Catalogue description Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Diplomatic Reports and Diplomatic Documents

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Details of FCO 160
Reference: FCO 160
Title: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Diplomatic Reports and Diplomatic Documents

This series contains the Library print run of the Diplomatic Documents Series. They were created from the originals to ensure a complete collection and for ease of use for officers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The documents contains the reports and opinions of senior FCO staff serving overseas. They document the human side of diplomatic relations, and highlight the internal machinations within overseas embassies.

Date: 1969-2000
Related material:

There are several series within the FO code (Confidential Print) which relate to this material

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1968-

Physical description: 363 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2018 Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Accumulation dates: 1970 to 2000
Selection and destruction information: Selected under Record Collection Policy criteria 1.1
Accruals: No further acruals are expected after initial transfer
Administrative / biographical background:

This collection was created, after the 'Print' series ceased, at the end of 1970. The bound volumes of the Print series are held in numerous FO classes at The National Archives.

Ambassadors were expected to submit, at least annually, reports on all major aspects of the country in which they served, so these reports would cover things from financial status to human rights. They would also include major events, like elections or coups. The reports may also include feedback from social events, either hosted or attended by senior British diplomats for example Queens Birthday celebrations or national day events.

The reports were designed to assist in the smooth transition from one Ambassador to another as well as a way of informing London and other posts of major issues, the work being done globally, current situations or other interesting events or information. The diplomatic documents series, unlike the print which it replaced at the end of 1969 had a more limited circulation. For example, it could be restricted to London and the geographical area the report covered e.g. reports from Washington would be distributed to the Americas. The reports were on occasion also shared with other Commonwealth and host Governments. Not all ambassadors submitted reports annually, but most did complete first impressions, valedictories and special events reports.

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