Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 3B: Records of Groups, 1918-1996

1 item
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Records of Groups Subseries consists of the records of a wide-ranging run of study groups formed to discuss policy with regards to American interests in regions and specific nations around the globe. Topics include labor relations, military build-up, trade negotiations, and technological (and corresponding social) advances. Material within the Records of Groups Subseries documents the progress and output of the groups themselves as they studied topics of international importance.

The records are divided into several different sections. The first section consists of the early study groups, from 1922 through 1973, which were originally held in volumes. An index is available at the Mudd Manuscript Library for this portion of the study group records. The post-1973 section of records are unindexed, but are filed in chronological order based on the start date of the study group. The final section in the Records of Groups Subseries is records of projects, which include multiple study groups, speakers, seminars, workshops, etc., and cover a broad geographic or thematic range. Projects often dealt with issues the Council's Studies leadership and planning groups had targeted as future concerns – such as the War and Peace Studies, which began to determine prospects for peace after World War II from as early as 1939, as well as the 1980s Project, which reviewed wide ranging topics such as nuclear diplomacy, unemployment, the environment, human rights, industry, and trade with an eye toward the future.

Each study group's records include some or all of the following materials: information on the format, outline, and agenda of the group, correspondence regarding the group, planning, conduct, speakers and arrangements for each meeting of the group and the study group in general, background material for the meetings, a digest of the meetings (minutes) and supplementary and miscellaneous materials, all documenting the progress and results of the groups. Records of certain groups are incomplete, especially for the early years. Supplementary materials to the study groups can be found in the Scrapbooks Series; additionally, the Council's annual reports for some years include some relevant substantive information.


The Records of Groups are arranged into three sections: Volumes, Post-1973 Study Groups, and Projects. Each of these categories is arranged chronologically by first meeting date. Due to the complicated nature of some of the Project records (broad topics, multiple leaders and sections, extended timeline, largess of records), such as the War and Peace Studies, the 1980s Project, and the European American Project, we have maintained the order in which these files were received to preserve context.

Collection History


Accruals are expected from the Council on Foreign Relations on an annual basis.


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

Conditions Governing Access

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 Governing 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.

As a condition of use of the historical records of the Council on Foreign Relations, researchers must agree that they will not directly or indirectly attribute to any living person any assertion of fact or opinion based upon any Council record, or upon any unpublished record held by the Council, without first obtaining from such person his or her written consent thereto.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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.

Credit this material:

Subseries 3B: Records of Groups; Council on Foreign Relations Records, MC104, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

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.

Related Materials

Other material at the Mudd Manuscript Library related to the Council on Foreign Relations includes the records of the first three editors of Foreign Affairs: Archibald Cary Coolidge, (within the Hamilton Fish Armstrong Papers), Hamilton Fish Armstrong, and William P. Bundy. The Library also holds the papers of members of the Council such as John Foster Dulles, Allen W. Dulles, Arthur Bullard, George F. Kennan, George W. Ball, Adlai E. Stevenson, David A. Morse, and Frank W. Notestein.

Additionally, Mudd Manuscript Library has an incomplete set of the journal Foreign Affairs and other Council serial publications such as 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. Please contact Mudd Manuscript Library for further information and availability.

Researchers interested in the Council on Foreign Relations may also wish to consult the interview transcripts from Columbia University's Council on Foreign Relations Visual Oral History Project.

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.


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, Of special interest are the annual reports, located at and Peter Grose's Continuing the Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921-1996, located at

Council on foreign relations
Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973
Bundy, William P., 1917-2000
Campbell, John
Diebold, William
Frye, Alton
Gelb, Leslie H.
Keller, Kenneth H.
Lord, Winston
Manning, Bayless
Maxwell, Kenneth, 1941-
Murphy, Richard W. (Richard William), 1929-
Osmer-McQuade, Margaret
Peterson, Peter G.
Siegman, Henry
Swing, John Temple.
Tarnoff, Peter
Whittaker, Jennifer