New: Cambridge Archive Editions: China Political Reports 1911-1960, 1961-1970

Thanks to colleagues in the China Centre Library, Oxford researchers now have access to the Cambridge Archive Editions: China Political Reports 1911-1960, 1961-1970. It can be accessed via SOLO or OxLIP+.

This resource draws together the periodic political and intelligence reports sent by British officials based in China back to the British Foreign Office. The set includes:

  • Annual Reports
  • Personality Reports
  • Occasional Despatches
  • Peking Fortnightly Summaries
  • Peking Observations
  • Shanghai Summaries
  • Occasional Reviews

The reports have been published as an electronic version of the originally 14 printed volumes rather than a database. Therefore the reports are filed chronologically.

At the beginning of each volume there is a detailed contents listing which is helpful to identify the documents included in each particular volume.

Please note that full-text searching is not yet possible!

The first collection, 1911-1960, covers the “history of the rise of Communism in China and its effects over more than half a century. Although the period covers the First and Second World Wars the impact of these world events is almost matched for the Chinese by their internal struggles. After the declaration of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese diplomacy took a more international turn but by then the international arena had become paralysed by the effects of the cold war and the prevailing beliefs of the Great Powers were anti-Communist in nature thereby continuing the isolation of China.” (Eastview, accessed 23/1/18)

The second collection, 1960-71, covers the “recovery from the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the main thrust of the ‘Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’ which two events alone would sustain research for years to come but also within this period are the huge foreign relations disputes that grew out of the complications of the cold war.” (Eastview, accessed 23/1/18)

Also of interest:

Trial until 8 June: America and Great Britain : diplomatic relations, 1775-1815

Together with the Vere Harmsworth Library, we have organised a trial to America and Great Britain: diplomatic relations, 1775-1815. Oxford readers can access it via SOLO or OxLIP+.

America and Great Britain diplomatic relations - title pgThis resource is the digitised Cambridge Archive Edition 9-volume set of facsimile British diplomatic primary material, charting the emergence of an independent United States and comprising diplomatic correspondence between America and Britain.

It provides access to diplomatic and official correspondence between America and Britain and gives a good insight into the shaping of a nation, from America being referred to as ‘our Colonies and Plantations in North America’ by the King, to its recognition as the ‘United States’ by Britain in 1782.

The correspondence is formed of diplomatic letters between the British Government and American officials including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, John Jay and John Hancock. The collection begins with a résumé of events centered around American protests over taxation, follows the course of the War of Independence, and concludes, after ratification of the Treaty of Ghent in February 1815, with the restoration of normal diplomatic relations.Together these correspondences form a narrative which not only captures major historical events from a contemporary viewpoint, but also provides a vivid, lively and uniquely personal insight into the creators of modern America.

Transcript: "All that the americans want from Europeans is a supply of European manufactures... " America and Great Britain : diplomatic relations, 1775-1815. British government documents. Volume 3. 1783-1791 (Cambridge, 2016), p.344

Transcript: “All that the americans want from Europeans is a supply of European manufactures… ” America and Great Britain : diplomatic relations, 1775-1815. British government documents. Volume 3. 1783-1791 (Cambridge, 2016), p.344

 

The archive is a valuable tool in understanding an era of modernization in diplomatic practises. With the expansion of the British Foreign Office, there was a movement away from the era of the aristocratic amateur towards a more tightly controlled process, where professionalised servants of the British Crown filed regular despatches from across the world to a rigid procedure. The collection also provides an insight into European politics during this period. Conflicts between America, France and Britain arising over trade, defence and diplomacy are explored and increase our understanding of this complex trans-Atlantic triumvirate.

Feedback to isabel.holowaty@bodleian.ox.ac.uk or jane.rawson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Related links:

History Database of the Month Confidential Prints: Africa

The database of the month for May is Confidential Prints: Africa 1834-1966.

cpa

What is this database?

Confidential Print: Africa offer full text access to complete volumes of all British Government Confidential Print for Africa, from the Colonial, Dominion, Foreign and War Offices from the National Archives.  The series originated out of a need for the Government to preserve all of the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. Some of these were one-page letters or telegrams; others were large volumes or texts of treaties. All items marked ‘Confidential Print’ were printed and circulated immediately to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet and to heads of British missions abroad.

The introduction to the database provides an overview of the collections covered within the database and also gives some examples of the types of material included.  There are telegrams noting the South African government’s support for sanctions against Italy after the Italian conquest of Abyssinia and despatches discussing newly independent Ghana’s slide into authoritarianism.

map result

An example map result of British Somaliland in 1926

The collections include

  • Reports
  • Dispatches
  • Correspondence
  • Descriptions of leading personalities
  • Political summaries
  • Economic analyses
  • hundreds of colour maps

How can I access it?
University of Oxford members can access this subscription resource on and off campus via OxLIP+. Remember to sign on to OxLIP+ with your single sign on when accessing the database off-campus.

Other similar databases

Related Links OxLIP+ | Primary Sources Online Guide for Historians (PDF)  | Modern History Sources Guide (PDF) | Guide to using OxLIP+Contact the History Librarian | Bodleian Library Official Papers

New: Confidential Print North America 1824-1961

Thanks to a generous donation in support of the VHL, we have been able to purchase this database. It is available to Oxford users via OxLIP+.

This resource gives full-text access to a selection of TNA Colonial Office and Foreign Office papers, reports, dispatches, weekly summaries, etc. The collection covers a broad sweep of history from 1824-1961, taking in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. There are also some items that cover South America. All items marked ‘Confidential Print’ were printed and circulated immediately to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, and to Heads of British missions abroad.

CO 880/1-32 spans the years 1839-1914 and is primarily focused on Canada. It includes topics such as the birth of the railways, fisheries, border disputes, the Hudson’s Bay Company, clergy reserves, trade, Treaty of Washington, Native Americans, shipping.

CO 884/1-38 covers the years 1826-1961 and focuses on the Caribbean. Topics such as slavery and apprenticeship, trade, economy, agriculture, boundary disputes, the Morant Bay rebellion, troops, military expenditure, indentured labour, health and disease, finance, and communication are all covered.

FO 414/1-278 covers a vast array of subjects from the years 1824-1941 including: Prohibition, Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between US and Germany, Conference on Electrical communications, Canadian claim to territories, Liquor smuggling, Reports on the Ku Klux Klan and its declining membership and influence, The League of Nations, World War II, etc.

FO 461/1-13 – covers both North and South America over the time period 1942-1956, and includes the text of President Roosevelt’s broadcast address regarding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the entrance of the USA into the war, USA and WWII, Anglo-US co-operation in WWII, Nazi activities in Chile, Columbia and WWII, Financial situation in Venezuela

FO 462/1-10 covers the U.S.A. from 1947 to 1956. Topics covered include the aftermath of World War II, the rise of Communism, McCarthyism, The atomic bomb, Strikes, US policy towards China, Racial desegregation in the US, the hydrogen bomb, “Atoms for peace” conference, Ireland, etc.

New: Documents on British Policy Overseas

The trial of Documents on British Policy Overseas (DBPO) was very well received. We are pleased to announce that thanks to special funding we have secured access this database. DBPO provides users with access to a wide range of primary source documents from Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Selected and edited by the official historians of the FCO it includes many documents specifically de-classified for inclusion in the series. The resource contains three distinct collections, which together form a continuous exploration of British foreign policy and diplomatic history: British Documents on the Origins of the War 1898-1914; Documents on British Foreign Policy 1918-1939 and Documents on British Policy Overseas. Please note that DBPO is not yet complete and that content is regularly being added to. Access is via OxLIP+. Use SSO for remote access.