The Historical Advisory Committee to the Department of State (HAC) released a report assessing both improvements in publishing the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series by the Office of the Historian (HO), and the pitfalls of NARA's declassification process. The report concludes with mixed results, noting that while it will remain difficult, if not impossible, for the HO to publish its FRUS series documenting events within 30-years of their occurrence as mandated by law, HO has made robust and encouraging progress and the office continues to increase the number of publications it releases.
The essential series Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), published by the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State, presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The Office of the Historian has apparently finished its pilot project with producing FRUS in e-book formats (ePub and Mobi). It now is offering 108 publications during its current phase releasing e-books.
- Historical Documents > E-Books Edition, U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian.
Hat tip to infoDOCKET!
Selected volumes of the eminent State Department series, Foreign Relations of the United States, are now available as e-books for reading on devices such as the Kindle and Nook.
- E-Books Initiative, U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian.
The Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the release of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in a new e-book format that is readable on popular electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. The e-book edition combines many of the benefits of print and web publications in a new form that is portable and extremely convenient. During the pilot phase of the FRUS e-book initiative, five selected FRUS volumes are available here. The public is invited to download the new e-books and provide feedback to help improve the FRUS e-book edition. At the conclusion of the pilot phase later this year, the Office will work to offer e-book versions of many more FRUS volumes both through the Office website and on a wide array of e-bookstores. The Office will continue to expand and enhance its e-book offerings, as part of the ongoing FRUS digitization effort.
The volumes available are:
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967.
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume X, Vietnam, January 1973–July 1975.
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXIV, Middle East Region and Arabian Peninsula, 1969–1972; Jordan, September 1970.
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXII, SALT I, 1969–1972.
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–12, Documents on East and Southeast Asia, 1973–1976.
Steven Aftergood says that State Department historians are still, in a new volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), unable to provide a definitive account of an event in October 1969 when the Nixon Administration secretly placed U.S. nuclear forces on alert.
- Purpose of 1969 Nuclear Alert Remains a Mystery, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News, (October 25th, 2011).
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XXXIV, National Security Policy, 1969–1972. [PDF, 3.4MB]
This volume documents U.S. national security policy in the context of the Vietnam War and the changing Cold War strategic balance between the United States and the Soviet Union.
"...and there is no foreseeable likelihood that it will do so..."
Secrecy Overwhelms U.S. Historical Record, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (April 20th, 2011).
The [State] Department's "Foreign Relations of the United States" (FRUS) series is required to fully document the history of U.S. foreign policy no later than 30 years after the fact, but that’s not happening.
"No progress has been made toward bringing the [FRUS] series into compliance with the statutory requirement that volumes be published 30 years after the events they document," said the new annual report of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation.
The State Department has an RSS (ATOM) feed that lists new releases of the important series Foreign Relations of the United States: history.state.gov/open/frus-latest.xml.
The Office of the Historian is responsible, under law, for the preparation and publication of the official historical documentary record of U.S. foreign policy in the Foreign Relations of the United States series. This dataset is a feed for the latest ten volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series. Each record in the dataset contains a volume's title, year of publication, summary, and link to the online volumes. The feed will be updated when current volumes are edited or new volumes are published.
I had never noticed that statement (above) that current volumes might be edited after release. Does that mean that material might be deleted or changed? Or does "editing" only mean adding new content?
Secrecy News says there is a new report on the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.
- IG: State Dept Should Produce 12 FRUS Volumes Per Year. by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (March 25th, 2010).
- Report of Inspection: The Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General, February 2010, at pp. 34-38.
“The [State Department Historian's Office] is behind schedule in meeting the statutory FRUS deadline: HO historians only now are compiling the contents of the volumes covering the foreign policy of the Carter administration (1977-1981),” the Inspector General report said. “To achieve compliance with the 30-year deadline, HO will need to accelerate the rate of publication to approximately 12 volumes per year.”
State Dept Series Falls Farther Behind Schedule, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (December 22nd, 2009).
The U.S. State Department’s official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series had another disappointing year in 2009 with only two softcopy volumes published to date, including one released last week on "Global Issues, 1973-1976."
...a third FRUS volume on "Foreign Economic Policy, 1973-1976" [should] appear before the end of the year, and at least one other in January 2010.... There are four Vietnam volumes alone that should be published in 2010.
Department of State Office of the Historian has just released the redesign of its site: www.history.state.gov. They've done a really nice job with the redesign including new and easier access to my favorite Foreign Relations of the United States. Users can now browse FRUS by themes like decolonization, instability in Latin America, US-China trade etc (though I'm surprised that there's no theme for Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, SALT etc. Perhaps they'll add those additional themes). Users can also browse by country to find history of US diplomatic relations and links to other key publications like Department of State Background Notes, Department of State Country Information, CIA World Factbook, and Library of Congress Country Studies.
The new website boasts greater accessibility and searching within the Foreign Relations of the United States documentary series. It currently offers both textual and facsimile copies of Foreign Relations volumes from the Kennedy Administration through the Nixon-Ford administration. The Office plans to continue to digitize older volumes and eventually house all of the Foreign Relations volumes on its website. The website also contains updated sections on the history of the Department of State, biographies of notable diplomats, and an in-depth timeline of United States diplomatic milestones. The Office’s educational curriculum guides are also downloadable from the website. The Office hopes that through its enhanced presentation and organization, the new website will become the preeminent online resource for U.S. diplomatic history.
--Source: U.S. Department of State
[Thanks Resource Shelf!]
Steven Aftergood describes a new report on the State Dept. Office of the Historian and the Foreign Relations of the United States series:
- Something “Very Wrong” in State Dept History Office, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News, June 8, 2009.
- Management Review of the Office of the Historian, (Report Number ISP-I-09-43), State Department Office of Inspector General, May 2009.
With plummeting employee morale and departures of experienced staff historians, “something in HO is very wrong,” the Inspector General concluded. “HO is suffering from, and has for some time been handicapped by, serious mismanagement...
Under present circumstances, the task of the FRUS series, although mandated by law, is “almost unachievable,” the IG said.