Foreign Relations of the United States Series Established U.S. Department of Seal
Department of State

In 1861 Secretary of State William H. Seward decided to publish his important diplomatic despatches. This decision established the policy of publishing the record of American diplomacy. The documentary publication entitled Foreign Relations of the United States is the oldest and most extensive enterprise of its kind. The editors of the Foreign Relations series include in volumes "all documents needed to give a comprehensive record of the major foreign policy decisions within the range of the Department of State's responsibilities, together with the appropirate materials concerning the facts which contributed to the formulation of policies." The editors are enjoined to honor "the principles of historical objectivity." They may not omit information "for the purpose of concealing or glossing over what might be regarded by some as a defect of policy."