Research at the National Archives

Department of State Records

U.S. Embassies, Legations, Consulates, and Missions (RG 84)

Records

Records of diplomatic and consular posts were filed and preserved separately even if located in the same city. Record keeping at posts has changed over the years. Not all records created at posts still exist and are preserved in the National Archives.

The records in the National Archives come from four different periods of record keeping:

A. 1789-1912

Records from each post are arranged by type of record, thereunder chronologically.

B. 1912-1948

Records from each post are grouped by year or block of years and generally thereunder by subject according a pre-determined decimal filing scheme closely related to that used by the Department of State for its central files. Country numbers were not used, but the records are arranged by subject in classes similar to the Department's Decimal File scheme.

C. 1949-1963

Records from each post are grouped by year or block of years and generally thereunder by subject according to a pre-determined decimal file scheme. The filing scheme is unique to Foreign Service Posts and is not related to the central file decimal scheme from the same period.

D. 1963-1980

Records from each post are grouped by year or block of years and thereunder a pre-determined subject-numeric file scheme. The filing system is the same as that used for the Department's central files.

For more specific discussion of arrangement of these records, see this reference paper.

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