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The Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State is responsible, under law, for the preparation and publication of the official documentary history of U.S. foreign policy in the Foreign Relations of the United States series.
In addition, the Office prepares policy-supportive historical studies for Department principals and other agencies. These studies provide essential background information, evaluate how and why policies evolved, identify precedents, and derive lessons learned. Department officers rely on institutional memory, collective wisdom, and personal experience to make decisions; rigorous historical analysis can sharpen, focus, and inform their choices. The Office of the Historian conducts an array of initiatives, ranging from briefing memos to multi-year research projects.