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Customary International Law: Historical Diplomatic Documents

Strategies for finding Historical Diplomatic Documents

Strategy 1: Google

One "useful type of resource is a collection of diplomatic documents. These collections are published by a government entity, an independent organization, or an individual. For example, Swiss practice in foreign relations is documented in a publication entitled Diplomatische Dokumente der Schweiz, published by the Swiss National Commission for the Publication of Diplomatic Documents. The Commission has also created an online database of diplomatic documents ." (Hoffman, Marci, Rumsey, Mary: 2012)

Try a Google search for

the name of the country and using quotes

  • "diplomatic documents" or
  • "foreign ministry" or
  • "foreign affairs"

You may find collections of diplomatic documents for particular countries either in an online free database or on the foreign ministry website for the country of interest.

Strategy 2: Try a Reference book on Sources of State Practice

Strategy 3: Browse documents from UN Diplomatic Conferences

Diplomatic proposals submitted during the course of a diplomatic conference may be located by searching within the documents compiled for that particular diplomatic conference, where available.

Strategy 4: Search Secondary Sources

Search Vanderbilt University Libraries Catalog

Sources of Historical Diplomatic Documents

Historical diplomatic documents

There are several many historical sources. Some are shown below, but there are finding tools to help you locate others on the More Guidance page. Select the right resource for the time period of interest and the type of document that you need.

Broader databases of Congressional documents also contain diplomatic documents:


Research Portals and Online Archives provide links to collections of diplomatic documents