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Official Papers: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Foreign Office (FO) was formed in 1782 and merged with the Commonwealth Office (CO) in 1968 to create the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The majority of the material that can be accessed at the Bodleian is the 'published' output from the departments. The exceptions being the Foreign and Colonial Office Confidential Print and papers held in Special Collections.

Unpublished material, the records of the departments are found at the National Archives please see links below. 

Confidential Print

The Bodleian holds sets of Foreign Office/Colonial Official Confidential Print. The Foriegn Office documents are available in the Bodleian Law Library. Colonial Office documents can be ordered up to a reading room of choice once the document number is ascertained from the database. The top link is gives access to two databases that allow you to search the collections by document number, subject, country, and indicates whether we have the document or not. 

Salient document are also available in digital format for Africa, North America and the Middle East (see links) The print collection covers South America and many other jurisdictions which are not available in digital format. 

Notable publications

The Bodleian Library as a legal deposit library has an excellent collection of departmental publications, please search SOLO in the first instance. Below is a list of notable collections available at the Bodleian. 


Publications and current information

The majority of departmental publications are now in electronic form only, search GOV.UK

To search for departmental publications which were published in print, search SOLO


Archive Resources