Archive for Foreign Relations

The Role of the United States in the 1953 Iran Coup

This volume of long-suppressed documents – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 – finally acknowledges the covert United States operations that underpinned the 1953 Iranian coup. In conjunction with this 1989 volume – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X  – a fuller and more accurate representation  of the times is presented.

Read the preface of the first volume above to understand the furor that erupted when the 1989 volume was released WITHOUT any documentation of the CIA’s role in the overthrow.

Additional information can be found in this internal CIA history – The Battle for Iran, 1953. And here is a relevant New York Times site – The C.I.A. in Iran; it includes a timeline and selected articles from the paper.


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Is the United States Pulling Back from the World Stage?

With recent pronouncements and actions from Washington signaling the withdrawal of the United States from multinational agreements, the report is especially relevant – U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress. A Pew survey taken last year shows the ambivalence prevalent in this country – Public Uncertain, Divided Over America’s Place in the World.

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Online Primary Sources: “British Documents on the End of Empire”

This massive project was undertaken in light of the following:

“The main purpose of the British Documents on the End of Empire Project (BDEEP) is to publish documents from British official archives on the ending of colonial and associated rule and on the context in which this took place. In 1945, aside from the countries of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma, Britain had over fifty formal dependencies; by the end of 1965 the total had been almost halved and by 1985 only a handful remained.”

Documents were culled from a vast array of official sources and provide insights into the transfer of power and the establishment of relations with former colonies.

The project was divided into three series: Series A approached this re-alignment thematically; Series B concentrates on specific countries; and Series C acts as an updated guide to the official records housed in various agencies. All the volumes contain hundreds of documents; at times, the tomes take some time to download. But it is worth the wait. In total, eighteen volumes were published between 1992 and 2006.


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Who Are the Rohingya?

They are a minority-Muslim group inside the largely Buddhist country of Myanmar (once known as Burma). According to CIA data, Buddhists comprise 87.9% of the country while Muslims total 4.3% of the population. These people have been in the news largely because of the large mass emigrations into neighboring Bangladesh, supposedly in retaliation for attacks on government offices by a splinter Rohingya group.

Background information on this can be found in many places, especially:

The Rohingya Migrant Crisis (CFR Backgrounder); The Rakine State Danger to Myanmar’s Transition (International Crisis Group); Rohingya (Migration Policy Group); STATEMENT ON ROHINGYA REFUGEES FLEEING BURMA TO BANGLADESH (US State Department); Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State (supplemental material here); Congressional bills, hearings, resolutions on Rohingya; Burma – February 2017 Update (UK House of Commons Library Research Briefing); U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma (CRS); There is no simple solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Brookings); Myanmar’s Problem State (Chatham House); and United Nations reports, documents, and publications.

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Online Primary Sources: “Documents on German Foreign Relations”

As World War II was coming to a close, literally tons of documents from the German Foreign Ministry were seized. A joint commission comprised of scholars and editors from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France was formed with the object of evaluating what documents were important enough to be published as a record of  Germany’s foreign policy from the late 19th century until WWII. That was too daunting a process so the revised focus was on documents illustrating the run-up to hostilities, primarily around the years 1939 to 1941. This was undertaken and over the course of the years, 1949-1964, “Series D” was published in thirteen volumes. (Read the prefaces to the individual volumes for a more complete history of this project.)

Here are the volumes currently available online:

1 (From Neurath to Ribbentrop, September 1937 – September 1938)

2 (Germany and Czechoslovakia, 1937-1938)

3 (Germany and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939)

4 (The Aftermath of Munich, October 1938 – March 1939)

5 (Poland, Balkans, Latin America, June 1937 – March 1939)

6 (The Last Months of Peace, March – August, 1939)

7 (The Last Days of Peace, August 9 – September 3, 1939)

8 (The War Years, September 4 – March 3, 1940)

9 (The War Years, March 18 – June 22, 1940)

10 (The War Years, June 23 – August 31, 1940)

11 (The War Years, September 1940 – January 31, 1941. Analytical index only.)

12 (The War Years, February 1 – June 22, 1941)

13 (The War Years, June 23 – December 11, 1941)


“Series C” that deals with the years 1933-1937 started producing volumes in 1957; there are six volumes in total. Online versions are:

1 (The Third Reich: First Phase, January 30 – October 14, 1933)

3 (The Third Reich: First Phase, June 14, 1934 – March 31, 1935)

4 (The Third Reich: First Phase, April 1, 1935 – March 4, 1936)

6 (The Third Reich: First Phase, November 11, 1936 – November 14, 1937)




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China’s Economy

Here are some recent reports on the world’s second largest economy: Economic Survey of China (OECD); China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (CRS); Moody’s Downgrades China Over Worries About Its Growing Debt The New York Times); China (IMF); China (World Bank);8 things you need to know about China’s economy (World Economic Forum); China (Council on Foreign Relations); China (Center for Strategic and International Studies); and China’s domestic politics and foreign policy (UK Parliament library).

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Reports on Brexit From European Sources

While Brexit will certainly affect the United States, it will have a major impact in Europe in so many sectors, among them trade, travel, work, and borders. Because of this, this posting will be limited to works emanating from various European think tanks. (A U.S. perspective can be read here: Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union).

Bruegel examines Brexit from an economic perspective.

Carnegie Europe (Brussels) features Brexit-related works.

The Centre for European Policy Studies has a section on “Britain and the EU“.

The Centre for European Reform has “Britain & the EU“.

Chatham House contains “After Brexit: Britain’s Future”. 

The European Parliamentary Research Service hosts “What Think Tanks Are Thinking” – a guide to European institutional research. The latest edition on Brexit was posted on February 17, 2017); previous studies can also be accessed.

The European Council on Foreign Relations discusses European reactions in Brexit:Responses.

The European Policy Centre has issued dozens of reports on Brexit.

The UK Parliament Library issued Brexit: a reading list of post-EU Referendum publications by Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies [definition of purpose of devolved assemblies] on March 29, 2017. This document lists hundreds of linked reports generated from the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and select committees






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