Foreign Affairs

World War I Related Records

Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (RG 256)

The U.S. government began preparing for the postwar settlement soon after its entry into the war in April 1917. In the fall of that year, President Woodrow Wilson directed the organization of a group of experts to collect and analyze data on the geographical, ethnological, historical, economic, and political problems of those areas likely to be the subject of the peace negotiations. This staff became known as "The Inquiry." President Wilson used the reports and studies produced by The Inquiry to support the final peace negotiations.

Following the signing of the Armistice ending World War I (Nov. 11, 1918), President Woodrow Wilson established the American Commission to Negotiate Peace to negotiate the formal treaties ending the war and also to draft the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Inquiry was absorbed into the Commission and ceased as an independent body. Also included in this record group are records relating to the Conference of Ambassadors in the postwar period.

The "Inquiry Documents" (Special Reports and Studies), 1917-1919 (M–1107, 47 rolls) and the General Records, 1918-1931 (M–820, 563 rolls) are on microfilm.

National Archives Inventory 9: Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (106 MB), prepared in 1974, describes the records in more detail.

You can search our Online Catalog for entries from RG 256 or see a description in the Guide to Federal Records.

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