Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published more than 1.7 million United States records covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world.
Much of the work was carried out by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been staying since last summer.
He sought refuge at the embassy last June over fears that he would be sent to the United States if he was extradited to Sweden to face sexual offence claims by two women – charges he denies.
The Ecuadorian government has granted Mr Assange political asylum and has repeatedly offered Swedish prosecutors the chance to interview the Australian at the embassy, which is based in Knightsbridge.
The data comprise more than 1.7 million US diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world’s largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Mr Assange told the Press Association that the information showed the “vast range and scope” of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
Henry Kissinger was US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser during the period covered by the collection, and many of the reports were written by him, or were sent to him.
Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.
Mr Assange said the information eclipsed Cablegate, a set of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks from November 2010 and over the following year. Those documents were released after being anonymously leaked.
The new collection has not been leaked, but Mr Assange said WikiLeaks had been working for the past year to analyse and assess a vast amount of information held at the US national archives before releasing it in a searchable form.
– News Agencies