Major resources for U.S. declassified documents
Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS)
"The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 450 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies." (U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian)
- FRUS from the State Department's website (Some of the most recent volumes are being published as "electronic only" versions.)
- FRUS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- FRUS from Hein Online (Yale subscription)
Digital National Security Archive (Yale subscription)
Includes more than 94,000 declassified documents on U.S. foreign and military policy. Coverage begins in 1945.
"National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Books provide online access to critical declassified records on issues including U.S. national security, foreign policy, diplomatic and military history, intelligence policy, and more. Updated frequently, the Electronic Briefing Books represent just a small sample of the documents in our published and unpublished collections." (The "published collections" are included in the Digital National Security Archive database linked above.)
Freely accessible, searchable subset of the Digital National Security Archive that includes "the most controversial documents ever compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency," according to the CIA itself. The collection "represents the CIA's own view, in 1973, of those domestic activities it had engaged in up to that time that were outside its charter, hence illegal."
University Publications of America collections on microform
Search Orbis by publisher, "University Publications of America", then enter search term(s) in keyword search box.
Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS)
Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) provides full-text declassified documents from U.S. government agencies, including the CIA, FBI, White House, State Department, and others. Document types include: correspondence, memoranda, minutes of cabinet meetings, technical studies, national security policy statements, and intelligence estimates.
There are two components to DDRS:
- A microfiche set of declassified documents, which is searchable through a CD-ROM index (available at the Center for Science and Social Science Information). A print index is also available: 1975-1985, and 1986-2005. The CD-ROM and print indexes have the same content, so there is no need to search both indexes in order to locate documents in the microfiche set.
- A subset of the Declassified Documents microfiche set is available online for searching and retrieving scanned versions of the documents. More than 10,000 documents in the microfiche set are not included in the online system. To ensure a complete search, use the CD-ROM or print indexes, as described above.
More declassified documents on the web
Declassified documents freely available on the web can be found at federal agencies' web sites (search the agency's site for "FOIA" or "electronic reading room"), from presidential libraries, research institutes, or other sites, sometimes presented by subject. Below are examples of such sites:
- CIA Electronic Reading Room
- State Department Electronic Reading Room
- Pentagon Papers (National Archives; includes "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force," along with supplemental documentation)
- PlusD (WIKILEAKS Public Library of US Diplomacy; includes over 2 million records from a variety of sources, including FOIA documents, leaks, and documents declassified by the US State Department - many of these materials were previously released on the National Archives' website)
- Gulflink (documents relating to the Persian Gulf War)
- OPENNET (Dept. of Energy)
- Presidential Recordings Program (University of Virginia, Miller Center of Public Affairs)
- The Vietnam War Declassification Project (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)
- Declassified Government Documents (guide from UT-Austin Library)