How can I access Department of State records?

The Office of the Historian is not the repository for Department of State records.

Department of State permanent records that are more than 30 years old are transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA offers a guide to conducting research in its foreign policy-related holdings. NARA also provides information about its various collections of Department of State agency records, including non-textual media records. In addition, you can learn about digitized and “born-digital” Department of State records available online through NARA’s website.

NARA handles personnel records differently than agency records. Information about accessing personnel records is available from the National Archives at St. Louis.

The Office of Information Programs and Services manages more recent Department of State permanent records (those less than 30 years old) that have been “retired” from operational use. To access these records, or very recent records that remain in the custody of their originating bureau or office, you will need to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. To learn about FOIA and to submit a request electronically, visit the Department of State’s FOIA website.