Legal basis

Law on the Preservation and Use of Federal Archival Documents Enlarge image Law on the Preservation and Use of Federal Archival Documents (© Jörg F. Müller/ AA)

The legal status, competences and responsibilities of the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office are laid down in Section 10 of the Foreign Service Act of 30 August 1990.

Use of the archive material in the Political Archive is regulated under the Federal Archives Law of 6 January 1988.

All files that are over 30 years old, with the exception of classified material, are open to the public. Records relating to natural persons may not be consulted until 30 years after these individuals’ death or 110 years after their birth. In the case of personal papers and private records, different arrangements may have been agreed with the bequeather. These arrangements may prohibit use of the material or set certain conditions for its use.

The practical conditions for using the Political Archive are laid down in the Regulations for Users of the Political Archive and in the Reading Room Regulations.

Reading Room Regulations

Regulations for practical work in the reading room

Foreign Service Act (Gesetz über den Auswärtigen Dienst)

Law on the Preservation and Use of Federal Archival Documents (Bundesarchivgesetz)