About the DNSA

The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) contains declassified government documents spanning fifty years (1945 on) of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection it contains.  These collections are developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.

The DNSA is compiled/produced by the National Security Archive.  They are a non-profit research institute and library located at George Washington University (more about the National Security Archive) .  It is this archive's published collections of declassified U.S. government documents that comprise the DNSA.

The UCB Library subscribes to the DNSA.  Because it is a licensed resource, off-campus access will require the proxy server (see the For starters tab for proxy server details) .

Access path = Library website >  Electronic resources (FIND INFORMATION tab) > ...by type >  government information sources @ the federal level > Digital National Security Archive

DNSA use tips

  • Link to Collections Guide to review descriptions
    • ignore the new collection (not available to you)
  • Link to promising titles to get details (example:  Cuban Missile Crisis).
    Particularly, note...
    • scope of collection
    • sources included
    • limitations to collection
    • link to search the specific collection
  • Search chosen collection by...
    • keyword
    • name or oranization (example:  castro)
    • date
    • above searches are likely to be the most helpful (full search details)
  • Results are in chronological order
    • display notes document tile, classification level, type and date  (full details)
  • Link to documents full record for...
    • citation information
    • who wrote it
    • who it was written to
    • an abstract of the document's content
    • link to document (pdf option available from document view)
    • output options: email, download, etc.
      • save maintains results for later access (must establish My Archive profile; must use UCB email address)
    • more help reading full record display
Read more


The Foreign Relations of the United Sates (FRUS) is the doumentary record of major U.S. foreign policy decisons.  It is dipolmatic records that have been declassified and edited for publication (communication between U.S. embassies/diplomats and the U.S. State Department).  It is produced by the U.S. State Department, Office of the Historian. (full description).

  • began with administation of Abraham Lincoln
  • coverage lags 20-30 years after the date of events
  • arranged chronologically by year until 1960,
    by presidential administration thereafter

Access:  the Office of the Historian provides digital access to the FRUS after 1945 on their website (the University of Wisconsin at Madison Libraries provides digital access to earlier volumes).  Links to both can be found in the record for the FRUS in OskiCat.

  • link to OskiCat record (I identified this record in OskiCat via a title search for FRUS)
    • see the online versions section of record
    • first link is to FRUS from the Office of the Historian
    • second link is to University of Wisconsin (FRUS prior to 1961)

FRUS use tips

* Because your research focus is from 1945 on, and because the Office of the Historian's site covers that entire time frame, these tips focus on using that site's digital version of the FRUS *

An easy way to use the FRUS is to browse by administration:

  1. Use Historical documents menu and select Foreign Relations of the United States
  2. link via administrations (under portraits of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon or Ford - the latest covered administrations)

    For Pre-Kennedy administrations, use the Browse by Administration drop-down menu (left side of screen) [all prior administrations presented together in chronological order]
  • scan volumesof the FRUS for that administration
    • arranged chronologically
    • volume titles indicate geographic and/or subject focus

  • link to specific volume
    • overview
    • table of contents
      • sources (what's included)
      • an index (with links into collection)
      • link to actual documents (in date order)
  • document view

    • document text
    • support notations: abbreviations/persons
    • view or print image copy
    • note: mouseover source info. indicates where the original source is held
      (not how you would cite the document in your paper)
    • note: mouseover footnotes are after the fact (notations by editors compiling FRUS)
Last Update: May 30, 2012 10:54