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US Government Information: Declassified Documents

Finding declassified documents

The resources highlighted below are intended to help researchers find collections of declassified documents. There are also guides to FOIA and Mandatory Declassification Review requests, resources for foreign relations research with government information, and conducting research in the U.S. National Archives

Major resources for 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)

U.S. Declassified Documents Online (formerly known as DDRS)

U.S. Declassified Documents Online, formerly known as 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.

  • Yale also has the DDRS microfiche set of declassified documents, which is searchable through a CD-ROM index (available at the Marx Science and Social Science Library). 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.

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:

Librarian for Political Science. Global Affairs, and Government Information

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Kenya Flash