Concerns about State Department Historians Office Aired

An inquiry into the Office of the Historian at the U.S. State Department (HO) concludes that “the current working atmosphere in the HO and between the HO and the HAC [Historical Advisory Committee] poses real threats to the high scholarly quality of the FRUS [Foreign Relations of the United States] series and the benefits it brings.” Secrecy News posted the report, by a committee consisting of Warren F. Kimball (chair), Ruth Whiteside, and Ron Spector, up yesterday.

The report is circumspect about the specific issues noting that “emotions ran high” and the committee was not in a position to sort through a considerable amount of contradictory testimony. Nevertheless, their recommendations point to a number of management concerns that include the scope of the Historian’s responsibilities, oversight by the State Department’s Public Affairs Bureau, and the relationship between the HAC and the Department.

The report was submitted to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just a week before the inauguration, and there is no indication that any action was taken.

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