Principles for the Compilation and Editing of “Foreign
The principles which guide the compilation and editing of Foreign Relations are stated in Department of State Regulation 2
FAM 1350 of June 15, 1961, a revision of the order approved on March 26,
1925, by Mr. Frank B. Kellogg, then Secretary of State.
The text of the regulation, as further amended, is printed below:
1350 Documentary Record of American
1351 Scope of Documentation
The publication Foreign Relations of the United States
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.
1352 Editorial Preparation
The basic documentary diplomatic record to be printed in Foreign Relations of the United States is edited by the Historical
Office, Bureau of Public Affairs of the Department of State. The editing of
[Page IV] the record is guided by the
principles of historical objectivity. There may be no alteration of the
text, no detections 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 may 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 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
- To preserve the confidence reposed in the Department by
individuals and by foreign governments.
- To avoid giving needless offense to other nationalities or
- 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, the
- Refers to the appropriate policy offices of the Department and of
other agencies of the Government such papers as appear to require
- Refers 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.