- Collection Overview
- Collection Description & Creator Information
- Access & Use
- Collection History
- Find Related Materials
- Council on foreign relations
- Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
- Council on Foreign Relations Records
- Public Policy Papers
- Permanent URL:
- 702 boxes, 22 items, and 311 Reels
- Storage Note:
Mudd Library collections are unavailable until further notice due to a renovation. See our webpage for the most current information.
The Council on Foreign Relations is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and national membership organization dedicated to improving understanding of international affairs by promoting a range of ideas and opinions on United States foreign policy. The Council has had a significant impact in the development of twentieth century United States foreign policy. The Records of the Council on Foreign Relations document the history of the organization from its founding in 1921 through the present. The collection includes valuable source documents and records of the meetings, group discussions and studies, and conferences of the Council, as well as portions of its administrative records.
Collection Description & Creator Information
The Records of the Council on Foreign Relations document the history of this research organization from its founding in 1921 through the present, detailing its role in underpinning the development of an internationalist tradition in the twentieth century United States. The collection includes valuable source documents and papers from meetings, group discussions and studies, and conferences led by American and international experts and visiting statesmen in both New York and Washington, D.C. It also includes operational records, such as files from the board of directors, administration, publication, and communication departments, the Corporate and National Program, and the independent Committees on Foreign Relations.
The records provide a source of information not only for the Council's history, but for aspects of foreign relations since 1921. The collection illuminates world affairs and the development of foreign policy from World War I through the present, examining a broad range of military, economic, political and social developments. It includes material on American and international political figures and statesmen who participated in study and discussion groups, meetings, and conferences, and who published through the Council. The records also reveal the climate of public opinion at key points in twentieth century history. The individuals and topics selected for meetings and studies illustrate what world issues were deemed important during specific times.
The Council on Foreign Relations records at the Mudd Manuscript Library do not include historic photographs, membership records, personnel files, or legal and financial files, which are retained in the Council's Archives at the Pratt House in New York.
A paper index is available for portions of the Study Group, Meeting, and Conference records in the Mudd Manuscript Library reference room; these indices have been integrated into the contents lists for Series 3: Studies Department, Series 4: Meetings, and Series 5: Conferences.
Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.
- Collection Creator Biography:
The Council on Foreign Relations (the Council) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and national membership organization dedicated to promoting improved understanding of international affairs and to contributing ideas to United States foreign policy. The Council has had a large impact in the development of twentieth century United States foreign policy. Its membership has historically been drawn from those in business, government and academia recognized as the nation's opinion leaders in international relations; membership is by invitation only. The Council's basic constituency is its members, but it also reaches out to a wider audience through its publications, Committees on Foreign Relations, Corporate Program, and media efforts, so as to contribute to the national dialogue on foreign policy.
The Studies Department spearheads the Council on Foreign Relation's efforts to promote informed discussion on issues shaping the international agenda and defines the Council's function as a foreign policy research organization. This "think tank" has played a vital role in the Council since its incorporation in the 1920s. The department includes a large number of scholars and research associates who engage each other, Council members, and non-affiliated individuals in research on topics and regions related to United States foreign policy, which historically have included topics such as international trade, arms control, and economic development, and regions such as the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Latin America, to name a few. The Studies program produces articles, books, policy reports and papers to disseminate the research undertaken by staff and members.
For a fuller history on the Council on Foreign Relations, see the finding aid for the Council on Foreign Relations Records located at http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/gb19f5814 , Peter Grose's Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921-1996 , located at http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/ and Michael Wala's The Council on Foreign Relations and American Foreign Policy in the Early Cold War (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1994).
The collection was deposited at the Library in 1998 . Title and custody of the collection were formally transferred to Princeton in 2002 . Small transfers of more recent records occur annually.
Accruals are expected from the Council on Foreign Relations on an annual basis.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
Since 1921, the Council has archived materials relating to its organization, study groups, meetings, and special events. The Council Library and Archives staff reviews records to discard records not conforming to its general retention policy. Items deemed private or inappropriate for transfer are retained by the Council.
These papers were processed with the generous support of Francis J. Carey, Frank Carlucci, C.W. Carson, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cox, William J. Crowe, Russell DaSilva, Charles Ganoe, R. Scott Greathead, Dr. Roger Kanet, Melanie Kirkpatrick, Linda and Morton Janklow, Michael S. Mathews, Bradford Mills, Edward Morse, Joseph Nye, Dr. Gerald Pollack, Harold Saunders, Anne-Marie Slaughter, John Treat, and Ezra Zilkha, as well as the John Foster and Janet Avery Dulles Fund.
- Processing Information:
This collection was processed by Mudd Library Staff including Jennifer Cole, Dan Santamaria, Kristine Marconi, Joanna Peery Polyn, Jennifer Walele, Stasia Karel, Helene Van Rossum, and Princeton University student workers from 2003-2006. Finding aid written by Jennifer Cole in 2006. Donations made after 2006 were processed by Mudd Library staff.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
All Council on Foreign Relations records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation with the exception of the Council's annual reports (located within Subseries 8B) which are not restricted.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.
- Special Requirements for Access:
The collection contains the audio portion of the Council's records on 5" and 7" reel-to-reel and cassette tapes and other audiovisual material. Access to this material follows the Mudd Manuscript Library policy for preservation and access to audiovisual materials.
- Other Finding Aids:
A finding aid for Series 3, the Council on Foreign Relations Studies Department, 1918-2004, is available online: Council on Foreign Relations Studies Department Finding Aid.
A finding aid for Series 4, the Council on Foreign Relations Meetings Records, 1920-1995, is available online: Council on Foreign Relations Meetings Records Finding Aid .
Digital sound recordings of some Council meetings are available online. The digital recordings of meeting are described in a separate finding aid: Council on Foreign Relations Digital Sound Recordings Finding Aid .
Indices to Study Group records, Meeting records, and Conference records, spanning circa 1920 through 1973 are available in hardcopy. The Conference index has been integrated into the contents list for Series 5: Conferences, and the Study Group Index (Records of Groups) and Meetings index have been integrated into the aforementioned Studies Department and Meetings Records finding aids.
A list of Council publications held by the Mudd Manuscript Library but not included in this collection (such as Foreign Affairs, Documents on American Foreign Relations, The Political Handbook, and The United States in World Affairs, as well as the Council's Newsletter, Special Reports, Task Force Reports, and other individual publications) is also available. Please contact Mudd Manuscript Library for further information.
- Credit this material:
Council on Foreign Relations Records; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Permanent URL:
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library65 Olden StreetPrinceton, NJ 08540, USA(609) 258-6345
- Alternative Form Available:
Portions of the Council's records from 1921-1951, include Conferences, Study Groups, Meetings, and the War and Peace Project, are also available on microfiche at Princeton's Firestone Library [MICROFICHE 1637]. The creation of this microfiche was conducted between the University Publications of America and the Council on Foreign Relations and did not involve Princeton University. A guide is available, see Film B Uncataloged box for microfiche 1637 at Firestone Microforms Services (Film). Additionally, many of the Council's reports are available in published form. Please consult the Princeton University Library online catalog for available published reports.
Portions of the Council's audio records described in the Sound Recordings Series have been digitized as part on an ongoing project. Contact the library for additional details.
- Publication Note:
Information in the Organizational History section, as well as descriptions of the Council's departments and functions, was gathered from material within the Council's records (notably historical information from the Administration Series and Annual Reports from the Publications Series), as well as the Council on Foreign Relations' website, http://www.cfr.org/. Of special interest are the annual reports, located at http://www.cfr.org/about/annual_report/ and Peter Grose's Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921-1996, located at http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/.
- Subject Terms:
- Economic history -- 20th century.
International relations -- 20th century.
Nonprofit organizations -- United States -- 20th century -- Records and correspondence.
Research institutes -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
World politics -- 20th century.
- Genre Terms:
- Annual reports.
- Council on foreign relations
Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973
Bundy, William P., 1917-2000
Gelb, Leslie H.
Keller, Kenneth H.
Maxwell, Kenneth, 1941-
Murphy, Richard W. (Richard William), 1929-
Peterson, Peter G.
Swing, John Temple.
- United States -- Foreign economic relations.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 20th century.