La. Tech American Foreigh Policy Center
State Department Files

U.S. State Department Central Files
The U.S. Department Central Files are perhaps the definitive source of American diplomatic reporting on political, military, social, and economic developments throughout the world in the twentieth century. Each part of the Central Files contains a wide range of materials from U.S. diplomats in foreign countries: special reports on political and military affairs; studies and statistics on socioeconomic matters; interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials; court proceedings and other legal documents; full texts of important letters, instructions, and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel; reports and translations from foreign journals and newspapers; and translations of high-level foreign government documents.

The Central Files also illuminate the internal affairs of foreign countries. For each country there are thousands of pages arranged topically and chronologically on crucial subjects: political parties and elections, unrest and revolution, human rights, government administration, fiscal and monetary issues, labor, housing, police and crime, public health, national defense, wars and alliances, education, religion, culture, trade, industry, natural resources, etc.

U.S. State Department Decimal Files
Most of the records belong to class 7 C Political and Treaty Relations of States C and class 8 C Internal Affairs of States. The documents are mostly instructions to and Despatches from diplomatic and consular officials. The Despatches are often accompanied by enclosures, such as diplomatic notes exchanged, pamphlets, and issues of newspapers. They also contain letters and telegrams from private individuals and from officials, notes from foreign diplomatic representatives in the United States, and memoranda prepared by State Department officials. Many of the records show popular opinion regarding relations between the United States and other states. At the beginning of many decimal file microfilm publications is a list of documents containing brief abstracts of the contents, which serves as a finding aid.

The following titles constitute the Center's holdings of U.S. Department of State General, Central, and Decimal Files:

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