U.S. Foreign Policy: Information Resources

This is a selective guide to resources at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet, for conducting research on United States foreign policy. Most of the items included are available in Lehman Library or Offsite. Prior to 1976, documents are mostly located in Butler Library and can be located through the Butler Card Catalog.

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.

Online Catalogs

  • CLIO: Columbia Libraries Online Catalog
    CLIO is the online catalog for the Columbia and Barnard libraries. It includes over 4 million records for books, journal or newspaper titles (not articles), online resources, government documents, microforms, sound or video recordings, archival collections, etc.
  • Pegasus: Columbia University Law School Library Online Catalog
    Pegasus includes: U.S. federal and state law, selected Commonwealth jurisdictions, major foreign language collections and, since 1983, vernacular and Western language materials pertaining to law in Japan and the People's Rep. of China.
  • WorldCat
    An online catalog of the collections of 24,000 member libraries of the OCLC consortium, comprising more than 36 million records for books, serials, manuscript collections, audiovisual materials, computer files, and other media.
  • Borrow Direct
    A borrowing service offered by the university libraries of Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. It is designed to allow students, faculty and staff to request (and receive in four days) books directly from each other's collections.

Background Information

Research Guides

  • American Foreign Relations Since 1600: a Guide to the Literature. 2 vols. 2nd ed.
    Santa Barbara, CA : ABC-CLIO, 2003.
    Call Number: Z 6465 .U5 G84 2003
    Call Number: R016.973 Am3547
    Call Number: E 183.7 G84 2003
  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg.
    Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States, 1775-1921.
    Washington : GPO, 1935.
    Call Number: R016.973 B4241 (Copies available in multiple locations)
  • Foreign Affairs 50-year Bibliography. 5 vols.(1919/32-1962/72)
    New York : Council on Foreign Relations, 1933-1976.
    Call Number: Z 6461 .F62 (Copies available in multiple locations)
    Call Number: R016.9 L2631
  • Goehlert, Robert.
    The Department of State and American Diplomacy: a Bibliography.
    New York : Garland, 1986.
    Call Number: Z 6465.U5 G63 1986
    Call Number: R016.973 G553
  • Haines, Gerald K.
    A Reference Guide to United States Department of State Special Files.
    Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1985.
    Call Number: CD 3031 1984
    Call Number: R016.973 Un3544
  • Kahl, Chad M.
    International Relations, International Security, and Comparative Politics : a Guide to Reference and Information Sources.
    Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2008.
    Call Number: Z 6461 .K34 2008
  • Sears, Jean L.
    Using Government Information Sources: Electronic and Print. 3rd ed.
    Phoenix : Oryx Press, 2001.
    Call Number: Z 1223 .Z7 S4 2001
       Several chapters serve as excellent guides: Foreign Policy, Treaties, Foreign Countries, etc. Highly recommended.


Indexes, Abstracts & Databases

  • American Foreign Policy and Treaty Index (AFPTI).
    Washington, D.C. : CIS, 1993-1999. (Ceased publication)
    Call Number: Z 1245 .A45 (Copies available in multiple locations)
       A comprehensive index, with abstracts, to key foreign policy documents produced by the executive branch, Congress, and independent agencies, covering such topics as human rights, arms control, economic and military assistance, and international finance. Both depository and non-depository publications are indexed, with an accompanying AFPTI microfiche set of the full text of the non-depository publications.
  • CIAO: Columbia International Affairs Online
    Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is designed to be the most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 on that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, and proceedings from conferences.
  • Declassified Documents Reference System - U.S.
    Indexing and access to full text of previously classified U.S. government documents.
  • Development Experience Clearinghouse
    A searchable database for publications and reports of the Agency for International Development, which contains records for about 127,000 Agency technical and program documents. It also makes about 22,000 key Agency documents available for download.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports
    A database of full text translations of newspaper articles, conference proceedings, radio and television broadcasts, periodicals, non-classified technical reports and local media sources from around the world. Specializes in socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, and environmental issues and events. Covers 1941-1996; continued by World News Connection, below.
  • International Political Science Abstracts. Online 1989-present, updated quarterly.
    Paris: International Political Science Association, 1951-
    Call Number: JA 36 .I5 (1951-1999)
  • ProQuest Congressional
    A searchable database of congressional publications. Foreign policy materials may be located under such subject headings as "Foreign Assistance," Foreign Relations," "Military Assistance," and the names of specific acts and programs, as well as country name.
  • ProQuest Statistical Insight
       The ProQuest Statistical Insight database provides comprehensive access to statistical data.
  • PAIS International.
    New York: Public Affairs Information Service Inc. 1915-
    Call Number: Z 7163 .P922 (Copies available in multiple locations)
  • World News Connection
    An index with links to full text translations of newspaper articles, conference proceedings, radio and television broadcasts, periodicals, non-classified technical reports and local media sources from around the world. Specializes in socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, and environmental issues and events. Covers 1994 to the present; continues FBIS Daily Reports, above.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
    The database contains abstracts of books and articles from professional journals and major news magazines, devoted to North American and international politics.

Executive Agencies and Departments

The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. The Secretary of State is the President's principal adviser on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad. However, there are numerous other federal agencies which perform a vital role in the shaping of United States foreign policy.

Congressional Publications

The Documentary Record of American Foreign Policy

The first two items listed in this section record the current status of regulation and law, respectively, in the area of foreign policy in general. The remaining items represent official foreign policy documents which were originally issued unclassified (or which passed the standard 30-year declassification period, in the case of FRUS). For reference to declassified documents, please consult sections on Classified/Declassified Documents and FOIA in the United States Intelligence Community guide.

  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Annual. 1936-
    Washington, D.C. : Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, 1938-
    Print version not available.
    S A.3 C642 - Law Microfiche (1938-present)
    Online versions: 1996-present, 1936-present
  • United States Code. Published every six years, with supplements.
    Washington, D.C. : U.S. Congress. House, 1926-
       The most relevant section is Title 22: Foreign Relations and Intercourse, but several other titles also apply to specific areas of foreign policy.
  • The Department of State Web Site
    Contains all of the current major publications of the Dept. of State, with links to archives of publications 2001-present.
  • Electronic Research Collection, U.S. Dept. of State and the University of Illinois at Chicago Library
    ERC has two purposes. First, it is responsible for electronically archived information products produced by State Department from 1990 to 2001. UIC also works to assure that the electronic archives are easily accessible and clearly organized. Second, the UIC depository librarians work with the State Department public affairs staff to answer email questions from the public, and help users find other information sources about U.S. foreign policies and programs.
  • American Foreign Policy
    • Basic Documents, 1977-1980.
      Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1983.
      Call Number: JX 1417 .A131
         Contains texts of major official messages, addresses, statements, reports, and communications relating to foreign policy.
    • Current Documents. Annual.
      Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1981-1990.
      Call Number: JX 1417 .A132
         Annual update of title above, but ceased in 1990.
    • Foreign Affairs Press Briefings. Supplement. . Annual.
      Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of State, Office of the Historian, 1984-1989.
      Call Number: JX 1417 .A1321 Suppl.
         Contains full texts of Dept. of State Daily Press Briefings, Dept. of State and White House Special Press Briefings, and treaties, conventions, and protocols concluded in the year of publication.
  • American Foreign Relations. Annual.
    New York : New York University Press, 1971-1978.
    Call Number: JX 231 .D652
       Each volume presents a condensed historical narrative together with a selection of documents reflecting salient aspects of the foreign relations of the U.S. Formed by the merger of Documents on American Foreign Relations and The United States in World Affairs.
  • American State Papers: Foreign Relations.
    The American State Papers are a collection of documents comprising the legislative and executive documents of the first fourteen Congresses from 1789 to 1838. Class One deals with Foreign Relations.
    From Hein Online: 1789-1828.
  • CLIO Search
    Columbia University Libraries has microform copies of large portions of the State Department Central Files and Diplomatic Post Records. The originals are located in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. To locate the Columbia Holdings for these microfilms, search CLIO under the subject headings: United States. Dept. of State Archives and United States. Dept. of State Archives Sources
    Some of these records are also available online, as part of the Archives Unbound database.
  • Department of State Bulletin. Monthly.
    Washington, D.C. : GPO, 1939-1989.
    Call Number: JX 232 .A2 (Copies available in multiple locations)
       Continued by Dispatch, below.
  • Digest of United States Practice in International Law
    The Office of the Legal Adviser publishes the annual Digest of United States Practice in International Law to provide the public with a historical record of the views and practice of the Government of the United States in public and private international law. Each edition contains links to full text documents such as treaties, diplomatic notes and correspondence, legal opinion letters, judicial decisions, Senate committee reports and press releases.
  • Digital National Security Archive
    The Digital National Security Archive database includes more than 80,000 of the most important declassified documents regarding critical U.S. policy decisions. There are 39 complete collections, each offering specialized insights.
  • Dispatch.
    Washington, DC : Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, 1990-1999. (Ceased publication)
    Call Number: S 1.3/5:
       The record of official activities dealing with U.S. Foreign affairs. Contains major speeches, congressional testimony, fact sheets, policy statements, current treaty actions. Dispatch supplements often reprint the text of major documents, such as treaties. A weekly publication 1990-1996; monthly, 1997-1999. The predecessor to Dispatch was the monthly Department of State Bulletin, above.
  • Documents on American Foreign Relations. Annual.
    New York : Council on Foreign Relations, 1938/39-1969/70.
    Call Number: JX 231 .D65
       A concise documentary record of the key speeches,reports, communiques, agreements, and treaties bearing on U.S. diplomacy in any given year. The companion volumes, The United States in World Affairs, offer a narrative account of the material included here. Continued by American Foreign Relations: a Documentary Record.
  • HeinOnline
    HeinOnline provides full text of major U.S. documents. Particularly useful for foreign relations are the sections: Foreign Relations of the U.S. and the U.S. Presidential Library.
  • United States. Dept. of State.
    Foreign Relations of the United States. Irregular.
    Washington : GPO, 1861-
    Call Number: JX 233 .A3 (Copies available in multiple locations)
    For additional print versions, search CLIO Title Search.
       Web Access: The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies.
    Foreign Relations volumes contain documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, Agency for International Development, and other foreign affairs agencies as well as the private papers of individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Publication of FRUS volumes occurs after the declassification of the documents, therefore publication is delayed for the last (approx.) 30 years at any one time.

    To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Foreign Relations series, the Office of the Historian at the Department of State is exploring the story behind FRUS to uncover how it became an invaluable information resource. To see the results of their research, as well as presentations about FRUS at various academic conferences, visit the FRUS Commemoration Web Site.

    The preparation of FRUS is overseen by the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation.
  • United States. President.
    United States Participation in the U.N.: Report by the President to the Congress for the Year [year] . Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : Bureau of International Organization Affairs, 1970-
    Call Number: S 1.70/8:
  • United States Contributions to International Organizations. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : Bureau of International Organization Affairs, 1951/52-1998.
    Call Number: S 1.70/9:
       A description of international organizations to which the U.S. contributes; statistics on U.S. and other countries' contributions.
    Continued by: United States Contributions to the United Nations System, 2007-present
  • The United States in World Affairs. Annual.
    New York : Council on Foreign Relations, 1931-1970.
    Call Number: JX 1416 .Un34 (Copies available in multiple locations)
       A concise, descriptive analysis of the development of American foreign policy. A companion volume to Documents on American Foreign Relations.
    Continued by American Foreign Relations: a Documentary Record.
  • University Publications of America indexes and microform sets
    Microform Reading Room, Butler Library.
       Indexes and microfilm sets for various declassified documents, such as the Confidential U.S. State Department Central Files, Documents of the National Security Council, and the national security files for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Check CLIO for specific titles.
  • Voting Practices in the United Nations [year]. Annual.
    Washington, D.C. : Dept. of State, 1983-
    Call Number: S 1.1/8:
       An analysis of the voting practices of U.N. members as it relates to U.S. policy.

Foreign Economic Relations & Foreign Aid

  • Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Dept. of State
    The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs formulates and carries out U.S. foreign economic policy, integrating U.S. economic interests with our foreign policy goals so that U.S. firms and investors can compete on an equal basis with their counterparts overseas. It implements American economic policy in cooperation with U.S. companies, U.S. Government agencies, and other organizations. Under the direction of an Assistant Secretary, the bureau negotiates agreements with foreign governments and advances U.S. positions in such international organizations as the International Monetary Fund or World Trade Organization.
  • Country Reports on Economic Policy and Trade Practices. Annual. 1993-2001.
    Call Number: Microfiche Y 4 .F76/1: C83/3/
    Call Number: HC 59 .C735
  • DSCA (Facts Book): Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales & Military Assistance Facts. Annual. 1973-
    Call Number: UA 12 .U4613
       Information on weapons systems, price, delivery dates; by country.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial ed.
    This extraordinary database contains over 37,000 data sets, fully searchable and customizable. Retrieved tables can be downloaded as Excel or PDF files, printed and graphed. Date of coverage varies, but many tables include data 1790-2000. Also available as a print version, below.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest Times to the Present. 5 vols.
    New York : Cambridge University Press, c2006.
    Call Number: HA 202 .H57 2006 (Copies available in multiple locations)
  • International Finance: Annual Report of the Chairman for the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies to the President and to the Congress for Fiscal Year [year] . Annual. 1965/66-1992.
    Call Number: HG 181 .A263
       Includes an overview of U.S. involvement in foreign aid through its activities in various development programs and international organizations, such as the IMF, the IBRD (World Bank), and the Asian Development Bank.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States. Annual. 1878-
    Call Number: HA202 .Un31 (Copies available in multiple locations)
    Both this title and Historical Statistics contain a section on "Foreign Commerce and Aid." Included are tables on foreign grants and credits and military assistance.
  • Survey of Current Business. Monthly. 1921-
    1994-present and 1921-2002
       Contains articles on foreign direct investment, U.S. direct investment abroad, and U.S. affiliates of foreign companies operations.
  • U.S. Foreign Assistance Reference Guide, 2005
    Produced under the direction of the State-USAID Joint Policy Council, this 64-page document provides a wealth of information on U.S. Foreign Assistance programs.
  • U.S. Office of the United States Trade Representative.
    [Year] National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers. Annual. 1986-
    Call Number: HF 1456 .U53
       Country-by-country review of foreign policies that are barriers to U.S. exports.
  • U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants . Annual. 1973-
    Call Number: S 18.2:OV 2/
    The report is commonly known as "The Greenbook". The Greenbook shows a complete historical record of United States' (U.S.) foreign aid to the rest of the world by reporting all loans and grants authorized by the U.S. Government for each fiscal year.

Research Institutes

  • American Enterprise Institute: Foreign and Defense Policy Studies
    AEI's work in foreign and defense policy seeks to improve the understanding of how American interests and political and economic freedom can be advanced around the world. AEI scholars analyze relations between the United States and its allies; security threats, currently focusing on Asia and the Middle East; the transition to democratic capitalism in developing and postcommunist countries; and the performance of international organizations and institutions.
  • Atlantic Council of the United States
    The Atlantic Council is a non-partisan network of leaders in the policy, academic and corporate communities who are convinced of the pivotal importance of effective U.S. foreign policy and the cohesion of U.S. international relationships. The Council is committed to enhancing U.S. initiative and leadership through sound and skillfully administered policies that identify and pursue national interests in a framework of global interdependence, and through the education of future leaders.
  • The Brookings Institution: Foreign Policy
    The Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution seeks to analyze global events and their impact on the United States, and suggest policies suited for the post-Cold War world.
  • Chicago Council on Global Affairs
    International affairs organization serving thousands of members and highlighting the importance of foreign affairs. The Council provides members, specialized groups and the general public with a forum for the consideration of significant international issues and their bearing on American foreign policy.
  • The Council on Foreign Relations
    The Council is a national membership organization and think tank with headquarters in New York, offices in Washington, D.C., and programs nationwide. The aim is to provide insights into international affairs and to develop new ideas for U.S. foreign policy, particularly national security and foreign economic policy.
  • Council on Hemispheric Affairs
    Promotes better relationships between the nations of North and South America and encourages the development and adoption of constructive U.S. policies towards Latin America.
  • The European Council on Foreign Relations
    The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is the first pan-European think-tank. Launched in October 2007, its objective is to conduct research and promote informed debate across Europe on the development of coherent and effective European values-based foreign policy.
  • The European Institute
    Organization dedicated to the study of European-U.S. relations. Founded in 1989, The European Institute serves as a neutral and informal channel of communication between government representatives, business leaders, and individual members.
  • Foreign Policy Association
    The Foreign Policy Association (FPA) is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental, educational organization founded in 1918 to educate Americans about significant world issues that have an important impact on their lives.
  • Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University
    The Hoover Institution is a public policy research center devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. With its world-renowned group of scholars and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution puts its accumulated knowledge to work as a prominent contributor to the world marketplace of ideas defining a free society.
  • Istituto Affari Internazionali
    The Institute's main objective is to promote an understanding of the problems of international politics through studies, research, meetings and publications, with the aim of increasing the opportunities of all countries to move in the direction of supranational organization, democratic freedom and social justice.
  • Middle East Policy Council
    The Middle East Policy Council was founded in 1981 to expand public discussion and understanding of issues affecting U.S. policy in the Middle East.
  • National Institute for Public Policy
    The National Institute for Public Policy devotes its agenda to assessing U.S. foreign and defense polices in the post-Cold War environment.
  • The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)
    SHAFR studies the history of U.S. diplomacy, foreign relations, and national security, and publishes a journal, Diplomatic History.
  • Women's Foreign Policy Group
    The Women's Foreign Policy Group (WFPG) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational membership organization which promotes global engagement and the leadership, visibility and participation of women in international affairs.
  • World Policy Institute, New School University