The principles which guide the compilation and editing of Foreign Relations are stated in Department of State Regulation 045 of October 31, 1955, a revision of the order approved on March 26, 1925, by Mr. Frank B. Kellogg, then Secretary of State. The text of the current regulation is printed below:
045 Documentary Record of American Diplomacy
045.1 Scope of Documentation
The publication Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, constitutes the official record of the foreign policy of the United States. These volumes include, subject to necessary security considerations, all documents needed to give a comprehensive record of the major foreign policy decisions within the range of the Department of State’s responsibilities, together with appropriate materials concerning the facts which contributed to the formulation of policies. When further material is needed to supplement the documentation in the Department’s files for a proper understanding of the relevant policies of the United States, such papers should be obtained from other Government agencies.
045.2 Editorial Preparation
The basic documentary diplomatic record to be printed in Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, shall be edited by the Historical Division of the Department of State. The editing of the record shall be guided by the principles of historical objectivity. There shall be no alteration of the text, no deletions without indicating where in the text the deletion is made, and no omission of facts which were of major importance in reaching a decision. Nothing shall be omitted for the purpose of concealing or glossing over what might be regarded by some as a defect of policy. However, certain omissions of documents or parts of documents are permissible for the following reasons:
- To avoid publication of matters which would tend to impede current diplomatic negotiations or other business.
- To condense the record and avoid repetition of needless details.
- To preserve the confidence reposed in the Department by individuals and by foreign governments.
- To avoid giving needless offense to other nationalities or individuals.
- To eliminate personal opinions presented in despatches and not acted upon by the Department. To this consideration there is one qualification—in connection with major decisions it is desirable, where possible, to show the alternatives presented to the Department before the decision was made.
To obtain appropriate clearances of material to be published in Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers, the Historical Division (HD) shall:
- Refer to the appropriate policy offices of the Department and of other agencies of the Government such papers as appear to require policy clearance.
- Refer to the appropriate foreign governments requests for permission to print as part of the diplomatic correspondence of the United States those previously unpublished documents which were originated by the foreign governments.
The responsibilities of the Historical Division for the preparation of this Foreign Relations volume were entrusted, under the general supervision of the Chief of the Division, G. Bernard Noble, to the Foreign Relations Branch, under the direction of the Chief of that Branch (Editor of Foreign Relations), E. R. Perkins, and the Assistant Chief of the Branch, Gustave A. Nuermberger.
The Division of Publishing Services is responsible with respect to Foreign Relations for the proofreading and editing of copy, the preparation of indexes, and the distribution of printed copies. Under the general direction of the Chief of the Division, Norris E. Drew, the editorial functions mentioned above are performed by the Foreign Relations Editing Branch in charge of Elizabeth A. Vary, Chief, and Ouida J. Ward, Assistant Chief.
For 1941, the arrangement of volumes is as follows: Volume I, General, the Soviet Union; Volume II, Europe; Volume III, The British Commonwealth, the Near East and Africa; Volume IV, The Far East; Volume V, The Far East; Volume VI, The American Republics; Volume VII, The American Republics.
Editor of Foreign Relations