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Foreign Service Educational Foundation records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-07-002

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The records of Foreign Service Educational Foundation include correspondence, minutes of Trustee meetings and financial records, dating from 1944 to 1972. Most of the records date from after the affiliation of the School of Advanced International Studies with Hopkins in 1950. There is very little documentation from the years 1944 to 1949, during which the Foundation was engaged in the founding and administration of SAIS as an independent graduate school. The record group is divided into four series: (1) Foundation Minutes, 1949-1965; (2) Financial Records, 1944-1971; (3) Trustee Records, 1946-1972; and (4) Minutes and Correspondence, 1939-1949.


  • Creation: 1944-1972


Use Restrictions

Records in this record group are restricted for twenty-five years from their date of creation. For details, see Regulations Governing Access to Restricted Records, at the front of each binder.


The Foreign Service Educational Foundation was founded in 1943 to inaugurate and administer a graduate school for international diplomacy and economics, to be located in Washington, DC. This institution was named the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

The Foundation and SAIS came about through the efforts of Christian Herter, a Congressman from Massachusetts, and Paul Nitze, of the State Department's Office of Inter-American Affairs. The Foundation was composed of a group of people who not only agreed with Herter and Nitze that a school for international studies was needed and were willing to raise funds, but would also contribute their own time and money to build the school.

The Foundation had hoped to open SAIS as a Washington branch of Tufts University's Fletcher School of Diplomacy and Law, to be administered by Harvard and a consortium of other Universities. However, Harvard decided not to commit its resources to such a project and the remainder of the proposed consortium could not agree on how degrees would be granted. Thus, the Foundation made the decision to open SAIS as an independent and unaffiliated graduate school, and, in 1944, SAIS began offering programs leading to a Master's degree in international relations. The School received full accreditation prior to graduating its first class in 1945.

SAIS operated independently from 1944 through 1949 but encountered increasing problems in raising operating funds. In 1949, the Foreign Service Educational Foundation received a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, enabling it to explore the possibility of affiliation with an established university. The Foundation then contacted Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Johns Hopkins in pursuit of an affiliation agreement.

The Johns Hopkins University was the most promising of the contacts because so many of the University's own needs could be met through affiliation with SAIS. Hopkins would be able to offer a broader graduate program in international studies than was possible through its own Walter Hines Page School of International Relations, while SAIS would be able to gain financial stability as well as use of the many resources offered by a major research university. The locations of SAIS and Johns Hopkins were also complementary: while SAIS was located at the nation's center of diplomacy, it was also near enough to its parent institution to enable close cooperation and oversight.

After much discussion, an affiliation agreement between Hopkins and SAIS was completed, and, in 1950, SAIS officially became a graduate division of The Johns Hopkins University. As part of this agreement the Foundation deeded all SAIS facilities and resources to Hopkins. In return, SAIS was granted full use of all University resources.

After affiliation with Hopkins the Foreign Service Educational Foundation lost its primary administrative functions. Although it continued to raise money for SAIS, the Foundation was basically inactive by 1962, except for administering two trusts made to the Foundation prior to 1950. Through the mid- 1960s, discussions were periodically held concerning dissolving the Foundation but it became clear that to do so might endanger the trust funds. Therefore, vacancies on the Foundation were gradually filled with Hopkins trustees or officials, resulting in the end of the Foundation as an independent body by 1965.

Gutner, Tammi L. The Story of SAIS. Washington, DC: School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
Bready, James H. "SAIS," Johns Hopkins Magazine (December 1951).


0.38 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box)

Language of Materials



Most of these records were transferred by Marilyn Bugg, Administrative Assistant to the Dean; some records were removed from the Board of Trustees and Office of the President record groups.

Accession Number


Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Allan Holtzman.

Foreign Service Educational Foundation records
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA