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Latest news from Office of The Historian

  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State October 31, 2017 This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the foreign policy decisions of the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The volume documents the Carter administration’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the Maghreb through a variety of strategies that addressed the many challenges in the region: “normalizing” relations with Algeria and Libya; reassuring Morocco and Tunisia of the administration’s continued support and consultation on the Middle East peace initiative; and serving as an “honest broker” in the regional dispute over the Western Sahara. This volume was compiled and edited by Myra F. Burton. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1977-80v17p3. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Publishing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044-000-02690-2; ISBN 978-0-16-094172-6), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State June 7, 2017 The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XV, Central America. This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Jimmy Carter administration. The Carter administration’s policy toward Central America stressed human rights and non-interventionism with an aim to expand democracy in the region. Carter’s diplomats worked with Guatemala and Belize to secure a basis for Belize’s future independence from the United Kingdom. In Nicaragua, the Carter administration sought to advance political moderation as the Sandinista National Liberation Front rose against President Anastasio Somoza. After July 1979, Carter offered aid and counsel to the Government of National Reconstruction. Bilateral relations with Costa Rica were dominated by the events in Nicaragua due to Costa Rica’s territorial proximity, and then by the political situation in El Salvador. In Honduras, the United States advised the military Junta government to hold elections and broaden the representation within the government. In El Salvador, a military government faced growing popular opposition from the political left and right. Carter opted to offer military and economic aid in exchange for improvements in human rights practices and progress toward open elections. This volume was compiled and edited by Nathaniel L. Smith. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1977-80v15. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044-000-02688-1; ISBN 978-0-16-093948-8), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State November 18, 2016 The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XVII, Part 1, Horn of Africa. This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the foreign policy decision making of the administration of President Jimmy Carter. The focus of the volume is on the administration’s approach to events in the Horn of Africa and includes relations with Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti (before and after its independence). This volume addresses Somali President Siad Barre’s entreaties for U.S. military aid before and after the Somali invasion of Ethiopia’s Ogaden Desert, the U.S. response to Soviet and Cuban intervention on behalf of Ethiopia, attempts to negotiate an end to the Ogaden war, and efforts to retain U.S. influence in the region. Furthermore, the volume documents the arguments between Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski over an appropriate response to the Soviet intervention, and whether to link Soviet behavior in the Horn of Africa to other bilateral issues, such as Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. This volume was compiled and edited by Louise P. Woodroofe. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1977-80v17p1. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044-000-02681-3; ISBN 978-0-16-093462-9), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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  • Remembering Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth

    Stephen W. Bosworth, former Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Ambassador to Tunisia, the Philippines, and South Korea, died on January 4. Ambassador Bosworth gave an oral history interview to the Office of the Historian in 2012, in which he touched on his legacy and time in East Asia. When asked about what he felt were some of his successes as Special Representative, he said: “I think we were able to bring coherence to the policy process—a sort of a relentless pursuit of a dialogue with the North Koreans that might not have been present otherwise.  I think we did very importantly maintain very good communication and coordination with our partners in the Six-Party process, particularly the South Koreans.  And out of all of this, one of the signal accomplishments, I think—not just of the North Korea Special Representative, but of the Administration—has been a great strengthening of what was already a good relationship between the U.S. and South Korea.” Bosworth spoke of his sole official visit to North Korea: “As special representative, I only went there once.  I had been there a couple of times in the preceding years.  I was there when I was doing KEDO (Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization) twice.  It’s a very depressing place—very bleak.  It’s profoundly gray in all its aspects.  There’s very little green.  There’s been substantial erosion of most of the land out in the countryside.  It reminds me of what I used to imagine it would’ve been like living in George Orwell’s 1984.  It really is indescribably oppressed.”  On the question of how much of a direct threat he believed North Korea posed to the United States, Bosworth was very pointed: “As a direct threat, almost none.  But as an indirect threat, through the possibility of instability in this vital region through pressure on our important economic and security ally, South Korea, I think there is a threat.  Now at some point, one could argue that if they continue to develop their long-range missiles and they make progress on weaponizing their North—their nuclear capabilities, then they could become an actual threat.  That’s not something that keeps me up at night.”  The tapes and transcript of Ambassador Bosworth’s oral history interview will be retired at the National Archives and Records Administration.

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  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State November 6, 2015 The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–16, Documents on Chile, 1969–1973. This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important foreign policy issues of the Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford presidential administrations. The volume documents U.S. policy toward Chile from January 1969 to September 24, 1973, when the Nixon administration announced its extension of diplomatic recognition to the military junta under General Augusto Pinochet. It is an online-only supplement to Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXI, Chile, 1969–1973, and should be read in conjunction with that volume, as well with the upcoming Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–11, Part 2, Documents on South America, 1973–1976. The primary focus of Volume E–16 is on the attitudes adopted and actions taken by the U.S. Government toward the installation of two successive Chilean presidents: the election and inauguration of Salvador Allende in September 1970 and the military coup d’état of General Augusto Pinochet in September 1973. In contrast to the printed volume, this supplement includes a selection of Presidential tape recordings, as transcribed by the editors, which add context and detail to formal records on President Nixon’s posture toward President Allende, as well as several documents on human rights violations in the aftermath of the Pinochet coup d’état. This volume was compiled and edited by James McElveen and James Siekmeier , and is available exclusively on the Office of the Historian website at http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76ve16. For further information, contact Adam Howard, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 955–0202 or by e-mail to history@state.gov.

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  • “This Hateful Thing”—The Berlin Wall Crisis, August 1961

    What should I have done? More than 30,000 people, in fact the best and most qualified people from the [German Democratic Republic], left the country in July. You can easily calculate when the East German economy would have collapsed if we hadn’t done something soon against the mass flight. There were, though, only two kinds of countermeasures: cutting off air traffic or the Wall. The former would have brought us to a serious conflict with the United States which possibly could have led to war. I could not and did not want to risk that. So the Wall was the only remaining option. —Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev It was an act of desperation, a “hateful thing,” in Khrushchev’s words, but the East German leadership had been pleading with their Soviet allies for months to take action against the refugee flow, and finally the situation had become intolerable. Berlin had been a breeding ground for crises since the earliest days of the Cold War; this latest round had begun with the Vienna Summit with Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy in early June 1961. There Khrushchev demanded that Berlin be transformed into a demilitarized free city, a move that he considered recognition of the de facto status of Germany in the aftermath of WWII. Kennedy rejected this demand, convinced that a U.S. withdrawal from Berlin would cause devastating harm to the credibility of the United States. The failure of the summit heightened fears of the East German populace that they might lose the option to cross the border, and so the flow of refugees increased—17,791 in May, 19,198 in June, then an acceleration to over 1000 per day in July and early August. The flow of skilled workers across the border threatened to destroy the East German economy. Finally on July 6, Khrushchev gave in to the long-standing East German plea that the Soviets seal the border to West Berlin. Khrushchev was concerned not just with the U.S. response, but with the East Germans’ willingness to confine the action to East German territory. “Not a millimeter farther,” he emphasized to East German leader Walter Ulbricht. The decision triggered a remarkable preparatory stage. Closure would require a massive assembly of materiel, meticulous planning, and careful timing, all under conditions of absolute secrecy. Beyond the creation of physical barriers to movement, the East Germans executed planning on shutting down the vast range of transportation systems then active across the city. The Soviets and East Germans adjusted their military posture, both in command relations—transferring the control of the East German forces to the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany— and in a quiet reinforcement and upgrade of Soviet troops in Germany. All was aimed at having the East Germans control the front lines of the borders, with the Soviets providing massive backup. In early August, at a meeting of the leaders of the Warsaw Pact states in Moscow, the Soviets and East Germans informed their allies of the planned action in Berlin. There Khrushchev offered Ulbricht the opportunity to decide when to close the border. From the first days of planning the action, the East Germans had expected to execute the closure on a Sunday, when Western response would be delayed and many Berliners would be out of the city. Now Ulbricht and Khrushchev set the date for the night of August 12–13. “The date for beginning of border control,” Khrushchev later recalled, “was to be August 13, 1961. We kidded among ourselves that in the West the thirteenth is supposed to be an unlucky day. I joked that for us and for the entire socialist camp it would be a very lucky day indeed.” Neither of the leaders underestimated the risks they were taking with this dramatic action. Ulbricht feared that the West would respond with an economic blockade; he and Khrushchev pressed the other Warsaw Pact allies to provide aid to the East Germans. In the best traditions of alliance relations, the allies responded unenthusiastically to the request for aid, all emphasizing their own economic problems. They were aware as well of the threat of military action, a threat that Khrushchev considered limited but could not entirely discount. Ulbricht returned to Berlin, and on August 7 reported on the Warsaw Pact conference to the Politburo. There he announced the timing for the border control measure as the final preparations began. The Soviets and East Germans conducted a last joint planning meeting the day before the closing, and the Soviet representative, Ambassador Mikhail Pervukhin, took this last opportunity to emphasize the importance of not taking this action too far: “If something goes wrong,” he commented to Ulbricht, “we’ll both lose our heads.” Ulbricht signed the orders to close the border at 4 p.m. on August 12, and the operation began at midnight.  As Hope Harrison wrote, “the East Germans started by securing the border with barbed wire, but then added concrete blocks, guard towers, mine strips, dogs, and a shoot-to-kill ban. Free movement on foot, by car, truck, tram, and boat from East to West Berlin was terminated.” Four days later concrete blocks began to appear, eventually growing out into the massive wall that persisted for the decades ahead. The extensive planning and preparation by the Soviets and East Germans were remarkably effective in preserving operational security. The Western allies and the United States were taken entirely by surprise. The reaction was further complicated by the need to operate in concert with the allies in different forums, with all the players unwilling to risk war or serious economic conflict. A meeting among the Four Power Ambassadorial Steering Group the day following the closure explored the options available in response—diplomatic protests, limitations on travel, limitations on cultural exchanges, and so on. All agreed that “propaganda exploitation” would be the most important response, and the British provided a list of themes that were accepted by the other powers. Mayor Willy Brandt wrote President Kennedy a personal letter two days after the wall went up, and Kennedy responded on August 18. Kennedy conceded that there were “no steps available to us which can force a significant material change in this present situation. Since it represents a resounding confession of failure and of political weakness, this brutal border closing evidently represents a basic Soviet decision which only war could reverse. Neither you nor we, nor any of our Allies, have ever supposed that we should go to war on this point.”  Kennedy chose to respond through a reinforcement of the American garrison in Berlin, and through an acceleration of the military buildup already in progress. In the end, the “propaganda exploitation” was in fact the most important response, and it maintained its power through the remaining decades of the Cold War. As the infrastructure of the Wall spread, and the casualties mounted, and as the images of East Germans shot while attempting to escape to the West multiplied, the Wall became an iconic symbol of the vast differences between the Soviet bloc and the West. Presidents from Kennedy to Reagan used the Wall as a backdrop for some of the most memorable remarks in modern American diplomatic history. Finally it was the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, that marked the end of the Cold War, as the unceasing impulse of the East German people to find freedom finally overcame the willingness of their leaders to impose control by force. Sources: Hope M. Harrison. Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. See especially pages 182–223. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, vol. XIV, Berlin Crisis 1961–1962. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993.

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  • todaysdocument:Do You Have Suggestions for NARA’s Digitization...

    todaysdocument: As the National Archives sets out on its ambitious goal to digitize all of its holdings, planning just how we’re going to accomplish this is critical to our success.  One of the first steps in that plan is prioritizing what will be digitized. No prioritization would be complete without the feedback and suggestions of the people who discover and use our records every day.   What would you like to see the National Archives digitize over the next few years?  Is there a particular theme, topic, or event on which you would like to see our digitization efforts focused?  Now is your chance to tell us! From now until August 14th, engage in the discussion about digitization priorities in our online town hall on Crowd Hall. Post ideas, provide feedback, make suggestions and then vote on your favorites.   Since our holdings cover a lot of topics, we’ve broken them down into broad categories: Science/Tech/Health: Agriculture, Environment, Public Health, Science and Technology, Space and Aviation Military & Veterans: Military/Wars, Veterans Culture & Heritage: Civil/Political Rights, Genealogy, Ethnic Heritage, Immigration/Emigration Government & Law: Diplomacy/Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Court Records, Law Enforcement, Maritime Administration, Geography and Land Use Curious what’s already been digitized? Check out the National Archives Catalog. (Most of the items we feature here on Today’s Document come directly from the Catalog - just follow the source link on every post.) What records would you like the National Archives to digitize next?

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  • A terrific post by our friends at the US National Archives’...

    U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba. U.S. Ambassador’s Office, Havana, Cuba, 1953 U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba,1953 Construction of U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 17, 1951 Construction of U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 3, 1951 Construction site for U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba A terrific post by our friends at the US National Archives’ Document of the Day todaysdocument: It has been 54 years since the U.S. Embassy in Havana closed its doors.  Upon ending diplomatic relations with our neighboring island nation, President Eisenhower announced, “It is my hope and my conviction that it is in the not too distant future that it will be possible for the historic friendship between us once again to find its reflection in normal relations of every sort.” Although it has taken more than half a century, President Obama recently announced that the United States would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Coincidentally, the National Archives Still Photos Division recently acquired a large collection of photos from the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations.  The collection includes photos of embassies, consulates, and diplomatic residencies from all over the world.  Included in this collection are a number of photos from the original U.S. embassy in Cuba.  These photos were processed earlier this month and can be viewed at:  Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations with Cuba (Historic Photos) | The Unwritten Record

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  • todaysdocument: The Battle of Waterloo, as Reported by John...

    todaysdocument: The Battle of Waterloo, as Reported by John Quincy Adams: June 18, 2015.  The bicentennial of the battle of Waterloo, one of the most important events in early nineteenth century European history.  At that battle, an Anglo-Allied army commanded by the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard Blucher and defeated the French army commanded by Napoleon.  The battle put an end to the so-called “Hundred Days” marking the period between Napoleon’s return from exile on Elba to the restoration of King Louis XVIII on the throne of France.  It also marked the end of twenty years of European conflict in which the United States was both directly and indirectly involved. Recently staff at usnatarchives and colleagues at historyatstate located  American diplomatic reports about that event.  One of the documents they located in the series, Despatches from Diplomatic Officers, 1789-1906 (NAID 603720) is the July 25, 1815, despatch by U.S. Minister to Great Britain John Quincy Adams (this document can be found on roll 15 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M30).  Adams had only recently presented his credentials as the new U.S. diplomatic representative in Great Britain when the United States and Great Britain renewed diplomatic relations after the War of 1812. Among other things, the report, in Adams’s distinctive handwriting, includes brief mentions of the defeat and the battle, notice of Napoleon’s surrender, a comment on the powers performed by Louis XVIII, and reaction of the French people to the restoration: ”The external combination against Napoleon has again overpowered him, probably as before with the assistance of internal treachery.” “After having been defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, he abdicated again the Imperial dignity, and finding it impossible to escape, surrendered himself by going on board the British Ship of War Bellerophon, Captain Maitland.”Louis 18th has again been restored, or rather permitted by the Allies to issue Proclamations and Ordinances as king of France – In other respects the allies treat France as a conquered country – levying contributions; taking possession of public property; and appointing Governors in the Provinces overrun by their arms.” ”No act of any sort, expressive of the consent of the French People to be ruled by the Bourbon family has appeared. On the contrary manifestations of the strongest repugnancy against them are daily occurring under the half a million of foreign bayonets by which they have been restored.Read more at  The Text Message » Waterloo!

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  • From Soup to (Ice Cream) Nuts: Brussels Expo 1958

    On May 5, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed former President Herbert Hoover as his personal representative at that year’s Brussels Universal and International Exhibition. Hoover was well-known to the Belgian people as the head of the Commission for the Relief of Belgium during the First World War. Unlike previous trips he made to the country, he joked in 1958, “this was a happier occasion.”[1]  Herbert Hoover, January 11, 1917, Photo Credit: Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum Hoover and his delegation, which included Deputy Under Secretary of State Robert D. Murphy, a former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium (1949-52), arrived in Brussels on July 3. The next day, Hoover spoke “On American Ideals,” then marked “Hoover Day” on July 5 by speaking “On the Commission for the Relief of Belgium.” In praising the unprecedented organization that pioneered famine relief efforts in the twentieth century, Hoover said,  “This is an occasion and a setting which reaches into the depths of our memories and our emotions. Here in this very room at this very table we worked together for long years in the First World War. Here we managed the supply of food for 10,000,000 people. We cared for the ill, the aged and the destitute. And beyond that our organizations sustained the morale, the unity and the spiritual strength of a people during those four dreadful years. My visit today to Belgium is a happier one for me than for any of your visitors.”[2]  The former president culled his memories of those dark wartime years. In one incident, he recalled, a woman in charge of a soup kitchen told him, “the emblem of Belgium is now a child carrying a soup bucket.” The woman noted with pride that Belgians made the best soup on Earth. “And that is still true today,” he told the audience, “but you do not need a bucket to get it.”[3] Hoover noted the lasting dividends from that experience. “The Belgian Relief Organization was unprecedented in history,” he said. “It pioneered the war Food Administrations in the modern world. It pioneered the methods of relief of great famines.”[4]  By 1958, the emphasis on food was no longer solely about survival—instead, it was increasingly celebrated as a cultural endeavor. At the Brussels Exposition, the Brass Rail Restaurant introduced fairgoers to regional American cuisines. One popular highlight was a drugstore soda fountain that served ice creams and sodas.  [1] “Hoover Comes Home, Praises U.S. Pavilion,” Washington Post and Times Herald, July 7, 1958, A3  [2] Herbert Hoover, “On the Commission for the Relief of Belgium: Address Delivered in Brussels to the Belgian People on the Occasion of “Hoover Day” [July 5, 1958],” in Addresses Upon the American Road, 1955-60, (Caldwell, Idaho, 1961), 45.  [3] Ibid, 48.  [4] Ibid, 50.  Sources: Robert H. Haddow, Pavilions of Plenty: Exhibiting American Culture Abroad in the 1950s, (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997); “Hoover Comes Home, Praises U.S. Pavilion,” Washington Post and Times Herald, July 7, 1958, A3; Herbert Hoover, “On the Commission for the Relief of Belgium: Address Delivered in Brussels to the Belgian People on the Occasion of “Hoover Day” [July 5, 1958],” in Addresses Upon the American Road, 1955-60, (Caldwell, Idaho, 1961), 45-53.

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  • Haiti 1949

    The Haiti Exposition of 1949, “Peace and Progress,” celebrated the bicentennial of Port-au-Prince’s founding and was the first time that an officially-designated world’s fair was held in the Caribbean. The first section of the exposition opened on December 8, 1949, during which President of Haiti Dumarsais Estimé dedicated the exposition’s main thoroughfare as “Boulevard Harry S. Truman.”  Plaque on Truman Boulevard in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit : Harry S. Truman Library & Museum  Although the U.S. President was unable to attend, he sent a message, which was delivered by U.S. Ambassador to Haiti William de Courcy at 3:30p.m,  “I felicitate Your Excellency in the name of the people of the United States, and through you the Haitian people, upon the inauguration of this Exposition which commemorates the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city of Port-au-Prince. On an occasion so auspicious, Haiti can well look back with pride upon two centuries of history during which she won and has retained her independence as the second oldest republic of this hemisphere.”[1]   The exposition’s second portion, which featured international showcases, was inaugurated on February 12, 1950, the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. The date was selected by the Haitians, “as a tribute to the man who freed the slaves in the vast country to the north.”[2] Read the message of condolence sent by D. Bruno, Secretary and Acting Chargé of the Haitian Legation near the Government of the United States upon learning of Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865.  [1] “Haiti Inaugurates Bicentennial; Names Street for President Truman,” Department of State Bulletin, December 19, 1949, 945-6  [2] “Haiti Honors Lincoln in Opening World’s Fair,” Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 1950.  Sources: “Haiti Inaugurates Bicentennial; Names Street for President Truman,” Department of State Bulletin, December 19, 1949, 945-6; “Haiti Honors Lincoln in Opening World’s Fair,” Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 1950.

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  • A World’s Fair On the Brink of War: New York Exposition 1939

    Despite the gathering clouds of war around the globe in 1938, Secretary of State Cordell Hull commended the planned 1939 New York Exposition as a tool to advance peace. By the fall of 1938, 62 nations and the League of Nations indicated that they would participate or be officially represented in the fair—despite the withdrawal of the German Third Reich earlier that year (citing financial constraints).[1]  Secretary of State Cordell Hull, February 1939. Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Print and Photograph Division, Washington DC   The “World of Tomorrow” opened to the public on May 1, 1939, and celebrated, in part, the sesquicentennial of the inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States. On May 20, the first regularly scheduled air route between the United States and Europe was inaugurated by a Pan American Airways “flying boat,” the Yankee Clipper.[2] The airliner departed from Port Washington, Long Island, on the twelve-year anniversary of the first nonstop transatlantic flight between New York and Paris undertaken by Charles Lindbergh. Before heading east over the Atlantic Ocean, the Yankee Clipper passed over the Aviation Building at the World’s Fair grounds.   Rather than serving as a harbinger of peace, the fair’s fall season was marred by the spread of war. Secretary Hull, speaking during the celebration of Pan American Day at the New York Exposition on September 22, nevertheless called on those states not yet embroiled in conflict to continue pressing for peaceful international relations:  “Less than a quarter of a century ago, 12 of our American republics were involved in a world war. When that ordeal ended, all of us were determined to devote our best efforts toward the establishment of a world order in which recourse to war as an instrument of accomplishing national aims would be unthinkable….Now that a major war in Europe is a grim reality, there is greater necessity than ever before for all nations, still in a position to do so, to increase their exertions for the preservation of those fundamental principles of civilized international relations, through the application of which alone, we of the Americas are firmly convinced, the progress of the human race can be maintained. There is no other basis of enduring peace, of cultural and material advancement for nations and for individuals, of social and political institutions founded upon human freedom and the dignity of the human soul.”[3]   [1] “Hull Praises Fair as Force for Peace: Felicitates Whalen on Report,” New York Times, February 4, 1938, 23.  [2] “Clipper at Azores as First Airliner with Europe Mail,” New York Times, May 21, 1939, 1.  [3] “The Significance of the Pan American Movement, Address by the Secretary of State,” Department of State Bulletin, No. 13, September 23, 1939, 286-9.

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  • The Jason and the World Expo: From Christmas Gifts to Art, 1915

    The voyage of the USS Jason was a charitable endeavor. Thanks to an initiative by Chicago writer Lilian Bell, the collier, known as the “Christmas Ship,” brought gifts to war orphans in Europe in November and December 1914. After it deposited its original cargo, the Jason loaded materials for its return voyage: artwork from war-torn Europe destined for exhibit at the 1915 world’s fair in San Francisco. Thanks to the quick coordination of U.S. diplomats and consuls, paintings, sculpture, and other items of fine art from Belgium, France, Italy, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Greece, and Spain made their way to California aboard the Jason, a cargo insured at $3,500,00.[1]  “Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World’s Fair at San Francisco,” Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Washington, D.C  The exposition, known as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. Despite the somber background of war around the globe, the PPIE opened on February 1915. One of the fair’s themes was food. The Palace of Food Products showcased an array of flavors that year, captured by Linie Loyall McLaren’s The Panama-Pacific Cookbook . The nearly 200-page collection, subtitled “Savory Bits from the World’s Fare,” contained recipes from 60 countries and represented the diversity of displays at the PPIE. The San Francisco Exposition closed in November 1915. The artwork, however, did not immediately return to war-torn Europe. Instead, the treasures that the Jason carried to the New World were exhibited in U.S. cities including Brooklyn, Toledo, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Minneapolis. Read about how San Francisco won the 1915 exposition: “Fair Fight,” U.S. House of Representatives History Office.  [1] Frank M. Todd, The Story of the Exposition, Volume 2, (New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1921), 140.  Sources: Frank M. Todd, The Story of the Exposition, Volume 2, (New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1921), 140; L.L. McLaren, The Panama-Pacific Cookbook, (San Francisco: Blair-Murdock Company, 1915).

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  • Opening a Digital Window onto the Early Cold War—Part 2

    Today, the Office of the Historian is proud to announce our second quarterly “mass launch” of digital Foreign Relations of the United States publications, as we work toward the complete publication of our back catalog, extending back to 1861. This salvo includes sixteen volumes documenting the tumultuous early post-WWII years, beginning with the conferences at Malta and Yalta in 1945, and extending through 1951, as the contours of the Cold War were being drawn.  The Yalta Foreign Relations volume, produced in response to a Congressional request for accelerated coverage of Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime diplomacy, represented a watershed for the series when it was first published in 1955. In producing the volume, Department of State historians pursued expanded access to significant records held by other government agencies. Although the Foreign Relations series remained focused on Department of State records for another generation, the Yalta volume began a long process of broadening coverage to incorporate essential documents held by other parts of the U.S. Government.  The release of these publications represents a long-term partnership between the University of Wisconsin Madison Digital Collections Center and the Office of the Historian in a program to digitize the entire Foreign Relations series, and post these earlier volumes for public access at history.state.gov. To date, the digitization initiative has resulted in the publication of about 270 volumes—over half of the entire back catalog—of the Foreign Relations series. In general, we are publishing the volumes in reverse chronological order, with adjustments based on high-interest events and volumes—for example, we prioritized the release of the Lincoln condolence volume to commemorate his death on April 14, and volumes documenting U.S. diplomacy in the first days of World War I to coincide with the centennial of that war’s beginning.  Future publications will move further into the back catalog, and we look forward to announcing their release in future quarters. The full list of volumes released today is below, with links to the online and ebook versions of these volumes. Researchers may also be interested in accessing the raw data for each volume; this can be found on our GitHub site. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers   Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945 Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948  Eastern Europe; The Soviet Union, Volume IV  The Far East and Australasia, Volume VI  The Western Hemisphere, Volume IX Foreign Relations of the United States, 1949  The Far East: China, Volume IX Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950  Central and Eastern Europe; The Soviet Union, Volume IV  The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Volume V  East Asia and the Pacific, Volume VI  Korea, Volume VII Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951  The United Nations; the Western Hemisphere, Volume II  European Security and the German Question, Volume III, Part 1  European Security and the German Question, Volume III, Part 2  Europe: Political and Economic Developments, Volume IV, Part 1  Europe: Political and Economic Developments, Volume IV, Part 2  Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 1  Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 2

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  • Meet Me At the Fair: St. Louis 1904

    The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, held in St. Louis, Missouri, opened to the public on April 30, 1904. One of the largest international world fairs of the pre-World War One era, the event celebrated the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. Government’s acquisition of land from France and subsequent expansion westward. An enchanted city, the St. Louis Exposition at night. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. On May 19, Secretary of State John Hay gave a speech to the press gathered at the exposition. In celebrating “this great festival of peace and of progress,” the St. Louis native (and former newspaperman) fondly recalled, “The years of my boyhood were passed on the banks of the Mississippi, and the great river was the scene of my early dreams. The boys of my day led an amphibious life in and near its waters in the summer time, and in the winter its dazzling ice bridge of incomparable beauty and purity, was our favorite playground; while our imaginations were busy with the glamour and charm of the distant cities of the South, with their alluring French names and their legends of stirring adventure and pictures of perpetual summer.” [1] Forty countries accepted invitations by the U.S. Government to attend, participate, or be represented in the St. Louis Exposition. Among the foreign exhibits were mosaics from Austria, a “collection of Royal presents” and ostrich feathers from Great Britain, fruits and fish from Canada, “liquors and sirups” from Haiti, cocoa from Peru, and game from New Zealand. Brazil’s display included elements highlighting its “coffee culture” while Ceylon shared its “tea culture” and spices.[2] [1] “Address of the Secretary of State at the Opening of the Press Parliament of the World, at St. Louis, on May 19, 1904,” (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904), 2. [2] International Expositions , (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1912), 14-15. Sources: “The Louisiana Purchase Exposition: The 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair,” Missouri Digital Heritage; “Topics in Chronicling America–The St. Louis World’s Fair,” Library of Congress; “Address of the Secretary of State at the Opening of the Press Parliament of the World, at St. Louis, on May 19, 1904,” (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904);  International Expositions , (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1912).

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  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State December 18, 2014 The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume IX, Arab-Israeli Dispute, August 1978–December 1980. As part of the Foreign Relations subseries devoted to the foreign policy of the administration of President Jimmy Carter, this volume is the second of two volumes that document U.S. efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute. This volume begins with the August 1978 acceptance by Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin of President Carter’s invitation to attend a tripartite summit meeting at Camp David. It traces the course of the September 1978 Camp David Summit and the series of negotiations which followed, talks which culminated in the conclusion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on March 26, 1979. During this period, the Arab-Israeli dispute was top on the list of U.S. foreign policy priorities, reflected in President Carter’s direct involvement in the peace process. With the U.S. failure to broaden Arab support for its diplomatic efforts and the pressures caused by a growing number of crises elsewhere, the administration’s engagement with the Arab-Israeli dispute entered a less intensive phase after the spring of 1979. The volume concludes by documenting the administration’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to build upon the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty and address the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the last eighteen months of the administration, U.S. diplomacy toward this issue focused on keeping the faltering autonomy negotiations on track, securing the continued goodwill and stability of Egypt, mediating Sadat’s public rivalries with other Arab countries, dealing with the upheaval in Lebanon, and addressing the series of resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli dispute brought before the United Nations. This volume was compiled and edited by Alexander R. Wieland. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1977-80v09. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044-000-02669-4; ISBN 978-0-16-09-2659-4), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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  • Press Release

    Office of the Historian Bureau of Public Affairs United States Department of State August 22, 2013 The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume II, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the administration of Jimmy Carter. It illustrates the Carter administration’s efforts to define and implement a broad-based human rights policy, including the establishment of the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs within the Department of State, the creation of human rights coordinating and review groups, issuance of a Presidential Directive on human rights, institutionalization and standardization of human rights reporting, and pursuit of human rights within the United Nations and other multilateral venues. The volume also documents steps undertaken by the Carter administration to fight hunger, launch a global health initiative, and advocate for women’s rights. This volume was compiled and edited by Kristin L. Ahlberg. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1977-80v02. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO S/N 044-000-02653-8 ISBN 978-0-16-091367-9), or by calling toll-free 1–866–512–1800 (D.C. area 202–512–1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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  • New Publication: Volume XXXIV, National Security Policy, 1969–1972

    This volume documents U.S. national security policy in the context of the Vietnam War and the changing Cold War strategic balance between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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  • New Publication: Southern Africa, 1969–1976

    This volume documents U.S. policy toward Southern Africa during the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, revealing policies designed to maintain stability in the region and to avoid domestic and international criticism of U.S. ties to the white minority regimes in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.

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