Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, Country Files

 Collection 0071-LBR-RG18-001

The AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO all had an International Affairs Department that was responsible for international trade unionism activities. This collection represents those files maintained by certain AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO staff members regarding particular regions and countries around the world. Materials in the collection include correspondence, conference materials, photographs, speeches, and reports.


  • 1945-1971

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a research find sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


47.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of the Collection

This group of records represents those papers maintained by certain AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO staff members which were filed according to particular countries. Known as Country Files, these papers span the period 1945-1971 but mostly cover the period 1955-1971. Types of documents that appear include correspondence, minutes, clippings, speeches, reports, conference materials, and photographs. Staff members apparently used this series of records to keep track of International Affairs Department activities in particular countries.

Biographical / Historical

Additional information about the history of the International Affairs department under the AFL, CIO, and combined AFL-CIO is available in the external document below, along with a partial staff list.

Organization of the Collection

This collection is organized into seven series:

Series 1
Western Europe (including Canada and Turkey)
Series 2
Eastern Europe
Series 3
Africa and the Middle East
Series 4
Latin America and the Caribbean
Series 5
Series 6
Oversized Materials
Series 7

The arrangement of the records reflects the regional approach the labor organizations took toward international affairs--that is, arranged first by regions and/or continents and then alphabetically by country. Turkey); series 2, Eastern Europe; Series 3, Africa and the Middle East; Series 4, Latin America and the Caribbean; Series 5, Asia. Series 6 and 7 contain materials separated according to format (photographs and oversized items).

Custodial History

The International Affairs Department transferred these records to the George Meany Memorial Archives in 1982. The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Related Materials

Related groups of records at the University of Maryland include:

AFL, AFL-CIO Office of the President, George Meany, 1952-1960 (Collection 8);

Office of the President, International Affairs and International Affiliations, 1949-1967 (Microfilm Collection 31);

AFL Advisors to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1945-1952 (Collection 28);

Office of the President, Copy Books, 1925-1968 (Microfilm Collection 16);

Office of the President, Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1937-1968 (Microfilm Collection 18);

Department of Legislation, 1906-1978 (Collection 1).

Processing Information

Gray Fitzsimons, Faye Haskins, Kristi King Mashon, and M. Lee Sayrs at the George Meany Memorial Archives initially processed these records in 1994. The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, Bria Parker exported and cleaned the finding aid contents from the Eloquent Systems database using OpenRefine, and finally transformed the finding aids into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) using a series of programmatic scripts. The finding aid was ingested into ArchivesSpace in 2018, at which point Rebecca Thayer updated the descriptive content for accuracy. Revisions include changes to biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Rebecca Thayer also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.

Guide to the AFL and AFL-CIO International Affairs Department, Country Files
This collection was processed by Gray Fitzsimons, Faye Haskins, Kristi King Mashon, and M. Lee Sayrs at the George Meany Memorial Archive.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742