United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 05, 2023
Declassification of State Department records
Deadline for declassification
Except as provided in subsection (b), each classified record of permanent historical value (as determined by the Secretary of State and the Archivist of the United States) which was published, issued, or otherwise prepared by the Department of State (or any officer or employee thereof acting in an official capacity) shall be declassified not later than 25 years after the record was prepared, shall be transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration, and shall be made available at the National Archives for public inspection and copying.
Nothing in this subsection may be construed to require the declassification of a record wholly prepared by a foreign government.
Subsection (a) shall not apply to any record (or portion thereof) the publication of which the Secretary of State, in coordination with any agency that originated information in the records, determines—
would compromise weapons technology important to the national defense of the United States or reveal sensitive information relating to the design of United States or foreign military equipment or relating to United States cryptologic systems or activities;
would disclose the names or identities of living persons who provided confidential information to the United States and would pose a substantial risk of harm to such persons;
would demonstrably impede current diplomatic negotiations or other ongoing official activities of the United States Government or would demonstrably impair the national security of the United States; or
would disclose matters that are related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Department of State or are contained in personnel, medical, or similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
The Advisory Committee shall review—
the State Department’s declassification procedures,
all guidelines used in declassification, including those guidelines provided to the National Archives and Records Administration which are in effect on
October 28, 1991, and
by random sampling, records representative of all Department of State records published, issued, or otherwise prepared by the Department of State that remain classified after 30 years.
In the event that the Secretary of State considers it necessary to deny access to records under paragraph (1)(C), the Secretary shall notify the Advisory Committee in writing, describing the nature of the records in question and the justification for withholding them.
Annual reports by the Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee shall annually submit to the Secretary of State and to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives a report setting forth its findings from the review conducted under subsection (c).
Annual reports by the Secretary
Not later than March 1 of each year, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives on the compliance of the Department of State with the provisions of this chapter, including—
the volumes published in the previous calendar year;
the degree to which the Department is not in compliance with the deadline set forth in section 4351(c) of this title; and
the factors relevant to the inability of the Department to comply with the provisions of this chapter, including section 4351(c) of this title.
Form of reports
Each report required to be submitted by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form, together with a classified annex if necessary.
(Aug. 1, 1956, ch. 841, title IV, § 404, as added Pub. L. 102–138, title I, § 198(a),
Oct. 28, 1991, 105 Stat. 687; amended Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title II, § 205, Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1363; Pub. L. 117–81, div. E, title LV, § 5504(2), Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 2376.)
cite as: 22 USC 4354