The National Archives has produced a descriptive pamphlet (DP) for this publication. It is available to view or download here. Much of the description on this page is taken directly from the DP.
The records are mostly instructions to and dispatches from diplomatic and consular officials; the dispatches are often accompanied by enclosures such as diplomatic notes exchanged, pamphlets, and newspapers. Also included in the records are notes between the Department of State and foreign diplomatic representatives in the United States, memoranda prepared by officials of the Department, and correspondence with officials of other Government departments and with private firms and individuals. The Lists of Documents or "purport sheets" give brief abstracts of the documents presented here and serve as a finding aid to the documents themselves. The arrangement of the entries on the lists corresponds to the arrangement of the documents in the file.
The file also contains communications received from foreign governments and Federal agencies other than the Department of State that had been classified for security or other purposes by their originators. The documents that have not been declassified are not part of this title. NARA does not have authority to make reproductions of such documents available to researchers.
Most of these records relate to problems arising from the wartime conditions existing during 1914-18 and to the peace negotiations. The subjects specifically covered include neutrality, neutral commerce, enemy property, prisoners of war, civil prisoners and enemy noncombatants, illegal and inhumane warfare, hospital ships, military and civilian observers, negotiations for peace, and the armistice.