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Primary sources can be found online, reproduced in printed books, or in their original form in archival collections. To find out which American archives have manuscripts and records on your topic, search ArchiveGrid. See our ArchiveGrid tutorial.
The FRUS series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity, through the Clinton Administration. These are historical papers and don't cover present day events. Browse by administration, or click "tips for searching" and then "search" then check "historical documents."
Founded by journalists and scholars, the National Security Archive promotes open government by acting as a clearinghouse for declassified information. Primary source materials: declassified government documents, chronologies, images, bibliographies, and explanatory essays on topics related to national security.
There are 42 collections, each with thousands of documents and maps. Each of these collections covers critical world events, countries, and U.S. foreign policy from post-World War II to the present. Primary source information is of value to researchers in international relations.
Information in the DNSA subscription database is updated by materials on the National Security Archive website at George Washington University, which includes the latest FOIA released documents, and documents released pursuant to lawsuits. Also, some subjects like Able Archer 83, the Torture Archive, the Genocide Documentation Project and Cyber Vault are stand-alone projects that are only available on the website.
Overall, the DNSA subscription resource is more comprehensive with 1.000 to 3,000 documents on a subject and each set has a chronology, bibliography, and glossary, as well as an Essay and Sources section. Updated sets are produced periodically, either with newly-released material on an existing topic or with new collections on new topics. In all cases, we suggest searching both the subscription database and the website for a complete record.
A partnership between a journalism nonprofit and George Washington University, this project attempts to declassify federal documents relating to security and foreign policy. Some are freely available online at this site.
Leading scholars wrote these special, classified reports about Asia, Europe, the Soviet Union, Latin America, and Africa, between 1941 and 1961. (They are not in the State Department's foreign relations series FRUS.)