Research at the National Archives

Department of State Records

Central Files 1973–1979: State Archiving System (SAS)(RG 59)

On July 1, 1973, the Department began phasing in a new filing system. Records were no longer arranged by subject. Documents were indexed using an automated tool with most telegrams being stored electronically and hard-copy documents (beginning January 1, 1974) being stored on microfilm.

You may gain access to the declassified telegrams (through 1977) and declassified index information (through 1977) about the microfilmed documents on the NARA website. Paper copies of the declassified documents on the microfilm (through 1976) are available for use at the National Archives.

The National Archives has accessioned the electronic telegrams through 1977 and the hard-copy elements of the central file through 1979. It has not accessioned the electronic finding aid necessary to use the hard-copy records dating after 1976. Until the electronic finding aid is accessioned and technical and archival processing completed, the Department of State is responsible for providing researchers with the information needed to locate documents among the hard-copy files.

Central file records dating 1980 and later remain in the custody of the Department of State. Researchers must file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request directly with the Department to request access to records in their custody.

More information about the records is in this FAQ.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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