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Council on Foreign Relations Digital Sound Recordings

The digital sound recordings of the Council on Foreign Relations were transfered from original reel to reel tapes of Council meetings. Transcripts of meetings were created until 1963; from 1964 through 1970, there is no record of what was said at any events mounted by the Meetings Department at the Council unless the event was \on the record\ and the speaker issued written text. The Council's records contain a small number of tapes from the early 1970s. The only record of the intellectual content of the Meetings Program after 1964 is these surviving tape recordings of the opening presentations of speakers, and occassionally a question and answer section. In 1978, the Council began to tape selected meetings for use by members who were unable to attend important meetings. At the end of each fiscal year, the Council president, Director of Meetings, and Director of Programs would assist the Director of Special Programs is selecting a portion of the year's taped meetings to be sent to the archives. Usually those selected were heads of state, foreign ministers, United States Cabinet members and other distinguished visitors. No programs held at the Washington, D.C. office of the Council were ever recorded.Until the transfer was completed in April 2006, the meeting audio was inaccessible to researchers due to preservation concerns about tape handling and playing.Portions of the recordings may have poor audio quality; the recordings often begin and end abruptly, and rarely feature the question and answer section of the meeting.