Research at the National Archives

Records of the Department of State

The Department of State was established as the Department of Foreign Affairs by the act of July 27, 1789. It received its present name by the act of September 15, 1789. The Department is responsible for planning and implementing American foreign policy. The Secretary of State is the President's chief advisor for foreign affairs.

Records of the Department of State as an agency are best understood when described in the following categories: