In more than 450 volumes produced since its inception in 1861, the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. FRUS, as it is known, is widely and rightly regarded as exemplary. In recent decades the topics and themes have become increasingly intricate and complex, involving numerous actors outside the State Department and documents originally created in a growing variety of media. In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Stephen P. Randolph discussed the series’ past as well as the many challenges facing it today, not least technological developments that threaten the future of the bound volumes familiar to generations of diplomats and historians. What adjustments might be necessary to uphold the tradition of a thorough, accurate, and reliable record? Richard Immerman and Warren Kimball will comment.
Stephen Randolph has been head of the Office of the Historian of the Department of State—with the official title The Historian—since 2012. Warren Kimball of Rutgers University is a past chairman of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, which reviews and makes recommendations on the Foreign Relations series. Richard Immerman of Temple University is the present chairman of the committee.
The session was recorded by C-SPAN and the American Historical Association. Please return here for information on air and posting dates.