Records of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce [BFDC]
Table of Contents
- 151.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
- 151.2 GENERAL RECORDS 1904-58
- 151.2.1 General correspondence
- 151.2.2 Other records
- 151.3 RECORDS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE DIVISION 1917-40
- 151.4 RECORDS OF THE MARKETING LAWS UNIT OF THE REGIONAL ECONOMY DIVISION 1938-43
- 151.5 RECORDS OF COMMODITIES DIVISIONS 1922-41
- 151.6 RECORDS OF OTHER DIVISIONS 1915-43
- 151.7 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF SMALL BUSINESS 1946
- 151.8 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF BUSINESS ECONOMICS 1941-58
- 151.8.1 General records
- 151.8.2 Records of the Clearing Office for Foreign Transactions (COFT)
- 151.9 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE (OIT) 1904-53
- 151.9.1 General records
- 151.9.2 Records of the American Republics Division and its predecessors
- 151.9.3 Records of the European Division and its predecessors
- 151.9.4 Records of other divisions
- 151.10 RECORDS OF INDEPENDENT BOARDS AND COMMITTEES 1925-35
- 151.10.1 Records of the National Committee for Wood Utilization
- 151.10.2 Records of the Timber Conservation Board
- 151.10.3 Records of the Interdepartmental Committee on Shipping Policy and Ocean Mail Contracts
- 151.10.4 Records of the Department of Commerce representative on the Committee for Reciprocity Information (CRI)
- 151.11 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL) 1916-48 49 items
- 151.12 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
- 151.13 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1913-63 18,908 images
Established: In the Department of Commerce and Labor, effective July 1, 1912, by the general appropriation act for FY 1913 (37 Stat. 407), August 23, 1912.
Compilation and distribution of trade statistics:
In the Department of the Treasury:
Division of Commerce and Navigation, Office of the Register (foreign commerce only, 1820-44; domestic and foreign commerce, 1844-66) Bureau of Statistics (domestic and foreign commerce, 1866-1903, to Bureau of Statistics, Department of Commerce and Labor, 1903)
In the Department of State:
- Statistical Office (1856-74)
- Bureau of Statistics (1874-97)
- Bureau of Foreign Commerce (1897-1903)
In the Department of Commerce and Labor:
- Bureau of Statistics (1903-12)
Promotion of U.S. trade and industry:
Bureau of Manufactures, Department of Commerce and Labor (1903-12)
Transfers: To Department of Commerce, by Department of Commerce Act (37 Stat. 736), March 4, 1913.
Functions: Promoted U.S. trade and industry by compiling, and making available, statistical and other information on foreign and domestic markets and manufacturing.
Abolished: Progressively, beginning with Departmental Order 10, December 18, 1945, which reorganized BFDC into five autonomous units: the Offices of Small Business, Domestic Commerce, Field Operations, International Trade, and Business Economics.
Office of Small Business
Incorporated into Office of Domestic Commerce and reduced to division status, effective June 30, 1948, by Departmental Order 18 (Amendment 2), July 1, 1948; transferred to newly established National Production Authority (NPA) and again raised to office level, by Departmental Order 123, September 11, 1950. NPA abolished, with Office of Small Business transferred to newly established Business and Defense Services Administration (BDSA), Department of Commerce, by Departmental Order 152, October 1, 1953.
Office of Domestic Commerce
Abolished, with functions transferred to newly established Office of Industry and Commerce (OIC), effective June 1, 1950, by Departmental Order 18 (Amended), June 2, 1950. OIC abolished, with functions to BDSA, by Departmental Order 152, October 1, 1953.
Office of Field Operations
Redesignated Office of Field Service, effective August 28, 1946, by Departmental Order 16 (Amended), August 29, 1946. Transferred to Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration, effective June 20, 1952, by Departmental Order 16 (Amended), June 23, 1952. Transferred to BDSA by Departmental Order 152, October 1, 1953.
Office of International Trade
Abolished, effective October 12, 1953, by Departmental Order 153, October 9, 1953, with functions transferred to newly established Bureau of Foreign Commerce.
Office of Business Economics
Designated a primary Department of Commerce organization by Departmental Order 15 (Amended), December 1, 1953, section 6 of which declared BFDC abolished, its functions having been transferred to BDSA, Bureau of Foreign Commerce, and Office of Business Economics.
In the Department of Commerce:
- Office of Business Economics (1953-72)
- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Social and Economic Statistics Administration
EA (1975- )
Promotion of domestic trade and industry:
- BDSA (1953-70)
- Bureau of Domestic Commerce (1970-72)
Promotion of foreign trade:
- Bureau of Foreign Commerce (1953-61)
- Bureau of International Programs (1961-63)
- Bureau of International Business Operations (1961-63)
- Bureau of International Commerce (1963-72)
- Office of Foreign Commercial Services (1963-70, to Bureau of International Commerce, 1970)
- Promotion of domestic trade and industry and promotion of foreign trade:
- Domestic and International Business Administration (1972-77)
- Industry and Trade Administration (1977-80)
Promotion of domestic trade and industry:
- Bureau of Industrial Economics (1980-84, to International Trade Administration, 1984)
Promotion of foreign trade:
- International Trade Administration (1980-84)
- Promotion of domestic trade and industry and promotion of foreign trade: International Trade Administration (1984- )
Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce," NC 27 (1963); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.
Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.
Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of
Foreign and Domestic Commerce in RG 287, Publications of the U.S.
Records of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Trade, RG 20.
General Records of the Department of Commerce, RG 40.
Records of the U.S. International Trade Commission, RG 81.
Records of the National Production Authority, RG 277.
Records of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, RG 364.
Records of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, RG 375.
Records of the International Trade Administration, RG 489.
History: Division of Commerce and Navigation established in Office of the Register of Department of the Treasury, pursuant to an act of February 10, 1820 (3 Stat. 541), directing Secretary of the Treasury to compile and publish annual statistics on U.S. foreign commerce. Responsibility expanded to include domestic commerce, by a joint resolution of June 15, 1844 (5 Stat. 719). Division abolished by an act of July 28, 1866 (14 Stat. 330), with functions assigned to newly established Bureau of Statistics. Bureau responsibility expanded, by an act of April 29, 1902 (32 Stat. 172), to include commerce between continental United States and U.S. territories.
Statistical Office established in Department of State pursuant to an act of August 18, 1856 (11 Stat. 60), directing Secretary of State to compile and publish foreign commercial statistics of significance to United States. Redesignated Bureau of Statistics, July 1, 1874, pursuant to an act of June 20, 1874 (18 Stat. 90). Further redesignated Bureau of Foreign Commerce, July 1, 1897, pursuant to the diplomatic and consular service appropriations act for FY 1898 (29 Stat. 590), February 20, 1897.
Bureau of Statistics (Treasury) and Bureau of Foreign Commerce (State) transferred to newly established Department of Commerce and Labor, and consolidated as the Bureau of Statistics, by the Department of Commerce Act (32 Stat. 825), February 14, 1903, which also established a Bureau of Manufactures to promote development of U.S. manufacturing.
Bureau of Manufactures and Bureau of Statistics consolidated to form BFDC, 1912. SEE 151.1.
Textual Records: Letters sent by the Tariff Division of Bureau of Statistics, 1904-6. Consolidated decimal correspondence, 1914-58 (1,245 ft.), consisting of BFDC central correspondence, 1914-45, that includes selected correspondence from an earlier numerical file (1914-18); and central correspondence of the Office of Business Economics, 1945-58, with indexes, 1912-58 (71 ft.). Official files, 1931-44, of BFDC Directors Frederick M. Feiker (1931-33), Claudius T. Murchison (1934-35), Alexander V. Dye (1936-39), James W. Young (1939-40), Carroll L. Wilson (1941-43), and Amos E. Taylor (1943-44). Office files of assistant directors, assistants to the director, and others, 1929-40.
Textual Records: Correspondence and reports relating to proposed legislation of interest to BFDC, 1939-43. Completed copies of a questionnaire on BFDC's foreign commercial information services, 1933. Records of miscellaneous surveys, 1929-38.
History: Commercial Attaches Division (CAD) established in BFDC, 1914, pursuant to establishment of a commercial attache service in Department of Commerce by the appropriations act for FY 1915 (38 Stat. 500), July 16, 1914. Foreign Investigations Division (FID; also known as Commercial Agents Division), responsible for coordinating investigations conducted overseas by experts in specific commodities, established in BFDC, July 1, 1916. CAD and FID consolidated to form Foreign Service Division, May 1920. BFDC corps of commercial attaches and trade commissioners (the latter formerly known as commercial agents) given legal recognition as Foreign Commerce Service (FCS) by an act of March 3, 1927 (44 Stat. 1394). Pursuant to transfer of FCS to Department of State by Reorganization Plan No. II, effective July 1, 1939, Foreign Service Division redesignated Foreign Service Liaison Division, 1940; and further redesignated Liaison Office, 1941. Pursuant to BFDC reorganization, 1945, Liaison Office assigned to Office of International Trade (SEE 151.9) and redesignated Foreign Service Liaison Staff; further redesignated Foreign Service Operations Staff, 1947, and Foreign Service Operations Division (FSOD), 1950. FSOD abolished with Office of International Trade, effective October 12, 1953. Functions transferred to newly established Bureau of Foreign Commerce and assigned to Foreign Service Operations Staff in Office of the Director.
Textual Records: Security-classified and unclassified reports received from commercial foreign service officers, with related correspondence, 1917-40 (216 ft.). Descriptions of product samples, and some actual samples, received from commercial foreign service officers, 1931-39. Reports on U.S. trade opportunities in various countries, received from commercial and diplomatic foreign service officers, and private U.S. citizens living abroad, 1936-38. Economic and trade notes and other reports received from the commercial attache at Paris, 1924-38. Reports received from the Automotive Trade Commissioner to Europe, 1927-32. Reading files of the trade commissioner at Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies (Republic of Indonesia), 1931- 32. Historical files, 1914-39.
History: Marketing Laws Survey (MLS) established as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, April 3, 1938, to compile and analyze all state laws and court decisions affecting the marketing of goods. Pursuant to transfer of survey responsibility from WPA to Department of Commerce by Presidential Letter No. 153, November 6, 1941, Marketing Laws Unit (MLU) established in Regional Economy Division of BFDC to bring project to completion. MLU terminated, July 31, 1943.
Textual Records: General correspondence, 1938-43. Correspondence and reading files of MLS and MLU officials A.H. Martin, Jr., 1938-42; Paul L. Truitt, 1940-42; and E.E. McCleish, 1939-43. Records relating to federal and state conferences on marketing laws, 1938-42. Studies on state laws and court decisions affecting various products and services ("Topical Entry Studies"), 1938-43 (114 ft.). Working papers for various studies, 1938-43. Reference file of state laws applicable to various economic sectors, 1938-43. Miscellaneous reference files, 1938- 43.
Textual Records: Official files, 1935-41, of Phillips A. Hayward, Chief of the Lumber Products Division. Records of the Division of Metals and Minerals, including correspondence, reports, and monthly export statistics for iron and steel products, 1933-41. Records of the Rubber Division and its successor, the Rubber Section of the Rubber and Leather Division, consisting of numbered circulars, 1922-33, 1936-38; miscellaneous unnumbered circulars, 1931-34; manuals for rubber products exporters, 1925- 27; and records relating to rubber products regulation under the National Recovery Administration, 1934-35.
Textual Records: Records of the Division of Economic Research, consisting of copies of weekly and monthly issues of its publication, Survey of Current Business, 1915-38, with related correspondence, 1920-43; periodic reports on foreign and domestic economic development, 1934, 1941-43; and copies of the monthly publication Geographic News, relating to world events and to new maps and atlases of interest to geographers, 1931-33. Records of the Marketing Research and Service Division, consisting of statistics, with related correspondence, dealing with periodic credit surveys, 1930-36; and completed questionnaires, with related correspondence, concerning a trade association survey, 1938-39. Correspondence and working papers of a national retail drugstore survey, conducted in St. Louis, MO, by selected staff of the Merchandising Research Division, 1926-32. Records of the Domestic Regional Division relating to a commodities movement survey, 1932-33. Records of the Motion Picture Division relating to plans for a film on BFDC activities, 1929-30. Copies of Far Eastern Financial Notes, 1936-37, 1940, produced by the Financial Division.
Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, RG 375.
History: For history of the Office of Small Business, 1945-53, SEE 151.1 Abolished. For subsequent history, SEE RG 489.
Motion Pictures (1 reel): Sales techniques for small retail firms, 1946.
Related Records: Additional records of the Office of Small Business in RG 40, General Records of the Department of Commerce.
History: For history of the Office of Business Economics, 1945- 53, SEE 151.1 Abolished. For subsequent history, SEE RG 375.
Textual Records: Consolidated correspondence of the Office of the Director, the Regional Economics Division, and other Office of Business Economics organizations relating to state and regional economies, 1946-47. For decimal correspondence, 1945-58, that has been consolidated with BFDC decimal correspondence, 1914-45, SEE 151.2.1.
Related Records: Records of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, RG 375.
History: Clearing Office for Foreign Transactions and Reports (COFTR) established in Foreign Economic Administration (FEA), Office for Emergency Management, by a letter from the President to the FEA Administrator, April 7, 1944. Responsible for compiling information and issuing reports on foreign transactions undertaken by Federal Government. Upon abolishment of FEA by EO 9630, September 27, 1945, COFTR transferred to Department of Commerce, redesignated COFT, and assigned to Office of Business Economics, BFDC. Abolished 1953.
Textual Records: Reading files, 1944-50. Minutes, with accompanying background material, of the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee, 1944-47; the Operating Committee, 1944-46; and various subcommittees, 1944-46. Correspondence, reports, and clippings relating to lend-lease activities, 1941-53. Correspondence with other government agencies, 1944-52. Copy of an interdepartmental committee report on the accounting and reporting of lend-lease and other foreign transactions ("Colm Report"), issued as a security-classified unnumbered Senate document, 78th Congress, 2d Session, 1944, with related correspondence and background material, 1943-44. Correspondence relating to various COFT publications, 1952-53. Copies of publications relating to U.S. transactions abroad, issued by COFT, 1944-53, and Office of Business Economics, 1953-58.
History: For history of the Office of International Trade, 1945- 53, SEE 151.1 Abolished. For subsequent history, SEE RG 489. OIT designated one of the five autonomous units of BFDC by Departmental Order 10, December 18, 1945. Abolished, effective October 12, 1953, by Departmental Order 153, October 9, 1953, with functions to newly established Bureau of Foreign Commerce (BFC). BFC abolished by Departmental Order, August 7, 1961, with functions to Bureau of International Programs (BIP) and Bureau of International Business Operations (BIBO), established by Departmental Orders 173 and 174, August 8, 1961. BIP and BIBO consolidated to form Bureau of International Commerce (BIC), by Departmental Order 182, February 1, 1963. BIC consolidated with Bureau of Domestic Commerce to form Domestic and International Business Administration, November 17, 1972.
Textual Records: Security-classified and unclassified central subject correspondence, 1945-52. Records relating to export control, consisting of security-classified legal files, 1941-51; and unclassified instructions and schedules, 1940-51, issued by the Division of Control, Department of State (1940-41), the Economic Defense Board (1941), the Board of Economic Warfare (1941-42), the Foreign Economic Administration (1943-45), and OIT (1945-51).
History: American Republics Unit established in Division of International Economy, BFDC, 1940. Transferred, as American Republics Division, to Areas Branch, Office of Foreign (later World) Trade Promotion in newly established OIT by Departmental Order 11, December 26, 1945. Areas Branch placed under Office of the Director of International Trade upon abolishment of Office of World Trade Promotion by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), September 10, 1946. Areas Branch redesignated Areas Division by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), Amendment 1, February 13, 1948, with American Republics Division redesignated American Republics Branch. Reverted to division status upon abolishment of Areas Division, effective June 1, 1950, by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), June 2, 1950. Assigned to newly established Office of the Assistant Director of Export Supply, 1951. Transferred to newly established Office of the Assistant Director for Economic Affairs, 1952. Transferred to Office of Economic Affairs in newly established Bureau of Foreign Commerce upon abolishment of OIT, effective October 12, 1953.
Textual Records: Security-classified subject files relating to international trade policies, 1907-48. Subject files relating to government procurement, 1909-48. Reference materials, in English and Portuguese, relating to aspects of the Brazilian economy, 1942-53.
History: European Unit established in Division of International Economy, BFDC, 1940. Transferred, as European Division, to Areas Branch, Office of Foreign (later World) Trade Promotion in newly established Office of International Trade (OIT) by Departmental Order 11, December 26, 1945. Areas Branch placed under immediate Office of the Director of International Trade upon abolishment of Office of World Trade Promotion by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), September 10, 1946. Areas Branch redesignated Areas Division by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), Amendment 1, February 13, 1948, with European Division redesignated European Branch. Divided into Western European and Eastern European Branches, 1949. Raised to status of divisions upon abolishment of Areas Division, effective June 1, 1950, by Departmental Order 11 (Amended), June 2, 1950. Assigned to newly established Office of the Assistant Director of Export Supply, 1951. Consolidated to form new European Division, in newly established Office of Assistant Director for Economic Affairs, 1952. Transferred to Office of Economic Affairs in newly established Bureau of Foreign Commerce upon abolishment of OIT, effective October 12, 1953.
Textual Records: Security-classified subject files relating to international trade policies, 1945-50. Security-classified subject files relating to international finance, 1945-50. Reports on the activities of cartels and individual industrial firms in Germany, 1922-46. Reports and other records concerning the post- World War II economies of Germany and Czechoslovakia, 1945-49. Reference materials relating to tariff regulations and practices in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg ("Benelux"), 1933-53; Switzerland, 1935-52; and Yugoslavia, 1904-52.
Textual Records: Security-classified records of the Strategic Controls Division, Office of Export Supply, consisting of policy and procedures files, 1946-50; Operating Committee document master file, 1948-52; and case files, 1948-52. Security- classified narrative histories and procedural manuals of the Operations Division, Office of Export Control, 1949-52.
History: Established by President Calvin Coolidge, pursuant to the National Conference on Utilization of Forest Products, November 19-20, 1924. Organized May 1925, with Secretary of Commerce as chairman, and representatives of government and private industry as members. Responsible for recommending improved methods of using wood products. Terminated by EO 6179-B, June 16, 1933, with records transferred to Department of Commerce and placed in custody of Lumber Division of BFDC.
Textual Records: Subject-numeric correspondence, 1925-33, with index.
History: Established November 12, 1930, by President Herbert Hoover. Organized January 7, 1931, with Secretary of Commerce as chairman and representatives of government and private industry as members. Terminated 1933, with records transferred to Department of Commerce and placed in custody of Lumber Division of BFDC.
Textual Records: Subject correspondence, 1931-33. Reading files, 1931-32. Project files, 1931-32. Statistical and other reports, minutes of meetings, and other records, 1931-33.
History: Established 1928, with Secretary of Commerce as chairman, and representatives of Treasury and Post Office Departments, Shipping Board, and Interstate Commerce Commission as members. Became inactive, 1933, with records transferred to Department of Commerce and placed in custody of Transportation Division of BFDC.
Textual Records: Subject correspondence, 1928-31. Reports, miscellaneous correspondence, and other records, 1928-32. Minutes, with background material, 1928-32. Notes on speed and construction of mail-carrying ships, 1929-32. Completed questionnaires regarding mail-carrying ships, 1929-30.
History: CRI established by EO 6750, June 27, 1934, implementing provisions of the Trade Agreements Act (48 Stat. 945), June 12, 1934. Responsible for obtaining the views of government agencies, private industrial and commercial firms, and the general public on any contemplated reciprocal trade agreement. Superseded by new CRI, pursuant to EO 10004, October 5, 1948, and EO 10082, October 5, 1949. Abolished by EO 11075, January 15, 1963, with functions transferred to newly established Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations in the Executive Office of the President (EOP). Redesignated Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, EOP, by EO 12188, January 4, 1980.
Textual Records: Correspondence of BFDC staff member Louis E. Van Norman, relating to his activities as Department of Commerce representative on CRI, 1934-35.
Related Records: Main body of CRI records in RG 364, Records of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Maps: Areas of United States administered by BFDC district offices, 1931 (1 item). Wholesale grocery territories in the United States, in atlas, 1927 (9 items). Consumer trading areas of United States, 1929 (1 item). Steel furnaces in United States, with owner and tonnage produced indicated for each, 1947 (1 item). Changes in economic development of U.S. states and regions, in atlas, 1929-48 (14 items). Harbor facilities at United States ports, 1916 (21 items). Main transportation routes in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and western Venezuela, 1933 (1 item). Prospective and existing oil fields, and existing refineries, in Dutch East Indies (Republic of Indonesia) and Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak, Federation of Malaysia; Brunei; and Kalimantan, Republic of Indonesia), n.d. (1 item).
SEE UNDER 151.7.
Photographic Prints (808 images): Commodities and visitors at foreign trade exhibits and pavilions, 1954-63 (F, 632 images). BFDC officials, 1913-30 (P, 58 images). U.S. and foreign political leaders, 1954-63 (PA, 118 images).
Photographic Prints, Negatives, and Lantern Slides (250 images): Assorted views, from Argentina, Costa Rica, Hungary, and 15 other countries, of cities, landscapes, agricultural and industrial products, and marketing activities, 1924-37 (K).
Photographic Prints and Photomechanical Reproductions (17,850 images): Views, from the United States and approximately 100 foreign countries, of cities, landscapes, and varied commodities and commercial activities, involving agriculture, industry, mining, construction, shipping, railways, banking, advertising, and other economic sectors, 1913-39 (FC, M).
Posters: Displayed at the Chicago World's Fair Centennial Celebration, "Century of Progress Exposition," Chicago, IL, and illustrating the work of the BFDC in promoting U.S. trade, 1933 (CP, 26 images).
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.