Four FRUS Volumes and an Error

03.24.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The U.S. State Department last month published four new volumes of its official Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, documenting the foreign relations of the Nixon Administration:

“European Security”

“Germany, 1969-1972”

“Eastern Europe”

“China, 1973-1976”

Inevitably, it seems, the occasional error creeps in.

Document 13 of the China volume transcribes a February 18, 1973 conversation between Chinese Premier Chou En-lai and Henry Kissinger in which Chou cited press reports that “the United States had contacts with Ismail” (on page 148). The FRUS editors inserted Footnote 3 explaining that “Ismail Fahmi was the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1973 until 1977.” That’s true, but that’s not who Premier Chou was talking about. “It is common knowledge that Chou was referring to Sadat’s national security adviser — Hafez Ismail,” wrote A, a Secrecy News correspondent.