Part Three: Primary Source Research

This webpage has in large measure been superseded by another webpage I've posted as a supplement to my book (as yet unpublished) on "Historical Method in the Study of International Politics." That new webpage, on "Working with Primary Sources" deals with international politics as a whole, not just with the Cold War period. It's available in two versions, a general version and a UCLA version. I've also posted a list of links given in that new website. But I'm still maintaining the present website. It was last revised in July 2007.


Open sources
Published collections of documents
Microform sources: FRUS microfiche supplements; DDRS; other microform sources

Online sources:
DDRS; National Security Archive; Harvard Project on Cold War Studies
NATO Website
Presidential Library Websites
State Department Material
Military Issues
Defense Department FOIA releases
Intelligence Issues
Other Important Websites (CWIHP; Sarantakes; H-Diplo)

Archival sources:
Presidential libraries (and doing quasi-archival work)
U.S. National Archives
Other manuscript sources
Getting to see classified material (FOIA, MR, etc.)
Archival work abroad



OPEN SOURCES. Okay, you've done enough work in the secondary sources to know your way around the field. And also you know, roughly speaking, what people say about your specific topic, and how that fits into a more general interpretation of the period. You are now in a position to begin the real research effort.

You can start with the memoir literature, zeroing in (via the index and table of contents) on the most relevant sections. This literature, of course, has to be taken with a grain of salt, but you can generally get some hard information from it--especially when specific documents are quoted. And memoirs often give you a kind of point of departure--that is, an interpretive framework that can be tested against the evidence, a framework which, at least in large part, is often concocted for political reasons, but which nevertheless has played a key role in shaping what has become the conventional wisdom about a certain topic, even among historians.

The other thing you can do at the outset is to look at the printed New York Times Index. At UCLA, it can be found in the Reference Department at YRL; the call number for this index is AI21 .N49. You might want to xerox the relevant pages of the index so that you can mark them up. It is amazing how much you can learn just by reading this index. You might want to read some of the articles themselves if this looks like a rich source, but if so, you should read them in the machine that enables you to make xeroxes from the microfilm, since this is much, much more efficient than taking notes. The xeroxes themselves can be marked up to bring out salient points from the standpoint of your analysis. There are various other sources giving documents that will enable you to piece together the story as it looked at the time--for example, the Department of State Bulletin, Europa Archiv, L'Année politique, etc. Nowadays, many such sources are available electronically. For example, you can get the transcripts of interviews with top Pentagon officials by consulting the Defense Department's official website DefenseLINK; by clicking into the link for "Press Resources" on the left side of that page, then the link for “transcripts,” and finally the link for the “transcript archive page,” you can get access to such sources for the period going back to 1994; there are other links for speeches and so on.

Newspapers in general are of course a terrific source of information, and are one of the first things you should look at. Many of them are now searchable electronically. The best search engine is LexisNexis. (This is a subscription service, but is available through many university libraries; that link works from UCLA computers.) This allows you to search for articles in major U.S. and some foreign newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and so on). A click of the mouse and you can actually read the text of the articles that interest you. By clicking into "Reference" you have quick access to some very useful reference material: biographical information, polls and surveys, and so on, all electronically searchable.

Published Congressional sources might also be worth looking at, at least for certain topics. They are, however, hard to use, and you probably should consult a research librarian on this. There is a published guide compiled by Richard Burt: Congressional hearings on American defense policy: 1947-1971, an annotated bibliography, Van Pelt KF 7201 B86. My own experience is that while Congressional materials are occasionally interesting, on the whole the return for effort is slight with this kind of source. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has published the records of its executive sessions for the Cold War period (at least for 1947-63) in a special "historical series" that for certain topics might be worth taking a look at: KF 26 F6 1947b in Van Pelt stacks.

PUBLISHED COLLECTIONS OF DOCUMENTS: But instead of spending too much time in sources of that sort, you should try to move into declassified materials fairly rapidly, since this will give you much more of a feel for what the real story was.

For many projects, especially undergraduate projects, the most important source will probably be the State Department's Foreign Relations of the United States series, which includes a lot more than just State Department documents. It also has such things as NSC minutes, presidential correspondence, etc. It used to be that a series of volumes covered a single year, each volume dealing either with certain general topics or with a specific region or country. Beginning with 1952-54, they shifted to covering three to five years at a time; most of the volumes being published now cover the 1964-68 period.

The State Department's website for the Foreign Relations series has links to a complete list of volumes, a list of volumes still available for purchase, and a list of volumes available online. The first of those three links tells you which volumes have already been published (and when), which are in the process of being published, and which are simply planned. The list of volumes available for purchase gives you the price and GPO stock number for each volume, which you need to order that volume by phone, but not the phone number you need for placing the order, so let me give it to you here: call the Superintendent of Documents at (202) 512-1800, credit card in hand, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time.

If you're doing a serious research project, you would probably want to get a more detailed sense for what's going to come out soon. In that case, you might want to check the status reports for the FRUS series, now available online. If you have specific questions about FRUS, you might want to get in touch with the people at the Historian's Office (the part of the State Department responsible for producing it) directly. Their email address is, or you can call them at (202) 663-1123. If you do get in touch with them, you might want to have them add your name and address to their mailing list for publication announcements for new volumes of FRUS.

The FRUS volumes are useful for all kinds of reasons. In addition to the documents themselves, the editorial notes in FRUS, which have become really terrific in recent years, give you leads to additional sources, including memoirs and so on, and the top of each document in small print (or, in the more recent volumes, a footnote at the beginning of the document) gives the archival location of the original document--which is also a valuable lead for doing more detailed archival research. Very frequently, the original in the archives has sections from these documents that were deleted for security reasons when the Foreign Relations volume was published (noted with an ellipsis), and it is always interesting to take a look at what the government did not want us to see, so that one can identify the sort of bias that shapes the corpus of available evidence and thus be able to control for it. See the discussion of declassification analysis in the second part of this website--a number of typical examples are included there. Remember also that when you read the FRUS volumes, you're trying to learn not just about American foreign policy, but about other things as well--about American military policy, for example, or the policies of other governments.

But all this is incidental. The main value of these volumes lies in the documents themselves. On the whole, they're very well-edited; one exception, in my view, is vol. 4 in the 1955-57 series. The documents vary in quality, and there is no point in reading every single one with the same degree of care. For most purposes, the best way to approach a FRUS volume is to go through the section of the volume corresponding to the subject you are interested in, and read it from start to finish, focusing on the documents that are of real interest--the ones that deal with basics, that record the views of people who really mattered, that aren't just concerned with tactics, etc. You can also focus on relevant documents by using the indexes. When you read this material, the crucial thing to keep your eye on is what the different governments really wanted--what the real clash was--and how desires on specific issues related to the more general aims of policy.

There are plenty of other published American sources besides FRUS--the Clay Papers, for example, or the Eisenhower Papers, an extremely well-edited collection--and there are many other collections of this sort. I myself edited a six-volume series called The Development of American Strategic Thought, which included a good deal of material that had never been published before.

Although the U.S. materials are by far the most valuable of the published collections of diplomatic documents, the main European countries are also publishing collections of their own, which, oddly enough, scarcely overlap in terms of the periods they cover.

The British Documents on British Policy Overseas now (late 1998) has seven volumes covering the immediate post-World War II period (1945-47) and four volumes in a second series (dealing with 1950-52); some of these volumes have microfiche supplements. Three volumes in a third series (dealing with 1968-75) have recently come out. To get a rough idea of what is currently available, go into the British Stationery Office bookshop website, and then type "Documents on British Policy Overseas" in the search box and click go.

The French Documents diplomatiques français currently covers from late 1944 to 1945 and from late 1954 through 1965 (not including the series dealing with the interwar and pre-World War I periods). That link has the complete list of what is available, information about ordering. Each volume now costs about $45, which is much lower than the old price. The German Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland has a couple of volumes giving the records of Chancellor Adenauer's meetings with the Allied High Commission in the early 1950s, plus volumes (about three per year) dealing with 1963-1969. For the periods they cover, these are of real interest; and for the French and German cases, there are other collections of documents that are also quite interesting. For example, previously unpublished papers of statesmen like de Gaulle and Mendès France have been published recently, and for Adenauer, the published minutes of the CDU Bundesvorstand (Executive Committee) are extremely valuable--see, for example, G. Buchstab, ed., Adenauer: "Wir haben wirklich etwas geschaffen": Die Protokolle des CDU-Bundesvorstands 1953-57. Note also the German cabinet records for the early FRG period, Die Kabinettsprotokolle der Bundesregierung, edited for the Bundesarchiv by Hans Boom; the eight volumes published so far cover the period 1949-55. Here's another source for people interested in the early Cold War period: Horst Möller and Klaus Hildebrand, eds., Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland und Frankreich: Dokumente 1949-1963 (Munich, 1997- ), 3 vols. published so far (Van Pelt DD258.85.F8 B864 1997). Also a number of diaries have been published which are quite important--for example, the Krone diary in R. Morsey and K. Repgen, eds., Adenauer-Studien, vol. 3--and important biographies, such as Horne's biography of Macmillan and especially Hans-Peter Schwarz's biography of Adenauer give otherwise unavailable material.

For many purposes, of course, you will want to go beyond the published material. The non-published material breaks down into three categories: microform collections, material available through the internet, and archival sources.

MICROFORM (AND SIMILAR) SOURCES: You will be amazed by how far you can go just using sources on microfilm and microfiche. My "Wasting Asset" piece in History and Strategy was written essentially from microfilm sources--above all, the NSC meetings and documents, and the JCS papers--that I found in the Government Documents Room in the basement of the Pusey Library at Harvard. Let me describe here some of the more important U.S. microform sources that are available--first the ones we have here at Penn (and at many other other research libraries), and then the ones you might want to get through interlibrary loan or by going to another institution.

There is a vast amount of material available on microfilm and microfiche. The University of Chicago Library has a very good guide to the material they own, and this will give some idea of what is generally available: Guide to Microform and CD-Rom Sources for History and Political Science in the University of Chicago Library. But a number of particular microform sources are especially useful for people in our field. Most libraries that own those sources also own the finding aids, which are published (and sold) along with the material itself; if you need to order this material through Interlibrary Loan, be sure to specify that you would like the finding aid sent along with it.

In this section, I want to give you some sense for what the most important sources are. I'll begin by telling you about the microfiche material published by the State Department, and I'll then talk about the Declassified Documents Reference System, and the big collections of microfilm and similar sources published by commercial publishers like University Publications of America, ProQuest (Chadwyck-Healey) and Adam Matthew. I'll end by discussing some of the microfilm collections published by the National Archives.

(a) First, the State Department. The State Department's Foreign Relations series has published a number of microfiche supplements to the regular volumes for the Eisenhower and Kennedy periods, plus a number of special microfiche supplements, all available here at Penn. The list of microfiche supplements can be found at the end of the FRUS lists for the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations in the State Department Historian's Office website. (Let me note in passing that there are also microfiche supplements to the Documents on British Policy Overseas.) Here's a list of the special supplements to FRUS:

Memoranda of Conversation of the Secretary of State, 1947-1952 (Van Pelt: Microfiche 509; UCLA MicroServ Microfiche JX1706 .A4 1988, and Law Library Microfiche JX233 .A3 Supp. no.3)

Secretary of State's Memoranda of Conversation, November 1952-December 1954 (Van Pelt: Microfiche 871)

Memoranda of the Secretary of State, 1949-1951, and meetings and visits of foreign dignitaries, 1949-1952 (Van Pelt: Microfiche 735; SRLF)

(b) The Declassified Documents Reference System [DDRS] is the second major collection you should about. The people who run it publish a selection of newly released declassified documents. The documents used to be published only on microfiche but are now also available online--but only through libraries that subscribe to this service. The link I just gave you should work if you're at UCLA and are working from an on-campus computer. Click here to find out how to use DDRS.

If you're at all interested in doing archival work, there's something else you should bear in mind when you're working with the DDRS documents: these documents will help you get a feel for where the richest files are. The archival sources are often marked on the documents themselves; note what they are so that you get a sense for which archival files you might eventually want to dig into. If you go to the archives, you want to have some independent sense for which files are relevant and which are important. You need to talk with archivists, of course, but you don't want to be totally dependent on them, since the degree of helpfulness you are given varies, and none of them knows everything there is to know about which sources are relevant to your specific topic, let alone about which sources are particularly rich. And you need some way of attacking archival sources even if you can't actually go to the archives and talk directly with the archivists. I'll explain a bit later how archival work can be done long distance.

(c) Next, let me talk briefly about what has been published by the three of the main private firms that produce these materials, and then I'll talk a bit about what's available from the U.S. National Archives.

University Publications of America (now part of LEXIS-NEXIS) is the first private firm you should know about.  At the bottom of the homepage, you’re invited to “click here to browse thousands of titles and access collection fact sheets and users guides.” Click into that link, and then click into either "American Studies" or "International Studies." Under "American Studies," click into the "Political History" list, which is arranged by president. Under "International Studies," the NSC materials are particularly important. When you identify something of interest, if your own library doesn't own it, you can do a search for it on RLG/Eureka. You can then in theory borrow it via Interlibrary Loan, although if it is a big collection, you may want to (or be asked to) borrow the finding aid first; you would then just order the specific reels you need.

Let me talk here about the NSC materials. The NSC was where basic policy was discussed, and the NSC records are an extremely valuable source, and one of the first things you should look at when you're doing a project. But using the NSC material takes some doing. Some NSC materials are in the printed FRUS volumes, and are listed in their indexes. Certain documents or meeting notes can also be found in the DDRS--sometimes in multiple versions, some versions being less sanitized than others. But one of the basic ways to get NSC material is to use two important UPA microfilm publications: Minutes of Meetings of the National Security Council and Documents of the National Security Council, both with printed indexes.

Unfortunately, the UCLA holdings of these two collections are a mess. For the Documents of the National Security Council series, the guide to the original collection plus the guides to the first three supplements are in the microfilm room (UA 10.5 N37); the guides to supplements 4-6 are also in the microfilm room in YRL, but have a different call number (UA23.15 D63 1987, UA23.15 D63 1991, and UA23.15 D63 1993, respectively). The microfilm itself is in SRLF and has to be ordered separately via Orion 2. For the Minutes of Meetings of the National Security Council series, the guides for supplements 1 and 2 are in the microfilm room (UA23 M562 1988), but not the guide for the original collection. The microfilm room has the microfilm for the original collection (UA10.5 N39), and the microfilm for the first supplement (UA23 M56 1988), but not the microfilm for the second supplement (which is in SRLF, and has to be ordered via Orion2). UCLA evidently does not own the third supplement, published in 1996.

Another way to get at the NSC documents (but not the notes of the NSC meetings) is to use the Digital National Security Archive collection called "Presidential Directives on National Security from Truman to Clinton." That collection is available over the internet to subscribing libraries (fortunately, UCLA is a subscriber). It includes the numbered NSC documents and various other series of documents produced by the NSC system: National Security Action Memoranda (NSAMs), National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDMs), National Security Study Memoranda (NSSMs), and so on. I'll talk more about the Digital National Security Archive collections later on in the section on internet sources.

How do you use the NSC material? The microfilm collections, as noted above, come with guides. Another good place to start, especially for UCLA students, is with the Index to Documents of the National Security Council (*UA10.5 N37 I38 1994, in the YRL stacks, with the large-sized books). This is a very good 721-page cumulative index to both collections, the Minutes of Meetings and the Documents, and covers the material included through the first supplement of the Minutes of Meetings and the fourth supplement of the Documents. It thus includes quite a bit of material, some of which goes up to the Reagan period. For the NSC documents, various other lists are available. There is one, for example, in Gerald Haines, A Reference Guide to United States Department of State Special Files (Van Pelt Reference, open stacks, CD3031 1985), pp. 38-62. I'm also incuding here, as a link, a somewhat shorter list of numbered NSC documents, arranged by subject, and limited to documents from the Eisenhower period. (The documents marked with an asterisk were in effect as official policy when the Kennedy administration took office in January 1961.) For lists of the various categories of NSC documents (including NSAMs, NSDMs, PDs and so on), with links to some full-text documents, go to the University of Michigan Document Center's list of Federal Government Resources: President of the United States and scroll down to "Presidential Decisions and Directives." The numbered documents themselves are at the National Archives in Record Group 273; indeed, if you request the file for a certain document (like NSC 68) you'll sometimes find not just the document itself, but other related documents. If a particular numbered document you're interested is is not available, you'll need to file a Mandatory Review request. I'll talk more about all this later.

As I say, you'll find copies of many of these in FRUS, DDRS, and especially in the Documents of the NSC, often in sanitized form. If you use DDRS, just put the title or even number of the document ("NSC 68") in the full text field, and select "National Security Council" as the source institution. You can use the same method to locate the records of NSC meetings, but only once you know which records you would like to see. But how do you know which meetings have discussions of interest to you? Again, you can use the guides that come with the UPA microfilm publications. You can use the 721-page guide I just mentioned in the last paragraph. Or you can use lists that you may find online. One such finding aid--the list of NSC summaries of discussion for the Eisenhower period--I managed to find and am making available here as a link.

Such lists will enable you to identify the meetings at which the particular issue you are interested in was discussed. Using such lists, you can then go on to see if the notes of the particular meetings you are interested in are available in FRUS, in the microfilmed Meetings of the NSC, or in DDRS. (With the DDRS, you use the same technique I just gave you for locating NSC documents.) If you can't find a particular record, or if you found only a sanitized version and would like to see if a more complete version if it is available, you could then call up the relevant presidential library and give the archivists there the precise archival citation for what you are interested in. You can then ask them to see if the document is available (or available in a less sanitized form than what you already have); if it is available, you can order it by phone, paying by credit card, and will get the copy a week or two later. If it turns out that a "summary of discussion" has not been declassified, or is heavily sanitized, you can submit a Mandatory Review request to that presidential library (about which more later). The list of NSC meetings will also enable you to request the file for that meeting from RG 273, the NSC record group at the National Archives. Using the NSC materials is not easy, but believe me, this is a very rich source and is worth the trouble.

What other UPA sources are worth knowing about? The Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is another important publication of theirs. Part 1 covers1942-1945 and Part 2 covers 1946-1953. Each is broken down into various series, and each series includes a number of reels of microfilm. At UCLA, the microfilm itself is in SRLF and has to be ordered via Orion2, but the guides (with various call numbers) are in the microfilm room.

Here's a list of some other interesting UPA collections:

John F. Kennedy national security files. 1961-1963:
(UCLA: MicroServ UA855 .J64 1988, with guide; at Penn this collection has various call numbers corresponding to the various series in the collection)

The Lyndon B. Johnson national security files, 1963-1969:
(UCLA: MicroServ DT38 .L96 1987, with guide; at Penn this collection also has various call numbers corresponding to the different series in the collection)

Memos of the special assistant for national security affairs McGeorge Bundy to President Johnson, 1963-1966 (Penn: Microfilm 3995)

Vietnam: National Security Council histories (SRLF; Penn: Microfilm 3943)

Papers of the Nixon White House (Penn: Microfiche 930; UCLA has guide only: YRL E855 .P37 1987)


Now let me talk about ProQuest a bit. ProQuest is a major publisher of source material and research aids. (Much of this material was put out by Chadwyck-Healey before it was absorbed into ProQuest.) ProQuest has put out a series of document collections in conjunction with the National Security Archive, a private organization in Washington. By going into the Digital National Security Archive link in the National Security Archive website (you’ll have to first click into the link for “publications”), you'll see the list of collections published in this series: the Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. Intelligence Community, U.S. Nuclear History, Non-Proliferation, Iran-Contra, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, The Philippines, etc. They all deal with U.S. policy in these areas. The documents assembled come from a variety of different sources, gathered by very skilled "archive hounds" and vigorous "FOIA-requesters." These collections are now available online through subscribing libraries (UCLA is a subscriber), and you can access them if you use an on-campus computer or get set up with a proxy server. But they were originally available on microfiche, and many libraries, including UCLA, still have the microfiche collections. Click here for a list of NSA microfiche collections, with guides, at UCLA. I'll talk more about this extremely useful source in the section later on on internet sources.

And as if all this were not enough, I should tell you about something quite special that ProQuest has been involved in. They've put out a big microfilm collection, the Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State; for information that collection type in the following URL: This was done in collaboration with the Hoover Institution and various Russian institutions, and seems quite remarkable. So far, more than 10,000 reels have been made available, equivalent to something like 25 million pages of documents. Harvard (Lamont Library) and Stanford (Hoover Institution) are the only two places outside Russia where this material is available. For more information on this and related collections, click into the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies website, and then click into "resources" link at the top of the homepage. The Library of Congress has another big project in the works. This is not a microfilm publication exactly, but they're in the process of microfilming Hungarian, Polish and Romanian military archives. (The link takes you into the finding aids.) The focus is currently on the early Cold War years, and over 300 reels have already been made available, but you have to go to Washington to view them.

Adam Matthew is another publisher I want to tell you about. They specialize in publishing British sources, and a lot of their material is taken from the British National Archives (formerly called the Public Record Office). British sources, of course, are quite useful even if you don't have the slightest interest in British policy: the British records throw a good deal of light on U.S. policy, among other things. For information, click into the Adam Matthew website. They have a CD-ROM on the Berlin Airlift, a 3 CD-ROM collection of Macmillan's cabinet papers (a very rich source--and Penn has it: DA566.9 M33 M33 1999, at Van Pelt Info Desk), and 15 CD-ROMs which seem to include all of the interesting British material for 1964 (Cabinet, Prime Minister's Office, Foreign Office, Treasury, and Defence) and a finding aid. They also have a whole series of collections on microfilm dealing with international politics and military affairs, among other subjects, many of them having to do with East Asia. Here are some of the collections which would be of most interest to students of the Cold War:

British Cabinet records for 1945-1964 (Cab 128 and 129 at the British National Archives)
British records on the war in southeast Asia, 1959-1963
British records on the Berlin Crisis, 1947-1950
British records on the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1960-1962

(d) Finally, you should know that the U.S. National Archives also publishes a number of microfilm collections. You can consult their publication National Archives Microfilm Publications for Research: A Comprehensive Catalog (NARA, 2000; ISBN 1-880875-22-5). To search or browse NARA's microfilm catalogue, click here. If you opt to do an advanced search, you can search by record group (for example, RG 59 for Department of State materials). Note, however, that there are also many microfilm publications covering other record groups (like RG 243, the records of the Strategic Bombing Survey). In any event, here are some of the most important ones for our purposes listed in that guide; many of them are available through inter-library loan:

M679 Special Interrogation Mission to Germany, 1945-46

M1135 Marshall-Lovett Memoranda to Truman, 1947-48

M1171 Policy Planning Staff Papers

M1221 Intelligence Reports, 1941-61

M1244 State Dept. Office of Europe Affairs (Matthews-Hickerson files)

Many National Archives microfilm publications are also indicated in the listings in their Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States (Van Pelt Reference Desk: CD 3026 1995). To see if one of these publications happens to be nearby, you might want to check one of their guides to what's available regionally--if you're in Philadelphia, for example, you might want to check T. F. Matchette, National Archives Microfilm Publications in the National Archives--Mid-Atlantic Region (Van Pelt Reference Desk, CD 3052 M38 1990). Failing that, you would probably do best to search for a particular microfilm publication in RLG/Eureka, although you might have some luck if you called the National Archives microfilm office and asked them if they knew where a particular publication was. I should say in passing that the Archives publications are a lot less expensive than the privately produced ones, and it might make sense for certain purposes to buy a particular one, or ask to have the library buy it for you.


INTERNET SOURCES. There is now a vast amount of material available over the internet. For a useful overview, see Robert Griffith, "Un-Tangling the Web of Cold War Studies; or, How One Historian Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Internet," Journal of Multimedia History, vol. 3 (2000). There are a number of websites (all loaded with links) specifically designed for people in interested in international relations:

The World Online (Prof. Richard Eichenberg, Political Science Dept., Tufts University)
Foreign Affairs Online (University of Virginia)
The WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources
ISN: International Relations and Security Network (extensive links directory)
CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online (includes working papers, conference proceedings; searchable)

In this section, I don't want to try to duplicate the information available in websites of that sort. I want instead to tell you about what I think are the most important websites for doing research in original sources. I'll then talk about various official websites (NATO, presidential libraries, State Department, the military services and the CIA) where you can get access to declassified documents (and some other items of interest as well). When I talk about those military websites, I'll also tell you about other websites that have important material for people interested in military affairs, and when I talk about the CIA website, I'll tell you about other sites you might want to look at if you're interested in intelligence matters. Then I'll end this section by discussing a few important sites for people interested in the Cold War and in diplomatic history in general.

What are the best sites for original source material? There is the Declassified Documents Reference System's site, which I discussed at length in the section on microform sources. Click here to go back to that section. But there are a number of other sites that have documents you can use. For example, for many projects you'd be wise to check out the National Security Archive website. Click into the "documents" link at the top of their homepage for "electronic briefing books"--or just click into the link here. Many very useful collections of documents are listed here, broken down by category: Europe, Latin America, Nuclear History, China, U.S. intelligence, Iran, and so on. The China section alone has ten collections of documents; there are currently (June 2002) fifteen collections dealing with nuclear issues. On the "electronic briefing books" page, you'll also find a link to the index page for the NSA's "September 11 sourcebooks," collections of documents dealing with terrorism and related issues.

The National Security Archive, in conjunction with ProQuest (originally with Chadwyck Healey, before ProQuest took it over), has put out an extremely important series of online collections of documents called the Digital National Security Archive. UCLA is a subscriber, and you can do a search using that link from any on-campus computer at UCLA. These collections, as I noted before, were originally published on microfiche, and UCLA still has those original microfiche versions. The online versions are of course more complete. Here is a list of the DNSA collections as of September 2006:

Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990
The Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962
China and the United States, 1960-1998
The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
Guatemala and the United States, 1954-1999
El Salvador: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1984 and 1980-1994
Iran: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1977-1980
The Iran-Contra Affair: The Making of a Scandal, 1983-1988
Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. Policy and the Prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994
Japan and the United States, 1960-1976 and 1977-1992
Kissinger Transcripts
Nicaragua: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1978-1990
The Philippines: U.S. Policy During the Marcos Years, 1965-1986
Presidential Directives on National Security (Part I) from Truman to Clinton
Presidential Directives on National Security (Part II) from Truman to G.W. Bush
South Africa: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1962-1989
Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2000
The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Analysis of the Soviet Union, 1947-1991
U.S. Espionage and Intelligence, 1947-1996
The U.S. Intelligence Community: Organization, Operations and Management, 1947-1989
U.S. Military Uses of Space, 1945-1991
U.S. Nuclear History, 1955-1968
U.S. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy, 1945-1991
U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part I, 1954-68, and Part II, 1969-1975

For some purposes, the search engine on the DNSA website is not as good as the printed guide that came with the old microfiche version of these collections. To get hold of the guide at UCLA, as I noted in the section on microfilm sources, just do a Melvyl search, giving the title above, plus "National Security Archive" as (collective) author. Or you could just look up the list I cited above of National Security Archive collections at UCLA; that list has the call numbers for the original guides and microfiche for those collections the UCLA library has purchased. Additional material related to some of the DNSA collections (but not included in those collections) is available on the NSA website. There's a DNSA collection, for example, on U.S.-Japanese relations, 1960-1976. But if you're interested in that subject, you might also want to check out the National Security Archive's U.S.-Japan Project's website. The working papers and oral history transcripts there look particularly interesting, and there is also a series of documents relating to the question of U.S. nuclear weapons in Okinawa.

The Harvard Project on Cold War Studies website has a number of very important Soviet documents available on PDF format--facsimile versions of the original Russian-language documents. When you go into the homepage, click into "archive" at the top. The very first document there, for example, is a top-secret 639-page in-house history of the KGB, written in 1977. That site also gives links to other sites containing facsimile versions of original Soviet documents. See, for example, the "Soviet Archives collected by Vladimir Bukovsky" site. Note also the University of Toronto-based Stalin-Era Research and Archives Project.

NATO: On NATO, there is a new and quite important website maintained by the SHAPE Historical Office; you'll find on this site a whole series of NATO strategy documents from the 1949-69 period, available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. The main NATO Archives website has information about how to use the NATO archives, as well as additional declassified material (Ismay Report on NATO 1952-57, Harmel Reports of 1967).

PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES: Some of the presidential libraries have documents available online. For example, at the Kennedy Library website you can see practically all the NSAMs--the National Security Action Memoranda--for the Kennedy period. At the Johnson Library website, you can access a number of oral histories, including the Rusk oral history, which you can read on Adobe Acrobat. In the section below dealing with archives, I'll give you the links for all the presidential libraries, and you can check out the ones that interest you to see if they have anything relevant to your project. The Ford Library also has some important material online. This includes National Security Study Memoranda and Decision Memoranda, and also a series of memoranda of conversations dealing with foreign policy and national security issues.

STATE DEPARTMENT MATERIAL: Next, the State Department has an Electronic Reading Room where you can do a search on--and actually copy to disc or read--certain documents that have been released by that agency in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You do a keyword search in the usual way (applying limits in the advanced search, such as specifying a range of dates for the original documents). A list of documents that meets your criteria then is supposed to show up on your screen; you click the documents and then read them in pdf format. (You of course need to have an Adobe Acrobat reader installed on computer.)

In theory, all this is very nice, of course, but I don't like this system at all, and in practice it is not nearly as good as the old system (a printout listing FOIA releases, which were themselves available for viewing or for purchase on microfiche in a reading room at the State Department). With the old system, it was not hard to see what documents of interest were available, but with the new system this is virtually impossible. And you have the sense that the new system catches very little of what has been released, even recently, via the FOIA. In February 2002, I did a search for all documents in the database from 1962--and only six turned up! Maybe it is good for getting documents on U.S.-Chilean relations (or if you're interested in Amelia Earhart, another collection of special interest), but for general purposes I personally find this new system virtually worthless. The tragedy is that because it has been built, the old system has been allowed to go to pot. Try it out yourself and you'll see; or if you reach other conclusions and you figure out a way to use it, please let me know, so I can put that information on this website.

MILITARY ISSUES: Now let me talk about the sites of particular interest to people concerned with military affairs. The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force all have historical offices, and those offices all have websites. Check out, for example, the Air Force Historical Studies Office website, and click the link for online publications. There are a number of items of interest here relating to Air Force history, available in pdf format. Here are some other official military history websites you might want to check out: Military History Institute (Army); Naval Historical Center; Air Force Historical Research Agency. You might also want to check out the guide to doing National Security Research with online sources that Bill Arkin did for Center for Strategic Education (based at SAIS, and since replaced by the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies); a supplement is also available online. The CSE also has a list of links on national security affairs.

If you're particularly interested in nuclear issues, the National Resources Defense Council Nuclear Program webpage will be a very important source for you. The click into “in depth” link at the bottom of that page.  The page that turns up lists their publications in this area; some of them are available online, and a link takes you directly into some very valuable ones. See especially: US-USSR/Russian Strategic Offensive Nuclear Forces, 1945-1996; and The Internet and the Bomb: A Research Guide to Policy and Information About Nuclear Weapons.

An important collection of documents released by the Defense Department under the Freedom of Information Act is available online. A list of those documents is available on the DOD website. The titles are linked to pdf versions of the documents themselves. There are now more than a thousand documents in the list, but if you're interested in a particular subject you can do a keyword search (if you're using a Windows-based system) with Ctrl F. For example, if you're interested in chemical weapons and chemical warfare, hit Ctrl F and search for "chemical." There are many documents listed there relating to Vietnam and to various nuclear issues.


INTELLIGENCE ISSUES: There are a number of sites for people interested in intellligence questions. The CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence has a very useful website. If you click into the link for "publications" you'll get some very good material, including some original documents. Much of this material is available on pdf and can be easily downloaded and printed out. The CIA also has an "electronic reading room"; the page there for "special collections" has three important links, each containing a good deal of documentary material:
Declassified National Intelligence Estimates on the Soviet Union and International Communism
Declassified Intelligence estimates on Selected Free World Countries
Declassified Intelligence Analyses on the Former Soviet Union Produced by CIA's Directorate of Intelligence

For material on signals intelligence, check out declassification page on the National Security Agency website. One link there has descriptions of the material the NSA has declassified and turned over to the National Archives. Other links take you into collections of actual documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, on the Venona Project, a U.S. effort to collect and decrypt the text of Soviet KGB and GRU messages from the 1940's, and on various other subjects. The State Department FOIA office's Electronic Reading Room (which I alluded to above) has a whole collection of documents released as a kind of supplement to the FRUS volume on the Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment, which is itself available online--see the FRUS section above. The State Department FOIA "Document Collections" webpage has links to other online collections relating to intelligence operations (both from the State Department and from other government agencies) Note especially the links there to material produced by the Chile declassification project. Here are some other sites people interested in intelligence should check into:

International Intelligence History Association

Loyola Homepage on Strategic Intelligence

The U.S. Intelligence Community (Columbia; guide to documents)

"Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments" (J. Ransom Clark)

Bibliography of the John E. Taylor collection (books about espionage and intelligence)

Georgetown University Library has a number of collections relating to "Diplomacy, International Affairs, & Intelligence." Check the link for a description. Penn has a copy of the published catalogue to one of those collections: Scholar's Guide to Intelligence Literature: A Bibliography of the Russell J. Bowen Collection in the Joseph Mark Lauinger Library, Georgetown University, Van Pelt Z6724 I7 S36.

OTHER IMPORTANT WEBSITES: Let me end the section on internet sources by telling you about a few other websites of special interest to people in our field. First of all, there is the Cold War International History Project website, a very important site for people interested in the Cold War. On that site you can read articles from the CWIHP Bulletin and works put out in the CWIHP Working Paper series. Both the Bulletin and the Working Papers occasionally have very interesting collections of documents, generally drawn from former east bloc countries. (Hope Harrison's working paper on Soviet-East German relations, with a lot of terrific material drawn from Soviet and East German sources, is a major case in point.) And the CWIHP also has a browsable "virtual archive," full of documents, many from former Soviet-bloc countries (and translated into English.) The material published by the CWIHP is generally of very high quality. If you prefer to get hard-copy versions of their publications, you can ask to be put on their mailing list for the Bulletin, and you can request copies of specific working papers--all, amazingly, free of charge.

The second site you should know about is the the Sarantakes website, the U.S. Diplomatic History Resources Index. This is an absolutely wonderful website that provides a multitude of links of interest to diplomatic historians. The index is broken down alphabetically, with sub-pages for things like course materials (syllabi), archives, funding and so on.

I should also note that the H-Diplo website, which I discussed in Part II of the guide, occasionally has some interesting leads. Just the other day, for example (this was written in September 1998), an announcement appeared in h-diplo (I'm attaching a copy as a link, because it's a typical example of the sort of thing you stumble on) reporting the release of nearly a hundred documents by the new Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel. These were documents that the agencies had wanted to keep classified, but had been released on appeal--the presumption is, therefore, that they are of exceptional importance. A number of these documents related to information from the 1950s and 1960s about the potential use of nuclear weapons in Europe, and included material bearing on the predelegation question, a very sensitive issue and one on which scholars had had a hard time getting solid evidence. The announcement had the email address of a person to contact; I got in touch with him, and a couple of days later I got these documents in the mail. And just today--September 3, 1998, the day before I'm scheduled to launch this website--I saw an announcement in H-Diplo about the opening of the Rand Corporation archives.

And finally, I should note that you can now use the internet to listen to important historical material. Perhaps the best such source in the "History and Politics Out Loud" website; you have to be set up with RealAudio(or equivalent) to use this. They now have about 100 selections available. Perhaps the most interesting audio files are the ones dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Some of these recordings are hard to understand, and it helps to listen with the transcript at hand, available in Ernest May and Philip Zelikow's The Kennedy Tapes.


ARCHIVAL (AND QUASI-ARCHIVAL) WORK: I've been going to archives for about thirty years now, and I still get quite a rush whenever I set foot in one. For a historian, there's nothing like going to the original sources--in their original form. Many of the other sources I've talked about are quite useful, and some of them (like FRUS) are of absolutely fundamental importance. But the archives themselves are a world apart. This is where you get to see the real story--or at least as much of the real story as you are ever able to see.

If you're an undergraduate, you're probably thinking that you can scarcely be expected to go and do archival research. I don't agree with that at all. For years now many undergraduates I've taught have done archival work and have enjoyed it immensely. It's actually easier to do than a lot of the things I've already discussed, and when you do it, you feel you're a real historian--that is, that you're getting into your subject as deeply as anyone can. The return for effort in this area is perhaps greater than any alternative use of your time. Moreover, if you're at Penn, or at any institution in the northeast, archival research is not as beyond your reach as you might think. Princeton is only an hour from Philadelphia by car, and College Park, Maryland, where the National Archives is now located, is only two hours away. (Double the times if you have to rely on public transportation.) If you're at UCLA, you can do work in the Rand Corporation archives in Santa Monica, or you can work in, say, the Brodie Papers in the UCLA library. If you're a graduate student, you should probably try to go to at least one of the presidential libraries, even for a research seminar paper. Most of them have small grants available to fund research--and grants are not only desirable in themselves, but they like very good on your c.v.

The presidential libraries probably have the richest sources for our purposes, and are also wonderful places to work. They all have websites, and most also have brochures available free of charge, describing their collections and procedures. You can get them by calling or writing these libraries directly. You can generally find addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses on their websites.

Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York.

Truman Library, Independence, Missouri. .

Eisenhower Library, Abilene Kansas. For information about housing, contact the host committee at the library.

Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts.

Johnson Library, Austin, Texas. They put out special lists of their holdings covering specific topics, like the balance of payments question. They also have a list of places to stay, which they can send you upon request.

Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, California

Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Carter Library, Atlanta, Georgia.

Reagan Library, Simi Valley, California

George H.W. Bush Library, College Station, TX

If you can't physically go to any of the Presidential libraries, you can still do what I call quasi-archival work. There is something called the National Inventory of Documentary Sources, or NIDS, which is a printed guide together with a lot of microfiche. (Neither Penn nor UCLA has it, but it is available at Princeton and Columbia, and at UCSB, UCR and UCSD, and you can locate other copies via RLG/Eureka.) What these people did was make copies of the finding aids in various repositories (the presidential libraries, the National Archives, the Library of Congress manuscript room, and various other manuscript collections around the country) and they reproduced them on fiche. (There is also an equivalent of NIDS for British sources.) The finding aid for the NSC Summaries of Discussion reproduced here is a typical example of the kind of thing one finds in NIDS. (I actually made my original copy of this by making a xerox out of the relevant part of the NIDS microfiche.) These finding aids will tell you what the holdings are, collection by collection, box by box, file by file. Many repositories have also put some or all of their finding aids online. I'll discuss how to get hold of them in the section on archival guides a little later on.

NIDS is a very important resource, and indeed is useful in all kinds of different ways. First of all, you can use it to figure out which files you might want to see if you do visit the archives. This enables you to estimate how much time you need to allot for your visit. Doing preparatory work in NIDS also enables you to call ahead to the archive to ask them to pull the boxes you want to see, so they're there as soon as you show up. If you don't do that, you might well lose half a day of work or more. It's also a signal to the archivists that you are serious, and you might get better service, although generally this is the last thing you have to worry about at the presidential libraries.

Such sources also help you do what I call "quasi-archival" work in the presidential libraries without actually ever going into one. By identifying the files relevant to your research project, you can order by phone (or if there are a lot of them, by mail or fax or email) the withdrawal sheets at the beginning of each file. (Once again, you can just pay by credit card, so if you do phone, be sure to have your card ready.) These sheets, also called "pink sheets," for a reason you will probably be able to guess, list the documents that have been pulled from the file because they were considered too sensitive for release at the time that the file was processed by the archive. This corresponds roughly to what were then the juiciest documents. In the meantime, in response to Mandatory Declassification Review requests or for other reasons, some of these documents were released and put back in the file, in whole or in part. The titles of those documents on the withdrawal sheets are then crossed out. The fate of various MR requests, whether released in full, "sanitized," or exempted, is also noted on these sheets. So if you get copies of them, you can see what the best documents are; you can order copies of the ones that were released and put in MR's for others that were either never reviewed, or were reviewed and either exempted or released in "sanitized" form at least two years previously. I'm appending here two withdrawal sheets, one "clean," and one showing the results of the MR process.

The U.S. National Archives now in College Park, Maryland, just outside of Washington, is also of great importance, although perhaps not quite as valuable as the Presidential libraries. For directions, a list of research hours, and other basic information, see the National Archives website. You can also check out the published Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States (Reference Desk: CD 3026 1995), which gives descriptions of the various Record Groups--i.e., the basic categories into which their holdings are divided. There is also an online version of the Guide on the National Archives website. Among other things, the guide lists microfilm publications published for each record group. If there are finding aids dealing with a particular record group, that fact will be noted in the description in the Guide. Many of the finding aids are also reproduced on microfiche in NIDS. For our purposes, only certain record groups are important. The three main record groups I want to talk about here are the State Department records (RG 59), JCS Records (RG 218) and NSC Records (RG 273, which does not include the summaries of discussion--those are mostly at the Eisenhower library). But please bear in mind that many other record groups (e.g., OSD, Army, CIA, etc.) might be useful for specific purposes. For a more complete guide to materials in the National Archives (and in other repositories) related to foreign and military policy, see James E. David, Conducting Post-World War II National Security Research in Executive Branch Records: A Comprehensive Guide (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001; UCLA: UA23 D275 2001). This is very useful if you intend to go into your subject in great depth.

The description I want to give you here is more of an overview. Let me begin by talking about the State Department records. They're broken down into two parts: the Central File, and the Lot Files. The Central File is itself broken down into two parts, based on the method of classification. Until January 1963, they used a decimal system, so these are often called the "decimal files." From that point on, they used a "subject-numeric" system. The Lot Files are generally the records of specific offices in the State Department. The central files are now open in principle through 1966, although those for the later years tend to be rather thin; some of the lot files have been opened into the early 1960s as well, and others--including one of the most important ones, the conference files--are much further behind.

The National Archives can be a very confusing place until you get the hang of it, so let me explain a little bit about it works for people in our field. It opens every day, Monday through Saturday, at 8:45 a.m.. It closes 5:00 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, it closes at 4:45. But beware! Your boxes of documents themselves have to be ordered before 3:30 on a weekday. The cashier (for buying xerox cards, which you will almost certainly want to get) is open Monday through Friday, 10-4:30. It is easy to get to by car from the north: you take I-95 south to the beltway (I-495), then west to exit 24b (New Hampshire Ave.), then south to Adelphi Road, where you go left; the building is at 8602 Adelphi Road, and parking is very easy. But if you don't have a car, the location is not particularly convenient. During the week, there is a shuttle bus from the old Archives building in downtown Washington, just east of the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance in the shelter on 7th Street; this leaves on the hour from 8 to 5; and to return, there is a shuttle bus leaving the College Park building on the hour also from 8 to 5. This bus is technically for staff, but researchers can use it on a "space available basis." On Saturdays, there is a researcher shuttle bus leaving the Prince George's Plaza metro station every hour, fifteen minutes after the hour, from 8:15 a.m. through 4:15 p.m.; it leaves the archives building every hour, 45 minutes after the hour, from 8:45 through 4:45.

It is also possible to live near the University of Maryland campus and take a taxi or the bus, or even walk. For short visits you can stay at one of the places on Route 1 near the campus, which also has a number of attractive places to eat. The Quality Inn College Park, 7200 Baltimore Blvd. (Route 1), College Park, MD 20740, (301) 864-5820, charges $69 for a single, including breakfast, for researchers at the National Archives; be sure to ask for the National Archives rate. You can also often get terrific discounts on hotel rooms by picking up one of the newsprint discount handouts that are almost always available in the Chesapeake House and Maryland House reststops (just outside the Men's Room) on the I-95 about halfway between Philadelphia and College Park. (Well, I told you this was a practical guide, didn't I?)

When you get to the archives, the first thing you do is get an archives card. There is a small room on your right as you go in the door; they'll set you up at a computer, you show them a picture i.d., and soon you'll have your card. You can't take things into the reading room with you without getting them specially stamped, so try to bring in as little as possible. You can drop off your extra stuff in a free locker--you need a quarter to operate it--in the basement. Then you go back to the first floor, and through the control gate. After you are checked through, you take the elevator to the second floor, and go into the reading room. After you check in there, unless you have material already waiting for you, you'll have to go to another desk down toward your left, to get a pass and an escort to go down to the rooms where the archivists and findings aids are. This is also where you will fill out and hand in your order forms.

There are two such rooms: room 2400 for military records (including NSC and CIA, and such sources as the McNamara papers in RG 200), and room 2600 (the "civil affairs" division) for everything else, including the State Department records in RG 59. Say you go to the civil affairs division first. You will check in at the desk and meet with an archivist who will explain the basics to you and set you up with some finding aids. Note when the records are pulled: 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 1:30 and 3:30. Be sure to hand in your forms by those deadlines; if you miss a deadline, you will have to wait an extra hour or two. This may not be a problem, of course, if you have other work in the finding aids to do, including work in room 2400 (which has the same schedule for pulling boxes), but it's a good idea to order your boxes early, because they often make mistakes pulling boxes. You can get something like eighteen boxes on a truck, which will then be delivered for you to pick up in the main reading room. And you can order one truck from the civil affairs division, and one from the military division, so you can assure yourself of a continuous flow of documents. (As soon as you finish with, say, your State Department records and return that truck, put in your forms for a new State Department batch; you will be able to work on your military records while your new State Department materials are being pulled.)

The forms for boxes in the State Department Central Files are relatively easy to fill out. For the decimal series, you need in write in, in the big space at the bottom of the form where it says "record identification," the decimal number and the date, i.e., something like "740.5611 for 1957-59." For the line above, you also need to fill in the first two boxes, the RG number (59) and the stack area (250)--which is the same for all these records. I've included a typical service slip for the decimal files as a link.

But how do you get the decimal number in the first place? There is a brief guide with the finding aids in room 2600 (the archivists will show it to you) which explains the structure of the system and says what the numbers mean, but that index is inadequate. For example, you can't just look up "Euratom" in the index and learn that 840.1901 is where documents on U.S. policy toward Euratom are located. You can ask the archivists to help you, but often they do not know how to find things either. Basically there are three main series of interest here, the 600, 700, and 800 series. 6xx.yy deals with political relations between country xx and yy; 7xx.subj deals with political and military affairs for country (or region) xx; 8xx.subj deals with internal economic and social affairs. The main country codes are: 11 for US, 41 for Britain, 51 for France, 62 for Germany, 62a for West Germany, 61 for Russia. The same system is also used for regions: 00 for general, 40 for Europe, 50 for continental western Europe. Some of the main subject codes for our purposes are: 5 for defense, 56 for equipment, 5611 for nuclear, 5612 for missiles, 6 for storage, and (for the 800 series), 1901 for atomic energy. The archival citation given for each document in the Foreign Relations series will help you find you way around the decimal files. (By the way, most of the volumes in this series are on the open shelves in the middle of the main reading room, so you don't have to lug your own copies from home, and you can easily compare the text of the archival version with the one found in FRUS to see what's worth xeroxing.)

It is important to realize that it takes a while to get used to this system, and it often does not work the way you think it would. A lot of material on U.S.-German relations is not in 611.62, as one might think, but rather in 762.00 ("Germany--General"), and there is some good material also in 740.5. Or who would guess that 740.56 seems to be the main file on nuclear sharing and the FIG agreements (a plan for joint nuclear production between France, Italy and Germany)? Not that these files are all that rich. You wade through a lot of junk (maybe 90% of these documents aren't worth reading), and although there are a handful of interesting documents, one of the main things to note here are the cards telling you which documents have been withdrawn. If the titles look interesting, you might want to jot down the reference for a FOIA request. You should note also how you can "spread out" from the files you're going through, since when you get an interesting document, it's often marked up with cross references to other decimal files which you can then order. Take a look, for example, at the marginal annotations on the record of the Dulles-Brentano meeting of November 21, 1957, already discussed in the "declassification analysis" part of this website. The second handwritten annotation tells you there's more material bearing on the point discussed in this particular paragraph in 740.5611. To save time, you can also order documents in advance by phone by calling (301) 713-7230 or 7250 (for State Department materials, then press 2; for military and related records, then press 1). This is especially useful if you do preliminary work in NIDS.

Now let me talk about the subject-numeric part of the State Department central files, for documents from about February 1963 on. There is currently a series for1963, another for 1964-66, another for 1967-69, and a final series for 1970-73. But don't get your hopes up: there is very little good material in these collections. But there are a lot of withdrawal cards, good for making FOIA requests.

How do you find your way around the subject-numeric files? There is a short guide giving a rough explanation of this system, and again there are the references in FRUS, but your basic entrée here is the box list in the "State Department group" of finding aids in room 2600. The box list, however, gives only a fairly minimal idea of what each box contains, so you may have to grope around a bit. You order by box number. A typical order slip for the subject-numeric files is attached as a link.

The lot files are more difficult to use. There is a book by Gerald Haines (A Reference Guide to United States Department of State Special Files, Van Pelt Reference, open stacks, CD3031 1985) describing the lot files, and you can also often find a list of relevant lot files at the beginning of various FRUS volumes.

Your main entree into the lot files, however, will probably be the finding aids in the "State Department group" in room 2600 (on the left toward the back as you walk in). There are black looseleaf binders and white looseleaf binders; they overlap somewhat and the white binders are much better. When you go through the finding aids in those binders, note the lot number and brief title, the box number (and if helpful the things in that box you are interested in), and above all, the location number for that lot file. This is generally, but not always, written by hand into the finding aid, and looks something like this: 250/D/15/06, or 250/62/23/5. You need to put this, and not the number for the lot file itself, on your order form, in the second through fifth boxes right above the big "record identification" box. (See the example in the attached service slip.) But the lot number is often used when the document is actually cited. You also will, of course, give the box number when filling out the form.

If the location number is not noted in the finding aid, look at the beginning of the looseleaf for the MLR number (Master Locator Register number); the MLR number will enable you to find the location number by checking a big computer printout often (but not always) found in the bottom shelf of the "State Department group" in the finding aids room. That list in the beginning of the looseleaf binder will also tell you which boxes in each lot are currently open. If there is no MLR number, throw yourself on the mercy of the archivists. Also ask them about any Lot Files for which you have not found a finding aid--but which, for example, are cited in the Haines book or in the relevant volumes of FRUS; the mere fact that a finding aid is not available does not in itself mean that the lot file cannot be consulted. Some of these lot files have box lists which the archivists can bring you, but which are not available on the open shelves. You need to fill out a separate form for each box, except if a number of consecutive boxes are ordered, in which case a single form can be used.

Perhaps the most important binder containing finding aids for the lot files is the "New Accessions" binder. This lists accessions by NAIL (National Archives Information Locator) number. I'm giving a list of some of the most interesting new accessions to be found here on a link.

Another important binder is labeled "Conference Files," the records of meetings held by U.S. officials on trips, mostly abroad. For example, if you order "Conference Files for 1964-66, CF 268-269, boxes 465-466," at 150/68/28/1-7, you'll get the records of the U.S. Balance of Payments Mission to Europe of January 1968. In the back of the Conference Files binder, you'll also see a list of materials under the heading "Executive Secretariat, Briefing Books, 1958-76." This contains some interesting material you might be surprised to find here. Boxes 3-9 in this collection, for example, contain a set of documents on U.S. relations with France, June 1958 through February1963 (Lot 69D 150, 150/68/1/2-7).

I should note more generally that there are often hidden treasures in RG 59, and it's often hard to know how to go about discovering them. One often just stumbles across them in the course of doing something else. For example, there's a part of RG 59 devoted to the State Department's Division of Historical Policy Research and its Predecessors, and part of this has 16 boxes of "Special Studies and Reports, 1944-50." It's located in 150/46/08-09/06-07. Box 4 (report no. 84) has about 400 pages of top secret teletype conferences between the State Department and the London embassy related to the Berlin blockade affair of 1948. Box 5 has three bound volumes on the Moscow Foreign Ministers' Conference of 1947. Boxes 7-16 have an enormous amount of material on the Middle East, 1946-48. But you only find out about these things by poking around.

Now for the records ordered from room 2400. The NSC summaries of discussion for the Eisenhower period are in the Eisenhower Library, and not in the National Archives, but other NSC records are in College Park. There is (or at least was) a card catalogue listing the formal NSC papers, and as I said before there is also a full list in the Haines book; you can look up your subject and request the file for the papers cited there, or you can request the file for a particular NSC meeting, using the guide to the meetings I gave you above. The sources you get in this way, however, are not particularly rich.

The most important military source is RG 218, the JCS records. Through 1958, you give your request by citing a CCS number, which derives from the filing system developed for the US-British Combined Chiefs of Staff during World War II. You request, for example, "CCS 092 Germany (5-4-49) for 1958." For the period from 1959 on they use a different system. There are guides that explain these systems, but it is a very good idea to ask for help from the archivists. I've appended a typical cover sheet from the JCS papers for 1961. Note the list of "cross index numbers" toward the top. This sort of thing can be quite useful for "spreading out" and figuring which boxes to order next. The phone number for the military records branch is (301) 713-7250 (then press 1 when you get the automated message).

Another way of getting at this source is by using the JCS histories. An excerpt from the list of JCS histories is appended here as a link. Some of these volumes--the general ones, dealing with the period through 1956--have been published in the series History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (YRL UA23.7 .H56 1986 for vols. 1-6, covering 1945-56; vol. 7, covering 1957-60, was published in 2000 and can be ordered through ILL). Other volumes, however, are still highly classified and are therefore unavailable. But some unpublished JCS histories have been declassified and are available in the archives--for example, on Indochina and on Suez. These can be quite rich. The volume on Indochina, for example, summarized documents which were considered too sensitive to declassify and include in the regular boxes of JCS papers which were made available to the public. (One could tell this, because those particular files were cited in the footnotes to this JCS History.) To see which of these histories is currently available, one can check with the office of the JCS historian, (703) 695-2114. Classified histories can of course be requested by using the Freedom of Information Act, which is especially worth doing if you are embarking on a long project (like a dissertation). The footnotes to the JCS histories take you right into the richest files, and this is another reason why this is a very useful source. You might also want to take a look at the Joint Electronic Library on the JCS website. The links there for history publications and for research papers are especially rich. Here are some of the studies you can download there (on pdf):

Joint Military Operations Historical Collection (143 pp.)
Operation Urgent Fury--Grenada 1997 (93 pp.)
The Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1995; 5 sections, about 250 pp.)
Reform and Revolution in Russian Defense Economics (1995, 42 pp.)

The military affairs division at the National Archives has other record groups that are of some interest, especially for the period prior to about 1954--e.g., RG 330, the records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. There is also an official History of the OSD, some volumes of which have already been published, and others are in the pipeline. The same CCS system is used here as in RG 218, but it's apparently used in a completely different way. The archivists can also help with the decyphering of the cover sheets, which can point you to additional files or help you make FOIA requests. As a general rule, however, not much of interest was left in when the OSD records were reviewed for declassification, and I was astonished to learn a couple of years ago that even those OSD records that had been declassifed and turned over to the National Archives were not made available for researchers to use--and evidently would not be for some time. Still, this important source is something to keep your eye on if you are working in an area where military and political considerations overlap.

How do you use RG 330? This is not an easy collection to use. In the finding aid room off of Room 2400, there are two finders (one black, one right), each broken down into two halves (NM-12 and A-1), listing all the available components in RG 330 by entry number (equivalent to MLR number), and also giving the stack location for each entry number--which is needed for filling out call slips. Sometimes an entry number is for an index to another entry number. It turns out, for example, that the most important source in this collection for 1950-51 is Entry 199, OSD materials for July 1950-December 1951. But there are a very large number of boxes in Entry 199. So to identify what you want, you need to go into Entry 198, the Index for July 1950-December 1951, boxes 7-14. This gives you the files number for files in Entry 199. You then go to the Entry 199 folder in the RG 330 box in the finding aids room, figure out which boxes in Entry 199 correspond to the files (listed by CD number) you've identified from the index in Entry 198, and put in your request for those boxes--getting the stack location numbers from the looseleafs. Is it any wonder that not too many people use this source, especially when you realize that the declassifiers were notoriously conservative in releasing material in this collection? And yet, it really is worth the trouble sometimes--you do come across gems in this collection from time to time, real nuggets of gold unavailable elsewhere.

The old Atomic Energy Commission records are another important source that Cold War historians should know about. The AEC was absorbed into the Department of Energy, so this is the agency that is now responsible for this source. I've included as a link some very useful descriptive material about the AEC records from a paper that Terry Fehner, a DOE historian, presented to a conference at the National Archives in September 1998.

You might also want to take a look at the CIA materials at the National Archives, and if your work involves intelligence issues, the CIA has a Center for the Study of Intelligence whose website was mentioned before and which you may want to check again before you go to the archives. My experience with these people has been very positive. Their phone number is: (703) 613-1751.

One should note that certain legislative records might be of real interest--hearings in executive session, correspondence between congressional committees and members of the executive branch, etc. The records of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (RG 128) are of particular importance; most have not yet been declassified, although there are some interesting materials there; when it passed the Freedom of Information Act, the Congress exempted itself from its purview, so to request declassification a different procedure must be used. You have to write the Center for Legislative Archives, US National Archives, Washington 20408, to request declassification. There are finding aids to the JCAE materials, but these are not too detailed. For help call the archivist at 202-501-5350, or 5353, and see also the Center for Legislative Archives website.

There are many other sources that can be used. One key online guide is the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and the University of Idaho Library has a very good gateway site, with thousands of links to particular archival websites, both in the United States and around the world. The most important repository for private papers in the United States is the Library of Congress; finding aids for those Library of Congress manuscript collections that have been put online can be found by clicking into that link.

The National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections is also available in printed volumes for 1959-93, and that last link will take you into the online catalogue that will help you find more recent listings. There is an online publication from ProQuest, ArchivesUSA, which allows you to search the NUCMC records electronically. (Your library has to be a subscriber for this link to work.) This source contains "124,466 collection records including over 52,000 NIDS records, over 88,700 NUCMC records and 4300 links to online finding aids, and information on over 5400 repositories including 2200 links to repository home pages"--but it's not quite as good as it sounds, because a spot check (Feb. 2002) revealed that many of the collections of greatest interest to people in our field don't have linked finding aids that work, and some key collections of papers (e.g., the Norstad papers at the Eisenhower library) don't even turn up when one searches for them.

If you want to locate collections of papers containing material relating to, or written by, a particular person, you might want to use RLG/Eureka. In the more complete version--the version they have at Penn, for example--you do a keyword search for that person, then click "limit," then on the new screen that comes up "material type," and then "archival and mixed collections." This will then limit what appears on the screen to archival-type sources. In the pared-down version of the sort they have at UCLA, do a subject search for that person's name, then click the "modify search" box, then in the drop-down menu in the "form" box, click "Archives Manuscripts." You can also easily do a subject search by clicking into one of the links given in a listing, and then apply the limit in the same way.

You can also check NIDS, which indeed has finding aids for some of collections of personal papers, such as those at the Library of Congress, the most extensive such collection in the country. Some of the collections there, like the Harriman Papers, have published finding aids of their own, which are available in a number of libraries.

For more information on (and links to) electronic search engines for such collections, including the Library of Congress tools and the "NUCMC Z39.50 Gateway to the RLIN AMC file," see the Archival Search Engines page on the "Ready, 'Net, Go Archival Internet Resources" website. You can evidently use this link to search the RLG/Eureka files whether your institution is a member of RLG or not.

The Mudd Library at Princeton has a wonderful collection of archival materials, and is perhaps the most accessible archive for Penn undergraduates. Among other things, they have a duplicate of the Eisenhower Library's collection of Dulles Papers. Many finding aids are now online--just click into the lick I just gave you to find them. The DDEL has a finding aid for the Dulles Papers on its website, which of course serves also as a finding aid for the collection at Princeton--which is why I've copied it and am making it available here.

The National Security Archive in Washington, a private organization, has material collected from other places, very nicely arranged, on certain topics corresponding largely to their microfiche publications noted above. But they have many things that were not reproduced on microfiche. Xeroxing is very easy there, and you can talk with some of their staff people to get information on who else is working in the particular area you're interested in and what the richest sources are.


GETTING TO SEE CLASSIFIED MATERIAL: There are a number of ways in which you can actually see documents that are presently still classified. The first three have to do with procedures you can follow to get certain documents declassified: Mandatory Declassification Review, the Center for Legislative Archives procedure for Congressional documents, and the Freedom of Information Act process for federal agency papers (like Defense Department and State Department materials). What's the difference between FOIA and Mandatory Review? Well, the rules are pretty much the same, but the FOIA procedure is limited to agencies of government, and the President's office (with its offshoot, the NSC) is not considered an agency for FOIA purposes, so if you want documents from the presidential libraries, you're supposed to use the MR procedure. And similarly, since the Congress exempted itself from the FOIA when the law was passed, you have to go through the Center for Legislative Archives to get access to presently classified Congressional sources, like many of the records of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. After you've done your preliminary work--like going through the finding aids for the Congressional materials you're interested in at the National Archives, get in touch with the CLA at 202-501-5350 (or 5353) and they'll tell you how to proceed.

How does mandatory review work? It's all very simple. You look at the withdrawal sheet--either the "clean" one or one that's been through the mill--and you transcribe the descriptive material in the obvious way onto the form the presidential libraries have devised for this purpose. I'm appending a blank MR list form so you can see what it's like. You can even print it out and use it, but if you do, you'll have to zoom it back up to standard 8.5" x 11" size; you'll just have to find a xerox machine that will allow you to do this. It's much easier to simply pick up a bunch of these forms if you at one of the libraries, or have the library send you one when you're asking for something else (like xeroxes of the specific withdrawal sheets you've requested after you've identified the files you're interested in in NIDS). Whatever you do, remember that you need a separate form for each folder. I've also included an MR request form which may still be required (this one is from the Truman Library), or may no longer be. You'll have to check with the the repository to see what the current rules out--they change from time to time. Mandatory review requests can take years to get processed, so this is one thing you should do early on in a multi-year project. Just file your forms (making a copy for yourself before you send it in), wait to make sure they send you your MR request number so you can keep track of your request (if they don't, which is generally the case, be sure to call and ask them for it), and then forget about it. When the documents come, you'll be pleasantly surprised by whatever they send you. The same point, of course, applies to FOIA requests.

How do you use the FOIA? Again, it's really not that hard. You don't send in a list this time. You write a letter. The National Security Archive has a FOIA guide on its website with some sample letters.You might also want to check (with a particular agency's FOIA office) to see whether requests should be sent to the agency of origin or to the National Archives; requests for older material often have to be sent to the National Archives.) DOD FOIA requests can now be filed electronically, using a form for this purpose that has been posted on the web.

As a general rule, my advice is to be as specific as possible in a FOIA request. This may include giving specific archival references, including references to the retired files in the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland, where materials that are no longer in agency offices but which have not been turned over to the National Archives are generally kept. (This is what the best FOIA-requesters, people like Bob Wampler, often do.) Also, I like to explain a little about the sort of material I'm looking for, where I got the lead (if indeed I'm following up on a lead--for example, from the footnotes in a declassified historical study), and where it's likely to be found. You can, of course, request a number of documents in a single letter, providing they're all from the same agency. After you send in your letter, you'll generally get a preliminary response. If that doesn't include the FOIA request number you've been assigned, be sure to get in touch with them and ask what it is. If you don't do that, you'll never be able to keep track of your request. And then be prepared to wait. It can, and generally does, take years before you get anything in the mail.

I said in the previous paragraph that you should try to be as specific as possible with FOIA requests. It turns out now that at least with some repositories you pretty much have to. I just (December 1999) received a letter for the FOIA people at the National Archives telling me that the request I had filed was too broad, and that in some important regards it would have to be more specific before they began to work on it. This is a change from the previous practice. It means that you now have even more reason to give very precise archival references when you file FOIAs. I'm attaching this exchange of correspondence as a link here, in case you're interested.

There's a second way to see classified sources: for certain classes of documents, you can get a kind of security clearance that allows you to see material of historical interest. For example, the Air Force Historical Studies Office has a program, called "Limited Security Access," which enables scholars to see historical materials under Air Force control classified up to the level of secret. Call (202) 767-5764 or (202) 404-2261 for further information. I used that clearance to see not just certain Air Force materials (especially classified histories), but also to help me get access to the Rand papers, an unusually rich source. (Rand, for the period I was interested in, worked under contract for the Air Force.) You have to request declassification of either specific documents, parts of documents, or your notes on those documents, in order to cite these sources. That takes a little while, but it is a lot faster and more efficient than the FOIA process.

The Dulles State Papers--one of at least four collections of Dulles papers at Princeton, all of interest to Cold War historians--is another source of this kind that you should know about. When Dulles was Secretary of State, he had an assistant collect papers that passed his desk that seemed to be of historical interest. These papers were eventually microfilmed, and the collection of over a hundred reels ended up at the Mudd Library in Princeton. Since they're full of classified material, you have to apply for a clearance and go through a lengthy interview, but when it comes through you can see everything they have there. You select out documents for declassification review (by having them xeroxed). It takes a couple of years, but eventually you get the documents. And other scholars get to see the documents that have been released. My experience has been that they release practically everything, and on the rare occasions that they've sanitized something out, you can go back and read the deleted passage.

The Harvard Project on Cold War Studies has an important collection of "approximately 200,000 photocopied documents obtained from over two dozen archives in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union." They "are currently in the process of creating finding aids and cataloging individual documents for eventual online access." For a summary description of this material, go into the HPCWS website, click into "Resources at Harvard," and then click into "Outline of HPCWS Archive." Other material of interest to people working on the Soviet Union and eastern Europe during the Soviet period is described in that "Resources at Harvard" list. Click into the HPCWS's list of "Cold War Links" and you'll see a number of sites of interest to people who want to work with Soviet-generated material--for example, the Stalin-Era Research & Archives Project based at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto. The Parallel History Project is also collecting (and making available) material of this sort.


ARCHIVAL WORK ABROAD: Now, for some of the foreign materials. For a general introduction, but out of date in some respects, see Daniel Thomas and Lynn Case, eds., The New Guide to the Diplomatic Archives of Western Europe, Van Pelt CD1001 .T4 1975. There are a couple of gateway websites which you might want to look at: the University of Idaho Library has a very good site giving links to "Repositories of Primary Sources"; just click into the section for European repositories. and the European Archival Network. Note also UNESCO's Archives Portal website, which has many links to European repositories. For Russian archival sources, see the "Archives in Russia" website. This has data drawn from the ArcheoBiblioBase information system: it contains information on "archival repositories in the Russian Federation, maintained by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted in collaboration with Rosarkhiv, the Federal Archival Service of Russia." (This site is connected to the guide Archives of Russia: A Directory and Bibliographic Guide to Holdings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. English-language edition edited by Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, Armonk, NY, and London: M.E. Sharpe Publishers, 2000, 2 vols, 1,491 pp.; note also Grimsted's CWIHP working paper on the Russian archives cited below, and available on their site. People interested in Soviet and east European materials should also check the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies website.)

The Columbia-based Council for European Studies website also has a very good page giving links to some European archives. This is especially good for Germany. Click into "resources," then into "archives."

The best foreign archive for most people working on Cold War subjects is the British National Archives (formerly called the Public Record Office), located in Kew, outside of London. That archive is really a candy store, just full of wonderful things, even for people who have no interest at all in British policy. There are many useful finding aids and guides available on their website, and you should take the time to check them out before you go.

The British have a fairly strict 30-year rule. Every January 2, they open material dated through December 31 30 years (and two days) earlier, so that in January 1999 all the 1968 material will be opened--at least practically all the 1968 material that they are likely to open in the foreseeable future. If they do release a document, they release the whole thing--they don't go in for "sanitizing" documents, American style. The main collections, or "classes," are DEFE 4,5 and 6, for British Chiefs of Staff materials--bound volumes, nicely organized and indexed--and there is a comprehensive index on the open shelves in the middle of the reference room right next to the reading room; PREM 11, or records of the Prime Minister's office; CAB 128 and 129, Cabinet minutes and memoranda, the top of the British system, although the minutes for this period are much thinner than they were at various points in the past; and FO 371, the political correspondence of the Foreign Office. You figure out which documents you want to use by looking at the indexes in the reference room, then placing orders via the computers in that room. You order three "pieces" at a time; when the first one comes--you are notified by having your beeper beeped (they give you one when you come in and are assigned a desk in the reading room)--you should then immediately place your order for the next three, to keep the flow coming. CAB 128 and 129 are on open shelves, and can be read while you are waiting for other documents to come through--and you often have to wait a long time, especially if you are going through the files quickly. Another thing you can do there to avoid wasting time if your files have not arrived is to use microfilm sources. There is, for example, some good microfilmed material from FO 800 available on open shelves in the room across the hall from the reference room on the second floor. (Don't forget that a lot of British material is available on microfilm, published by Adam Matthew.)

There is one way to avoid these delays, and that is to place a bulk order. You can do this for FO 371, for example, if you are working on a specific topic, and you can even do it by phone, but in theory you are supposed to do it a couple of weeks in advance. They simply set you up with loads of files, maybe 30 or 40 "pieces" as the British call them. They just have to all be numbered sequentially. The problem, of course, is to get the numbers when you don't have access to the indexes; this problem arises when you want to see the new material that has just been released the year you're doing the research. The archivists may be able to look up the index for you, but you can't count on them doing it the right way. You might also be able to explain the problem to them when you get there, and beg them to do a bulk order for you on relatively short notice. (I've had good luck with this method in the past.) The number to call is [011-44-] 81-876-3444.

The old PRO used to put out a listing of places to stay in the Kew area, and maybe the British National Archives still does. Kew is quite pleasant and is relatively inexpensive, and if you live there you don't have to hassle with the London Underground. It's also not too far from Heathrow airport, so you don't even have to go into central London unless you want to. A few years ago, it wasn't hard to get a room in a private house for about 25 pounds a night including breakfast, generally just a short walk from what many researchers still call the PRO. I generally stay with Mrs. Calvert, 32 Beechwood Avenue, [011-44-] 208-878-0888. Others places are listed (with email addresses) on a list provided by the archives. There is also a bulletin board near the lockers on the ground floor of the archives building in Kew which generally has a number of ads for short-term housing. The Richmond Tourist Information Service has a website that you can use to book a place to say; if you want to be within walking distance of the archives, click the link for "Kew" at the bottom of that page, and then the link for “accommodation”—or just click here.

For private British materials, check the National Register of Archives website. The old Historical Manuscripts Commission has been absorbed into the new British National Archives, so the National Register search engine is located on the Archives' website. But material published by the old Historical Manuscripts Commission (officially called the "Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts") is still useful. See, for example, Record Repositories in Great Britain: A Geographical Directory, and Surveys of Historical Manuscripts in the United Kingdom: A Select Bibliography.

Probably the most important private collection for people in our field is the one at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at Kings College London. The people there not only can help you with their own quite impressive holdings, but they can tell you about other relevant British sources. For example, according to the Surveys of Historical Manuscripts brochure just mentioned, Patricia Methven of the Liddell Hart Centre is working on a "guide to the papers of senior defence staff 1939-75."

I should also note that the Macmillan papers, a major source for this period, has been deposited at the Bodleian Library at Oxford and is now open for researchers. For more information on this source (no online finding aid is available yet), your best bet is to email the section of the Bodleian handling that collection:

For British sources, don't forget about the NIDS-equivalent for Britain, the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland, available in a number of major U.S. research libraries, but not Penn. The PRO is of course included here.

Remember to call or write in advance to any foreign archive you're planning to visit, to find out when they're open--especially the annual closing dates--and what documents you will need to show them, and what material (like photos) you will need to give them, in order to get in.

In France, the most important collections are in the Foreign Ministry archives in the Foreign Ministry building at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. To find out about their latest rules and procedures, and to get all kinds of other information as well , check out the website for the Archives diplomatiques. (There is an access request form on the website, which you can fill out there and send in electronically.) They have excellent materials for the period up to about 1970. You are not allowed to see too many files in any given day--3 volumes, the last time I was there, but you can request an exemption ("dérogation") permitting you to see six. Note also Paul Pitman's Petit guide du lecteur des Archives du Quai d'Orsay, published by the Association des Amis des Archives diplomatiques in 1993. There is an order form on the Archives diplomatiques website, and you can also get it in the library. The Van Pelt Library at Penn has an English-language version (CD1201 .A65 1993) of the Pitman guide; there are two other U.S. libraries listed in RLG/Eureka as having it--one the French version and the other the English one--so even if you're not at Penn, you shouldn't have any trouble getting it through interlibrary loan. See also Piers Ludlow's "Post-1945 Research in the French Archives"; this article appeared in Cold War Studies in October 2001. The War Ministry collections at Vincennes just outside of Paris have a handful of things worth checking out; and there are very helpful archivists at the Air Force archives next door. There are also some rich files in the Archives Nationales, such as the Bidault Papers; for basic information, click into their website. Note also the Mendès France papers at the Institut Mendès France in Paris. See also Libraries and Archives in France: A Research Handbook, put out by the Council for European Studies.

For housing in Paris, you might want to check out the link on the CROUS website for “accueil international.” You also might be able to arrange to stay at the Maison Suger, 16-20 rue Suger, Paris 75006, a place set up for visiting foreign scholars and run by the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme. For the application procedure, click here. You could also look at the bulletin board at the Eglise américaine in Paris. There are also ads in France-USA Contacts, (212) 777-5553. One can often also find housing by doing an h-net search.  Just go into the h-net search window and search for something like “apartment rent paris,” limiting the search to the past couple of months.

(You can, of course, find places in other cities the same way, perhaps limiting your search to a specific list.  Some lists, in fact, are very well-organized in this regard.  H-German, for example, has a housing bulletin that comes out at the beginning of each month.)

In Germany, the archival situation is changing rapidly. The Adenauer papers, for example, are now available. There are also some excellent collections of personal papers in the foundations set up by the main political parties and elsewhere. The Germans recently published a new guide to their Federal Archives, which includes a guide to the former East German archives.

The German Historical Institute in Washington has people who can advise you on German sources; they also have inventories for German archives. Their Guide to Inventories and Finding Aids of German Archives at the German Historical Institute (1995) is available online. This has links to the Bundesarchiv and a whole series of other archives. Note also Libraries and Archives in a New Germany A Research Handbook, published by the Council for European Studies, and Cyril Buffet's very useful Guide des archives de l'Allemagne de l'Est, put out by the Centre Franco-Allemand de Recherches en Sciences Sociales in Berlin. The two most important German archival websites for people in our field are the websites for the Bundesarchiv and for the Foreign Ministry Archives now in Berlin. In addition, you might want to check out the basic gateway webpage put out by the Marburg University Archive School; this gives links for archival sources in Germany and for archives elsewhere in Europe and throughout the world.

In general, it is less pleasant to work in European than in American archives. They are generally much more crowded--in the Presidential libraries, you are often the only scholar in the room, and the archivists love taking care of you. In Europe, they sometimes act like they are doing you a great favor by allowing you to see their collections. You can go through materials very quickly in America; in Europe, it is generally hard to get your materials. And with regard to xeroxing, the difference is incredible. In America, you xerox documents yourself in the presidential libraries as you read them, for only 10 cents a page; in the National Archives, there is a cheap self-service machine (but you have to get you document okayed for that first) which you can either use as you go (with your xerox card) or copy a large number of documents at a single time (you have to sign up for a time slot, generally some time in advance, to do it this way). Xeroxing at College Park is also ten cents a page. Just make sure you get a "declas slip" from the person at the desk in the Central Reading Room before you begin xeroxing. This doesn't make any sense, because you wouldn't even be able to see the document in the first place unless it had been declassified, but it is a very minor annoyance given how user-friendly the whole system there is. Incidentally, you can also use scanners, but only the flat-bed kind.

In England, by contrast, you have to fill out forms and take documents to a xerox room where you have to wait in line, generally every time you finish with a file folder; then you have to pay them in cash at the end of each day, and it ends up costing around 70 cents a page, and they often make mistakes when they send it to you, so you have to keep corresponding with them to get the pages they've missed. In France, just arranging to use the xerox machine is a job in itself. But I've found that xeroxing is absolutely essential for working efficiently; just taking notes is not good enough, even if it were not so time consuming, because you often have to keep going back to the original document to check on context.

There are many other primary materials from foreign sources that become accessible from time to time. These you often only find out about by being in touch with other people working in the general field. As an example, let me give an unexpected source for recent Chinese materials, a small journal published by Chinese historians in the United States called simply Chinese Historians. On China, note also the UCSD Chinese History Research Site. On former Communist bloc materials, the situation is constantly changing, and the best thing to do is to talk with scholars who have been there recently. You might also want to get in touch with the Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20523, (202) 691-4110. The CWIHP has published various articles on the archival situation in Russia and eastern Europe in their Bulletin, and a long working paper (no. 20) by Patricia Grimsted, entitled "The Russian Archives Seven Years After," which came out in September 1998. You can get it by emailing them or giving them a call; you can also view it on their website. One occasionally also finds other interesting "reports from the front" from researchers recently returned from Moscow. Note also the Soviet Archives Symposium that appeared in the Spring 1997 issue of Diplomatic History. For more information of this sort, you might also want to check out the Parallel History Project website, the Stalin-Era Research and Archives Project website, and the Center for the Study of Russia and the Soviet Union (now called "Praxis International") website.


FUNDING: It's hard to do serious archival work without getting financial support of some sort or other. As it turns out, there are many sources of support available. Most of the presidential libraries have small research grant programs. If the information is not on their website, try giving them a call. There are a number of major programs--for example, programs run by the Social Science Research Council, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Center for Science and International Affairs (at the Kennedy School at Harvard), the Olin Institute (also at Harvard), CISAC at Stanford, the National Security Education Program (undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, institutional grants), etc. Before applying to any of these programs, read their websites with some care and maybe ask them to send you copies of their annual reports. Many of these programs have a particular political "spin" that you need to be aware of before you apply, or before you even decide to apply, but you can see what it is easily enough by reading the annual report.

You might also want to look at the information available online about various research centers on the ISN website. Many of these institutes have fellowship programs. The American Political Science Association has a webpage devoted to "grants, fellowships and funding opportunities" and you can also do a site search for "fellowships" using the search engine on the APSA homepage. The American Historical Association publishes a guide of this sort: Grants, Fellowships, and Prizes of Interest to Historians, revised periodically. The Council for European Studies put out a Fellowship Guide to Western Europe. The German Historical Institute in Washington also puts out fellowship guides periodically and posts them online.  The most recent guide is Antje Uhlig and Birgit Zischke: Research—Study—Funding: A German-American Guide for Historians and Social Scientists (Washington DC, 2005).

There are a number of useful, more general guides. See for example the one put out by Women in International Security: Fellowships in International Affairs: A Guide to Opportunities in the United States and Abroad (1994), JX 1293 U6 F39 1994, in the Van Pelt Reference Financial Aid Area. In addition to some very well-written listings, that guide also has some advice about how to write a proposal, and gives references to other useful publications in this area. For certain purposes, you might also want to take a look at Mary E. Lord and Bruce Seymore, eds., Foundations in International Affairs: Search for Security (1996), JX 1908 U6 F68 1996, and in addition you might want to check out the section on "international studies and research abroad" in the Annual Register of Grant Support, LB 2338 A5558 1998. Both of these guides are also in the Van Pelt Reference Financial Aid area. The MIT Center for International Studies has an online database you might want to look at if you're applying for fellowships.

It also pays to keep your eyes open for things that are not listed in these guides. The Smith Richardson Foundation, for example, has a junior faculty fellowship program and is particularly interested in work in the foreign policy/military policy area.

Go to Part Four