Memorandum From William Slany and Edwin Costrell to PA/HO Staff, October 1976

A scan of the original document is available for download (PDF, 385 KB, 1p.)

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 59, Entry UD-WW-9: Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian, Arthur Kogan Files, 1945-1980 (83 D 230), Box 2, Foreign Classified Documents General. Drafted by William Slany. Copies sent to David Stauffer, Frederick Aandahl, and Edwin Costrell (PA/HO). The attached Confidential airgram (A-678) was found in the Foreign Gov. Inf: Great Britain folder in the same archival collection and box, but is not posted. Posted from an uninitialed copy of the memorandum.

Cited in Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable”: A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, Chapter 8, Footnote 88

Memorandum From William Z. Slany (Associate Historian for Western Hemisphere and Europe) and Edwin S. Costrell (Associate Historian for Asia, Africa, and the Pacific) to PA/HO Staff

Subject: Limitations on the Inclusion in the Foreign Relations manuscripts of British and other foreign-originated documents

Over the past several years the experience of this Office with respect to the clearance for publication by the British Foreign Office of texts of British-originated documents has been uniformly disappointing. General1y speaking the Foreign Office has been unwilling to concur in the publication in our Foreign Relations series of any British document save for certain innocuous, high-level, courtesy correspondence. Some greater success has been experienced in securing British concurrence to the publication of multilateral documents.

In a communication of September 20 of this year to the Embassy in London (a copy of which is attached), the Foreign Office has again reiterated its disinclination to agree to the publication of British documents in the Foreign Relations series.

In view of the continuing unlikelihood of Foreign Office cooperation in the matter of clearance of British documents, we must more consciously design our selections of documents for the series with an eye to avoiding the inclusion of British-originated documents except those which appear to be absolutely critically important. We probably can continue to seek to print those of a multi-lateral nature which we might reasonably expect to be cleared.

The experience with the Foreign Office is by no means unique. The self-denying ordinance applied to British documents should probably also be applied to the documents of other friendly governments.