Skip navigation


We are one of the few Whitehall departments to have in-house historians. These historians assist both the public and FCO staff. Their roles include:

  • publishing the official record of post-war British foreign policy
  • enhancing understanding of British foreign policy by publishing FCO historical papers and documents from the archives
  • providing briefing support on historical issues for Ministers, senior officials and embassies
  • organising occasional lectures and seminars
  • managing the FCO’s internal history programme

Official documents

We hold historical records for only 30 years. After this point they are transferred to The National Archives (TNA) in Kew where they are open for public inspection. Details of opening times and online catalogue are available at the TNA website.

Documents less than 30 years old are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

If you have a query for our historians please read through our frequently asked questions first.

Documents on British Policy Overseas (DBPO)

This major series contains key documents from the archives of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Historical papers

Our historical papers cover subjects as diverse as Nazi gold, slavery and diplomacy and history of the FCO.

Documents from the Archives

FCO historians publish a number of historical documents from our substantial archives.

Share this with:

Contact us

Chief Historian
Information Management Group
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Old Admiralty Building
London SW1A 2PA

Got a query?

See our Frequently asked questions.

See Also

Useful Links

FCO's freedom of information website

National Archives