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Overview

The U.S. State Department Central Files are the definitive source of American diplomatic reporting on political, military, social, and economic developments throughout the world in the 20th century. Concentrating exclusively on those Central Files that have not been microfilmed by the National Archives or other publishers, UPA's microfilm editions of the Central Files nonetheless dwarf the State Department's very selective volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). Containing less than one percent of the material in the Central Files, FRUS focuses on U.S. relations with individual countries but does not include coverage of many of the key topics to which the majority of the original files are devoted. Each part of the Central Files contains a wide range of materials from U.S. diplomats in foreign countries: special reports on political and military affairs; studies and statistics on socioeconomic matters; interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials; court proceedings and other legal documents; full texts of important letters, instructions, and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel; voluminous reports and translations from foreign journals and newspapers; and countless translations of high-level foreign government documents. Declassified in 1987, these 60,000 pages offer extensively detailed contemporaneous treatments of all the major domestic and foreign themes of this period. The Great Leap Forward, the collectivization of all agriculture and the creation of the rural communes, Mao's call for freer expression and the ensuing antirightist campaigns, the Sino-Soviet schism, and hostilities with Taiwan over the offshore islands are but a few of the topics covered.

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