Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State


(Record Group 84)
1788-1990

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 84.1 Administrative History
  • 84.2 Records of Diplomatic Posts 1788-1962
  • 84.3 Records of Consular Posts 1790-1963
  • 84.4 Records of Diplomatic and/or Consular Posts 1928-64 (bulk 1953-59)
  • 84.5 Records of the United States Mission to the United Nations and its Predecessors 1945-66
  • 84.6 Textual Records (General) 1945-90
  • 84.7 Cartographic Records (General) 1914-52
  • 84.8 Still Pictures(General)1942-47

84.1 Administrative History

Established: Foreign Service of the United States established in the Department of State by the Rogers Act (43 Stat. 140), May 24, 1924.

Predecessors:

In the Department of State:
  • Diplomatic and consular representatives (1778-92)
  • Diplomatic representatives (1792-1855)
  • Consular Service (1792-1855)
  • Diplomatic and consular services (1855-1924)
Functions: Represents the United States in foreign countries. Implements U.S. foreign policy and negotiates agreements with host countries.

Finding Aids: Mark G. Eckhoff and Alexander P. Mavro, comps., List of Foreign Service Post Records in the National Archives, SL 9 (1967); and supplementary list in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Foreign Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
General Records of the Department of State, RG 59.

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84.2 Records of Diplomatic Posts
1788-1962

History: First permanent U.S. diplomatic representative accredited by the Second Continental Congress, September 14, 1778. Diplomats frequently served as consuls until independent consular service established in 1792. Diplomatic and consular system formalized by an act of March 1, 1855 (10 Stat. 619). The services were reorganized on several occasions, and combined into the Foreign Service in 1924. See 84.1.

Textual Records: Records maintained by U.S. embassies, legations, and missions, including original signed instructions and copies of dispatches; notes to and from host governments; instructions, communications, dispatches, and reports to and from subordinate consulates; miscellaneous correspondence; records of births, marriages, and deaths of U.S. citizens; listings of important events; notes of administrative changes; inventories of consular property; registers and card indexes; passport and visa records; and records relating to diplomatic personnel.

Specific Restrictions: As specified by the Archivist of the United States, name files relating to the issuances of visas, records less than 75 years old concerning passports and related citizenship matters, and records less than 50 years old relating to the personnel of the Department of State and Foreign Service, including Foreign Service inspection reports, efficiency reports, and related records pertaining to the character, ability, conduct, quality of work, industry, experience, dependability, and general usefulness of individuals, may be used only after consultation by the National Archives with the Department of State.

Records exist for diplomatic posts in the following countries: Abyssinia (see Ethiopia); Afghanistan, 1942-55; Albania, 1922-46; Algeria, 1942-44; Angola, 1943-52; Argentina, 1813-1952; Australia, 1940-52; Austria, 1837-1955; Austria-Hungary (see Austria); Belgium, 1832-1954; Bolivia, 1853-1952; Brazil, 1809- 1961; Bulgaria, 1859-1948; Burma, 1945-55; Cambodia, 1950-52; Canada, 1927-52; Ceylon, 1870-1955; Chile, 1824-1952; China, 1843-1948; Chosen (see Korea); Colombia, 1820-1952; Costa Rica, 1854-1959; Cuba, 1902-52; Czechoslovakia, 1919-53; Denmark, 1811- 1956; Dominican Republic, 1883-1952; Ecuador, 1827-1955; Egypt, 1873-1955; El Salvador, 1862-1958; England (see Great Britain); Estonia, 1930-37; Ethiopia, 1898-1955; Finland, 1920-58; France, 1788-1960; Germany, 1835-1957; Ghana, 1950-52; Great Britain, 1826-1961; Greece, 1834-1955; Guatemala, 1826-1955; Haiti, 1860- 1952; Hawaii, 1839-1900; Holland (see Netherlands, The); Honduras, 1854-1955; Hungary, 1920-55; Iceland, 1940-52; India, 1941-55; Indonesia, 1936-55; Iran, 1883-1952; Iraq, 1931-49; Ireland, 1927-52; Israel, 1948-52; Italy, 1839-1957; Japan, 1855- 1952; Jordan, 1948-55; Korea, 1882-1955; Laos, 1954; Latvia, 1919-41; Lebanon, 1935-54; Liberia, 1856-1953; Libya, 1948-55; Luxembourg, 1903-55; Mexico, 1825-1952; Montenegro (see also Greece), 1905-12; Morocco, 1905-57; Nepal, 1946-55; Netherlands, The, 1806-1952; New Zealand, 1940-52; Nicaragua, 1894-1962; Norway (see also Sweden), 1906-55; Ottoman Empire (see Turkey); Pakistan, 1923-55; Panama, 1903-52; Papal States, 1858-61; Paraguay, 1861-1955; Persia (see Iran); Peru, 1826-1952; Philippines, The, 1946-52; Poland, 1939-55; Portugal, 1824- 1956; Prussia (see Germany); Romania, 1800-1955; Russia (see Union of Soviet Socialist Republics); Salvador (see El Salvador); Santo Domingo (see Dominican Republic); Sardinia (see Italy); Saudi Arabia, 1945-55; Serbia (see Yugoslavia); Siam (see Thailand); South Africa (see Union of South Africa); South Korea, 1948-56; Soviet Union (see Union of Soviet Socialist Republics); Spain, 1801-1955; Sublime Porte (see Turkey); Sweden (includes Norway prior to 1906), 1810-1952; Switzerland, 1853-1952; Syria, 1943-55; Texas, 1836-44; Thailand, 1880-1955; Tunisia, 1950-55; Turkey, 1830-1954; Two Sicilies (see Italy); Union of South Africa, 1930-55; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1807-1955; United Kingdom (see Great Britain); Uruguay, 1861-1953; Venezuela, 1835-1955; Vietnam, 1936-52; and Yugoslavia, 1882- 1955.

Microfilm Publications: M14, M20, T400, T693, T724, T898.

Finding Aids: Records of embassies in Great Britain, 1826-1935, and Russia and the USSR, 1807-1919 and 1934-38, are described in Alexander P. Marvo, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of Selected Foreign Service Posts, PI 60 (1953).

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84.3 Records of Consular Posts
1790-1963

History: First U.S. consul appointed by the Second Continental Congress November 4, 1780. Independent consular service established by an act of April 14, 1792 (1 Stat. 254). Consolidated with diplomatic service to form the Foreign Service in 1924. See 84.1.

Textual Records: Records maintained by consulates general, consulates, and commercial and consular agencies, including original signed instructions and copies of dispatches and reports; correspondence; records relating to U.S. vessels, including arrivals and departures, cargo descriptions, lists of seamen, marine protests, and other maritime documents; certifications of merchandise shipped from or received in the consular district; listings of important events; notes on administrative changes; inventories of consular property; court records of posts where ministers and consuls exercised judicial authority over U.S. citizens; records of notarial, shipping, and other fees; records of births, marriages, deaths, property disposal, estate settlements, and protection of U.S. citizens; passport and visa records; and records relating to diplomatic personnel.

Specific Restrictions: As specified by the Archivist of the United States, name files relating to the issuance of visas, records less than 75 years old concerning passports and related citizenship matters, and records less than 50 years old relating to the personnel of the Department of State and Foreign Service, including Foreign Service inspection reports, efficiency reports, and related records pertaining to the character, ability, conduct, quality of work, industry, experience, dependability, and general usefulness of individuals, may be used only after consultation by the National Archives with the Department of State.

Records exist for consular posts in the following countries or territories: Aden, 1940-48; Algeria, 1803-1955; Angola (Loanda), 1864-1952; Anguilla (British West Indies), 1858-1948; Argentina, 1858-1944; Australia, 1837-1955; Austria, 1866-1955; Azores (Portuguese), 1807-1955; Bahama Islands, 1821-1949; Balearic Islands, 1937-38; Barbados, 1853-1941; Belgian Congo, 1934-61; Belgium, 1803-1952; Bermuda, 1853-1952; Bolivia, 1918-48; Brazil, 1818-1955; British Guiana, 1852-1952; British Honduras, 1854- 1949; British North Borneo (see Malaysia); British West Indies, 1936-52; Bulgaria, 1914-48; Burma, 1891-1955; Canada, 1815-1955; Canary Islands, 1829-1953; Cape Verde Islands, 1857-1943; Ceylon, 1870-1935; Chile, 1833-1955; China, 1845-1950; Colombia, 1823- 1952; Congo (see French Equatorial Africa); Costa Rica, 1886- 1949; Cuba, 1856-1949; Cyprus, 1832-1930; Czechoslovakia, 1864- 1946; Danzig, Free City of, 1836-1916; Denmark, 1855-1941; Dominica, 1880-1934; Dominican Republic, 1872-1941; Ecuador, 1830-1954; Egypt, 1832-1952; El Salvador, 1862-1938; Eritrea, 1946-52; Estonia, 1919-40; Ethiopia, 1890-1952; Falkland Islands, 1840-1908; Fiji Islands, 1855-1948; Finland, 1840-1943; France, 1790-1962; French Equatorial Africa, 1942-45; French Guiana, 1866-1944; French West Africa (see also Senegal), 1940-55; French West Indies, 1940-52; Gambia, 1858-93; Germany, 1821-1955; Ghana, 1883-1955; Gibraltar, 1924-52; Gold Coast (see Ghana); Great Britain, 1798-1955; Greece, 1837-1963; Greenland, 1940-53; Grenada, 1892-1948; Guadeloupe, 1861-1929; Guatemala, 1824-1946; Guyana (see British Guiana); Haiti, 1848-1949; Hawaii, 1830-1900; Honduras, 1824-1952; Hong Kong, 1936-55; Hungary, 1862-1935; Iceland, 1888-1952; India (Bombay, Calcutta, Madras), 1855-1955; Indonesia (Netherlands East Indies), 1893-1955; Iran (Persia), 1888-1955; Iraq, 1869-1953; Ireland, 1855-1949; Israel (Palestine), 1856-1955; Italy, 1798-1955; Jamaica, 1831-1952; Japan, 1859-1955; Kenya, 1901-54; Korea, 1884-1936; Latvia, 1880- 1940; Lebanon, 1853-1954; Liberia, 1856-1935; Libya, 1799-1955; Lithuania, 1921-40; Luxembourg, 1893-1945; Madagascar, 1860-1954; Madeira Islands, 1830-1949; Malay Federation (see Malaysia); Malaysia, 1904-55; Malta, 1807-1955; Martinique (Fort de France), 1902-52; Mauritius (Ile de France), 1855-1911; Mexico, 1817-1955; Montserrat, 1882-1907; Morocco, 1795-1957; Mozambique, 1843-1955; Nepal (New Delhi, India), 1946-55; Netherlands, The, 1833-1954; Netherlands West Indies, 1797-1955; New Caledonia, 1887-1955; New Zealand, 1860-1952; Nicaragua, 1855-1939; Nigeria, 1928-55; Northern Ireland (see Great Britain); Norway, 1809-1953; Oman, 1880-1914; Pakistan, 1887-1953; Panama, 1854-1945 and (in Atlanta) 1941-48; Paraguay, 1887-1961; Peru, 1825-1945; Philippine Islands, 1945-53; Poland, 1874-1949; Portugal, 1849- 1955; Puerto Rico, 1856-99; Reunion Island, 1890-92; Romania, 1862-1935; Russia (Petrograd), 1914-18; St. Christopher-Nevis- Anguilla, 1875-1909; St. Helena Island, 1836-1908; St. Lucia Island, 1918-43; St. Pierre and Miquelon Islands, 1850-1943; St. Vincent Island, 1882-1918; Samoa, 1854-1927; Saudi Arabia, 1944- 55; Scotland (see Great Britain); Senegal, 1869-1952; Seychelles Islands, 1868-87; Singapore, 1849-1953; Somaliland, 1929-38; Society Islands (see Tahiti); Southern Rhodesia, 1950-55; South Korea, 1948-56; Spain, 1797-1955; Spanish Morocco, 1942-44; Sudan, 1952-55; Surinam (Netherlands Guiana), 1858-1952; Sweden, 1816-1952; Switzerland, 1830-1959; Syria, 1863-1930; Tahiti, 1836-1948; Taiwan (Formosa), 1887-1956; Tanganyika, 1947-56; Tanzania (Zanzibar), 1834-1956; Texas, 1834-44; Thailand, 1846- 1953; Tobago (West Indies), 1889-98; Trinidad, 1855-1952; Tunisia, 1795-1955; Turkey, 1872-1955; Union of South Africa, 1835-1952; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1857-1948; Uruguay, 1825-1939; Venezuela, 1824-1963; Vietnam (French Indochina), 1889-1955; Virgin Islands, 1833-1917; Wales (see Great Britain); Yemen, 1880-1952; Yugoslavia, 1883-1955; and Zaire (see also Belgian Congo), 1906-35.

Microfilm Publications: T308, T402, T403, T781.

Finding Aids: Records of the consulates general in Amsterdam, 1833-1935, Hong Kong, 1843-1935, and Winnipeg, 1869-1935, are described in Alexander P. Marvo, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of Selected Foreign Service Posts, PI 60 (1953).

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84.4 Records of Diplomatic and/or Consular Posts
1928-64 (bulk 1953-59)

Note: The records described below represent a recent accession into the National Archives. They have not yet been sufficiently processed to determine their precise status as either diplomatic or consular records.

Textual Records: Central subject files, 1928-64, arranged by post. General and other records of posts in Antigua, 1948; Aruba, 1955-56; Australia, 1950-55; Austria, 1950-55; Belgian Congo, 1949-55; Belgium, 1928-46, 1958; Bolivia, 1945-49, 1953-55; Brazil, 1946-49, 1953-55; British Guiana, 1950-52; Burma, 1953- 55; Burundi, 1962-64; Cambodia, 1953-55; Canada, 1951; Ceylon, 1953-55; Chile, 1950-55; China, 1945-50; China (Taipei), 1953-58; Colombia, 1953-55; Costa Rica, 1953-55; Cuba, 1936-60; Czechoslovakia, 1953-59; Denmark, 1950-52; Dominican Republic, 1953-55; Ecuador, 1950-58; Egypt, 1954-55; El Salvador, 1947-58; Ethiopia, 1953-55; Finland, 1953-55; France, 1948-58; French Indochina, 1952-53; Germany, 1945, 1948-58; Great Britain, 1937- 38, 1943-47, 1955-58; Greece, 1953-63; Greenland, 1950-53; Guatemala, 1955-56; Haiti, 1947-55; Honduras, 1953-55; Hong Kong, 1955; Hungary, 1946-48, 1956-58; Iceland, 1953-55; India, 1936- 55; Indonesia, 1956-57; Iran, 1953-55; Iraq, 1953-54; Italy, 1953-57; Japan, 1941, 1945-52, 1953-55; Jordan, 1953-55; Korea, 1954; Lebanon, 1944-58; Malaya, 1953-55; Martinique, 1953-55; Mexico, 1953-55; Morocco, 1948-55; Mozambique, 1953-54; New Zealand, 1953-55; Northern Ireland, 1953-54; Norway, 1953-55; Pakistan, 1947-58; Philippines, 1945-58; Poland, 1946-50, 1953- 55; Portugal, 1945-55; Saudi Arabia, 1960; Scotland, 1953-55; South Vietnam, 1946-63; Spain (Tenerife), 1949; Switzerland, 1940-53; Syria, 1954-57; Thailand, 1947-58; Trieste, 1954-55; Tunisia, 1953-58; Turkey, 1947-58; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1955, 1958-59; Uruguay, 1953-58; and Yugoslavia, 1955.

Specific Restrictions: As specified by the Archivist of the United States, name files relating to the issuance of visas, records less than 75 years old concerning passports and related citizenship matters, and records less than 50 years old relating to the personnel of the Department of State and Foreign Service, including Foreign Service inspection reports, efficiency reports, and related records pertaining to the character, ability, conduct, quality of work, industry, experience, dependability, and general usefulness of individuals, may be used only after consultation by the National Archives with the Department of State.

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84.5 Records of the United States Mission to the United Nations
and its Predecessors
1945-66

History: United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), opened in San Francisco, CA, April 25, 1945; signed the United Nations Charter June 26, 1945. Interim UNCIO agreement, June 26, 1945, created the United Nations Preparatory Commission (Preco) to make arrangements for the first United Nations General Assembly. As recommended by the Preco, the first session of the General Assembly met in London, January 10-February 14, 1946, and October 23-December 16, 1946. The United States was represented by State Department diplomatic personnel at UNCIO, on Preco, and at the first General Assembly. The U.S. delegation to the United Nations was formally designated the United States Mission to the United Nations, by EO 9844, April 28, 1947, under authority of the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (59 Stat. 619), December 20, 1945.

Textual Records: Records relating to the UNCIO Secretariat, 1945, including memorandums, procedures, reports, and a journal. Records relating to UNCIO committees, 1945-46, including minutes and summaries of meetings, and votes of technical committees. Records of the U.S. Delegation, 1945, including minutes of meetings, numbered documents on a variety of subjects, and other records. Records relating to the United Nations Preparatory Commission, 1945-46, including reports, numbered documents, a journal, telegrams, and press releases. Records of the United States Delegation to the First Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 1945-46, including general records, incoming and outgoing telegrams, press releases, news bulletins, and a reference book. Records of the United States Mission to the United Nations, 1945-49, including mission documents, subject file, United Nations letter file, incoming and outgoing telegrams, position papers and background books, and a declassified "Top Secret" file. Card index to central document and subject files of the U.S. Mission, 1946-53. Press releases, 1946-66. Records of John Foster Dulles, 1947-49.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the United States Mission to the United Nations in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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84.6 Textual Records (General)
1945-90

Files of Ellsworth Bunker, ambassador to South Vietnam, 1967-73. Records relating to the State Department Foreign Service Post in Pretoria, 1950-68. Records relating to Spandau Prison, 1947-67. Classified files, 1945-90, of the Allied Kommandatura Secretariat of the Allied Control Authority. Records of the U.S. Mission to Berlin including case files of the O.M.G.U.S. Property Control Branch, 1945-47; minutes and related reports of the Property Control Committee, 1945-52; correspondence with Soviet Officials ("Soviet Correspondence, Working File"), 1947-60; Miscellaneous records of the Assistant Chief of Mission, 1955-57; subject files, 1947-59; and classified dispatches sent to the Department of State, Washington, 1958-59. Records of the U.S. High Commissioner for Austria, in the American Legation, Vienna, consisting of correspondence, intelligence reports, and other records concerning the investigation of Soviet economic activity in Austria and related matters, 1946-55. Records of the U.S. Mission to Berlin consisting of mixed records files of the Economic Committee, 1945-90. Records of the Treaty Claims Section of the U.S. Embassy, Rome, consisting of correspondence, memorandums, and other records of the U.S. Delegation to the Italian-United States Conciliation Commission, 1947-62. Records of the U.S. member of the Mixed Parole and Clemency Board, 1953-58, and card indexes to actions taken on applications of German War criminals for parole or commutation of sentence, 1953-58. Records of the U.S. Mission to Berlin including monthly reports of the military governor, 1945-46; historical report for the Office of the Military Government, Berlin District, 1945-47; Report to the Council of Foreign Ministers from the Allied Control Authority in Germany, 1947; news clippings concerning military government in Germany and Japan, 1946-48; and miscellaneous record book, 1948-57. Records of the Office of General Counsel of the Office of U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) consisting of records relating to the case of Judge William Clark, 1949-56. Memorandums, correspondence, and International Atomic Energy Treaty Working Papers of the Special Assistant for Atomic Energy, Max Isenbergh, 1955-60.

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84.7 Cartographic Records (General)
1914-52

Maps: Mineral atlas of Turkey and a map of Smyrna, used by the American Embassy in Turkey, 1914-28 (73 items). Bombed areas of Chungking and motor roads in China, prepared by the military attache of the American Embassy in China, 1939-44 (4 items). Petroleum exploration in the Middle East, from the files of the Petroleum Attache, Beirut, Lebanon Embassy, ca. 1940-52 (56 items).

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84.8 Still Pictures (General)
1942-47

Photographs: Remains of victims of atrocities committed by the Japanese during their World War II occupation of Indonesia, collected by Walter A. Foote, U.S. Consul General, Batavia, Java, 1942-46 (IA, 67 images). Japanese political indoctrination programs in Indonesia, 1943-45 (IJ, 35 images). Homes and businesses damaged by saboteurs during Indonesian war for national independence, 1946-47 (IS, 24 images).


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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