Friday, January 2, 2009

And the FRUS Marches On

You’ve heard about that blow-out concerning the FRUS series in the Office of the Historian under the Bureau of Public Affairs at State. Now, on December 22, Secretary Rice told the Historical Advisory Committee about her appointment of a Review Team to provide recommendations about “how to ensure the FRUS series remains the gold standard for diplomatic history scholarship.”

Things must be moving at the speed of light up there.

On December 31st, I noticed that there was another press release relating to the FRUS series:

“The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–14, Part 1, Documents on the United Nations, 1973–1976, as an electronic-only publication. (Part 2, Arms Control topics, will be published at a later date.)” It went on to talked about what’s included in the report then this: “Additional global issues with United Nations-related aspects, including Antarctic resource exploitation, international drug control, human rights, oceans policy, space and telecommunications, and terrorism, are covered in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–3, Documents on Global Issues, 1973–1976.”

Is it just me or does this sound like hamster in a treadmill or something? Sorry for being a scatterbrain here but where the heck does Volume E-3 fit into the whole scheme of things? Is this a previous or forthcoming volume? I realized that this is a historical series, I gotcha - but folks, haven’t you heard of plain language in government?

I do not like confusion even in style.

I do not like it even with smiles.

I would not, could not, in a mailbox.

I could not, would not, in a soapbox.

I will not file it with a mouse.

I will not file it in my house.

I will not file it here or there.

I will not file it anywhere.

I do not like confusion in style

Even if Volume E-3 beguiles

I supposed that Volume E-14 now counts as 7th of the 42 volumes. Which means there’s 83.4% more work to be done?

For those interested - the Office of the Historian now has its own website at http://www.history.state.gov where you can look up historical documents (including the FRUS series), the department’s history, milestones all the way back to 1750, plus historical references on the United States’ relations with the countries of the world. It may not be a bad place to hang out in a rainy afternoon, if you’re interested in history, that is. Sorry no dropdown option for Volume E-3, do let me know if you find it.

Update: Click here to check the status of the FRUS series as of December 2008, including volumes planned for publication this year and later, as well as volumes under research or declassification review. Thanks to TSB for the tip! Update 1/19/09: Last Friday, this tidbit came out: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has finished reviewing the report of the Office of the Historian’s review panel and has thanked the members for their work. Secretary Rice has asked Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy to take appropriate action.

Related Posts: Domestic Disturbance in the Public Affairs Shop Review Team for the FRUS Fracas

2 comments:

TSB said...

DS,

I think E-3 is a volume planned for 2009 "or later" [according to Status of the Foreign Relations Series, December 2008: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/113549.htm].

The FRUS series truly is the gold standard of diplomatic history, and I hope the advisory committee will get things sorted out.

DS said...

Thanks TSB, much appreciated!