On to Appendix G.
The Department of State (DoS) is the agency primarily responsible for classification of foreign relations information. Other agencies' classification decisions will usually be derivative classification decisions. This appendix presents some guidance for classification of foreign relations information to assist the authorized classifier in recognizing what might be foreign relations information if it is encountered. This guidance is taken essentially verbatim from a Department of Defense handbook for writing security classification guidance.1
CLASSIFICATION OF FOREIGN RELATIONS
Foreign relations are the connections between nations. Information that pertains to the political, military, and economic relationships between countries and international organizations is foreign relations information. Foreign affairs refers to matters having to do with foreign relations. The following are some of the types of foreign relations information that warrant classification consideration.
1. All material that reveals or recommends U.S. Government positions or options in a negotiation with a foreign government or group of governments or that comments on the merits of foreign government positions in such negotiations.A general rule might be that foreign policy objectives and broad diplomatic options should be kept unclassified for purposes of public discussion but that specific information about ongoing negotiations should be classified.2 With respect to the duration of classification of foreign relations information, it has been stated that "the need for diplomatic secrecy is usually limited to the period of negotiation, normally of short duration."3
2. All material that comments on the quality, character, or attitude of a serving foreign government official, whether elected or appointed, and regardless of whether the comment is favorable or critical. Such information might reveal:
a. a foreign official speaking in a highly critical manner of his or her own government's policy;3. All unpublished, adverse comments by U.S. officials on the competence, character, attitudes, or activities of a serving foreign government official.
b. a foreign official suggesting how pressure might effectively be brought to bear on another part of his or her own government;
c. a foreign official acting in unusually close concert with U.S. officials where public knowledge of this might be harmful to that foreign official; or
d. a foreign official whose professional advancement would be beneficial to U.S. interests, especially if any implication has been made of U.S. efforts to further his or her advancement, or if public knowledge of this might place the person or his or her career in jeopardy.
4. All material that constitutes or reveals unpublished correspondence between heads of state or heads of government.
5. Statements of U.S. intent to defend or not to defend identifiable areas or along identifiable lines in any foreign country or region.
6. Statements of U.S. intent to attack militarily, in stated contingencies, identifiable areas in any foreign country or region.
7. Statements of U.S. policies or initiatives within collective security organizations (e.g., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
8. Agreements with foreign countries for the use of or access to military or naval facilities.
9. Contingency plans insofar as they involve other countries; the use of foreign bases, territory, or airspace; or the use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
10. Defense surveys of foreign territories for purposes of basing [military units] or using [parts of those territories] in contingencies.
11. Statements relating to any use of foreign bases not authorized under bilateral agreements.
1. Department of Defense Handbook for Writing Security Classification Guidance, DoD 5200.1-H, U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., March 1986, §7.
2. J. H. Kahan, "Workshop A--Lifetime Cycles for Security Classification," J. Natl. Class. Mgmt. Soc., 7, 52–56 (1971), p. 55.
3. J. Zagel, "The State Secrets Privilege," Minn. L. Rev., 50, 875 (1966), p. 877, n. 9.