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The information contained in these reports is vital to contemporary history. This is an outstanding collection of primary sources that will be of great use to the serious scholar and to the graduate working on a term paper. Based on the authority of the National Security Act of 1947, the CIA's mandate has been to "produce and disseminate foreign intelligence relating to the national security, including foreign political, economic, scientific, technical, military, geographic, and sociological intelligence to meet the needs of the President, the National Security Council, and other elements of the U.S. Government." As can be seen in CIA Research Reports, this mandate has resulted in a diverse body of documentation that holds rich potential for historians and political scientists. Beginning in 1946 with reports of the CIA's predecessor, the Central Intelligence Group, CIA Research Reports reproduces over 1,500 reports on eight areas: the Middle East; the Soviet Union; Vietnam and Southeast Asia; China; Japan, Korea, and Asian security; Europe; Africa; and Latin America. Although all of the areas are important, the first three stand as particularly key points of U.S. interest during the first three decades following World War II. This series, covering the three eventful decades starting in 1946, comprises 206 titles. Roughly a third deal with international questions; of those focusing on individual countries, the Congo is given most attention (85 titles), having been the subject of weekly reports for six months starting in November 1964. A good proportion (47) of the total are designated biographical reports, offering profiles of relatively unknown leaders.

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