Led Astray by Published Documents

Scholars and others use the series Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), the official documentary publication of American foreign policy, and other printed primary sources, as sources of easily-accessible documentation.  Strict reliance upon published documents, however, can lead one astray if the point you are trying to draw is not the same as that … Continue reading Led Astray by Published Documents

The Making of a FRUS Volume

The Historical Office at the Department of State recently published a history of the documentary publication now referred to as Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS).  The book, entitled Toward "Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable:" A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, also is available online.  The history describes the origins and … Continue reading The Making of a FRUS Volume

The President Says Thank You, 1963: U.S. Policy Regarding The Congo

Working in a large bureaucracy, such as the U.S. Government, one’s accomplishments are often overlooked by the most senior leadership. On occasion, however, the big boss notices and recognizes the work being done. In some cases, the biggest boss in the bureaucracy – the President – notices. One such instance occurred in early 1963. During … Continue reading The President Says Thank You, 1963: U.S. Policy Regarding The Congo

Keeping the Public Informed

Today's post is written by David Langbart. Public comment about what is now called the lack of transparency about U.S. foreign policy is not a new phenomenon.  The issue goes back to at least World War II, if not before.  Recognizing that it needed to better inform the public about its activities, in 1948, the Department … Continue reading Keeping the Public Informed

Why working at the National Archives is so interesting

Today's post is written by David Langbart. To a large degree, working with the records at the National Archives is a never-ending series of fascinating encounters with the original documentation of U.S. history. The following document, a memorandum of conversation (memcon) drafted by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in January 1954, gives an idea why … Continue reading Why working at the National Archives is so interesting