Monday, December 15, 2008

Sad Situation at the State Department

I was dismayed but not surprised to read this article from today's Inside Higher Ed. The article discussed the controversy surrounding the State Department's publication of the Foreign Relations of the United States, an indispensable series for those researching United States customary law. It has always been frustrating to work with Foreign Relations because of the time lag, but things have gone from bad to worse.

According to a number of prominent historians, the "office responsible for publishing" Foreign Relations "is in disarrray." As a result of mismanagement, thirty volumes are now overdue. A number of historians have written to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, charging "that the drop in the production of volumes demonstrated both the damage being done to scholarship and an objective measure that something is wrong in the historian's office." Secretary Rice has not commented.

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