Guidelines of Swiss foreign policy
It is not the aim of Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland to produce a complete record of foreign policy events from the Swiss point of view. Neither can publishing documents show full details of the entire development of Swiss foreign policy. Rather it is an attempt to sketch out the underlying trends, the guidelines and the basic realities of international relations. Most of the texts which are printed are therefore those that reveal a general orientation of Swiss foreign policy or have had a lasting effect on this orientation at a particular moment in time.
From 1848 to 1989
A first series of 15 volumes covering the period between 1848 and 1945 was published in the years 1979–1997. Even before the last volume in the first series went to press it had been decided to continue with the research activities and their publication. The new period from 1945–1961 is known as the «Petitpierre era». It bears the stamp of Max Petitpierre, the Federal Councillor responsible for Swiss diplomacy from 1 February 1945 until 30 June 1961. Six volumes (vol. 16–21) have already been published.
Outline of the edition
The documents selected are prepared for publication in printed form. Besides a system of footnotes with references to important documents, related subjects and official publications, the volumes also contain a subject index, organization chart of government agencies active in foreign policy and lists of Swiss diplomatic missions abroad and foreign diplomatic missions in Switzerland.
Printed and digital edition as a unit
The printed and digital publications complement each other. Containing a selection of documents, the volumes provide an overview of the individual subject areas and countries. The documents listed in the printed publication and referred to in the footnotes can be consulted as digital source material on the Internet. With the large number of additional records it contains, the Internet database allows researchers to widen their knowledge.
Provenance of the documents
The majority of the documents are from the Swiss Federal Archives in which the records of the government, parliament and federal ministries are stored.