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Lorraine M. Lees collection of FBI Files on Yugoslav American Ethnic Organizations

Identifier: IHRC1330


The collection consists of photocopied material obtained by Dr. Lorraine M. Lees through a series of Freedom of Information Act requests for Federal Bureau of Investigation files on three Yugoslav American ethnic organizations.

Included are photocopies of surveillance records generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Strategic Services on three ethnic organizations: the American Slav Congress; the Serbian National Defense Council; and the United Committee of South-Slavic Americans. The records are comprised of administrative files, correspondence, memos, newspaper clippings and ethnic press publications. Many documents were heavily redacted by the FBI before they were issued to Dr. Lees.

The collection is the result of a series of Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Dr. Lorraine M. Lees between 1981-1983, with receipt of most documents occurring between 1985-1988. This collection does not include Dr. Lees's notes or any other research material outside of FBI files and information release letters.


  • 1942-1951


Language of Materials

Documents are primarily in English, with some Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian and Russian.


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC Archives.


Lorraine M. Lees is a Professor Emerita of History and University Professor Emerita at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Her second book, "Yugoslav-Americans and National Security during World War II," published in 2007, included research conducted using these FBI files on Yugoslav American Ethnic Organizations.

The American Slav Congress, the Serbian National Defense Council and the United Committee of South-Slavic Americans were surveilled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, during and after World War II, on grounds of internal security due to their actual or suspected ties to foreign nationals and governments, and as part of a Justice Department investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This act required any individual or group acting on behalf of a foreign principle to register as a foreign agent with the US government.

A wide variety of ethnic groups were subject to these wartime investigations. However, the Yugoslav community was a particular target due to deep divisions within the Serb, Croat and Slovene groups in the United States; the Roosevelt Administration feared that such animosities could undermine the war effort.

Although many documents are heavily redacted, these records constitute a valuable source for researchers analyzing the US government’s policy toward ethnic groups, especially during wartime. The United Committee of South-Slavic Americans’ own records disappeared after World War II, thus increasing the significance of the documents in this collection.

**Information provided by Dr. Lorraine M. Lees and edited by IHRC Archives staff.


3.75 Linear Feet (9 Hollinger boxes)


The collection is organized into three series: (1) American Slav Congress, (2) Serbian National Defense Council and (3) United Committee of South-Slavic Americans. The series are arranged alphabetically by organization, and then numerically by section and serial within each organization's case file.


Collection acquired from Dr. Lorraine M. Lees in April, 2016.


Yugoslav Socialist Federation (Jugoslovanska Socialisticna Zveza) records, IHRC1149; Louis Adamic collection, IHRC95; Zlatko Balokovic papers, IHRC274

Inventory of the Lorraine M. Lees collection of FBI Files on Yugoslav American Ethnic Organizations.
IHRC Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The Immigration History Research Center Archives Collecting Area