s “family jewels” collection

Declassified Documents Reference System Online which contains declassified documents sent from various government agencies to the presidential libraries.

Some material on the Presidential Library websites is not in the Declassified Documents Reference System.

Major Electronic Reading Rooms include:

CIA Electronic Reading Room If you leave the search field blank and hit search, you can use the filters on the right to narrow your search. CREST (CIA Records Search Tool) material as well as FOIA is included. Also:
CIA's Analysis Of The Soviet Union, 1947-1991

Department of Defense FOIA Reading Room

State Department Electronic Reading Room contains over 50,000 documents. State Department material from 1973-76 is available on the National Archives’ Access to Archival Databases website.

Other Sources

Government Attic

Official Intelligence Agency Homepages (Federation of American Scientists)

Pentagon Papers, officially titled "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force"

Project on Government Secrecy (Federation of American Scientists)

Rumsfeld Papers website.

Commercial Microfilm

Most of the National Archives microfilm is distributed by the following companies. You can browse or search their microfilm lists, and then look up the microfilm in HOLLIS or WorldCat.
Primary Source Media, Scholarly Resources, University Publications of America (ProQuest)

There are several useful research guides available:

Finding HOLLIS records for a group of microform collections (as opposed to a known item search for a single collection) presents difficulties. An inclusive search on “United States State Department” yields 6516 records. There are several possible limitations which narrow the results, but each has problems:

1. Limit to Library: Microforms (Lamont), but this misses collection at the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), easily obtainable via Interlibrary Loan.
2. Limit to Format: Microforms, but some microform records made before about 1980 were not tagged as microform.
3. Add the terms Sources or Archives or Correspondence to the search.
4. Gather terms (e.g., despatches, "Central files” “special files” “post records”) from your results to add to searches.

A combination of various searches with browsing in the above research guides and publishers’ lists is best.

Examples of microfilmed records:

The Microfilm Collection, Lamont, level B, has numerous large collections that are easily overlooked.

Confidential U.S. diplomatic post records, 1925-1945 (coverage varies by country)
Online Guides (scroll down) 
HOLLIS Records.

Confidential U.S. State Department central files, 1940-1969 (coverage varies by country)
HOLLIS Records
Online Guides (Scroll down)

CIA Research Reports, 1946-1976
HOLLIS Records
Online Guides (Scroll down)

Despatches from United States ministers to [country name], 1790-1906 (coverage varies by country)
HOLLIS Search  Hit Modify Search and limit by the name of your country
For full list see NARA site. Select Microfilm icon, then search Ministers in search box.

Despatches from United States consuls in [city name],  1790-1906 (coverage varies by country)
HOLLIS Records
For full list see NARA site. Select Microfilm icon, then search Consuls in search box.
For items at CRL or not at Harvard or CRL, obtain via Interlibrary Loan

Records of the U.S. Department of State relating to the internal affairs of [Country name], 1910-1963 (coverage varies by country. mostly 1940s-1950s)
HOLLIS Records
Online guides

Records of the U.S. Department of State relating to political relations between the United States and [Country name], 1930-1959 (coverage varies by country)
HOLLIS Records
Online guide available only for Records of the U.S. Department of State relating to political relations between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean states, 1930-1944. Department of State decimal files 711.12-711.39, 69 microfilm reels
Microforms (Lamont) | Film A 524.8 (1930/44) Level B

U.S. military intelligence reports 1918-1944 (coverage varies by country)
Online Guides (scroll down) 
HOLLIS Records.

O.S.S./State Department intelligence and research reports. 14 pts. on 124 microfilm reels
Location : Microforms (Lamont) Film A 215 [Level B]
Location : Microforms (Lamont) INDEX Film A 215 = Guide [Level B]
Online Guides  (Scroll down) pt. 1. Japan and its occupied territories during World War II
pt. 2. Postwar Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, 1945-1949
pt. 3. China and India, 1950-1961
pt. 4. Germany and its occupied territories during World War II
pt. 5. Postwar Europe
pt. 6. The Soviet Union, 1941-1961
pt. 7. The Middle East, 1941-1961
pt. 8. Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and the Far East generally, 1950-1961
pt. 9. China and India, 1950-1961
pt. 10. Europe. 1950-1961 supplement
pt. 11. The Soviet Union. 1950-1961 supplement
pt. 12. The Middle East. 1950-1961 supplement.
pt. 13. Africa, 1941-1961
pt. 14. Latin America, 1941-1961