Guide to Federal Records

Records of the United States Information Agency [USIA]


(Record Group 306)
1900-94 (bulk 1947-86)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 306.1 Administrative History
  • 306.2 Records of the International Information Administration (Department of State) 1945-53
  • 306.3 General Records of the USIA 1947-78
    • 306.3.1 Records of the Office of the Director
    • 306.3.2 Records of subordinate organizations
    • 306.3.3 Records of the Advisory Commission on Information
    • 306.3.4 Other records
  • 306.4 Records of the Associate Directorate for Broabcasting (Voice of America) 1937-88
    • 306.4.1 Records of the Office of Programs
    • 306.4.2 Records of the Television and Film Service
  • 306.5 Records of the Associate Directorate for Programs 1947-94
    • 306.5.1 General records
    • 306.5.2 Records of the Office of Research
    • 306.5.3 Records of the Press and Publications Service
    • 306.5.4 Records of the Office of Exhibits
  • 306.6 Records Relating to the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy 1963-64
  • 306.7 Sound Recordings (General) 1950-68
  • 306.8 Still Pictures (General) 1900-78

306.1 Administrative History

Established: As an independent agency by the USIA Authorization Act (96 Stat. 291), August 24, 1982.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Office of the Coordinator of Information (OCOI):

  • Foreign Information Service (FIS, 1941-42)

In the Office for Emergency Management (OEM):

  • Office of War Information (OWI, 1942-45)

In the Department of State (1945-53):

  • Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs (1945- 48)
  • Office of International Information (1948-50)
  • Office of International Information, Information and Cultural Exchange Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (1950-52)
  • Office of Educational Exchange (1948-50)
  • Office of Educational Exchange, Information and Cultural Exchange Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (1950-52)
  • International Information Administration (1952-53)

Independent agencies:

  • United States Information Agency (1953-77)
  • International Communication Agency (ICA, 1978-82)

Functions: Influences public attitudes in foreign countries in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives. Advises the President, diplomatic personnel, and Executive departments and agencies on the implications of foreign opinion for present and contemplated U.S. policies, programs, and official statements.

Finding Aids: Preliminary Inventory in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

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

Specific Restrictions: As specified by an act of February 16, 1990 (104 Stat. 49), amending the United States Information and Cultural Exchange Act of 1948 (62 Stat. 9), January 27, 1948, "motion pictures, films, videotapes, and other material prepared for dissemination abroad" are releasable domestically 12 years after initial foreign dissemination, or, if not released abroad, 12 years after preparation, subject to applicable U.S. rights and licenses.

Related Records:
General Records of the Department of State, RG 59.
Records of the Office of War Information, RG 208.
Records of the Office of Strategic Services, RG 226.

306.2 Records of the International Information Administration
(Department of State)
1945-53

History: Office of the Coordinator of Information established as an independent agency by Presidential order, July 11, 1941, to collect and analyze information bearing upon national security. Foreign Information Service established within OCOI to oversee shortwave propaganda broadcasts (Voice of America, VOA), which commenced February 24, 1942. FIS transferred to newly established Office of War Information, Office for Emergency Management, by EO 9182, June 13, 1942. OWI abolished by EO 9608, August 31, 1945, with foreign information dissemination functions to Department of State, where they were initially vested in Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs. Separate Office of International Information and Office of Educational Exchange established pursuant to U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (62 Stat. 9), January 27, 1948; assigned to International Information and Cultural Exchange Programs, under Office of Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, 1950; and consolidated as International Information Administration, 1952. Abolished, with functions to newly established USIA, 1953. See 306.3.

Textual Records: Records relating to the establishment of USIA, 1952-53. Issues of America, 1945-52. Chinese-language issues of America Today, published in Hong Kong, 1950-52. Publications produced by U.S. Information Centers in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1949-50.

306.3 General Records of the USIA
1947-78

History: Established as an independent agency by Reorganization Plan No. 8 of 1953, effective August 1, 1953, to centralize foreign information dissemination programs. Abolished by EO 12048, March 27, 1978, with functions to newly established International Communication Agency, redesignated USIA, 1982. See 306.1.

306.3.1 Records of the Office of the Director

Textual Records: Microfilm copy of letters sent, 1953-64 (77 rolls).

Sound Recordings (162 items): Speeches by USIA Directors, 1961-72.

306.3.2 Records of subordinate organizations

Textual Records: Records of the Office of Administration, consisting of subject and administrative files, 1952-55; and inspection reports and related records of the Inspection Staff, 1954-62. Monthly employee newsletters issued by the Office of Public Information, 1954-78. Oversize scrapbooks documenting VOA and USIA special projects, accumulated by the Special Collections Branch of the Library Programs Division, 1947-58.

306.3.3 Records of the Advisory Commission on Information

Textual Records: General records, 1948-56. Minutes of meetings, 1953-56. Reports, 1949-56. Special papers, 1952-53. Library research reports, 1947-54. Records of the Advisory Committee on Books Abroad and its successor, the Advisory Committee on Cultural Information, consisting of general records, 1952-57; and minutes of meetings, 1954-57. Records of the Broadcast Advisory Committee, consisting of general records, 1953-56; and minutes of meetings, 1953-57.

306.3.4 Other records

Textual Records: Microfilm copy of miscellaneous USIA records accumulated during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, 1961-63, including letters sent by USIA Director Edward R. Murrow, and published articles and news stories relating to various personalities and issues of the Kennedy administration (237 rolls, in Kennedy Library).

306.4 Records of the Associate Directorate for Broadcasting
(Voice of America)
1937-88

306.4.1 Records of the Office of Programs

Textual Records: Records accompanying the sound recordings described below, consisting of VOA Tape Library logbooks, 1942-71; VOA daily broadcast content reports and script translations, 1950-55; and VOA 35th anniversary scripts, 1977.

Sound Recordings: Historical radio programs constituting the VOA Tape Library, 1942-67 (16,610 items). VOA radio series "Cross Country, U.S.A.," 1955-56 (25 items). Radio program "New York, New York," 1972-76 (257 items). Radio program "200 Years Ago Tonight," 1973-76 (6 items). VOA 35th anniversary broadcasts, 1977 (9 items).

306.4.2 Records of the Television and Film Service

Textual Records: Production case files relating to motion pictures and television programs used in overseas distribution programs, 1945-78. Broadcast master scripts, 1948-54 (in New York). Transcripts of "Forum" radio series broadcasts, 1961-79.

Motion Pictures: Selected films, edited, used in the overseas distribution program, 1945-78 (15,593 reels). Unedited film footage, 1937-68 (839 reels).

Video Recordings: Television programs, edited, used in the overseas distribution program, 1970-78 (623 items). WORLDNET daily broadcasts, 1985-88 (1,393 items).

Sound Recordings (2,600 items): "Forum" radio series, as produced by the News and Current Affairs Division for broadcast over WORLDNET, 1959-76.

306.5 Records of the Associate Directorate for Programs
1947-94

306.5.1 General records

Motion Pictures (74 reels): Newsreels, documentaries, and informational short subjects, 1980-83, seized by U.S. forces from the Soviet Embassy in Grenada, October 1983.

Related Records: Accessioned microfiche of textual records seized during U.S. military operations in Grenada in RG 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized. Machine-readable index to Grenadan records in RG 373, Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

306.5.2 Records of the Office of Research

Textual Records: Subject files of the Office of Intelligence and Research, 1954-59. Research reports on German public opinion, 1949-59. "R" reports, 1960-63. Public opinion barometer reports, 1955-62. Special reports, 1953-63. International Evaluation Staff reports and studies, 1948-53. Subject files, 1953-63. Project correspondence, 1952-63. Project files, 1951-64. Foreign Service dispatches, 1954-65. Research reports for East Asia, Latin America, Western Europe and Canada, Near East, South Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and multiple areas, 1964-73. Master file of research reports, 1953-93. Security-classified research reports and research project records, 1953-84.

Machine-Readable Records (579 data sets): Surveys of foreign public opinion toward the United States; attitudes on international, political, economic, and military issues; and exposure and reaction to USIA programs, broadcasts, films, and publications, 1956-85. Records of research projects, 1981-89.

306.5.3 Records of the Press and Publications Service

Textual Records: Bulletins, 1947-52. Feature packets of recurring subjects, 1953-58. Magazines and periodicals produced domestically, 1980-84. Polish and Russian publications, and English-language translations of foreign materials, intended for use in America Illustrated, 1957-75. Various publications produced by USIA Regional Service Centers in Beirut, 1951-61; Manila, 1952-71, 1980-85; and Mexico City, 1980-85.

Photographic Prints: "Picture Stories," sent to USIA posts for display and publication, 1957-64 (ST, 4,200 images). Illustrations in the house organs USIA Correspondent and USIA World, 1964-75 (USC, USW; 5,225 images). U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, 1958-74 (MVP, 500 images). Social and economic programs of the Alliance for Progress, 1961-69 (AFP, 350 images).

Photographic Prints and Negatives (162,600 images): "Master File," showing U.S. and foreign personalities, and illustrating world events and American economic, social, and cultural life, 1948-75 (PS, PS-A, PS-B, PS-C, PS-D, N).

Photographic Prints, Negatives, and Proof Sheets: International events, visits by foreign dignitaries, and other activities, taken by USIA staff photographers on assignment or by photographers on contract to USIA (stringers), 1949-74 (DA, SS, SSD, SSM; 160,750 images). U.S. military intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1967 (DR, 2,000 images).

Color Photographic Prints, Negatives, Slides, and Transparencies: Political, economic, scientific, and cultural activities in the United States, 1948-77 (SUB, 10,920 images). Personnel and activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Skylab Project, 1968-73 (S, 470 images).

Finding Aids: John E. Maddox, comp., "List of Titles in the General Photographic Subject File of the International Press Service, 1948-57," NC 22 (1963). Subject and personality card indexes and shelf list to "Master File" photographs. Caption sheets for "Picture Stories." Logbooks of USIA staff and stringer assignments. Index to photographic series SUB.

306.5.4 Records of the Office of Exhibits

Textual Records: Subject files of the director, 1959-67. Records relating to the American International Exhibition, Moscow, 1957- 59. Newspaper clippings relating to "Expo 67," 1967. Guest books from the American Pavilion at "Expo 67," 1967. Enclosures to reports on "USSR Photo 70" exhibit showings in six American cities, 1970. Comment books and lists of visitors related to U.S. exhibits in the USSR, Romania, and Bulgaria, 1959-78. Records relating to exhibits in foreign countries, 1959-67. Records relating to trade fairs, 1959-66.

Motion Pictures (1 reel): Arrival of Gemini 5 space capsule at Itazuke, Fukuoka, Japan, March 18, 1966.

Posters: Exhibits in foreign countries, 1956-84 (EP, 57 images). Posters acquired from various U.S. commercial and governmental sources promoting achievements, traditions, and special events, 1974-94 (PA, 511 images).

306.6 Records Relating to the Assassination of
President John F. Kennedy
1963-64

Textual Records: Records relating to VOA coverage of President Kennedy's assassination and subsequent events, 1963-64. Drafts of Mrs. John F. Kennedy's replies to condolence messages from heads of state, 1963 (in Kennedy Library).

Motion Pictures (9 reels): Years of Lightning, Days of Drums, 1964.

Photographic Prints, Negatives, and Proof Sheets: Funeral of President Kennedy, 1963 (KFU, 950 images). Selected frames of motion picture Years of Lightning, Days of Drums, 1964 (KF, 415 images).

306.7 Sound Recordings (General)
1950-68

Voice of America overseas releases, 1950-68, consisting of dramatizations, reports, speeches, and interviews designed to promote better understanding of the United States, including such programs as "Washington Interview," "The Puerto Rican Story," "The Jeffersonian Heritage," "Document: Deep South," "Atoms for Power," "New World of Atomic Energy," "Indian Country," "The Great Lakes," and the "New Horizons in Science" series; and including also recordings made during Lyndon B. Johnson's Vice Presidential trip to the Mideast, 1962, and his Presidential visits to Manila, Australia, and South Korea, 1966, and Central America, 1968 (333 items).

306.8 Still Pictures (General)
1900-78

Photographs: Life on a Tennessee Valley Authority-Soil Conservation Service cooperative demonstration test farm, 1963 (TVA, 519 images). Personalities and activities at the Republican National Convention, 1964 (RC, 2,530 images). National Aeronautics and Space Administration Apollo projects, 1967-78 (AP, 5,464 images). Visits to Europe, Africa, and Asia by Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, 1966-68 (HHA, HT; 1,781 images). Visits by Vice President Richard M. Nixon to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and the Caribbean, 1953-74 (RNT, 1,240 images). Inauguration activities for President Nixon, 1968-69, 1973 (NIC, RNI; 1,020 images). Political campaigning in the United States, 1964, 1968 (EL, 5,000 images). Hemisfair Exposition, San Antonio, Texas, 1968 (HF, 1,353 images). Visits to China and Europe by Congressman and President Gerald R. Ford, 1972, 1975 (GRF, 220 images).

Photographic Prints: Prominent Americans, World War II campaigns, industry, conservation, nuclear energy, education, and other aspects of U.S. life, used in filmstrips produced by the Office of War Information and USIA, 1942-52 (FS, FSCE; 12,000 images). Visits to Turkey, India, and Spain by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1959 (EGT, 180 images); to Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1961 (LJT, 384 images); and to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia by Vice President Spiro Agnew, 1969-73 (SAT, 420 images).

Photographic Prints and Negatives: Photographic file of the Paris Bureau of The New York Times, 1900-51 (NT, 211,000 images). Staffs of, visitors to, and activities, programs, and exhibits at Information Service Centers in foreign countries, 1948-54 (CS, 1,200 images). Exhibitions, ceremonies, visitors, and other activities at the United States pavilion at Expo '70, the Japan World Exposition, in Osaka, Japan (EX, EXA, EXB, EXN, 24,123 images).

Photographic Prints, Negatives, and Proof Sheets (52,222 images): Organization of American States Summit Conference, Punta del Este, Uruguay, 1967 (PDE, 1,800 images). Activities and delegates at the Democratic National Convention (Chicago, IL) and the Republican National Convention (Miami, FL), 1968 (DRC, 99 images). Summer Olympic games in Mexico City, 1968 (OG, 350 images). Visits by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan, 1960 (ET, 1,696 images); by Vice President Richard M. Nixon to the Soviet Union and Poland, 1959 (RMN, 1,720 images); by President John F. Kennedy to Central and South America, Asia, and Europe, 1961-63 (JKT, 1,850 images); by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to Europe and Asia, 1962-64 (RKT, 1,310 images); and by President Lyndon B. Johnson to Europe, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, 1961-62 (JGT; 4,347 images), and to Northern Europe and Iran, 1963-64 (JT, 13,500 images). President Kennedy meeting with foreign dignitaries, public figures, and others, 1960-63 (JFK, 1,950 images). Activities at the International Conference on Water for Peace, 1967 (WP, 600 images). White House activities, primarily during the Johnson administration, 1961-68 (JM, 23,000 images).

Glass Negatives: Fairgrounds and pavilions at the Paris Universal Exposition, 1900 (F, 56 images).

Microfilm Publications: M1149-M1155.

Finding Aids: Index and shelf lists to photographic series NT. Caption cards for series JM.


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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