Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From Jerusalem to Geneva - the International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents

Yesterday, we received a notice about the new website of the 12th international conference of editors of diplomatic documents, to be held next year in Geneva. With their usual efficiency, our Swiss colleagues have already put together a definitive collection of information about the publishing of official documents on foreign policy.

The Israel State Archives has its own series of diplomatic documents, Documents on the Foreign Policy of Israel, and seems to be the only national archives in the world which does so. In most countries, foreign ministries or academic bodies are responsible. Last year, in September 2011, the Israel State Archives hosted representatives of 20 countries, from Latvia to Japan, at the 11th international conference of editors, held at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem.


At the conference the delegates discussed the progress of their projects and the latest advances in diplomatic publishing. Naturally digitization and the rise of e-books were an important topic. Sessions were held on the 150th anniversary of the "Foreign Relations of the United States" series and "The Mediterranean Basin in Diplomacy in the 1960s and 1970s". The participants were also invited to a reception at the Bible Lands Museum and to a tour of Jerusalem, in order to give them a glimpse of the city behind the headlines. For many of them it was their first visit to Israel and, according to the feedback we received, it was indeed a special experience.

In the last few weeks, two new volumes in the FRUS series have appeared, the one on the Middle East mentioned here last month, and a volume on "Foundations of Foreign Policy, 1973-1976" which appeared this week. In these books, as in the previous one on the Yom Kippur War, discussions on Israel play a central role. The current editor of the Middle East volumes, Dr. Adam Howard, spoke at the conference on his experiences and conclusions (see his paper here). The rest of the proceedings of the conference are on the ISA website.

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