To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).
International relations (16th century onwards)
Search Discovery, our catalogue, for records of Britain’s relations with other countries in papers from the State Paper Office (SP) and Foreign Office (FO). To focus your search, use the name of the country or other relevant terms and specify collection SP or FO.
It is worth noting that from 1577 to 1906 the State Paper and Foreign Office records are arranged by country, e.g. SP 71 for Barbary States and SP 91 for Russia; FO 1 for Abyssinia and FO 22 for Denmark.
Foreign Office correspondence (1906–1966)
Search our catalogue for records of the Foreign Office’s Political Departments in FO 371. Many records are only catalogued by country.
For a more detailed subject index to Foreign Office correspondence 1906–1919, consult the card index in the reading rooms.
For 1920–1953 consult the online FO 409 index (see above).
Confidential Print (1711–1960)
Search our catalogue below by name of country for confidential print from the Foreign Office in FO 881. These documents consist of diplomatic reports, memoranda and correspondence originally produced for limited circulation within the British government. Further copies exist in other FO series