There were several questions that were submitted for the public forum, but not answered as we ran out of time. Over the next several days, I will post questions and provide answers from forum participants. As always, follow-on comments are welcome! The first question and answer follows:
I am concerned that the declassification of State Department records is well behind a 25 or 30 year rule. It is important that the “Post Files” (Record Group 84) of US Embassies and Consulates be declassified in timely manner. When will the Post Files for the US Embassy in Bonn, the US consulate in Frankfurt, the US Mission in West Berlin, and the US Embassies in Tel Aviv, Cairo, Damascus, Beirut and Bagdad be declassified? I have the same question about the files of the US Embassies in London, Paris, Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Budapest and Athens–for the period of the late 1960s to 1981 or so be declassified?
Answer: Most Post files through 1980 have been accessioned to NARA. These files are in the NDC back log and will be processed for declassification by the 2013 deadline. We recognize that Post files are among some of the most requested by historians. They are also some of the more complex to process for declassification because many different agencies have potential interest (equity) in them. We are working with multiple agencies to resolve these multi-equity issues. Remember that “processed” does not mean that everything is released. It does mean that declassified records can be made available and that still classified records are properly exempted. It does NOT imply that all preservation work or finding aids will be completed.