Primary Sources

Vital primary sources underpinning the foreign policy debate.

Documents of U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

The U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue was created by U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in May 2013 and the first cabinet-level meeting was convened September 2013 in Mexico City. Vice President Biden hosted the January 6, 2015 meeting in Washington. Participating U.S. agencies include Departments of State and Commerce, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. In 2015, strategic goals are focused on energy; modern borders; work force development; regulatory cooperation; partnering in regional and global leadership; and stakeholder engagement.

See more in Mexico; United States; Competitiveness; Trade

UN Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on April 2, 2013. The press release says the treaty makes it "harder for human rights abusers, criminals and arms traffickers to obtain weapons" and gives a brief history of the treaty from the 1990s. ATT went into effect December 24, 2014. The United States signed the treaty, but Senate has not yet ratified it.

See more in Global; Arms Industries and Trade; Treaties and Agreements

National Defense Authorization Act, 2015

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 was signed on December 19, 2014 as Public Law 113-291, "to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2015 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes." It requires a regular report on U.S. support operations in Afghanistan through 2017.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Statement by President Obama on Cuba Policy Changes

President Barack Obama announced changes to the U.S. policy toward Cuba on December 17, 2014. Changes include reestablishing diplomatic relations for the first time since 1961, reviewing Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism according to the U.S. State Department, and increasing travel, trade, and commerce between the countries. In a speech to the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States Summit in January 2015, Cuban President Raul Castro describes conditions he wants as the two countries reestablish relations. At the Summit of the Americas in April 2015, which Cuba attended for the first time, President Obama and President Castro began discussions on these policy changes.

See more in Cuba; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Sanctions

Submission by Denmark to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS)

UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty covers a variety of ocean-usage issues such as transit, mining, research, pollution, and resource management and sets out guidelines for nations. Territorial claims can be submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. On December 15,  2014, Denmark and Greenland submitted a claim to part of the Arctic, including the North Pole, which Russia and Canada each claim as their territory.

See more in Arctic; Denmark; Oceans; Territorial Disputes

CIA Fact Sheets and Statements on the Senate Intelligence Committee's Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. Their study was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. The CIA released its redacted June 2013 response to the study and the Director of the CIA John Brennan gave a new statement on December 9, 2014. The CIA also prepared a fact sheet on the history of the program and its responses to the Senate Intelligence Committee's main findings.

See more in United States; Terrorism and the Law; Intelligence

Senate Intelligence Committee: Study on the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program

The Senate Intelligence Committee began investigating the use of torture by the CIA to obtain information from detainees about terrorist plots. The report covers the history of the interrogation program, the value of information obtained from torture techniques, and the CIA's and other government officials public statements about the "enhanced interrogation" program. The Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the torture program was ineffective and that some techniques were harsher than admitted previously. The report was completed in December 2012 and was released December 9, 2014, after the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee debated how much information should be released. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who led the investigation, stated that the classified, unredacted version of the report could be released later if necessary. The CIA released its own fact sheet and response.

See more in United States; Terrorism; Intelligence

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Position Paper on the Matter of Jurisdiction in the South China Sea Arbitration

In 2013, the Philippines appealed to the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea in settling claims to territory in the South China Sea. On December 7, 2014, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Chinese government's response, arguing that the Convention does not apply to the dispute in the South China Sea.

See more in China; Philippines; Territorial Disputes; Oceans

Guidelines on the Implementation of the European Union's Judgment on “Google Spain and Inc v. Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja Gonzalez”

On November 26, 2014, the European Union adopted guidelines for search engines to use when deciding whether to remove, upon request, specific articles from search results for a person's name, in accordance with EU data privacy laws. These privacy laws are also referred to as "the right to be forgotten," for citizens to request that searches for their names not surface particular results.

See more in EU; Internet Policy; Privacy

Department of Defense: Report on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

In December 20, 2013, the Department of Defense was tasked with reporting improvements on the prevention and response to sexual assault in the military. It released its report on November 25, 2014. NY Senator Karen Gillibrand responded, saying data from the study that indicated that sixty-three percent of victims report being retaliated against for coming forward about their assault.

See more in United States; Violence Against Women; Organization of Government

Remarks by the President on Immigration

President Barack Obama spoke on November 20, 2014, to explain executive actions he will take address reforms in the U.S. immigration system. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Legal Council, and Council of Economic Advisors released analysis and recommendations for these reforms.

See more in United States; Immigration