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Primary sources

Historical government documents

These resources are historical primary sources of publications from UK and US governments. For current publications see the Government documents and official publications resource guide.

Cecil Papers

The Hatfield House Archives is a collection of almost 30,000 documents gathered by William Cecil (1520–1598), Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil (1563–1612), first Earl of Salisbury. The elder Cecil was one of Elizabeth I’s closest advisers. The collection includes many 16th and 17th century state papers, grants from the Crown, legal documents, treaties, correspondences, and political memoranda. A subscription resource from ProQuest.

Colonial Law in Africa, 1808–1919

Originally known as the “Government Gazettes” each item contains the colonial laws for the year in which they were published. Coverage includes the Napoleonic Wars, the Boer War and the First World War. A subscription resource from British Online Archives.

Confidential Print Middle East 1839–1969

Of relevance to social, economic and political research, Confidential Print was a Government series aimed at preserving the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. An Adam Matthew Digital subscription resource sourced from the UK National Archives.

Foreign Office Files for India Pakistan and Afghanistan 1947–1980

This resource has material covering the post-independence political and social history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Content ranges from independence and partition, to the India-Pakistan wars. Includes content on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Kashmir, and other frontier regions. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.

Foreign Office files for the Middle East 1971–1981

Drawn from diplomatic correspondence, minutes, reports, political summaries and personality profiles, this resource supports examination of Middle East policies, economies, political relationships, conflicts and significant events in the 1970s and the political figures of that time. Contains complete runs of Foreign Office files for key events. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP) 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries

This resource comprises digitised transcripts of UK Parliamentary debates. A ProQuest subscription resource.

Macmillan Cabinet Papers 1957–1963

Sourced from the National Archives, Macmillan Cabinet Papers provides complete coverage of the Cabinet conclusions (minutes) and memoranda of Harold Macmillan’s government. The documents cover Britain's relationship with the EEC, Anglo-American ties, the Cold War, decolonisation, and issues of public and political morality. A subscription resource from Adam Matthew Digital.

Secret files from World Wars to Cold War

Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War provides access to British government secret intelligence and foreign policy files from 1873 to 1953. Sourced from The National Archives, these documents – from signals intelligence reports to government-directed policy and strategy – range from the period of Appeasement through to the early Cold War. The content is international in breadth and scope, spanning four key 20th century conflicts, with a spotlight on the Second World War. A Taylor & Francis subscription resource sourced from the National Archives.

State Papers Online, parts 1 and 2

This resource is a collection of digitised English state papers, 16th–17th century which combines the Domestic, Foreign, Borders, Scotland, and Ireland State Papers of Britain with the Registers of the Privy Council and other State Papers now housed in the Cotton, Harley and Lansdowne collections in the British Library. The two parts to which the Library subscribes cover the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. A subscription resource from GALE.

US Declassified Documents Online

This resource offers previously classified federal records from the 20th and 21st centuries bringing together the most sensitive documents from all the presidential libraries and several US executive agencies. A subscription resource from GALE.

Uganda under Colonial Rule, in Government Reports, 1903–1961

This resource is a collection of annual departmental reports showing how each area of the colonial government of Uganda developed over the first 60 years of the 20th century. A subscription resource from British Online Archives.